THE FRONT GARDEN
The small patch of ground in front of a house is a type of garden which needs special treatment. It is not necessary to make this garden absolutely secluded. One could, in fact, wish that the American style of making the garden lead right down to the footway were more common here. The house is then in a floral setting, but not cut off from the public footway by any formal barrier. Unfortunately, many of our amateur gardeners still cling to the idea of putting a high hedge along the front boundary so that passers-by cannot see any of the garden beauty.
When the plot is very small it is perhaps desirable that the house windows should be somewhat screened from the footway, and one excellent way in which this can be achieved in ais by the erection of a light trellis, say about 4-6 ft. from the front windows. This must not be a close screen nor very high, and should have foot square openings between the laths It can be decorated with several varieties of climbing clematis to flower in succession from spring to autumn. From the screen to the roadway the garden may then be left open so that the full beauty of the lawn and flowers is seen by passers-by.
For hedges in front gardens, the amateur is advised to try something a little more original than the monotonous privet, so common in older gardens. The small-leavednitida makes quite as thick and close a hedge as privet, grows quite as easily, and is becoming more and more popular. For this reason I hesitate to advise its use, since it threatens to be just as monotonous as privet. I would rather suggest, even in the small garden, the use of Sweet Briars, which are very fragrant all through the summer and are also generous with their flowers of buff and crimson shades.
Others of the rose species, for instance Rosa moyesii and Rosa rugosa also make good hedges and provide both flower and ornamental berries in season.
Another way to finish the front boundary of a little garden is to build a low wall, behind which a small border is banked. In the high border can be grown bushes of lavender or a similar dwarf evergreen shrub, which will gradually grow over the top of the wall. If preferred, the wall top itself can be planted with aubrietia, arabis, wallflowers, or antirrhinums, making a floral boundary instead of an evergreen hedge.
When the garden is large enough, hedge plants of rather more spreading habit thancan be used, and the different varieties of , or double-flowered gorse, are ideal. Neither dogs nor children will damage a hedge made of spiny subjects such as these.
For the tiny, square front garden, a simple design such as a central patch of grass with a ribbon border of flowers and a neatly clipped hedge is better than any attempt at elaborate planning. To give such a garden individuality and character, a single specimen plant in the centre is sufficient. A weeping standard rose, if the garden is sunny, makes a useful feature of this kind; or, if the garden is shady, a plant of Yucca (Adam’s Needle) or a standardmay be used. Standard plants are particularly useful in small front gardens because they enable the flowers to receive more air and sunlight than is possible when dwarf bushes are grown. Standard roses, for instance, along the side of the front entrance will lift their heads above a 3 ft. hedge of evergreens. Dwarf roses, on the other hand, if enclosed by evergreens so that they do not get sufficient air, are usually unhealthy and produce few flowers.
Points which the amateur should consider particularly when planning his little front garden are these: —
1 To create a pleasant appearance from the road;
2 To create an inviting appearance to those entering from the road. (Fragrant flowers alongside the path or between the cracks of the paving will assist here.);
3 To provide easy access to front door and side door without any encouragement to tradesmen’s boys to cross the grass instead of using the path;
4 To create a pleasant picture as seen from the house windows;
5 To plan a garden that will be easily kept in good order. It is particularly essential that the front garden should be neat at all times.
PASSAGES BETWEEN HOUSES
One of the problems that the amateur gardener frequently meets is that of treating side passages that connect the front and back garden, in order to bring them into the aesthetic theme of the whole. As a rule such passages are draughty and rather cold and sunless. The first thing to do if they are to be beautified with growing plants is to provide some sort of screen to prevent cold winds whistling down the passage.
A few of the hardier evergreens carefully placed at each end of the passage are sufficient to break the force of the winds. If the passage is a paved one it can then be beautified by standing tubs or boxes along it, in which are grown such shade-loving plants as Funkia, Solomon’s seal,, and possibly ivy or creeper to clothe the wall and fence.