Art and Decoration for Town and Country Homes
Some Suggestions for the Garden
DOROTHY G. BELL
TO THE person of artistic temperament and good taste, out-door art and decoration is as necessary to the completion, comfort and beauty of home as the decoration and beautifying of the interior. With the advent of soft spring
rain, warm cheery sunshine and long light evenings, the problems of the interior of the home are forgotten for the time being, in the problems of the garden and the property surrounding.
The housewife, true to the primitive instinct lying dormant m all of us, responds to the urge to dig in the soil, to smell the new moist earth, and succumbs to her longing and desire to be outside. So she plans her garden and takes part in its beginning, its development and its completion.
The garden may be so small that she can prepare and level the soil, sow the seed, weed, water, prune, and entirely care for it herself. On the other hand it may be so big that she will only be able to direct others to put her plans into life. Whatever the case maybe, the joy will be in the fulfillment of her ideas that will grow up out of her own direction.
However, the average house-owner will have an average house, with an average amount of ground around it—the extent of a city lot. If a house and site is bought with the idea of building both a house and a garden, plans would be comparatively easy, but the majority of people for whom this article is intended, have perhaps little or no choice in the question of ground— or perhaps they have already chosen.
If the house already stands, it must play an important part in the designing of garden, and it will be necessary to make the grounds blend with the house, as it is impossible to make the house after it has been constructed suit the character of the grounds. In nearly every case, a city house stands midway between the back and the front of a city lot. The first thing then to consider is the improvement of the front. With the house in the middle, the garden should not stand out in strong contrast to. it, but rather than standing apart from it, should seem to merge into it and become a part of the whole scene. In order to accomplish this, everything must be simple—no high terraces, no fountains, no formal or severe beds, no conventionally cut shrubs. Everything should be as natural and as free as possible.
Position of House
IE A house stands fairly close to the sidewalk, there is usually room only for a small bed of flowers, with perhaps a trellis on the front and the sides of the verandah for clematis, dütchmen’s pipe or climbing rose. When the house, on the other hand, stands back from the street, it calls for a trim, well watered and carefully kept lawn—the one thing that keeps the house cool arid its inmates happy throughout the long, hot summer days. Around and through this lawn, if it is big enough, winding walks, arched by trellises of roses, clematis or vines of various descriptions, will help to give it a natural, fragrant and enticing atmosphere.
Creepers, growing up out of well filled flower beds and covering all the sharp or ungainly angles of the house, over which they are growing, helps, too, to blend the house and garden and make them seem a part of each other.
In this way, the house is not a background for the garden, and neither is the garden a frame for the house—they are one and the same.
If, in this medium size garden, one likes to have some particular gem—a tiny rose garden, a bed of iris—or possibly one of tulips or daffodils in the early spring—it should
be enclosed or framed though never entirely hidden. Perhaps shrubs, other flowers, or the vine covered house itself, may form the frame, but these should not be close enough either to sap the moisture or to keep out the light and sun.
Perhaps the greatest feature of a successful garden is the lawn, and if a lawn is a beautiful and well kept one, it is almost impossible to improve upon it. It seems to be a general idea, that the more a lawn is broken up by flower beds and dotted with trees and shrubs, the more beautiful it becomes. When a garden is big enough to possess a lawn it is sacrilege to do anything else with it than to take care of it.
Plant Around Lawn
A LAWN does not act as a frame for any flowers that may be planted in the midst of it, but rather it acts as a direct contrast—the effect from which, in a small garden, we are striving to get away. If it is the desire of the gardener to have any more flowers, more shrubs and plants, it is wiser and much more effective to make the lawn smaller and leave it undisturbed and plant the other things around the edges of it or in front, rather than in the midst of it.
The first principle of a successful garden is thriving grass, plants, shrubs, evergreens and trees. The best layout and design will be useless if the flowers and shrubs are sickly, the grass patchy, and the trees and evergreens parched. To achieve success along these lines, the ground must be properly prepared and the right stock placed in the right position. Nursery stocks, for instance, must be planted in a proper bed, and not in holes dug in the ground. Neither will grass thrive on harsh subsoil.
