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THIS volume is but a collection of Notes, which, at
the request of the editor, I wrote, month by month,
in 1874, for the columns of the Gardeners' Chronicle.

They pretend to little technical knowledge, and
are, I fear, of but little horticultural value. They
contain only some slight record of a year's work in a
garden, and of those associations which a garden is
so certain to call up.

As, however, I found that this monthly record gave
pleasure to readers to whom both the garden and its
owner were quite unknown, I printed off some
fifty copies to give to those whom I have the happi-
ness to number among my friends, and for whom a
garden has the same interest that it has for me.

Four years have passed since then, and I am still
asked for copies which I cannot give.



I have at last, rather reluctantly, for there seems to
me something private and personal about the whole
affair, resolved to reprint these notes, and see if this little
book can win for itself new friends on its own account.

One difficulty, I feel, is that I am describing what
happened five years ago. But this I cannot help.
To touch or alter would be to spoil the truthfulness
of all. The notes must stand absolutely as they
were written. But after all, I believe, the difficulty
is only an apparent one. The seasons, indeed, may
vary a spring may be later, a summer may be
warmer, an autumn may be more fruitful, but the
seasons themselves remain. The same flowers come
up each year, the same associations link themselves
on to the returning flowers, and the verses of the
great poets are unchanged. The details of a garden
will alter, but its general effect and aspect are the

Nevertheless, something has been learnt, and some-
thing remembered, since these notes were written, and
this, also communicated from time to time to the
Gardener* Chronicle, I have condensed into a supple-
mentary chapter.


If, as I have heard from a friendly critic, there is
too much couleur de rose in my descriptions, I am
tempted to retort that this is a colour not perhaps
altogether inappropriate to my subject ; but, be this
as it may, I have described nothing but as it really
appeared to me, and I have only wished that others
should receive the same impressions as myself.

For my very open egotism I make no apology ; it
was a necessity of the plan on which I wrote.

I have added notes on the Roman Viola, and on
the Sunflower of the Classics, and have given some
extracts respecting the Solanum and the fly-catching
Azalea. I have also reprinted, by the editor's kind
permission, part of an article of mine that appeared
in the Athenaum on "Flowers and the Poets."


Introductory The House The Latest Flowers The Arbu-
tus Chrysanthemums Fallen Leaves Planting The
Apple Room The Log-House Christmas i


Gardening Blunders The Walled Garden and the Fruit
Walls Spring Gardening Christmas Roses Snowdrops
Pot Plants 10


Frost The Vineries and Vines Early Forcing Orange

Trees Spring Work Aconites The Crocus 18

The Rookery Daffodils Peach Blossoms Spring Flowers

Primroses Violets The Shrubs of Spring 26


The Herbaceous Beds Pulmonaria Wallflowers Polyan-
thus Starch Hyacinths Sweet Brier Primula Japonica
Early Annuals and Bulbs The Old Yellow China
Rose .. 34


Ants and Aphis Fruit Trees The Grass Walk "Lilac-
tide " Narcissus Snowflakes Columbines Kalmias

Hawthorn Bushes . ... 42





The Summer Garden The Buddleia Ghent Azaleas The

Mixed Borders Roses The Green Rose 51


The Fruit Crop Hautbois Strawberries Lilium Auratum

Sweet Williams Carnations The Bedding-out 59


Weeds Tomatos Tritomas Night-scented Flowers Tube-
roses Magnolia Asters Indian Corn 67

SL Luke's Summer The Orchard The Barberry White :
Haricot Beans Transplanting The Rockery 75

The Wood and the Withered Leaves Statues Sundials

The Snow Plans for the Spring Conclusion 82


Flowering Shrubs Yuccas Ranunculus Parisies Canna
Indica Summer Flowers Bluets Fruit-blossoms and
Bees Strawberry Leaves Garden Sounds Mowing
Birds The Swallow Pleasures of a Garden ... ... 89


I. On the Viola of the Romans 103

II. On the Azalea Viscosa 106

III. On the Solanum Tribe 108

IV. On the Sunflower of the Classics in

V. On Flowers and the Poets 114





Introductory The House The Latest Flowers The Arbutus
Chrysanthemums Fallen Leaves Planting The Apple Room
The Log-HouseChristmas.

