This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Elberon, on the New Jersey coast is a quaintly picturesque place. It is a little town on a strip of moorland, as full of sun and all the breezes that blow as if its resting place was by the Firth of Forth, or on the surf-margined downs of the South British coast. Some of its houses, that have not been out of the builder's hands as much as ten years, might easily claim an antiquity of half as many centuries. It is a conspicuously noticeable fact that there is not a froward house in the village group, and even the most pretentious are models of modesty.
The irregular arrangement or distribution of these houses is excellent, and the removal of everything that would obstruct the sea-view of those which necessarily stand some distance back from the line of bluff, if not the result of unselfishness, is nevertheless a feature other similar places might copy to their credit and profit. The lack of trees, and all other impedimenta, with the continuous green, well-kept level lawn, give to the place its remarkably free, cool and agreeable aspect. Then the prevailing depressed hedge is a capital idea. Whether it is low by intention, or because it has not yet had time to grow to the usual height, I do not know. It is, at least, a happy hit, and fits in well with the other features of the place.
To speak more particularly of the hedge - or of hedges generally - is my occasion for writing this. I can see no reason why they should all, and always, be of one invariable height.
There are reasons, however, why in some cases, they should be kept low, and the seaside village under consideration presents an instance where this exceptional treatment can be carried out with advantage to all concerned.
The full value of a high hedge could be nearly realized by laying the same hedgedown, as it were, upon its side; in other words, giving it greater breadth to replace its lack of height. A line of low, widely-trimmed Osage or Hawthorn, six or seven feet broad, would be nearly, if not quite, as effectual a bar to the passage of man and the animals, as would one clipped four or five feet above the ground level. Over this breadth of six or seven feet the plants could be set in four or more lines or rows, and could be of one species only, and thorn-bearing, or of two or more, the outer of which would be of impervious shrubs, the inner of one or more contrasting species, but thornless.
A variation upon this would be to give the major portion of the hedge's thickness to resisting plants, whilst the inner margin, seen from the windows of the house, would be composed of herbaceous sorts, with ornamental leafage, which would be especially striking when set against the deep green low-clipped shrubbery.
As a further deterrent, in special cases, to reckless two or four-footed pedestrians, a line of posts could be set midway of the hedge's width, the said posts to be connected by iron rods or chains, and posts and chains to be painted to harmonize with the leafage below.
The gate, if necessary, would be two-barred and hung low, or if absent, the gate posts, set widely asunder, and rising but a foot above the depressed hedge, would be encircled by the latter. These would have as a surmounting object, a vase, to be flower-filled or ivy-entwined, or balls, either of which would suit a variety of situations.