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"The art of gardening has its root in man's enthusiasm for the woodland world. See how closely the people of old days must have observed the sylvan sights of nature, the embroidery of the meadows, the livery of the woods at different seasons, or they would not have been capable of building up that piece of hoarded loveliness, the old-fashioned English garden."
--JOHN D. SEDDING.
THE OLD-FASHIONED GARDEN
VOLUNTARY exiles in a wild land, whether for conscience's sake, like the Puritans and Huguenots, or for the bettering of their earthly fortunes, like the Virginians and the Dutch, all the early colonists seem to have brought with them the love of gardens so characteristic of the people of the Old World. Little packages of seed must have been tucked away among the few indispensables brought over by the Pilgrims in the hold of the Mayflower.
It is good to think of the homesick, lonely and overworked women on the stern New England coast comforting themselves with patches of herbs and flowers. The latter might have been concessions to sentiment, but surely simples were a necessity in a primitive settlement where the good wife had to rely solely upon them in concocting doses for every ill that flesh is heir to. She felt compelled to keep an apothecary shop in her own door yard and follow George Herbert's quaint advice to impecunious parsons: "Know what herbs may be used instead of drugs of the same nature . . . for household medicines are both more easy for the parson's purse, and more familiar for all men's bodies. . . . As for spices, he doth not only prefer home-bred things before them, but condemns them for vanities, and so shuts them out of his family, esteeming that there is no spice comparable for herbs to Rosemary, Thyme and savory Mints, and for seeds to Fennel and Caraway. Accordingly, for salves, his wife seeks not the city but prefers her gardens and fields before all outlandish gums."
At this late day one can but pity the writhing children into whom copious draughts of bitter, nauseous teas were poured every time they took cold, while a paternal hand, as relentless as that of Fate, held their little noses until the last drop was gulped down. Boneset, chamomile and tansy tea, well steeped, were perennial agonies to children of Colonial days. Onion syrup and "stewed Quaker," for hoarseness and sore throat, "Saffern" tea for biliousness, sarsaparilla for spring fever, basil to clear the wits -- these were among the "potent medicines" so highly esteemed by Cotton Mather and his contemporaries, and still implicitly relied on by not a few old women in New England villages. Tansy must have come over the sea with some of the earliest settlers, for it had escaped from the gardens throughout the colonies and run wild down the lanes very commonly when Peter Kalm, the Swedish botanist, found it naturalised here in 1748; and by the roadsides leading to old homesteads we still find the shining yellow "bitter buttons," now reckoned as an American wild flower. The ox-eye daisy, which whitens our fields, was also imported for its alleged medicinal virtues. Scores of new plants were added to that parterre of Nature's garden we are pleased to call "ours" when runaways from our ancestors' garden patches reverted to wild ways in this free country. The hay used in packing the colonists' china and other fragile importations, contained seeds of weeds and wild flowers that now overrun the farmer's fields. Plantain is sometimes called "the Englishman's foot."
THE GARDEN, MOUNT VERNON, SHOWING FRENCH INFLUENCE, PROBABLY LE NOTRE'S. IN
WASHINGTON'S DAY THE PARTERRES OF INTRICATE DESIGN, EDGED WITH LOW BOX, NOW
OVERGROWN, UNDOUBTEDLY HAD THEIR HARD LINES SOFTENED BY OVERSPREADING PLANTS.
To add zest to the monotonous bill of fare, the Colonial housekeeper occasionally depended upon the garden at her door. Sage and thyme for the dressing of fowls and home-made sausage, mint for the lamb from the home flock, caraway for the "seed cakes" that were made for the parson's coming to tea, must have been grown in every garden patch. Dried bunches of herbs for kitchen use as well as for dosing the family or an ailing neighbour, hung from the rafters in every well regulated attic during the long New England winters. It was considered not indecorous to chew medicinal herbs in church.
But we like to remember that the beautiful as well as the utilitarian had a place in the gardens of those hard times that tried men's souls: that hollyhocks stood like cheerful sentinels beside the cabin door in the Plymouth Plantation and Massachusetts Bay Colony; that roses looked in at the windows -- probably the sweet brier or eglantine and the striped York and Lancaster roses brought from England; that gilly flowers, "fetherfew" and honesty, with its mother-of-pearl seed vessels for the winter bouquet, grew freely among the comfortable variety of simples, vegetables and pot herbs which the gossiping Josselyn found about the homes of the Puritans in 1672 when he published "New England Rarities Discovered." Doubtless most of the "pleasant flowers which English ayre will permit to be noursed up," as Parkinson quaintly puts it, were tested in American gardens: his favourite "daffodils, fertillaries, jacinthes, saffron flowers, lilies, flowerdeluces, tulipas, anemones, French cowslips or bearseares, and such other flowers, very beautifull, delightfull and pleasant."
