Imágenes de páginas

medical plants, also those furnishing textile fibers, useful gums, sugars, and dyes. Structures for orchard houses, cold graperies, and other pur. Poses, are to be extended in the rear; the entire design forming a compact and economic arrangement specially adapted to the various purposes contemplated in its erection,

The largest portion of the inclosed area upon which the building is located will be appropriated to an arboretum or a collection of hardy trees and shrubs. While these are planted in accordance with a botani. cal system, each order and tribe of plants being united, yet the landscape effect has been carefully studied, thus producing a combination altogether novel, that of forming pleasure-ground scenery, and retaining a strict systematic classification of the trees and shrubs employed in producing it.

About ten acres are set apart for experimental purposes, for testing varieties of small fruits, seeds, and for the propagation and culture of hardy plants.




Live fences, as they are very properly termed, have long been held in higli estimation for inclosures when plants suitable for the purpose could be secured. The maintenance of efficient fencing is a heavy tax upon all who occupy land, and the cost is greatly increased when the materials are difficult to procure, and require frequent repairs. If the chronological history of fences should ever be written, it might be divided into three epochs: the temporary, the equivocal, and the permanent; or the period of the wooden fence, the live fence, (possibly including the wire fence,) and the fence of stone. To obtain a good hedge requires a suitable plant, care in its formation, and proper keeping afterwards. Neglect of any one of these essentials will prove fatal to the object in view, whether as a protection against depredators or as a shelter for ameliorating local climates.

For farm hedges there are only two plants which can be considered as being perfectly satisfactory. These are the Osage orange and the honey locust. The Osage orange (Maclura aurantiaca) is perhaps to be preferred in localities where it is sufficiently hardy. It is cheaply produced, of rapid growth, thickens its branches freely when pruned, has formidable thorns, is not liable to insect injuries, not eaten by cattle, and will grow in any soil of ordinary fertility. The honey locust ( Gleditschia triacanthos) is a good plant in more northern localities, where the Osage orange is destroyed by cold. It is also well supplied with thorns, is of rapid growth, and will make a fence as soon as the other. It has very beautiful and delicate foliage, and is more robust, but less dense, than the Osage—which is rather an advantage than otherwise for a strong fence. Some of the best hedges in the country are of this plant.

Seeds or plants of either of the preceding are easily obtained ; but, where time is a matter of consideration, it will be advisable to procure plants, which are now produced in large quantities by nurserymen, and sold at prices much less than the cost of growing them on a small scale. It is scarcely possible to form a good hedge by sowing the seed on the position which the hedge is to occupy. The casualties of growth will certainly produce many weak plants that will be eventually destroyed by their stronger neighbors, leaving unsightly blanks, and greatly diminishing the uniform efficiency of the hedge. When the plants are properly assorted as to size before setting, an equality of growth is at once established.

In preparing the soil for a hedge-row, a breadth of three to four feet will be amply sufficient. If plowed, the ridges should be thrown toward the center, forming a slightly mounded finish. In stiff soils this can be done to a greater advantage in autumn by throwing the furrows on each side from the center of the hedge line, so that the frosts of winter may penetrate and loosen the subsoil; and then throwing them together in spring, to be ready for planting.

The best distance to set plants is from ten to fourteen inches apart, and in a single row. On poor soils, or for a mere ornamental dividing hedge, the closer distance may be adopted ; and for a strong fence, or on rich soils, the wider will not be too great. They may be set either in fall or spring, according to the location. If the position is elevated, and the soil naturally dry, fall planting is to be preferred ; in low positions, or in wet soil, spring planting is safer, as the plants are liable, in such soils, to be thrown out of the ground during winter. Even in wet soils, however, the practice of planting in the fall has of late been adopted, and with perfect success, by placing the plants in a slanting position, instead of an upright one, and covering them slightly with litter. No hedge will be perfectly satisfactory in soils saturated with water during winter.

The perfection of a hedge, even with the best plants, depends altogether upon the treatment it receives in its early growth. Neglect in pruning, during this period, can seldom be remedied in after years; and to this, more than to any other cause, failures in forming good bedges may be attributed. A brief statement of the principles involved. in forming them will, therefore, be given.

