Frank Frankfort Moore.

A garden of peace, a medley in quietude online

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garden is inartistic. But possibly if the French treil-
lageurs for the art had many professors had been a
little more modest in their claims the landscapests
would not have succeeded in their rebellion. But the
treillageurs protested against such beautiful designs
as they turned out being obscured by plants clamber-


ing over them, and they offered in exchange repousse
metal foliage, affirming that this was incomparably
superior to a natural growth. Ordinary people re-
fused to admit so ridiculous a claim, and a cloud came
over the prospects of these artists. Recently, however,
with a truer rapprochement between the " schools "
of garden design, I find several catalogues of eminent
firms illustrating their reproductions of some beauti-
ful French and Dutch work.

Personally, I have a furtive sympathy with the
conceited Frenchmen. It seems to me that it would
be a great shame to allow the growths upon a fine
piece of Treillage to become so gross as to conceal
all the design of the joinery. Therefore I hold that
such ambitious climbers as Dorothy Perkins or Crim-
son Rambler should be provided with an unsightly
wall and bade to make it sightly, and that to the more
graceful and less distracting clematis should any first-
class woodwork be assigned. This scheme will give
both sides a chance in the summer, and in the winter
there will be before our eyes a beautiful thing to look
upon, even though it is no longer supporting a plant,
and so fulfilling the ostensible object of its existence.

There should be no limit to the decorative possi-
bilities of the Treillage lath. A whole building can
be constructed on this basis. I have seen two or three
very successful attempts in such a direction in Hol-
land ; and quite enchanting did they seem, overclam-
bered by Dutch honeysuckle. I learned that all were
copied from eighteenth century designs. I saw an-
other Dutch design in an English garden in the North.


It took the form of a sheltered and canopied seat. It
had a round tower at each side and a gracefully curved
back. The " mesh " used in this little masterpiece
was one of four inches. It was painted in a tint that
looks best of all in garden word the gray of the
echeveria glauca, and the blooms of a beautiful Aglaia
rose were playing hide-and-seek among the laths of
the roof. I see no reason why hollow pillars for roses
should not be made on the Treillage principle. I have
seen such pillars supporting the canopied roof of more
than one balcony in front of houses in Brighton and
Hove. I fancy that at one time these were fashion-
able in such places. In his fine work entitled The
English Home from Charles I. to George IV., Mr. J.
Alfred Gotch gives two illustrations of Treillage
adapted to balconies.

But to my mind, its most effective adaptation is in
association with a pergola, especially if near the house.
To be sure, if the space to be filled is considerable, the
work for both sides would be somewhat expensive;
but then the cost of such things is very elastic; it is
wholly dependent upon the degrees of elaboration in
the design. But in certain situations a pergola built
up in this way may be made to do duty as an ante-
room or a loggia, and as such it gives a good return
for an expenditure of money ; and if constructed with
substantial uprights I should recommend the em-
ployment of an iron core an inch in diameter for these,
covered, I need hardly say, with the laths and
painted every second year, the structure should last
for half a century. Sir Laurence Alma-Tadema car-


ried out a marvellous scheme of this type at his house
in St. John's Wood. It was on a Dutch plan, but
was not a copy of any existing arrangement of gar-
dens. I happen to know that the design was elabor-
ated by himself and his wife on their leaving his first
St. John's Wood home: it was a model of what may
be called " Vhaut Treillage."

Once again I would venture to point out the advan-
tage of having a handsome thing to look at during
the winter months when an ordinary pergola looks
its worst.

