Gardens - Old Flower Favorites
( Originally Published 1901 )
" God does not send us strange flowers every year.
" It all comes back ; the odor, grace, and hue
-ADELINE D. T. WHITNEY, 1861.
NOT only do I love to see the same dear things year after year, and to welcome the same odor, grace, and hue ; but I love to find them in the same places. I like a garden in which plants have been growing in one spot for a long time, where they have a fixed home and surroundings. In our garden the same flowers shoulder each other comfortably and crowd each other a little, year after year. They look, my sister says, like long-established neighbors, like old family friends, not as if they had just " moved in," and didn't know each other's names and faces. Plants grow better when they are among flower friends. I suppose we have to trans-plant some plants, sometimes; but I would try to keep old friends together even in those removals. They would be lonely when they opened their eyes after the winter's sleep, and saw strange flower forms and unknown faces around them.
For flowers have friendships, and antipathies as well. How Canterbury Bells and Foxgloves love to grow side by side ! And Sweet Williams, with Foxgloves, as here shown. And in my sister's gar-den Larkspur always starts up by white Phlox — see a bit of the border on this page. Whatever may influence these docile alliances, it isn't a proper sense of fitness of color; for Tiger Lilies dearly love to grow by crimson-purple Phlox, a most inharmonious association, and you can hardly separate them. If a flower dislikes her neighbor in the garden, she moves quietly away, I don't know where or how. Sometimes she dies, but at any rate she is gone. It is so queer ; I have tried every year to make Feverfew grow in this bed, and it won't do it, though it grows across the path. There is some flower here that the pompous Feverfew doesn't care to associate with. Not the Lark-spur, for they are famous friends — perhaps it is the Sweet William, who is rather a plain fellow. In general flowers are very sociable with each other, but they have some preferences, and these are powerful ones.
It is amusing to read in no less than five recent English "garden-books," by flower-loving souls, the solemn advice that if you wish a beautiful gar-den effect you " must plant the great Oriental Poppy by the side of the White Lupine."
"Thou say'st an undisputed thing
The truth is, you have very little to do with it. That Poppy chooses to keep company with the White Lupine, and to that impulse you owe your fine gar-den effect. The Poppy is the slyest magician of the whole garden. H e comes and goes at will. This year a few blooms, nearly all in one corner; next year a blaze of color banded across the middle of the garden like the broad sash of a court chamberlain. Then a single grand blossom quite alone in the pansy bed, while another pushes up between the tight close leaves of the box edging : — the Poppy is queer.
Some flowers have such a hatred of man they cannot breathe and live in his presence, others have an equal love of human companionship. The white Clover clings here to our pathway as does the English Daisy across seas. And in our garden Ladies' Delights and Ambrosia tell us, without words, of their love for us and longing to be by our side ; just as plainly as a child silently tells us his love and dependence on us by taking our hand as we walk side by side. There is not another gesture of childhood, not an affectionate word which ever touched my heart as did that trustful holding of the hand. One of my children throughout his brief life never walked by my side without clinging closely— I think without conscious intent — with his little hand to mine. I can never forget the affection, the trust of that vanished hand.
I find that my dearest flower loves are the old flowers, — not only old to me because I knew them in childhood, but old in cultivation.
Give me the good old weekday blossoms
Even were they newcomers, we should speedily care for them, they are so lovable, so winning, so endearing. If I had seen to-day for the first time a Fritillaria, a Violet, a Lilac, a Bluebell, or a Rose, I know it would be a case of love at first sight. But with intimacy they have grown dearer still.
The sense of long-continued acquaintance and friendship which we feel for many garden flowers extends to a few blossoms of field and forest. It is felt to an inexplicable degree by all New Englanders for the Trailing Arbutus, our Mayflower; and it is this unformulated sentiment which makes us like to go to the same spot year after year to gather these beloved flowers. I am sensible of this friendship for Buttercups, they seem the same flowers I knew last year ; and I have a distinct sympathy with Owen Meredith's poem : —
" I pluck the flowers I plucked of old
We have little of the intense sentiment, the inspiration which filled flower-lovers of olden times. We admire flowers certainly as beautiful works of nature, as objects of wonder in mechanism and in the profusion of growth, and we are occasionally roused to feelings of gratitude to the Maker and Giver of such beauty ; but it is not precisely the same regard that the old gardeners and " flowerists " had, which is expressed in this quotation from Gerarde of " the gallant grace of violets " : —
"They admonish and stir up a man to that which is comelie and honest ; for flowers through their beautie, varietie of colour and exquisite forme doe bring to a liberall and gentlemanly mind, the remembrance of honestie, comelinesse and all kinds of virtues."
