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By J. Horace McFarland
Illustrated from Photographs by the Author
ica? Yet there are in our broad foreign treasures.
land not many real American But our European cousins have helped gardens. Few realize that the trend of to show us the glory of our own woods rural decoration and lawn adornment in and hills, and discovered for us the gems our country has been, for the most part of our meadows and roadsides. Many distinctly imitative of European forms. an estate in England exhibits as its chief It was natural that our forefathers, when glory a planting of American laurel and they began, as Bacon puts it, to "garden rhododendron; and the ubiquitous Amerwisely,” should look for models to their old ican tourist learns with astonishment that homes across the Atlantic. In England the common bushes and weeds of his genand on the Continent the adornment of erous home land are esteemed as rarely public and private grounds summed up beautiful abroad. generally as gardening is the growth of Our greater landscape artists have becenturies of living beyond the struggle gun to realize the possibilities of Amerfor mere existence. It has its distinctive ica's wealth of distinctive plant life. The and ripened character, and its materials are quite naturally those of the Eastern hemisphere. True, American plants were introduced in Europe long before the Revolutionary War, and such gentle souls as John Bartram sent to the home lands many members of the distinctively American flora in the last century ; but the home gardening sought mainly to introduce the plant life of the older countries. Thus there were brought in and cultivated many familiar plants which are hardly now recognized as foreigners—the geraniums, heliotropes, tulips, fuchsias, of the flower garden, the Norway maples, lindens, and European ashes of the parks.
This growing gardening art became more and more formal, and some quaint old examples of that extreme cultivated barbarism called “Italian gardening," with its clipped and sheared yews and box-trees, yet survive among us. The free, open, hearty plant life of America was practically unknown to us a century ago, in a decorative sense. The pioneers saw little beauty in the wild tangle of the woodlands they had to cut off for home sites, and the rich flora of the meadows and marshes must be subdued to make pastures. The pets of the housewife in her dooryard, when she came to have time for flowers, were exotic strangers, tenderly nourished, and she exchanged “THE GATEWAY OF THE CHESTNUTS"
Wooded Island at the World's Fair, and It was said of Thoreau, he who loved the great Vanderbilt estate in North Caro- and lived with American fora and fauna lina, have furnished notable object-lessons. far ahead of his generation—that he It is a smaller but most interesting exam could hardly keep away from him the ple that I ask the reader to visit with me, usually shy denizens of the forest about a camera fixing for us a few impressions. Walden pond. In a measure, this seems
Dolobran, near Philadelphia, is the to be the feeling of the plants in this country home of Mr. Clement A. Griscom. American garden which Mr. Griscom's Differing little, as approached by the liberality has created—the plants fairly Haverford road, from other well-kept outdo themselves in repayment of the suburban residences, its broad lawns and love lavished upon them. See the richfine effects in massed foliage show merely ness of this great white boneset—it is the correct taste of the landscape archi- actually the same herb of bitter memory tect. It is not until one passes the gate to the youth of a passing generation, and way of the chestnuts that the distinctively it is a despised roadside weed elsewhere. American garden is entered, and the free Here its majestic spread of bloom in Sepbeauty of native woodland, marsh, and tember excites our wonder and admiracopse presents itself.
tion. A sister eupatorium, the “joe-pyeWhat a change! Here is no tailor- weed,” throws up its purple richness in made lawn! No geranium-beds or coleus company. borders of monotonously continuous color In this garden the changes are quick. ing meet the eye ; no “carpet gardening' We visit it on a spring morning, and greet, of mosaic plants offends the taste. Just freshly bloomed, a dozen friends of last the natural beauty of American plants, year. We come back in the afternoon, located cunningly where they love to grow, and the curtain has risen on a new scene. unrestrained. untrimmed. True, the plants One of the charms of the native plants is are cared for—fed, if need be, watered their evanescence. You look for their on occasion—but no attempt is made to first appearance, you watch the growth of guide them into preconceived forms. the tender shoots, you greet the shy blos
THE HOME OF THE TIARELLA soms on a notable day. The processes columbines lifting jeweled blossoms of red of Nature go on; the seed-making follows, and yellow, white and purple, to sway in the plant may pass into its seasonal re
every passing breath. tirement. The garden is never two days But we must not overlook the springalike, never tiresome—who wants straw ing of the ferns. See these white “ croberries every day in the year? Would ziers of the energetic cinnamon fern; these white trilliums be esteemed if with how they push up from the black mold. us continually?
