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The Garden Climax

Focalization is important in the flower garden. John Taylor Arms, the noted artist and lecturer on garden arrangement, has said that you should not attempt to make an arrangement unless you have something to say, and having said it, you should stop! This is also true in designing and planting a garden.

flower garden plate 3
Plate 3. The terminal feature must be emphasized by the details immediately around it.

Often what you have to say can be expressed by the focal point of your garden. Towards this point everything else leads, the garden paths, the beds, and the planting in them. Around such a point the highest development occurs. Here are placed the most effective groups, the best plants, the richest compositions. All clearly say, This is it!

The focal point may range in the terminal-motive garden from a charming garden house, wall fountain, or choice piece of statuary, to a garden bench or, in a very small garden, to one outstanding plant used to terminate the main axis. In the central-motive scheme, the focal point may be a beautifully designed pool, a birdbath or sundial, or some other feature attractive from all sides.

flower garden plate 9
Plate 9. Formal balance depends on the use of exactly similar masses each side of an axial line.
1. Populus nigra Lombardy6. Althea rosea
2. Thuya occidentalis globosa7. Phlox Mrs. Jenkins
3. Hemerocallis Mrs. J. A. Crawford8. Penstemon Firebird
4. Hosta glauca9. Dianthus plumarius
5. Salvia farinacea10. Iris pallida

To heighten the effect, the area about the focal point should be well considered. Its size should be in scale with the focal point itself and with the garden as a whole. It should be of interesting shape, and perhaps paved, raised, or lowered a step or two for definiteness. Whenever possible, it should be ample enough to serve as a setting for the climax, and also as a vantage point from which the whole garden may be viewed, or fine plant compositions pointing up the feature to be admired. Probably no other one thing in a garden will give so much individuality and charm to the scheme as a properly designed and planted focal area. (See Plates 3 and 9.)

These then are the fundamental principles—segregation, unity, balance, and accent. If all are observed, an interesting garden will result. If one or more is neglected, the design will somehow be lacking and fail to give you complete satisfaction.


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