Colour in the Flower Garden

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by Gertrude Jekyll

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Project Gutenberg's Colour in the flower garden, by Gertrude JekyllThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictionswhatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: Colour in the flower gardenAuthor: Gertrude JekyllRelease Date: December 24, 2015 [EBook #50764]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: UTF-8*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK COLOUR IN THE FLOWER GARDEN ***Produced by Shaun Pinder, Les Galloway and the OnlineDistributed Proofreading Team at (Thisfile was produced from images generously made availableby The Internet Archive) COLOUR IN THE FLOWER GARDEN[Illustration: _WHITE LILIES._] _THE "COUNTRY LIFE" LIBRARY_ COLOUR IN THE FLOWER GARDEN BY GERTRUDE JEKYLL [Illustration: A bunch of flowers.] PUBLISHED BY "COUNTRY LIFE," LTD. GEORGE NEWNES, LTD. 20, TAVISTOCK STREET 7-12, SOUTHAMPTON ST. COVENT GARDEN, W.C. COVENT GARDEN, W.C. 1908INTRODUCTIONTo plant and maintain a flower-border, _with a good scheme for colour_,is by no means the easy thing that is commonly supposed.I believe that the only way in which it can be made successful is todevote certain borders to certain times of year; each border or gardenregion to be bright for from one to three months.Nothing seems to me more unsatisfactory than the border that in springshows a few patches of flowering bulbs in ground otherwise lookingempty, or with tufts of herbaceous plants just coming through. Thenthe bulbs die down, and their place is wanted for something that comeslater. Either the ground will then show bare patches, or the place ofthe bulbs will be forgotten and they will be cruelly stabbed by fork ortrowel when it is wished to put something in the apparently empty space.For many years I have been working at these problems in my own garden,and having come to certain conclusions, can venture to put them forthwith some confidence. I may mention that from the nature of the ground,in its original state partly wooded and partly bare field, and fromits having been brought into cultivation and some sort of shape beforeit was known where the house now upon it would exactly stand, thegarden has less general unity of design than I should have wished. Theposition and general form of its various portions were accepted mainlyaccording to their natural conditions, so that the garden ground,though but of small extent, falls into different regions, with ageneral, but not altogether definite, cohesion.I am strongly of opinion that the possession of a quantity of plants,however good the plants may be themselves and however ample theirnumber, does not make a garden; it only makes a _collection_. Havinggot the plants, the great thing is to use them with careful selectionand definite intention. Merely having them, or having them plantedunassorted in garden spaces, is only like having a box of paintsfrom the best colourman, or, to go one step further, it is likehaving portions of these paints set out upon a palette. This does notconstitute a picture; and it seems to me that the duty we owe to ourgardens and to our own bettering in our gardens is so to use the plantsthat they shall form beautiful pictures; and that, while delightingour eyes, they should be always training those eyes to a more exaltedcriticism; to a state of mind and artistic conscience that will nottolerate bad or careless combination or any sort of misuse of plants,but in which it becomes a point of honour to be always striving for thebest.It is just in the way it is done that lies the whole difference betweencommonplace gardening and gardening that may rightly claim to rank as afine art. Given the same space of ground and the same material, theymay either be fashioned into a dream of beauty, a place of perfectrest and refreshment of mind and body--a series of soul-satisfyingpictures--a treasure of well-set jewels; or they may be so misused thateverything is jarring and displeasing. To learn how to perceive thedifference and how to do right is to apprehend