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.
A group of Magnolias includes acuminata, fifty feet high, macrophylla, with its superb flowers, twenty-five feet high, Soulangiana, glauca, longifolia, gracilis, and others. Near them stands a Tulip Tree with its straight column seventy feet high. Another light Atlas Cedar stands by a dark Austrian Pine. Apple trees, fifty years old, in full bloom, are brought out against the darkness of a mass of Norway Spruce. German and African Tamarisk contrast well, as do the Horizontal Yew and Golden Retinospora. Magnolia cordata, Picea grandis and Weeping Larch, standing together, have each its different shade. At the foot of the Purple Beech lies a prostrate Juniper, trained to a height of eight feet and then allowed to fall upon the ground. Abies polita, Weeping Silver Fir, Weeping Spruce and Japan Yew form a picturesque group. The light and drooping Silver Linden, thirty-five feet high, is flanked by an Atlas Cedar of darker shade, which in its turn contrasts with a Liquidambar, forty feet, and Pinus excelsa, forty feet.
Weeping and European Beech, whose young foliage is light and very beautiful, contrast finely against Norway Spruce and Austrian Pine.
A grove of Horse Chestnuts, Maples, Elms and Tulips, planted fifty years ago, make a feature by themselves, while against them gleams the auburn hair of the Purple Fringe. The very light Ash-leaved Maple stands between an Austrian Pine and Norway Spruce, all some thirty years old.
Against a Hemlock screen the young shoots of which lie like flowers upon its dark face, are shown the brilliant scarlet bloom of a group of Rhododendron Blandyanum, which I brought from England eighteen years ago. Against another part of the Hemlock screen is a mass of large Golden Yews and a white Fringe, both unsurpassed in their beauty. The pink flowers of the African Tamarisk and the white ones of the Hawthorn make a charming contrast blooming together. In front of the Tamarisk is the Japan Judas Tree, one of the most brilliant of early flowering trees. A Pyramidal Oak sets off the Norway Maple. Golden Spiraea and Purple Berberry are striking in contrast. Purple Hazel and Japan Snowball make a pair; and a trio of relatives are Crested Beech, Fern-leaf Beech and Hornbeam A large White Fringe is guarded by three erect Yews, and some large English Yews, fifteen feet high and fifteen broad, show their hardiness. Two charming trees, the Cilician Fir and the Japan Larch twenty-five feet, have each its distinctive color, while the Abies alata, twenty-five feet high, spreads its giant wings over a Golden Yew, with a head five feet in diameter, on a naked stem five feet high - a golden globe on a pedestal of bronze.
The dark Pinus uncinata stands against the lighter Spruce, against which is also relieved the bright pink flowers of the Judas Tree. Horizontal Yew and Hudson's Bay Fir, both dwarfs, look well together. Magnolia Norbertiana shows its flowers well against the Stone Pine. A Picea cephalonica, thirty feet high, contrasts well with the Hemlock. A weeping, Slippery Elm and a Tamarix are graceful, one for its branches and the other for its flowers. A White Spruce and an Atlas Cedar look well together while a White Linden, thirty-five feet high shows well against a group of Hornbeam forty feet high. A row of Pinus excelsa, sixty feet high, is fronted by a dozen species of American Oaks, sixty feet, planted at sufficient distance from each other to develope their true beauty. A White Pine, sixty feet high stands alone, and under it there can be heard the music of its leaves. Andromeda arborea is a mass by itself, and few things surpass the delicate burnished copper hue of its young leaves, or the brilliant scarlet of its autumnal clothing. Groups of Rhododendrons of different colors have their beauty enhanced by an edging of hardy Azaleas, whose rich and varied colors excite general admiration.
Weeping Hemlock, like an evergreen fountain, and Weeping Silver Fir, like an evergreen column, surmount the rock work, while Weeping Sophora, and Weeping Forsythia overhang its sides. On one corner of my piazza is a Kentucky Coffee, and on the other a Yellow Magnolia, while at their feet grow a dwarf Scotch Fir and, a dwarf White Pine. On the cornice of the piazza are trained, as lambrequins, white and purple Wistarias, Honeysuckles, Akebia and Virginia Creeper. The latter throws down its points from the cornice, making in Summer a very attractive green fringe and in the Autumn a very brilliant scarlet one. On a fence in the rear grow Honysuckles, Akebias, Dutchman's Pipe, Trumpet Creeper, both red and orange, Bittersweet and Wistarias in luxuriant regard-lessness of each other's rights, while the pure Lilies of the Valley hang their modest heads on the ground below. Over the lawn an occasional Agave, a bed of scarlet Geraniums, of Coleus, of variegated Arundo, of scarlet Salvias, or more charming than all else, the new Japan Maples, relieve the sameness of the refreshing green turf.
I should not forget an old White Oak, one of two upon my farm, which were doubtless here when Columbus discovered America, for one of the same apparent generation, which fell a few years since, showed in its trunk the successsive growths of nearly 600 years. This tree, now in vigor, has a trunk twenty feet in circumference, and its branches cover a diameter of seventy feet.
In laying out streets I found it difficult to secure these diversified colors in contrast, for to secure symmetry it was necessary to have one sort only. At the expense of this symmetry I made one street a partial arboretum, while on another I planted Pin Oaks, on another European Lindens, on a third the light-foliaged Tulip Tree, and on another crossing it the darker Norway Maple.
I look forward to still finer results in the contrasting of colors, for the past few years have been productive of many new varieties, particularly from Japan. The silvery white of Sorbus, Elaeagnus and other plants is contrasted with the gold and purple and scarlet of others, until a newly planted square in the nursery is like a lawn filled with the varied colors of bedding plants.
Could I put back the hand upon the dial of my life thirty years, I think I could find new material to make a lawn far surpassing anything I now have, and which would startle many lovers of trees with its beauty. Others, however, will have this enjoyment. The insensibility to the finest products of nature, which has for years existed, is giving way to a better appreciation, and many who have been satisfied with the trees which the traveling dealers brought them, are discovering that finer ones exist. While Edison with his microphone promises to make audible to the dullest ear the sound of growing things, and all the secret harmonies of nature, let us hope that all beautiful things may be made visible to the dullest sight, and a true vision based upon a true artistic sense be the possession of every true man and woman all the world over.