The Swamp Garden

It is a strange thing that when a garden differs in character from the ordinary type, the house-owner often feel3 discouraged from any attempt to beautify it, excusing himself to his friends with the remark, You see, nothing will grow there, because it is too damp – or dry, or stony, as the case may be.

The damp garden, especially if it is one which possesses a natural spring and so is damp all the year round, is thought a par-ticularly hard nut to crack. This is strange, because many gardeners blessed with the ordinary well-drained soil that is common in small gardens, would be only too glad of the opportunity to grow some of the flowers which only the swamp or bog can keep in perfect health. For instance, a charming effect is given by bright little patches of yellow mimulus or Monkey Flower growing along the sides of a stream. Their gold flowers reflect in the water and contrast with the surrounding dense green of the meadow and trees.

Swamp-loving plants could, of course, be grown in any garden if water were run into the soil artificially by means of a dripping well, or by some other method. The edges of lakes or pools, and low-lying ground are sometimes naturally boggy, and could be utilized, but where water is not entirely natural in the site, care must be taken to ensure that the bog garden never actually dries out, even in the hottest dry spells. So long as you can ensure that water remains an inch or two below the surface soil, you can grow dozens of plants which will give a distinct character to your garden, and prove both interesting and beautiful.

The Weeping Willow, so delightful in its first gold green curtain of spring leaves, so shady and graceful as the leaves lengthen and darken during the summer, and so characteristic in its drooping winter outlines, is one of the finest waterside plants, and no swamp garden should be without a specimen.

There are various other willows, some with yellow and some with red barks, which should also be grown, but if thess are wanted to show off their best colours in mid-winter, the stems should be cut right down to the soil in spring, so that only stems of one seasons growth remain through the leafless months.

Other trees which like to haunt the waters edge are the Hemlock, Spruce, and the Water Elder. Quinces also like a swampy soil, and the old English Quince with smooth, round fruit is a worth-while tree to cultivate here.

There is a wide choice of plants in this type of garden, including the waterside primulas, both dwarf, and those towering to three or more feet, that grow naturally at the waters edge. The giant 00wslip3 (Primula jhrindce) are among them. Then there are irises of the Kajmpferi type, the well-known Mollyblobs or Kingcups (Callia-palustris), various Goatsbeards, the Prickly Rhubarb (Gunnera scabra), Grass of Parnassus, Royal Ferns and others, Bamboos, Pampas Grass, and Globe Flowers (TrolUus), all of which are suitable for the bog garden.

A good many of the lilies will also grow and flower well in rather damp sites if the soil is well prepared.

The scarlet Chalcedonioum Lily, Mar-tagon lilies, Himalayan Giant Lily, Panther Lily and the orange American Swamp Lily (L. superbus), can all be claimed for the bog garden. Cypripcdium spectabile, the Moc-casin Flower, will excite great adaiiration from visitors, and in mid-winter the frag-rance of the winter Heliotrope will make any swamp garden worth a special visit. Ornamental Treatment of Water WATCHING the ripples on the water surface can hold us enthralled for hours. The rainbow glint of the sunshine in the fountain spray, the darting of silver and gold through the deep waters of the pond, pink and white petals of wax-like purity opening on the water surface, these are a few of the joys that the water garden can hold for us.

The introduction of water into a garden by artificial means needs much careful con-sideration, both from the artistic and the practical poults of view. Of course, if there happens to be natural water in the garden site, all that is necessary is to turn it to good account. A stream is a valuable asset. Drifts of June Iris on the banks, with bog plants such as Goatsbeard in modern pink, red, and white varieties, Primulas, Water Iris Kccmpferi and pseudo-acorus), Fun-kias, Marsh Marigolds, and Day Lilies at the waters edge will make any stream a lovely garden feature.

If it is desired to grow Water-lilies and other aquatic plants which do not like fast-running water, the current of water can, by skilled workmanship, be directed to the side, and a fairly still stretch of water left for the lilies. White, red, pink, and yellow shades of those flowers are now available, and all are of such easy culture that every pond should have its quota.

Even a tiny spring can be utilised in a surprising way by the skilled operator. By constructing a series of pools on different levels, damming where necessary, and allowing the water to find its way gradually from one level to another, the smallest water supply can be mado to feed a good-sized water garden. In the artificial rockery this method of water-gardening is often resorted to, and cascades, pools, bog gardens, and moraine are all maintained from one small water supply.

Another way of using the small natural spring, or the simple tap from the main water supply which may be installed in any garden as an alternative, is in maintaining the water level of a small formal pool. Puddled clay or cement, with a bitumen asphalt surface, will mako a good and efficient pool, in which Water-lilies and other aquatics can be grown if desired.

The water supply is easily regulated by a concealed ball tap. A very good method of constructing the artificial pool where absolute formality is not desired is to mako a double tank, the inner one to hold water and the outer one with slightly higher edges to be filled with soil. The overflow from the inner tank soaks the soil of the outer one and makes it an ideal site for bog plants.

Wall Fountains. Of recent years there has been considerable revival of interest in wall fountains. Where the water is merely ornamental, the wall fountain is probably the best way in which it can be introduced. In the small garden this form of fountain is particularly desirable, as it can be let into a boundary wall and will not occupy much space.

This form lends itself to great beauty of architectural treatment, but it must be in keeping with the structure of the wall and the house generally.