Regarding pergolas in general a good deal might
be written. Their popularity in England just now
is well deserved. There is scarcely a garden of any
dimensions that is reckoned complete unless it en-
closes one within its walls. A more admirable means
of dividing a ground space so as to make two gardens
of different types, could scarcely be devised, in the ab-
sence of a yew or box growth of hedge ; nor could one
imagine a more interesting way of passing from the
house to the garden than beneath such a roof of roses.
In this case it should play the part of one of those
" vistas " which were regarded as indispensable in the
eighteenth century. It should have a legitimate en-
trance and it should not stop abruptly. If the ex-
igencies of space make for such abruptness, not a mo-
ment's delay there should be in the planting of a large
climbing shrub on each side of the exit so as to em-
bower it, so to speak. A vase or a short pillar should
compel the dividing of the path a little further on,
and the grass verge I am assuming the most awk-


ward of exits should be rounded off in every direc-
tion, so as to cause the ornament to become the fea-
ture up to which the pergola path is leading. I may
mention incidentally at this moment that such an
isolated ornament as I have suggested gives a legiti-
mate excuse for dividing any garden walk that has
a tendency to weary the eye by its persistent straight-
ness. Some years ago no one ever thought it neces-
sary to make an excuse for a curve in a garden walk.
The gardener simply got out his iron and cut out
whatever curve he pleased on each side, and the thing
was done. But nowadays one must have a natural
reason for every deflection in a path ; and an obstacle
is introduced only to be avoided.

I need hardly say that there are pergolas and per-
golas. I saw one that cost between two and three
thousand pounds in a garden beyond Beaulieu, be-
tween Mont Boron and Monte Carlo an ideal site.
It was made up of porphyry columns with Corinthian
carved capitals and wrought-iron work of a beautiful
design, largely, but not lavishly, gilt, as a sort of
frieze running from pillar to pillar; a bronze vase
stood between each of the panels, and the handles of
these were also gilt. I have known of quite respecta-
ble persons creating quite presentable pergolas for
less money. In that favoured part of the world, how-
ever, everything bizarre and extravagant seems to
find a place and to look in keeping with its surround-

The antithesis to this gorgeous and thoroughly
beautiful piece of work I have seen in many gardens


in England. It is the " rustic " pergola, a thing that
may be acquired for a couple of pounds and that
may, with attention, last a couple of years. Anything
is better than this no pergola at all is better than
this. In Italy one sees along the roadsides numbers
of these structures overgrown with vines; but never
yet did I see one that was not either in a broken-
down condition or rapidly approaching such a condi-
tion ; although the poles are usually made of chestnut
which should last a long time unlike our larch, the
life of which when cut into poles and inserted in the
cold earth does not as a rule go beyond the third year.
But there is something workable in this line be-
tween the three-thousand-pounder of the Riviera, and
the three-pounder of Clapham. If people will only
keep their eyes open for posts suitable for the pillars
of a pergola, they will be able to collect a sufficient
number to make a start with inside a year. The re-
mainder of the woodwork I should recommend being
brought already shaped and creosoted from some of
those large sawmills where such work is made a spe-
ciality of. But there is no use getting anything that
is not strong and durable, and every upright pillar
should be embedded in concrete or cement. For one
of my own pergolas I do not call them pergolas but
colonnades I found a disused telegraph pole and
sawed it into lengths of thirty inches each. These I
sank eighteen inches in the ground at regular inter-
vals and on each I doweled two oak poles six inches
in diameter. They are standing well; for telegraph
posts which have been properly treated are nearly as


durable as iron. All the woodwork for this I got
ready sawn and " dipped " from a well-known fac-
tory at Croydon. It is eighty feet long and paved
throughout. One man was able to put it up inside
a fine fortnight in the month of January.

A second colonnade that I have is under forty feet
in length. I made one side of it against a screen of
sweetbrier roses which had grown to a height of
twenty feet in five years. The making of it was sug-
gested to me by the chance I had of buying at house-
breaker's price a number of little columns taken from
a shop that was being pulled down to give place, as
usual, to a new cinema palace.

An amusing sidelight upon the imperiousness of
fashion was afforded us when the painter set to work
upon these. They had once been treated in that form
of decoration known as " oak grained " that pale
yellow colour touched with an implement technically
called a comb, professing to give to ordinary deal the
appearance of British oak, and possibly deceiving a
person here and there who had never seen oak. But
when my painter began to burn off this stuff he dis-
covered that the column had actually been papered
and then painted and grained. This made his work
easy, for he was able to tear the paper away in strips.
But when he had done this he made the further dis-
covery that the wood underneath was good oak with
a natural grain showing!

