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.
No one should object to the so-called carpet bedding, mosaic beds or "beds of Moses" as an intelligent lady was made to say in our columns recently, for they certainly make the grounds very gorgeous and gay. But these should not drive out the old fashioned herbaceous plant. Some people are again introducing them, but they are even then given some back piece of ground, out of sight of the general admiration the garden excites. But much more might be done by having them in combination with shrubbery. We have seen some illustrations this year, especially on the boundaries of grounds. The Chrysanthemum will soon be in blossom, and if one can get a chance to see it in combination with a belt of shrubbery the force of our remarks will be apparent.
In ornamental gardening much use may be made of Aloes, Fourcroyas, Yuccas and similar plants, that are not altogether hardy. These are often kept in huge tubs, which require an enormous amount of labor to handle every spring and fall, besides many an hour spent in watering. These do nearly or quite as well if planted annually in the open ground and re-potted in fall. If there be much of this heavy handling of tubs this fall, it may be worthy of consideration whether in some cases it would not be as well to tip them out, and carry to the potting place, so as to put them in something temporary and not half so heavy to keep for next year.
Herbaceous plants, like varieties of fruits, usually delight in being renewed from seed occasionally. Save at this season those that may be particularly desirable and sow early next spring. If sown now some may bloom next year.
We may make up our minds now what trees to thin out when the winter comes. In almost every place trees are too thick, except where clumps of trees are desired for landscape effect. Along streets twenty feet is the space usually given. This is well enough for the first ten years, but after that forty is enough. A tree which spreads its branches is always more graceful than a mass of branches drawn up. And a tree which spreads affords no temptation to have its head cut off. Such trees are bad subjects for the tree butchers that infest the environs of all large towns.
In transplanting this fall do it as early as possible, that the earth may settle well about the roots before winter sets in. All successful planting really depends on how soon the mutilated roots can draw in moisture to supply the waste of evaporation; hence if a tree has been badly dug and has few roots or the roots appear dry or weak, lessen the demand on them for moisture by cutting away some of the branches. In this cutting take the weak branches, and not the strong and most vital ones, as are often stupidly sacrificed, and above all see that the earth is tightly packed about the roots, for, unless the earth is in actual contact with each rootlet the work is not perfectly done. If there is a rootlet which even by a hair's breadth does not touch the earth, that rootlet might as well not be there. It is a very good plan to lift the tree up and down a little before the earth is hammered in about the roots, so as to allow the earth to close in around the roots as much as possible.
It is not necessary to wait till all the leaves are off before planting. Cut away whatever may not be mature. No matter if those of no experience regard it as barbarous to do so. No one regrets it who once tries the plan. Gardeners take the leaves off of cuttings they make, and a transplanted tree is in much the position that a cutting is.
Hardy bulbs should be transplanted when necessary in the fall, and the earlier in the fall the better. They will do pretty well up to frost. All this applies to Dutch bulbs as well as others. Bulbs like to be rather deep, and to have the soil rather rich and rather damp. It is the low reclaimed mud of Holland which helps their bulbs quite as much as the skill of the Dutch gardeners.
We have said a good deal about ornamental hedges in past numbers; but not, perhaps, as much as the subject deserves. Not only do they make the very best kind of boundary fences, and form in themselves beautiful objects, but they have a great use in small places in breaking off long and uninteresting scenery, and, by dividing perhaps one grand view into innumerable parts, make a small place seem very large indeed.
Of evergreen hedges the most readily obtained are Norway Spruce and Scotch Pine, Hemlock, Spruce and Chinese and American Arbor Vitae, - but where dwarf dividing lines are desirable the golden Retinospora and dwarf forms of Arbor Vitae make pretty objects. Of decidious hedge-plants almost any of the thick growing shrubbery make pretty hedges.
The purple or green Beeches, Hornbeams, Dogwoods, Fly Honeysuckles, Berberries, Elaeagnus, Pyrus japonica, Japan Snowballs, all make admirable dwarf hedges, and most of them are almost as impenetrable when perfectly trimmed as an Osage Orange or Honey Locust. For cheap farm hedges nothing is yet as good as the two last named.