Where space permits of long borders of good width the question of a suitable background (Fig. 164) should not be entirely overlooked. Good supporting growth adds greatly to the charm and attractiveness of perennial plantings. For this reason it is well to introduce shrubs or evergreens at regular intervals in borders along walks. These will strengthen the planting and add to the character.
Another pleasing addition to the perennial border is the introduction of cedar posts at intervals of from ten to twelve feet, through which, at a point about ten inches from the top of the post, a chain of one and one-half inch links should be run. Plant a climbing Rose at each post, to form a pillar of green, and train the leaders along the chain to form a festoon.
Rose arches (Fig. 165) are pleasing to tie together border beds along walks and increase the apparent distance. These should not be planted too closely together; fifteen to twenty feet apart is the most satisfactory distance.
It is not advisable to dot single plants of favorite varieties all through the borders. Rather, have some good clumps (Fig. 166) at one, two, or several places in the bed. Too much stress cannot be laid on this point. Keep varieties together; do not scatter them too much. The effect is better; it helps greatly in the care of the beds, and allows of keeping in much closer touch with individuals. The size of the clumps will depend greatly on the area of the borders and the location. Care should be taken not to plant large clumps of varieties which have a very limited blooming season, such as the Oriental Poppy, or kinds with poor foliage, such as Anthemis tinc-toria. Frequent small clumps of such kinds are better with Gladioli planted among them for later bloom.
Greater use should be made of bulbs and tubers in the hardy borders. They are inexpensive and should otherwise be considered from the standpoint of ease of culture, color, and succession of bloom. It is possible, by a careful selection, to secure a sequence of bloom lasting through the entire season.
Bulbs and tubers may be generally divided into two classes; those known as hardy bulbs, such as Daffodils and Crocuses, which may be allowed to remain in the border from season to season; and tender bulbs, such as Gladioli and Dahlias, which must be lifted and wintered under cover. These classes may again be divided into Spring, Summer and Fall blooming kinds.
Of the Spring kinds nearly all are suitable for garden culture. Among the first to bloom, usually as early as February, we have Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis), Snowdrops and Crocuses, followed by Daffodils, early and late Tulips and Hyacinths.
The late blooming Tulips, such as the Darwins, Cottage and Parrot types, deserve more general recognition in our garden beds. They afford magnificent coloring and have good long stems, making them suitable for use as cut flowers.