The English do not spoil their lawns as often as we do by scattering fine specimens over them. But they often feel the need of a formal bed of flowers near the edge of the lawn or near the house. (See the Anchusa on plate 77.) Under such circumstances Americans are likely to use tender plants when hardy ones would be more pictorial in flower and more attractive in foliage. A good example is the elm-leaved spirea shown on plate 77. If you will place your hand over the flowers you will see how attractive the foliage is when the plant is not in bloom. Many other long blooming perennials and plants with attractive foliage are mentioned in Chapter XXIV.
There is a right and wrong way of getting subtropical effects in a northern country. Tender plants never look acclimatized. Why not study the great tropical genera and find out the northernmost species of each? For example, if we want the bamboo feeling in our gardens why not use Phyllostachys nigra, viridi-glaucescens, and other hardy bamboos, instead of fancy grasses that must be raised every year from seed? If we want pinnate foliage, there are the Aralia cordata and Cachemirica. The classical leaf form of the fig is mimicked by the bocconias, of which there are four hardy species. If gigantic leaves are desired, there are six hardy species of Rheum. And if brilliantly coloured foliage is needed, why not forget coleus for once in favour of the metallic blue Eryngium and Echinops?