The only form in which a hedge can be kept, to be of service as a fence, is that of a pyramid. When it has attained a height of five feet, it should be at least three feet wide at the base or surface of the ground. All pruning must be directed with a view to securing this form. When the plants are first set out, they should be pruned back to within three inches of the ground, and allowed to grow undisturbed during the first season, their growth in the meantime being encouraged by judicious cultivation. At the termination of the yearly growth, the plants should again be pruned down to within four inches of the first pruning, and the side shoots below this point also be removed to within an inch of the main stem. This severe pruning of the branches will give to the roots a vigorous growth; and, when the buds burst in spring, strong shoots will immediately follow. During this second year's growth the hedge may be partially shaped by repressing the growth of the strongest perpendicular shoots, and encouraging those of horizontal tendency. Practically this is accomplished by going over the plants about the end of June, and cutting all upright shoots back to a point about eight inches above the previous winter pruning, taking care not to disturb a shoot or leaf on the side branches below that point. In thus cutting back the upright shoots, the side growth will be increased, and a breadth of base secured, which, at this stage of growth, is the most important point of all. In the following winter the hedge, if it has progressed at all favorably, may be pruned down to fourteen inches in height from the ground surface, with the horizontal branches extending from nine to twelve inches on each side. The principles of pruning are, that growth is repressed by summer trimming, and encouraged by pruning after the leaves have fallen. By keeping these facts in mind, and practicing accordingly, the shaping of a hedge is only a work of time. The lower branches can always be retained as healthy, and produce as much density of foliage as the upright portion of the plants, if the pyramidal form is strictly maintained; but if, at any time, the upright growth predominates, the lower limbs will proportionately lose vigor. The upright shoots should, therefore, be pruned during summer, in order to weaken the growth at that point, and to strengthen and keep the base of the hedge vigorous and close. The principal pruning of the lower branches should be performed during winter.

This is the only way in which a hedge can be made that will be effective as a fence; and the neglect of the principles here suggested is generally the origin of the conflicting opiuions with regard to the value and efficiency of hedges as farm fences. They may receive some attention for a year or two, but when it becomes thoroughly understood that

they cannot be preserved unless trimmed during summer, when attention is wholly given to ordinary crops, farmers are not always disposed to give hedges the attention necessary to keep them in good condition; and therefore they fail to be of service. It should, however, be remembered that, as the hedge becomes perfect, the yearly labor to keep it in order gradually becomes less; and at no time does it require so much labor as that required to keep a common wooden fence in good repair.

For purposes of protection and shelter to gardens, or as dividing lines in the grounds of country and suburban residences, hedges are of the greatest utility. For these purposes there is an extensive choice of plants, both evergreen and deciduous. A well-grown evergreen hedge is found to be as congenial a protection for the garden as a brick wall. The commercial value of shelter, in accelerating early crops, is not so generally known as it deserves to be; yet it is fully appreciated and adopted by many of the most successful cultivators; and, as a means of arresting drying winds and lessening evaporation in level tracts destitute of trees, no just estimate can be made of the intrinsic value of close-foliaged hedges.

Among evergreen plants the Norway spruce (Abies excelsa) is the most valuable where a high, strong wind-break is necessary; and, for the purposes of sheltering orchards and vineyards, it is unsurpassed. It will, in time, form a very close and compact hedge when trimmed; but to produce an effective shelter in the shortest period, the plants should be set four to six feet apart in the row or line, and allowed to grow undisturbed, so far as pruning is concerned, until the leading or top shoot reaches the required height. Then by merely trimming the top, so as to keep it at this height, the side branches will spread and interlace, forming a screen quite as effective and more beautiful than a closely-clipped hedge.

For general purposes, perhaps the most useful plant, all things considered, for an evergreen hedge, is the American arbor-vitæ (Thuja occidentalis.) Its habit of changing to a dingy brown color during winter is a fault easily overlooked, and more than compensated by its numerous good qualities. It is a plant of free growth, readily transplanted, of comparatively small cost, and grows well in any good soil, but preferably in a clayey loam. Plants of one foot in height, set twelve to fourteen inches apart, will reach five feet in as many years. The variety Sibirica is more compact in growth, and forms a perfect and shapely hedge, without any trimming whatever.

The most beautiful and graceful hedges are formed by the hemlock spruce (Abies Canadensis.) Although sometimes of slow growth after removal, yet it develops rapidly when once fairly established. Nothing can exceed the beauty of its pendant branches of delicate foliage; and no other plant will admit of shearing into so dense a wall of green as this. For a dividing line in the pleasure ground or flower garden it is most admirably suited.

When such beautiful, hardy evergreens as Cupressus Lawsoniana and Cupressus Nutkaensis become more plentiful, and can be procured in quantities at reasonable prices, they will be largely employed as hedge plants of the most select and choice kinds.

There is a great variety of deciduous plants well adapted for inside hedges, such as may be planted for protection of crops, or as ornamental dividing lines in gardens, but which will not be suitable as fences for stock; of these a few of the best may be mentioned :

The Buckthorn (Rhamnus catharticus,) although of slender growth, forms a tolerably good hedge. It has a glossy and lively green foliage,

« AnteriorContinuar »