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.
W. D. Brackenridge, a Baltimore florist, recommends the following flowering shrubs for a family garden:
As shrubs we have first the Clethra ulnifolia, whose flowers are white and fragrant; height of bush four to six feet. Then there is the free growing Vitix Agnus Castus, better known as the Chaste Tree, and of which there are two varieties, one of them blue and the other pale lilac, both of which should be in every collection of any pretension. Hydrangea quercifolia has large branches of greenish-white flowers, and lobed leaves like those of an oak, and is a conspicuous and well-marked article, and so is its congener H. nivea, with white flowers and entire leaves, which are green on the upper and snow white on the under surface - both attain a height of three to five feet. Buddlea Landleyana which grows from six to eight feet heigh, is a very desirable bush, and should be more planted, producing as it does, during most of the summer months, its long pendent spikes of blue flowers, which come admirably into play when making up a table bouquet; to this we would add another beauty, viz:
Ceanothus thyrsiflora, bearing flowers like an Ostrich feather of a pale blue color. Spircea callosa, S. callosa alba, the first bearing pink and the latter white flowers, deserve a place here as well as in every garden.
Belonging to the small tree kind, we recommend Kolreuteria paniculata, or Balloon tree, as some people call it, which bears yellow blossoms on long erect spikes; and as a suitable companion to this plant, Lagerstremia indica, of which there are three or four varieties, one bearing pink, another purple, and a third bearing scarlet flowers; we have also got the white flowering kind, but cannot vouch for the latter proving hardy; in truth, all of the varieties require protection during the winter north of Baltimore, yet there is no plant that will better repay a little care than this same Crape myrtle. The Althea is a very popular tree or bush, and it embraces a great many varieties, both single and double-flowered; to have these to bloom at the present season they should be headed down or cut back late in April; but apart from the value of the flowers, there are two or three kinds very attractive by their variegated foliage, which latter feature in floricultural productions has of late years claimed more prominence than we think it deserves.
While bringing forward to the light the above desirable trees and shrubs, we would, with great respect, remember as seasonable the Virginia and Chinese trumpet flower, the first so well adapted to cover stumps of trees or old walls gone into decay, the last just the thing to plant against a summer house, or as a solitary bush on a lawn, where its robust growth will soon produce a stem strong enough to support its head erect.
Our flowering shrubs have, and are, giving us a profusion of bloom; one variety in particular I propose to speak of at more length, the Weigela.
This is a most beautiful, and by too far rare a plant in our rural flower gardens. It is easily propagated from layers, or cuttings started in a shaded hot-bed. This beautiful shrub belongs to the genus Dervilla, but owes its popular name to the German Botanist, Weigel, who introduced it into Europe. Of this genus there are several varieties, the most disseminated of which, being first introduced, is the Wei-gela Rosea - in pronouncing the name give the soft sound of g. Many seedlings have been produced from this, some of which show decided improvements over the original Weigela Rosea, and Weigela Amabilis, are the two first introduced. Some of the seedlings are: Isoline, flowers nearly white when they first open, but afterwards turn to a delicate pink; Van Houtteii has the habit of Amabilis, but flowers of the Rosca Deboisiana have buds of a dark crimson and very dark flowers, the lower lobe of which is marked with a yellow band. The foliage is very robust, of a fine dark green; bush a fine erect habit, and is a profuse bloomer. There are also several variegated leaved varieties; one with greenish yellow leaves, another the leaves of which are of a clear cream-white. Weigela Rosea is the popular variety, and capable of great improvement over the same as generally cultivated.
This shrub is covered with a profusion of blossoms in June, pink changing to white. The bloom is so profuse that the leaves are nearly all hid from view. The shrub is of somewhat dwarf growth, growing about three feet in height, and may be trained to form a very ornamental shrub, and one to give a very much more satisfactory show than is too frequently the case. Procure a plant and train it to the tree form by-rubbing out all growth from the bottom,'except one main stem, for eight or tea inches; head it in and allow the top to form bushy and thick, and our word for it, you will be so much better satisfied with it, that you will hardly recognize it as the same thing as when grown as a bush. The head is formed by successive pinching in, after which the culture is no more difficult than in the other way.
The Japan Quince (Pyrus Japonica) is another shrub, flowering somewhat earlier than the Weigela, well worthy of more general cultivation, as they offer us buds and flowers to weave in bouquets when flowers are somewhat scarce. There are white, red, double, and orange varieties, blossoming in early spring. The Japan Quince gives us beauty in the shining gloss green of its foliage after its flowers are gone; and then for a while its fruit possesses an interest to the studious inclined. This shrub is susceptible to the same improvement as to the Weigela, and by careful training may be made an attractive ornament of the garden. - N. E. Homestead.
We want to impress upon all, the cheerful aspect of a home surrounded with shrubs. Plant them in groups and masses, so that in all the summer and autumn you may enjoy a perfect wealth of flowers. In the corners, at every bend of the walk, at your entrance gate, before some unsightly object, are all suitable positions. Certain species make lovely specimens standing singly in the lawn. Such is the Hydrangea paniculata, or the Stuartia with their conspicuous white flowers. Other species look best in beds of different shapes, as the Daphne Cneorum, a small, partly evergreen shrub, with fragrant umbels of pink flowers. Rhododendrons and azalias are difficult to propagate, and must be left to the skilled gardener; but nothing makes a more gorgeous sight than a little group of these.- N. Y. Tribune.