Not until considerable wealth had accumulated in the Northern Colonies and life had become a less severe struggle, were the New England gardens formally laid out in keeping with the modified classic architecture of the finer houses -- a style we speak of as Colonial, but which is known in England only as Georgian. Such gardens followed the fashion then in vogue in England, France, and Holland, which was but a modification, in each country, of the Italian method. Reduced to a small scale, in keeping with the simple living of frugal-minded Colonials, the classic garden here was but a contraction of the elaborate design of some European estate into the space of a small door-yard. It is said that the original Longfellow garden was laid out after Le Notre's designs for the parterres at Versailles. How much of the enduring charm of old Concord, Cambridge, Portsmouth, Hartford, Fairfield, Newport, and Kingston, among scores of other New England towns, was due to their broad straight street in the centre of the original village with the formal planting of trees on either side -- a single or a double row of arching elms or maples!
In the good old days, when every busy housekeeper worked awhile among her flowers each day, and, without consciousness of cravings for capitalised Art, nevertheless achieved as much, perhaps, toward that end as her modern sisters who spend the summer on hotel piazzas embroidering sofa pillows or painting alleged decorations on china, the garden was necessarily close to the house -- usually in front of it, next to the village street. Time to work in the garden had to be snatched from multitudinous household duties, for the care of the flowers almost invariably devolved upon the women of the family who most loved them. Little wonder that the hardy perennials or annuals that sow their own seed -- plants that very nearly take care of themselves -- were the prime favourites in the old-time gardens: fragrant rose peonies, sweet Williams, spicy little fringed pinks, flaming poppies, spires of blue larkspur, foxgloves, deliciously scented valerian, fraxinella with its penetrating, aromatic perfume, periwinkle, hollyhocks, pansies, Lancaster and York and damask roses, and Canterbury bells. Increased numbers of these popular favourites might be relied upon to come up year after year until the weeds themselves were fairly crowded out. The story goes that the first lilacs seen in New England were imported by that gay young scapegrace, Sir Harry Frankland, for Agnes Surriage's garden.
BOXWOOD HEDGES OVER A CENTURY OLD. PARTIAL SHADE HAS BENEFITED THEM. THE
BIG CLUMPS OF BOX ON EITHER SIDE OF THE ENTRANCE TO THE HOUSE AND THE OLD
ELM AND WALNUT TREES HELP TIE TOGETHER THE HOMESTEAD AND ITS GARDEN.
Not the least recommendation of the cleanly, aromatic boxwood that was almost universally used for flower bed borders, was the excellent place for bleaching homespun linen afforded by its flat trimmed top. Bricks set in herring bone pattern along the box-edged paths, or pebbles when the garden was near the sea, helped to clean the boots before a foot passed the threshold of the Puritan housewife's spotless dwelling.
Although every man of consequence in New England, including Governors Endicott and Winthrop, raised and sold fruit trees and plants, comparatively few varieties of flowers were found in the gardens before the Revolution. No one ventured into an exclusive nursery business where neighbourly women had the pleasant custom of exchanging slips of favourite plants, and letters from friends in England usually contained seeds that were doubly welcome, in that they revived cherished memories of the old home. Probably the first commercial nursery was established by Robert Prince, at Flushing, Long Island, about 1730, and for over a century it remained the most prominent one in America. Catering to the French Huguenots settled there, who were devoted horticulturists, it brought together the choicest trees, shrubs, and plants from abroad, including Chinese magnolias and the cedar of Lebanon. Probably more beautiful stock has gone forth from the various nurseries at Flushing than from any other single spot in our land.
But long before the establishment of any nurseries, the Dutch gardens had become famously fine. Ships of the Dutch East India Company brought floral treasures from the ends of the earth.
Governor Peter Stuyvesant, who had a large farm on the "Bouwerie" and a garden about his mansion, White Hall, at the Battery, kept forty slaves at work on his grounds, which apparently contained a greater variety of foreign and native trees, shrubs, and flowers than any other estate in old New Amsterdam. Such an estate was, of course, the rarest exception. The Colonists as a rule were poor, hard-working people and their own flower gardeners. When Manhattan contained barely a thousand inhabitants, Adrian Van der Donck observed: "The flowers in general, which the Netherlanders have introduced, are the red and white roses of different kinds, the cornelian roses and stock roses, and those of which there were none before in the country, such as eglantine, several kinds of gilly flowers, jenoffelins, different varieties of fine tulips, crown imperials, while lilies, the lily frutilaria, anemones, baredames, violets, marigolds, summer sots, etc. The clove tree has also been introduced, and there are various indigenous trees that have handsome flowers which are unknown in the Netherlands. We also find there are some flowers of native growth, as for instance, sun flowers, red and yellow lilies, mountain lilies, morning stars, red, white and yellow maritoffles (a very sweet flower), several species of bell flowers, etc., to which I have not given particular attention, but amateurs would hold them in high estimation and make them widely known." Gay gardens, these, of the Dutch vrouws! Either some of their old favourites are lost forever or they masquerade under new names on modern nursery lists, which, bewilderingly long as they are, mention no jenoffelins, alas, nor baredames, nor maritoffles.
A TANGLE OF BEAUTY AND LUXURIANCE: OLD GARDEN AND STONE HOUSE IN PENNSYLVANIA.
