LAWNS AND THEIR BEAUTIFICATION
SOME OLD AND NEW SHRUBS AND GRASSES
Persons who have visited me at Santa Rosa in recent years are almost always greatly interested in the lawn about my dwelling. At a little distance this looks very much like any other lawn that is well-covered with grass. But on closer inspection it appears that the lawn is carpeted with a plant that is obviously not a grass.It is in reality a species of verbena, very much more closely related to the familiar flower of that name than any other plant in cultivation. This anomalous substitute for lawn grass is a plant which was briefly referred to in an earlier chapter as a relative of the verbena. It is known as Lippia repens, and by some European botanists classified as Lippia canescens. It is a plant indigenous to Chile, from which country I received the seed from which the new lawn plant was developed a number of years ago. The value of the Lippias as lawn plants had been shown by Dr. Francheschi, of Santa Barbara, California, as long ago as 1900, he having introduced a common form of Lippia repens from Southern Europe where it had -been grown as a lawn plant by division until it lost its power of producing seed, thus making further improvement impossible. The opportunity to improve the plant came when my collector in Chile sent me seed of some of the wild species. I saw that there was a good deal of variation among the plants raised from this seed, and in the following season raised about ten thousand plants, each one of which was given a little space in order that its individual peculiarities as to rapidity of growth, tendency to spread, and color of foliage might be studied. From among some ten thousand plants about half a dozen were saved, and the descendants of these constitute several varieties of Lippias that have marked peculiarities. A single cutting of one variety will spread on an ordinary soil over a circle about ten feet in diameter, in a single season. This form would be very valuable for growing in sunny places, in certain localities along irrigating ditches, where the soil is subject to wash. But I have more recently found two far better substitutes for this purpose. One is the Mesambryaithemum, which grows on all seacoasts. This produces an enormous amount of very heavy foliage, which is not moved even by a strong stream of water. The other is the vine commonly called the trailing myrtle (Vinca minor). This forms a great mass of long white roots and long-topped vines with abundant evergreen foliage, which resists stream wash by shingling the whole surface so that the water cannot reach the soil. Another variety of seedling lippia grows only half as fast, but has very fine dark green leaves and lies very close to the ground, making a most beautiful velvety lawn, while the older lippias made a very unsightly lawn, though valuable for dry climates. Unfortunately none are hardy in the cold northern climates. A third variety of lippia has pale green leaves, is a slower and more compact grower, and makes a lawn that contracts charmingly in color with a lawn of the other lippias, or ordinary lawns of bluegrass. A fourth variety has long rope-like runners growing in all directions, but not filling up the spaces, and therefore not being suitable for lawns. Still another has hairy leaves that give it a peculiar frosty appearance, whereas the leaves of other varieties are most often glossy. The foliage of these selected new seedlings vary greatly in size, the leaves of some being several times as large as others. The half dozen types selected are being used for further development, and as might be expected they show still more astonishing variations in the second generation. A single plant of some of the rapid growing varities usually overgrows and covers up perhaps a dozen of the smaller lippias of the same age. Add that the new plants, in addition to their rapid and compact growth, are adapted to dry soil, requiring not one-tenth the water that blue-grass or other ordinary lawn grass requires, and keeping in good condition longer than any bluegrass or clover lawn with a fraction of the care or the expense for watering, weeding, and mowing necessitated by the ordinary lawn, and it is obvious that the developed variaties of lippias constitute a very important acquisition. Curiously enough the, lippia lawn makes a better appearance where it is frequently trod upon and subjected to treatment that would injure an ordinary grass lawn, or destroy it altogether. The plants appear to pay no attention if a path is made directly over them; their appearance is actually improved thereby. With some species occasional runners may grow above the main mass of foliage and become unsightly, but these are readily cut away, leaving a smooth velvety surface. These long runners could be wholly prevented by cutting through the plant diagonally at intervals of about two inches with a machine similar to a strawberry runner cutter, but with several blades. The real difficulty that stands in the way of the general introduction of the lippias as lawn plants of altogether exceptional quality, however, is their relative tenderness to frost. If selections result in producing a hardy lippia, the plant will