DECEMBER 3. These notes are written for those
who love gardens as I do, but not for those who have
a professional knowledge of the subject ; and they
are written in the hope that it may not be quite
impossible to convey to others some little of the
delight, which grows (more certainly than any bud
or flower) from the possession and management of
a garden. I cannot, of course, by any words of
mine, give the hot glow of colour from a bed of
scarlet Ranunculus with the sun full upon it, or
bring out the delicious scent of those double
Tuberoses, which did so well with me this autumn;


but I can at least speak of my plans and projects,
tell what I am doing, and how each month I
succeed or fail, and thus share with others the
uncertainty, the risks and chances, which are
in reality the great charm of gardening. And
then, again, gardening joins itself/ in a thousand
ways, with a thousand associations, to books and
literature, and here, too, I shall have much to say.

Lancashire is not the best possible place for a
garden, and to be within five miles of a large
town is certainly no advantage. We get smoke
on one side, and salt breezes on another, and,
worst of all, there comes down upon us every now
and then a blast, laden with heavy chemical odours,
which is more deadly than either smoke or salt.
Still we are tolerably open, and in the country.
As I sit writing at my library window, I see, beyond
the lawn, field after field, until at last the eye rests
on the spire of a church three miles away.

A long red-gabled house, with stone facings,
and various creepers trained round it, a small
wood (in which there is a rookery) screening us
from a country road, and from the west, lawns
with some large trees and several groups of ever-
greens, and the walled garden, the outer garden,


and the orchard ; it is to these that I invite you.
Exclusive of meadow land there are only some
four acres, but four acres are enough for many
gardening purposes, and for very great enjoyment.

These are certainly what the American poet
Bryant calls "the melancholy days, the saddest
in the year." The late autumn flowers are over;
the early spring ones are still buried under the
soil. I could only find this morning a single
blighted monthly Rose, a Wallflower or two, an
uneasy-looking Polyanthus, and some yellow Jas-
mine against the house, and that was all. Two
days of early frost had killed the rest. Oddly
enough, however, a small purple flower caught my
eye on the mixed border ; it was a Virginian
Stock, but what it was doing at this unwonted
season who can say ? Then, of course, the Arbutus
is still in bloom, as it has been for the last two
months, and very beautiful it is. There is a large
bush of it just as you enter the walled garden,
and, though the pink clusters of blossom are now
past their best, they are more welcome than ever
in the present dearth of flowers. Can any one
tell me why my Arbutus does not fruit ? It has
only borne one single berry in the last four years ;
and yet the Arbutus fruits abundantly in other

B 2


places in Lancashire, and at Lytham, close to the
sea, I saw clusters of berries only the other day.
Sometimes I fancy there is a better chance of the
fruit setting if the pollen is from another tree,
and I have lately planted a second Arbutus for
the experiment. I am very fond of the Arbutus ;
it carries me back to the days of Horace, for we
remember how his goats, wandering along the
lower slopes of Lucretilis, would browse upon the
thickets of Arbutus that fringed its side.

Lastly, the Chrysanthemums are in flower,
though not in the inner garden. Some I have
tended and trained, and they are now looking
handsome -enough in the porch and vestibule of
the house. Some I have planted, and allowed
to grow as they like, in front of the shrubbery
borders ; these have failed very generally with me
this year they look brown and withered, and the
blooms are small, and the stems long and ragged,
while many have entirely disappeared. The best
of them all is Bob, with his bright, red, merry
face, only surpassed by a trained Julia Lagraviere
in the porch. Another favourite Chrysanthemum
of mine is the Fleur de Marie, with its large white
discs, all quilled inside and feathered round the
edge. Fastened up against a wall, I have seen


it, year after year, a mass of splendid snowy
blossom. The Chrysanthemum has three merits
above almost every flower. It comes in the
shortest and darkest days ; it blooms abundantly
in the smoke of the largest cities ; it lasts longer
than any flower when cut and put into water. If
flowers have their virtues, the virtue of the Chrys-
anthemum is its unselfish kindliness.

