Hardy Climbing Vines Ivies
Berries And Small Fruits
Requisites Of The Home Vegetable Garden
Plants And The Calendar.
The Rose: Its General Care And Culture
Planning The Garden
The Wild Garden A Plea For Our Native Plants
Planting The Lawn
Plants For Special Purposes
The Winter Garden
Iv. Crops That May Follow Others
The Hardy Border
Planting The Lawn
When the lawn is made we begin to puzzle over the planting of trees and
What shall we have?
Where shall we have it?
One of the commonest mistakes made by the man who is his own gardener is
that of over-planting the home-grounds with trees and shrubs. This
mistake is made because he does not look ahead and see, with the mind's
eye, what the result will be, a few years from now, of the work he does
The sapling of to-day will in a short time become a tree of good size,
and the bush that seems hardly worth considering at present will develop
into a shrub three, four, perhaps six feet across. If we plant closely,
as we are all inclined to because of the small size of the material we
use at planting time, we will soon have a thicket, and it will be
necessary to sacrifice most of the shrubs in order to give the few we
leave sufficient room to develop in. Therefore do not think, when you
set out plants, of their _present_ size, but of the size they will have
attained to five or six years from now. Do not aim at immediate effect,
as most of us do in our impatience for results. Be content to
_plant_--and _wait_. I shall give no diagrams for lawn-planting for two
reasons. The first one is--no two places are exactly alike, and a
diagram prepared for one would have to be so modified in order to adapt
it to the needs of the other that it would be of little value, save in
the way of suggestion, and I think suggestions of a general character
_without the diagram_ will be found most satisfactory. The second reason
is--few persons would care to duplicate the grounds of his neighbor, and
this he would be obliged to do if diagrams were depended on. Therefore I
advise each home-owner to plant his lawn after plans of his own
preparation, after having given careful consideration to the matter.
Look about you. Visit the lawns your neighbors have made, and discover
wherein they have made mistakes. Note wherein they have been successful.
And then profit by their experience, be it that of success or failure.
Do not make the mistake of planting trees and shrubs in front of the
house, or between it and the street. Place them somewhere to the side,
or the rear, and leave a clear, open sweep of lawn in front of the
dwelling. Enough unbroken space should be left there to give the sense
of breadth which will act as a division between the public and the
private. Scatter shrubs and flower-beds over the lawn and you destroy
that impression of distance which is given by even a small lawn when
there is nothing on it to interfere with the vision, as we look across
Relegate shrubs to the sides of the lot, if you can conveniently do so,
being careful to give the larger ones locations at the point farthest
from the street, graduating them toward the front of the lot according
to their habit of growth. Aim to secure a background by keeping the big
fellows where they cannot interfere with the outlook of the little ones.
If paths are to be made, think well before deciding where they shall be.
Some persons prefer a straight path from the street to the house. This
saves steps, but it gives the place a prim and formal look that is never
pleasing. It divides the yard into two sections of equal importance,
where it is advisable to have but one if we would make the most of
things. In other words, it halves things, thus weakening the general
effect greatly. A straight path is never a graceful one. A curving
path will make you a few more steps, but so much will be gained by it,
in beauty, that I feel sure you will congratulate yourself on having
chosen it, after you have compared it with the straight path of your
neighbor. It will allow you to leave the greater share of the small lawn
intact, thus securing the impression of breadth that is so necessary to
the best effect.
I have spoken of planting shrubs at the sides of the home-lot. If this
is done, we secure a sort of frame for the home-picture that will be
extremely pleasing. If the shrubs near the street are small and low, and
those beyond them increase in breadth and height as they approach the
rear of the lot, with evergreens or trees as a background for the
dwelling, the effect will be delightful. Such a general plan of planting
the home-grounds is easily carried out. The most important feature of it
to keep in mind is that of locating your plants in positions that will
give each one a chance to display its charms to the best effect, and
this you can easily do if you read the catalogues and familiarize
yourself with the heights and habits of them.
If your lot adjoins that of a neighbor who has not yet improved his
home-grounds, I would advise consulting with him, and forming a
partnership in improvement-work, if possible. If you proceed after a
plan of your own on your side of the fence, and he does the same on his
side, there may be a sad lack of harmony in the result. But _if_ you
talk the matter over together the chances are that you can formulate a
plan that will be entirely satisfactory to both parties, and result in
that harmony which is absolutely necessary to effective work. Because,
you see, both will be working together toward a definite design, while
without such a partnership of interests each would be working
independently, and your ideas of the fitness of things might be sadly at
variance with those of your neighbor.
Never set your plants in rows. Nature never does that, and she doesn't
make any mistakes. If you want an object-lesson in arrangement, go into
the fields and pastures, and along the road, and note how she has
arranged the shrubs she has planted there. Here a group, there a group,
in a manner that seems to have had no plan back of it, and yet I feel
quite sure she planned out very carefully every one of these clumps and
combinations. The closer you study Nature's methods and pattern after
them the nearer you will come to success.
