The Garden Guide

Book: Colour schemes for the flower garden
Chapter: Chapter 12 Gardens of special colouring

Gold and green gardens

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In the Gold and Green gardens the shrubs, which form the chief part of the planting, are shown as they will be after some years' growth. It is best to have them so from the first. If, in order to fill the space at once, several are planted where one only should eventually stand, the extra ones being removed later, the one left probably does not stand quite right. I strongly counsel the placing of them singly at first, and that until they have grown, the space should be filled with temporary plants. Of these, in the Gold garden, the most useful will be Oenothera lamarckiana {Oenothera erthyrosepala}, Verbascum olympicum and V. phlomoides, with more Spanish Broom than the plan shows till the gold Hollies are grown; and yellow-flowered annuals, such as the several kinds of Chrysanthemum coronarium, both single and double, and Coreopsis Drummondi; also a larger quantity of African Marigolds, the pale primrose and the lemon-coloured. The fine tall yellow Snapdragons will also be invaluable. Flowers of a deep orange colour, such as the orange African Marigold, so excellent for their own use, are here out of place, only those of pale and middle yellow being suitable. In such a garden it will be best to have, next the path, either a whole edging of dwarf, gold-variegated Box-bushes about eighteen inches to two feet high, or a mixed planting of these and small bushes of gold-variegated Euonymus clipped down to not much over two feet. The edge next the path would be kept trimmed to a line. The strength of colour and degree of variation are so great that it is well worth going to a nursery to pick out all these gold-variegated plants. It is not enough to tell the gardener to get them. There should be fervour on the part of the garden's owner such as will take him on a gold-plant pilgrimage to all good nurseries within reach, or even to some rather out of reach. No good gardening comes of not taking pains. All good gardening is the reward of well-directed and strongly sustained effort. Where, in the Gold garden, the paths meet and swing round in a circle, there may be some accentuating ornament�a sundial, a stone vase for flowers, or a tank for a yellow Water-lily. If a sundial, and there should be some incised lettering, do not have the letters gilt because it is the Gold garden; the colour and texture of gilding are quite out of place. If there is a tank, do not have goldfish; their colour is quite wrong. Never hurt the garden for the sake of the tempting word. The word "gold" in itself is, of course, an absurdity; no growing leaf or flower has the least resemblance to the colour of gold. But the word may be used because it has passed into the language with a commonly accepted meaning. I have always felt a certain hesitation in using the free-growing perennial Sunflowers. For one thing, the kinds with the running roots are difficult to keep in check, and their yearly transplantation among other established perennials is likely to cause disturbance and injury to their neighbours. Then, in so many neglected gardens they have been let run wild, surviving when other plants have been choked, that, half unconsciously, one has come to hold them cheap and unworthy of the best use. I take it that my own impression is not mine alone, for often when I have been desired to do planting-plans for flower borders, I have been asked not to put in any of these Sunflowers, because "they are so common." But nothing is "common" in the sense of base or unworthy if it is rightly used, and it seems to me that this Gold garden is just the place where these bright autumn flowers may be employed to great advantage. I have therefore shown Helianthus rigidus and its tall-growing variety Miss Mellish, although the colour of both is quite the deepest I should care to advise; the paler yellow of H. loetiflorus being better, especially the capital pale form of this Sunflower, and of one that I know as a variety of H. orgyalis, described at p. 72. The golden Planes, where the path comes in from the north, are of course deciduous, and it might be well to have gold Hollies again at the back of these, or gold Yews, to help the winter effect. In some places in the plan the word "gold" has been omitted, but the yellow-leaved or yellow-variegated form of the shrub is always intended. There is a graceful cut-leaved Golden Elder {Sambucus racemosa �Plumosa Aurea�} that is desirable, as well as the common one.