be welcomed everywhere, as it is already coming to be welcomed in the warmer regions as one that solves the problem of a lawn that will require practically no attention, and yet maintain its greenness even in long periods of summer drought. It must be added, however, that during the wintertime it turns brownish, and at that season it is not quite as ornamental as a bluegrass lawn. Until the lippia is further developed for hardiness, however, it could not be used except in the milder climates, and in the cold regions the bluegrass and other allied grasses and the clovers must be depended on for making lawns. Meantime there are two of the new varieties of lippias that have been introduced, and that are rapidly making their way in California. One of these, named Dixie, makes a most beautiful dark-green, close-growing lawn. The other, named Mojave, has light-green foliage, in color not unlike that of the older lippias, but is a larger and far more rapid grower. This form is particularly valuable for quickly covering banks that are subject to erosion from streams or heavy rainfall. It rapidly makes an impenetrable mat that resists the invasion of water most persistently. With all their tenacity in resisting storms, drought, and constant tramping, these lippias do not become weeds, as they produce no underground stolons. By simple plowing or spading they may be more readily removed than the ordinary lawn grass. If left all summer without mowing, the lippia lawn makes a rich bee pasture resembling some of the handsome low growing clovers. If mown once or twice it has the general appearance of a blue-grass lawn, being soft and yielding to the tread like a fine Axminster carpet. The lippias do not thrive so well in the shade, being essentially sun lovers. They turn brown during a few weeks in winter. The two new lippias just described settle the lawn question for sunny places in warm climates, as well as the problem of very greatly lessening the wasting of land by erosion on river banks and hillsides. Meantime other experiments are being carried on with various other plants which give promise of finally making good lawn plants. Among the most interesting is a species of trailing Hypericum, specific name unknown, from the mountains of eastern Chile. As my lawn is an experimental one, this has now supplanted the lippias there, and as the new plant does not at any time turn brown in the winter, like the lippias, it may prove superior in beauty, though not quite as rapid in covering a lawn surface. Somewhat similar species of hypericum have lately been introduced in my gardens from Russian Siberia, and central and northern Europe, which show a similar creeping habit, and no doubt will be hardy everywhere. These, even in the first generation from the wild native parent, show a wonderful variation in rapidity and compactness of growth, and from all appearance a few years' work will give us a lawn plant for all climates far superior to anything hitherto known, but probably a little more difficult to get started. All the hypericums will stand a great amount of drought and ill treatment; they are unusually hardy, stand tramping and mowing readily. No doubt in future there will be produced varieties that will be exceedingly valuable as lawn plants for all climates. Until the new plants have been perfected, however, the conventional lawn grass, with blue-grass at the head of the list, must be relied on in colder climates. It is not necessary to refer to the common lawn grasses here in detail, their general character and qualities being familiar to everyone, and there having been no marked development in recent years in the way of improving them. It suffices to suggest that care should be taken in buying seed from reputable dealers that grass of good quality may be secured and the number of weeds minimized. Beyond that it is hardly to be expected that the interests of the amateur plant developer will extend. For the grasses do not offer opportunities for striking results in the way of improvement that make them appeal to the amateur. And, in any event, the blue-grass in its best varieties constitutes a lawn grass of really fine quality, and if properly cared for will produce a lawn of a very satisfactory character. Mixtures are never better, and seldom as good as the pure Kentucky blue-grass lawn. As to the matter of soil for the lawn, nothing specific need be said beyond the statement that the same sort of preparation is desirable that would be used in preparing soil for field or garden crops. Some details as to this will be given in the succeeding chapter. But I should like to offer a few practical hints as to such preparation of the lawn as will ensure a proper regulation of the supply of air and water, upon which the condition of the lawn so largely depends. What is true about drainage and irrigation will have equal application to land that is to be used for raising flowers or vegetables or small fruits. Indeed, my suggestions are based very largely on my personal experience at Santa Rosa in preparing the ground for the experiment gardens on which plants of several thousand different species, and representing many families from all parts of the globe are grown.
