A brave old house! a garden full of bees, Large dropping poppies, and queen hollyhocks, With butterflies for crowns, - tree peonies, And pinks and goldilocks.
NEXT to our tree garden came the old-fashioned flower garden as an object of care and interest in the renovation of the place, and here we met with many agreeable surprises; so that we were perpetually reminded of the "Swiss Family Robinson," who, when they went ashore on their desert island, found all they needed to make them comfortable on the wreck, from which, luckily, they were able to help themselves before the old hulk went to pieces. After that, every little thing which was quite indispensable came out of a wonderful bag that belonged to the worthy mother.
Since we landed upon the barren waste of this abandoned farm, we have often had reason to compare the old house-lot with the ship, and the front yard with the mother's bag, for a number of trees and shrubs have been forthcoming from the one, while the other has proved an inexhaustible resource, not only for our own, but other people's gardens.
For, once upon a time, in the old house which is now no more, there dwelt two dear old ladies who took great pride in their garden, and stocked it well with all the best flowers of their day, and from it came bulbs and cuttings of roses, and roots of perennials, that still help to make beautiful the ancient gardens of this fine old town. They were women of refinement and learning, much respected and beloved, and the older people still warmly recall Miss Betsy and Miss Peggy, and the days when the old house was always a sunny and cheerful resort. After the place was abandoned and unoccupied for many years, people felt at liberty to come and help themselves to slips of the shrubs and to roots of the old plants, so that one might hardly hope to find anything of value still existing there; but when we came to clear away the rubbish, we were surprised to find what a tenacious hold the occupants had of the soil, so that, as the spring and summer months sped by, we were constantly surprised and charmed to find, in unexpected places, some shrub or flower that clung to its old haunts, and, half-hidden from the eye, bloomed away its sweet life heedless of observers.
Along an uneven old wall that had supported the terrace of the house, I had a bed dug, into which I transplanted such bulbs and roots as would consent to be torn from their original homes. This bed I call Miss Betsy's Garden, for I am quite sure that in old times that gentle soul must have watched and tended her favorites by this same sunny wall. There is one prim little Columbine which wears a minutely fluted lavender cap that I associate with her, and always call by her name. The flowers that come up in Miss Betsy's Garden are all simple and homely, but to me their quaint familiar faces are more appealing than the far showier and splendid blooms of to-day.