WHO shall say when the year begins? For each and every one of us at different times; for someone it is always beginning. For myself, the year dawns when the flowers are fading, and the leaves change color; when long nights succeed short days and sunshine is something to hope for; when the ground is sudden and the wind chants mournfully through the leafless trees, and fog and gloom settle upon the land. A mirthless picture indeed, yet
” Can Fancy’s fairy hands no veil create To hide the sad realities of Fate? “
Verily, for the dawn of the garden year flushes the dim future with roseate hue, warming to fresh life the brown buds and bare twigs, and peopling with a thousand flowers the beds and borders now void of visible life. To every gardener who loves the earth and the flowers it yields, the passing of one year is but the advent of the next; thus is he able to dream such dreams and build such hopes as will ensure a garden of delight.
Gardening has its depressing moments, and it is as well to avoid them. While the flowers are sleeping let us draw chairs to the fire, warm our slippered feet, and pile up the catalogues that come by every post; let us turn their pictured pages that portray the successes and ignore the failures, that show the results and make no mention of, the labour. Thus shall we anticipate joy- fully, look forward hopefully, and heigho ! the garden is aglow with blossom gorgeous Tulips here, there stately Hyacinths, elsewhere colonies of Squills and Fritillaries, and everywhere patches of white Snowdrops, blue and yellow Crocuses, and a host of others which the mind’s eye readily conjures up. Even if some of the dreams prove false, the castles, seeming firm, prove but of air, we shall have laid the foundation of success which depends upon intelligent and enthusiastic anticipation.
It is a far cry from October to April, and only experience can teach the wisdom of long preparation in advance ; it is easier to plant bulbs at Christmas, when the season of their blossoming looms in sight, than in October, when the consummation of their beauty seems such a long way off. If words of mine fail to impress the reader with the value of timely preparation, let me record that in “The Garden that I Love,” Veronica found that “Doing things in good time is the secret of successful gardening,” and even Veronica’s poet could find no words to gainsay its truth. If wise, we shall acknowledge autumn to be the chief season for planting. Well might we cry ” The flowers are dead, Long live the flowers ! ” and forthwith prepare to crown queen the dawning year.
Among the Hardy Flowers
Strange and Familiar Bulbs. So far as hardy kinds are concerned, it seems to be true that the smaller the bulb the earlier you must plant it for, as a rule, the little ones are the first to bloom. September is the month in which to put in the Snowdrops, Crocuses, Squills, Grape Hyacinths, Fritillaries, and others; if they are still within their brown paper bags do not delay further but, wet or fine, put them in the ground. There are plenty of other kinds which may now worthily occupy our attention.