THE subject of this chapter is one which should receive very careful consideration before the work is actually begun, and a detailed Plan of planting should be sketched out, especially keeping in view what the effect of the trees, shrubs and plants will be when they reach maturity. What that plan of planting actually may be depends very greatly upon how the ground is located.
If the site selected is on a hill, the character of the planting will be entirely different from that of a location on a level plain, where the situation is more likely to be well sheltered and favored with a deep, rich soil.
In this, as in every work we undertake, the first thing to be considered is the end in view, and the next the best means of attaining that end. As, in the planting of a Pleasure-Garden and Grounds, the end to be attained is how the trees and plants shall be most effectively placed (both that they themselves shall appear to the best advantage and also that each tree and each group of plants and shrubs shall contribute its full proportion to the effective laying out of the property as a whole), in order to attain that end, it is necessary to take advantage of every point in the natural formation of the location.
As has just been stated, the character of the planting on a hillside site is very different from that on a site located in a sheltered valley. On a hillside site the ground is seldom of an even nature, there frequently being projecting points of land or rocky outcroppings showing through the surface. These projecting points should be ornamented with hardy, strong-growing trees such as the Pine, Eucalyptus, Acacia, Cypress, Redberry and others of this class. No shrub, either exotic or indigenous, is so well adapted to the planting of a rocky ridge or in the foreground of hillside groups as our native Holly (Heteromeles arbutifolia). Another native which groups well in any such situation is our evergreen shrub Oak. Like the Redberry, its leaf has a good color, it has a semi-drooping habit of growth, it is evergreen and grows on dry banks on any exposure either North, South, East or West, excepting within a mile from the ocean, where, if facing the West and much exposed, it is apt to get wind-blown and generally does not thrive so well.
Where a shrubbery effect is desired and the soil is rich, some other shrub must be substituted, as the effect of a good soil will be to force the Oak into tree shape and to grow too large for a shrub effect, but where the soil is of a loose, rocky nature, and not too rich, the evergreen native shrub Oak gives one of the best effects possible without cultivation or irrigation.
These hardier trees are recommended also for planting on the outer lines of grounds of the extent of about one acre or over, or on those portions of a Pleasure-Garden which are much exposed or beyond the reach of the hose, and, as already suggested, they can be planted at any parts where the soil is poor.
For the planting of groups or clumps to be located immediately about the lawns or near hydrants where they can be watered, a much larger variety of trees and shrubs may be drawn from, the Bamboo, the Birch, the Maple, the Hawthorn, the Lilac, the Laurel and many others giving character and completeness to the composition.
Where the grounds are as large as from three to four acres, separate groups of each genus should be planted. For instance, exceedingly effective groups can be formed by planting a mass consisting of three or four varieties of Pines; another of Eucalyptus in variety; another of Spruce and Fir; another of a variety of evergreen Oaks; another of our native Laurel; another of Redwood; another of Cedar, and so on; and again, these may be planted so as to form combinations. Such trees as the Maple and Sycamore, or Cedar (Thuya) and Coast Redwood combine beautifully, but it must be particularly kept in view that grouping round-headed trees with those which are of pyramidal habit is a mistake. Round-headed trees must be grouped with those of the same habit, and pyramidal trees with those of similar form, the effect always being pleasing, but mixing those two shapes in the same group mars the effect and ruins the composition.
Evergreens and deciduous trees harmonize very well in a group, provided they are of the same shape and outline. For instance, a group formed by combining the Bamboo with the Birch is most pleasing, both of these being of the same graceful semi-pendulous habit.
It should, then, be remembered, in massing groups of trees for planting, that form and habit should be studied much more closely than any other quality.
In planning the groups it may be found desirable and effective to form some entirely of evergreens, others entirely of deciduous trees and shrubs, and others of a mixture of both, a very good combination being a group of our native Laurel and the European Linden, because both are of the same graceful habit of growth.
The same rule applies to the planting of shrubbery masses; the stiff and the formal should never be associated with the rounded, free-spreading kinds - that is, the kinds whose limbs spread wide and rest gracefully on the surface of the lawn.
In the disposition of a number of sorts of trees and shrubs in the landscape, the same principle must be followed in producing variety and harmony. If they are mixed together in a haphazard way, the results will very rarely be pleasing, but, at the same time, monotony must be guarded against. For example, groups of Oaks should not be followed by groups of round-headed trees, but rather by a mass formed of such trees as the California Laurel, while next to the Laurel might come the Poplar or some other tree of similar column-shaped head and symmetry. Then again, when groups meet, they might sometimes be blended together. For example, a group of Oaks, adjoining a group of California Laurels, might be blended into the Laurel group, by the Oaks being planted so as to overlap the Laurels and the Laurels the Oaks, as is to be found in natural groups.
The same rule applies to shrubs and even to flowers at the extreme points of the groups.
When a group of Pines adjoins a group of Live Oaks, it is always desirable to blend the two groups at the junction of the one with the other, care being taken to avoid regular progression and everything like formality, and it being borne in mind that grounds-laid out according to simple plans are generally much more pleasing than those laid out on overpretentious lines.
After the walks and drives are laid out (this subject being fully treated in Chapter IV (Construction Of Roads And Walks) (Construction Of Roads And Walks)) the next important work should be the mapping of the water-pipe system.
For a garden of about four acres in extent, a two-inch main will be necessary. This main should be laid along the middle of the ground with one and one-half inch branches laid at right angles from the main, about one hundred feet apart from each other (the first branch from the main to be laid fifty feet from the fence line), and with stand-pipes and connections to fit the hydrants also one hundred feet apart, so that any part of the garden may be reached with a single fifty-foot length of hose.
How often do we see both amateur and professional gardeners struggling to reach some favorite which unfortunately has been planted just out of reach of the last length of hose! It should always be borne in mind that water-pipe, even of the best quality, is much cheaper than hose, also that iron pipe lasts in the ground at least twenty years, whereas the life of the average rubber hose never exceeds two years, and very often is not more than one year.
Where a good pressure may be had from public water-works and when the supply is steady and reliable, it may not be necessary to construct a water-tank, but, where pumping has to be resorted to, or the public supply is liable to be shut off at times, it is well to have a water-tank erected. The tank should be of generous dimensions, and should be placed at least sixty feet above the level of the grounds to be irrigated. Of course, a lower tower would give some pressure, but the higher the source of the water supply and the nearer it is placed to the point of distribution the better the results and the shorter the time required to water or sprinkle the grounds, so, on the score of economy as well as efficiency, the tank should be placed at least sixty feet in height.
It has been deemed advisable to introduce a few planting plans, suitable for lots and gardens of various sizes, not necessarily to be rigidly adhered to in every particular, but to be used as suggestions.
Many additional species, or their varieties, may be substituted for or added to the suggestions, care being taken however that the principal plantings shall be of such species as are known to succeed and do well in the locality. It should be borne in mind that many species flourish in warm sunny portions of the State while others give best results in the cool atmosphere of the coast regions; for instance, as stated in the text, the Oleander is not recommended for the cool climate of San Francisco while the Fuchsia attains in that vicinity its most perfect growth.