The grandest flowering tree I saw in England is the horse chestnut. There is an avenue of horse chestnuts about a mile long at Bushey Park, and I fancy the trees are eighty feet high. (See plate 68.) When "Chestnut Sunday" approaches, the London papers tell their readers, and great crowds flock to see the spectacle. We can grow the horse chestnut quite as well as England, but we commonly use it for shade or street planting, for both of which purposes it is ill adapted. Street robberies are easily committed under its too dense shade, and the ground beneath horse chestnuts is often clammy.
There are only a few flowering trees that grow to great size, and since large trees are not wanted in a flower garden, these are fittest for a large lawn. Next to the horse chestnut the best tall flowering trees are tulip tree, false acacia, empress tree, and Japanese varnish tree, all of which I believe, we ought to grow better than the English can.
The most popular flowering trees are the small ones, since the flowers can be seen and picked easily. Many people who have not been to England suppose that the commonest flowering tree there is the hawthorn with double red flowers, and consequently our yards are full of it. This is an unfortunate mistake, for the common English hawthorn is white and single. All the red and double hawthorns have come from a wholly different species (Crataegus monogyna), although hundreds of nursery catalogues still indicate that they were derived from Crataegus Oxyacantha— an immortal error. You do not see double red hawthorns everywhere in England because double flowers and unnatural colours are not considered suitable for lawns. The principle has been well stated by our great American landscape designer, Mr. Warren H. Manning: Horticultural forms originated in the garden; they should be restricted to it, and not allowed to dominate the landscape. The showy thing we do is to put pink dogwood and Bechtel's flowering crab on the lawn. The refined thing is to plant white dogwood on the lawn or pink dogwood in the garden.
I did not see any flowering effects with trees that struck me as particularly English. I believe that we can get the equivalent of their hawthorn with our native species, but not with the European. Our strong card, however, is our native dogwood. We can grow magnolias quite as well, and our western catalpa (see plate 69) is suitable for lawns, but until the day of public spraying comes we should go slow on everything of the rose tribe, because these plants are subject to San Jose scale. I refer to Prunus and Pyrus, which include the flowering cherries, plums, peaches, apples, pears, and quinces.*