The thrifty Dutch particularly favoured sunken gardens three or four feet below the level of the lawn and enclosed by a brick wall that served as a wind-break. Vegetables so protected matured earlier than in the wind-swept open; flowers blossomed there in greater perfection as the soil held the moisture drained from surrounding land; and the large area of sun-baked brick wall, against which fruit trees and vines were espaliered, forced the pears, peaches, plums and grapes to yield earlier fruit of extra sweetness. But while the great advantage of a sunken garden in flat, windy Holland was quite apparent, the expense of its making was not so easily justified here, and it gradually disappeared.
With the rapid growth of strenuous, commercial, New Amsterdam, the quaint, formal Dutch gardens of intricate patterns outlined with box gave place to warehouses along the river banks, where comfortable homes had lately stood, to shops and residences crowded into solid rows. Even at Albany, where wealth and good living blossomed forth in the usual Dutch manner, not many old gardens now remain. But at Croton-on-the-Hudson, the Van Cortlandt Manor, built in 1681, still shows what a fine homestead was like when the Empire State was a Dutch province. Descendants of the original owners have lived in the dignified, comfortable old house continuously. The present mistress delights in keeping up the formal flower beds of the upper garden and the long, straight flower-bordered walk where the happy children of nine generations have raced and played, in preserving the noble trees, the velvety turf, the lovely old-fashioned shrubs, just as they were in her great-great-grandfather's time. How rarely indeed can such a home be found anywhere among our restless, roving people! Sentiment in a garden is the finest flower that grows there, after all. Generously comfortable living, which the most orthodox of Friends did not pretend to despise, showed itself nowhere more than in well-stocked gardens. William Penn, who imported for his followers fruits, vegetables and flowers from the Old World, encouraged the trial of many native to the New. Around about Philadelphia there are still extant a few lovely old flower gardens, their circles, triangles and parallelograms filled with gay flowers and box-bordered with scarcely an exception. These, apart from the kitchen garden, testify to "the pride of life" so innocently fostered by the Friends. At the time of the Revolution there were, perhaps, no finer gardens in the Colonies than were maintained by these worthies. Doubtless they felt the influence of John Bartram, the zealous Quaker botanist, who established in 1728 the first botanic garden in America, and both through his travels in this country and exchanges with foreign horticulturists introduced to the Philadelphians, first of all, the treasures of his quest.
In a country that then contained few homes more imposing than an Indian wigwam, a few English settlers along the James River established estates of enduring beauty -- immense tracts of fertile, well cultivated land with a stately house and garden on the water front within calling distance of the private pier. Shiploads of brick to build the house and outbuildings, exquisitely carved columns, pilasters, wainscots, mantels, panels, fan-lights and pediments, paintings, silver, dainty china, rich furniture, the latest fashions in clothes, old wine, and every table luxury came to the very doors straight from England. Although nature did so much to adorn these Virginia estates, their luxurious owners laid out convenient gardens, such as they had been accustomed to in the Mother Country, and humoured their wives and daughters' fancy by importing quantities of plants when the ships that had carried tobacco to London, came back home. But throughout the South during Colonial days, gardens, like books, among the common people, were so rare as to be almost unknown.
AN UNPRETENTIOUS, HOME-LIKE LITTLE GARDEN IN WHICH A SEVERELY SIMPLE HOUSE NESTLES COSILY.
CONSIDER THE EFFECT OF THE HARD, BARE WALLS WITHOUT THIS VERDURE.
They seem to have been considered a luxury for a few aristocrats only. The intelligence, wealth, and luxurious living ascribed to the Southern Colonies in the early days have been greatly exaggerated by our imaginative novelists.
One may never rightly judge a man, perhaps, until he has seen his home. How one's admiration for George Washington is increased by a visit to Mount Vernon! Fresh respect for the dignity and simple grandeur of his life comes with an exploration of the place by the most casual observer. A stroll through the lovely garden and cool bosquets, still affectionately, reverently tended, brings one nearer to the man and the gentle mistress of his home, than any amount of reading could ever do, nearer, somehow than the house itself, which they did not build; for the very trees that shaded them, the hedges too, that they set out, the boxwood borders of the paths they walked through, among the parterres of intricate patterns which they filled with their favourite flowers (whose lineal descendants flourish there to-day), are still alive -- the living expressions of George and Martha Washington's personalities.
Although there were many other Colonial gardens in Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas, whose charms have not been wholly obliterated by time nor the ravages of war, let us take the well-preserved, familiar Mount Vernon garden, as fairly representative of the Colonist's pleasaunce, to note wherein the American type differs from the formal garden in vogue in Europe during the eighteenth century. On this side of the Atlantic the terrace practically disappeared with the retaining walls, steps, balustrades and other expensive architectural features which heretofore had been thought necessary accompaniments of the Italian style. American gardens were, therefore, laid out on flat spaces, instead of on hillsides, as in Italy, or on artificial embankments, as in France and England, or in sunken enclosures, as in Holland. In the absence of topiary experts here to trim specimen evergreen and hedges into the startling forms abhorred by Pope, reliance for decorative effect happily came to be placed almost entirely upon flowers. The hedge, which usually took the place of an enclosing wall, was never very severely pruned, although the indispensable boxwood borders for the parterres within the enclosure were kept as neatly trimmed here as in the Old World. The broadest garden paths were not very wide; the narrowest ones allowed space for only one person. It was not considered good designing, or planting, for any path to be seen except the one that the observer was standing on. Hence the garden patterns were often as intricate as a maze; or, if the design were simple, tall growing flowers in the parterres might be relied on to conceal the opposite paths.
