Small Gardens

On The Duty Of Making Experiments

Description of a small yet lovely garden--Colour schemes--The spring dell--A novel way of growing flowers--Variety in flower-gardens. ="Be original!"= is a motto that every amateur gardener should adopt. Far too few experiments are made by the average owner

of a garden; he jogs along on the same old lines, without a thought of the delightful opportunities he misses. Each garden, however small, should possess an =individuality= of its own--some feature that stamps it as out of the common run. I remember seeing a tiny strip in a large town quite fairy-like in its loveliness, and it has always been a lesson to me on what enthusiasm can do. The old lady to whom it belonged was not rich, but an ardent lover of all that is beautiful in nature and art; moreover, she did nearly all the work herself. Though it was situated amid smoke and dirt, it almost invariably looked bright and pretty, reminding one somehow, from its quaintness, of the "days of long ago," for there were no geraniums, no calceolarias, no lobelias, and not a single Portugal laurel in the whole place. =Gardeners of the red, white, and blue school=, if any read this book, will open their eyes at all this, and wonder, maybe, how a proper garden could manage to exist without these indispensable plants. But then it was not a proper garden in their sense of the term; paths were winding instead of straight, flowers grew so well, and bloomed so abundantly that they even ran into the walks occasionally, and, what was yet more reprehensible, there was not a shadow of a box edging to =restrain= their mad flight! Roses and jasmine threw their long flower-laden shoots over the arches in wild luxuriance, and were a pretty sight, as viewed from the seat hidden in a bower near by. There was a small fernery, too, containing some of the choicest specimens that can be grown in this country. Altogether it was a most charming little garden, and gave infinite pleasure to the owner and her friends; indeed, I for one have often been much less pleased with formal ground of several acres in extent, though the latter might cost a mint of money to keep up. Experiments in the way of colour-schemes are most interesting, and should appeal to ladies, who may gain ideas for their costumes from the blending of shades in their garden, or vice-versa. Here a word of warning will not be out of place; do not rely too much on the =coloured descriptions in the catalogues=, for, as they are usually drawn up by men, they are frequently inaccurate; so many men are =partially colour-blind=, and will describe a crushed strawberry as a carmine! Frequently a flower will change its colour, however, when in different soil and position, even in the same district. =THE DELL AT CHERTSEY.= A novel way of growing plants is to open up a spring dell. I wonder if any of my readers have ever seen the one on St. Ann's Hill, Chertsey? I will try to picture it here. A large basin is scooped out of the hill, and on the slopes of this basin are grown masses of rhododendrons and azaleas. Round the rim at the top is some light rustic fencing, partially covered with climbing plants, and there was also a narrow bridge of the same material. This dell could not be copied in very small gardens, because it should be so placed as to come upon one rather in the way of a surprise, but where there are any corners not quite in view of all the windows, a little ingenuity will make a lovely thing of it. The shrubs used need not be identical; less expensive plants may be grown in just the same way. Those on the slope of the dell will do best; the plants for the bottom must be carefully chosen, as, of course, they will get =much moisture and little sun=. Wall-flowers would run to leaf in that position; and so, I am afraid, would forget-me-not; daisies (double ones) would revel there, however, particularly if the soil were made fairly rich; they are extremely reasonable in price, and easily obtained. Bluebells, wood anemones, doronicums, hepaticas, narcissus, snowdrops, all like such a situation, but perhaps the queen of them all is dicentra spectabilis, or "lady's locket," as it is sometimes called; it has pink drooping racemes and finely-cut foliage, and is generally found under glass, though it is never seen to such advantage as when well grown out of doors. This dell is the very place for it, as, when out in the open ground, rough winds injure its precocious blooms. The =hardy cyclamen= would do admirably, too, but these must be planted on the slope of the dell, as they need perfect drainage. In summer it should be a mass of filmy ferns, foxgloves, and hardy orchids; the best of the orchids is cypripedium spectabile, and it should be planted in peat and leaf-mould, and in such a way that it is fairly dry in winter and well watered in summer. Experiments in the way of growing uncommon plants are always interesting; in the next chapter, therefore, I will mention a few unreasonably neglected plants, including some novelties which I can personally testify to as well worth obtaining.

Previous: Lawn Paths Beds And Border
Next: Some Neglected But Handsome Plants

Add to Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon

Add to Informational Site Network