Could anything be more ridiculous than the fash-
ion of sixty or seventy years ago, when the art of
graining had reached its highest level? Here were


beautiful oak columns which only required to be
waxed to display to full advantage the graceful nat-
ural " feathering " of the wood, papered over and
then put into the hands of the artist to make it by
his process of " oak-graining " as unlike oak as the
basilica of St. Mark is unlike Westminster Abbey!

But for a large garden where everything is on a
heroic scale, the only suitable pergola is one made up
of high brick or stone piers, with massive oak beams
for the roof. Such a structure will last for a century
or two, improving year by year. The only question
to consider is the proper proportions that it should
assume the relations of the length to the breadth
and to the height. On such points I dare not speak.
The architect who has had experience of such struc-
tures must be consulted. I have seen some that have
been carried out without reference to the profession,
and to my mind their proportions were not right.
One had the semblance of being stunted, another was
certainly not sufficiently broad by at least two feet.

In this connection I may be pardoned if I give it
as my opinion that most pergolas suffer from lack
of breadth. Six feet is the narrowest breadth pos-
sible for one that is eight feet high to the cross beams.
I think that a pergola in England should be paved,
not in that contemptible fashion, properly termed
" crazy," but with either stone slabs or paving tiles;
if one can afford to have the work done in panels,
so much the better. In this way nothing looks bet-
ter than small bricks set in herring-bone patterns.
If one can afford a course of coloured bricks, so much


the better. The riotous gaiety of colour overhead
should be responded to in some measure underfoot.

There is no reason against, but many strong rea-
sons for, interrupting the lines of a long pergola by
making a dome of open woodwork between the four
middle columns of support assuming that all the rest
of the woodwork is straight and creating a curved
alcove with a seat between the two back supports,
thus forming at very little extra expense, an addi-
tional bower to the others which will come into exist-
ence year by year in a garden that is properly looked

When I was a schoolboy I was brought by my desk-
mate to his father's place, and escorted round the
grounds by his sister, for whom I cherished a passion
that I hoped was not hopeless. This was while my
friend was busy looking after the nets for the lawn
tennis. There were three summer-houses in various
parts of the somewhat extensive grounds, and in every
one of them we came quite too suddenly upon a pair
of quite too obvious lovers.

The sister cicerone hurried past each with averted
eyes after the first glance and looked at me and

We were turning into another avenue after pass-
ing the third of these love-birds, when she stopped

;< We had better not go on any farther," said she.

"Oh, why not?" I cried.

' Well, there's another summer-house down there
among the lilacs," she replied.


We stood there while she looked around, plainly
in search of a route that should be less distracting.
It was at this moment of indecision that I gazed at
her. I thought that I had never seen her look so
lovely. I felt myself trembling. I know that my
eyes were fixed upon the ground I could not
have spoken the words if I had looked up to her
she was a good head and shoulder taller than I

" Look here, Miss Fanny, there may be no one in
the last of the summer-houses. Let us go there and
sit sit the same as the others."

" Oh, no; I should be afraid," said she.

" Oh, I swear to you that you shall have no cause,
Miss Fanny ; I know what is due to the one you love ;
you will be quite safe sacred."

'' What do you know about the one I love?" she
asked and there was a smile in her voice.

" I know the one who loves you," I said warmly.

" I'm so glad," she cried. " I know that he is look-
ing for me everywhere, and if he found us together
in a summer-house he would be sure to kill you. Cap-
tain Tyson is a frightfully jealous man, and you are
too nice a boy to be killed. Do you mind running
round by the rhododendrons and telling Bob that he
may wear my tennis shoes to-day? I got a new pair

I went slowly toward the rhododendrons. When I
got beyond their shelter I looked back.

I did not see her, but I saw the sprightly figure
of a naval man crossing the grass toward where I


had left her, and I knew him to be Commander
Tyson, R.N.

Their second son is Commander Tyson, R. N., to-

But from that hour I made up my mind that a
properly designed garden should have at least five

I have just made my fifth.