A PRACTICAL DRAINAGE SYSTEM
Many hundreds of persons visiting my experiment grounds at Santa Rosa each season have marvelled at the exceedingly varied and prolific crops raised-exclaiming, "What a delightful soil you have!" Their surprise grows when they are assured that this productive land was originally almost valueless for growing plants. It was made fruitful by artificial drainage and irrigation. The application of the simplest principles of regulation of water supply resulted in transforming a relatively sterile soil into one of the most fertile areas of the earth's surface. The method in which this was accomplished may be outlined as offering a model that may be followed to advantage in draining similar land anywhere. Probably half the low-lying soils in the United States could be made more productive by drainage. Even if the soil of your lawns and gardens is fairly productive, you may advantageously consider the advisability of introducing such a system of drainage as that which we have employed at Santa Rosa with such striking results. The soil consisted of what is called adobe, a black clay-like soil, said to be of volcanic origin, and this particular piece cracked so during the latter part of the dry season, that it was considered unsafe to pasture stock on it, as it endangered the legs of the animals, the cracks being often several inches in width and apparently bottomless. No crop had been grown here for years; and house lots a mile or more out sold for about the price I paid for the four acres. Of course there is nothing novel about the statement that the drainage of land is important. The matter has been more or less understood since the earliest periods. Yet a very large part of the land of the United States that is given over to lawns and gardens is left to depend entirely on natural drainage, and fails to produce anything like the crops that might be grown on it, if a more rational provision had been made for adjusting the water supply. In California the value of drainage has been shown in the results obtained even with wheat on fields drained and those not drained. Only one or two ditches across a field have made it possible to produce two or three times as large a crop as was grown in the same field before the ditches were made. In a certain oat field in Wisconsin, the yield per acre was doubled by drainage. The yield before drainage was only sixteen bushels, but after drainage it increased to 32.3 bushels per acre. There are at least two bad effects to be expected from an oversupply of water. They are: (1) An oversupply makes certain areas so soft that they cannot be cultivated at all or at least not until late in the spring. (2) Air, which is essential to plant growth, cannot enter the soil supplied with a superabundance of water. Air is as necessary to the roots of plants as water and it is upon this principle that all systems of cultivation and drainage are based. The complicated chemical changes in the growth of the plant cannot take place unless there is sufficient of both air and water. Roots cannot exist where there is a superabundance of water in the soil. There are several systems of drainage which will not be discussed here. I consider underdrainage with common drain tile the best system for ordinary conditions, and it is with this system that I have had most experience. The discussion is given mostly from the viewpoint of results on my own grounds. Small, well-burned drain tile was used on my Santa Rosa ground carefully laid with a slope of 1 foot to 40 feet and it has proven eminently satisfactory in every respect for twenty years. The soil is a heavy adobe and was almost worthless before it was drained. The good results of the drainage were scarcely apparent the first year, but the benefits were multiplied each year until now the soil is easily cultivated and bears enormous crops while before draining no crop could be raised. This system consists of one main line of 4-inch tile with laterals of two-inch tile every 40 feet. The laterals gather the surplus water quickly after a heavy rain and the main tile carries it to a small stream nearby. The laterals do not need such a large capacity as most people think. It must be remembered that they work both day and night, and Sundays as well as week days and a very small tile will carry a great amount of water in the course of twenty-four hours. It is a good plan to have the tiles flushed now and then, and if they are not too large they will sometimes be flushed during heavy rains when they are filled to capacity. This flushing serves to keep them clean and the flushing produced naturally when small tiles are used is sufficient reason for recommending the smaller sizes rather than larger ones which are more expensive and generally less efficient. The general impression is that cracks should be left, and sand put in the cracks. The real way is to surround the joints with clay; then they are permanent. The worst thing to do is to put sand or gravel or straw about the cracks. A tile four feet deep will drain twice as wide an area as a tile two feet deep. About four feet is the proper depth. The strength of the entire system depends upon the weakest section. Therefore it is necessary in laying the tile to examine carefully each piece, and to see that they are well burned, but not sufficiently to make them impervious. The system must be laid upon the proper grade, for if the line sags, sediment will collect and retard the flow of water. It is best to make a silt basin at some point where the branching tiles unite. This is formed by digging down a foot or two, and bricking or cementing up a barrel-like receptacle, the entrance pipe from the main system being a little lower than the exit pipe, so that the silt settles. In the twenty years since the tile system was laid at Santa Rosa, the tile itself has never been exposed, or in any way touched or examined. It continues to perform its function perfectly. Drainage is really a science in itself, and there is not enough space here to give a full discussion of it. There are a number of good books upon the subject, however, and the names of these will be found in the chapter on reference literature. Before the system is installed, some complete treatise on drainage should be thoroughly studied. In some cases it is possible to secure the aid of a person who has had experience in laying drain tiles, and where this is possible it is the best plan.
