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.
Make all possible preparation this month in readiness for planting when the season is advanced enough for that purpose; see there is a stock of stakes of the sizes required for tying large plants which are likely to be disturbed by the wind; dig up flower beds and borders, at the same time adding decayed manure or fresh soil; this is necessary in all beds in which strong growing plants, such as Cannas, Humea, Castor oil plantsand Cala-diums are planted, and also for Verbenas, Alternantheras and variegated Geraniums. It is also necessary to stir the soil at least two feet deep; plants growing in soil only three or four inches deep suffer as soon as the hot weather commences, but those planted in deep dug soil will grow away during the longest drought. We have tested this here, where cause and effect is much more perceptible than in the damp climate of England.
If there are any alterations to finish in making or rearranging beds or borders, get them completed as soon as possible; but after such a very mild winter that work will no doubt be generally complete. When the frost is quite out of the ground, any hardy herbaceous plants, such as Paeonies, Pentstemons, Tritonaes, Hollyhocks, Pampas Grass, evergreen Candytuft, and Phloxes, should be planted at once. These plants are best planted in groups or patches in shrub borders, not under the shade of shrubs and where they will be overgrown with the roots and tops of large trees, or they will be exhausted and robbed of all moisture by their stronger neighbors. The ground should be stirred deep before planting; it is no use to make a hole just big enough to receive the roots and leave all around as hard as a road.