In the outer garden we have been busy
with the fallen leaves, brushing them away from
the walks and lawn, leaving them to rot in the
wood, digging them into the shrubbery borders.
This work is finished now, and we have swept up
a great stack for future use at the end of two
years. The Beech and the Oak leaves we (in
opposition to some authorities) hold to be the
most valuable, but of course we cannot keep them
distinct from the rest. These fallen leaves of
which we make our loam for potting purposes
what endless moralities they have occasioned !
The oldest and the youngest poets speak of them.
It is Homer, who compares the generations of men
to the generations of the leaves, as they come and
go, flourish and decay, one succeeding the other,
unresting and unceasingly. It is Swinburne, who
says of his poems


" Let the wind take the green and the grey leaf,

Cast forth without fruit upon air ;
Take Rose-leaf, and Vine-leaf, and Bay-leaf
Blown loose from the hair."

During this open weather we have been getting
on with our planting. Those beds of Rhododen-
drons just under the drawing-room windows have
become too thick. They are all good sorts John
Waterer, Lady Emily Cathcart, and the rest and
must have sufficient room. "We move a number
of them to the other side of the house, opposite
the front door, where till now there has been a
bed of the common Rhododendrons, and this in
turn we plant as a fresh bed elsewhere.

There will be now some space to spare in the
hybrid beds, and I shall plant in them a number
of roots of the Lilium candidum the dear old
white Lily of cottage gardens. They will come
up each year from between the Rhododendrons,
and will send their sweet subtle odour through
the open windows into the house. And as I write
I am told of a recipe showing how, in the Wort-
lore of old, the firm white petals were esteemed
of use. You must gather them while still fresh,
place them unbroken in a wide-necked bottle,


packed closely "and firmly together, and then pour
in what brandy there is room for. In case of cut
or bruise no remedy, I am told, is more efficacious,
and certainly rone more simple.

December 23. The weather is still mild and
open. We have had three days' sharp frost, but
it soon passed, and, while it lasted, it spared even
the Chrysanthemums. " Bob " looks better than
ever. During the frost was the time to look over
the Apple-room, the Mushroom-bed, and the Log-

The Pears we are now using are the Winter
Nelis, which I believe is known also as the Bonne
de Malines. It is a capital Pear at this season
of the year, and in these parts, and trained on my
south-west walls, bears well, though the trees are
young. I only planted them some four years ago,
and, as all the world knows,

"You plant Pears
For your heirs."

The Mushrooms are late this year; the spawn
appeared less good than usual, and I expected a
total failure, but, after all, there is promise of a dish
for Christmas Day. I do not care to grow Mush-
rooms when the green vegetables are in full glory,
but now they are very welcome.


As for the Log-house, it is full. We have cut
down several trees, and huge Yule logs lie in
heaps, ready for the hall-fire. We shall want
them before the winter is over. If Horace had
to say to Thaliarchus in Italy (this is Lord Den-
man's version)

" Dissolve the cold, while on the dogs
With lavish hand you fling the logs,"

surely in these northern latitudes, and in this dearth
of coal, the advice is doubly seasonable. And
then a log fire is so charming. It does more than
warm and blaze it glows and sparkles. But Mr.
Warner, the American, has just given us in his
Backlog Studies long pages about wood-fires, and
I need only refer to that very pleasant little book.
One quotation, however, I will give :

" We burn in it Hickory wood, cut long. We like the smell of
this aromatic forest timber and its clear flame. The Birch is also a
sweet wood for the hearth, with a sort of spiritual flame, and an
even temper no snappishness. Some prefer the Elm, which holds
fire so well ; and I have a neighbour who uses nothing but Apple-
tree wood a solid, family sort of wood, fragrant also, and full of
delightful associations. But few people can afford to burn up their
fruit trees."

But besides the dead wood, we have just cut our
fresh Christmas boughs. Up against an outhouse
I have an immense Ivy, almost as large as one you
see growing up some old castle : it spreads along


the wall, covering it all over on both sides ; then it
climbs up a second wall at right angles to the first,
and throws its trailing branches down to the very
ground : and now they are one mass of blossom.

It is from this Ivy that we gather our best
Christmas greenery ; but there are also cuttings
from the Box, Yew, and Holly ; and one varie-
gated Holly has been beautiful, for its mottled
leaves have in some sprays become of a perfectly
clear and creamy white the colour of fine old ivory.
Mistletoe does not grow with us, and we have to
buy it in the market of our town. By the way,
how strangely the idea of an English Mistletoe
bough now associates itself with that very uncom-
fortable Italian story of the bride and the oaken
chest. How curious, too, that, in this country at
least, the memory of poor Ginevra is due not to
Rogers's poem, but to Haynes Bayly's ballad.

