Title: Garden and forest. / Volume 7, Issue 334 [an electronic version]
Collection: Garden and Forest
Garden and Forest. the display endures for a short time only, and it is more beautiful because it is fleeting. It is true that the gardener now has at command an abundance of plants with vivid foliage which have developed under other climatic conditions, or, as is more generally the case which have resulted from his own efforts to perpetuate chance freaks of nature, which, had she been left to herself, would never have multiplied to any appreciable extent. When, therefore, wae use these plants with bright-hued foliage in the landscape-effects which we elaborate in temperate regions, we introduce novelties of our own invention. We are not carrying out nature's essential scheme, but are weaving in materials foreign to her local ideal; we are not delicately or forcibly varying the melody which she has composed, but are trying to incorporate with it alien notes and chords. And this indicates that here is a line on which we should work cautiously at least, lest nature's original plan be ruined and her original harmony become a series of discordant fragments. These considerations are vaguely felt, although the cause of them may not be thoroughly analyzed, by every person of taste who contemplates the average European park, with its abundance of pallid Negundos, or an American private pleasure-ground, with its masses of Prunus Pissardi. Many plants and trees with bright-hued foliage are charming in themselves, and ungrudgingly admired when seen in small numbers and in appropriate situations. That they seem out of harmony with their surroundings when profusely employed in naturalistic landscape is owing to the fact that in our part of the world nature grows brilliant flowers in great abundance, but is niggardly in the production of bright-hued leaves, and that to attain artistic and satisfying results we must always follow the broad lines which nature lays down. Again, the unchanging character of bright-hued foliage-plants is an argument against their abundant use. Flowers are transitory. Plants which bloom all the season produce flowers sparingly at any one time, and those which bloom profusely relapse into quiet greenness after a few days of splendor. Therefore we do not grow tired of the most gorgeous color combinations which are wrought with blossoming trees and shrubs, nor have we time to weary of the tender tints of opening leaves in spring, or the crimson and golden glories of our autumn foliage. But the vivid and variegated plants which are so much affected by French park-makers and by American amateurs are the same from one end of the season to the other. No matter how much we may admire the magnificence of an October forest, we should tire of such a forest if it were before our eyes from May to November; no matter how much we regret the fading flowers of the Rhododendron, we know it is better that they should fade so that we can enjoy the quiet green of their foliage for the rest of the year, and welcome their flowering season again with greater delight. We may crave the beauty of color all the year through, but we only get this beauty at its full by a sequence of effects each dissimilar to all the rest, and, therefore, we have no regrets at a tendency to exclude from our parks so-called foliageplants with their monotony of odd color so long as we have a profusion of flowering plants which show as the seasons move the constantly renewed beauty of everchanging tints after nature's approved method. The Gardens of the Early New England Colonists. HE early colonists of New England were from all classes and conditions. Many were connected with families of great prosperity and affluence. It may, there fore, be rightly conjectured that a fair proportion brought with them to the New World that inherent love for horticultural pursuits, and that sensibility to natural beauties, which have marked the English as a nation, at least since the accession of Edward III. Before the accession of Queen Elizabeth, horticulture in Europe had been considered rather as a mechanical art, but in this reign it was destined to become enriched by establishing national gardens for the scientific cultivation of plants, thereby rendering the study of horticulture and botany more popular. This course was pursued not bnly in England, but also upon the Continent. The impetus thus given created a host of writers and practical observers upon all subjects pertaining to gardening, and led to the introduction of new plants from foreign countries, especially from the New World and from the Indies. Many of these, at first imported as mere novelties, were soon sought for as necessities as well as luxuries. Tobacco, tea and the potato may be thus enumerated. Among the writers who, during the latter part of the sixteenth and during the seventeenth century, became authorities in England and have so contiued, may be mentioned Didymus, Scot, Dethycke, Thomas Hill, Maschal, Platt, Heresbach, Gerarde, Markham, Parkinson, Tradescant, Evelynn, Worlidge, Sir William Temple and Lord Bacon. It is hardly to be supposed that the earliest settlers in the plantations of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay would pay much attention during their first years in the country to aesthetic principles in laying out their gardens, however well they might be versed in these as advanced by Parkinson, whose Paradzsus terrestris explained the details of a garden practice adapted to the climate of New England as well as of old England, or of other writers with whose works they were doubtless more or less familiar. It was with many a contest for existence, and in the preparation of the soil for the raising of the necessities of life they found ample occupation. It is not until the middle of the seventeenth century that we find any account of gardens laid out in a manner that indicated the increased affluence of the colonists, and these were mostly in the principal centres of population. Our knowledge of the horticultural affairs of the first planters is gleaned from a few authorities. Higginsons New England's Plantatzon was published in London in I 630, before the sailing of Winthrop's fleet. Writing in I629, the reverend divine says: "The fertility of the soil is to be admired at, as appeareth in the abundance of grass that groweth everywhere, both very thick, very long and very high in divers places.... But the abundant increase of corn proves this country to be a wonderment. Thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, are ordinary here. Yea, Joseph's increase in Egypt is outstripped here with us.... They have tried our English corn at New Plymouth Plantation, so that all our several grains will grow here very well, and have a fitting soil for their nature. Our Governor hath store of green pease growing in his garden as good as ever I eat in England. This country aboundeth naturally with store of roots of great variety, and good to eat. Our turnips, parsnips and carrots are here both bigger and sweeter than is ordinarily to be found in England. Here are also store of pumpions, cowcumbers and other things of that nature which I know not. Also divers excellent pot-herbs grow abundantly among the grass, as strawberry-leaves in all places of the country, and plenty of strawberries in their time, and pennyroyal, winter savory, sorrel, brookline, liverwort, carvel and water cresses; also leeks and onions are ordinary, and divers physical herbs. Here are also abundance of other sweet herbs, delightful to the smell, whose names we know not, and plenty of single damask roses, very sweet, and two kinds of flowers very sweet, which they say are as good to make cordage or cloth as any hemp or flax we have. Excellent vines are here up and down in the woods. Our Governor hath already planted a vineyard, with great hope of increase. Also mulberries, plums, raspberries, currants, chestnuts, filberts, walnuts, small nuts, hurtleberries, and haws of whitethorn, near as good as our cherries in England, they grow in plenty here." In Wood's N/ew England's Prospect we have a true, lively and experimental description of that part of America commonly called New England. William Wood, the 282 [NUMBER 334.