I AM sure that the most peaceful part of our Garden
of Peace is the Place of Roses. The place of roses
in the time of roses is one bower. It grew out of the
orchard ground which I had turned into a lawn in
exchange for the grassy space which I had turned into
the House Garden. The grass came very rapidly
when I had grubbed up the roots of the old plums
and cherries. But then we found that the stone-edged
beds and the central fountain had not really taken
possession, so to speak, of the House Garden. This
had still the character of a lawn for all its bed-
ding, and could not be mown in less than two

And just as I was becoming impressed with this
fact, a gentle general dealer came to me with the in-
quiry if a tall wooden pillar would be of any use to
me. I could not tell him until I had seen it, and when
I had seen it and bought it and had it conveyed home
I could not tell him.

It was a fluted column of wood, nearly twenty
feet high and two in diameter, with a base and a
carved Corinthian capital quite an imposing object,
but, as usual, the people at the auction were so startled
by having brought before them something to which



they were unaccustomed, they would not make a bid
for it, and my dealer, who has brought me many an
embarrassing treasure, got it for the ten shillings at
which he had started it.

It lay on the grass where it had been left by the
carters, giving to the landscape for a whole week the
semblance of the place of the Parthenon or the Acrop-
olis; but on the seventh day I clearly saw that one
cannot possess a white elephant without making some
sacrifices for that distinction, and I resolved to sac-
rifice the new lawn to my hasty purchase. There are
few things in the world dearer than a bargain, and
none more irresistible. But, as it turned out, this
was altogether an exceptional thing as a matter of
fact, all my bargains are. I made it stand in the
centre of the lawn and I saw the place transformed.

It occupied no more than a patch less than a yard
in diameter; but it dominated the whole neighbour-
hood. On one side of the place there is a range of
shrubs on a small mound, making people who stand
by the new pond of water-lilies believe that they have
come to the bottom of the garden; on another side
is the old Saxon earthwork, now turned into an ex-
panse of things herbaceous, with a long curved grass
path under the ancient castle walls; down the full
length of the third side runs a pergola, giving no one
a glimpse of a great breadth of rose-beds or of the
colonnade beyond, where the sweet-briers have their
own way.

There was no reason that I could see (now that
I had set my heart on the scheme) why I should not


[Page 240


set up a gigantic rose pillar in the centre of the lawn
and see what would happen.

What actually did happen before another year had
passed was the erecting of a tall pillar which looked
so lonely in the midst of the grass a lighthouse mark-
ing a shoal in a green sea that I made four large
round beds about it, at a distance of about twenty
feet, and set up a nine-foot pillar in the centre of
each, planting climbing roses of various sorts around
it, hoping that in due time the whole should be in-
corporated and form a ring o' roses about the tower-
ing centre column.

It really took no more than two years to bring to
fruition my most sanguine hopes, and now there are
four rose-tents with hundreds of prolific shoots above
the apex of each, clinging with eager fingers to the
wires which I have brought to them from the top of
the central pillar, and threatening in time to form a
complete canopy between forty and fifty feet in diam-

In the shade of these ambitious things one sits in
what I say is the most peaceful part of the whole place
of peace. Even " winter and rough weather " may
be regarded with complacency from the well-sheltered
seats; and every year toward the end of November
Rosamund brings into the house some big sprays of
ramblers and asks her mother if there is any boracic
lint handy. He jests at scars who never felt an Ards
Rover scrape down his arm in resisting lawful arrest.
But in July and August, looking down upon the
growing canopy from the grass walk above the her-


baceous terrace, is like realising Byron's awful long-
ing for all the rosy lips of all the rosy girls in the
world to " become one mouth " in order that he might
" kiss them all at once from North to South." There
they are, thousands and tens of thousands of rosy
mouths; but not for kisses, even separately. Hey-
wood, who, being a painter, is a thoroughly trust-
worthy consultant on all artistic matters, assures me
that Byron was a fool, and that his longing for a uni-
fication of a million moments of aesthetic delight was
unworthy of his reputation. There may be some-
thing in this. I am content to look down upon our
eager roses with no more of a longing than that Sep-
tember were as far off as Christmas.