To the modern American the word alley has every unpleasant association, but what delight his English forebears took in their fragrant shady walks through leafy tunnels, the lovers of Elizabethan literature well known. A path that was "quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine" in Shakespeare's day still fills the printed page with its fragrance. Lord Bacon, in his oft quoted essay "Of Gardens," after enumerating "the flowers and plants that do best perfume the air," adds: "But those which perfume most delightfully, not passed by as the rest, but being trodden upon and crushed are three: that is, Burnet, Wild Thyme, and Water-Mints. Therefore you are to set out whole alleys of them to have the pleasure when you walk or tread."
FRAXINELLA, THE FRAGRANT-LEAVED AND RESINOUS GAS PLANT, BELOVED BY OUR
GRANDMOTHERS. THE FOAMY, WHITE "SPIRAEA" (Astilbe Japonica) IN THE FOREGROUND,
ALTHOUGH COMMONLY GROWN UNDER GLASS, THRIVES IN THE HARDY GARDEN.
These charming green alleyways, frequently paved or bordered with fragrant herbs, were familiar to every well born French and English Colonist in his old home, but life on an unsubdued continent was much too work-a-day for such refinements except on a few estates of the wealthy. Pleached (braided) alleys were, however, attempted here with various trees -- with holly, which promptly failed, then with apple and pear trees and cedars, which succeeded. By planting two rows of young trees opposite each other on either side of a path, bending the tops toward the centre and interlacing the branches where they met overhead, a series of symmetrical arches was formed on artificial supports at the outset. After a few years of pruning and interweaving the arches united into a leafy tunnel-shaped network. How deliciously cool were these verdant, pleached alleys on a hot day! Little wonder that they were an almost indispensable feature in the gardens of sunny Italy. But vine-covered latticed arbours required less time to make and care for, and the hard worked, practical Colonist perceived that he might shade a walk by growing grapes over it. Beauty came to mean less and less for its own sake, without an ultimate utilitarian purpose, the farther time removed him and his wife from the culture of the Old World. However, the pleached walk was too beautiful a garden feature to become extinct. On the Lee estate, at Brookline, there is an alley of hornbeam trees, two hundred feet long and twelve feet wide. Another, on the Lorrillard place, at Tuxedo, is made of Judas trees, whose slender branches are etched by the sunlight in a delicate tracery on the path below.
Although formal in character, the Colonial garden was not always perfectly regular, yet any departure from a balanced, symmetrical plan was the exception rather than the rule. Nevertheless, when the garden overflowed with flowers, all outlines became softened and subdued, if not obliterated. Only an underlying formality, however, would have produced the harmonious effect of the whole.
The favourite design in the Colonies North and South, was a great wheel with a fountain, a sundial or a bushy boxwood specimen in the centre of the circular garden where the hub should be, and radiating paths, like spokes, marking off the box-bordered parterres, and a hedge encircling the whole like a tire. On a hilltop screened from public gaze, but in the very heart of Rome, may be found at the present day, just such a wheel filled with flowers reflected in the pool at the centre -- the charmingly simple little Colonna garden, which might just as fittingly adjoin a Georgian house in the Colonies. Italian ideas of garden making had thoroughly permeated Europe when the Colonists began to "build stately" and to "garden finely" on this side of the sea; but it is France, not Italy, that receives the credit for the influence upon our garden designs. Le Notre's work was familiar to all intelligent men. D'Enfant's splendid design for laying out the nation's new capitol was one of Washington's cherished ideals frustrated by a parsimonious Congress, even to this day. To the Marquis de Geradin, Jefferson was indebted for much help in planning Monticello and the beautiful University of Virginia; yet Italy had taught these Frenchmen, either directly or indirectly, all they knew.
THE SPIRIT OF THE COLONIAL HOME AND GARDEN AGAIN EXPRESSED IN THIS QUITE MODERN PLACE,
ILLUSTRATING THE SURVIVAL OF THE FIT.
THE BEST SURVIVORS OF OLD-FASHIONED GARDEN FLOWERS
NOTE. -- The flowering time is given approximately for the neighbourhood of New York, and will be somewhat earlier or later to the South or North.
ASTER, CHINA (Callisiephus hortensis). Single, white and red introduced 1731; blue, 1736; double red and blue, 1752; white 1753. More modern improvements of forms and colours than any other annual of the daisy family. Annual; July to September; 1 ½ feet. Does best when sown in the open.
BACHELORS' BUTTONS. A name applied to many small globose, double, button-like flowers, such as CORNFLOWER, RANUNCULUS or FAIR MAIDES OF FRANCE, GLOBE AMARANTH (which see).
