It may be said that all young leafage is beautiful. The early spring tint of that commonest of trees, the Larch, for example, is indescribably soft, tender and exquisite.

But there is a special beauty in the matured foliage of many shrubs and trees, and there is permanent charm in the colours of many stems.

In autumn and winter the beauty of berry and fruit must be considered.

Lest the shrubs and trees with beautiful leaves, stems and fruits should be overlooked when selections for planting are being made, it seems desirable to collect the names of some of the principal kinds into a special chapter, where oblivion cannot overtake them so easily as it might if they were scattered over many pages.

Variegation is a feature of numerous forms of cultivated trees and shrubs, and there is perhaps no more familiar example than the Holly. Variegation may be of several kinds, but in its commonest form it consists of white or yellow patches on a leaf that is partly green. Certain shrubs and trees which have or have not variegated forms have forms the leaves of which are wholly white, cream or yellow. There are, farther, mottled leaves, such as those of the Aucuba.

In the present chapter we may consider as special colouring all examples that depart from the normal green.

White or cream (which we may for the sake of convenience term silver) variegation is present in Ash, Elm, Maple, Beech and Holly.

The silver-variegated Maple grown under the name of Acer Negundo variegatum is one of the most useful of these, for it is a small tree admirably adapted for the middle area of a shrubbery. A very bright, clean and lively small tree or shrub of deciduous habit, it just lacks perfect hardiness, and should therefore have a sheltered place.

Another silver-variegated Maple is the form of the common Maple called pulverulentum.

The silver-variegated Hollies are among the most beautiful members of the genus, and there are several of them, notably Broad Silver and Silver Queen. The Hollies grow slowly, and it is an easy matter to keep them within the bounds of small shrubs by the use of the knife. In any case, it is some years before they get to the recognised tree stage.

Large numbers of good shrubs are distinguished by silver variegation, and perhaps the most useful are the Boxes, Euonymuses and ivies. The Boxes are dense, low shrubs, with an adaptability to limestone soils which gives them a special value to garden-lovers operating on chalk. Sempervirens argentea is the silver form. Bought as young plants, about two feet high, and preferably planted four feet apart in small groups, they grow slowly into dense bushes.

The Euonymuses, which, as we have already seen, are good shrubs for the seaside, include silver forms both of the species japonicus and radicans. The variety of the latter called Silver Gem is very popular.

There are numerous silver-variegated forms of ivy (Hedera), both climbing and tree. Variegata argentea is good.

The silver-variegated form of the well-known Kerria japonica is interesting, but not valuable. The best plant in this genus is the double yellow.

The silver-variegated Mock Orange (Philadelphus) silver-variegated Osmanthus, and silver-variegated forms of Dogwood (Cornus mas. and C. alba), will engage the attention of admirers of these genera.

The form of white Poplar called nivea has leaves wholly silvery, and so has that popular shrub, the Lavender Cotton (Santolina chamaecyparissus). Another silver-leaved shrub is Elaeagnus argentea.

Turning to golden-variegated trees, we have of course the Hollies, such as Golden King and Golden Queen, a form of Acer Negundo variegatum, a yellow-margined Sycamore, and the form of White Ash (Fraxinus americana) called aucubaefolia.

Yellow-variegated shrubs include climbing and tree ivies, Box, Dogwoods (Cornus albus Spāthii and C. mas aurea elegantissima), various forms of Elaeagnus pungens, and the familiar golden Euonymus (E. japonicus aureus). The dwarf Bamboo called Arundinaria auricoma, Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium, yellow variegated form), yellow-variegated forms of the Winter Jasmine (nudiflorum) and the Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica aurea reticulata) must also be mentioned.

Among golden-leaved trees the most important are Acer Prinz Handjery, the Yellow Alder (Alnus glutinosa aurea), Catalpa bignonioides aurea, the golden Poplar, (Populus deltoidea aurea), the Oaks called Quercus pedunculata Concordia and rubra aurea, and the Golden Elm (Ulmus campestris Louis van Houtte).

Perhaps the best known yellow-leaved shrub is the golden Elder, Sambucus canadensis, yellow-leaved. There is a yellow-leaved Mock Orange (Philadelphus coronarius), likewise yellow Lings (Calluna vulgaris aurea and cuprea), yellow Acer Negundo (californica aurea), and yellow Nut (Corylus Avellana aurea). Neillia opulifolia lutea may also be mentioned.

The value of these variegated and golden and silver-leaved shrubs and trees lies in their capacity for warming and lighting up the garden in periods of dull weather, and, in the case of the evergreens, in winter. The reader can hardly have failed to see in his travels the inspiriting effect of a simple hedge of golden Euonymus in a seaside garden on a grey winter day. Within reasonable limits the coloured foliage subjects have a real importance. They should certainly not be planted extensively, but in moderation they serve a distinct purpose.

The purple-leaved subjects have a different effect. They throw out into sharper, clearer relief the green and variegated plants.

The two most popular dark-leaved trees are the Copper Beech (Fagus sylvatica atropurpurea) and the purple-leaved Plum (Prunus Pissardii of nurserymen, P. cerasifera atropurpurea of botanists). The Beech will grow into a large timber specimen, the Plum remains a small tree and may even be had in shrub form. There is a good dark-leaved Sycamore (atropurpureum).