This section is from the book "How To Make A Flower Garden", by Wilhelm Miller. Also available from Amazon: The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning Techniques.
There should be no fence unless there is a reason for it. Some persons seem to want fences just for the purpose of having them. Of themselves, open fences are rarely ornamental or desirable. They are expensive property.
The Japanese Iris (Iris laevigata, but commonly known as I. Kaempferi), now grown in many forms and always useful.
The money put into a fence will often buy enough plants to stock the place. Front fences, in particular, are rarely desirable. The street and the walk sufficiently define the place. Now and then a person wants a front fence to give his place privacy. This may be a perfectly legitimate desire, but the requirements are usually best satisfied by means of a low and substantial wall. A fence means protection. A wall may mean seclusion; and it may easily be made a part of the architectural features of the place.
The greenhouse hydnngea as a summer tub plant.
Walls usually work well into the planting designs of a home ground, but the instances where fences do this are exceedingly rare.
Even in the back yard a wall may be preferable to a fence, but pecuniary considerations may determine for a fence; and, moreover, a real fence is more in keeping in a rear yard, for that yard is usually most in danger of molestation. In the back yard, the fence may become also a screen and a shelter. Usually it can be covered with vines - sometimes with grapevines - to advantage, or be "planted out" with bushes and trees. It is good practice to allow the fence to obtrude itself as little as possible.
As a whole, the garden is maintained for its general effect. It is a part of an establishment, of which the residence, the barn, and the boundaries are other parts. But the garden should also have certain parts that are for distinct or particular service, that should be to the general garden what pantries and bedrooms and closets are to the house. These garden-rooms are for vegetables or flowers or fruits or sweet herbs. These things are grown for use in the family, not for their effect as a part of a garden picture. They can be grown best in special areas set aside for this particular purpose, where the soil can be regularly tilled and each plant given full room and conditions to develop to its best. This is as true of flowers as it is of beets or straw-berries. The fact that we grow flowers also as a part of the garden picture should not obscure the fact that we also grow them for cutting and for decoration and exhibition. When China asters are wanted because they are China asters, grow them where and how China asters thrive best; if they are wanted as a part of the general garden effect, grow them where and how this effect can be best secured.
An old-time phyllocactus, one of the species sometimes, but improperly, called "night-blooming cereus".
Sprint is here when the magnolla blooms. Magnolla Yulan (M. conapicus).
To illustrate the beauty of a bush (Ligustrum lbota, var. Regellaoum).
The place for the service garden is at one side or the rear - preferably in the back yard. Grow the things in rows.
Give the children an opportunity to make a garden. Let them grow what they will. Let them experiment. It matters less that they produce good plants than that they try for themselves. A place should be reserved. Let it be well out of sight, for the results may not be ornamental. However, take care that the conditions are good for the growing of plants - good soil, plenty of sun, freedom from the encroachments of tree-roots and from molestation of carriage-drive or chickens. It may be well to set the area off by a high fence of chicken-wire screen; then cover the fence with vines. Put a seat in the enclosure. This will constitute an outdoor nursery room; and while the child is being entertained and is gaining health he may gain experience and nature-sympathy at the same time.
There are two kinds of interest in plants - the interest in the plant itself for its own sake, and the interest in plants as part of a mass, or as elements in a picture. The former is primarily the interest of the plant-lover or the botanist; the latter is the interest of the artist. Fortunately, many persons have both these elements highly developed, and every person can train himself to appreciate both points of view. Now, a home ground is one thing. It is, or should be, homogeneous in its composition. It should appeal to one as a unit: the entire place should produce one effect. This effect may be that of rest or retreat or seclusion or homelikeness. In order to produce this harmony, plants must be placed with relation to each other and to the general design of the place. The ability to do this kind of planting is one of the attributes of a good landscape gardener. He produces good "effects" and harmonies. He thinks less of plants as mere plants than he does as parts of a composition. He sees them much as a painter does. All this is contrary to the general conception of planting. Most persons, I fear, think of a plant only as a plant, and are content when it is planted.
But merely to plant a plant may have little merit in the home grounds: robins and squirrels do that much.
The native white water lily (Nymphaea tuberosa) in its native haunts. Minnesota.