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.
Lately we were in a very stylish garden, which had at considerable expense been remodelled by a distinguished landscape gardener; and we were seated with the excellent proprietor in a " summer house," designed after some distinguished European model, and which we were expected very much to admire. It was a board building, and the outside was covered with bark and moss. The inside was faced with split rods made to represent stars, diamonds, and other figures. It was indeed a very pretty piece of work; but oh! wasn't it hot! It was indeed a "summer" house, and the writer of this heartily wished for a winter one. It was an octagon, and the " door " and two window holes let in all the air. It is an excellent illustration of the absurdity of imitating European styles in our country. Far better would it be to provide some arbor of vines, which, while keeping out the heavy sun, lets all the cool breezes through. And by the way, did any one ever notice how much more cool and pleasant some vines make a place than some others will? and also that some trees seem cooler than others? People say it is always cool under a willow or a walnut, and they are certainly cooler than some other trees are.
The reason to our mind is that they have an immense number of small leaves, through which the cool air circulates: while stiff, broad-leaved trees shut out the air as thoroughly as our friend's English summer house did.
New sown lawns are liable to be crowded with weeds. There seems no better remedy than to hand-weed, filling the holes made with earth in those cases where the roots are large. In some cases this hand-weeding will have to be done for two or three successive years. The seeds of the common Plantain, for instance, do not all ger minate the first. It is often three years before they all grow. The greatest labor is during the first year of sowing, however. The increased encouragement of the grass helps to keep down weeds.
Ornamental hedges that are thin at the base receive much encouragement from cutting back the strong top shoots. Indeed, this applies to all growths, trees and shrubs, evergreens included. Any check to the more vigorous shoots while growing encourages the weaker ones. Remarkably beautiful specimens of anything may be had by noting this. The branches are rendered uniform in vigor by this sort of watchfulness, and can be made regular from bottom to top.
Plants set against wall and piazzas frequently suffer from want of water at this season, when even ground near them is quite wet. Draw away the soil around each plant so as to form a basin: fill in with a bucketful of water, allowing it time to soak gradually away, and when the surface has dried a little, draw in loosely the soil over it, and it will do without water for some weeks. This applies to all plants wanting water through the season. If water is merely poured on the surface, it is made more compact by the weight of water, and the harder the soil becomes, the easier it dries; and the result is, the more I water you give the more is wanted.
It must, however, be borne in mind that much injury often results to the newly planted trees from summer watering. The cold water cools: the ground, and we need some warmth in the soil to encourage new roots to push. Still, trees: must have some water when the, ground is dry, but it must be used with caution.
Amateurs may have some rare or choice shrub they may desire to increase. They may now be propagated by layers. This is done by taking a strong and vigorous shoot of the present season's growth, slitting the shoot a few inches from its base, and burying it a few inches under the soil, or into a pot of soil provided for the purpose. The young growing point of the shoot should be taken out in the operation. By the English mode of making the slit, a great number of the shoots will be broken and spoiled. Anything can be propagated by layers; and it is an excellent mode of raising rare things that can | be, but with difficulty, increased by any other.