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.
Our native White Dogwood, when branched from the ground, forms a lovely sight, both in spring and autumn. The Double Althaeas, almost as common as the Sunflower and Hollyhock, are yet very attractive; and especially so are the newer varieties, that have received such great attention from the hybrid-user. One with variegated leaves has flowers as double as a rose. The French have sent us one with milkwhite bloom, and still another of the same snowy hue, but perfectly double. Among the old-time shrubs we might enumerate the upright Honeysuckles; and these too have been greatly improved, as one entitled rubra grandiflora will abundantly testify.
The Tamarisk is of later introduction, but especially desirable for its long, slender racemes of pink flowers and very delicate light-green foliage.
The Sorrel Tree (Oxydendron arborea) is a native of Virginia, etc., and forms a very attractive object, either singly or in groups, when its long, curving racemes of little white bells are in perfection.
The Magnolia furnishes us with a few choice kinds that may be introduced into the shrubbery. The Purple-flowering and Speci-osa, with white bloom, are the most appropriate. Our native Red Bud, or Judas Tree, if well headed in, is also available and exceedingly showy. The Laburnum, or Golden Chain, is greatly admired for its rich yellew flowers; but, unfortunately, it is occasionally injured during winter. Two shrubs, of the largest size, must always receive a prominent position - the Mist Tree (Rhus cotimus) and Fringe Tree (Chionanthus Virginica) the former with purple, plume-like flowers and the latter with feathery, snow-white bloom.
The superb Stuartia of the South, succeeds well in Pennsylvania and is really one of the finest plants we have ever seen. Its large creamy-white flowers are abundant and showy.
We close this section with a group of small trees that look well in the background, and especially when placed in a compact mass - the Double-flowering Peaches. The colors are white, crimson, scarlet, purple, striped, variegated, etc., and create a brilliant effect when in full bloom. At this period we wish to have them directly in front of the dwelling; but as soon as the flowers fade away we are just as anxious to have them out of sight until the next season.
The second class or medium-sized shrubs embrace a few kinds that eventually grow quite large; but by an occasional pruning they may be kept down to the required size. The Rose, as a matter of course, must take precedence in rank. But we cannot embrace the entire family in this section, as several divisions are rather dwarf in character. Here may come in the most of the hybrid perpetuals and mosses, as well as the Noisettes, trained to stakes. The Rhododendrons are almost without a parallel in point of usefulness. The foliage is attractive all the year round; and how shall we describe the gorgeous coloring or beauty of the trusses of flowers? We have not the space here to go into an elaborate description of this superb shrub, but will merely add that the smallest place should have a representative of this in a prominent position. The Azalea comes next in value, and is, in fact, very nearly allied. The splendid Ghent hybrids are marvels of beauty.
The Berberries are handsome in flower and fruit; and here must be classed the evergreen members, known as Mahonia. The Clethra and Ibea, two native shrubs, are lovely in cultivation and well deserving our care. The Dwarf Horse Chestnut is a spreading bush, with long spikes of misty-white flowers.
And the Deutzia, a species of recent introduction, how showy when covered with its complete mass of white bloom. The double variety is especially fine. We next have the Wiegelas, also introduced of late years, and now comprising a long list of names, some of which are almost identical in color. We prefer the old Rosea, with Rose - colored flowers; Graenewegenii, a German variety, with very deep - red blossoms; and hortensis nivea, with silvery-white flowers. The last we claim as one of the finest shrubs in cultivation.
The Forsythia, or Grolden Bell, is truly the harbinger of spring, a few warm days being sufficient to clothe it with a yellow dress.
But now comes a real gem; for, notwithstanding the many attractive new forms given to the Hydrangea, the newer paniculata gran-difiora exceeds them all, and most other shrubs as well.
The Spiraeas constitute a very valuable genus - the most desirable being Billardii, rose-color; callosa, pink; prumfolia, double white; Reevesii and its double form, in white umbels; and ulmifblea, with, downy white bloom.
Viburnum plicatum closes our list; not by any means as the last to be selected, for it is actually one of the first. It is a rare Japanese species, with large globular heads of pure white flowers - in the way of the old Snowball, but vastly better.
The third and last section, embracing the smaller - sized shrubs, is one of importance. Here, too, we commence with the Dwarf Roses. The Teas, Chinas, and Bourbons may all be kept within bounds by an annual pruning; and they are all free bloomers, especially in June and again in September.
The native White Azalea (A. viscosa) is a low plant usually, that produces pure white, fragrant flowers. The Dwarf Red Azalea (A. amana) makes a fine bed by itself or as an outer edge to the taller-growing kinds. The Daphne Cneorum is a charming little hardy plant, with numerous umbels of pink flowers, and the D. Mezereum, although larger in every way and very pretty, is still its inferior. The Deutzia gracilis, now very well known, yet retains its popularity as a deserving dwarf shrub. When in bloom, the whole plant appears to be a ball of white bells. The Dwarf Variegated Wiegela is one of the newer little varieties that give universal satisfaction. Its foliage is very agreeably mottled and blotched with yellow and pink and the bloom is equally as attractive as that in the larger kinds.
Among yellow blossoms there is something exceedingly neat and pretty about the character of the Hypericum. We prefer the H. prolificum and H. Kalmianum.
And now we call attention to two old friends, the Double Pink and Double White Dwarf Almond. Were it not for an unfortunate habit of blighting, they would certainly rank with the most valuable of our dwarf shrubs; but they are, nevertheless, very showy. A near relative, and one that should by rights be classed with those of medium size, is the Chinese species, Prunus triloba. It is really lovely when full of double rose-colored flowers.
Spiraca callosa alba is a new dwarf variety, with very distinct white bloom; and S. Thun-bergii has also white flowers, of very small size and narrow linear leaves. Both are fine for forcing in pots.
In light,peaty soil the Kalmias are always attractive, although somewhat difficult to manage; but in point of beauty they are among the most attractive.
And thus closes our list of valuable shrubs. That we have omitted very many of great excellence none can doubt; but, if the foregoing are planted properly and receive careful attention afterward, they will assuredly prove all that the most exacting can possibly desire.
To our readers, one and all, we say: Plant shrubs, and then take care of them. They will weave an additional charm around your homes the whole summer long, and make you better, mentally and physically, for the battle of life.