Avoid formality as you would the plague if you want your garden to
afford you all the pleasure you can get out of it. Nature's methods are
always restful in effect because they are so simple and direct. They
never seem premeditated. Her plants "just grow," like the Topsy of Mrs.
Stowe's book, and no one seems to have given any thought to the matter.
But in order to successfully imitate Nature it is absolutely necessary
that we familiarize ourselves, as I have said, with her ways of doing
things, and we can only do this by studying from her books as she opens
them for us in every field, and by the roadside, and the woodland nook.
The secret of success, in a word, lies in getting so close to the heart
of Nature that she will take us into her confidence and tell us some of
One of the best trees for the small lawn is the Cut-Leaved Birch. It
grows rapidly, is always attractive, and does not outgrow the limit of
the ordinary lot. Its habit is grace itself. Its white-barked trunk,
slender, pendant branches, and finely-cut foliage never fail to
challenge admiration. In fall it takes on a coloring of pale gold, and
is more attractive than ever. In winter its delicate branches show
against a background of blue sky with all the delicacy and distinctness
of an etching. No tree that I know of is hardier.
The Mountain Ash deserves a place on all lawns, large or small. Its
foliage is very attractive, as are its great clusters of white flowers
in spring. When its fruit ripens, the tree is as showy as anything can
well be. And, like the Cut-Leaved Birch, it is ironclad in its
hardiness. It is an almost ideal tree for small places.
The Japanese Maples are beautiful trees, of medium size, very graceful
in habit, and rapid growers. While not as desirable for a street tree as
our native Maple, they will give better satisfaction on the lawn.
The Purple-Leaved Beech is exceedingly showy, and deserves a place on
every lawn, large or small. In spring its foliage is a deep purple. In
summer it takes on a crimson tinge, and in fall it colors up like
bronze. It branches close to the ground, and should never be pruned to
form a head several feet from the ground, like most other trees. Such
treatment will mar, if not spoil, the attractiveness of it.
Betchel's Crab, which grows to be of medium size, is one of the
loveliest things imaginable when in bloom. Its flowers, which are
double, are of a delicate pink, with a most delicious fragrance.
The White-Flowering Dogwood (_Cornus florida_) will give excellent
results wherever planted. Its white blossoms are produced in great
abundance early in spring--before its leaves are out, in fact--and last
for a long time. Its foliage is a gray-green, glossy and handsome in
summer, and in fall a deep, rich red, making it a wonderfully attractive
object at that season.
The Judas Tree (Redbud) never grows to be large. Its lovely pink
blossoms appear in spring before its heart-shaped leaves are developed.
Salisburia (Maiden-Hair). This is an elegant little tree from Japan. Its
foliage is almost fern-like in its delicacy. It is a free grower, and in
every respect desirable.
Among our larger trees that are well adapted to use about the house, the
Elm is the most graceful. It is the poet of the forest, with its
wide-spreading, drooping branches, its beautiful foliage, and grace in
every aspect of its stately form.
As a street-tree the Maple is unexcelled. It is of rapid growth,
entirely hardy anywhere at the north, requires very little attention in
the way of pruning, is never troubled by insects, and has the merit of
great cleanliness. It is equally valuable for the lawn. In fall, it
changes its summer-green for purest gold, and is a thing of beauty
until it loses its last leaf.
The Laurel-Leaved Willow is very desirable where quick results are
wanted. Its branches frequently make a growth of five and six feet in a
season. Its leaves are shaped like those of the European Laurel,--hence
its specific name,--with a glossy, dark-green surface. It is probably
the most rapid grower of all desirable lawn trees. Planted along the
roadside it will be found far more satisfactory than the Lombardy Poplar
which is grown so extensively, but which is never pleasing after the
first few years of its life, because of its habit of dying off at the
The Box Elder (Ash-Leaved Maple) is another tree of very rapid growth.
It has handsome light-green foliage, and a head of spreading and
irregular shape when left to its own devices, but it can be made into
quite a dignified tree with a little attention in the way of pruning. I
like it best, however, when allowed to train itself, though this would
not be satisfactory where the tree is planted along the street. It will
grow anywhere, is hardy enough to stand the severest climate, and is of
such rapid development that the first thing you know the little sapling
you set out is large enough to bear seed.
I like the idea of giving each home a background of evergreens. This for
two reasons--to bring out the distinctive features of the place more
effectively than it is possible to without such a background, and to
serve as a wind-break. If planted at the rear of the house, they answer
an excellent purpose in shutting away the view of buildings that are
seldom sightly. The best variety for home-use, all things considered, is
the Norway Spruce. This grows to be a stately tree of pyramidal habit,
perfect in form, with heavy, slightly pendulous branches from the ground
up. Never touch it with the pruning-shears unless you want to spoil it.