Before excavating, femove every inch of surface loam from all areas where filling or excavating is contemplated. Such loam should be stacked at a convenient spot on the property where it will not be disturbed. When grading the lawn, remove the top soil, and grade to a level of about six inches below what is required and replace five inches of top soil well mixed with one inch of well watered manure. It should be seeded at the rate of about eight bushels to the acre.
Ornamental borders of perennial flowers or shrubs or evergreens should be arranged on the boundary of the lawn and not less than six feet apart. Evergreens, shrubs and perennials should
never be mixed, but rather kept in separate borders. The evergreens and shrubs should be spaced three feet apart and the perennials one and a half feet apart. All planting beds and borders should be thoroughly broken up to a depth of two feet. The surface eighteen inches should consist of sixteen inches of rich loam well mixed with two feet of manure. The
border should be finished three inches above the lawn.
Rose or annual gardens should be laid out with formal beds, in definite connection with the house and not placed aimlessly in the middle of the lawn.
The entrance from the street to a garden should be restrained and quiet. Shrubs and evergreens are the best materials. A hedge of privet, spiraea, or barberry may be planted on the boundary if the house is far enough back—other-. wise, groups of shrubs may be used on the boundary.
One of the best ways to grow roses in
small space is to put them in an oval bed beginning with the high variety in the middle and working down to the low variety. Care should be taken in the arrangement of such a bed not to get red and pink varieties together as the more brilliant red kills the effect of the dainty and more delicate pink. All roses need a southern exposure, and plenty of light and air. If, therefore, roses are to be planted against the house or fence, they should be placed several inches away.
A woman once tried to grow a climbing rose over a drain pipe. The pipe came down the corner of the house and the rose was planted each year right up against the cement foundation and bravely began its hot, weary climb up the pipe. Every summer it got about a third of the way up then shrivelled up and died. Until she called in an expert, this arduous gardener never thought of the hot pipe and the cement as the cause of her difficulty.
It is wise when planting roses to be sure that they do not face a willow, maple or chestnut tree. The roots of these trees stretch the length of the trunk and consequently sap all the moisture and good out of the soil. It is not a good thing to plant other flowers or plants in the rose bed, as roses need all the plant food available.
Many roses are lost by lack of attention at the time of planting. It is very easy to get the roots thoroughly dry between unpacking and the
planting. As soon as the roses are received, they should be placed in water and not removed until ready to plant. Under any
conditions, or at any period of the year, wet or dry, when the planting operation is half completed, plenty of water should be added, then, as the planting is finished, ram the earth well and make the remainder of it solid.
Manure should be put around_the top of the soil to prevent evaporation and
keep the surface cultivated. Unless the
rose bed has been especially made, the hole should be about one foot deep and the bush planted so that the junction of the stock and the rose is below soil two or three inches. They should be planted from eighteen to twenty-four inches apart according to the habit of the tree. Manure should not be allowed to touch the root Roses should be given .plenty of water, and a good soaking once a week is better than light surface watering every day or two.
Continuity of Bloom
PERHAPS one of the
most essential points in a general flower garden is to have continuity of bloom. It is often possible to go into a garden at one time in the season, and find it in full bloom and very beautiful. It is also possible to go into that same garden a month later and find practically nothing in bloom, because there has been no study made of the system of continuity.
Bulk varieties such as tulips, hyacinths, narcissus, snowdrops, are always the first to bloom in the spring. These followed by sweet arabis,
iris, germanica will help in continuity, owing to a long blooming period with early mid-seasons and late varieties. The perennial phlox is in the same category and will give a blooming period of three months.
The lily family helps best of all to follow out this idea of continuity, for in the lily we have a bloom from the second week in June to the third and fourth week in September. Other flowers to help in a continuous bloom are—rudbeckia, gaillardia, pyrethrum and helianthus.
PERENNIALS—asters, or michaelmas daisies, chrysanthemums—a large number of which it is now possible to bloom almost until snow flies—perhaps are more
popular with the average city lot gardener, than any other flower—but in the annual, there will be found something to suit almost any taste or fancy in point of color and for length of growth. Let these be chosen to suit.
