Seats, Summer-Houses, Shelters, Rain-water Butt, Screens, Tents, Furniture, Lawns, Birds, Tortoises. Keeping out Cats.
NO matter how small the town garden may be, there should be a seat in it. The owner must decide where the best shade is, if he wishes to sit out in the dog-days, or where the most genial position is if he wishes to bask at other times. Personally, I advocate placing the seat in sunshine, and as sheltered a nook as is consistent with gaining such breezes as are likely to be pleasant. For the seat that is too hot can be enjoyed to the full after sundown, whereas the seat that is always in shade is not much use during nine months of the year, and the ground beneath it will be generally damp. It may be a simple bench, or an elaborate affair of iron, or rustic woodwork, an art-manufacture of Jacobean design, a classic-shaped long, broad stool such as we see in wedgwood carvings, or a railed bench of wet-resisting teak, but should be accompanied by a foot-rest to correspond in style.
There should be seats on balconies, to save the trouble of lifting chairs out from the rooms. There should be fixed benches along verandahs for the same reason, and side benches in porches are always advisable.
It is amazing how much use can be made of a fair-sized garden shelter, against the sunniest wall of a town 4 pleasure ground.' Of course, all the householder has to do is to visit the ironmonger or horticultural builder, choose his summer-house or summer shelter (which will be shed shape), and have it sent home and fixed up. But he will do well to have it set on a foundation of some sort, such as cemented sunk bricks, asphalt, concrete, pavement, inlaid tiles, embedded small stones, or mounted on a wooden platform beneath which air passes, as many bungalows are built.
A thatched roof is not in keeping with a town mansion, yet who can be blamed for choosing this countrified feature ? Heather, gorse and bracken-fern are often used instead of straw for thatching. Summer-houses had better be painted than stained and varnished, and creosoted wood is detested by climbers.
Span-roofed buildings are best set in the open, but of course it is sometimes almost necessary to place them beneath trees. Roofs should be either well domed or much slanted, and the floors should slope sharply from back to front, or moderately from middle to sides.
Rain-water is so precious that a butt should adjoin one wall of a summer-house, be fed by the guttering, and have an overflow pipe in connexion with the water-pipe from house to drains.
If nothing will grow where the seats or summer-houses stand, except ivies and Virginia creeper, let those be perfectly cultivated and wrell trimmed. But hypericiums, the Hard Fern, the Broad Buckler Fern, the big periwinkle, vinca major, the purple German iris, foxgloves and Solomon's seal will live under exceedingly adverse circumstances, provided 1 he ground is prepared for them, and kept hoed over at all seasons of the year. It is difficult to grow violets and lilies - of - the - valley in real town gardens ; however, the attempt should be made. The free use of very old horse-maniire does wonders.
A tent is not a bad ornament in a walled-round, arid bit of garden, but one of green canvas is infinitely preferable to a white one that will not stay white. Of course, a tent can be fixed up in a sunny paved yard. The ' lawn ' is the worst possible spot, because the grass will suffer and the ground be mostly damp.
Tables and chairs, in tents or shelters, will encourage people to lead an open-air life. Facilities for resting, working, or even sleeping should be provided wherever the entourage is suitable, on roof-tops, balconies, or ' leads ' above built-out kitchens, garages or billiard-rooms.
Screens of trellis woodwork may be set up to render seat sites private, or non-draughty, the lower halves should have boards or rot-proof felt nailed against them.
It is folly to try to make a lawn in a tree-shaded garden, or where walls or buildings shut out most of the air, for turf will not thrive without light and some sunshine, and slimy damp grass is abominable to walk over.
Some years ago there was quite a craze for keeping tortoises in back gardens. They are not intelligent pets, and though they eat noxious creatures that feed on vegetation, they themselves feed upon tender little seedlings and crush down tufts of delicate plants.
Feeding the sparrows is a hobby that can be recommended, and water should be provided as well as food. In suburbs there will be blackbirds, thrushes, starlings, and even tits.
To deter all the cats of the vicinity from enjoying the garden, either large-meshed wire-netting or old fish-netting should be put up loosely three-quarters of a yard or more high round all the walls. The poles to which the netting is fixed ought to have sharpened tops. So long as the netting is not taut, but shakes at the least touch, few, if any, cats will climb over it.