To-morrow will be Christmas Eve, and to-
morrow (so the legend says), in the vale of Avalon,
at the old abbey, where King Arthur was buried
and St. Dunstan lived " outbuds the Glastonbury
Thorn " the sacred Thorn, which sprang from the
staff St. Joseph planted there. Unhappily no such
Thorns grow in my Lancashire garden.



Gardening Blunders The Walled Garden and the Fruit Walls-
Spring Gardening Christmas Roses Snowdrops Pot Plants.

January 5. What wonderful notions some
people have about gardens ! In a clever novel
I have just been reading, there occurs this de-
scription : " The gardens at Wrexmore Hall were
in a blaze of beauty, with Geraniums and Chry-
santhemums of every hue." In the published
letters of Mr. Dallas, who was formerly United
States' Minister here, there is something still more
marvellous. He had been staying with Lord
Palmerston at Broadlands in the end of Sep-
tember, and he speaks of "the glowing beds of
Roses, Geraniums, Rhododendrons, Heliotropes,
Pinks, Chrysanthemums." I shall have to make
a pilgrimage to Broadlands. Meanwhile, why
should we not more often bed out Chrysanthe-
mums in masses, as in the Temple Gardens ? A
" winter garden " is generally nothing more than


a garden of small evergreens, which, of course, is
an improvement on bare soil, but which is in itself
not singularly interesting.

Since last I wrote, we have had storms of wind
and rain, and some little snow and frost, but the
weather has, on the whole, been very genial for
the time of year. I have finished my planting,
and am now busy re-sodding the grass terrace
which runs along the south and east of the house ;
the grass had become full of weeds, and in places
was bare and brown. But my most important
work has been within the walled garden. This
garden is entered by a door in the south-east wall,
and two walls, facing south-west and north-east,
run at right angles to it. A thick hedge, guarded
by wire netting to keep out the rabbits, is at the
further or north-west side, and divides us from the
home-croft. Along the south-east wall we have
two vineries, and between them a small range of
frames and hotbeds. Against the sheltered wall
between the vineries we have a Magnolia grandi-
flora, which flowered with me last year ; a Banksian
Rose, which has done no good as yet ; and a
General Jacqueminot, which is always beautiful.
A Camellia (Woodsii), which flowered abundantly
last spring, I have moved elsewhere, and have


planted a Marechal Niel in its place. Beyond the
vineries on both sides are my best Peaches and
Nectarines. On the south-west wall are Peaches
and Nectarines, Apricots, Plums and Pears, and
on the north-east Cherries and Currants. In front
of the Vine border is a broad gravel walk, which
reaches along the whole breadth of the garden,
and on the other side of it are the flower-beds.
There are about forty of them in all, of different
shapes and sizes, and divided from each other by
little winding walks of red Jersey gravel. As you
come upon them all at once, but cannot see the
whole at a glance, I have no temptation to sacrifice
everything to monotonous regularity and a mere
effect of colour. I take bed by bed, and make
each as beautiful as I can, so that I have a constant
variety, and so that at no season of the year am I
entirely bare of flowers. Box hedges three feet
high and some two and a half feet thick, and a
screen of Rhododendrons, separate the flower
garden from the kitchen garden, which is 'beyond ;
and right through both flower garden and kitchen
garden, from the front of the Vine border to the
far hedge by the croft, we have just been extend-
ing a grass walk, and planting, along the part that
skirts the kitchen garden, Pears, Plums, and (for


sake of a very uncertain experiment) a Walnut
and a Medlar.

My spring gardening is on no great scale. A
bed of mixed Hyacinths, another of single Van
Thol Tulips, and another of Golden Prince Tulips,
two beds of Wallflowers, one of red Daisies edged
with white, and one of Polyanthus, are all I have
at present planted. There will be more by and by.
Meanwhile the spring flowers I really care about
are those that come up every year on the mixed
borders, the outside borders of the flower garden.
They are old friends that never fail us ; they ask
only to be left alone, and are the most welcome
" harbingers of spring," bringing with them the
pleasant memories of former years, and the fresh
promise of the year that is to come.

