The great beauty of Chestnuts when the trees are well developed must secure them a place among plantings of large trees. No trees can vie with them for beauty when they are in full bloom in late spring. But they are not suited for bleak, windy spots.
When more trees are wanted for shelter the Sycamore may be considered. It is hardy and a fairly free grower. There are forms with silver-variegated and also with golden-variegated leaves.
With respect to grouping, it is not suggested that close masses of deciduous trees should be planted. Groups of three, five or more trees, the components of each group set thirty feet apart, will suffice. The groups of trees, like the single shrubs referred to in Chapter 8., may be set quincunx fashion, so that there are no unprotected openings. But a vista may be provided at a selected point. Conifers may be planted much closer in the groups for the sake of getting long, clean, beautiful stems.
The question of the outer zone disposed of, we may turn to the middle area. Here, as we have already seen, low trees with ornamental leaves, flowers or fruit should predominate; and if there is plenty of room they may be set in groups of three or more, about twenty feet apart. Associated with each group of ornamental trees there may be low shrubs, mainly evergreen, for ground cover.
The following are suggestions for groups of trees and cover:
(1) Pyrus floribunda (syn. Malus floribunda) with the evergreen Box (Buxus sempervirens). This Pyrus is a particularly beautiful flowering tree, one of the special charms of which are its bright red buds. It is hardy, blooms in May, and with time grows to about fifteen feet high on a standard stem, forming a large spreading head. It may, however, be grown as a bush. The fruits are round. There is a beautiful semi-double form of it called Scheideckeri, which is also well worth grouping; and there is a double. There are like wise several forms of the Box, including silvery (argentea) and golden (aurea).
(2) Crimson Thorn with ground of Berberis Darwinii. The best double red Thorns, such as Paul's Scarlet, have large, richly coloured flowers, and are very beautiful when in bloom in May. They do not quickly grow to a large size. There are also pink and white varieties. Berberis Darwinii is one of the most beautiful of all evergreen shrubs, and its condition when growing exposed in poor soil affords no comparison with its beauty when grown in shelter. Then it produces side shoots freely and is covered with brilliant orange-yellow flowers.
(3) Amelanchier canadensis (Botryapium) and cover of Laurustinus. The Amelanchier is very pretty when clothed with white bloom in spring, and its coloured foliage and purple fruits make it ornamental in autumn. The Laurustinus is one of the most useful of small evergreens, very dense in growth, thriving on almost any soil, with bright, ornamental leaves and white flowers in winter or early spring.
(4) Prunus (Cerasus) Padus, the Bird Cherry and cover of Snowberry (Symphoricarpus racemosus). The Bird Cherry blossoms abundantly in spring, when the heads are a sheet of white bloom. The Snowberry grows very densely, and becomes studded with white berries the size of marbles.
(5) Laburnum, with cover of Euonymus japonicus. The Laburnum is almost too well known to need any description. The Euonymus is a good evergreen, and thrives well near the sea. Most planters prefer the golden, white-margined or yellow-margined forms, which are beautiful shrubs of dense growth, lighting up the garden beautifully in winter.
(6) Lilac, with cover of Osmanthus ilicifolius. The ordinary Lilac is quite suitable for the purpose in view, although the better garden forms - which are often reserved for bush or pot culture - may be planted at will. The Osmanthus is a Holly-like evergreen with a good many garden forms, including purple-leaved and variegated.
(7) The Snowball tree, or Guelder Rose, Viburnum opulus sterile, grouped with Spiraea arguta. The Snowball tree bears abundance of round white heads of non-fertile flowers in early summer. It does not grow to a great height. The Spiraea is one of the best of the shrubbery forms, growing to an average height of three or four feet, with graceful foliage and white flowers.
(8) Prunus Pissardii (syn. cerasifera atropurpurea of botanists) with Tree Paeonies. The brown-leaved Prunus is one of the most familiar of specimen standard trees, thriving in most soils and in suburban gardens. It bears abundance of white flowers in spring. The Tree Paeonies are among the finest of flowering shrubs, bearing immense blooms of brilliant colour.
Fig. The tree paeonies are among the finest of flowering shrubs. Bearing immense blooms of brilliant colours. Paeonia Montan, Grand Frederic. Colour photo by R. A. Malby.
(9) Pyrus prunifolia, the Siberian Crab, with Spiraea ariaefolia. The Siberian Crab is a very hardy tree, with white flowers in spring and yellow and red astringent fruits in summer. There are several garden varieties, which may be planted instead if preferred.
(10) A large flowered garden Apple, such as Bramley's Seedling, and Mock Oranges (Philadelphus). The Apple named is one of the most vigorous of all garden and orchard varieties and will grow in almost any soil. The dwarfer hybrid Mock Oranges, such as Avalanche, Boule d'Argent and Lemoinei, are more suitable than the tall species.
(11) The Mountain Ash or Rowan (Pyrus Aucuparia) and Veronicas. The Mountain Ash is particularly ornamental when in berry. One of the best of the many Veronicas is Hectori, which has lilac flowers in summer. Speciosa, violet; and Traversii, white, are also good. The last will grow almost anywhere.