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.
With a fine, well kept and velvety, green lawn, tastefully planted with ornamental trees and shrubs, such as we have already named, the grounds around the dwelling may be rendered very charming, but the effect can be increased by a judicious selection of weeping trees. We name some of the most beautiful: European Weeping Ash; Weeping Beech; Cut-Leaved Weeping Birch; Camperdown Weeping Elm; White-Leaved Weeping Linden; Weeping Mountain Ash; Weeping Poplar; American Weeping Willow, and Kilmarnock Weeping Willow.
Among horticultural topics and facts about ornamental planting, no single subject is studied with such interest now-a-days, as that of Weeping Trees. Nnrserymen are on the qui vive, to find something new, which will prove a great acquisition. All the really good varieties are kept in their Catalogues, and this department of rural taste is better cultivated than formerly. This topic is an old one among English gardeners; and yet, it is still discussed, never dropt out of sight. In a recent number of The Gardener's Chronicle, a correspondent takes up the principal varieties and gives some judicious hints as to which are the most desirable:
"Every one is familiar with the Weeping Willow, and appreciates the charming contrast its lithe, pendulous branches make, with those of the pyramidal shaped trees, as well as the effect produced by its light colored foliage, when associated with leaves of a darker hue; a purple beech, for instance. But many people seem to think there is nothing beyond a Weeping Willow, and a Weeping Ash; and many a gardener thinks the catalogue complete for all practical purposes if he makes up the trio with the pendulous Scampston Elm, a truly noble elm; which is deserving a place as a lawn tree, or wherever an isolated drooping tree, of bold, elegant form, is required.
The Common Weeping Willow, S. elegans (better known by its old name Baby-lonica), however, is not the only Weeping Willow worth growing. The new S. Sala-monU, though less pendulous, is equally fine, and is a rapid grower. Of smaller kinds, that make fine ornamented plants when worked or grafted as standards, are the Kilmarnock Willow, S. Capraea pendula, with broadish leaves, whitish beneath. S. rosmarinefolia, with long linear leaves; S. purpurea pendula, with similar, but shorter leaves; and S. Wolseyana, lately referred to in our columns.
Weeping Poplars are also particularly elegant. The pendulous variety of Aspen worked as a standard, is a plant no one should be without.
Youngs Weeping Birch (Betula), is a tree which no planter, having once seen, would willingly dispense with, any more than he would with similar forms of Beech. Two or three varieties of Oak, with pendulous branches, are cultivated; such as Q. Robua pendula, Q. Americana pendula, Q. rubra pendula. All probably seedling varieties; but not to be placed, in our opinion, in the front rank, so far as beauty is concerned.
The Weeping Filbert, Corylus Avellana Pendula, is one of the boldest of pendulous shrubs; making, when in vigorous growth, very long flexile shoots, and large bold leaves. This. too, is a bush that will grow almost anywhere.
Pyrus Salicifolia Pendula is a valuable tree, from combining the pendulous habit with lanceolate leaves of a silvery-white hue. This is a tree which is perfectly hardy, and will thrive even in towns. Though excelled in beauty by some, it is hardly to be surpassed for general usefulness.
Cerasus Depressa Pendula, grafted as a standard, might well be mistaken for a Willow, in the absence of flowers. These latter are produced before the leaves appear in spring. Cerasus mystifolia variegata pendula has a similar habit.
The Weeping Bigarreau Cherry is also an interesting tree, as is its neighbor, the Weeping Mountain Ash.
Sophora Joponica Pendula, again, is a very handsome form, with foliage resembling that of the Robinia (acacia), bat darker in color.
Gleditschia Sinensis Pendula, when grafted on G. tricanthus, as a stock, produces a roundish head of bright deep green foliage, interesting from the diversity of form exhibited in individual leaves, some being much compounded, others nearly simple.
The Weeping Walnut Juglans Regia is, as to shape of foliage, but not as to size, like those just mentioned. Its habit is noble, its growth rapid. Have seen shoots of eight to ten feet in a single season.
MR. Meehan makes the following remarks on the weeping classes of ornamental trees;
"Of late, people take the common European larch, train it up to eight or ten feet, and then cut its head off, and at the same time trim up the side branches to a single course at the top. It seldom starts out a new leader, and the vigor of the whole tree being thrown into the single set of side branches, they droop grandly. In weeping ashes we have still but the old green leaved and the golden barked; the last is rather more tender than the other, but when it gets to grow well, is a striking object on the lawn. In weeping poplars there are two forms - one of the English aspen with rather small leaves, though larger than the American aspen - the other of the large tooth-leaved American popular, Populus grandi-dentata. In willows the Kilmarnock and the Fountain are still the best. The former is a delicate grower, and is an excellent thing for small corners, or limited spaces on lawns. The weeping mountain ash is very easily propagated by budding, and would be immensely popular only for its suffering so from a hot summer, or borers near the ground at any time. Notwithstanding the many sold, we have never seen a specimen of any size. Along the cooler climate of the lake country, we have been told it does charmingly. The weeping hawthorn suffers in the same way from similar causes.
Weeping elms are always beautiful. They suffer much by having the leaves skeletonized in July by the leaf-slug, but the American forms are more free from this evil than the European ones. As a general rule American trees have not given us many weepers as yet. So far as we know, there is not a single maple of a decided weeping habit; nor a weeping oak, among so many species. It is worth watching for among our wild trees.
The Weeping Ash has frequently a tendency to assume an irregular growth, partaking more of the upright than pendulous form. . To preserve an entire drooping habit, cut down all upright growths, and never allow any to grow in future. The simplest method of effecting this is to cut out all the buds that form on the upper surface of the branches, preserving those only that point downwards. By attention to this for a few years, the labor of a few minutes each winter, a drooping habit will be secured. S.
This we consider the king of all the drooping trees. It is perfectly hardy, grows freely and rapidly in almost any soil, and forms one of the most graceful and picturesque yet unique trees. Its branches are thrown out irregularly, while its spray is long, descending almost perpendicularly downward. For creating a distinct, strongly-marked, and attractive feature for universal admiration on the skirts of a lawn, it has no superior.
Fig. 36. - Weeping Beech.
The Revue Hot-ticole considers this an acquisition. It is of a distinctly weeping character. The vigorous branches, which are often of great length, weep down towards the main trunk after the manner of the Slyphnolobium pendulum. The foliage presents no special peculiarity, and resembles that of the typical species or common Robinia.
The English Cottage Gardener speaks of a true Weeping Holly, which "weeps" just as much as the Weeping Ash - sweeping the ground with wreaths of coral - and adds, that no plant known surpasses it Have we it in America 1
A new Weeping Poplar has been accidentally discovered upon the grounds of a suburban English estate. It is pendulous to the utmost twig, a distinct looping tree 49 feet high, leaf smaller than the Populus Tremula Petidula.
The smooth, dark-green, and very pendulous branches, together with its pinnate leaves, give to this tree a very elegant appearance. It is a rapid grower, but does not form a very large or spreading head, and is therefore an admirable tree for grounds or positions of limited extent. Although we occasionally find trees of it that have stood the winters of years perfectly in our Northern States, yet it is unfortunately a little liable to be injured by extremes of temperature, and probably from this cause has not been as extensively planted as its beauty would seem to merit. Where it can be grown perfectly free from winter's injury, it may be counted as one of a choice collection.