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Variety In Composition

There is some danger that the beginner in plant grouping will make all his groups alike. This is a very easy thing to do. To avoid it, it first becomes necessary that the operator shall see the sameness into which he is falling. This he can best do in his own work by directing his imagination to construct before him the various finished groups. It is certainly unlikely that the individual plants will be set in exactly homologous positions unless the groups are set with a tape measure. But it is not difficult, if the imagination be serviceable, to compare the probable final effects of two groups, and determine with satisfactory accuracy if the two will look alike twenty years hence. Aside from the ability to see mistakes, it requires an inventive mind to devise new arrangements for groups; but a variety of arrangements they certainly should have in any scheme not intentionally formal.

Single trees or shrubs appear to great advantage when properly placed, and if in all respects good, they add sensibly to the composite beauty of the scene. A single plant will naturally receive more and better attention when standing by itself than though it were in a group with others. For this reason it should have greater individual excellence, if possible. It should be faultless, if that can be. There are many positions about any extensive grounds in which single trees or shrubs will be acceptable units of the composition. The judgment of the designer must point these out; but we may take note that they will usually be comparatively close to the observer, so that the single plants will always be under critical examination. Such places are, then, to be reserved for specially choice specimens. Any rare or remarkable plant,—not monstrous and deformed,—should be given such a place of prominence. And every specimen plant should be remarkable for its individual perfections of good culture.

There are a great many general and common forms given to groups, but their classification and discussion do not belong here. It is sufficient to iterate that this is another point at which conspicuous variety is both possible and proper.

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