Cottage Gardener 7(159): 34 (October 16, 1851)
Outdoor Agapanthus
Donald  Beaton

When I first left the Agapanthus out in the bed all winter, I had great difficulty to save the leaves from damping off; it was then that I tried the layer of small sticks, in order to let in a current of air at times for the use of the Agapanthus leaves, but I found the benefit of the plan so useful that I recommend it in all cases of this sort. A lady, from Ireland, who visited the garden some years back, told me that she had a large root of this Agapanthus which stood out all weathers for many years, and all the protection she gave it was a barrow-load of ashes, spread out to four inches thick, and rising in a cone in the middle, over the heart of the plant, without attempting to cover the leaves all over; the frost soon cut them off, and when she took off the ashes, in the spring, she cut away the remaining parts of the leaves. Sometimes this plant was forgotten until the frost killed all the leaves quite to the ground, and she never found that that was any harm, for the plant flowered every year equally strong. Ever since, I have cut off the leaves of our plants before the bed was finally covered for the winter—some time in December; from October to that time the plants were protected only by a layer of fern, packed in among the leaves, leaving the top part of them free to the frost.

Speaking of Agapanthus, it may be useful to some to learn that worn-out plants of it in pots will do very well for planting out in beds, and that in the course of three or four seasons they will be improved to such a degree as to do for pots again, much better than plants reared in the usual way. There is no plant more useful for out-door decoration in summer than this Agapanthus, or Blue African Lily, as they call it, and no plant can bear so much hardship or do with less attendance; and if the Lord Mayor was compelled to keep some plant in flower, for the summer months, on the top of St. Paul's, this is the only one in the catalogue that would be likely to suit him. Yet a long course of hard management, cramped in pots, will tell upon it in the long run, and this way of planting out such plants is the best way to bring them round again, and also the best way to get up large plants in a short time from little side-suckers; so that, independently of its great beauty and novelty in a bed in the flower-garden, I think I have made out a case in favour of turning out the Agapanthus into beds.

Beaton Bibliography