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Variety In Position

There are, of course, some objects which are seen both near by and at a distance. But in the majority of instances an object,—for instance, a tree,—will be most often seen from the same distance. If it stand at the back of a wood belt, with numerous smaller trees between it and the distant roadway, it may be fairly considered in the background. On the other hand, if it stand close beside a much frequented path or just before the windows of the living room, it is usually seen in the foreground. Between these extremes there is a middle-ground of greater or less extent. The same plant gives exceedingly diverse effects as seen in these three different positions.

A background is made up most naturally of large trees. Here can be used many species of rough and uncouth growth which would not look respectable at close range. Trees of which the texture is so coarse or irregular as to be inadmissible in the foreground, seem at the background to give but a gentle touch to the else wise unbroken and monotonous surface. Trees of which the colors would jar upon a fastidious eye if seen too close, seem modest and pretty at a greater distance. Moreover, a background must be made up with clue thought to the most effectual exhibition of whatever lies between it and the observers. For this reason it must not have a bristling sky line if smooth and round headed smaller trees are to appear in front of it. And the opposite mistake must be guarded against. One time with another, the background may best be darker than those groups which intervene between it and the usual point of view. This rule cannot always be adhered to, for it would force all dark colored species out of the fore and middle-ground; but the reverse presentation must always be looked upon as an undesirable concession to other necessities.

In the foreground, where all plants are under comparatively close scrutiny, only those should be used which will bear such examination. Flowering shrubs and herbaceous plants may be used here. In most cases plants for the foreground must be small; and though we like to have large trees next the walk so that we can enjoy their shade, and though this demand should be met, to a degree, yet a tree so placed adds nothing to the picture, and too many such trees shut off the view entirely. It is a common fault, in the plantings along drives and walks, that they do not give a satisfactory view of the landscape.

There is a great wealth of medium sized trees and large shrubs which look well in middle-ground. Of these are the buckeyes, altheas, lilacs, and the interesting koelreuteria. The middle-ground is an advantageous place for the exhibition of all tree specimens. If the form of a tree specimen is to be admired it will be put far back in the middle-ground; if it is the beautiful foliage, it will come to the nearer middle-ground. Middle-ground plantings sometimes serve the purposes of background to foreground plantings; but this is not often the case, and it is an undesirable arrangement.

It not infrequently occurs that there are beautiful objects visible from the grounds under treatment and yet lying wholly outside them. It may be mountain scenery, a lake, a view of the ocean, a glimpse of a pretty village, or any other exterior object which bears an interest to the users of the grounds but which is itself wholly beyond the control of the designer. Sometimes these exterior objects are of case with a small plot of ground lying next the ocean. In such an extreme case the intelligent gardener will seek to make his entire work contribute to enhance the beauty or effectiveness of the chief even greater importance than all the grounds upon which the gardener has to work. This might be the though exterior view. This means, of course, that all his effects shall be subordinate to the principal interest. It would be a blameworthy act to place anything in the garden which would draw attention to itself and away from the outside view. In any case he will have careful regard to these exterior views, and will arrange his groupings so as to avail himself of whatever extraneous beauties may be at hand. This, of course, means the leaving of open vistas along well-chosen lines. The lines which are thus to be left open, as well as all the long vistas or perspectives which are to be preserved inside the grounds, should be marked first on the engrossed plans, and as the plans are developed on the paper all obstructions may be kept off them. Again, when the plans are being worked out on the grounds these open lines should be carefully marked and the plantings kept from crowding upon them.


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