It was a virtue to be comely in those days ; as it is indeed a virtue now ; and to the pious old herbalists it seemed an impossible thing that any creation which was beautiful should not also be good.
All flowers cannot be loved with equal warmth; it is possible to have a wholesome liking for a flower, a wish to see it around you, which would make you plant it in your borders and treat it well, but which would not be at all akin to love. For others you have a placid tolerance; others you esteem — good, virtuous, worthy creatures, but you cannot warm toward them.
Sometimes they have been sung with passion by poets (Swinburne is always glowing over very unresponsive flower souls) and they have been painted with fervor by artists — and still you do not love them. I do not love Tulips, but I welcome them very cordially in my garden. Others have loved them ; the Tulip has had her head turned by attention.
Some flowers we like at first sight, but they do not wear well. This is a hard truth ; and I shall not shame the garden-creatures who have done their best to please by betraying them to the world, save in a single case to furnish an example. In late August the Bergamot blossoms in luxuriant heads of white and purplish pink bloom, similar in tint to the abundant Phlox. Both grow freely in the garden of Sylvester Manor. When the Bergamot has romped in your borders for two or three years, you may wish to exile it to a vegetable garden, near the blackberry vines. Is this because it is an herb instead of a purely decorative flower ? You never thus thrust out Phlox. A friend confesses to me that she exiled even the splendid scarlet Bergamot after she had grown it for three years in her flower-beds ; such subtle influences control our flower-loves.
Beautiful and noble as are the grand contributions of the nineteenth century to us from the garden and fields of Japan and China, we seldom speak of loving them. Thus the Chinese White Wistaria is similar in shape of blossom to the Scotch Laburnum, though a far more elegant, more lavish flower but the Laburnum is the loved one. I used to read longingly of the Laburnum in volumes of English poetry, especially in Hood's verses, beginning : —
" I remember, I remember,
Ella Partridge had a tall Laburnum tree at her front door; it peeped in the second-story windows. It was so cherished, that I doubt whether its blooms were ever gathered. She told us with conscious pride and rectitude that it was a " yellow Wistaria tree which came from China " ; I saw no reason to doubt her words, and as I never chanced to speak to my parents about it, I ever thought of it as a yellow Wistaria tree until I went out into the world and found it was a Scotch Laburnum.
Few garden owners plant now the Snowberry, Symphoricarpus racemosus, once seen in every front yard, and even used for hedges. It wasn't a very satisfactory shrub in its habit ; the oval leaves were not a cheerful green, and were usually pallid with mildew. The flowers were insignificant, but the clusters of berries were as pure as pearls. In country homes, before the days of cheap winter flowers and omnipresent greenhouses, these snowy clusters were cherished to gather in winter to place on coffins and in hands as white and cold as the berries. Its special offence in our garden was partly on account of this funereal association, but chiefly because we were never permitted to gather its berries to string into necklaces. They were rigidly preserved on the stem as a garden decoration in winter ; though they were too closely akin in color to the encircling snowdrifts to be of any value.
In country homes in olden times were found several universal winter posies. On the narrow mantel shelves of farm and village parlors, both in England and America, still is seen a winter posy made of dried stalks of the seed valves of a certain flower; they are shown on the opposite page. Let us see how our old friend, Gerarde, describes this plant : —
" The stalkes are loden with many flowers like the stocke-gilliflower, of a purple colour, which, being fallen, the seede cometh foorthe conteined in a flat thinne cod, with a sharp point or pricke at one end, in fashion of the moone, and somewhat blackish. This cod is composed of three filmes or skins whereof the two outermost are of an overworne ashe colour, and the innermost, or that in the middle whereon the seed doth hang or cleave, is thin and cleere shining, like a piece of white satten newly cut from the peece."
