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Segregation

Segregation is the first law of artistic composition. Your garden must be set off by a tangible barrier. An imaginary line is not enough. There must be "enclosure" or "enframement."Any landscape composition, to be effective, must be enclosed or enframed so that it may be seen by itself without outside competition. A group of flower beds in the open lawn does not make a garden composition. It lacks artistic meaning. The beds remain just beds. There is little charm, and no pleasing reaction in the beholder.

Don't misunderstand this. The flowers may be individually beautiful, and within the beds they may be arranged with meticulous order, but without a frame the group fails to harmonize with its surroundings or to become part of a larger composition. So, artistically, it fails. Segregation, in gardening, serves the same purpose as a frame for a painting, or a pedestal for a statue. It sets apart and at the same time holds together the composition within.

This shutting out of the larger landscape is important. Attention always wanders to the distant view or follows movement in the offscape. This may be only flapping wash on a neighbor's line or your own, if you have not adequately screened your service yard. Such things detract from the effectiveness of a garden picture. Enclosure shuts them out and concentrates attention on the pleasing detail you have assembled and arranged.

The means of segregation depend on the type of garden picture you are creating. A formal scheme calls for fences, walls, or at least hedges of clipped evergreen. Less rigid patterns require softer enclosures of shrubs and trees. Sometimes complete enclosure is impossible or even unnecessary. In such cases, partial separation can be achieved by an arrangement of trees and shrubs placed to block out objectionable views and concentrate attention on important elements in the picture. This method is called pictorial enframement.

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