gardening as a fine art.In practice it is to place every plant or group of plants with suchthoughtful care and definite intention that they shall form a part of aharmonious whole, and that successive portions, or in some cases evensingle details, shall show a series of pictures. It is so to regulatethe trees and undergrowth of the wood that their lines and masses comeinto beautiful form and harmonious proportion; it is to be alwayswatching, noting and doing, and putting oneself meanwhile into closestacquaintance and sympathy with the growing things.In this spirit, the garden and woodland, such as they are, have beenformed. There have been many failures, but, every now and then, I amencouraged and rewarded by a certain measure of success. Yet, as thecritical faculty becomes keener, so does the standard of aim risehigher; and, year by year, the desired point seems always to eludeattainment.But, as I may perhaps have taken more trouble in working out certainproblems, and given more thought to methods of arranging growingflowers, especially in ways of colour-combination, than amateurs ingeneral, I have thought that it may be helpful to some of them todescribe as well as I can by word, and to show by plan and picture,what I have tried to do, and to point out where I have succeeded andwhere I have failed.I must ask my kind readers not to take it amiss if I mention here thatI cannot undertake to show it them on the spot. I am a solitary worker;I am growing old and tired, and suffer from very bad and painful sight.My garden is my workshop, my private study and place of rest. For thesake of health and reasonable enjoyment of life it is necessary tokeep it quite private, and to refuse the many applications of thosewho offer it visits. My oldest friends can now only be admitted. So Iask my readers to spare me the painful task of writing long lettersof excuse and explanation; a task that has come upon me almost dailyof late years in the summer months, that has sorely tried my weak andpainful eyes, and has added much to the difficulty of getting throughan already over-large correspondence.CONTENTS PAGE INTRODUCTION v CHAPTER I A MARCH STUDY AND THE BORDER OF EARLY BULBS 1 CHAPTER II THE WOOD 8 CHAPTER III THE SPRING GARDEN 21 CHAPTER IV BETWEEN SPRING AND SUMMER 32 CHAPTER V THE JUNE GARDEN 39 CHAPTER VI THE MAIN HARDY FLOWER BORDER 49 CHAPTER VII THE FLOWER BORDER IN JULY 58 CHAPTER VIII THE FLOWER BORDER IN AUGUST 65 CHAPTER IX THE FLOWER BORDERS IN SEPTEMBER 78 CHAPTER X WOOD AND SHRUBBERY EDGES 83 CHAPTER XI GARDENS OF SPECIAL COLOURING 89 CHAPTER XII CLIMBING PLANTS 106 CHAPTER XIII GROUPING OF PLANTS IN POTS 112 CHAPTER XIV SOME GARDEN PICTURES 121 CHAPTER XV A BEAUTIFUL FRUIT GARDEN 127 CHAPTER XVI PLANTING FOR WINTER COLOUR 133 CHAPTER XVII FORM IN PLANTING 138 INDEX 143LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS WHITE LILIES _Frontispiece_ IRIS STYLOSA _To face page_ 4 MAGNOLIA CONSPICUA " " 5 MAGNOLIA STELLATA " " 6 FERNS IN THE BULB BORDER " " 7 THE BANK OF EARLY BULBS " " 7 DAFFODILS BY A WOODLAND PATH " " 10 WILD PRIMROSES IN THIN WOODLAND " " 11 THE WIDE WOOD PATH " " 12 CISTUS LAURIFOLIUS " " 13 A WOOD PATH AMONG CHESTNUTS " " 14 A WOOD PATH AMONG BIRCHES " " 15 CISTUS CYPRIUS " " 16 CISTUS BY THE WOOD PATH " " 17 GAULTHERIA SHALLON IN FLOWER " " 18 GAULTHERIA SHALLON IN FRUIT " " 19 WHITE IRISH HEATH " " 20 THE SPRING GARDEN FROM =D= ON PLAN " " 21 PLAN OF THE SPRING GARDEN " " 23 THE FERN-LIKE SWEET CICELY " " 24 THE SPRING GARDEN FROM =E= ON PLAN " " 25 "FURTHER ROCK" FROM =G= ON PLAN " " 28 "FURTHER ROCK" FROM =H= ON PLAN " " 29 "NEAR ROCK" FROM =F= ON PLAN " " 30 THE PRIMROSE GARDEN " " 31 STEPS TO THE HIDDEN GARDEN " " 32 PHLOX DIVARICATA AND ARENARIA MONTANA " " 33 MALE FERN IN THE HIDDEN GARDEN " " 34 EXOCHORDA GRANDIFLORA " " 35 PLAN OF THE HIDDEN GARDEN " " 35 EUPHORBIA WULFENII " " 36 IRISES AND LUPINES IN THE JUNE GARDEN " " 37 PART OF THE GARLAND ROSE AT THE ANGLE " " 39 ROSE BLUSH GALLICA ON DRY WALLING " " 42 SPANISH IRIS " " 43 PLAN OF THE JUNE GARDEN " " 44 PLAN OF IRIS AND LUPINE BORDERS " " 44 WHITE TREE LUPINE " " 46 CATMINT IN JUNE " " 47 SCOTCH BRIARS