This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
For a month or two in Spring, when all nature is gushing forth joyously into life, we are content to look on and enjoy the wondrous sights; and when in Fall the whole universe sparkles in autumnal tints, we gaze on the splendid pagent passing away without a selfish thought; but broiling, sweltering, roasting under our August sun, we feel that our garden' art must do something more for us than show us beautiful sights like these. We must not forget this when we are thinking of laying out or improving our grounds. In fact landscape gardening has not quite the same idea to an American as it has to an European. In the old world it appeals to the eye and to the mind. It is an intellectual art. But our wants are more material; and the art must look after our creature comforts somewhat, as well as afford us pretty sights to see.
We have learned to protect ourselves from cold wintry winds, but the art of making a place cool in Summer is yet in its infancy. There is nothing accomplishes this better then plenty of grass and the neat deciduous tree foliage. The making of flower beds with box edgings and gravel walks suits Dutch and French gardening, but it is too hot for us.
The beds should be cut in grass. The walks round about a place should also be in grass as much as possible; only those likely to be frequently used should be gravel walks. Even these where tan can be obtained, are much cooler when this material can be used, than when gravelled. In the planting of roads, Art, as we read it in the books, plants only in corners, and makes its most striking effects to be seen from the drives; but American art as it should be, plants all the chief drives with deciduous shade trees, and yet allows you to look through beneath them to the beauties beyond.
Then again very much may be done by planting two or three trees together so that as they grow up, they will form natural seat backs. For this purpose there is nothing like the Oak tribe.
Sometimes we cannot get the coveted shade because we have planted slow growing trees - generally the prettiest and well worth waiting for, - this may be affected by planting liberally of Alders, Poplars, and similar ephemeral trees, to be cut away as they gradually interfere with the permanent kinds. The planting season will soon come around, and now is the time to look about and select the desirable kinds, and to decide on the proper place to set them.
The latter end of August is one of the best seasons of the year to transplant evergreens. The young growth of the past season has got pretty well hardened, so as to permit of but very little evaporation, - and the earth being warm, new roots push with great rapidity, and the tree becomes established in the ground before cold autumn winds begin. The chief difficulty is that the soil is usually very dry, which prevents much speed with the operation; and the weather being usually very warm, the trees have to be set again in the ground almost as fast as they are taken up; so that it is not safe to bring them from a distance. It is as well therefore, to make all ready in anticipation of a rain, when no time may be lost in having the work pushed through. Should a spell of dry weather ensue, - which in September and October is very likely, - one good watering should be given, sufficient to soak well through the soil and well about the roots. A basin should be made to keep the water from running away from the spot, and to assist its soaking in.
After being well watered, the loose soil, should be drawn in lightly over the watered soil, which will then aid in preventing the water from drying out soon again.
As soon in the fall as bulbs can be obtained they should be planted - though this will not generally be the case till October, - but it is as well to bear in mind that the earlier they are planted, the finer they will flower.
Towards the end of the month, and in September, evergreen hedges should receive their last pruning till next summer. Last spring, and in the summer, when a strong growth required it, the hedge has been severely pruned towards the apex of the cone-like form in which it has been trained, and the base has been suffered to grow any way it pleases. Now that, in turn, has come under the shears, so far as to get it into regular shape and form. It will not be forgotten that, to be very successful with evergreen hedges, they ought to have a growth at the base of at least four feet in diameter.