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It is inevitable that the lover of the picturesque should give bis sympathies to the live fence, for which wire and iron railings are being so largely substituted. The enemies of the latter decry them, not unjustly, as forming a ladder to climb over, a lattice to look through, and as destitute of the prime essential of shelter. It is the disappointment due to the introduction into our hedges of such unsuitable shrubs as privet and elder, together with neglect in maintaining them, which has brought live fences into disrepute. But if properly formed in the first place of blackthorn, quick, or holly, they will justify the trouble by their utility, economy, and beauty. It is the infatuation of rabbits for the bark of the holly which has deterred
many from planting this—the best and most ornamental of fencing plants. Our hedgerows and banks form a garden which
may be rendered more attractive than any artificial fence. They afford, too, a shelter which is invaluable. Here there will be a congenial home for coloured primroses, polyanthus, cyclamens, Solomon's seal, the hardy gladioli, pyrola, narcissus, snowflakes, fritillary, and many another. The wild rose and the sweet brier flourish on the top, while our native climbers take possession of the bank. No training can ever give to them the artless grace with which they arrange their drapery when free from restraint. In the company of traveller's joy and honeysuckle we may place several varieties of clematis, honeysuckles of other hues but in sweetness equal to our own, jasmines, vines, roses, and Virginian creeper. The difference between their beauty in such a spot and that of their garden rivals may be tested by comparing a well-trained vineyard with an old vine wedded to an elm tree in primæval fashion.
A glimpse at a New England wood will show how we may enliven our own coppice. The ground is brightened in spring by dog's-tooth violets, hepaticas, Solomon's seal, blood-root, gold-thread-so named from its yellow roots—and the lovely wood-lily. If these plants can endure the climate of Massachusetts, what may not we accomplish? It is true that in their own country the heavy mantle of snow preserves them from the alternate coaxing and freezing which is the vice of an English winter : we must therefore remedy the drawback by allowing Nature to take care of her children in her own untidy way. •Tidiness' is the bane of plant life. To remove the leaves from a bed at the approach of winter is to shear a sheep at Christmas. From the artistic point of view it may be doubted whether the bare soil, dotted over with frost-bitten plants, is a more cheerful sight than a carpet of dead leaves ; but even if it be so, let consideration for the Aowers, which need
our best help in their season of distress, incline the balance in their favour. There would be something ludicrous, were it not painful, in the annual digging-over to which shrubberies are subjected. The 'rough pruners' go before to clear the way, and the diggers follow. Behind them is a desolation like the track of a whirlwind. The wasted effort bestowed on this destruction should be given to encouraging the many dwarf and creeping things which cover the nakedness of tbe land.
Happily, in the Wild Garden we may defy conventionality unreproved. In our capricious climate cover is needed long after the calendar proclaims the advent of spring; and if March delays to sweep away the last of the litter, Nature will soon draw a mask of green over her untidiness. It is under these conditions, in the half-shade and shelter of a deciduous coppice, that the lilium auratum, the panther, with some of the other lilies, and not a few of the most beautiful irises, develope to perfection. Here, too, should it not be indigenous, we may naturalise the lily of the valley and Solomon's seal—seen at its best when lifting its graceful head out of a carpet of wild hyacinth.
Forest trees are beneficial to some flowers from the partial shade they afford; but, speaking generally, they are inimical to plant life. They exhaust the soil, and deprive it alike of sun and rain. The air, however, of antiquity which they lend should atone for these evils; the inconvenience should not be removed by cutting them down. Thank goodness it takes three centuries to grow an avenue of oaks,' was the consolation of the guests who drove home down the newly planted avenue of a plutocrat, who had entertained them at dinner, and had overdone the ostentation. Evelyn regrets that men are more prone to cut down than to plant, and relates with approval the anecdote of Ulysses, who, returning from his wanderings, found his father planting a tree. Being asked why he did so, at his age, the old man replied to his unknown visitor: 'I plant against the day when my son Ulysses comes home.' The author of •Silva' might well turn his delightful pages with increased pleasure when he remembered the millions of trees which its advice had called into being.
Where planting is necessary, the configuration of the ground should be accentuated, not minimised. The taller trees should be placed on the high ground, and those of more moderate growth be reserved for the valleys. The contrary method is productive of tameness by equalising the level. It was the belief of Kent and Brown that the works of Nature were well executed, but in a bad taste.' Their mania was for levelling,
for producing a smooth bare surface, whereon to reconstruct Nature; our effort should be to reverse their process. The essence of the Wild Garden is that it leaves Nature intact in all its essential features. Nature should not be forced, says Sir William Temple; 'great sums may be thrown away without effect or honour, if there want sense. Nor should the eye be forced, for, as Repton points out, 'The eye of taste or experience hates compulsion, and turns away with disgust from every artificial means of attracting its notice.' We are bidden to believe that every ornament of a woman's dress is a survival of some article of use. A bridge should be so placed as to cross the water; and roads should follow the lie of the land, and not meander from sheer imbecility. So, too, everything should be congruous to the scene.
A Chinese shoe will not fit an English foot, and a pagoda is an anomaly in an English landscape.
