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.
Mr. Vick, in his Floral Guide, expresses himself strongly in favor of garden vases. Of all the adornments of the lawn, nothing is more effective than a well filled and a well kept vase. Of course it is better to have one of a graceful form; but almost anything will look well if adorned with healthy, and particularly drooping plants. It is not of much importance what the plants are, if they are only vigorous. All the ornamental-leaved plants are appropriate for the top or center of the vase, while a few drooping plants should be placed near the edge and allowed to hang or droop at least half way to the ground. For this purpose the Verbena or the Petunia will answer. Indeed, few plants appear better than a good strong Petunia.
My readers, I presume, have often observed that vases that arc well planted, and for a season in the spring appear promising, and give encouraging signs of future beauty, about mid-summer become very unsightly, and continue to grow worse until they are really ugly, and are finally removed. This, my observation induces me to believe, is the fate of three-fourths of the vases that are purchased in the spring and planted with great care. There is one cause, and only one for all this difficulty, a want of water. The plants are allowed to dry up, root and branch. They may get a sprinkling once in a week or so, but this is useless, at least so far as preserving the health or lives of the plants are concerned.
People do not seem to understand why, if their flowers do without watering, their vases cannot. Please to observe that only the upper surface of the flower beds are exposed to sun and air, while at the bottom is the cool, moist subsoil. Then there is a large body of earth, and if the bed becomes drier than the surrounding earth it soon absorbs moisture from the more moist earth around, like a sponge. In a vase you have but a few quarts of earth, while it is exposed to sun and drying winds on four sides, which soon takes every drop of moisture from the earth and the plants famish.
Place your hand on a vase any time in a July day, and you will not wonder that your plants need plenty of watering. To remedy this defect, or rather to prevent the rapid evaporation of moisture from the earth, double vases have been devised, with a space between, filled with water. Some line their vases with moss, but we have found this altogether unnecessary. We have but one rule, and never fail to have gorgeous vases. Our rule is to give the earth a thorough soaking every evening, and the leaves a good showering from the nose of a watering-pot. We care nothing for heat or drouth, or any patent contrivances. By the middle of the season we could sell every vase we have on our grounds for more than double their real worth, and to persons who started in the spring with vases as good and as promising as our own, but who allow their plants to perish for lack of water.
Blue King is the name of a new and really good blue-colored bedding Pansy, just introduced in English gardens. The flowers are described as fine in form, of a deep, vivid blue color, with a brigle and conspicuous yellow eye. It is not liable to sport, nor to be scorched by the summer's sun.