The Colorado Blue Spruce is another excellent variety for general
planting, with rich, blue-green foliage. It is a free-grower, and
perfectly hardy. The Douglas Spruce has foliage somewhat resembling that
of the Hemlock. Its habit of growth is that of a cone, with light and
graceful spreading branches that give it a much more open and airy
effect than is found in other Spruces. The Hemlock Spruce is a most
desirable variety for lawn use where a single specimen is wanted. Give
it plenty of room in which to stretch out its slender, graceful branches
and I think it will please you more than any other evergreen you can
It must not be inferred that the list of trees of which mention has been
made includes _all_ that are desirable for planting about the home.
There are others of great merit, and many might prefer them to the kinds
I have spoken of. I have made special mention of these because I know
they will prove satisfactory under such conditions as ordinarily prevail
about the home, therefore they are the kinds I would advise the amateur
gardener to select in order to attain the highest degree of success.
Give them good soil to grow in, and they will ask very little from you
in the way of attention. They are trees that anybody can grow, therefore
trees for everybody.
In planting a tree care must be taken to get it as deep in the ground as
it was before it was taken from the nursery. If a little deeper no harm
will be done.
Make the hole in which it is to be planted so large that all its roots
can be spread out evenly and naturally.
Before putting it in place, go over its roots and cut off the ends of
all that were severed in taking it up. Use a sharp knife in doing this,
and make a clean, smooth cut. A callus will form readily if this is
done, but not if the ends of the large roots are left in a ragged,
When the trees are received from the nursery they will be wrapped in
moss and straw, with burlap about the roots. Do not unpack them until
you are ready to plant them. If you cannot do this as soon as they are
received, put them in the cellar or some other cool, shady place, and
pour a pailful of water over the wrapping about the roots. Never unpack
them and leave their roots exposed to the air for any length of time. If
they must be unpacked before planting, cover their roots with damp moss,
wet burlap, old carpet, or blankets,--anything that will protect them
from the air and from drying out. But--get them into the ground as soon
When the tree is in the hole made for it, cover the roots with fine
soil, and then settle this down among the roots by jarring the trunk, or
by churning the tree up and down carefully. After doing this, and
securing a covering for all the roots, apply a pailful or two of water
to firm the soil well. I find this more effective than firming the soil
with the foot, as it prevents the possibility of loose planting.
Then fill the hole with soil, and apply three or four inches of coarse
manure from the barnyard to serve as a mulch. This keeps the soil moist,
which is an important item, especially if the season happens to be a
dry one. If barnyard manure is not obtainable, use leaves, or
grass-clippings--anything that will shade the soil and retain moisture
Where shall we plant our trees?
This question is one that we often find it difficult to answer, because
we are not familiar enough with them to know much about the effect they
will give after a few years' development. Before deciding on a location
for them I would advise the home-maker to look about him until he finds
places where the kinds he proposes to use are growing. Then study the
effect that is given by them under conditions similar to those which
prevail on your own grounds. Make a mental transfer of them to the place
in which you intend to use them. This you can do with the exercise of a
little imagination. When you see them growing on your own grounds, as
you can with the mind's eye, you can tell pretty nearly where they ought
to be planted. You will get more benefit from object-lessons of this
kind than from books.
On small grounds I would advise keeping them well to the sides of the
house. If any are planted in front of the house they will be more
satisfactory if placed nearer the street than the house. They should
never be near enough to the dwelling to shade it. Sunshine about the
house is necessary to health as well as cheerfulness.
Trees back of the dwelling are always pleasing. Under no circumstances
plant them in prim rows, or just so many feet apart. This applies to all
grounds, large or small, immediately about the house. But if the place
is large enough to admit of a driveway, a row of evergreens on each side
of it can be made an attractive feature.
The reader will understand from what I have said that no hard-and-fast
rules as to where to plant one's trees can be laid down, because of the
wide difference of conditions under which the planting must be made.
Each home-owner must decide this matter for himself, but I would urge
that no decision be made without first familiarizing yourself with the
effect of whatever trees you select as you can see them growing on the
grounds of your neighbors.
Do not make the mistake of planting so thickly that a jungle will result
after a few years. In order to do itself justice, each tree must have
space enough about it, on all sides, to enable it to display its charms
fully. This no tree can do when crowded in among others. One or two fine
large trees with plenty of elbow-room about them will afford vastly
more satisfaction than a dozen trees that dispute the space with each
other. Here again is proof of what I have said many times in this book,
that quality is what pleases rather than quantity.
If any trees are planted in front of the house, choose kinds having a
high head, so that there will be no obstruction of the outlook from the
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