This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
There are numerous suburban gardens with lawns too small to be "cut up" with clumps or beds of shrubs and flowers, yet capable of much ornament, by having a few select trees dotted about them; but few proprietors of such gardens have, however, the necessary knowledge to select the most appropriate kinds; a descriptive list of such will not, therefore, perhaps, be out of place in the pages of The Florist, confined to species easily procurable of any nurseryman at a very moderate price, i. e. from Is. 6d. to 2s. 6d. each.
Among these small ornamental trees, the species and varieties of the genus Cytisus, grafted on stems of the Laburnum, are highly ornamental. In very light and poor soils they are said to be shortlived, but this is generally owing to a want of common care and culture; the grass should not, in such soils, be suffered to grow up close to the stem, and they should have an annual surface-dressing of manure in the autumn; in summer, the small circle round their stems need not be bare; some flint stones, or pieces of rock, or moss, may be placed round them to keep their roots cool and moist. In deep fertile soils this care will not be required. With respect to their duration, I have had specimens in great beauty from ten to fifteen years. Some of the species are remarkably pendulous and graceful, others rigid and compact, forming round-headed trees. Among the pendulous species none are more beautiful than Cytisus elongatus. This makes long slender shoots, which in April and May are completely weighed down by the numerous bright yellow flowers it puts forth.
In winter the branches that have bloomed the previous season will require to be cut out, as they often die from being completely exhausted; but numerous young shoots from the base of the tree are ready to take their place for the following season: none of those young shoots should be shortened. A species or variety closely allied to this is Cytisus falnatus, much like the foregoing, but with a habit not quite so pendulous; its flowers are perhaps a little larger, and its shoots and buds remarkable in winter for their bright silvery hue.
Another drooping species, with yellow flowers, is Cytisus supinus; this is so pendulous, that its shoots form a perfect parasol-like tree, highly ornamental.
Cytisus nigricans is of upright growth, and forms a compact round head, differing from most of this tribe in blooming in summer. Nothing can be more beautiful than a tree of this species in June and July, with its deep, very deep golden flowers; so brilliant, that the eye is at once arrested. Cytisus sessilifolius is also of upright, rigid growth, and soon forms itself into a dense globular head; this may be assisted, if desired, by shortening those shoots that are vigorous; its flowers are of the same golden hue as the preceding: it blooms about a month earlier. I had a tree of this species which continued in great beauty for fifteen years; it was always called the "Golden Tree," and richly deserved its name. Of a very distinct habit, although of the same genus, is the Purple Cytisus (Cytisus pur-pureus), and its varieties. This species gives purple flowers, is quite pendulous, and very graceful and beautiful. A variety known as C. purpureus major has larger flowers; its habit not quite so pendulous. Another variety, called C. purpureus flore alio, has flowers of the purest white; this is a most remarkable and beautiful little tree, also pendulous. A variety with dark purple flowers, called Cytisus atro-purpureus, is also very desirable.
Cytisus purpureus elongatus is a hybrid raised on the continent; it partakes, as its name imports, of the habit of C. elongatus; its flowers are pale yellow, tinted with lilac; its shoots are graceful and slender, but not exactly pendulous: it is a charming variety, and blooms most profusely in April and May. All the species and varieties of Cytisus purpureus, except the latter, will live much longer, and grow with more vigour, if grafted on stems of the Purple Laburnum, which is a curious hybrid between the Cytisus purpureus and the common Laburnum. Some few years since, trees of this so-called "Purple Laburnum," imported from France, were sold at auction sales in London at a guinea and upwards each. As some of your readers may still be ignorant that such a tree exists, I may as well state that its flowers are not purple, but of a dingy, dull lilac. This tree is, however, curious, and remarkable for putting forth branches of the Purple Cytisus, and also of the common Laburnum, so that the tree produces at the same time yellow, purple, and lilac flowers.
Trees of the Purple Cytisus and its varieties often suffer from their shoots being too much crowded; they may be thinned in winter with advantage, taking out one-third, but not shortening those that are left, as it destroys their graceful pendulous habit.
In the Cytisus tribe are the Cytisus albus, or White Portugal Broom; the Pink Portugal Broom, this has merely the edges of its white flowers tinged with pink; the Cream-coloured Broom, and the Yellow Broom: these all succeed when grafted on the Laburnum, and form most beautiful small Lawn Trees. Their shoots require to be shortened annually in March, or they are apt to become straggling in their growth and unhealthy; but with only common care and culture, they remain healthy for several years, and in spring are covered with flowers. The Cream-coloured Broom is remarkably robust, and richly deserves its name. The white and pink are of a more refined habit, but exceedingly graceful and beautiful. These species and varieties of the Broom were formerly arranged under the genus Spartium; modern botanists have placed them under Cytisus; to common observers they appear very different.
Veritas. (To be continued).