In the latter clause of this striking description is given the reason for the popular name of the flower, Satin-flower or White Satin, for the inner septum is a shining membrane resembling white satin. Another interesting name is Pricksong-flower. All who have seen sheets of music of Elizabethan days, when the notes of music were called pricks, and the whole sheet a pricksong, will readily trace the resemblance to the seeds of this plant.
Gerarde says it was named " Penny-floure, Moneyfloure, Silver-plate, Sattin, and among our women called Honestie." The last name was commonly applied at the close of the eighteenth century. It is thus named in writings of Rev. William Hanbury, 1771, and a Boston seedsman then advertised seeds of Honestie "in small quantities, that all might have some." In 1665, Josselyn found White Satin planted and growing plentifully in New England gardens, where I am sure it formed, in garden and house, a happy reminder of their English homes to the wives of the colonists. Since that time it has spread so freely in some localities, especially in southern Connecticut, that it grows wild by the wayside. It is seldom seen now in well-kept gardens, though it should be, for it is really a lovely flower, showing from white to varied and rich light purples. I was charmed with its fresh beauty this spring in the garden of Mrs. Mabel Osgood Wright ; a photograph of one of her borders containing Honesty is shown opposite page 174.
At Belvoir Castle in England, in the " Duchess's Garden," the Satin-flower can be seen in full variety of tint, and fills an important place. It is care-fully cultivated by seed and division, all inferior plants being promptly destroyed, while the superior blossoms are cherished.
The flower was much used in charms and spells, as was everything connected with the moon. Dray-ton's Clarinax sings of Lunaria : —
" Enchanting lunarie here lies
As a child this Lunaria was a favorite flower, for it afforded to us juvenile money. Indeed, it was generally known among us as Money-flower or Money-seed, or sometimes as Money-in-both-pockets. The seed valves formed our medium of ex-change and trade, passing as silver dollars.
Through the streets of a New England village there strolled, harmless and happy, one who was known in village parlance as a "softy," one of " God's fools," a poor addle-pated, simple-minded creature, witless — but neither homeless nor friend-less ; for children cared for him, and feeble-minded though he was, he managed to earn, by rush-seating chairs and weaving coarse baskets, and gathering berries, scant pennies enough to keep him alive ; and he slept in a deserted barn, in a field full of rocks and Daisies and Blueberry bushes, — a barn which had been built by one but little more gifted with wits than himself. Poor Elmer never was able to understand that the money which he and the children saved so carefully each autumn from the money plants was not equal in value to the great copper cents of the village store ; and when he asked gleefully for a loaf of bread or a quart of molasses, was just as apt to offer the shining seed valves in payment as he was to give the coin of the land; and it must he added that his belief received apparent confirmation in the fact that he usually got the bread whether he gave seeds or cents.
He lost his life through his poor simple notion. In the village he was kindly treated by all, clothed, fed, and warmed ; but one day there came skulking along the edge of the village what were then rare visitors, two tramps, who by ill-chance met poor Elmer as he was gathering chestnuts. And as the children lingered on their way home from school to take toll of Elmer's store of nuts, they heard him boasting gleefully of his wealth, hundreds and hundreds of dollars all safe for winter." The children knew what his dollars were, but the tramps did not. Three days of heavy rain passed by, and Elmer did not appear at the store or any house. Then kindly neighbors went to his barn in the distant field, and found him cruelly beaten, with broken ribs and in a high fever, while scattered around him were hundreds of the seeds of his autumnal store of the money plant; these were all the silver dollars his assailants found. He was carried to the alms-house and died in a few weeks, partly from the beating, partly from exposure, but chiefly, I ever believed, from homesickness in his enforced home. His old house has fallen down, but his well still is open, and around it grows a vast expanse of Lunaria, which has spread and grown from the seeds poor Elmer saved, and every year shoots of the tender lilac blooms mingle so charmingly with the white Daisies that the sterile field is one of the show-places of the village, and people drive from afar to see it.
There grow in profusion in our home garden what I always called the Mullein Pink, the Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria). I never heard any one speak of this plant with special affection or admiration but as a child I loved its crimson flower more than any other flower in the garden. Perhaps I should say I loved the royal color rather than the flower. I gathered tight bunches without foliage into a glowing mass of color unequalled in richness of tint by anything in nature. I have seen only in a stained glass window flooded with high sunlight a crimson approaching that of the Mullein Pink. Gerarde calls the flower the " Gardener's Delight or Gardner's Eie." It was known in French as the Eye of God ; and the Rose of Heaven. We used to rub our cheeks with the woolly leaves to give a beautiful rosy blush, and thereby I once skinned one cheek.