It was our antiquarian neighbour who, walking on
the terrace one day in mid-July, told us of a beautiful
poem which he had just seen in the customary corner
of the Gazette the full name of the paper is The
Yardley Gazette, East Longworth Chronicle, and
Nethershire Observer, but one would no more think
of giving it all its titles in ordinary conversation than
of giving the Duke of Wellington all his. It is with
us as much the Gazette as if no other Gazette had ever
been published. But it prints a copy of verses, an-
cient or modern, every week, and our friend had got
hold of a gem. The roses reminded him of it. He
could only recollect the first two lines, but they were

" There's a bower of rose by Bendameer's stream
And the nightingale sings in it all the night long."


Bendameer was some place in China, he thought, or
perhaps Japan but for the matter of that it might
not be a real locality, but merely a place invented by
the poet. Anyhow, he would in future call the terrace
walk Bendameer, for could any one imagine a finer
bower of roses than that beneath us? He did not
believe that Bendameer could beat it.

If our friend had talked to Sir Foster Fraser the
only person I ever met who had been to Bendameer's
stream he might have expressed his belief much more
enthusiastically. On returning from his bicycle tour
round the world, and somewhat disillusioned by the
East, ready to affirm that fifty years of Europe were
better than a cycle in Cathay, he told me that Ben-
dameer's stream was a complete fraud. It was noth-
ing but a muddy puddle oozing its way through an
uninteresting district.

In accordance with our rule, neither Dorothy nor I
went further than to confess that the lines were very

" I'll get you a copy with pleasure," he cried. " I
knew you would like them, you are both so literary;
and you know how literary I am myself I cut out
all the poems that appear in the Gazette. It's a hob-
by, and elevating. I suppose you don't think it pos-
sible to combine antiquarian tastes and poetical."
Dorothy assured him that she could see a distinct con-
nection between the two ; and he went on : " There was
another about roses the week before. The editor is
clearly a man of taste, and he puts in only things
that are appropriate to the season. The other one


was about a garden quite pretty, only perhaps a lit-
tle vague. I could not quite make out what it meant
at places ; but I intend to get it off by heart, so I wrote
it down in my pocket-book. Here it is :

" Rosy is the north,

Rosy is the south,
Rosy are her cheeks
And a rose her mouth."

Now what do you think of it? I call it very pretty
not so good, on the whole, as the bower of roses by
Bendameer's stream, but still quite nice. You would
not be afraid to let one of your little girls read it
yes, every line."

Dorothy said that she would not; but then Dor-
othy is afraid of nothing not even an antiquarian.

He returned to us the next day with the full text
only embellished with half a dozen of the Gazette's
misprints of the Lalla Rookh song, and read it out
to us in full, but failing now and again to get into
the lilt of Moore's melodious anapaests a marvellous
feat, considering how they sing and swing themselves
along from line to line. But that was not enough.
He had another story for us fresh, quite fresh, from
the stock of a brother antiquarian who recollected it,
he said, when watching the players on the bowling-

" I thought I should not lose a minute in coming
to you with it," he said. " You are so close to the
bowling-green here, it should have additional interest
in your eyes. The story is that Nelson was playing


bowls when some one rushed in to say that the Spanish
Armada was in sight. But the news did not put him
off his game. * We'll have plenty of time to finish our
game and beat the Spaniards afterwards/ he cried;
and sure enough he went on with the game to the
end. There was a man for you! "

" And who won? " asked Dorothy innocently.

" That's just the question I put to my friend," he
cried. " The story is plainly unfinished. He did not
say whether Nelson and his partner won his game
against the other players; but you may be sure that
he did."

"He didn't say who was Nelson's partner?" said

" No, I have told you all that he told me," he re-

" I shouldn't be surprised to hear that his partner
was a man named Drake," said I. " A senior partner
too in that transaction and others. But the story is
a capital one and shows the Englishman as he is
to-day. Why, it was only the year before the war
that there was a verse going about,

* I was playing golf one day

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Online LibraryFrank Frankfort MooreA garden of peace, a medley in quietude → online text (page 14 of 18)