“Ah, if we only lived a little nearer together, near enough to talk over the garden fence! It seems cruel to ask you to write answers to all my questions, but after listing the hardy plants I want for putting the garden on a consistent old-time footing, I find the amount runs quite to the impossible three figures, aside from everything else we need, so I’ve decided on beginning with a seed bed, and I want to know before we locate the new asparagus bed how much ground I shall need for a seed bed, what and how to plant, and everything else!
“I like all the hardy things you have, especially those that are mice, lice, and water proof! If you will send me ever so rough a list, I shall be grateful. Would I better begin at once or wait until July or August, as some of the catalogues suggest?
“Bart has just come in and evidently has something on his mind of which he wishes to relieve himself via speech.
“Your little sister of the garden,
“She must join The Garden, You, and I,” said Lavinia Cortright, almost before I had finished the letter. “She will be entertainer in chief, for she never fails to be amusing!”
“I thought there were to be but three members,” I protested, thinking of the possible complications of a three-cornered correspondence.
“Ah, well,” Lavinia Cortright replied quickly, “make the Garden an Honorary member; it is usual so to rank people of importance from whom much is expected, and then we shall still be but three—with privilege of adding your husband as councillor and mine as librarian and custodian of deeds!”
So I have promised to write to Mary Penrose this evening.
CONCERNING HARDY PLANTS
When the Cortrights first came to Oaklands, expecting to remain here but a few months each summer, their garden consisted of some borders of old-fashioned, hardy flowers, back of the house. These bounded a straight walk that, beginning at the porch, went through an arched grape arbour, divided the vegetable garden, and finally ended under a tree in the orchard at the barrier made by a high-backed green wooden seat, that looked as if it might have been a pew taken from some primitive church on its rebuilding.
There were, at intervals, along this walk, some bushes of lilacs, bridal-wreath spirea, flowering almond, snowball, syringa, and scarlet flowering quince; for roses, Mme. Plantier, the half double Boursault, and some great clumps of the little cinnamon rose and Harrison’s yellow brier, whose flat opening flowers are things of a day, these two varieties having the habit of travelling all over a garden by means of their root suckers. Here and there were groups of tiger and lemon lilies growing out of the ragged turf, bunches of scarlet bee balm, or Oswego tea,