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Hardy Flowers: Descriptions of upwards of thirteen hundred of the most ornamental species, and directions for their arrangement, culture, &c

Nature volume 5, pages 45 | Download Citation



MR. ROBINSON is a prolific writer, but his prolificacy (as Webster has it, if Dr. Ingleby and Dr. Latham will allow us the word) does not degenerate into mere book-making. Like its predecessors, this volume is one of practical utility both to the professional gardener and to the cultivator of flowers for their beauty. Much the greater part of the volume is occupied with a descriptive list of the most ornamental hardy flowers, with directions for their culture, suitable positions, &c.; but this is introduced by some practical hints on the general subject of gardening. That Mr. Robinson has the courage to attack some time-honoured gardening customs, will be seen from the following paragraph:—“No practice is more general, or more in accordance with ancient custom, than that of digging shrubbery borders, and there is none in the whole course of gardening more profitless or worse. When winter is once come, almost every gardener, although animated with the best intentions, simply prepares to make war upon the roots of everything in his shrubbery border. The generally accepted practice is to trim, and often to mutilate, the shrubs, and to dig all over the surface that must be full of feeding roots. Delicate half-rooted shrubs are often disturbed; herbaceous plants, if at all delicate and not easily recognised, are destroyed; bulbs are often displaced and injured; and a sparse depopulated aspect is given to the margins, while the only ‘improvement’ that is effected by the process is the annual darkening of the surface of the upturned earth.” After this we find some pertinent and useful hints on the best mode of grouping hardy perennials, and the art of managing the rock-garden, the wild-garden, water, and botfgy ground; on the culture and propagation of early flowers, and other subjects dear to the dweller in the country. Compared with the art of gardening as practised twenty years ago, we are certainly now in an altogether new and improved epoch, and Mr. Robinson is one of the pioneers to whom we are mainly indebted for the introduction of a better and more rational style.

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