This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
I will start with the thesis that a place in the country designed as a residence the year round, is not complete if it does not embrace among its collection of trees many evergreens; not that I would have them more numerous than the deciduous trees; on the contrary, they should be in the minority. To those residing on the place they are, during winter, a source of much pleasure - particularly if judiciously grouped on the north side of the entrance road, (where they afford a delightful change of temperature to one driving in on a north windy day from the exposed public road,) and in an irregular belt running around the northern and exposed sides of the grounds. Planted in this way, they afford protection to more tender trees and shrubs - such as, among evergreens, the Irish and English Yew, Deodar, and Lebanon Cedars, Chili Pine, Mahonia, American Rosebay, Treebox, etc., etc. The place is also more attractive to the casual observer. The trees most desirable for the irregular belt and the closely planted groups, are the Hemlock, Arbor Vita?, and Red Cedar. There is sufficient contrast in their habit of growth and color of foliage to give variety and character to the belt; and, if it is desired to prevent their spreading beyond a certain limit, the two first bear the shears perfectly well, and by judicious shortening-in, they will retain their natural irregularity of outline.
Planted singly on the lawn, there is nothing can equal the Norway Spruce, when allowed to throw out its branches close to the ground. The Hemlock is almost its equal in this situation; the Black or Double Spruce is a handsome tree, and the Sweedish Juniper is a small, handsome tree of peculiar foliage; but the White or Single Spruce, and the Silver Fir, on account of their thinness of foliage as they grow old, should be discarded; the White Pine grows too large for any but large grounds.
Of evergreen shrubs, the Mahonia, with its Holly-like leaves, and its abundance of bright yellow blossoms, the American Rosebay, with its large fine pink flowers, and the common Laurel, [Kalmia, we suppose. - Ed.] whose beauty every one is acquainted with, are suitably placed by the side of the walks and on the outside of groups of trees.
I refer to the Hemlock again, not because it is the most useful for ornamental purposes, either single or grouped, but because it can be obtained, (not from woods, but from open ground where it has had the opportunity to develop itself) of any size, which, to a person wishing to produce immediate effect, is worthy of consideration. I have moved the past six winters one hundred and ten Hemlocks, and an equal number of Spruces and Cedars of from twelve to twenty feet high, (by the frozen ball method,) and have lost but one, and that was owing to the excessive severity of the winter of 1852, at the time it was moved. This method (the frozen ball) of moving trees has often been described, but I differ from most by covering the ground where the trees are to planted in the fall, to keep out the frost, and digging the holes when the trees to be placed in them are on the spot, and I can judge of the necessary size and depth, instead of digging the hole (as is usually recommended) in the fall, and then filling it with straw, and covering the dirt thrown out.
Tired of the trouble of the above method, I tried in the spring of 1852 the common way, and as soon as the frost was out of the ground removed eighteen Hemlocks with the utmost care, covering the roots with wet mats the moment they were dug up - taking them from similar soil to that where they were to stand, and mulching after they were planted. The result was, that ten of the eighteen died, and last winter I replaced them with trees moved with dirt frozen to the roots.
Of the deciduous trees enumerated in my last communication, the Mountain Ash, when placed in the neighborhood of evergreens, and covered with berries in winter, produces a pleasing effect As to the Catalpa, though late in putting out its foliage in spring, yet it compensates this defect by the size of its leaves and beauty of its flowers; a few can be used to advantage singly and on the outside of groups. The Judas tree is pleasing, from its red buds put out early in spring, before the leaves appear; and the Purple-leaved Beech deserves a conspicuous place on the lawn for the peculiarity of its foliage; and placed in the neighborhood of the Sweedish Juniper and Irish Yew, the effect is striking from the unusal foliage and appearance of each. The Double-flowering Cherry, with its charming flowers, should have a place near the flower garden; or if the fruit orchards join the trees of the lawn, this, with the Double-flowering Apple, Double Plum, "Weeping Cherry, etc., may be used to advantage to form the connecting link between the useful and ornamental parts of the grounds. The Osage Orange forms a handsome tree with its deep green glossy leaves, and is worthy a place, although late in coming forward in the spring.
The still smaller trees, the Hawthorns, Buckthorns, White Lilacs, Ac, etc., form handsome trees of sufficient height to shade walks, look well when standing alone or grouped together, and as they (especially the Buckthorn and Privet) grow well in the shade. They are particularly useful in close grouping with and under larger trees.
The shrubs which I enumerated (page 212 of the May No.) can be grouped by the aides of the walks - producing intricacy by shutting out the view in advance, and of other walks near by - grouped the same as trees on the lawn, they produce variety by breaking up the view into pleasing openings, and they can be used as undergrowth among the larger trees. For the last named purpose, I have found the Privet (allowed to grow as a shrub) and the Missouri Currant perfectly well adapted. If there is on the place a few full grown trees, they may be covered to advantage with the American Ivy, Honeysuckle, and some of the Prairie Rosea.
Instead of placing all the ornamental trees in front of the house, as is too often the case, some of the larger groups (particularly evergreens) should be placed at the back and sides, to give a background to the picture, and a pleasing effect to the house.