Irrigation is closely allied to drainage. The two systems are for a similar purpose-to regulate the amount of moisture in the soil for plant growth. Irrigation is needed in locations where there is not sufficient rainfall to insure the growth of certain crops. In many places also where the rainfall is sufficient but not well distributed, irrigation will be profitable, especially in seasons of unusual drouth. For large tracts such as orchards and extensive seed and vegetable gardens, the common practice is to run water in large ditches with a system of smaller ditches throughout the field. If such a system is properly constructed and cared for, little is wasted because it is placed very close to the point where it is needed. For small areas, sprinklers are generally used. The fault with most of the common sprinklers used to irrigate small areas, such as lawns and small gardens is that they do not distribute the water evenly. Most of them cover a circular space and there is always some part of the soil which has too much water or too little. One of the most important points in irrigation is to have the water distributed evenly. Some flat or fish-tail sprinklers distribute water quite evenly, but the newer system of overhead irrigation known as the Skinner system is, in my judgment, by far the best for small areas, and possibly for all areas of any size. This consists of a number of one-inch galvanized pipes with nipples placed along the sides about 12 to 20 inches apart. These pipes with the nipples inserted are mounted upon supports about 6 feet above the ground. The pipes are connected with the water supply and the water turned on when needed. Depending upon the pressure, this system will distribute water evenly for a space of from 25 to 50 feet on either side of the pipe. The pipe may be located between two beds so that it may be turned on its support and distribute the water on either side. When advantage can be taken of the wind, the water will be thrown almost twice as far as when there is no wind. This system has been somewhat modified to adapt it to small areas where irrigation is not needed often. Instead of mounting the pipes upon permanent stakes, they are carried from one place to another as irrigation is needed and placed upon temporary supports or movable stands. For greater convenience in handling the pipes, the temporary supports are only about 4 feet high. On the top of these is nailed a curved piece of sheet iron in which the pipe rests. The movable stands are made of galvanized pipe in tripod form and can be made by any plumber. The sprinkler pipe is attached to the water supply by a rubber hose and the system operates in the same way as when in a permanent location. This system is patented but it is not expensive to install. The pipes can be purchased at any hardware store but the nipples and the tool for drilling the holes in the pipe for the nipples are patented and must be purchased separately. Many of the seed houses, that handle tools in addition to seeds, sell this irrigating system. When this ystem is to be used on a lawn the supports can be made more or less ornamental. The cost of irrigating lawns by this method is far less than by the use of circular sprinklers, for both time and water are saved and the lawn is supplied with a more even distribution of moisture. There is another plan of irrigation which is known as the underground pipe or tile system. This is not often used because the first cost is too great. In some cases, however, it has proven to be satisfactory. The part of any sprinkler system that deteriorates most rapidly is the rubber hose. When it can be replaced by iron pipe it should always be done to save expense. Where hose is used it is usually necessary to purchase a new supply each season. Its first cost is two or three times more than that of a galvanized iron pipe and the pipe usually lasts from ten to fifteen years. There are several other systems of irrigation of lesser importance, but it is not necessary to describe them here.