BALSAM, SOMERSET, SOMER-SOTS, LADY'S SLIPPER (Impatiens balsamina). White, rose, red, and purplish. Double flowers from July to frost. Pods snap open and seeds turn somersaults before flying out. Favourite toy of children. Likes moist ground. Annual; 2 feet. Introduced from India.
BELLFLOWER. See CANTERBURY BELLS below, arid list of HERBACEOUS PERENNIALS.
BLUEBELL. See HAREBELL.
CANDYTUFT (Iberis sempervirens). Best perennial candytuft for rockery or border; 6 to 8 inches; evergreen. White flowers in long racemes; clusters flattish at first. June. ---, COLOURED (I. umbellata). Dark purple, purple, carmine, rose, lilac, flesh, and white. Flower clusters always remain flat. ---, ROCKET (I. amara). White, like sweet alyssum, but not fragrant, and larger. Good for rockery or border. Common white candytuft. Clusters elongate in fruiting.
CANTERBURY BELLS, BELLFLOWER (Campanula Medium). Oldest and most popular of all campanulas. Blue, violet, pink, or white bell-shaped flowers, one and one-half inches across. June; 2 to 2 ½ feet; biennial. Sow August to October in frames for flowers the next year.
CARNATIONS, BORDER (Dianthus Caryophyllus). Pink, white. August; 1 to 2 feet. Giant Marguerite blooms in twelve weeks from seed; Chabaud's Perpetual in six months, and will stand over winter, blooming next spring also. Give porous, gritty, well-drained soil.
CATCHFLY, GERMAN (Lychnis Viscaria). Red flowers one-half inch across in opposite short-stalked clusters. Petals two-notched. Sticky patches beneath flowers said to catch ants. Tufted plant. Annual; 6 to 20 inches.
CHRYSANTHEMUM, ANNUAL (Chrysanthemum coronarium). Yellow. Gives yellow buttons one-half inch across from July to frost. Doubtless what the Boston seedswoman of 1760 meant by "Chrysanthemum." White chrysanthemum listed in Boston, 1760, could hardly have been the perennial flower so common to-day.
CORNFLOWER, RAGGED SAILOR, BACHELORS' BUTTONS (Centaurea Cyanus). Pure blue, singularly fringed trumpets, borne in thistle-like heads. In single varieties only. Also, white, pink, wine-coloured, lilac, and purple. Annual; 2 feet.
CROWN IMPERIAL (Fritillaria imperialis). Has a circle of pendant brown-red flowers each one and one-half inches long, topped by a tuft of leaves. Plant has onion-like odour. Put bulb six inches deep in rich soil having manure below that. Perennial; 3 feet. DAFFODIL (Narcissus Pseudo-Narcissus). Yellow. April, May; 1 ½ feet. The old trumpet daffodil, single or double Van Sion. Very effective when naturalised. ---, QUEEN ANNE'S DOUBLE (N. Capaxplenus), pale yellow. The jonquil is a round-leaved narcissus, 1 foot high, with rich yellow flowers less than an inch across; extremely fragrant.
DAISY, ENGLISH (Bellis perennis). Pink and white. April, May. A rosette with flowers on three-inch stalks, making buttons about one inch across. This and the pansy best bedding plants April to May. After blooming in beds transplant for naturalising in moist, partially shaded spot.
DAME'S ROCKET, SWEET ROCKET (Hesperis matronalis). See ROCKET.
DAY LILY, LEMON (Hemerocallis flava). Yellow trumpets, 4 inches long, borne in loose clusters on stems q. feet high. Grass-like foliage, 3 to 4 feet long, arching. Divide clumps every four or five years. The lemon day lily is one of the oldest garden favourites, and has become naturalised in some places. Flowers in June; fragrant. , ORANGE (H. fulva), not fragrant; July, August; there is a double form of this. Both are absolutely hardy. (See also PLANTAIN LILY.)
FAIR MAIDES OF FRANCE, FAIR MAIDES OF KENT, WHITE BACHELORS' BUTTONS (Ranunculus aconitifolius). White buttons one inch across, freely produced in May, June; 6 inches to 3 feet. The yellow ranunculus, or buttercup, once grown in gardens, is now a naturalised wild flower; the double form is the yellow bachelors' buttons.
FEVERFEW (Chrysanthemum Parthenium). White buttons about three-quarters of an inch across. Foliage yellow, with characteristic strong, bitter odour. Old favourite for edging. The single (wild) kind, like a small ox-eye daisy, was cultivated in old physic gardens. ---, GOLDEN FEATHER (C. praealtum, var. aureum). Yellow-leaved kind used for edging, a closely related species. Perennial.
FLOWER-DE-LUCE. See IRIS.
FORGET-ME-NOT (Myosotis alpestris). Small blue flowers in racemes. June and all summer; 6 inches. Better adapted for summer bloom than the common forget-me-not, being suited to a dry soil. Also summer bloomer, with longer flowers and fragrant in the evening.
