Specimens planted in front of border plantings should always be at the salient points and not in the bays formed by the border outlines. The positions of specimen conifers should not be decided without reference to the border plants behind them. Evergreens with golden foliage should not be placed in front of shrubs with yellow leaves or flowers. Evergreens with blue foliage should not be placed in front of plants with silvery leaves. Strive to establish a contrast, but be careful to preserve good balance and harmony. If an existing plantation, either on the premises or beyond, consists of large trees, the specimens planted in the foreground should have foliage that will blend. Use trees of the same variety and depend for contrast on smaller trees and shrubs planted still more to the front.
While the farm layout should be thoroughly practical, the farmer who thinks that he must carry this so far that he can find no time or place for anything that is pleasing and beautiful around his residence, lining his highway, or even the field itself, is very wide of the mark. The average farm house of the past few decades and its collection of outbuildings have not been such as to inspire either respect, friendly sentiment or pleasant associations. The result has been that during the last fifty years our rural districts have lost greatly in population, the girls and boys of the farm finding more pleasure and enjoyment in the towns and cities.
The farm home and its surroundings should be made attractive and inspiring to the occupants, particularly to the younger generation, that they may see in their homes far more that is pleasant and enjoyable than in the tiny cubicles which pass for homes in our great cities.
It is not to be supposed that the farmer of average means can purchase fine paintings and works of art, but he can improve his immediate surroundings at very little cost, making the home a thing of beauty rather than a hideous collection of purely utilitarian conveniences.
A MASS OF COLOR AT BLOOM TIME. - Fig. 97. - Rhododendrons in a border planting shaded by large trees. - See page 102.
BORDER PLANTING EDGED WITH BULBS AND PERENNIALS Fig. 98. - Ensuring continuous bloom from early Summer until late in Fall. - See page 102.
The first aim in the landscape development should be toward an orderly arrangement of the barns, dairies, poultry yard and other features to be maintained for housing the stock and storing the crops. There is beauty as well as convenience in order. With the buildings located in their proper relation to each other and to the house, and the walk and drive arrangement carefully planned, the question of beautification is made quite simple.
All plantings should be composed of trees and shrubs that are very hardy and of easy culture, and for sentimental reasons it is well to select the old standard varieties familiar to old-time farms everywhere (Fig. 100).
Among the shrubs the most widely known is the Lilac. Lilacs are perfectly hardy and thrive in almost any soil and position. The varieties have been greatly improved, so that kinds may now be had with single or double flowers and in a wide range of color.
The Snowball is another favorite always found with the Lilac in the old-time farmyard. Other familiar kinds are the old-fashioned Sweet Shrub, Golden Bell, Bridal Wreath, Japanese Quince or Fire Bush, Mock Orange, Rose of Sharon and Weigelas. Add to these the Hydrangea and we have a selection that covers a long period of bloom.
There is not a place where these old-fashioned and greatly loved varieties may not be used to advantage as a means of ornamentation. Plant them at the corners of buildings, at fence corners, at interior angles, at intersections of walks and drives, and in pairs down the straight walk that leads to barn and garden.
The farm barn may have an end or side protected from the stock, which may be changed from an unsightly aspect to one of picturesqueness through the planting of a few hardy shrubs (Figs. 101, 102 and 103).
Although the truck garden is a strictly utilitarian feature, it is quite practical and not an extravagance to provide space for a small flower garden between the truck garden and the house, a scrt of an anteroom to the strictly prosaic feature beyond.
The flower garden should not be large; it would be an error to make it so, and some of the space in the beds should be given over to the smaller vegetables and herbs, keeping the flower borders along the walks. In the old-time gardens these borders were defined by box edging or stone curbing. When stones were used they were whitewashed each Spring when the buildings and the fences receive their annual coat.
PYRAMIDAL EVERGREENS IN BORDER PLANTINGS.
Fig. 99. - Vervaene's Arborvitae (Thuya occidentalis Vervaeneana). A good type'of pyramidal evergreen. - See page 102.
ORNAMENTAL PLANTING ON THE FARM Fig. 100. - A planting of old-fashioned shrubs around a farm house. - See page 109.
A TYPE OF NEGLECT TOO OFTEN SEEN Fig. 101. - Usual type of farm barn, entirely devoid of planting. - See page 109.
QUITE DIFFERENT AND ALTOGETHER TO BE PREFERRED.
Fig. 102. - An attractive planting of hardy trees and shrubs against the side of a farm barn. A constant pleasure to the farmer and his family. - See page 109.
A FURTHER IDEA OF HOME GROUND IMPROVEMENT.
Fig. 103 - Planting at the intersection of the highway and the road to the farm barn. It raises the value of farm property. - See page 109.
Fig. 104. - Ornamental small vegetable garden on an old farm property. See description given on page 114.
I recall a charming old garden which had been laid out along these lines (Fig. 104). The flower borders were four feet wide and the walks, of the same dimension, divided the area into four equal rectangles. On the axis of one of the walks, which was a continuation of a walk paralleling the front of the house, stood an old Catharine Pear, perched on a little mound, that formed a quiet resting place under the overhanging branches. The Pear was the center of the little lawn, about thirty feet square, partially enclosed by three clumps of Lilacs, and was the dominant note in the scene, standing stately and serene. At each corner of the garden and at the intersection of the walks were specimen shrubs, sixteen in all, and between them, back of the garden beds, were placed the Currant and Gooseberry bushes. In the flower beds were planted the herbs, and those old-fashioned garden favorites, Paeonies, Chrysanthemums, Larkspurs, Sweet Rockets, and Flags, preceded in the Spring by hundreds of yellow Daffodils, making a scene worthy of reproduction on every farm in the land.