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.
The first of the accompanying illustrations shows one of the fundamental conceptions in landscape gardening, namely, mass planting as opposed to the indiscriminate scattering of individual plants. In the second photograph one sees a large number of rare and costly plants. The mind wanders from one detail to another; the whole effect is distracting and bewildering. There are many plants, but there is no picture. The question of what to plant is of secondary importance to the question of how to plant.
The first picture is characterised by simplicity and strength. The mind grasps the whole scheme at once. The open lawn in the center is not cluttered with a miscellaneous and meaningless collection of curiosities. The lines of the border are free and gracefully flowing. Such a border requires very little care compared with the second one. It is composed of perfectly hardy trees and shrubs arranged in a nature-like manner. The border is full of colour, which is set off by a natural background of tree foliage. In the second picture we have only the interest of detail. There is no unity, no grouping, no massing of plants. The tender foliage plants are costly and ephemeral, while unsightly stakes are a poor substitute for robust, sturdy, self-supporting plants.
Example of massed planting.
Example of scattered planting.