How many of us really enjoy the beauty which a judicious use of a profusion of good and cheap Spring Bulbs is certain to throw around a country seat or villa garden? How many get beyond the miserable conventionalities of modern gardening, with its edgings and patchings, and taking up, and drying, and mere playing with our beautiful Spring Bulbs? How many enjoy the exquisite beauty afforded by Spring flowers of this type, established naturally, and croping up full of beauty, without troubling us for attention at any time? None. The subject of decorating with Spring Bulbs is merely in its infancy; at present we merely place a few of the showiest of them in geometrical lines. The little we do leads to such a very poor end, that numbers of people, alive to the real charms of a garden too, scarcely notice Spring Bulbs at all, regarding them as things which require endless trouble, as interfering with the “bedding–out,” and in fact, as not worth the pains they occasion. This is likely to be the case so long as the most effective and satisfactory of all modes of arranging them is unused by the body of the gardening public; that way is the placing of them in wild and semi–wild parts of country seats and gardens, and in the rougher parts of a garden, no matter where it may be situated or how it may be arranged. It is a way never practised now, but which I venture to say will yield more real interest and exquisite beauty than any other.
Look, for instance, at the wide and bare belts of grass that wind in and around the shrubberies in nearly every country place; generally, they never display a particle of plant–beauty, and are merely places to be roughly mown now and then. But if planted here and there with the Snowdrop, the blue Anemone, the Crocus, Squills, and Winter Aconite, they would in spring surpass in attractiveness to the tasteful eye the primmmest and gayest of spring gardens. Cushioned among the grass, these would have a more congenial medium in which to unfold than is offered by the beaten sticky earth of a border; in the budding emerald grass of spring, their natural bed, they would look far better than ever they do when arranged on the brown earth of a garden. Once carefully planted, they – while an annual source of the greatest interest – occasion no trouble whatever. Their leaves die down so early in spring that they would scarcely interfere with the mowing of the grass, if that were desired, but I should not attempt to mow the grass in such places till the season of vernal beauty had quite passed by.
Surely it is enough to have the lawn as smooth as a carpet at all times, without sending the mower to shave the “long and pleasant grass” of the remoter parts of the grounds. It would indeed be worth while to leave many parts of the grass unmown for the sake of growing many beautiful plants in it.
william robinson, ‚the wild garden or, our groves & shrubberies made beautiful by the naturalization of hardy exotic plants: with a chapter on the garden of british wild flowers‘, london, 1870.