SMALL GARDEN To Make It Look Large
A Shrine For Our Lady
At this time of the year many people are faced for the first time with the problem of what to do with a small garden. An absolutely virgin plot of ground, however small, is a great opportunity for the garden lover. Really beautiful results can be obtained within a small compass if the garden is planned from the start and not allowed to develop haphazard. The difficulty is knowing where to begin.
The problem is threefold. Because of its small size the plot is usually absolutely regular in shape, so that we can view the whole of it at one glance from the house. And so, alas, can our neighbours from theirs. Yet a garden, to be thoroughly used and enjoyed, must have some privacy.
A high fence all round is inadvisable where the garden is really small. It is overpowering as a background and blocks out the light and air. But the part of the garden nearest the house can be enclosed with high trellis work and planted with climbing and rambler roses of all kinds. This makes a delightful background to a flower border and lawn, and provides a good though not too solid sereen.
Pergola and Shrine
A rustic pergola with a winged archway leading to the bottom of the garden can serve two very useful purposes. Planted with roses it can complete the background to our lawn and flower garden and serve as a screen to a small vegetable plot or a nursery plot for seedlings and bulbs. Or it can be the entrance to a miniature rose garden, a rockery or some other special feature enshrining a statue of Our Lady, doubly refreshing because one comes upon it unawarest and the4rown, as it were, of all the garden.
Care must be taken to see that all posts carrying woodwork are rammed deep into the ground and well concreted in, and it is advisable to kivo' all the woodwork a coat of creosote. Unless protected in this way none of it will long survive wintry conditions.
If the garden is to have charm and character we have to avoid monotony while keeping the plan essentially simple. By the use of rustic work and trellis we have already created a few odd corners, and it may be possible, according to our scheme, to place a garden seat—teak for choice—in the most secluded of these and so help the " surprise" and picturesque element. Paths should only be made where absolutely necessary, as they cut up the ground and tend to detract from the size, but if they are carefully planned they can also add considerably to the attractiveness of the garden. It is quite unnecessary to have a path either through or around a small lawn. Only very rarely, if ever, shall we need to cross it in very bad weather, and the sight of a stretch of green turf surrounded by a well-kept, herbaceous border is a joy in itself. But where a definite approach is needed to another part of the garden, as for instance through the pergola or to a toolshed, then it is a good plan to use, if possible, crazy paving or brick. These make not only clean paths but are ornamental in themselves, and the more they are weathered the greater is their charm.
Crazy paving can indeed be a great help. Ambitious gardeners can lay out small terraces and small formal gardens in the Italian style by means of it, so long as the stonework is not overdone. Too much of it in a small space has rather a chilling, bleak effect, and it can easily end in picturesqueness run mad. It all comes back to our point of simplicity. This must be preserved if our space is limited, as too much elaboration will only defeat its own ends.
A few small trees, such as the Japanese cherry, laburnum, cupressus, or even hawthorn and small apple trees, carefully placed, can make all the difference to the look of a garden. We have to visualise
where in the years to come we should like a little additional shade; where we should like to add to the view, the charm of a corner or a path. And here again we need to be judicious and not plant too freely. For although trees grow slowly, grow they do, and too many trees will tend to make the garden airless and oppressive in the summer. But for "a green thought in a green shade" there is nothing to equal trees, and the beauty of the garden will not be complete without one or two at least.
Amid so much planning, there is a practical point which must not be overlooked: to leave ourselves a place for burning our rubbish. This will usually be as far as possible from the house and, as nothing can save it from being rather an unlovely patch, it is a good idea to plant a small hedge or privet to make a natural screen in front of it. In a large garden, full of odd corners and occasional wildernesses, this is a difficulty which does not arise. In the small garden, where every inch is utilised, it is of real importance. Even when an incinerator is used there will usually be, in the summer time, a dump of garden refuse waiting to he burnt, and it can so easily spoil the appearance of some cherished spot unless we definitely make provision for it.
In fact, the smaller the garden the more thought do we need to put into it. But no one can measure the joy we can get out of it