This section is from the book "What England Can Teach Us About Gardening", by Wilhelm Miller. Also available from Amazon: What England Can Teach Us About Gardening.
What possesses us to plant so many trees that are living cubes, globes, cones, and columns? A few may be appropriate in the garden, but rarely on the lawn. The most conspicuous of these forms is the columnar or fastigiate. The Lombardy poplar is a living exclamation point. It was the first ornamental tree we bought in quantity. It spreads like wildfire in America and ruins many a fine landscape. A group of three or five makes a splendid break in the sky line, but whole streets lined with it are most unnatural and tiresome.
The nurseries are full of "tree pretenders" — such as the oak that mimics a cypress in outline. Let us forget these horticultural forms. After you have learned to know and love beech, tulip tree, hawthorn, horse chestnut, and other broadish trees, their columnar varieties look pinched and unhappy. When we want cones let us go to the trees that naturally make cones, but" not too all-fired perfect" cones viz., the spruces and other evergreens.
I wish I could come back in five hundred years so as to find all the Kilmarnock weeping willows gone. The original mulberry has some dignity and interest but Tea's weeping mulberry on the lawn is simply ludicrous. May the good Lord send a special bug to devour all the horticultural "weepers," especially the maples, dogwoods, lindens, and oaks. In the garden the bug should spare them, especially if they form tea houses or summer houses for children but let no guilty weeper on the lawn escape. If we need pendulous foliage somewhere why not plant something that is naturally pendulous, like the Wisconsin willow ? *
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