The hardy perennial is coming more and more into favor, as people begin to realize how well it fits in with the garden scheme and how solid a return there is for a very little effort. They require only a small amount of time and attention, compared with many of the annual flowers. They are easily propagated by seed, by cuttings from the stems and roots or by the very simple method of division. They are less subject as a class to insect and fungus injury than the annual flowers.
Every Canadian locality has its own groups of native perennial wild flowers. Many of these are strikingly beautiful and being naturally very hardy they are often the most satisfactory that can be obtained for mass effect along the boundaries and in the borders about the farm home garden. Some common useful ones are: Perennial Asters, Goldenrods, Lilies, Trilliums, Mints and Daisies. By combining these with other flowers many very attractive groups can be arranged at very little cost.
It is often important to know the blooming season, the height and habits of the plants when arranging groups of perennial flowers to get the best effect. The following list, of a few of our favorites, is arranged to give continual bloom from the Crocuses blooming among the snow in the spring until the autumn snow storms cover the perennial Asters still blooming under the snow in the fall. The sub-groups, according to seasons, are arranged in order of average height of plants, the lowest growing being mentioned first in each group. Season:—
Early spring: Crocus, Early Tulips, Narcissus and Darwin Tulips.
Late spring: Iris, Columbines, Oriental Poppy, Paeonies and Bleeding Heart.
Early summer: Pinks, Foxgloves, Ribbon Grass, Larkspur and Hollyhocks.
Mid-summer: Water-Lilies, Coreopsis, Tiger Lilies, Asparagus and Dahlias.
Late summer: Phlox, African Sunflower and Golden Glow.
Autumn: Baby’s Breath and Perennial Asters.
Certain of these plants, such as Paeonies, Bleeding Heart, Ribbon Grass, Asparagus, Baby’s Breath and Asters have a highly ornamental character even when not in bloom.
These hardy perennials are easily grown from seed. They grow more slowly when seedlings than annuals, yet a few like the Iceland Poppy will bloom the same season if sown early. The beginner is likely to have the best success by sowing in the open ground. Prepare a bed, when the spring rush is over, in a warm sheltered spot more or less shaded. Work the soil until it is mellow with a fine smooth surface. Sow in shallow rows, four inches apart, covering the seed lightly and pressing down the surface gently. Water
should be applied sparingly and a sprinkle of fine soil dusted on afterwards. Protect from very bright sun or heavy winds. Thin the seedlings when they come up’ and transplant into permanent positions when two or three inches high. Good success has been obtained by seeding right in the permanent place in early September.
The different kinds of perennial flowers we have mentioned are divided into many varieties which also vary in height and time of blooming. The above list may not contain your favourites. For instance, the Pansy, that queen of flowers, was not mentioned because it is one of the many biennials that live but two years. Roses
were omitted as they belong to the shrubs with their bloom borne from the wood of the previous year.
Some perennial flowers begin to fail after two or three seasons of full bloom. Vigorous young plants should be brought along in a bed to replace them. Old roots that show the effect of crowding should be taken up and divided, using only the fresh strong parts when replanting. After
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the first killing frost the stalks of the perennial flowers should be cut within a few inches of the ground. They can be used for the winter protection of the bulbs and roots or be removed when the bed and borders are given their autumn dressing of coarse strawy manure; this should be put on just as late as possible before the snow comes. Tulip bulbs are usually lifted and dried out as soon as they have matured after their blooming season and replanted in October. Dahlias are lifted before severe frost and stored in a suitable cellar until the following spring. The coarse manure used to pro-
teet the beds in winter should be spaded under early in the spring. The keeping down of weeds and the cutting’of blooms are about all the attention these magnificent flowers require during the summer season.
THE gladiolus is one of the most popular flowers in Canada and deservedly so, as it needs very little care except at planting and digging time. The corms, as obtained from the seedsmen, should be planted from four to six inches deep and about three inches apart, in a sunny position in the garden. The exact date of planting varies according to the locality; when the frost is out of the ground and the soil has dried being the proper time. Sandy loam, well fertilized the previous year, is the ideal soil, but gladioli will do well on heavier soils. In a very light, poor soil they would probably fail in a hot, dry season.
