The Garden Guide

Book: Colour schemes for the flower garden
Chapter: Introduction

Gardening as a fine art

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Given the same space of ground and the same material, they may either be fashioned into a dream of beauty, a place of perfect rest and refreshment of mind and body�a series of soul-satisfying pictures�a treasure of well-set jewels; or they may be so misused that everything is jarring and displeasing. To learn how to perceive the difference 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 such thoughtful care and definite intention that they shall form a part of a harmonious whole, and that successive portions, or in some cases even single details, shall show a series of pictures. It is so to regulate the trees and undergrowth of the wood that their lines and masses come into beautiful form and harmonious proportion; it is to be always watching, noting and doing, and putting oneself meanwhile into closest acquaintance and sympathy with the growing things. In this spirit, the garden and woodland, such as they are, have been formed. There have been many failures, but, every now and then, I am encouraged and rewarded by a certain measure of success. Yet, as the critical faculty becomes keener, so does the standard of aim rise higher; and, year by year, the desired point seems always to elude attainment. But, as I may perhaps have taken more trouble in working out certain problems, and given more thought to methods of arranging growing flowers, especially in ways of colour-combination, than amateurs in general, I have thought that it may be helpful to some of them to describe 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 and where I have failed.