Sep 29, 2017
Figuring out what to plant with what is often a delicate balance between the pursuit of artful ambitions while simultaneously tending to more practical considerations. Gardeners I talk to often ask me for guidelines, so I've provided a few in this post. Following these guidelines can help you be more successful when creating plant combinations in your garden—they take the mystery out of the making so that you can focus on the fun! ..
Aug 30, 2017
Whether it's an exuberantly overstuffed single pot or a grouping of multiple pots, successful container plantings—just like in-garden planting schemes—strive to strike a delicate balance. Enough repetition to create a harmonious whole, tempered by a enough contrast and drama to excite without resulting in chaos. ..
Jul 14, 2017
When I pick up my pencil to doodle, my squiggles usually start morphing into plant shapes. I guess I’m a bit obsessed by the study of plants as shapes, textures, and masses, and by thinking about how to create balanced vignettes that are pleasing to the eye. ..
Apr 21, 2017
I’m quite practical and down-to-earth when it comes to choosing plants for the gardens I make, particularly those I do with clients. I tend to be a bit more experimental in my own space, but most of the time, my clients don’t want to take too many risks in terms of plant selections. Typically, that’s why they’ve called on me in the first place—they’ve been trying to solve the puzzle, but keep getting stumped. They’ll create a planting scheme that looks good for a while and then fizzles, often within weeks or months; but even if it takes a year, or several, to peter out, it can be a big disappointment if it’s not what they expected to happen. They’re left wondering, “What went wrong?” ..
Apr 14, 2017
Some gardens have that certain something that makes them memorable—an overall look and feel that resonates and sticks with you. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to put a finger on a particular reason they work, they just do. Their plants, however, are usually well-chosen, which means the gardeners of these special-something gardens used one or more of these tried-and-true design devices: ..
Apr 07, 2017
The possibilities for garden beds in different shapes are as varied as the gardeners who tend them. The internet offers a gushing, endless stream of luscious garden photos that entice, but offer little guidance in terms of how to translate that picture into an actual, in-the-ground garden. Converting the garden of your imagination into a real-world, concrete plan of action can be tricky. ..
Mar 31, 2017
Many a gardener has discovered through trial and error that getting the spacing between plants right—especially the first time—can be a challenge. ..
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. ..
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