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.
I also consider whether there's a function I'm asking it to perform; for example, screen an unsightly view, provide shade or stabilize the soil. Later,
after this process of thoroughly describing each and understanding what they will do, I can begin to assign possible plant identities to each of the
However, in addition to these artful and functional considerations, an essential criterion is the need to select plant partners that desire the same growing conditions. This essential aspect of successful garden-making is the process of narrowing plants under consideration to include only those that share the same cultural requirements: for example, they want the same amount of sun, have the same water needs, and will grow in your hardiness zone.
Through this activity of visualizing and describing, the process now becomes one of searching for plants based on the description formulated. The internal dialogue might go something like this:
- You determine that you're looking for a compact, evergreen shrub, with modest water needs, for a sunny spot that has blue foliage, a rounded form and is finely textured.
- Or perhaps you find that you're looking for a sun-loving plant with a narrow upright form, and yellow, evergreen foliage.
- Or you decide you want an evergreen shrub to create all-season structure in a challenging dry shade location.
- You need a foliage accent to add a touch of drama and all-season structure to a medium-sized vignette for a hot sunny site.
- And so on ...
Searching for plants using any one of these descriptions will quickly narrow the field of suitable plants from the whole wide world of plant possibilities to a greatly reduced number of suitable options. If you find that you've still got a large number of options, describe it more fully to further narrow the field to a more manageable number of options to consider.
The eGardenGo database of plants is unique in that it has a rich array of filtering options for design-oriented attributes. For example, you can search for foliage texture and plant form, in addition to the standard filtering options you've come to expect, such as hardiness zone, exposure, plant size, etc. Taken together, these filtering options open up possibilities for users to hone their garden-making skills, and come up with planting combinations that are not only look great, but will grow successfully together.
SOME EXAMPLES TO GET THE BALL ROLLING
- Fine Texture
- Blue Foliage
- Compact & Slow-growing
- Columnar Form
- Golden Yellow Foliage
- Rounded Form
- Dry shade? No problem!
- Strappy Foliage
- Approx. 3' x 3'
- Yellow Variegation