THE MENACE OF WEEDS
However well the soil may be prepared for garden or lawn, and whatever the attention given, the cultivated plants of every description are perpetually menaced by the rivalry of weeds. A weed may be said to be a plant out of its proper place so far as the economy of man is concerned. This does not mean, however, that it is out of its proper place in the economy of Nature. Nature has a use for weeds and in fact they have done much good for man. When crops were first cultivated, farmers stirred the soil in order to destroy the weeds. They did not then fully realize that stirring the soil aided the growth of the crops. They did discover, however, that when the weeds were destroyed much better crops were produced, and thus the weeds forced farmers to stir the soil and allow the air, so necessary to the plants, to circulate among the roots. Now that the farmers have learned the real reason for cultivation at the proper times, whether there are weeds present or not, the destruction of weeds assumes a different aspect. Weeds are a detriment in many cases from the fact that when proper precautions are not used they take possession of areas of land so that it is impossible to grow useful crops. There are two general classes of weeds, annuals and perennials. Annual weeds reproduce themselves by seeds which mature each season, usually in great abundance. Perennials, in cold climates, although most of them produce seeds, also perpetuate themselves by storing food and living matter under the ground where the life of the plant is protected until spring. Many perennials have underground stems which are sent out in all directions. From, each node a new plant may grow under the proper conditions. It is obvious that such weeds are most difficult to destroy because, although they may be prevented from bearing seeds, they distribute themselves over large areas. The handling of annual weeds is summed up briefly in one sentence: Prevent the production and the introduction of seeds. But with perennials not only must the introduction and production of seeds be prevented, but the entire plant must be uprooted and destroyed. When perennial weeds have taken possession of an area of land, they may generally be brought under control by thorough cultivation during one or two seasons. This often means that one or more crops must be sacrificed. Every weed on the entire area must be destroyed as soon as-and with some kinds before-it appears above the surface. The vitality and food provided by perennials in most cases does not keep the plant alive more than one season. The plant depends upon its store of food being replenished by another growth each season. If the leaves cannot develop above the ground, so that raw food collected by the roots can be digested and stored again underground, the plant cannot grow the following season. Thus it is that by cutting off the plants continually for an entire season as soon as they appear above ground they will die out and not appear again on that area unless, of course, the seeds are again introduced. Most weeds are provided with greater facilities for reproduction and distribution than cultivated plants. Most weeds also have some special means for distributing their seeds over large areas. Many of them, such as cockleburs (Xanthiunm), sandburs (Cenchrus), burdock (Arctium) and stick-tights (Bidens), have burrs surrounding each seed which are made up usually of many hooks or spines. These seeds attach themselves to the clothing of persons and to the various domestic animals, and are thus transferred from one locality to another. Many of the weed seeds such as the thistles, wild lettuce, dandelions, etc., are provided with a feathery portion which assists their carriage by the wind. Other seeds are borne in pods which, when dry, open with a suddenness which throws the seeds great distances. Some seeds are borne in fruits which are relished by birds and animals. The seeds in this case are usually small and are provided with a hard coating so that they are not destroyed by di- gestion in the bird's or animal's stomach, but are carried great distances and on reaching the ground are usually in best condition to germinate. Most weed seeds have the ability to retain their vitality for a long time. Farmers who have plowed fields deeply have sometimes noticed that a certain weed which was present the year before plowing disappeared entirely for two or three years only to reappear again later. This was due to the fact that the seeds were placed by the deep plowing several inches below the surface, and when the soil was plowed deep again they were brought nearer the surface. In some cases, seeds have been known to retain their vitality for twenty years or more. Although weed seeds are provided with many more contrivances to secure a wide distribution than those here mentioned, this is not the only provision for their perpetuation. Living as they do among many discouragements and difficulties it has been necessary for them to provide protection for the plants themselves against unfavorable weather conditions and against animals. Some weeds have the ability to withstand long and severe drouths while others are able to grow where there is a superabundance of moisture. Some