Snapdragons were a beloved flower— companions of my childhood in our home garden, but they have been neglected a bit by nearly every one of late years. Plant a clump of the clear yellow and one of pure white Snapdragons, and see how beautiful they are in the garden, and how fresh they keep when cut. We had such a satisfying bunch of them on the dinner table to-day, in a milk-white glazed Chinese jar ; yellow Snapdragons, with " borrowed leaves" of Virgin's-bower (Adlumia) and a haze of Gypsophila over all.
A flower much admired in gardens during the early years of the nineteenth century was the Plume Poppy (Bocconia). It has a pretty pinkish bloom in general shape somewhat like Meadow Rue (see page 164 and page 167). A friend fancied a light feathery look over certain of her garden borders, and she planted plentifully Plume Poppy and Meadow Rue ; this was in 1895. In 1896 the effect was exquisite ; in 1897 the garden feathered out with far too much fulness ; in 1901 all the combined forces of all the weeds of the garden could not equal these two flowers in utter usurpment and close occupation of every inch of that garden. The Plume Poppy has a strong tap-root which would be a good symbol of the root of the tree Ygdrassyl —the Tree of Life, that never dies. You can go over the borders with scythe and spade and hoe, and even with manicure-scissors, but roots of the Plume Poppy will still hide and send up vigorous growth the succeeding year.
We have grown so familiar with some old doubled blossoms that we think little of their being double. One such, symmetrical of growth, beautiful of foliage, and gratifying of bloom, is the Double Buttercup. It is to me distinctly one of our most old-fashioned flowers in aspect. A hardy great clump of many years' growth is one of the ancient treasures of our garden ; its golden globes are known in England as Bachelor's Buttons, and are believed by many to be the Bachelor's Buttons of Shakespeare's day.
Dahlias afford a striking example of the beauty of single flowers when compared to their doubled descendants. Single Dahlias are fine flowers, the yellow and scarlet ones especially so. I never thought double Dahlias really worth the trouble spent on them in our Northern gardens ; so much staking and tying, and fussing, and usually an autumn storm wrenches them round and breaks the stem or a frost nips them just as they are In bloom. A Dahlia hedge or a walk such as this one at Ravensworth, Virginia, is most stately and satisfying. I like, in moderation, many of the smaller single and double Sunflowers. Under the reign of Patience, the Sunflower had a fleeting day of popularity, and flaunted in garden and parlor. Its place was false. It was never a garden flower in olden times, in the sense of being a flower of ornament or beauty ; its place was in the kitchen garden, where it belongs.
Peas have ever been favorites in English gardens since they were brought to England. We have all seen the print, if not the portrait, of Queen Elizabeth garbed in a white satin robe magnificently embroidered with open pea-pods and butterflies. A " City of London Madam " had a delightful head ornament of open pea-pods filled with peas of pearls this was worn over a hood of gold-embroidered muslin, and with dyed red hair, must have been a most modish affair. Sweet Peas have had a unique history. They have been for a century a -much-loved flower of the people both in England and America, and they were at home in cottage borders and fine gardens.; were placed in vases, and carried in nosegays and posies; were loved of poets Keats wrote an exquisite characterization of them. They had beauty of color, and a universally loved perfume — but. florists have been blind to them till within a few years. A bicentenary exhibition of Sweet Peas was given in Lon-don in July, 1900; now there' is formed a Sweet Pea Society. But no societies and no exhibitions ever will make them a " florist's flower " ; .they are of value only for cutting; their habit of growth renders them useless as a garden decoration.
We all take notions in regard to flowers, just as we do in regard to people. I hear one friend say,
"I love every flower that grows," but I answer with emphasis, "I don't ! " I have ever disliked the Portulaca,— I hate its stems. It is my fate never to escape it. I planted it once to grow under Sweet Alyssum in the little enclosure of earth behind my city home; when I returned in the autumn, every-thing was covered, blanketed, overwhelmed with Portulaca. Since then it comes up even in the grass, and seems to thrive by being trampled upon. The Portulaca was not a flower of colonial days; I am glad to learn our great-grandmothers were not pestered with it ; it was not described in the Botanical Magazine till 1829.
