This section is from the book "Beautiful Gardens - How To Make Them And Maintain Them", by Walter P. Wright. Also available from Amazon: Beautiful Gardens: How To Make And Maintain Them.
Modern flower gardening threatens to become almost as costly as our Army systems, which are formed and unformed with every successive Government.
The best that the most influential member of the school of gardening writers which is now dominant can tell us is that, since hardy flower gardening, is necessarily very expensive, we must get the best value for our money that is possible to us. Such a suggestion can only appeal to wealthy flower lovers, and puts out of court the thousands of people who love gardens, but only have a limited amount of money to spend on them.
I do not admit that the making and maintenance of beautiful gardens is necessarily costly, once we recognise the principle that it is true economy to grow the finest possible specimens of certain good, carefully chosen plants. The common idea is to use hundreds of thousands of plants, established in groups, and left to themselves for several years. The expense of this is terrible.
In this work I have endeavoured to give expression to the principles which I have practised for the past few years in a Kentish garden, with results that my visitors have said to be satisfactory. At the cost of a few pounds in trenching soil and manuring, large areas of waste have grown into beautiful gardens as though by magic, with a moderate outlay on plants.
It is woful to see the starved and wretched scraps of plants which are grown in many "advanced" gardens, and which no system of "grouping" can ever make beautiful. Personally, I cannot take pleasure in any plant that is not healthy, vigorous, and a good specimen of its kind. The fact that a bad plant is present in thousands only makes the spectacle it presents more mournful.
I trust that many readers will divert the manure which so often goes to making vegetables coarse to the flower garden, where, in combination with trenching and frequent division, it will give glorious breaks of colour. Thus beautiful gardens will be furnished at a quarter the expense that they now entail. They will be artistic in the best sense.
Walter P. Wright.