Feb 10, 2017
Even a common, ubiquitous plant can be elevated by its association with a complementary partner — just like two musicians, each player adds perfectly-timed contributions of foliage, flower, fragrance, or other pleasing attribute, and the song is made. ..
Dec 16, 2016
Unless you’re a heckuva lot tougher than me, working outdoors during this time of year has less appeal. However, the snow, ice and inclement weather of the season has a silver lining. Tucked away indoors, insulated from the perpetual pull of garden tasks, I'm free to indulge in guilt-free garden dreaming. It’s a perfect time to settle-in and cozy-up, to revel in the current year's successes, mull over trouble spots, and set my sights on planning for next year's garden. ..
Nov 07, 2016
The most engaging planting combinations are able to strike a delicate balance between having enough different-ness to capture our attention versus enough same-ness to hold the scene together. When considering the extremes, we can easily see how too much variety can feel jarring and chaotic, and how too much sameness can lead us down a path to ho-hum. Just like Goldilocks, we're striving for "just right" — and even then, there's an enormous range of possibilities, so it can be helpful to know what kind of feeling or mood you're trying to evoke. ..
Sep 16, 2016
Fall is the perfect time to step back, assess your garden's performance, and make plans for what you'll tackle next. There’s as much to learn from observing what’s working well as there is from what’s not; making a note of plants that are thriving is as valuable as identifying those that are struggling and/or not performing well. ..
Sep 08, 2016
Often times, I will begin my design process with a simple shape-study sketch, not knowing which plants I am drawing, but focusing instead on letting my creativity flow and creating a vignette that includes a diversity of plant shapes, colors and textures that's pleasing to the eye. Before a plant is a named, actual, specified, particular plant — it's a shape, a color, a texture. ..
Aug 30, 2016
There can be a lot to think about when combining plants in your garden. Keeping these basic tips top o’ mind as you assemble your vignette will help you create more memorable scenes. ..
Aug 27, 2016
If you’ve been pursuing this garden-making hobby for any amount of time, you’ve probably run into advice extolling the virtues of repetition. It can take many forms; an echoed color, a repeated form, or plants set in a pattern to divide space or lead the eye. Used well, it leads the eye, conveys a theme or mood – it connects the dots. Careful use of a repeated element is often the secret sauce of memorable garden scenes. ..
Jul 10, 2016
We love slow-growing, dwarf conifers and find them especially valuable in small gardens where every plant needs to earn its keep; their compact size and year-round good looks secure them a place. ..
May 22, 2016
It's not uncommon to hear gardeners dismissively declare that they dislike a particular plant, accusing it of being pedestrian, old-fashioned, ubiquitous, or unimaginative. ..
Jan 07, 2016
Selecting plants is an iterative process. Before a plant is a named, actual, specified, particular plant — it's a shape, a color, a texture. It's of a particular height and width. It's suited to particular growing conditions. It's described, and its needs understood. By going through this process of understanding and describing a plant and the growing situation it's being slotted for, we're narrowing the plant possibilities from the whole wide horticultural world to a much smaller, more specific, set of choices that are suited for this one particular patch of earth. ..
Dec 30, 2015
Small gardens are the norm nowadays and when gardening space is limited, we can't grow every plant that catches our eye, so we have to be ultra-choosy about what to include in our gardens. I've come up with this way of thinking about it this, which for lack of a better description, I'll call "the goodness ratio." ..
Dec 18, 2015
In a previous post we talked about planting design as an iterative process.
At first there are often many possible plants that may work for a given plant combo, then each successive plant selected narrows the field of potential
partners. The trick is to start somewhere. Anywhere. Choose your first plant, your second choice will be limited by the first, the third limited by
the second and the first, and so on. The result is an increasingly narrow scope as you build out your composition.
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