and fairly revel in the early warmth ! The time of the moss-pink is eagerly Look at them later, when the splendid awaited at Dolobran. Great beds of it foliage has developed, and the odd fruit . border a rocky walk in the “
ing fronds are dressed in cinnamon brown its carmine-pink blaze seems to absorb --can any exotic pet present more of and store away the sunshine in which it interest and life? luxuriates. While it is at its height, in a In kindly nooks a great fern-cluster rocky, shady corner we find the lovely nestles away from the sunshine, close by
been named the * Pansy Path." Just as the dogwood blossoms are falling to carpet the ground, we may see here, gleaming out from the tangle of green things, a tree whose branches are thickly hung with the silver bells which give it name-and, for once, a sensible “common" name!
When Mr. Warren H. Manning. the landscape artist whose love for and acquaintance with American plants has accomplished this notable result, began the work at Dolobran, he found a succession of excavations
from which building stone had been taken. These quarries, right in the woodland of chestnut, oak, ma
ple, and dogwood “THE RICHNESS OF THE WHITE BONESET "
which is the happy a noble American rhododendron. This possession of the estate, were selected as latter aristocrat of our hills and mountains caskets for the foral jewelry to be natuhas not yet attained the majestic size of ralized. No filling up was attempted, save its nature at Dolobran, but its vigor proves as rich soil had to be introduced in the its satisfaction with the environment. A borders and fern-pockets. Between the colony of laurel is established in happy two principal quarries rough stone steps conditions in a chestnut grove, and is al- were placed at several points, and approready a wealth of white and delicate pink priate plant life encouraged around and in the blooming season.
over these steps. The various paths of The dogwoods cannot be overlooked, the garden are named, and unobtrusive for the native trees in the Dolobran groves but permanent labels give both common have responded to the impulse of kindly and botanical names to the inquiring care, and their snow-drifts of blossoms visitor. There is a constant increase in enrich the tender greens of the spring the number of species, the test being only foliage along the roadsides, while their American origin and adaptability—the soft whiteness showing across the quarry rich orange carpet of California poptakes the eye even from the glow of moss- pies is hard by the bright scarlet of pinks. These splendid trees have even the Virginian silene, while on a lovely invaded the formal lawn, to its great dis- path in the woods, passing by a group of tinction.
the delicate and exquisite maidenhair East of the quarry a wood-road has ferns native to the neighborhood, we find
a fourishing colony of the rare shortia tantly upon a wonderful moss carpet, softer from North Carolina-not yet common to the tread than any handiwork of man, enough to have a common name!
until in a bit of a cavern the peculiarly search carefully among the leaves and delicate fern-fronds of the phegopteris are undergrowth, we may look upon the rare before our admiring eyes. flowers of the ginger-plant, produced Step where we will, new beauties are almost underground. All about are shade
This old quarry is a treasure-house loving plants, fern-clusters, trilliums, and of shade-loving plants, and its cool breath the like.
is always refreshing. Here the plants One of these stairways leading directly which last week were delighting us in the to the “old quarry” is itself a thing of larger or main quarry are just peeping beauty, covered with a delicate ivy, bor- out now—the shade and the “coolth" dered by masses of ferns and rhododen- have provided a second edition of bloom drons, and giving upon tall forest trees. Down another rocky stairway, past nod Let us return again to the main quarry, ding ferns and a pert plant of the Solo- along the rich border of the west quarry mon's-seal, just about the time of the path, with its changing hues from day to early rhododendrons, one looks across to day. Clamber down into the lower walks a notable cluster of the American colum at evening, amused by the hoarse croak bine to the left, while the steep slope to of the frog who has made himself at home the right is a sheet of exquisite green fern- in the “gold pond," and we come upon a fronds. Clear into the shady depths of rare sight-the blooming of the yellow this “old quarry” is the home of the pitcher-plants. Their oddly formed flowtiarella, or foam-flower, with its delicate ers, to be followed later by the curious white spikes. A little later these grayish- pitchers, gleam among the rushes and catgreen plants close by give us a burst of tails as little lamps with amber globes. forget-me-nots. Almost under our feet To the left, a little later, the light purple are colonies of the primrose-eyed quaker- spikes of pontederia will be open. A ladies, dressed in lavender. Deeper yet, step aside, and against the rock face where the sun never lights, we step reluc- shows a rank of the now fading flower