Plant about the middle of May, culti vate constantly to keep down weeds anc to keep the surface soil loose. During ven dry weather a thorough soaking witl water once a week is very beneficial. Whei cutting the blooms leave at least two seti of leaves on the plant, so that the corn W1 jfi^ke Ls full growth and so be in gooc condition for growing next year. As th< leaves show signs of ripening, or, as generally happens in the colder sections o the country, when the leaves are”cut dowr by frost, dig up the plants and lay ii boxes in a frost-proof, but cool, shed fo: several days. When dry enough to breal off easily, remove the stem, old bulbs ant cormels from the new corm. 'Store thi latter m paper bags or boxes in a dn place away from frost and fire heat (i vegetable cellar is a suitable place) unti planting time comes again. The cormek PaPer bags, but a bettei Fef,10/ ls to keep them in boxes coverec with dry sand or soil for the winter. Ir spring sow these in a row in a corner of th< garden and the bulblets will increase ir
hlnn™Ti.by yearand Probably a few wil bloom the second year. There are hun-
dreds of varieties of gladiolus and new ones are put on the market each year by Canadian, American, and European growers, so that to make a list of all the good ones is impossible. The primulinus hybrids, which are becoming more popular every season, are quite distinct in appearance from the large-growing varieties, generally showing traces of the hooded petals of the primulinus species. The yellow colour of the species, combining with the reds and pinks of the older varieties, produce many delicate shades of apricot and salmon, which make them very effective for home decoration.
The bane of every gardener’s life is that shady spot to be found in almost every garden—the spot behind the house, beside the steps or against the fence that gets only the very early morning or late afternoon sun or for perhaps an hour in the middle of the day—the spot in which nothing seems to grow. But there is one thing that will grow, one plant that will do for the shady spot what the geranium does for the sunny spot—perhaps more because of a greater variety of colors and a greater beauty of foliage, that is tuberous begonia. The tuberous begonia cannot be used in an open location facing the sun during the hot part of the day because the leaves are apt to curl up and wither.
The tuberous begonia has been greatly developed in recent years. The best varieties produce flowers from four to six inches across and bloom from July until frost takes them off. They require rich soil. When the space is reached by the roots of trees, they need plenty of moisture. If started in light soil in pots or flats set in a warm place at the first of April, they will be almost ready to bud by the first of June, but some growers prefer to plant the tubers direct in the soil early in May or as soon as the ground would be ready for potatoes.
The plants should be set twelve to fifteen inches apart, about two and a half inches to three inches deep, with the hollow side of the tuber uppermost. The surface of the soil should be kept stirred during the summer and a dressing of bonemeal or other manure, preferably from the poultry yard, applied from time to time.
Most gardeners like to reserve a small portion of their garden for vegetables— and this is usually in the back. If they are putting in perennial vegetables such as rhubarb, asparagus, horseradish, strawberries—they should be placed by themselves at the bottom of the garden. Perhaps the most economical and satisfactory way of planting is to place a row of radish, one of lettuce, and one of onions followed by others of beets, carrots, parsnips and salsify—two rows of beans, two of peas, three of cabbage and three of tomatoes, ending up with a few hills of corn. This, however, would naturally have to be governed by the amount of space at the disposal of the gardener.
TO MAKE and keep a lawn in good, condition, roll it, water it, and cut it. These are the three essentials after the lawn has grown. For those who are about to attempt to grow a lawn for the first time, are the following hints:
Thoroughly drain and prepare soil that is not allowed to become too rich. Pulverize the top soil. Sow the seed and roll and cross roll the ground until the seed is thoroughly pressed into the soil. After about ten days sprinkle a light application of fertilizer mixed with a quantity of sand and soft loam. Plan to do this just before a good rain if possible so that the fertilizer will be washed well into the roots.
The time of the sowing of the seed depends almost entirely upon weather conditions and it should not be put in the ground until the earth can be well worked up. It can be sown from early Spring to the first of July. Seed .may be sown in the fall from the latter part of August until the end.of September. The sowing should be done when the ground is moist after a rain, or before and it should be well rolled after it has been put in the ground.