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.
As the time for planting the bedding out plants, where they are to form the great display of the flower garden, has arrived, it cannot be too strongly urged upon those who have this work to do, that system in arranging the colors is absolutely necessary to complete success. It ought to be no satisfaction to an amateur or professional gardener that his grounds look well, while it is plainly seen they might have looked better. Those who have paid attention to this part of the gardener's business, must have often noticed that different artists produce very different effects with the same plants, and this will be found to arise more from the judicious arrangement of the colors than from any other cause. A flower garden may be richly furnished with plants, but be very ineffective, if the colors are badly arranged, and, unfortunately, this subject receives very little attention generally, although nothing can be more important. Thus, what can be more beautiful than some of the yellow calceolarias or white verbenas? but place the two sorts together, and the pure white of the verbena is destroyed. "For producing brilliant effect in masses, reject particolored flowers; such are never effective.
Use pure and decided colors, such, for instance, as pure white, scarlet, deep purple, bright yellow, good blues, etc.; also take care not to mix plants which are of a doubtful duration when in bloom, with those of a more permanent character. The prevailing system of edging beds with contrasting colors, imparts a highly interesting feature; for instance, a bed of scarlet geraniums edged with white alyssum, or manglesii geranium, with the flower buds taken off as they rise, or the yellow calceolarias edged with blue lobelias, have a good effect. Those which are in close affinity kill each other. J. B.