The Lilac (Syringa vulgaris), a class of shrubs not usually elevated to trees, may be made, by culture, highly ornamental to the lawn. They should be budded on stocks about four feet in height, raised from seed (otherwise suckers are produced too bountifully), with straight neat stems: they will, with attention to shortening the strong shoots in summer, soon form compact round heads, and give abundance of flowers. The most eligible varieties for this purpose are, Charles the Tenth, which has large spikes of flowers of a very deep red; this is decidedly one of the most beautiful varieties of this charming family of spring-flowering shrubs, which so enliven our gardens in the "merry month" of May, - the 'lilac tide' of Horace Walpole: - and then we have S. valetteana (what a pity there is no English name!), a French variety, producing long loose spikes of flowers, red and pale lilac mixed; this is very elegant and beautiful.
Two robust-growing sorts, called the "Dark-Red Lilac" and "Dark-Blue Lilac," form fine objects when in full bloom. The Persian Lilacs also form very pretty small round-headed trees, budded on neat stems; and last, but not least, the variety received from France as a "Scarlet Lilac," but which is the Red Siberian Lilac (Syringa rothomagensis rubra), forms a most charming lawn tree. I have a specimen, now about two years old, which has formed a round yet graceful head; every season it is covered with its spikes of deep reddish-lilac flowers, and every year, for two or three weeks, attracts a large share of admiration.
These standard Lilacs have one great claim on our attention, - they grow well in all soils and in all climates, and only require their stems to be kept clear from suckers from the stock: they may, however, be budded close to the ground, and the shoots from the bud be trained so as to form a straight stem; in such cases the only care required, is to clear the root and the stock below the bud from every sucker that arises. If agreeable, the shoots on the stem may be encouraged, so that the tree forms itself into a pyramid.
Very pretty and ornamenial trees for small lawns are the varieties of Dwarf Almond, budded on straight Plum-stocks, from four to five feet in height. The most interesting varieties are, the Dwarf Georgian Almond (Amygdalus nana yeorgica); this differs but little from that very old garden friend, the common Dwarf Almond, which in some soils overruns the ground, so as to be almost a pest; but its lively pink flowers in March and April are always grateful. The Dwarf White Almond (Amygdalus nana alba) forms a pretty contrast to the Georgian Almond, with its snowy flowers: and then we have a new species, the Amygdalus incana, which blooms a month later than the preceding; the under surface of its leaves is silvery, and its pretty pink flowers are very ornamental.
The Double Dwarf Almonds are now arranged by botanists under the genus Cerasus, i. e. made into Cherries instead of Almonds; they also form very pretty small lawn trees. The Double Japan Almond (Cerasus japonica multiplex) and the Double Chinese Almon, (Cerasus sinensis) differ but little in their flowers, which are double of a bright pink, and very beautiful; in their habits they are, however, more distinct. C. japonica has shoots the ends of which are of a deep brown, and very erect in their growth, while those of C. sinensis are of a light grey, and more diffuse. A new species, the Single Chinese Almond (C. sinensis glandulosa), with single flowers, is also ornamental.
The Sweet Almond (Amygdalus communis dulcis) and its varieties are adapted for lawns of greater extent; - every body must know the Sweet Almond, which, with the Cherry, Plum, and the Sloe or Blackthorn, is so gay in March. There is a new variety, the Double Sweet Almond (A. communis flore pleno), which well deserves cultivation; it gives larger flowers than the Double Peach, and is really beautiful. The Weeping Almond (A. communis pendula) is a curious and remarkable tree, but it does not seem to blossom freely.
The Large-Fruited Almond (A. communis macrocarpa) is very distinct, and not growing so rapidly as the Sweet Almond, is desirable in small gardens. The Siberian Almond (Amygdalus siberica) is of the same dwarf habit as the Dwarf Almonds, and forms a very pretty small tree grafted on the Rlum-stock; its flowers are pure white, and most abundant. Nearly resembling this in foliage and flowers is the Dwarf Colony Cherry (Cerasus aniericutia), received recently from America, as a species found in the Rocky Mountains. It succeeds well, grafted on the Plum-stock; is more vigorous and robust than the Siberian Almond. Its flowers are of the same pure white, and its leaves of the same glorious hue; but its fruit is widely different, as it is a small black Cherry: it has been suggested, that it will make a valuable stock for "dwarfing" the Cherry, and this is very probable. The Double Peach (Persica vulgaris flore pleno) forms a most charming lawn tree cultivated as a standard. This well-known tree is too often neglected. If unpruned, it blooms su profusely, as to be very short-lived; but if its shoots are thinned out, and shortened to about half their length annually, it will give abundance of its charming flowers, and remain in vigour for many years.
The Double Ispahan Peach (P. ispahanensis flore pleno) is a pretty variety of the above, with slender graceful shoots and narrow leaves. It will not form so large a tree, but is a variety well worthy of cultivation. Veritas.