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introduction of the mixed style to such an extent as the circumstances may suggest. Cases of this kind are very
Indeed it may safely be assumed of the majority of the gardens in this country, that the extent of" bedding-out” carried on in them is done under difficulty more or less, and to some extent in many cases to the prejudice or loss of other departments. The reason in most instances is, that the practice of the fashionable style of massing has greatly exceeded the elasticity of the resources and appliances allowed in the shape of glass accommodation and labour. It is obvious, therefore, that a resort to the mixed system, which may be carried on very effectively with hardy subjects, perennials and annuals combined, would be an advantage to the owner, and no less so to the gardener. Possibly the much more numerous class of smaller gardens, whether about town or country, in which there are little or no appliances and means for producing the annual supplies of bedding plants, would benefit most by the adoption of the mixed style of planting. In these, adequate selections of hardy perennials are generally as rare as in those that are better provided with the requisite resources for
bedding-out,” and they are consequently dependent for their supplies on the nurseryman or their more favoured neighbours, according to circumstances, and the result is, as can only be expected, unsatisfactory at all points. The mixed border, or the principle of it in either beds or borders with a broad groundwork of hardy herbaceous plants, selected with a view to general effect throughout the year, among which might be worked in such annuals and bedding plants as may be available or desirable, would enhance the enjoyments of the possessors of such
gardens, and be a considerable improvement in point of taste on the starved examples of the massing style that is too often observable in them. There are gardens of all kinds, many of them, perhaps, with means and resources abundant enough to meet all desirable demands in connection with the massing system, situate in cold late districts in the north, and not altogether solitary in the south where “bedding-out" cannot be called summer gardening at all-where the design in the flower-garden is no sooner begun to make itself intelligible and enjoyablethan it is cut off. That is carrying the summer fashion of the massing style into the domain of winter, of course, where it cannot but come to grief; and if flowers are to be enjoyed out of doors in such gardens, they must be sought for in selections of hardier subjects, and the style of planting, if it must be altered by the adoption of these, will surely lead to a more gratifying result to all concerned.
Perhaps not the least advantage that would accrue from the introduction of the mixed style of planting, and along with it more or less extensive collections of hardy perennials into every garden where the circumstances are favourable, is the educational value that exists in the possession of many and varied objects for the exercise of the mind. The opportunities for the exercise of taste afforded in the arrangement of a miscellaneous collection of plants of distinct and varied forms, stature, and colour, are not inferior to those offered in the massing system with more limited and same materials. The distinct and broad features of art that are characteristic of the latter may be wanting in the former, but that is no proof that art cannot be exercised in the production of less striking, though not
necessarily on that account less beautiful, details. The principles involved in the practice of the massing system are not different from those that should guide the artist in the mixed style. The materials are different, and the aims and modes distinct, in both styles; but colour, stature, and general fitness and congruity, must be regarded with equal care in the one as in the other, if taste and beauty are to be exemplified in either. And there is this superiority in the mixed style over the massing, that the individuality of the plants is not altogether swallowed up in the general effect. This is no small matter if we are to regard our gardens and flowers as means that may be turned to valuable account in expanding the mind and drawing out the higher feelings of our natures. Colour, as one of its uses, was possibly stamped on flowers to invite us to a closer pondering of their inner mysteries; and if so, we are somewhat prone—we gardeners, at least—to disregard its lurings, and to look upon it as the only worshipful quality in flowers. The habits of exact observation which are acquired in the study of the structure and classification of plants cannot fail to be useful to every one; and young gardeners in particular, whose duties in after-life will make large demands on such habits, should, for that if for no higher motive, exercise their faculties in that way a little more assiduously than is their wont generally at the present time.
Remarks on the Arrangement of Mixed Borders. It is not easy, if it is even possible, to put on paper instructions for planting a mixed border on a definite plan. It has been often attempted, but the result has always been more or less vague. There are too many details
involved in the matter to admit of its being made intelligible or clear on paper.
It is more desirable to be thoroughly conversant with the points essential to be observed, in order to produce a beautiful whole, rich in variety throughout, than to be provided with plans on paper for this or any other style of planting. Perhaps the first and most important point-to all the smaller classes of gardens it will be so, at least -- to keep in view in the planting of a mixed border is, that it should be so arranged, and composed of such materials, as to be more or less replete with interest at all points at all times, if not in flowers, at least in foliage and in diversity of individual aspect. In order to be able to bring about this result, the planter must have an intimate knowledge of the height, colour, habit, and aspect at all seasons, and the time of flowering, and the duration of the flowers, of the different subjects to be planted. Skill and taste in grouping must do the rest. It should be remembered that freedom and grace ought to have prominent consideration in mixed borders, and that along with these there must be order; the plants being graduated easily and gracefully from front to back, Rigid lines, however, as in geometric planting in the massing system, should always be avoided ; but it will be necessary to consider the bearings of the contiguous subjects at any given point both on each other and upon the whole, especially when space is limited. Monotonous and frequent repetitions of the same effect are undesirable. Harmony of colour and harmony of form, and agreeable contrasts of both, are of equal importance in mixed planting as in massing. An outrage of the one or the other may be more easily
discernible in the latter style than in the former, but if often repeated it will have the same bad effect, although the cause may not be always easily defined. Although the object of this book is to bring about a more frequent use of hardy perennials in garden embellishment, I do not think it is desirable to recommend their exclusive use in even mixed planting, for which style they are better fitted than for any other. It would be a difficult matter to make a selection of hardy perennials capable of keeping up a sustained interest all the year round; and such a selection, when made, would probably present too little individuality or variety to be valuable in any but small gardens, or for any but limited or specific effects. But supposing it were otherwise, it would not be desirable in all cases, for it would not meet all the ends for which flowers are, or should be, cultivated, and would lead to many of the limitations of enjoyments obtainable therefrom that are complained of in the exclusive practice of the massing system. Good annuals and bedding plants are invaluable materials in the arrangement of mixed borders for effect; but hardy perennials—especially such as flower in spring and in late autumn-ought to form the groundwork of such arrangements, and the others, according to desire or necessity, should be regarded as temporary and subordinate aids to the end in view. Spring-flowering plants, owing to their usually low stature, are planted at the front of mixed borders as a rule; and in so far as concerns many of the fibrous-rooted evergreen and deciduous species, the practice is right, and consistent with order. But with regard to spring-flowering bulbs, there does not appear to me to be any reason why they should be