New York can never be as beautiful as London because she has no front yards. I saw thousands upon thousands of London yards full of matchless beauty. For they are hedged in by broad-leaved evergreens, especially holly and aucuba. Such gardens contain nothing else save grass, but to my mind they are infinitely more dignified and appropriate than any flower beds that mind can conceive. May heaven save London from skyscrapers, and may American cities of decent size be saved from tall tenements! Possibly we may grow broad-leaved evergreens in back yards of big cities, but probably we never shall, for there can be no privacy in yards overlooked by tall buildings. In London there are countless brick buildings of two or three stories with lovely gardens front and back. In front yards public opinion compels decency and demands beauty.
I do not wish to see front yards in America hedged in, but there is a noble effect we can get by massing. Every one who has noticed the rhododendrons in the Vanderbilt yard facing the principal entrance to Central Park, in New York, will know at once what is meant. For rhododendrons, box, holly, and the like make the grandest harmonies with architecture of any plants in the world. This is because they have just enough formality, are evergreen, long-lived, never grow too high, and are attractive every day of the year. Conifers cannot stand smoke and are a total failure in London, but Henry Hicks declares that broad-leaved evergreens are good smoke-re sisters. However, I should never plant them without providing a scheme for washing them every day, if necessary, since evergreens are not beautiful when dusty.