The subject of lawn planting, including the proper setting and grouping of trees and shrubs, and their most effective disposal, is too extended for the scope of this book. These matters belong to works upon landscape gardening, and are ably treated in those by Downing, Kemp, Weidenmann, Scott, and others. But the planting of flower-beds comes properly within our limits. The old-fashioned mixed borders of four or six feet wide along the walks of the fruit or vegetable garden, were usually planted with hardy herbaceous plants, the tall growing at the back, with the lower growing sorts in front. These, when there was a good collection, gave a bloom of varied color throughout the entire growing season. But the more modern style of flower borders has quite displaced such collections, and they are now but little seen, unless in very old gardens, or in botanical collections. Then again, we have the mixed borders of bedding plants, a heterogeneous grouping of all kinds of tropical plants, still holding to the plan of either placing the highest at the back of the border if it has only one walk, or if a bed has a walk on each side, the highest in the middle, and the plants sloping down to the walk on each side. The mixed system still has its advocates, who deprecate the modern plan of massing in color as being too formal, and too unnatural a way to dispose of flowers. But be that as it may, we will not stop to argue the matter further than to state, that in a visit to England in 1872, it was most evident that the "Carpet Styles" of massing plants as done at Battersea Park, London, were interesting to the people in a way that no mixed border could ever be. Any one who has not yet seen the wonderful effects produced by the massing of plants in this way, has a treat before him. Nearly all the public parks in and about London are so planted, and thousands of cottage gardens vie with each other in imitation of the parks. But to plant in patterns or in ribbon lines requires for immediate effect a large number of plants, for the reason that they must be so set out that they will meet to form continuous masses shortly after planting.
An illustration in circles (for convenience), is given in Fig. 8, to show what plants can be massed together to give a pleasing effect. Of course it will be understood that a bed of any shape can be planted in this manner as well as circular beds, only keeping in view the width of the bed. For example, a bed having a diameter of ten feet may require eight or ten different kinds of plants to form the necessary contrast, while that of five feet will not require more than half that number. The following named plants are well suited for planting in masses or ribbon lines; they are named as nearly as possible in the order of their hight, number one in each case being the tallest. Many of them will require to be "pinched back" to keep at the proper hight, so that the outline will form a regular slope from the center or highest point, down to the front or lowest point - thus in list No.l, Canna Indica zebrina will grow six feet high, while Lobelia Paxtoni, the lowest, is leas than six inches. The section given in figure 9 will give an idea of the arrangement of a bed of this kind.
Fig. 8. - Diagram Of Flower-Bed.
List No. 1. Average height in feet
Canna Indica zebrlna, leaves green and brown striped...
Salvia splendens, flowers scarlet....
Golden Coleus, leaves orange and brown...
Achyranthes Linden], leaves rich crimson.....
Phalaris arundinacea var., leaves white and green.....
Achyranthes Gilsoni, leaves carmine.....
Bronze Geranium, leaves golden bronze.....
Centaurea candida, leaves white.....
Alternanthera latifolla, leaves crimson and yellow....
Lobelia paxtoni, flowers blue......
List No. 2. Average height in feet
Caladium esculentum, leaves large green.....
Japanese Maize, leaves striped white and yellow..
Coleus Verschaffeltii, leaves chocolate crimson...
Delphinium bicolor, flowers blue and white.....
Cyperus alternifolius var., leaves white and green...
Achyranthes Verschaffeltii, leaves crime...
Mountain of Snow Geranium, leaves while and green...
Tropaeolum, Ball of Fire, flowers flame color...
Echeveria metallica, leaves gray, metallic lustre....
Alternanthers amaena, yellow and carmine........
It will be understood that these lists of plants can be transposed in any way necessary to suit beds of all widths, keeping in view that where small beds are placed near walks the lower growing kinds are most suitable, while for beds at greater distances from walks, or other points of view, the taller growing kinds must be used. Very fine effects are produced by planting on a lawn a single specimen of stately habit, such as some varieties of the Ricinus, or Castor-oil Bean, which grow ten and twelve feet in hight in one season, and are particularly striking plants. Or instead of this, a mass of six, eight, or twelve plants of scarlet sage will form a group six feet high by as many in diameter, and its dazzling scarlet color, contrasting against the green of the lawn, is superb. Many of the Amaranths are also well suited for planting in single groups. Amarantus tricolor gigantea, (Joseph's coat), grows to the hight of six feet, and its leaves in the late summer and fall months exceed in brilliancy of color anything we know of in foliage; scarlet, crimson, and golden yellow predominating. Another, the Amarantus bicolor ruber, grows to the hight of five feet, and is plumed with scarlet crimson. In contrast to these, plants of a more somber tint may be used, in individual specimens or in a group of such as Pampas Grass, (Gynerium argenteum), or the Ravenna Grass, (Erianthus Ravennce), each of these attain a hight from six to ten feet, and have a graceful appearance. The Tanyah, Caladium esculentum, a tropical looking plant growing three or four feet in hight, and producing leaves sometimes eighteen inches across.