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Home Gardening for beginners advice

The common roses have very little value for landscape planting, because the foliage and habit of the rose bush are not attractive, the leaves are inveterately attacked by bugs, and the blossoms are fleeting. Some of the wild roses and the Japanese Rosa rugosa, however, have distinct merit for mass effects. Wild bushes are nearly always attractive when planted in borders and groups. They improve in appearance under cultivation, because they are given a better chance to grow. In wild nature, there is such a fierce struggle for existence that plants usually grow to few or single stems and they are sparse and scraggly in form; but once given all the room they want and a good soil, and they become luxurious, full and comely.

In most home grounds the body of the planting may be very effectively made by the use of bushes taken from adjacent woods and fields. The masses may then be enlivened by the addition here and there of cultivated bushes, and the planting of flowers and herbs about the borders. It is not essential that one know the names of these wild bushes, although a knowledge of their botanical features will add greatly to the pleasure of growing them. Neither will they look common when transferred to the lawn. There are very few people who know even the commonest wild bushes intimately, and the bushes change so much in looks when removed to rich grounds that few people recognize them.

To make a group, dig up the entire area. Never set the bushes in holes dug in the sod. Spade up the ground, set the bushes thick, hoe them, and then let them go. If you do not like the bare earth between them, sow in the seeds of hardy annual flowers, like phlox, petunia, alyssum and pinks. The person who plants his shrubs in holes in the sward does not seriously mean to make any foliage mass, and it is likely that he does not know what relation the border-mass has to artistic planting.

Planting the bushes thick is for quick effect. It is an easy matter to thin the plantation if it becomes too thick. Generally plant all common bushes as close as two feet apart each way, especially if most of them come from the fields instead of the nursery.

If one has no area which he can make into a lawn and upon which he can plant verdurous masses, what then may he do? Even then there may be opportunity for a little neat and artistic planting. Even if one lives in a rented house, he may bring in a bush or an herb from the woods and paint a picture with it. Plant it in the corner by the steps, in front of the porch, at the corner of the house, almost anywhere except in the center of the lawn. Make the ground rich, secure a strong root and plant it with care; then wait. The little clum will not only have a beauty and interest of its own, but will add immensely to the furniture of the yard.

About its base one may plant stray bulbs of glowing tulips or dainty snow­drops and lilies-of-the-valley; and these may be followed with pansies and phlox and other simple folk. Very soon one finds himself deeply interested in these random add detached pictures, and almost before he is aware he finds that he has rounded off the corners of the house, made snug little arbors of wild grapes and clematis, covered the rear fence and the outhouse with actinidia and bitter-sweet, and has thrown in dashes of color with hollyhocks, cannas and lilies, and has tied the foundations of the buildings to the greensward by low strands of vines or deft bits of planting.

The gardener soon comes to feel that flowers are most expressive of the best emotions when they are daintily dropped in here and there against a background of foliage. Presently he rebels at the bold, harsh and impudent designs of some of the gardeners, and grows into a pure and subdued love of plant forms and verdure. He may still like the weeping and cut-leaved and party-colored trees of the
horticulturist, but he sees that their best effects are to be had when they are planted sparingly, as flowers are, as borders or promontories of the structural masses.