The common Trumpet Creeper all of you know by heart. It is rather a wild and rambling fellow in its habits; but nothing is better to cover old outside chimneys, stone outbuildings, and rude walls and fences. The sort with large cup-shaped flowers is a most showy and magnificent climber in the middle states, where the winters are moderate, absolutely glowing in July with its thousands of rich orange-red blossoms, like clusters of bright goblets.*
We might go on, and enumerate dozens more of fine twining shrubs and climbing roses; but that would only defeat our present object, which is not to give you a garden catalogue, but to tell you of half a dozen hardy shrubby vines, which we implore you to make popular; so that wherever we travel, from Maine to St. Louis, we shall see no rural cottages shivering in their chill nudity of bare walls or barer boards, but draped tastefully with something fresh, and green, and graceful: let it be a hop-vine if nothing better, - but roses, and wistaria, and honeysuckles, if they can be had. How much this apparently trifling feature, if it could be generally carried out, would alter the face of the whole country, you will not at once be able to believe. What summer foliage is to a naked forest, what rich tufts of ferns are to a rock in a woodland dell, what "hyacinthine locks" are to the goddess of beauty, or wings to an angel, the drapery of climbing plants is to cottages in the country.
One word or two about vines in the gardens and pleasuregrounds before we conclude. How to make arbors and trellises is no mystery, though you will, no doubt, agree with us, that the less formal and the more rustic the better.* But how to manage single specimens of fine climbers, in the lawn or garden, so as to display them to the best advantage, is not quite so clear. Small fanciful frames are pretty, but soon want repairs; and stakes, though ever so stout, will rot off at the bottom, and blow down in high winds, to your great mortification; and that, too, perhaps, when your plant is in its very court dress of bud and blossom.
* Given in Bailey's "Cyclopedia" as Campsis Chinensis. - F. A. W.
Now the best mode of treating single vines, when you have not a tree to festoon them upon, is one which many of you will be able to attain easily. It is nothing more than getting from the woods the trunk of a cedar tree, from ten to fifteen feet high, shortening-in all the side branches to within two feet of the trunk (and still shorter near the top), and setting it again, as you would a post, two or three feet deep in the ground.
Cedar is the best; partly because it will last for ever, and partly because the regular disposition of its branches forms naturally a fine trellis for the shoots to fasten upon.
Plant your favorite climber, whether rose, wistaria, or honeysuckle, at the foot of this tree. It will soon cover it from top to bottom, with the finest pyramid of verdure. The young shoots will ramble out on its side branches, and when in full bloom, will hang most gracefully or picturesquely from the ends.
The advantage of this mode is that, once obtained, your support lasts for fifty years; it is so firm that winds do not blow it down; it presents every side to the kindly influences of sun and air, and permits every blossom that opens to be seen by the admiring spectator.
* This strong recommendation of "rustic" architecture would not meet the modern taste; nor would the following plan of planting rustic cedar posts in the lawn for the support of climbing vines. This was once very much the vogue, but the present editor feels compelled to disagree strongly with Mr. Downing's approval of it. - F. A. W.