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.
The proper handling of shade trees is a matter of special importance to the public. I have in mind a long row of superb maples flanking a village street, and matched by equally fine trees across the way. For a mile, this street, running in a straight line, has been one of the loveliest of drives, increasing in its attractions year by year. The trees nearly interlocked overhead, and gave a summer day such relief as horse and foot could thoroughly appreciate.
Now for improvements No. 1. It occurs to our citizen along this route that the trees are too close together in front of his house. He cuts out every other one and burns them. The remaining trees do not look shapely because they had grown interlocked so long as to be somewhat denuded of limbs on the sides next each other.
No. 2. A man of restless activity buys a large place with one hundred front rods. He proceeds to trim up every maple to a height of fifteen feet from the ground. Not the least shade is now furnished along these hundred rods by trees, many of which look like inverted broom-sticks with some broom at the top. Not realizing that leaves are in part to protect the limbs and trunk from the scorching heat of summer, and to prevent the ground becoming exceedingly dry, he has begun the rapid decay of all his trees. Beauty and utility are gone, and vitality seriously weakened. There ought to he some law to protect the public from the effect of improvements that rob us of shade as well as drinking fountains. The one is quite as essential to comfort as the other.
No. 3. Another new comer has taken possession of a large homestead where unusual attention had been given to choice evergreens. He has trimmed up the Norways to eight feet, in order to admit of ploughing. Though in front of his house, they are sheared into uniform sugar loaves. Eleven green sugar loaves stand on their bottoms to delight his eye with their charming symmetry.
No. 4. This improvement takes in a river front. That is, a small river crosses the street, and divides the property. The banks of this stream were famously beautiful for superb willows that hung over and interlocked their branches as far down as the eye could discover. By some law of aesthetics quite recondite, our neighbor has been impelled to saw off all of these at a height of twenty feet, and allow them to grow up into enormous round tufts. This improvement seems to come into the class of experiments made for a love of change.
These improvements indicate four classes of mischief makers. We all get to have a just share in our neighbor's horticultural delights, and he has no right to first give us a pleasure and then take it away. As I suggested above, a tree planted in the street, is like a drinking fountain presented to the public; it is a gift, and no longer wholly private property.
" One harvest from your field Homeward bring your oxen strong; But another crop your acres yield Which I gather in a song".