The Garden Guide

Book: Colour schemes for the flower garden
Chapter: Chapter 2 The wood

Rhododendrons and ferns

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The Rhododendrons are carefully grouped for colour�pink, white, rose and red of the best qualities are in the sunniest part, while, kept well apart from them, near the tall Chestnuts and rejoicing in their partial shade, are the purple colourings, of as pure and cool a purple as may be found among carefully selected ponticum seedlings and the few named kinds that associate well with them. Some details of this planting were given at length in my former book "Wood and Garden." Among the Rhododendrons, at points carefully devised to be of good effect, either from the house or from various points of the lawn and grass paths, are strong groups of Lilium auratum; they give a new. picture of flower-beauty in the late summer and autumn and till near the end of October. The dark, strong foliage makes the best possible setting for the Lilies, and gives each group of them its fullest value. Another, narrower path, more to the east, is called the Fern walk, because, besides the general growth of Bracken that clothes the whole of the wood, there are groups of common hardy Ferns in easy patches, planted in such a way as to suggest that they grew there naturally. The Male Fern, the beautiful Dilated Shield Fern, and Polypody are native to the ground, and it was easy to place these, in some cases merely adding to a naturally grown tuft, so that they look quite at home. Lady Fern, Blechnum and Osmunda, and Oak and Beech Ferns have been added, the Osmunda in a depression that collects the water from any storms of rain. Later it was found that these wood-path edges offered suitable places for groups of the Willow Gentian (G. asclepiadea), and it was rather largely planted. It delights in a cool place in shade or half-shade, and when in September so many flowers are over and garden plants in general are showing evidence of fatigue and exhaustion, it is a pleasant thing to come upon a group of the arching sprays of this graceful and quite distinctive plant with its bright blue flowers an inch and a half long set in pairs in the axils of the willow-like leaves.