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Garden Gates and their Planting


Garden Gates and their PlantingBack in those unfriendly days of the English Renaissance, great gateways were constructed at the entrances of large estates, not to welcome folk, but to keep them out. In the early part of the 17th Century, as we began to have more faith and trust in one another, some of the most artistic iron gates found their way to the approach of many gardens to be flung wide for visitors.

But ornamental and beautiful as many of the garden gates are even today, they are not at all friendly. While we do not wish to shut out our neighbours nor to create a desire to break down the high fence or wall barrier, yet this limited space may seem more our own garden if surrounded with a low fence or hedge and with a friendly gate as an entrance. All these entrances have a definite relationship to the advance of friendship among peoples and to the changing ideas and ideals of centuries.

The effect, therefore, of the gate and its planting should not be repulsive to the eyes of the folk who pass and make them feel that strength keeps them out, yet it should give both the home and the garden the much-needed touch of privacy. The little gate should open to the secret refuge of the garden, away from the public gaze.

There is no doubt that many of our modern gates and fences lack aesthetic excellence and are in some cases a blot on the beauty of the garden and the architecture of the house. It is not at all necessary for the gate or its planting to be on an elaborate scale. Simplicity of line softened by a touch of growing vines or artistic shrubs will not only give dignity but will be more lasting and pleasing.

While the gate should always give individuality to the garden, one should avoid pretentious posts of wood, stone, or clipped shrubs. Of course, the gateway to the road should be, with our modern mode of travel, made in such a way as to be seen for some distance, but the little gates that we wish to consider should blend into the surroundings and should never be conspicuous.

Again, one might prefer a long bowered gateway overhung with Honeysuckle, Rambler Roses, or even wild or cultivated Grapes. Under this sheltered nook two comfortable seats may be constructed, giving one a sense of quiet restfulness.

It is always well to keep in mind that the basis of any successful planting is the soil. One must know the soil and climate for the best growth of shrubs or vines. If the soil is poor near the gatepost, dig a hole two or three feet in diameter and at least two feet deep and fill in the type of soil that your selection of plants most desires.

If only a few Ramblers can be used, the gardener will make no mistake in selecting the American Pillar which is a free bloomer, producing cherry-pink flowers, and a strong grower. For paler colours one of the best is Dr. Van Fleet. One of the most beautiful for both foliage and flower (yellow) is Emily Gray.

The Crimson Rambler and Dorothy Perkins are probably the most common Ramblers planted, but it is seldom that they truly fit into the planting plan with comfort. Study carefully the growth, foliage, colour, and texture of the flower before making your selection. It is a mistaken idea that the Rose has no more beauty after the flowers pass. The attractive foliage and beautifully coloured thorns are always pleasing, and the canes and leaves give abundance of shade, especially to the long bowered gateway of lattice or wire support.

The following varieties are considered among the best climbing Roses. The soil preference and fertilizer treatment are added as essential to continuance of bloom and a healthy vigorous growth: