This does not mean that there should be a careless and unstudied use of line in informal design. On the contrary, it is often more difficult to design satisfactory lines of this type. Freedom in appearance is not always the result of spontaneity.
Briefly, the major differences may be thus summed up: in the informal school line is determined by the mass, and in the formal school it is the mass which is determined by the line.
The Japanese school of landscape is often differentiated from the formal and informal types. It will be found, nevertheless, upon analysis, to be merely a strictly informal type used upon such a small scale as to give the appearance of formality. It is a design of irregularity, but very highly conventionalized (Fig. 11).
The popular opinion of a Japanese garden seems to imply the presence of a stone lantern or two, a few irises, a straggly wisteria, and enough water to "explain" the presence of an unstable bridge; also the idea seems to prevail that these need not be at all in harmony with their surroundings. Now, the Japanese garden proper is a very beautiful and carefully constructed thing, the result of years of traditions and Oriental conventions of life, which cannot at once be grasped by the Westerner, but will richly repay a careful study.
Photograph by Anderson.
Figure 9. GARDEN - AS AN OUTDOOR ROOM, VILLA ALBANI, ROME.
Most of the Japanese gardens found in this part of the world are treated faddishly, as stage property or pieces of scenery, and consequently they cannot be considered as the outgrowth of conditions. In fact, some essentially Japanese detail is often introduced into an entirely foreign scheme-an Italian garden for instance-in such a way as to spoil both the intrinsic beauty of the detail and the whole garden scheme as well.
If a carefully designed Japanese garden is secluded, and so placed as to be seen by itself alone, as it would be under native conditions, it can be used anywhere for its individual interest and pic-turesqueness. It cannot, however, be used as a part of an ordinary garden scheme with any degree of satisfaction.
In both the formal and the informal types there must be some dominant design idea with which the rest of the scheme must be harmonized, and this is true of all design, as has already been insisted upon. This is the principle of unity, the subordination of all parts to the main scheme.
Figure 10. INFORMAL PLANTING PLANS.
In the formal type of planting, architectural lines will probably be emphasized, while the informal type will lay greater stress upon the horticultural features.
In the garden at Wilton House, for example, the architecture is quite the dominating note, the plants being used simply as spots of color for decorative purposes and not for any intrinsic interest. The very formal architectural terrace depends for its adornment upon statues and vases, and descends to a formal inclosure, which is walled, and accented in like fashion with vases and statuary. A naturalistic tree bank in the background renders the accent of the dividing-wall very marked. If the treatment within the wall were as naturalistic as is the exterior planting, the wall would seem entirely useless and out of place. Any planting within the inclosure must appear as restrained and severe as the inclosing wall, or it will not be in keeping with the whole. Conversely, if the formal planting stopped short at a naturalistic tree mass without any defining wall, there would be a shock. But the problem is well handled. The space is divided geometrically by walks, with sharply accentuated edges, and no matter how brilliant the colors within the planting areas, all shapes have been subordinated to architectural lines, and no plant is used for its individual interest. This is an excellent example of restrained planting.
In the informal Sargent planting at Holm Lea, Brookline, Massachusetts (Fig. 12), it will be seen that Mr. Sargent's interest as a botanist has led him to group the rhododendrons about the pool in such a way as to focus the attention upon them, and their reflection in the water serves to enhance their charm by doubling the effect of the color mass. Here, of course, the accent is horticultural. The special characteristic of the rhododendrons is their bright blossom masses contrasted with the dark, shining texture of their evergreen foliage. This is admirably brought out by their setting in the planting scheme. (See Frontispiece.)
When accent is required in a horticultural way, it is frequently attained by the use of a plant the distinguishing characteristic of which is quite noticeably different from those of the plants which form its setting. Horticultural accent is secured by selecting a plant the characteristic of which will appear to the best advantage under the conditions imposed by the problem in hand. The necessary accent may accordingly be secured by change in the scale, form, texture, color (leaf, twig, or blossom) where mass planting is concerned, and by more elusive qualities, such as individual leaf shapes and twig forms, where the plant is isolated. In massed planting the accent must be strong. If the prevailing lines of a shrubbery mass are low and rounded, the introduction of a Lombardy poplar or two will give accent by change of scale and form as well. A catalpa will give accent not only by the coarse texture of its foliage, but by the large masses of white blossoms in early summer and the still more interesting pods in the autumn. Both the texture and the color of the purple beech recommend its use as an accent plant. On account of brilliant autumn coloring, its distinguishing characteristic, the tupelo-tree is often planted with hemlocks, to make the most of their contrast. Many other examples might be given of similar planting practices.
Figure 11. A JAPANESE GARDEN.