FOUR O'CLOCK, MARVEL OF PERU (Mirabilis Jalapa). Tuberous, tender perennial; also grown as an annual. Bright shades of red, yellow, striped, and white; long-tubed, funnel-shaped flowers that open in cloudy weather, early morning and late afternoon. 2 ½ feet high. Start indoors in March.
FOXGLOVE (Digitalis purpurea). Purplish pink, white. June; 3 to 4 feet. Large, thimble-shaped flowers two inches long, in long spikes on long stems. Most refined white form is var. gloxiniaeflora alba. Splendid for bold effects. Biennial, but August-sown seeds will flower late the next year. ---, YELLOW (D. ambigua). Yellowish flowers, 1 ¼ inches long, spotted dark red inside. Ranks next to the common foxglove.
FRAXINELLA. See GAS PLANT.
FRITILLARY, SNAKE'S HEAD, GUINEA-HEN FLOWER, CHECKER LILY (Fritillaria Meleagris). Tessellated green and purple nodding flowers, one inch across, borne singly on six-inch stems. May. Moist soil.
GARDEN HELIOTROPE. See VALERIAN.
GAS PLANT, FRAXINELLA (Dictamnus albus). White, with pinkish purple variety. June; 2 feet. Whole plant lemon scented. Long lived. White variety prettier than rose-flowered, but less hardy. Will flash at dusk, on still summer eve, if a lighted match is brought near.
GLOBE AMARANTH (Gomphrena globosa). Everlasting; purple, pinkish, white, or golden buttons borne well above the bush. India 1714. Sometimes called Bachelors' Buttons. Annual; 1 ½ feet or less.
HAREBELL, BLUEBELL (Campanula rotundifolia). Dainty purple bells half an inch across, on slender stems 6 inches long. Blooms more or less all the season in a moist, loose, shady spot. Frequently escaped from cultivation and now reckoned a wild flower. The true bluebells of Scotland. Another "bluebell" that grows wild in British woods is Scilla festalis, or S. nutans, a sort of wood hyacinth. HEARTSEASE. See PANSY.
HOLLYHOCK (Althaea rosea). Rose, pink, white, pale yellow, and madder purple. Single and double. On stalk 4 to 6 feet high. Individuals four inches across. Biennial, but makes offsets. Rich soil. One of the best tall herbaceous plants, but subject to disease. Spray with ammoniacal copper carbonate early in season. Sow in August in drills.
HYACINTH (Hyacinthus orientalis). White, shades of blue, red, and pale creamy yellow; 4 inches. April. Buy the modern varieties, as they have entirely displaced the old ones which had fewer flowers to a stalk. Plant the bulbs in fall well before the frost, in raised beds and in masses of one colour.
HYACINTH GRAPE (Muscari botryoides). Dense heads of small blue flowers on stalks 4 to 6 inches long; April. Effective for window or shrubbery or in border. Hardy. Will endure shade after flowering period.
IMMORTELLE (Xeranthemum annuum). Purple, yellow, white. Large daisy-like heads. Annual. July, August; 2 feet. Showy part is the stiff bracts; as cut flowers they last all winter. Sow outdoors in spring, or start in heat for flowers in early summer.
IRIS, FLEUR-DE-LIS, FLOWER-DE-LUCE (Iris hybrids). The so-called German irises are among the most showy and satisfactory plants of old gardens, having great range of colours from blue to white and yellow, with purple brownish fringes. 3 feet; May, June. Will grow in any average soil, the clumps extending by creeping rhizomes. When planting, be careful not to bury the rhizome more than one-half. ---, ENGLISH (I. Anglica). Probably the oldest iris in cultivation. A bulbous kind; white, purple; June to July. Average rich soil moderately dry. Foliage appears in spring.
JOHNNY-JUMP-UP. See PANSY.
LADIES' DELIGHT. See PANSY.
LARKSPUR (Delphinium grandiflorum, D. formosum, D. elatum). Deep indigo blue and lighter shades to white. In long spikes. Perennial. June, July; 2 to 5 feet. Attractive leaves on long stems. Blooms again in the fall if first flowers are cut. Best of blue flowers for border use. Improved varieties live only three or four years in America, being subject to blight. Dig dry Bordeaux about crowns or spray weekly with ammoniacal carbonate of copper. Modern hybrids great improvement over original stock. ---, ANNUAL (D. Ajacis). Same colours. May to August; 2 feet.
LILY, ANNUNCIATION, ST. JOSEPH'S (L. candidum). The oldest cultivated of all the lilies; quite hardy. May, June; up to 6 feet, bearing spikes of pure white flowers individually, four to six inches across. Extremely fragrant. Bulbs must be planted in August, as growth begins immediately. In order to prevent soiling of the flowers by the pollen, pull off the anthers when the flower is half expanded. Will grow in any good garden soil that is not water-logged.