An eye for form as well as colour is indispensable successful planting. A bold effect, ably conceived, will be lost if the site be chosen without judgment. The little bays formed by trees and shrubs should not be blocked by a mass of tall Aowers. The intrinsic beauty of their form will not, however, be marred by a carpet of dwarf vegetation. Erect stiff plants should not occupy the ridge of a bank while the shrubs which would have drooped over it are relegated to positions where their tendency becomes an eyesore. Nature loves mystery, and a glimpse of colour through the brushwood is often more attractive than an unobstructed vista. Plants Jose by repetition, especially if they recur at measured distances. The habit of the eye is to take in one object at a time, and it should not be distracted. A group of lilies against the dark foliage of an evergreen needs no adjunct. The sum of the matter is that the eye unconsciously searches out points of vantage. It should be the effort of forethought to see that it has a pleasing object whereon to rest.
If it be true that every woman who puts a ribbon in her bonnet incurs a responsibility to society, a similar remark may be made of the world of flowers. The laws of colour must remain a sealed book to those who are afflicted with colour blindness. There are others who in dress, in furniture, and even in the arrangement of a bowl of flowers, show a nice discrimination, but who seem to leave their taste behind them when they close the front door. A pattern-bed might be made much more effectively in any other material than flowers; and in that case its designers would produce a work of art. Yet a violent contrast of crude colour seems to cause them no pain ; and because it is consecrated by custom, the regulation red, blue, and yellow Vol. 191.-No. 381.
of geranium, lobelia, and calceolaria is held to be a pleasant relief to the eye. But when did Nature ever grow a formal mass of scarlet or crimson and fence it in with a thin blue line, and then in sheer wilfulness balance it by an equal quantity of yellow ? 'God Almighty planted the first garden,' and somehow in her painting of coppice or moor or meadow Nature never goes wrong.
Here we shall obtain lessons in colour more easy of appreciation than the laws laid down by art. Nature employs a bold contrast at times, but her rule is harmony; and much of the secret of her success lies in the abundant drapery of green by which she veils and softens her colours.
The association of such flowers as tritoma and the rosecoloured Japanese anemone, and a delicate harmony chosen from the perennial phloxes, make a pleasing blend as summer
Then pass from the sunlight to some cool glade in the coppice or shrubbery, and mark the effect of ‘Honorine Jobert,' the white-flowered Japanese anemone, gleaming against the dusky shadows, the appropriate home, throughout the changing seasons, of lilies of the valley, monkshood, columbine, and larkspurs, of white lilies, ferns, and saxifrages—not one of wbich seems out of tone. Here it must be remarked that not every flower which a delicate sense of colour would place in the half light is patient of this treatment. The tender yellow of some of the evening primroses is beautiful as they open in the twilight; but the plant loves to bask in the sunshine. As the low-toned flowers suit the shade, the warm yellows, scarlet, crimson, and orange, are enhanced by the sun's rays. In a climate such as ours, masses of dead white should be sparingly used. As a relief to the darker purples and lilac their employinent is desirable. Simplicity and broad effects should be the object aimed at, a result attainable by the massing of kindred tints.
• I like your essays,' said Henry III to Montaigne. Then, sire, you will like me,I am my essays.' And what is gardening but a series of essays written in the book of art and nature ? Here, as elsewhere, the style is the man. When Bacon pauses in laying out his artificial garden to ordain that there should be mounts' whence to look out on the distant country, and a desert or heath' planted not in any order,' he proves that the world had not been able to kill all the wild joy of Nature. But it is where man is left alone with Nature that the impress of his individuality is chiefly apparent. Here the eye for form and colour must make good its claim under new conditions, and bold effects must take the place of
the niggler's puny scroll-work. It is the test of a man's intimacy with the lore of Nature and of the accord which subsists between them. And-so the genius loci be not disturbed—the man who grows two flowers where one grew before is a benefactor to his kind.
We need not fear the development of that bucolic mind which is said to come of turnips and fat cattle. Diocletian could wield the Empire of Rome, and Cromwell a kingdom which was somewhat akin to it; but both loved their flowers. As the Laureate said recently of Burns: One hand on the plough and the other on the harp, that is the ideal life. The busy hand that plants in hope or succours some sufferer, leaves the mind free." From Bacon's stately eulogy to the last essay on gardening-commendable for its spirit, if not always for its literary merit—there is evidence of the same constraining impulse to give thanks for an indwelling source of happiness. We may feel with Renan that the task is not a thankless one : La fleur, c'est l'acte d'adoration que fait la terre à un amant invisible, selon un rite toujours le même.' In the Wild Garden there is no room for ostentation and that desire to distance one's neighbours which_is beginning to take the zest out of honest enjoyment. The varying conditions which dictate and make possible a Wild Garden scarce invite comparison. Here there are no carnation clubs, nor the latest rose, restricted by a fancy price, so that the wealthy may boast for a year or two of its exclusive possession. Here we need fear 'no enemy but winter and rough weather'-no competitor but Nature; and we may disarm her by turning pupil. Nature is commanded by obeying her.'
That a garden is the last retreat of the solitary and the sad is only a fraction of the truth. To the motley crew of her worshippers * the Court of Flora is always open, and, best of all, to the poor. The man who feels that his craving for the ideal has grown to a fine lunacy,' may plead that he gardens for something to do; but in truth he only obeys the law of his birth, Those on whom the sweet compulsion is laid must needs comply. And if it be true that no bad man loves flowers, may we not learn a whole sermon full of charity when
* The devoted gardener, who wishes to know what has been said or sung by & multitude of authors-ancient, mediæval, and modern-about his favourite pursuit, will find ample encouragement in Mr. A. F. Sieveking's book, “The Praise of Gardens' (Dent and Co.), a second edition of which, recently published, has come into our hands since this article was put into type. The new edition contains so much fresh matter (including especially an historical • Epilogue,' with many illustrations of 'formal gardens ') as to be almost a new book.