Table of Contents
=MANUAL OF GARDENING A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO THE MAKING OF HOME GROUNDS AND THE GROWING OF FLOWERS, FRUITS, AND VEGETABLES FOR HOME USE BY L. H. BAILEY
It has been my desire to reconstruct the two books, "Garden-Making" and "Practical Garden-Book"; but inasmuch as these books have found a constituency in their present form, it has seemed best to let them stand as they are and to continue their publication as long as the demand maintains itself, and to prepare a new work on gardening. This new work I now offer as "A Manual of Gardening." It is a combination and revision of the main parts of the other two books, together with much new material and the results of the experience of ten added years.
A book of this kind cannot be drawn wholly from one's own practice, unless it is designed to have a very restricted and local application. Many of the best suggestions in such a book will have come from correspondents, questioners, and those who enjoy talking about gardens; and my situation has been such that these communications have come to me freely. I have always tried, however, to test all such suggestions by experience and to make them my own before offering them to my reader. I must express my special obligation to those persons who collaborated in the preparation of the other two books, and whose contributions have been freely used in this one: to C.E. Hunn, a gardener of long experience; Professor Ernest Walker, reared as a commercial florist; Professor L.R. Taft and Professor F.A. Waugh, well known for their studies and writings in horticultural subjects.
In making this book, I have had constantly in mind the home-maker himself or herself rather than the professional gardener. It is of the greatest importance that we attach many persons to the land; and I am convinced that an interest in gardening will naturally take the place of many desires that are much more difficult to gratify, and that lie beyond the reach of the average man or woman.
It has been my good fortune to have seen amateur and commercial gardening in all parts of the United States, and I have tried to express something of this generality in the book; yet my experience, as well as that of my original collaborators, is of the northeastern states, and the book is therefore necessarily written from this region as a base. One gardening book cannot be made to apply in its practice in all parts of the United States and Canada unless its instructions are so general as to be practically useless; but the principles and points of view may have wider application. While I have tried to give only the soundest and most tested advice, I cannot hope to have escaped errors and shortcomings, and I shall be grateful to my reader if he will advise me of mistakes or faults that he may discover. I shall expect to use such information in the making of subsequent editions.
Of course an author cannot hold himself responsible for failures that his reader may suffer. The statements in a book of this kind are in the nature of advice, and it may or it may not apply in particular conditions, and the success or failure is the result mostly of the judgment and carefulness of the operator. I hope that no reader of a gardening book will ever conceive the idea that reading a book and following it literally will make him a gardener. He must always assume his own risks, and this will be the first step in his personal progress.
I should explain that the botanical nomenclature of this book is that of the "Cyclopedia of American Horticulture," unless otherwise stated. The exceptions are the "trade names," or those used by nurserymen and seedsmen in the sale of their stock.
I should further explain the reason for omitting ligatures and using such words as peony, spirea, dracena, cobea. As technical Latin formularies, the compounds must of course be retained, as in _Ponia officinali,_ _Spira Thunbergi,_ _Dracna fragrans,_ _Coboea scandens;_ but as Anglicized words of common speech it is time to follow the custom of general literature, in which the combinations and oe have disappeared. This simplification was begun in the "Cyclopedia of American Horticulture" and has been continued in other writings.
L. H. BAILEY.
ITHACA, NEW YORK, January 20, 1910.
LIST OF PLATES
I. The open center.
II. The plan of the place.
III. Open-center treatment in a semi-tropical country.
IV. Subtropical bedding against a building. Caladiums, cannas, abutilons, permanent rhododendrons, and other large stuff, with tuberous begonias and balsams between.
V. A subtropical bed. Center of cannas, with border of _Pennisetum longistylum_ (a grass) started in late February or early March.
VI. A tree that gives character to a place.
VII. Bedding with palms. If a bricked-up pit is made about the porch, pot palms may be plunged in it in spring and tub conifers in winter; and fall bulbs in tin cans (so that the receptacles will not split with frost) may be plunged among the evergreens.