I do not care for the Petunia close at hand on account of its sickish odor. But in the dusky border the flowers shine like white stars (page 18o), and make you almost forgive their poor colors in the daylight. I never liked the Calceolaria. Every child in our town used to have a Calceolaria in her own small gar-den plot, but I never wanted one. I care little for Chrysanthemums ; they fill in the border in autumn, and they look pretty well growing, but I like few of the flowers close at hand. By some curious twist of a brain which, alas ! is apt not to deal as it is expected and ought to, with sensations furnished to it, I have felt this distaste for Chrysanthemums since I attended a Chrysanthemum Show. Of course, I ought to love them far more, and have more eager interest in them — but I do not. Their sister, the China Aster, I care little for. The Germans call Asters "death-flowers." The Empress of Austria at the Swiss hotel where she lodged just before she was murdered, found the rooms decorated with China Asters. She said to her attendant that the flowers were in Austria termed death-flowers — and so they proved. The Aster is among the flowers prohibited in Japan for felicitous occasions, as are the Balsam,
Those who read these pages may note perhaps that I say little of Lilies. I do not care as much for them as most garden lovers do. I like all our wild Lilies, especially the yellow Nod-ding Lily of our fields ; and the Lemon Lily of our gardens is ever a delight; but the stately Lilies which are such general favorites, Madonna Lilies, Japan Lilies, the Gold-banded Lilies, are not especially dear to me. I love climbing vines, whether of delicate leaf or beautiful flower. In a room I place all the decoration that I can on the walls, out of the way, leaving thus space to move around without fear of displacement or injury of fragile things; so in a limited garden space, grass room under our feet, with flowering vines on the surrounding walls are better than many crowded flower borders. A tiny space can quickly be made delightful with climbing plants. The common Morning-glory, called in England the Bell-bind, is frequently advertised by florists of more encouragement than judgment, as suitable to plant freely in order to cover fences and poor sandy patches of ground with speedy and abundant leafage and bloom. There is no doubt that the Morning-glory will do all this and far more than is promised. It will also spread above and below ground from the poor strip of earth to every other corner of garden and farm. This it has done till, in our Eastern states, it is now classed as a wild flower. It will never look wild, however, meet it where you will. It is as domestic and tame as a barnyard fowl, which, wandering in the wildest woodland, could never be mistaken as game. The garden at Claymont, the Virginia home of Mr. Frank R. Stockton, afforded a striking ex-ample of the spreading and strangling properties of the Morning-glory, not under encouragement, but simply under toleration. Mr. Stockton tells me that the entire expanse of his yards and garden, when he first saw them, was a solid mass of Morning-glory blooms. Every stick, every stem, every stalk, every shrub and blade of grass, every vegetable growth, whether dead or alive, had its encircling and overwhelming Morning-glory companion, set full of tiny undersized blossoms of varied tints. It was a beautiful sight at break of day, — a vast expanse of acres jewelled with Morning-glories—but it wasn't the new owner's notion of a flower garden.
In my childhood flower agents used to canvass country towns from house to house. Sometimes -they had a general catalogue, and sold many plants, trees, and shrubs. Oftener they had but a single plant which they were " booming." I suspect that their trade came through the sudden introduction of so many and varied flowers and shrubs from China and Japan. I am told that the first Chinese Wistarias and a certain Fringe tree were sold in this manner ; and I know the white Hydrangea was, for I recall it, though I do not know that this was its first sale. I remember too that suddenly half the houses in town, on piazza or trellis, had the rich purple blooms of the Clematis Jackmanni; for a very persuasive agent had gone through the town the previous year. Of course people of means bought then, as now, at nurseries ; but at many humble homes, whose owners would never have thought of buying from a greenhouse, he sold his plants. It gave an agreeable rivalry, when all started plants together, to see whose flourished best and had the amplest bloom. Thoreau recalled the pleasant emulation of many owners in Concord of a certain Rhododendron, sold thus sweepingly by an agent. The purple Clematis displaced an old climbing favorite, the Trumpet Honeysuckle, once seen by every door. It was so beloved of humming-birds and so beautiful, I wonder we could ever destroy it. Its downfall was hastened by its being infested by a myriad of tiny green aphides, which proceeded from it to our Roses. I recall well these little plant insects, for I was very fond of picking the tubes of the Honeysuckle for the drop of pure honey within, and I had to abandon reluctantly the sweet morsels.
