It is because this principle has been, perhaps accidentally, pursued, that the villages of New England are so celebrated for their sylvan charms. The elm is, we think, nowhere seen in more majesty, greater luxuriance, or richer beauty, than in the valley of the Connecticut; and it is because the soil is so truly congenial to it, that the elm-adorned streets of the villages there elicit so much admiration. They are not only well planted with trees, but with a kind of tree which attains its greatest perfection there. Who can forget the fine lines of the sugar-maple in Stockbridge, Massachusetts? They are in our eyes the rural glory of the place. The soil there is their own, and they have attained a beautiful symmetry and development. Yet if, instead of maples, poplars or willows had been planted, how marked would have been the difference of effect.
There are no grander or more superb trees than our American oaks. Those who know them only as they grow in the midst, or on the skirts of a thick forest, have no proper notion of their dignity and beauty when planted and grown in an avenue, or where they have full space to develop. Now there are many districts where the native luxuriance of the oak woods points out the perfect adaptation of the soil for this tree. If we mistake not, such is the case where that charming rural town in this state, Can-andaigua, stands. Yet we confess we were not a little pained in walking through the streets of Canandaigua the past season to find them mainly lined with that comparatively meagre tree, the locust. How much finer and more imposing, for the long principal street of Canandaigua, would be an avenue of our finest and hardiest native oaks, rich in foliage and grand in every part of their trunks and branches.*
Though we think our native elm or sugar maple and two or three of our oaks the finest of street trees for country villages, yet there are a great many others which may be adopted, when the soil is their own, with the happiest effect. What could well be more beautiful, for example, for a village with a deep, mellow soil, than a long avenue of that tall and most elegant tree, the tulip-tree or whitewood? For a village in a mountainous district, like New Lebanon, in this state, we would perhaps choose the white pine, which would produce a grand and striking effect. In Ohio, the cucumber-tree would make one of the noblest and most admirable avenues, and at the south what could be conceived more captivating than a village whose streets were lined with rows of Magnolia grandiflora? We know how little common minds appreciate these natural treasures; how much the less because they are common in the woods about them. Still, such are the trees which should be planted; for fine forest trees are fast disappearing, and planted trees, grown in a soil fully congenial to them, will, as we have already said, assume a character of beauty and grandeur that will arrest the attention and elicit the admiration of every traveller.
♦The oak is easily transplanted from the nurseries, though not from the woods, unless in the latter case, it has been prepared a year beforehand by shortening the roots and branches. - A. J. D. The oaks are nowadays being very successfully used in street planting throughout the eastern and southern states. - F. A. W.
The variety of trees for cities - densely crowded cities - is but small; and this chiefly because the warm brick walls are such hiding-places and nurseries for insects that many fine trees - fine for the country and for rural towns - become absolute pests in the cities. Thus, in Philadelphia, we have seen, with regret, whole rows of the European linden cut down within the last ten years, because this tree, in cities, is so infested with odious worms that it often becomes unendurable. On this account that foreign tree, the ailanthus, the strong scented foliage of which no insect will attack, is every day becoming a greater metropolitan favorite. The maples are among the thriftiest and most acceptable trees for large cities, and no one of them is more vigorous, cleaner, hardier, or more graceful than the silver maple.
We must defer any further remarks for the present; but we must add, in conclusion, that the planting season is at hand. Let every man, whose soul is not a desert, plant trees; and that not alone for himself, within the bounds of his own demesne, but in the streets, and along the rural highways of his neighborhood. Thus he will not only lend grace and beauty to the neighborhood and county in which he lives, but earn, honestly and well, the thanks of his fellowmen.