VIII. A well-planted entrance. Common trees and bushes, with Boston ivy. on the post, and _Berberis Thunbergii_ in front.
IX. A rocky bank covered with permanent informal planting.
X. A shallow lawn pond, containing water-lilies, variegated sweet flag, iris, and subtropical bedding at the rear; fountain covered with parrot's feather (_Myriophyllum proserpinacoides_).
XI. A back yard with summer house, and gardens beyond.
XII. A back yard with heavy flower-garden planting.
XIII. The pageant of summer. Gardens of C.W. Dowdeswell, England, from a painting by Miss Parsons.
XIV. Virginia creeper screen, on an old fence, with wall-flowers and hollyhocks in front.
XV. Scuppernong grape, the arbor vine of the South. This plate shows the noted scuppernongs on Roanoke Island, of which the origin is unknown, but which were of great size more than one hundred years ago.
XVI. A flower-garden of China asters, with border of one of the dusty millers (_Centaurea_).
XVII. The peony. One of the most steadfast of garden flowers.
XVIII. Cornflower or bachelor's button. _Centaurea Cyanus._
XIX. Pyracantha in fruit. One of the best ornamental-fruited plants for the middle and milder latitudes.
XX. A simple but effective window-box, containing geraniums, petunias, verbenas, heliotrope, and vines.
XXI. The king of fruits. Newtown as grown in the Pacific country.
XXII. Wall-training of a pear tree.
XXIII. Cherry currant.
XXIV. Golden Bantam sweet corn.
XXV. The garden radish, grown in fall, of the usual spring sorts.
=THE POINT OF VIEW
Wherever there is soil, plants grow and produce their kind, and all plants are interesting; when a person makes a choice as to what plants he shall grow in any given place, he becomes a gardener or a farmer; and if the conditions are such that he cannot make a choice, he may adopt the plants that grow there by nature, and by making the most of them may still be a gardener or a farmer in some degree.
Every family, therefore, may have a garden. If there is not a foot of land, there are porches or windows. Wherever there is sunlight, plants may be made to grow; and one plant in a tin-can may be a more helpful and inspiring garden to some mind than a whole acre of lawn and flowers may be to another.
The satisfaction of a garden does not depend on the area, nor, happily, on the cost or rarity of the plants. It depends on the temper of the person. One must first seek to love plants and nature, and then to cultivate the happy peace of mind that is satisfied with little.
In the vast majority of cases a person will be happier if he has no rigid and arbitrary notions, for gardens are moodish, particularly with the novice. If plants grow and thrive, he should be happy; and if the plants that thrive chance not to be the ones that he planted, they are plants nevertheless, and nature is satisfied with them.
We are wont to covet the things that we cannot have; but we are happier when we love the things that grow because they must. A patch of lusty pigweeds, growing and crowding in luxuriant abandon, may be a better and more worthy object of affection than a bed of coleuses in which every spark of life and spirit and individuality has been sheared out and suppressed. The man who worries morning and night about the dandelions in the lawn will find great relief in loving the dandelions. Each blossom is worth more than a gold coin, as it shines in the exuberant sunlight of the growing spring, and attracts the insects to its bosom. Little children like the dandelions: why may not we? Love the things nearest at hand; and love intensely. If I were to write a motto over the gate of a garden, I should choose the remark that Socrates is said to have made as he saw the luxuries in the market, "How much there is in the world that I do not want!"