We have in our garden, and it is shown on the succeeding page, a vine which we carefully cherished in seedlings from year to year, and took much pride in. It came to us with the Ambrosia from the Walpole garden. It was not common in gardens in our neighborhood, and I always looked upon it as something very choice, and even rare, as it certainly was something very dainty and pretty. We called it Virgin's-bower. When I went out into the world I found that it was not rare, that it grew wild from Connecticut to the far West; that it was Climbing Fumitory, or Mountain Fringe, Adlumia. When Mrs. Margaret Deland asked if we had Alleghany Vine in our garden, I told her I had never seen it, when all the while it was our own dear Virgin's-bower. It doesn't seem hardy enough to be a wild thing ; how could it make its way against the fierce vines and thorns of the forest when it hasn't a bit of woodiness in its stems and its leaves and flowers are so tender ! I cannot think any gar-den perfect without it, no matter what else is there, for its delicate green Rue-like leaves lie so gracefully on stone or brick walls, or on fences, and it trails its slender tendrils so lightly over dull shrubs that are out of flower, beautifying them afresh with an alien bloom of delicate little pinkish blossoms like tiny Bleeding-hearts.
Patient folk — as were certainly those of the old-time gardens, tried to keep the Rose Acacia as a favorite. It was hardy enough, but so hopelessly brittle in wood that it was constantly broken by the wind and snow of our Northern winters, even though it was sheltered under some stronger shrub. At the end of a lovely Salem garden, I beheld this June a long row of Rose Acacias in full bloom. I am glad I possess in my memory the exquisite harmony of their shimmering green foliage and rosy flower clusters. Miss Jekyll, ever resourceful, trains the Rose Acacia on a wall ; and fastens it down by planting sturdy Crimson Ramblers by its side her skilful example may well be followed in America and thus restore to our gardens this beautiful flower.
One flower, termed old-fashioned by nearly every one, is really a recent settler of our gardens. A popular historical novel of American life at the time of the Revolution makes the hero and heroine play a very pretty love scene over a spray of the Bleeding-heart, the Dielytra, or Dicentra. Unfortunately for the truth of the novelist's picture, the Dielytra was not introduced to the gardens of English-speaking folk till 1846, when the London Horticultural Society received a single plant from the north of China.
How quickly it became cheap and abundant; soon it bloomed in every cottage garden ; how quickly it became beloved! The graceful racemes of pendant rosy flowers were eagerly welcomed by children ; they have some inexplicable, witching charm ; even young children in arms will stretch out their little hands and attempt to grasp the Dielytra, when showier blossoms are passed unheeded. Many tiny playthings can be formed of the blossoms : only deft fingers can shape the delicate lyre in the " frame." One of its folk names is " Lyre flower"; the two wings can be bent back to form a gondola.
We speak of modern flowers, meaning those which have recently found their way to our gardens. Some of these clash with the older occupants, but one has promptly been given an honored place, and appears so allied to the older flowers in form and spirit that it seems to belong by their side — the Anemone japonica. Its purity and beauty make it one of the delights of the autumn garden ; our grandmothers would have rejoiced in it, and have divided the plants with each other till all had a row of it in the garden borders. In its red form it was first pictured in the Botanical Magazine, in 1847, but it has been commonly seen in our gardens for only twenty or thirty years.
