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.
Come, gentle Spring, ethereal mildness, come! And, from the bosom of yon drooping cloud, Veiled in a shower of shadowy roses, On our plains descend. - Thompson.
HOW many hearts are longing for her coming? How many hearts grow warm at the first bright sunbeams that flood the earth, telling of her near approach? And why? Because in her lap comes the lovely flowers. First, the violet, peeping from a snow-drift on the sunny side of some old log in the woodland! Then, nearer home, the old daffodil or jonquil, and others of the days when grandmother's garden looked so charming by the presence of the early and simple flowers. Who would fail to plant them, if only for the reason that grandmother did so, and loved them too with as much affection as our modern florists love the gaudy roses or camellias of the greenhouse.
But this is a digression from the subject before us. All of us cannot have greenhouses or conservatories. Some of our readers are poor, and must content themselves with a few hardy flowers which grow, from seed plants, in early spring, upon some warm border, and many of these are truly lovely. Some of them bloom for many weeks, and a succession can be had with only a mite of daily or weekly care.
We propose to name a few of the more simple ones, in order, if possible, to help some lover of these "earth-angels " (as some one has well termed them) in selecting those which they can afford to care for.
First, then, let us name the wild-wood violet. Gather a few bunches of the white and purple from the woods before the buds open, and with plenty of their native soil, transfer them to a warm spot on your border in front of the door, and you will be amply rewarded.
The daffodil should always find a place on the border. The Pyrus Japonica, or Japan quince, a thorny shrub, slow of growth, but beautiful in its pink and crimson glory when grown, gives a magnificent display in early spring. The Phlox is always beautiful and desirable. There are several kinds. The hardy tulip, the many-hued gladioli, the many kinds of lilies - all of which are now cheap - will give increased and increasing loveliness to the yard of the millionaire, or the doorway of the humble mechanic, who comes home after the toil of the day is done, to sit under his pleasant roof with his little prattlers, and with Mary, the eldest, whose busy hands have found time to plant and nurse those lovely things.
A few hardy roses, in variety, can be had for a mere pittance. There are many other kinds just as beautiful and desirable as the above, but we name these only to give a hint to those who may desire to plant a few when the spring-time opens.
Do not neglect it. Do not cramp yourselves down between walls all your lives, while God's most beautiful creations are to be had at such trifling cost.