are able to withstand extremely low temperatures. Protection against destruction by animals is afforded by spines, thorns, bitter juices, and poisons. Understanding these provisions of Nature for the production and perpetuation of weeds it is quite apparent that prompt and efficient methods must be used by farmers and gardners in destroying them on first appearance. A few mustard, thistle, or dandelion plants which seem harmless because there are so few, may spread to such an extent that in a few years it will cost thousands of dollars to rid an infested area from the pest which, if destroyed while still few in numbers, would have cost only a few dollars or dimes. Weeds are much like a leak in a boiler or a fire let loose. They are easily attended to at first, but lead to destruction if proper attention is not given in the beginning. Never is the old saying "A stitch in time saves nine" better exemplified than in the case of weeds. As has already been intimated, many fields are infested with weeds through the introduction of the seeds in the seeding of the crops to be grown. Weeds that thrive particularly well with certain crops sometimes produce seeds so like the seeds of the crop in size and appearance that it is often practically impossible to separate them. In many sections a weed known as corn cockle (Agrostemma) is a pest in wheat fields. So nearly do the seeds of the corn cockle resemble the kernels of wheat in weight and size that for a long time it was almost impossible to separate the cockle seeds from the wheat. This, of course, caused millers a great deal of trouble for the corn cockle seeds have a black shell about them which discolors the flour. Finally a special machine was constructed for the removal of cockle seeds. The perennial morning-glory, commonly called the devil's shoe string, has often palmed seeds off for wheat among screenings fed to poultry, being about the same size and has established itself on much of the best soils in California. The darnel (Lolium) commonly called cheat, infests grain fields in some sections and so well have the seeds masqueraded that many farmers thinking their seed was thoroughly clean, later found this weed and have said that the seeds changed into wheat, barley, oats, or whatever the grain happened to be. This mimicry, of course, is developed by evolution. That is, those seeds which are most pearly like the seeds with which they are mixed are overlooked in cleaning and remain to perpetuate the race. After many generations of this sort of natural selection, the seeds constantly approach the grain seed in form, size, weight and color. The seeds do not change their botanical characters as farmers suppose, but having a hard coat, may lie in the ground until a wet season when the grain is destroyed and the darnel takes its place. Many states have long maintained official seed inspection for purity. Now there is a United States law of similar nature. These laws have been so well enforced that there is not so much danger now of infesting land with weed seeds as was the case a few years ago. Farmers who make a practice of buying grain for seed from their neighbors or other persons who have not had their seeds examined by inspectors are likely to have their fields infested with noxious weeds. From a small sample, the quantity and kinds of weed seeds may be determined. This is especially true of alfalfa, clover, and lawn grass seeds. If the sample contains weed seeds, it had better be rejected for there are always weeds enough to contend with without sowing more. Grains, clovers, and grass seeds are far more apt to have foreign seeds mixed with them than any other class of seeds as they are usually harvested by the wholesale, weeds and all, and it is only by careful screening that the other seeds can be removed. With seeds of hoed crops, such a condition does not exist. It is impossible, of course, to give here a complete description of all the different kinds of weed seeds, but pictures are given in the natural color of some of the most common ones. By comparing the seeds with these pictures it will usually be possible to determine the kind of seeds that are found in your locality. Of course, one must always expect to find a few foreign seeds in a sample of grain, but remember that the weed seeds cost the same price per bushel as the oats. That is, if the price is $2.00 a bushel for oats, you pay $2.00 a bushel for the weed seeds which are not only worthless but a detriment to the crop. In orchards, especially in California, the two worst weeds are wild morning-glory and a new species of perennial amaranthus. Both of these produce many long and persistently sprouting roots. The morning-glory sends its roots to great depths and has taken possession of many acres of the best land. This, of course, greatly reduces the production of crops and the value of the land. The overrunning of a field is due to the fact that the owner of the land was careless in not destroying the morning-glories when they first appeared. This weed spreads in all directions like a fire and its spreading is increased by ordinary cultivation, as small portions of the roots are carried by the cultivator to other locations where they soon grow into new plants. It is extremely