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When trees and shrubs are planted they are intended to be a permanent feature of the garden for many years. Therefore it is essential to be familiar with their main botanical features.
Is the plant evergreen or deciduous? What is its height when fully grown? Does it branch near the ground and what is the density of its foliage? When does the plant produce its crop of blooms? What are the colours of the foliage and flowers?
These botanical characteristics have very marked effects on the "quality" of the garden, where everything has its part to play. Selecting species with these factors in mind not only needs taste, but also calls for skill in designing. Usually it is wise to incorporate both evergreen and deciduous plants, for these provide seasonal contrasts.
Use tall-growing specimens sparingly unless they have a slender growth form, or unless you are anxious to blot out some unsightly view. Place tall-growing trees away from the house and remember these are the ones which, if evergreens, cast long shadows in winter. Evergreens should be the mainstay of the boundaries, and the gardener should select those that bear dense foliage. To break the monotony of a long row of evergreens plant a few deciduous shorter-growing specimens in front of them.
Evergreens are usually the most suitable for hedge-making. Their growth rates vary, and those that grow slowly are usually long-lived and require less frequent cutting. Longevity is, of course, influenced by the type of soil in which the trees or shrubs
grow. In poor infertile soils the tree or shrub might not reach its normal height and in all probability will be short-lived.
After deciding on the planting of trees and hedge-forming plants, the next task is siting the flower-beds and borders. The beds should occupy a position that provides ample sunshine to bring out the colour of the blooms. Some flowering plants get along with only a few hours' sunshine a day, and others require unlimited sunshine. Beds set aside for annuals and perennials will be sited near the house or building. Their size and shape will vary according to the gardener's own preference. With large gardens the beds should be in keeping with the size of the area as a whole, and they can be at soil level or raised.
A vigorous scheme of planting in flower-beds is desirable. Aim at producing large groups of a few selected species rather than a mixed collection of contrasting types that could result in a mottled effect. Gi