Humus in the form of decayed vegetable matter from bogs or lakes should be used generously in preparing garden beds. This material is rich in plant foods and, worked well into the surface soil, lessens the tendency to puddle or bake.
The construction and setting of the garden, essential as these are to its success, are second in importance to the floral ensemble (Figs. 130 and 131). In the selection and arrangement of the flowers (Fig. 132) a great deal of liberty may be exercised and personal tastes indulged. The best planned and most enjoyable gardens are those which provide a sequence of bloom, starting with the Snowdrops and Crocuses in early Spring and continuing on through the Spring, Summer and Fall until the waning season is brightened by such old favorites as the Japanese Anemones and ushered out by the hardy Chrysanthemums.
An important subject to be considered in the arrangement of the flowers is that of balance. The height of the foliage and bloom on one side of the garden should have a corresponding unit on the other, not necessarily the same plant, but there should be some degree of similarity in outline and color.
Much has been written of color in the garden. I would lay stress on these few points. It is well to keep the purples and blues at some distance from the principal point of view; the lighter colors should be in the foreground. This will enhance the distance and give a pleasing graduation of color.
The question of mass should be given consideration. Most of the perennials have but a short season of bloom after which they are of little use. In selecting varieties for large clumps, those with a long blooming season should be chosen. Exceptions to this rule are such plants as German and Japanese Irises. These plants have foliage of artistic excellence contrasting well with other features in the garden.
Fig. 132. - Larkspurs in the garden. The selection and arrangement of the flowers should be the chief charm of the garden. - See oases 159. 162.
Fig. 133. - "Bulbs should have a more intimate place in the garden than is customary. Not in straight rows but planted in clumps along the edges of the beds." - See page 162.
Very often large spaces occupied by plants of short blooming season may be brightened by the use of some Summer flowering bulbs, such as the Gladioli. Larkspurs (Fig. 132), Phlox, some of the Bellflowers, Chrysanthemums, and Japanese Anemones are good in masses.