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.
There are indications that the love of art in landscape gardening is meeting with a fresh revival. There have been several periods within the time of living men, when there was much enthusiasm for this kind of art, notably in the time of A. J. Downing. The business depressions of late years have kept people more to the bread and butter side of life. Art is now reviving, and garden art, with other kinds. It will be a pity if this new born taste be not judiciously guided. In the past we have seen thousands of dollars wasted in the effort to get something nice. In a large number of cases, pretty effects may be obtained by a small expenditure of cash. Usually the one who yearns after a nice garden sees a pretty plan in some book that he likes, and he resolves at once to imitate it. Or he sends to a landscape gardener for a plan whereby to improve his ground, and goes on with what is suggested, - or perhaps he puts the whole into the hands of some "jobber" in the vicinity, who " landscapes " to the tune of several thousand dollars, leaving a place of no more beauty than it was before.
In some other cases the owner "knows what he wants," and "does what he likes with his own," and generally at a much heavier expense than in any of the other cases.
Now most places have some peculiar natural beauty which only needs to be brought out or added to, and any plan drawn where the draughtsman has never seen the grounds, should be looked on with suspicion. Even after seeing the place, the artist should not merely be asked for the "best" plan for improvement, - but "what can be done for the least money?" Another thing to be kept in mind is that not only the cost of the improvement proposed should be known, but also what the place as improved will probably cost every year to maintain it in neatness and beauty. "We have known many a beautifully improved place to fall into disgrace very soon, because the annual expenses were a surprise to the owner. In all improvements, beware especia'ly of plans from foreign works. Their wants are not our wants, - and though the principles of beauty may be the same all the world over, our ability to enjoy these "principles" makes all the difference. For instance in the old world people can get about more in the height of summer than we can, - while we go into the shade and enjoy. We want more shade to our roads than Europeans do. To explain our meaning, we give on the next page what is regarded as a good model of landscape gardening, from the very fine French work of M. Andre recently issued.
This may be perfection in a cool climate, but with the thick belts on one side, and no trees on the other, it would be too hot for us. "We fancy our Southern readers would not sacrifice their nice groves of Magnolia grandiflora and Live Oak for all the niceties of such art as exhibited in the plan reproduced here.
So far as the South is concerned, gardeners work with a view to the coming spring; but for those gardens north of the Potomac, there is plenty yet to do. For them at least we may offer a few brief practical hints.