This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Over and over again, as we travel through the country, are we impressed with the fault of over-large places. Many gardens are laid out in the flush of some temporary business success, and they become sources of great annoyance in the great expenses of subsequent maintenance. Even the richest seem to undertake too much. We should lay it down as a rule that in all suggestions for the improvement of grounds, the subsequent cost of keeping in order should be studied well. This is the rock whereon so many strike. Walks and roads are particularly expensive to maintain, and should never be made without there is an evident necessity for them. Shady grass walks, with mosses of flowering shrubs on each side, and kept mown a few times a year, are as pleasurable parts of a pleasure ground as can well be provided, yet we very seldom see them employed.
It should not be forgotten that beauty can often be acquired without great cost. By studying the character of a piece of ground, and adding to that which already exists, we can often make a place as attractive as if we attempt wholly to imitate at great cost some pleasant garden scene that exists elsewhere.
In nothing is the adaptation of simple, instead of expensive means, of adornment better shown than in the employment of weeping trees for shady summer bowers, instead of the hideous lumber-worked buildings so often seen. These are very well in the cooler European climates, but useless in American gardens. They are always hot and unpleasant, but this is not so often the case when a mere bower of living trees is employed to make the necessary shade. The green mass is in keeping with other trees, and the crowding necessary to accomplish the desired shade, can often be turned to the very best account. This is especially the case when weeping trees are employed. The peculiar drooping habit comes into play in numerous ways in the hands of a good landscape gardener. Of the fast growing things of this kind, and where the position is not particularly choice, there are few things more useful than the Weeping Willow. For more select places we suppose there is nothing better than the Weeping Ash. Indeed, taken all in all, it is one of the best trees of this kind we have. The branches can be trained over wires, and thus we can make the room beneath the trees as extensive as one could wish. For very large spots, a half dozen or so can be used.
Set in one circle, and the trees about twenty feet apart. Such an arrangement would make a delightful croquet ground, - or a place for parties or pic-nics - entirely in the shade, yet with an abundance of room and air all round.
Of good weeping trees adapted to capacious shade, there is now the weeping yellow elm, weeping beech, weeping birch, weeping poplar, as well as the ash and willow already noted.
Many other kinds of weeping trees are rather ornaments than extensive givers of grateful shade. Of vines and such like plants for shady arbors we have already spoken, and, although they necessitate an expense which the mere weeping tree does not entail, they have many amply compensating charms. The early spring fragrance of the Akebia, or later of the various kinds of honeysuckles, is worth all it costs.
It may be well to repeat what we have said in substance before, that 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 cool 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.
Towards the end of the month, and in September, evergreen hedges should receive their last pruning till the 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.
Herbaceous plants often die or become weak after a profuse summer flowering. This is especially the case with choice perennial Larkspurs, Pentstemons, and other things. Seeds of these should always be saved as a precaution against loss. Where plants are able to take care of themselves no seeds will be needed. In that case cut off the flowers as soon as they fade. It helps to strengthen the roots very much. Indeed these which sometimes die, do so chiefly because of having to perfect seed.