In my garden the severe Winter of 1908-4 caused many losses. Coming out the middle of April to spend a few happy days superintending Spring work, I found a sad state of things. Besides the Catalpa Bungii, Irish juniper and the standard box trees, all the privet hedges, most of which were the common privet, supposed to be hardy, were killed to the ground. All the Crimson Rambler and Wichuriana Roses were dead nearly to the ground, and, although they grew tremendously during the Summer, trellis and rose arches were bare until late in the season. Every Honeysuckle on the place was entirely killed, and all Clematis, Wistaria and Trumpet Creeper had died to the ground. During the Summer they have, however, sent up shoots of surprising growth, as if to recoup their reputation of being hardy plants. Deutzias, eight feet high, and also Vibernum plicatum were killed, while more than half the low-growing Roses were dead to the ground, and the budded ones have this Summer grown only Sweet Briar bushes - a warning lesson never to buy Roses ex-cept on their own roots.
Horse Chestnut tree (slow growing) eight years after planting September fourth.
The hybrid Perpetual and other Roses that survived, produced great quantities of flowers. I have never seen finer blooms of Baroness Rothschild, Margaret Dixon, and Kaiserin Augusta Victoria than those of this year in my garden.
As I walked about my beloved garden on that April day and saw the sad havoc wrought among the plants by the cold Winter, sorrow and despair, such as the gardener will understand, took hold of me. Tears are the most futile things in the world and serve only to make one homely and unattractive and a nuisance to others, but when the men went off to dinner I retired to the farthest corner of the place and, with only my dog to see, who whined in sympathy, wept bitterly. But courage and a determination not to be overcome, quickly came to my aid, and a short time after I was preparing lists for new plants and trees to make good the Winter's damage.
The spruces (Abies polita, Abies pyram-idalis) and the arbor vitae (Thuja Ver-vaeneam and pyramidalis) are hardy trees of pyramidal form, suitable for use in a garden because of their compact growth.
The Irish yew is another decorative evergreen, but it must be well protected from the Winter's sun and from too great cold. Japanese cedars, the Retinispora group, are all compact in growth and submit themselves to shearing. The Retinispora squamosa has beautiful feathery blue-green foliage.
The Retinispora plumosa, or Japanese cypress, has a delicate foliage and may be grown on tall stems with heavy heads like the standard bay trees. It should be grown in tubs, however, and may be removed in Winter to the house for decorative effect, or stored in a cellar that is not too cold.
A light, frost-proof cellar for storing roots and small, half-hardy trees, such as box and bay, is as necessary a requisite for a large garden as a properly equipped tool house, and enables one in this climate to have the pleasure of certain beautiful things that otherwise it would be impossible to keep through the Winters. In case there is no cellar, tender evergreens, such as Retini-spora squamosa, Irish yews, junipers, and standard or pyramidal box, should be protected by a heavy mulch of manure spread over the roots and close up to the stems of the tree, and by binding rye-straw or corn stalks about each tree and tying all together with cord. Winter sun shining on the frozen foliage seems to do the damage, and both straw and corn stalks keep the sun away and yet admit sufficient air.
Beware of setting hens, storks standing on one leg, pigs with curly tails, and other animals cut in box-wood that some nurserymen display. It is true they are curious, but to give animal form to a tree can never be other than bad taste.
Horace Walpole, in his essay on "Modern Gardening," first printed in 1771, criticises the fashion that "stocked our gardens with giants, animals, monsters, coats of arms, and mottoes, in yew, box and holly," remarking that "absurdity could go no farther;" and again, after inveighing against "the tricks of water works to wet the unweary, not to refresh the panting spectator," says: "To crown these impotent displays of false taste the shears were applied to the lovely wild-ness of form with which nature had distinguished each various species of tree and shrub. The venerable oak, the romantic beech, the useful elms, even the aspiring circuit of the lime, the regular round of the chestnut, and the almost moulded orange tree were corrected by such fantastic admirers of symmetry."
Of large-growing evergreens suitable for the lawn, there are the Austrian pine and form, eighteen years after planting.
Hop Hornbeam, a rate and slow growing tree of compact.
Scotch pine, the Norway spruce and the Colorado blue spruce, Nordmann's fir and the Colorado fir. These are all hardy and of rapid growth. But avoid planting tall evergreens near the house, for their dense foliage shuts out sun and light, and gloomy rooms are the result.
The end of August is the best time to shear arbor vitae, spruce, box trees, hemlocks, retinispora, and, in fact, all evergreens. By this time they have completed their new growth, and will have time before the cold weather begins to recover from the shearing, which sets them back somewhat. The shearing not only preserves the natural shape of these trees, but causes them to grow thicker and handsomer.
After your horse and dog, there is nothing that can better inspire love than a beautiful tree which you have yourself planted, pruned and cared for. If undisturbed, the life of the tree will go on for generations after the short span of human years has come to an end, and will be a comfort and a blessing to your children's children. Sitting in its grateful shade in Summer, the rustling leaves will tell to the imagination tales of the one who planted it and of those whose lives have been lived beside it, and in Winter its bare brown arms stretching against the sky will speak of the resurrection of the year and the coming Springtime, when green leaves will crown it anew, and bring the reminder, "though dead yet shall ye live."
The following lists of a few useful trees and shrubs may be of service to the reader:
Six Very Satisfactory Trees which are Comparatively Free from the Attacks of Insects, Living to Great.
Age, and Giving Fixe Shade, are:
Copper Beech, White Birch, American Ash.
Six Shrubs that are Hardy, Rapid Growing, Attain Large Size and Bear Beautiful Flowers, are:
White and purple Lilac, French varieties,
Althea Jeanne d'Arc, pure white,
The native Azaleas from North Carolina, particularly the Arborescens, white, Arborescens rosea, pink, and lutea, flame color.
These Azaleas should be given a northern exposure and heavily mulched in Winter with evergreen boughs driven in among them.
Four of the Best Hardy Tall Growing Evergreens, are:
Colorado Blue Spruce, Colorado Fir, Hemlock, White Pine.
Four of the Best Hardy Evergreens for Use in a Formal Garden, all of them Pyramidal in Form, are:
Thuja pyramidalis (Arbor Vitae),
Five Hardy Shrubs Growing about Six Feet in Height Bearing Handsome Flowers or Berries, are:
Hydrangea grandiflora panicnlata, Oak leaved Hydrangea, Lonicera alba, standard Honeysuckle, Viburnum plicatum, Japanese Snowball, Berberis Thunbergii - Barberry, Rose Acacia.
Six of the Hardiest Vines that will Withstand Very Low.
Enonymus Radicans (Evergreen),
Sweet Scented Wild Grape (Vitis Odorata),
Thuja Vervasneana August twelfth.