These two flowers, the Dielytra spectabilis and Anemone Japonica, are among the valuable gifts which our gardens received through the visits to China of that adventurous collector, Robert Fortune. He went there first in 1842, and for some years constantly sent home fresh treasures. Among the best-known garden flowers of his introducing are the two named above, and Kerria Japonica, Forsythia viridissima, Weigela rosea, Gardenia Fortuniŕna, Daphne Fortunei, Berheris Fortunei, Jasminum nudiflorum, and many varieties of Prunus, Viburnum, Spirća, Azalea, and Chrysanthemum. The fine yellow Rose known as Fortune's Yellow was acquired by him during a venturesome trip which he took, disguised as a Chinaman. The white Chinese Wistaria is regarded as the most important of his collections. It is deemed by some flower-lovers the most exquisite flower in the entire world. The Chinese variety is distinguished by the length of its racemes, sometimes three feet long. The lower part of a vine of unusual luxuriance and beauty is shown above This special vine flowers in full richness of bloom every alternate year, and this photograph was taken during its "poor year" ; for in its finest inflorescence its photograph would show simply a mass of indistinguishable whiteness. Mr. Howell has named it The Fountain, and above the pouring of white blossoms shown in this picture is an upper cascade of bloom. This Wistaria is not growing in an over-favorable locality, for winter winds are bleak on the southern shores of Long Island ; but I know no rival of its beauty in far warmer and more sheltered sites.
Many of the Deutzias and Spirćas which beautify our spring gardens were introduced from Japan before Fortune's day by Thunberg, the great exploiter of Japanese shrubs, who died in 1828. The Spirća Van Houtteii (facing page 190) is perhaps the most beautiful of all. Dean Hole names the Spirćas, Deutzias, Weigelas, and Forsythias as having been brought into his ken in English gardens within his own lifetime, that is within fourscore years.
In New England gardens the Forsythia is called Sunshine Bush' — and never was folk name better bestowed, or rather evolved. For in the eager longing for spring which comes in the bitterness of March, when we cry out with the poet, " O God, for one clear day, a Snowdrop and sweet air," in our welcome to fresh life, whether shown in starting leaf or frail blossom, the Forsythia shines out a grateful delight to the eyes and heart, concentrating for a week all the golden radiance of sunlight, which later will be shared by sister shrubs and flowers. Forsythia suspensa, falling in long sweeps of yellow bells, is in some favorable places a cascade of liquid light. No shrub in our gardens is more frequently ruined by gardeners than these Forsythias. It takes an artist to prune the Forsythia suspensa. You can steal the sunshine for your homes ere winter is gone by breaking long sprays of the Sunshine Bush and placing them in tall deep jars of water. Split up the ends of the 'stems that they may absorb plentiful water, and the golden plumes will soon open to fullest glory within doors.
There is another yellow flowered shrub, the Cor-chorus, which seems as old as the Lilac, for it is ever found in old gardens ; but it proves to be a Japanese shrub which we have had only a hundred years. The little, deep yellow, globular blossoms appear in early spring and sparsely throughout the whole summer. The plant isn't very adorning in its usual ragged growth, but it was universally planted.
It may be seen from the shrubs of popular growth which I have named that the present glory of our shrubberies is from the Japanese and Chinese shrubs, which came to us in the nineteenth century through Thunberg, Fortune, and other bold collectors. We had no shrub-sellers of importance in the eighteenth century; the garden lover turned wholly to the seedsman and bulb-grower for garden sup-plies, just as we do to-day to fill our old-fashioned gardens. The new shrubs and plants from China and Japan did not clash with the old garden flowers, they seemed like kinsfolk who had long been separated and rejoiced in being reunited ; they were indeed fellow-countrymen. We owed scores of our older flowers to the Orient, among them such important ones as the Lilac, Rose, Lily, Tulip, Crown Imperial.
We can fancy how delighted all these Oriental shrubs and flowers were to meet after so many years of separation. What pleasant greetings all the cousins must have given each other ; I am sure the Wistaria was glad to see the Lilac, and the Fortune's Yellow Rose was duly respectful to his old cousin, the thorny yellow Scotch Rose. And I seem to hear a bit of scandal passing from plant to plant! Listen ! it is the Bleeding-heart gossiping with the Japanese Anemone : " Well ! I never thought that Lilac girl would grow to be such a beauty. So much color ! Do you suppose it can be natural ? Mrs. Tulip hinted to me yesterday that the girl used fertilizers, and it certainly looks so. But she can't say much herself— I never saw such a change in any creatures as in those Tulips. You remember how commonplace their clothes were ? Now such extravagance ! Scores of gowns, and all made abroad, and at her age ! Here are you and I, my dear, both young, and we really ought to have more clothes. I haven't a thing but this pink gown to put on. It's lucky you had a white gown, for no one liked your pink one. Here comes Mrs. Rose ! How those Rose children have grown ! I never should have known them."