difficult to exterminate the perennial morning-glory in orchards and vineyards because the ordinary cultivating machinery does not run close enough to the rows. The only way to exterminate this weed is to spend all the time and labor necessary for one whole season in cutting off the plants before they appear above the surface. This may be done with a cultivator made with sharp knives that run under the surface. It will be necessary to go over the ground regularly at least once a week. If this pest is allowed to produce any foliage it gives the plant a new start. The common amaranthus produces an enormous amount of small black seeds. It is an annual and is often called careless weed, because it is seldom found in abundance except on land that has been carelessly cultivated. Thousands of seeds are produced by a single plant and they come up during summer and thrive especially well on rich fertilized soils. The common amaranthus, however, is almost harmless when compared to the new perennial species which has lately been seen in many public grounds, and is rapidly spreading to farms and gardens. This new weed, unlike the annual, sends down long slender roots deeply into the soil and if cut off, no matter how deeply, will immediately sprout with redoubled vigor. But this is not the worst. Like the annual, its sole object seems to be to produce enormous quantities of seeds. This new pest trails instead of growing upright and begins to produce seed almost as soon as the plants appear above ground. This seed production is continued as long as the plant lives. The only method of destroying this is to cut off the first plants which appear, and apply a small quantity of salt or sulphate of iron on the cut portion of the root, at the same time burning every portion of the plant removed. Mustard, wild radish, and wild lettuce, though annuals, are often difficult to exterminate as they are abundant seed producers. The best method of exterminating these is to destroy each plant before they have time to ripen seed. Usually it is possible partially to rid the land of them by plowing it thoroughly early in the spring and growing some cultivated crop. Sheep sorrel or red weed, sometimes called "shamrock," is another most persistent weed, very hard to exterminate if once established, especially in lawns and moist shady places. It is a persistent producer of runners, as well as seeds that are projected a great distance when ripe. It seeds abundantly when the plants are quite young. When the seeds are ripe they are projected with great force in all directions. This is best exterminated by unremitting destruction with the hoe before the plants produce seeds. There are numerous other smaller and more insignificant weeds such as shepherd's purse, several senecias, chickweed, and others which are not as persistent as those already discussed, but which should be kept well under control by thorough cultivation if good crops are to be produced. It should be borne in mind that weeds are enormously prolific, and that their seeds go everywhere. So it does not suffice to keep your garden weeded and your lawn well mown. It is necessary also to pay heed to the weeds along neighboring roads for their seeds will be no respecters of your boundary lines. You will be taking steps toward enhancing the beauty of your lawn next season, and will be lessening your work in the flower bed and vegetable garden if you use scythe and hoe freely on the weeds growing along the roadside everywhere in the neighborhood of your garden. No effort that you could bestow would have a larger influence toward the beautification of your next season's lawn, and the lightening of your labors in next season's garden than that devoted to the destruction of this season's crop of weeds, wherever found.
FLOWERS; AND THE DISPOSITION OF TREES
Probably color is the most attractive thing about flowers. Usually solid colors are more attractive but harmonious combinations are almost as valuable. A graceful form probably comes next in attractiveness. Size and abundance of bloom next. Size does not always happen to be an advantage. Some flowers, as the heaths, are attractive because of the smallness of the blossoms. In this case the small size really adds gracefulness to the plant. Where the blossoms are small more are needed to make a good effect, so improvements on flowers with small blossoms should be made along this line where needed. Everyone must be his own judge of harmony in the colors of plants. Most fairly well educated persons have a sense of harmony to direct them to the combination of colors to work for. White is harmonious with all colors. A deep red is not harmonious with blue, except sometimes with a pale blue. The sense of distinguishing harmonious combinations of colors has been more developed since aniline dyes were introduced. This is principally because with the aniline dyes almost any shade of color can be made. Before their introduction the unusual shades were not often seen. All the prismatic colors are beautiful and attractive in their proper place. The delicate shades of each of these colors are even more pleasing to the average educated mind. Red is the most insistent color. Yellow and orange are next. White is insistent. Black is