Perhaps the most important use of plants is for the effect of the flowers. At least ninety per cent. of those who develop landscape plantations have foremost in their minds the effect that is to be produced by the flowers on the trees and shrubs grown in the plantation, whether it be on a large estate or on a small home lot. There are many other valuable characteristics, however, among which are the fruiting and the foliage effects. All of these, however, are entirely secondary to this one consideration concerning the flowers.
The first thought in the use of shrubs for this purpose is to obtain flowers. It is only after some study and some thought on the subject that one realizes that shrubs may be used for many different flowering effects. We may use trees and shrubs to produce flowers at certain definite seasons, or we may use trees and shrubs to produce flowers of different colours at different seasons. The owner of the average home occupies his residence throughout the entire year. There is a group of people, however, owning both large and small homes, who occupy two or more homes each year, depending upon the season. They usually spend the spring and fall months at their residence, and hot summer months at a country home, either at the seashore or among the mountains. The first home owner must be provided with trees and shrubs which will produce as nearly as possible a flowering effect throughout the growing season, beginning with the shrubs which produce flowers before the leaves appear, such as the golden bell and the flowering plums, and ending with the shrubs such as altheas and the hydrangeas which produce flowers in the summer months. The family that occupies both a permanent residence and a country home, however, must have trees and shrubs surrounding the former which produce flowers during the spring and during the late summer and fall months; and at their summer home they must have, so far as possible, the summer-flowering types of trees and shrubs. For this reason, various groups have been outlined to embrace trees and shrubs producing flowers in the early spring before the leaves appear, and producing flowers in the early spring after the leaves appear, such as the spirea and the lilac; producing flowers during the summer months, such as the weigela and the mock orange; and producing flowers during the late summer and autumn months, such as the rose of Sharon and the hydrangea. It is therefore important in connection with our various plantations of trees and shrubs to consider specifically the period during the blooming season, when the maximum effect of flowers is desired.
The second important consideration, in designing plantings of trees and shrubs, is the colour of the flowers. Flowering trees and shrubs, with respect to the colour of their flowers, may be divided into four definite groups: those which produce flowers in the shades of red and pink, such as pink-flowering dogwood, flowering peach, and the flowering crab; those which produce yellow flowers, such as the Scotch broom, yellow jasmine, and the golden bell; those which produce white flowers, such as the white fringe, hawthorn, hydrangea, and elders; and those which produce blue flowers (the smallest list of all), such as the blue spirea, blue rose of Sharon, and blue lilacs. Each of these groups may be divided, as shown by the tabulations, into early-flowering and late summer-flowering sorts. The entire discussion concerning the colour of the flowers in the average planting is more theoretical than practical; but in the other plantations, where there is sufficient space to obtain masses of flowering effects during the blooming period, considerable study should be given to the colour of the flowers.
The small home owner in general is much more interested in his ability to procure trees and shrubs which will give him a continuous succession of bloom. This also is not always practical; but there is a group of standard shrubs, the use of which will provide as continuous bloom as can be obtained through the combination of any group of shrubs. It must be remembered that some varieties of shrubs will flower at a slightly later period than other varieties, and for this reason it is quite possible to obtain what seems to be a continuous series of bloom. The most prolific blooming shrubs, however, seem to flower during the months of May and June. During the latter part of July we have but a few shrubs, such as the hydrangea, the rose of Sharon, and the groundsel tree, which will produce flower effects.