The old saying is true, either the flower effect of the garden or the quantity of flowers cut for house use must be greatly reduced if the same garden is to serve two purposes. It is also true that trees and desirable sorts of garden flowers seldom grow in nature together. Most of the garden flowering plants demand ample sunlight for their best development. For those who develop homes, and attempt the making of a flower garden on areas covered with dense shade of large trees, it is impossible to provide the ideal flower garden which one may have wished so often to possess. Trees must be sacrificed, or soil conditions will be too wet or too dry. Spreading roots from such trees will steal plant food from the garden, and sunlight so essential for the development of fine flowers will be shut out. The true garden lover who realizes that plants, like human beings, thrive only in congenial and healthful surroundings will either love and preserve his trees or will have the courage of his convictions to remove unnecessary trees and give to his flower garden ideal conditions of air and sunlight. Morning sunlight is generally considered more effective in producing plant growth than afternoon sunlight.
Plate XXXI. It is quite important in the planting of the spring garden that the designer should know those shrubs which produce flowers before the leaves appear, similar to the Carolina azalea (B), and those early-flowering shrubs which produce flowers and leaves at the same time, similar to the bladdernut (A). (See page 154, group XIX-A)
Trees on the north side of a garden are seldom objectionable; but most trees within the garden or on the south and west side are very undesirable.
Persons who are planting a perennial garden for the first time, and who are not familiar with the flowering types of perennials, should adhere, in the selection of plants, to a few hardy types of perennials, such as the iris, the phlox, the larkspur, the chrysanthemum, and the columbine, together with others shown in this list (XXXI-A). All of these, with average care, are certain to produce flowers. The more unusual types can be selected and introduced into the garden as one's knowledge of them increases.
For a person who is a lover of garden flowers, and who attempts to procure definite colour combinations during different periods of the growing season, it is well to outline groups of perennials, from each of which material may be selected to produce the desired effect. We should associate perennials in groups for season and colour in order to use them most successfully. This knowledge comes only with a certain experience. There also may be plants found outside of these groups which can be used to advantage. The object in compiling these groups has been to establish a definite reference list from which the more important types can readily be found and associated in one's mind with the definite purpose for which they can be best used. Frequently, as a matter of taste, one person may desire a garden with yellows and blues predominating. Another may desire a garden with pinks and whites. It is essential that one should be able to readily and definitely select plants for these different purposes.
The woodland wild garden becomes an important problem because the selection of material adapted to partially shaded conditions existing in such garden areas does not present the same problems as the selection of a type of material adapted to a sunny, open exposure. The term "wild garden" applies to the use of plants which can be naturalized; plants which, when once planted and given normal care during the first year, will become thoroughly acclimated and continue to grow vigorously and multiply as the years go by. In the selection of material there are two types of plants which can be selected: the tall-growing types and the low-growing types. The low-growing types are adapted for use in the more intimate, small garden areas, where the taller types should be used with great care. It must be remembered that many types of wild garden perennials, such as the day lilies, the bergamot, and the Japanese loosestrife, will multiply so rapidly that they will crowd out many of the less vigorous plants such as hepatica and spring beauty which are not able to survive such competition. Consequently it is not safe to say that material selected for wild garden areas does not require a certain amount of care after the first planting of the garden. It should also be borne very definitely in mind that plants such as the cardinal flower, some irises, the blazing star, the lily-of-the-valley, the cowslip, and the violet require partial shade and a moist condition of the soil, while such types as the bee-balm, sweet william, asters, and moss pink thrive in a much more exposed and lighter soil. The success of a wild garden, either large or small, depends very largely upon the proper selection of materials to produce the required effects. The development of wild garden planting requires a series of years in which to complete it and bring it to perfection. It is a process, beyond a certain point, of the survival of the fittest, and the elimination finally of those plants which prove through the first few years their inability to meet the soil and exposure requirements of the local situation. A successful wild garden area never shows the amount of work that has been expended in its development, because every detail looks finally as though nature had provided it without the assistance of man.
Perennials for wild garden planting are not in use as much as they should be even in extensive estate development, because of the lack of knowledge concerning the ability of many of the wild flowers to adapt themselves to these new environments. Yet this group of plants provides to those who are really interested in the development of our wild flowers an excellent source of satisfaction. In this day of large country estates with the varying types of garden conditions there is no reason why the wild garden consisting of plants which have become naturalized should not be as important as any other type of garden, especially to those who are real garden lovers. It is true that many of these plants, such as the varieties of the native ferns, require special conditions of the soil from a standpoint of soil texture, special conditions of the soil from the standpoint of moisture, and also special conditions of exposure concerning the question of open sunlight and the question of shade. It is unfair to expect that any plants which we attempt to naturalize in the wild garden development will continue to grow under conditions which are exactly opposite from the conditions of nature in which these plants have been living a "happy" existence in their surroundings of soil and sunlight. The wild garden requires, more than anything else, a soil which contains plenty of humus and is commonly termed leaf mold soil. If such soil is not available then only well-rotted manure or compost should be used. No fertilizer such as sheep manure, dried blood, or other fertilizers commonly used for the forcing of plants should be applied to wild garden material.