This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Sow a few patches of Mignonette in various parts of the garden; the scent is very pleasant and refreshing and is also useful for bees, which should be kept by dwellers in the country.
Sweet Peas and Verbenas - Some Sweet Peas should also be sown either against fences or in circles, to be supported by a few brushy stakes. About the third week in the month is a good time to plant Verbenas, or if the weather is favorable, even earlier. We saw some planted very early in the month last year and they did very well, although it was very cold, quite hard frost, and snow after the plants were out. The advantage in early planting is, that the plants get well established before hot weather commences, and spread out and cover the ground with a dwarf compact growth which flowers much better than later planted ones. Verbenas should be planted in a large mass, with the colors nicely mixed to make the most satisfactory show. We have seen a border only wide enough to plant two rows look very well indeed by dotting in the various colors with judgment; but we consider a large circular bed the best to show off these plants; but do not start with a bright scarlet variety in the center, that would fix the eye and spoil the effect of the whole bed; a white or light color is best for a center plant, and then put in as many colors as you wish, placing each plant about fifteen inches from another and about twelve inches from edge; note that the colors are evenly balanced round the bed; any little inequality in growth can be shortened as the plants cover the ground.
It is a mistake to raise flower beds, especially for Verbenas, above the level of surrounding turf; it should rather be below in this climate; it requires all the rain we receive, and if beds are raised the moisture all runs away, leaving the soil dust dry. We planted Verbenas a yard apart and they covered the ground, but it was made very rich, to get good cuttings for propagating.
Some very fine hybridized varieties of Mignonette, from Parsons New White and the Giant Crimson varieties were exhibited, one of which had a spike of flower over nine inches long, which was very fragrant; another showing the hybridization between the two very distinctly, with spikes of flower no larger than the common varieties, but much more free flowering, which will undoubtedly prove a valuable variety for forcing.