I never saw such Christmas Roses as I have just
now. Clustering beneath their dark serrated leaves
rise masses of bloom, bud and blossom, the bud
often tinged with a faint pink colour, the blossom
a snowy white guarding a centre of yellow stamens.
I have counted from thirty to forty blooms upon
a single root, and I sometimes think the Eucharis
itself is not a finer flower. The Christmas Rose,
the Helleborus niger, has been celebrated by Pliny,
by Spenser, and by Cowley ; but I confess my own


favourite association with it is of a later date. I
never see it without recalling the description poor
Anne Bronte gives in her strange wild story of The
Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Just at the end, when
Helen, after her sad unhappy life, is free at last,
and wishes to tell Gilbert that what remains of her
life may now be his, she turns to " pluck that beau-
tiful half-blown Christmas Rose that grew upon
the little shrub without, just peeping from the
snow that had hitherto, no doubt, defended it from
the frost, and was now melting away in the sun."
And then, "having gently dashed the glittering
powder from its leaves," she says, " This Rose is not
so fragrant as a summer flower, but it has stood
through hardships none of them could bear : the
cold rain of winter has sufficed to nourish it, and
its faint sun to warm it ; the bleak winds have not
blanched it, or broken its stem, and the keen frost
has not blighted it. Look, Gilbert, it is still fresh
and blooming as a flower can be, with the cold
snow even now on its petals. Will you have it ? "
Nowhere in the whole of the Bronte novels (so far
as I remember) is a flower described as this one is.
It is suggestive enough of dark and drowsy
winter, that the two flowers which most enliven it
should bear the deadly names of black Hellebore and


winter Aconite (though, indeed, the Eranthis is itself
allied rather to the Hellebores than to the Aconites) ;
as yet, however, my Aconites are still below the sod.

January 20. It is St. Agnes's Eve, and never
was there a St. Agnes's Eve so unlike that one
which witnessed the happy adventure of young


"St. Agnes Eve; ah ! bitter cold it was ;

The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold ;
The hare limped trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold."

Now the weather is soft and almost warm.

I always seem to connect the idea of a Snow-
drop with St. Agnes ; and Tennyson speaks of
" the first Snowdrop of the year " lying upon her
bosom. This year our first Snowdrop appeared on
the 1 8th, and now each day brings out fresh tufts
on the herbaceous borders, where the sun strikes
most warmly. Another week will pass, and, under
the Lime trees which shade the orchard, I shall
find other tufts of the double variety, planted in
bygone years I know not by whom, and now spring-
ing up half wild and quite uncared for. And
these Snowdrops gave me a hint a year or two
ago. I found that my gardener was in the habit


of throwing away his old bulbs Hyacinths and
Tulips which had served their turn and lived
their season. There was, of course, no good in
keeping them for garden purposes ; but this throw-
ing them away seemed sadly wasteful. We now,
therefore, plant them in the orchard grass, and
each year they come up half wild like the Snow-
drops, and each year they will be more numerous
and more effective. But the best way of growing
Snowdrops is, I believe, on a lawn itself. I have
planted several hundreds of them in groups and
patches, in a corner, where I can see them from
the library window. The green spears are now
piercing the grass, and in a few days there will be
a broken sheet of snowy white, which will last for
at least a fortnight, and which, from a distance,
will seem like the lingering relic of some snowdrift
still unmelted by the sun. 1 By the way, was it
not Mrs. Barbauld who spoke of the Snowdrop
as " an icicle changed into a flower" ? The conceit
is not a particularly happy one, for the soft white
petals have nothing in common with the hard
sparkle of the icicle.

1 As matter of fact, the Snowdrops were less abundant this year
than they usually are. Has it ever been noticed, that the colour of
the winter flowers, as that of the Arctic animals, is almost always
white ?


We have not been fortunate this winter with
the pot-plants which we require for the house.
The Primulas have been singularly shabby. We
had got some white sand from an excavation in
the road near us, and it seems to have checked the
growth of several of our plants. The Roman
Hyacinths, too, have done less well than usual
with us. There was a gummy look about many

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