BLACKBERRY, LEOPARD FLOWER (Belemcanda Chinensis). Orange spotted with red. June; 2 to 3 feet. Seeds like blackberries. Escaped from old gardens. Sandy loam in sunny place. Formerly used for winter bouquets with grasses and everlastings. ---, ST. BERNARD'S (Anthericum Liliago). Graceful raceme of ten to twenty white lily-like flowers, each one inch across. May, June; 1 foot. Has tuber-like rhizomes, and propagates by runners. Moist, partially shaded situation. Cover in winter. ---, ST. BRUNO'S (Paradisea Liliastrum, Anthericum Liliastrum). White lily-like flowers, eight to ten on a stem. June; 1 to 2 feet. Taller than St. Bernard's lily, and has fewer, larger flowers. (See also DAY LILY, PLANTAIN LILY, etc.)
LILY-OF-THE-VALLEY (Convallaria majalis). May; 4 inches. Fragrant, pendulous white bells, one-third of an inch across, in an arching raceme of utmost grace. Wants partial shade and deep, rich soil.
LONDON PRIDE, NONE-SO-PRETTY, ST. PATRICK'S CABBAGE (Saxifraga umbrosa). Evergreen edging plant, 4. inches high. White flowers in summer on foot-long stalks; one-half inch across, sometimes dotted red. Will thrive in cold shade of walls where few other things will live. Perennial. (See also RAGGED ROBIN.)
LOVE-IN-A-MIST (Nigella Damascena). Blue and white flowers followed by weird pods amid finely cut fennel-like foliage. Annual; June, July; 2 feet.
LUPIN, HAIRY (Lupinus hirsutus). Purple, rose, white. July, August; 3 feet. Largest flowered, self-coloured annual lupin in colours. A robust, hairy plant. "Large blue lupine," listed in Boston, 1760. ---,YELLOW (Lupinus luteus). Yellow. June, July; 2 feet. Best lupin for garden bloom. Lupines have whorled cut leaves and pea-shaped flowers carried erect in grape-like clusters. Improves poorest soil.
MALTESE CROSS (Lychnis Chalcedonica). Scarlet flowers, the four petals with squared ends like a Maltese cross. An old-world favourite, possibly a hybrid of long ago. June; 2 to 3 feet; perennial. Also pink and white forms.
MIGNONETTE (Reseda odorata). Red, white and yellow, finely cut flowers borne in a dense spike, but otherwise not conspicuous. June to October; 9 inches. Egypt, 1752. Most popular flower grown solely for fragrance. Resents transplanting, and is subject to parsley worm.
MULLEIN PINK, ROSE CAMPION (Lychnis coronaria). Whitish, woolly foliage and glowing rose-crimson circular flowers one and one-half inches across, borne singly on ends of branches. 1 to 2 ½ feet; biennial or perennial. Good for bedding.
MYRTLE (Vinca minor). Evergreen trailing vine with dark-green shiny leaves. Invaluable for covering the ground in shaded places where grass will not grow. Flowers of rich blue in summer, one inch across.
PANSY, HEARTSEASE, JOHNNY-JUMP-UP, LADIES' DELIGHT (Viola tricolor). The wonderful range of colours, the velvety texture of the dark ones, and the quantity of flowers make this a universal favourite. Self-coloured pansies would be anachronistic in a real Colonial garden. Gives scattering bloom in summer if sown in spring, but best flowers produced in spring from August-sown seed. Rich, moist soil. Keep flowers picked; they deteriorate if seed forms.
PEONY (Paeonia officinalis). The most showy, largest-flowered plant for the herbaceous garden. May and June; 3 feet high, bearing only one flower to a stem. Dark crimson. ---, (P. albiflora). From white through rose and magenta to crimson. June; 2 ½ feet. Largest double-flowered hardy perennial. Favourite varieties: White, Alba Sulphurea, Duke of Wellington, Festiva Maxima; Blush, Delicatissima, Humei Carnea; Rose, Czarina; Crimson, Victoire Modeste Guerin. Shift peonies September to October. Divide every six years. Deep, rich, well-drained soil, with plenty of moisture.
PHLOX, PERENNIAL (P. paniculata). The brightest and most varied range of colours in any hardy perennial. Peculiarly appropriate, since it is a native. Now to be had in white, pink, scarlet, mauve, and various combinations. Thrives anywhere. Propagate by seed, cuttings, or division. 5 feet or less according to will. Give water in summer. By cutting back can be made to flower any time. Miss Lingard, best modern white variety for general use.
PINK, CHINESE, SNOW, OR STAR (Dianthus Chinensis). Prettiest annual variegated flowers of the pink family. Introduced about 1713. Had been highly developed in the Far East. Seeds best started indoors in March. Excellent for edgings. Single or slightly double. A fragrant fringe along old garden paths. June; 1 foot. ---, GARDEN, SCOTCH, GRASS, PHEASANTS' EYE (D. plumarius). Blooms in spring and early summer; 1 foot. Fragrant fringed flower, originally pink or purplish, the petals fringed for about one-fourth their length. Needs perfect drainage, and is likely to die in winter if grown on a level. ---, FRINGED (D. superbus). Summer and early autumn; 1 foot. Petals lilac, fringed for more than half their length. Winter kills in rich soil. Prefers plenty of sand and grit. Easily raised from seed. ---, MAIDEN (D. deltoides). Small, one-half to three-quarters of an inch across, deep-red flowers, with notched petals and a dark crimson eye. Spring and early summer; 1 foot. Easiest of the small-flowered species of Dianthus for level-ground cultivation, forming a perfect mat. Does not suffer from wire worms. (See also CARNATION.)