I verily believe that this paragraph I have just written is worth more than all the advice with which I intend to cram the succeeding pages, notwithstanding the fact that I have most assiduously extracted this advice from various worthy but, happily, long-forgotten authors. Happiness is a quality of a person, not of a plant or a garden; and the anticipation of joy in the writing of a book may be the reason why so many books on garden-making have been written. Of course, all these books have been good and useful. It would be ungrateful, at the least, for the present writer to say otherwise; but books grow old, and the advice becomes too familiar. The sentences need to be transposed and the order of the chapters varied, now and then, or interest lags. Or, to speak plainly, a new book of advice on handicraft is needed in every decade, or perhaps oftener in these days of many publishers. There has been a long and worthy procession of these handbooks,--Gardiner & Hepburn, M'Mahon, Cobbett--original, pungent, versatile Cobbett!--Fessenden, Squibb, Bridgeman, Sayers, Buist, and a dozen more, each one a little richer because the others had been written. But even the fact that all books pass into oblivion does not deter another hand from making still another venture.
I expect, then, that every person who reads this book will make a garden, or will try to make one; but if only tares grow where roses are desired, I must remind the reader that at the outset I advised pigweeds. The book, therefore, will suit everybody,--the experienced gardener, because it will be a repetition of what he already knows; and the novice, because it will apply as well to a garden of burdocks as of onions.
_What a garden is._
A garden is the personal part of an estate, the area that is most intimately associated with the private life of the home. Originally, the garden was the area inside the inclosure or lines of fortification, in distinction from the unprotected area or fields that lay beyond; and this latter area was the particular domain of agriculture. This book understands the garden to be that part of the personal or home premises devoted to ornament, and to the growing of vegetables and fruits. The garden, therefore, is an ill-defined demesne; but the reader must not make the mistake of defining it by dimensions, for one may have a garden in a flower-pot or on a thousand acres. In other words, this book declares that every bit of land that is not used for buildings, walks, drives, and fences, should be planted. What we shall plant--whether sward, lilacs, thistles, cabbages, pears, chrysanthemums, or tomatoes--we shall talk about as we proceed.
The only way to keep land perfectly unproductive is to keep it moving. The moment the owner lets it alone, the planting has begun. In my own garden, this first planting is of pigweeds. These may be followed, the next year, by ragweeds, then by docks and thistles, with here and there a start of clover and grass; and it all ends in June-grass and dandelions.
Nature does not allow the land to remain bare and idle. Even the banks where plaster and lath were dumped two or three years ago are now luxuriant with burdocks and sweet clover; and yet persons who pass those dumps every day say that they can grow nothing in their own yard because the soil is so poor! Yet I venture that those same persons furnish most of the pigweed seed that I use on my garden.
The lesson is that there is no soil--where a house would be built--so poor that something worth while cannot be grown on it. If burdocks will grow, something else will grow; or if nothing else will grow, then I prefer burdocks to sand and rubbish.
The burdock is one of the most striking and decorative of plants, and a good piece of it against a building or on a rough bank is just as useful as many plants that cost money and are difficult to grow. I had a good clump of burdock under my study window, and it was a great comfort; but the man would persist in wanting to cut it down when he mowed the lawn. When I remonstrated, he declared that it was nothing but burdock; but I insisted that, so far from being burdock, it was really Lappa major, since which time the plant and its offspring have enjoyed his utmost respect. And I find that most of my friends reserve their appreciation of a plant until they have learned its name and its family connections.
The dump-place that I mentioned has a surface area of nearly one hundred and fifty square feet, and I find that it has grown over two hundred good plants of one kind or another this year. This is more than my gardener accomplished on an equal area, with manure and water and a man to help. The difference was that the plants on the dump wanted to grow, and the imported plants in the garden did not want to grow. It was the difference between a willing horse and a balky horse. If a person wants to show his skill, he may choose the balky plant; but if he wants fun and comfort in gardening, he would better choose the willing one.
I have never been able to find out when the burdocks and mustard were planted on the dump; and I am sure that they were never hoed or watered. Nature practices a wonderfully rigid economy. For nearly half the summer she even refused rain to the plants, but still they thrived; yet I staid home from a vacation one summer that I might keep my plants from dying. I have since learned that if the plants in my hardy borders cannot take care of themselves for a time, they are little comfort to me.
The joy of garden-making lies in the mental attitude and in the sentiments.