insistent. In selecting flowers, I aim to pick those that are striking, harmonious, pleasing, and new in respect to color. In order to be able to select flowers for color one must be thoroughly familiar with all of the colors in each variety now in existence. Now that there are more people working for new varieties of plants it often happens that two or more persons will develop new varieties almost exactly alike at the same time. For this reason, it is usually more advisable to work with plants that are not so common. For instance, get seeds and slips from foreign countries, or take wild flowers and domesticate them. Each new flower should be developed for some definite purpose. Red is an appetizer even to the birds. They will always eat the red fruit before that of any other color. Red flowers are good for the dining-room, and orange or yellow will serve the same purpose almost as well. Delicate shades are needed for the parlor, drawing-room, sleeping rooms, and libraries. A pale blue is very good, and pinks and combinations of pink and white are especially pleasing. It is also desirable to have a bright color occasionally in these rooms where more quiet flowers are kept. This gives a dash and spirit that is needed. Practically all colors blend well with gray or brown as a background. Flowers banked around the foundation of a house represent an unconscious exhibition of advanced civilization. Vines give a peculiar grace to architecture and subdue unattractive colors. Green vines blend with any color. Flowers harmonize with surroundings and subdue undesirable colors or forms. Borders of flowers break the hard angles between a building and the ground. Perpetual bloomers and perennials are especially good near buildings. The tall ones should be placed close to the buildings and the small ones in front. The small flowers are better for the beds on the lawn or near the street. It is not well to put taller plants in bunches in front of the home. A single tall plant here and there sometimes lends an artistic effect. Usually when tall plants are placed near the road, it is best to have those with thin foliage. Colors for yard planting should, of course, be those that attract the inhabitants. It is never, however, well to have a predominance of red. Flowers about the house serve to keep those living there in good spirits. They add a cheeriness that tends to keep people happy. White is always a good color. Blue is appropriate but must be accompanied by red or yellow, otherwise it gives a cold effect. Purples and deep crimsons do plot always blend as well as other colors.
HEDGES AND TREES AND SHRUBS
The larger trees should be in the rear of the house. Fruit trees should be back of the house or to one side. The trees that shed their leaves should be on the south and east sides of the buildings. This leaves the evergreens to protect during the winter. Trees with plenty of foliage should be planted on the southwest to protect the house from the hot sun in the summer. On large estates oaks and elms and the larger trees may well be planted even in front of the home. Evergreens, especially tall ones, should usually be set out rather sparingly. Do not put them too close to the house, as they keep out the sunlight and make the house dark. A number of evergreen shrubs are desirable to set off the place. Palms are good in a warm climate. Palms must not be crowded for they will suffer from lack of light and air, and will get out of shape. Usually the best way is to plant an abundance of palms, and later thin out those that are not doing so well. Sometimes it takes a great deal of courage to cut out part of the trees, especially if some of them have become favorites, but it will be to the detriment of them as well as other trees if the thinning is not done at the proper time. Evergreen trees and evergreen shrubs should be allowed to grow close to the ground. It may be of interest to add the names of a few of the more desirable ornamental trees and shrubs: Trees for Street and Ornament: Arbor Vitae, Big Tree, Lawson's Cypress, California White Fir, Silver Cork Fir, Maidenhair Tree, Silver Pine, Douglas Spruce, Tideland Spruce, White Spruce, White Ash, Basswood, Birches, Kentucky Coffee Tree, White Elm, American Holly, Magnolias, Oaks, Maples, Walnuts. Shrubs for Ornamental Planting and Lawn Decoration: Black Alder, Andromeda, Japanese Barberry, Button Ball, Spanish Bayonet, Chokeberry, Flowering Dogwood, Inkberry, Jersey Tea, Laurels, French Mulberry, Pearl Bush, Wild Roses, Strawberry Bush, Sumach, Sweet Pepper Bush, Sweet Shrub, Wax Myrtle, White Fringe, Wistaria. Shrubs for Windbreaks, Hedges, Berries: Black Alder, Arrow Wood, Mountain Ash, Common Barberry, Chokeberry, Coral Berry, Flowering Dogwood, Sweet Elder, Wild Grapevines, American Hazelnut, Huckleberry, French Mulberry, Russian Olive, Osage Orange, Wild Yellow Plum, Sassafras, Sweet Shrub, Waxberry, White Fringe, Witch Hazel.
-A very large part of the lawns of the United States is left to depend entirely on natural drainage and fails to produce what might be expected of it if provision had been made for adjusting the water supply.
This text is from: Luther Burbank: his methods and discoveries and their practical application. Volume 10 Chapter 8