PLANTAIN LILY, WHITE (Funkia subcordata). ---, BLUE (F. ovata). Often erroneously confused with the day lily (Hemerocallis). July, August, September; 2 feet. Leaves broad, ribbed like the common plantain, but eighteen inches long. Begins growth early in the spring; multiplies freely, making large clusters, perfectly hardy. Will naturalise in moderately rich, partly shaded places. Variegated forms. Flowers four to six inches long in loose racemes carried well above the foliage.
POPPY, CORN (Papaver Rhaeas). Scarlet with black spot. Summer; 1 foot. Gorgeous weed that glorifies the grain-fields of Europe. Parent of Shirley poppy. Sow where intended to flower; poppies will not generally bear transplanting. ---, OPIUM (Papaver somniferum). White, dull purple, red, single and double, five inches across. Nodding buds. Glaucous foliage. A most gorgeous annual; 3 feet. Allow one foot space to each plant.
PYRETHRUM (Chrysanthemum coccineum). Crimson, magenta, rose, white, daisy-like, single and double. June to July; 3 feet. Must have perfect drainage to avoid crown rot, especially in winter. If foliage rots in summer after heavy rains, cut some away.
RAGGED ROBIN, LONDON PRIDE (Lychnis Flos-cuculi). Double red or rosy flowers, the petals cut in four strips. Perennial; blooming all summer; 1 to 2 feet. "Flos-cuculi" means cuckoo flower. Very common in old gardens and now naturalised. ---, EVERBLOOMING (L. Flos-cuculi, var. plenissima). Has extraordinary number of flowers over exceptionally long season; lasts a long time when cut.
RAGGED SAILOR. See CORNFLOWER.
ROCKET, SWEET ROCKET, DAME'S ROCKET (Hesperis matronalis). Magenta, mauve, or white. July; 3 feet. Long spikes of small four-petalled flowers which are most fragrant at evening. Select a plant with good lavender colour and propagate that, or plant the white kind. Double forms. Perennial.
ROSE CAMPION. See MULLEIN PINK.
ROSE OF HEAVEN (Lychnis Caeli-rosa). Rosy flowers one inch across all summer. Petals slightly notched; eyed, fimbriated and white varieties also. Annual; 1 to 1 ½ feet. Very floriferous. Likes sun. ROSES of various sorts generally referred to as "old-fashioned" or "garden." These include the hundred-leaved (Rosa centifolia), damask (R. Damascena), the Pink Daily and the Old Cabbage, and the York and Lancaster with flowers sometimes all red or all white, or parti-coloured; also the Persian brier for its yellow flowers. All these do well anywhere, in good garden soil, flowering in June. The fragrant leaved sweetbrier or eglantine (R. rubiginosa) ekes out a struggling existence. It should be raised from seed sown in the fall. None of the all-summer bloomers having tea blood are admissible to the old-fashioned garden.
SWEET WILLIAM (Dianthus barbatus). One of the oldest garden flowers, and now run wild. Single and double. Flowers in dense, flat head, fragrant, various colours, chiefly red or reddish and white or pink. Grown from cuttings or seed, flowering the second year. July, August; 1 foot; Rich soil.
TEN WEEKS' STOCK (Matthiola incana, var. annua). Clove-scented spikes of white, creamy, pinkish, or crimson flowers. Annual; 1 ½ feet; May to July. Sow in rich, warm soil, and transplant.
TULIP (Tulipa suaveolens). Parent of the small, early, and forcing Duc Van Thol varieties, and was known in red and yellow. T. Gesneriana, the showy scarlet, later garden tulip, with pointed petals, also varieties of this type. Plant in masses of one colour in fall for spring flower. Shallow rooting annuals may occupy same bed at same time.
VALERIAN, GARDEN HELIOTROPE (Valeriana officinalis). June; 3 feet. Minute pinkish-gray flowers in flat clusters, three inches across. Very easy to grow. Spreads rapidly. Spicy odour scents a whole garden. Perennial.
VERONICA, LONG-LEAVED (Veronica longifolia). Minute lilac flowers in long, narrow spikes. July to September; 2 to 3 feet. Often sold as V. spicata. Its purple-blue variety, subsessilis (Japan, 1871), is the best of all hardy veronicas, and is more robust than the type. Can be used instead.
VIOLET (Viola odorata). Violet. March; 6 inches. Only fragrant perennial of earliest spring. California is a large single variety. The Russian is double and hardier than common sorts. Get nursery-grown plants. Grow in the shade.
WALLFLOWER (Cheiranthus Cheiri). Yellow, red, brown, fragrant flowers, in spike six to twelve inches long. Biennial. Blooms all summer in partial shade if not allowed to seed; 2 feet. Must not dry out.