The most enchanting of all floral pictures are those which are mirrored in the water. The English understand well the value of narcissi on the banks and the necessity of planting the margins everywhere, except as clearings are needed for boat landings, bridges, and other practical needs.
The finest bulbs for water side planting are the irises. Strictly speaking, the only bulbous irises are the English and Spanish, which are too gardenesque for naturalizing, as also are the German. But the rhizomatous irises are regularly sold in the fall by bulb dealers, and culturally the distinction is of small importance. Dwarf irises are likely to be overrun at the water side, but tall ones are very lovely there.
Fortunately, the tall yellow flag that grows well in Europe does very well with us and so do Japanese irises which have the largest flowers of all, often eight inches across and sometimes ten or twelve. I wish some one who owns half a mile of brook would show us thousands of Japan iris in bloom as I saw them at the gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society. A faint idea of this glory is given by the picture at plate 90. But good taste suggests that he omit the double and variegated sorts, contenting himself with a few varieties of simple colours.
So far I have spoken only of wild gardening, which implies a large scale of operations and considerable wealth. But all the other ideas here advanced can be applied in almost any yard by people of moderate means.