The point where the garden ends and the woodland begins should be a place of joy. Trees are great, kindly friends. They extend welcoming arms and utter welcoming sounds. Those who have held companionship with the trees in childhood never forget the love which grew up for them.
The garden-maker must not be despondent because he cannot call woodland into being as fast as he can create lawns and kitchen gardens. He must plant, wait and watch. More speedily than he expects the goodly stems will lengthen. The years will glide by, and as he awakens to find that his children have grown up to manhood and womanhood, so he will awaken to the realisation that the bare earth is covered and now the saplings are giving shelter and shade.
Few garden-lovers, perhaps, realise the interest that there is in watching the development of trees; but experience quickly teaches them that it fully equals the interest of Rose beds, herbaceous borders and Alpine gardens. There is the interest of calculating increase of height and development of girth. Form of stem and shape of head, colour of leaf and tracery of bare branch against blue of sky - all these points arouse attention. The trees have individual interest as trees, and collective interest as wood.
It is the way of most trees to grow slowly in their early years and fast when they are established. They have their root-system to make. They have to become firmly and securely anchored. Let the planter do good work in planting and staking, and then be patient for three or four years. The trees will slowly bind themselves to the earth. They will prepare deliberately for a lengthened habitation of the place allotted to them. Too wise to make hazardous experiments, they will not run swiftly upward on a flimsy foundation, but will bed themselves well in. After that they will bound upward.
On the threshold of the woodland we look back to the garden and forward to the trees. Each in its way has a charm for us. We love the brightness, the cheerfulness, the refinement, the perfume of the garden; and we love the clean boles, the tossing plumes, the hum and sob and rustle of the woodland. There may be moments when our mood is tuned to the one, and moments when it is best suited by the other. But the trees will always be constant.
In making gardens there must ever be an early, warm thought for trees. If the garden can only be a small one there may still be trees. We cannot in this case plant the monarchs of the glade - the Oak, the Beech, the Elm, the Ash, the Sycamore, the Chestnut - in any quantity. But we can plant Birches, perhaps a purple Beech and even a selected variety of Oak.
The rest must be smaller trees, and of these there are many remarkable for beauty of bloom, which will give us ample choice.
In the smallest garden there should be an attempt at cover, if it consists of no more than a cluster of silver Birches and Austrian Pines, with quick-growing, dense, yet beautiful shrubs such as Barberries, the Amelanchier and the flowering Currant, planted near. Rhododendron ponticum may be planted, too, if there is no lime, although it will grow more slowly, for it is dense in habit and beautiful in bloom, while no game will touch it. However small the thicket it will serve to provide the woodland mood.
There will be bird song on the threshold of the woodland. This will be the best of garden-music to the Nature-lover. We shall have to guard our fruit the more carefully for the shelter that we give to the birds, but we shall not count that cost too high in the end, although we shall have our moments of exasperation when ravished buds and berries and torn flowers come to be counted. The maker of a garden feels a singular, almost a thrilling interest on the discovery of the first nest on his domain. His garden is no longer an empty and desolate flat of bare earth. The birds have set their seal on his efforts.
Woodland ! The word has a moving sound. It conjures up memories of swaying tops and singing winds; of cool, humid paths; of dun, darting shapes; of soft carpetings of soft-toned flowers. There we have sought the bluebells, the periwinkles, the primroses, the windflowers, the wild orchids. Happy the gardenlover who has woodland on his property. Let him not permit it to become the exclusive possession of gamekeepers. Let him not regard it as alien to the garden. Let him rather link up the garden with it and learn the communion of the trees.