This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Landscape gardening is one of the most delightful pursuits of country life, and those who wish to get as much pleasure as possible from their gardens, cannot study it too much. Not only the many acres of a large place, but the limited area of a small one, will afford scope for much in this way.
Persons who have small places, are often exercised as to the best way to lay them out. A too common error is to attempt too much. Having read of fine specimens of taste, or imbibed a love for the art from superior work on landscape gardening, or some friend's extensive country-seat, it is quite natural to wish to make the most of a limited plot. And this making the most of the thing implies a good deal, while it leads into many errors. The relation of the means to the end should never be lost sight of; nothing attempted that has not some well-defined object, and these objects will change from year to year. The mistake of the old writers on landscape gardening, was to take as they supposed what a place would be in ten or twenty years, and with this picture in the eye, plant for the future, the present being almost wholly sacrificed. When the landscape gardener was done with it, no one dared touch anything. The place was to grow into beauty from year to year. Except for public parks, or corporation gardens, this great art has not been popular in our country. Few people feel that they are to live and die on one spot, and as the property is usually sold and divided when they have done with it, the garden features may not be appreciated by those who follow.
Hence the landscape gardening for the future is not as popular as it was once in the old world, and immediate results are chiefly sought for. The greatest pleasure is often derived from making changes from year to year, just as our means or necessities may permit.
Roses, and many other things which flower from last season's wood, and which wood it is therefore important to preserve, may be saved by having the branches laid down under the soil. The ten-derest kinds of roses may be preserved successfully in this way.
Bulbs, as hyacinths, tulips, crocus, etc., if not already planted, should be at once proceeded with. A very rich sandy soil is the choice of the tulip and hyacinth. They should be set about four inches beneath the soil, and a quantity of sand put around each bulb. After planting, a covering of manure may be put over the place of planting, for reasons already given. Ground-mice - some say moles, also - are at times very destructive to these roots. No efforts should be spared to trap and destroy them. It is a very good plan to soak peas in water until they begin to swell, when they should be rolled in arsenic and buried in different parts of the soil near the beds. All the different kinds of lilies, including the most beautiful and rare kinds of Japan lilies, are perfectly hardy, and beds of these are among the handsomest and sweetest adornments of the pleasure-ground through the summer and autumn months. A very dry soil does not suit these. A rich and strong loam, rather inclining to dampness, will grow them to perfection.
When the leaves have fallen, many will commence pruning. Properly, summer is the proper time to commence pruning; the winter should be the time the job commenced in summer should finish. The object of pruning in the winter season is to impart vigor to the tree, or to cause branches to push next season strongly and vigorously in such parts as it may be desirable to have them. A tree which is already growing very vigorously, and is shapen according to our best wishes, can receive no advantage from pruning now. Any branches that cross each other, or that are otherwise misplaced, may, however, be cut out. Any trees that have arrived at maturity, and have some parts apparently weakened or decaying, should, on the other hand, have a thorough overhauling now. All scars made by the sawing off of any of the larger branches, should be painted over to keep out the damp, and to preserve them sound till the new bark shall grow completely over them This is a very important matter. Many fine trees are prematurely lost through this neglect. The wood decays, water enters, and the tree soon becomes hollow and worthless.
We always use paint, but others use gum-shellac dissolved in alcohol, a bottle of which they always keep on hand ready for the purpose.
This is also a good time to cut away any trees that it may be desirable to take down. When a place is first planted, many common trees are set in with the choicer ones, with the design of taking them away as the better ones grow. These, when becoming thick, should be gradually thinned out.