3 Deutzia gracilis.
6 Kerrias, green and variegated.
3 Daphne Mezereum.
3 Lonicera Halliana.
3 Rubus phoenicolasius.
3 Symphoricarpus vulgaris.
1 Ribes aureum.
1 Ribes sanguineum.
1 Rubus cratgifolius.
1 Rubus fruticosus var. laciniatus.
These bushes were planted against the front of the house (a porch on a high foundation extends to the right from O), from the walk around to P, and a few of them were placed at the rear of the house.
_Specimen shrubs for mere ornament, for this place_
1 each Forsythia suspensa and F. viridissima.
2 Flowering almonds.
These were planted in conspicuous places here and there against the other masses.
Here are one hundred excellent and interesting bushes planted in a yard only fifty feet wide and one hundred feet deep, and yet the place has as much room in it as it had before. There is abundant opportunity along the borders for dropping in cannas, dahlias, hollyhocks, asters, geraniums, coleuses, and other brilliant plants. The bushes will soon begin to crowd, to be sure, but a mass is wanted, and the narrowness of the plantations will allow each bush to develop itself laterally to perfection. If the borders become too thick, however, it is an easy matter to remove some of the bushes; but they probably will not. Picture the color and variety and life in that little yard. And if a pigweed now and then gets a start in the border, it would do no harm to let it alone: it belongs there! Then picture the same area filled with disconnected, spotty, dyspeptic, and unspirited flower-beds and rose bushes!
Strong and bare foundations should be relieved by heavy planting. Fill the corners with snow-drifts of foliage. Plant with a free hand, as if you meant it (compare Figs. 46 and 47). The corner by the steps is a perennial source of bad temper. The lawn-mower will not touch it, and the grass has to be cut with a butcher-knife. If nothing else comes to hand, let a burdock grow in it (Fig. 1).
The tennis-screen may be relieved by a background (Fig. 48), and a clump of ribbon-grass or something else is out of the way against a post (Fig. 49).
Excellent mass effects may be secured by cutting well-established plants of sumac, ailanthus, basswood, and other strong-growing things, to the ground each year, for the purpose of securing the stout shoots. Figure 50 will give the hint.
But if one has no area which he can make into a lawn and upon which he can plant such verdurous masses, what then may he do? Even then there may be opportunity for a little neat and artistic planting. Even if one lives in a rented house, he may bring in a bush or an herb from the woods, and paint a picture with it. Plant it in the corner by the steps, in front of the porch, at the corner of the house,--almost anywhere except in the center of the lawn. Make the ground rich, secure a strong root, and plant it with care; then wait. The little clump will not only have a beauty and interest of its own, but it may add immensely to the furniture of the yard.
[Illustration: Fig. 50. Young shoots of ailanthus (and sunflowers for variety).]
About these clumps one may plant bulbs of glowing tulips or dainty snowdrops and lilies-of-the-valley; and these may be followed with pansies and phlox and other simple folk. Very soon one finds himself deeply interested in these random and detached pictures, and almost before he is aware he finds that he has rounded off the corners of the house, made snug little arbors of wild grapes and clematis, covered the rear fence and the outhouse with actinidia and bitter-sweet, and has thrown in dashes of color with hollyhocks, cannas, and lilies, and has tied the foundations of the buildings to the greensward by low strands of vines or deft bits of planting. He soon comes to feel that flowers are most expressive of the best emotions when they are daintily dropped in here and there against a background of foliage, or else made a side-piece in the place. There is no limit to the adaptations; Figs. 51 to 58 suggest some of the backyard possibilities.
Presently he rebels at the bold, harsh, and impudent designs of some of the gardeners, and grows into a resourceful love of plant forms and verdure. He may still like the weeping and cut-leaved and party-colored trees of the horticulturist, but he sees that their best effects are to be had when they are planted sparingly, as borders or promontories of the structural masses.
[Illustration: Fig. 52. A garden path with hedgerows, trellis, and bench, in formal treatment.]
The best planting, as the best painting and the best music, is possible only with the best and tenderest feeling and the closest living with nature. One's place grows to be a reflection of himself, changing as he changes, and expressing his life and sympathies to the last.
We have now discussed some of the principles and applications of landscape architecture or landscape gardening, particularly in reference to the planting. The object of landscape gardening is _to make a picture._ All the grading, seeding, planting, are incidental and supplemental to this one central idea. The greensward is the canvas, the house or some other prominent point is the central figure, the planting completes the composition and adds the color.
The second conception is the principle that _the picture should have a landscape effect._ That is, it should be nature-like. Carpet-beds are masses of color, not pictures. They are the little garnishings and reliefs that are to be used very cautiously, as little eccentricities and conventionalisms in a building should never be more than very minor features.
Every other concept in landscape gardening is subordinate to these two. Some of the most important of these secondary yet underlying considerations are as follows:--
The place is to be conceived of as _a unit._ If a building is not pleasing, ask an architect to improve it. The real architect will study the building as a whole, grasp its design and meaning, and suggest improvements that will add to the forcefulness of the entire structure. A dabbler would add a chimney here, a window there, and apply various daubs of paint to the building. Each of these features might be good in itself. The paints might be the best of ochre, ultramarine, or paris green, but they might have no relation to the building as a whole and would be only ludicrous. These two examples illustrate the difference between landscape gardening and the scattering over the place of mere ornamental features.
[Illustration: Fig. 55. An upland garden, with grass-grown steps, sundial, and edge of foxgloves.]
There should be _one central and emphatic point in the picture._ A picture of a battle draws its interest from the action of a central figure or group. The moment the incidental and lateral figures are made as prominent as the central figures, the picture loses emphasis, life, and meaning. The borders of a place are of less importance than its center. Therefore:
_Keep the center of the place open;_
_Frame and mass the sides; Avoid scattered effects._
In a landscape picture _flowers are incidents._ They add emphasis, supply color, give variety and finish; they are the ornaments, but the lawn and the mass-plantings make the framework. One flower in the border, and made an incident of the picture, is more effective than twenty flowers in the center of the lawn.
More depends on _the positions that plants occupy with reference to each other and to the structural design of the place,_ than on the intrinsic merits of the plants themselves.
Landscape gardening, then, is the embellishment of grounds in such a way that they will have a nature-like or landscape effect. The flowers and accessories may heighten and accelerate the effect, but they should not contradict it.
==EXECUTION OF SOME OF THE LANDSCAPE FEATURES
The general lay-out of a small home property having now been considered, we may discuss the practical operations of executing the plan. It is not intended in this chapter to discuss the general question of how to handle the soil: that discussion comes in Chapter IV; nor in detail how to handle plants: that occurs in Chapters V to X; but the subjects of grading, laying out of walks and drives, executing the border plantings, and the making of lawns, may be briefly considered.
Of course the instructions given in a book, however complete, are very inadequate and unsatisfactory as compared with the advice of a good experienced person. It is not always possible to find such a person, however; and it is no little satisfaction to the homemaker if he can feel that he can handle the work himself, even at the expense of some mistakes.