Any one can make a hardy bed look attractive two or three months longer than the best bed of tender plants in the world. There are two whole months in spring, or from March 15th to May 15th, when hardy plants will blo6m while tender ones would be killed by frost. This one fact is reason enough why we should try nine times to get a hardy combination before falling back on tender plants, because this is time when there is the greatest heart-hunger for flowers.
Among March and April bloomers there are Russian violets, the Japanese Adonis, the dwarf-crested iris, golden tuft, and moss pink. Under these we can grow snowdrops, grape hyacinths (plate 104), glory of the snow (see plate 104), and scillas, getting two crops of flowers before the ordinary flower beds are even planted, and this, too, without such extravagant methods as we see in the Boston Public Gardens, where everything is potted, forced under glass, and then set out.
Among the best October-blooming or frost-resisting flowers are pompon chrysanthemums, the Napoleon III pink, gail-lardias, and nine kinds of hardy asters. Under the edging plants you can put three kinds of autumn-blooming crocuses and maintain a succession from September almost to Thanksgiving.
The reader must not jump to the conclusion that any filler here recommended will do with any centre piece, or any bulb under any carpet. For instance, it is said that you can grow tulips in a peony bed, but not daffodils, because tulips can stand as much manure as peonies need, while daffodils cannot. The whole subject is experimental. Some successful combinations are known, but hundreds are still to be proved. Gardeners interested in this line of work ought to report their successes and failures to the horticultural press.