DESIGN SOLUTIONS

 Pointing to the car port at our first meeting, Ms. H. said…                                                        

“We will get rid of that eyesore.”  (below)

                                                                     

 After surveying the property, I saw that this side door (very close to the kitchen) was the only access to the garden. There was no back door.

“Wait” I said “I think we can use this”

                                                                     So I designed an outdoor space for dining, with privacy from the street and  access to the garden.

                                                                                                                                       

 A brick semi circular patio completes the space.

Even Mr. H loved it.

© All photos & text 2010

PROJECT MOURNING BENCH

For this area, the Vinca has too  much movement & energy; the glossy leaves reflect so much light one can hardly make out the ‘star plants’…

                                                                 

  So out it went (to a friend’s garden).

                                                                   

The golden club Moss,(Selaginella kraussiana ‘Aurea’) on the other hand, has a matt texture & absorbs the light. It makes a much calmer background which allows the ‘stars’ to shine..

                                                                     

This is so much better. I first added a wheelbarrow of rabbit manure & raked it over the ground. No digging is done here because there are Trillium rhizomes underground. Then I dug up the Selaginella from the path on the other side…

                                                                  

                                                                   

And transplanted it. While I tried for whole ‘sheets ‘ of the moss, it falls apart, so little pieces with roots are pushed into the ground. They will shortly spread to form the carpet needed for this area.  All the while…                                                                     

  Cleome supervised.  

This type of gardening is really painting beautiful pictures with plants…but the one element the other arts do not have to deal with is TIME.  If I was using paints or pencils…it would already be coloured in.  

The Star plants are:-

                                                                      Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’)

                                                                   East Indian Holly Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)  and…

                                                                       Amorphophallus rivieri, a type of voodoo Lilly.. all improved by changing their background.

                                                                  

                                                                  

A good days work all in all, and part of another project started.

                                                                   

“Success depends on simplicity, one plant supplying the quiet background, while the other stands out clearly against it.” – Sylvia Crowe*

*Sylvia Crowe, distinguished British Landscape architect.

© All photos & text 2010

IN THE GARDEN…AT LAST

The heat has finally broken (low 90’s) and the  humidity has dropped. Early this morning I chose a project from my ever-growing list of things to do in the garden and out I went!

The project is the ‘Circle of Friends’  What is needed here are a few finishing touches.                                                                                                                                            

Today I pulled  string  and arranged the brick to line the path that leads to and from the Circle of friends. Next will be the landscape fabric, crushed stone & pea gravel, and finally painting the furniture.                                                                  

This area is so peaceful, it is one of my favorite spaces in the garden. Arranged  in the shape of an oval…                                                                   punctuated by four variegated Boxwoods, it suggests finality and invites repose.

                                                                   It sits under a wonderful canopy that allows dappled light and provides perfect conditions for both camellias & hydrangeas to flourish. In this case the plants both create the space  and embellish it.

While I had hoped for a carpet of moss, That idea has been abandoned as impractical. The seating is not all I wished for but it is comfortable and affordable and when painted BLACK it will recede nicely. Then all that is needed is a groundcover.

 I just might put a check mark next to one project this summer.

© All photos & text 2010

What I wanted… what I got.

I envisioned a soft carpet of moss beneath my feet as I walked through the garden…                                                                           

and then the weeds came.

                                                                                    

So now not only do the beds require weeding, so do the paths! YIKES!

I have been resisting the pea gravel alternative. When I am alone in the garden the crunch of the gravel is delightful but when accompanied, it is so distracting it is difficult to have a conversation.

FAUX GARDEN

                                                                                                                                                  

Delightful little courtyard garden? No. Just all the ‘driveway plants.’  Every plantaholic  has these. The plants that are unloaded from the car waiting in the drive to be planted.

This vignette was put together by our British host just before we  arrived for a tour.

© All photos & text 2010

GARDEN TOUR ENGLAND & WALES

Its travel season again.  If my passport does not get here in time, I will  be homebound. I am consoling  myself with  photographs from trips past & exercising a mighty imagination!

with Tara Dillard (left) above, we enjoyed this perennial garden which we entered via. . .

this opened gate, (above) we found. . .

along this wall.

Look at the perfectly edged Vegetable garden below. Can this be real? No mulch, that means constant weeding & cultivating!

Look at these gardens below. The English are masters of the ‘mixed border’.

Notice how the repetition of tall plants gives the  border  below rhythm, while the one above is colour driven.                                                                     

Ancient yews,

some clipped into fantastical shapes,

elegant balustrading punctuated by a pot on every pier. . .                                                              and  the incomparable countryside …                                                                      There must always be time for tea.

and more gardens. . .

featuring hydrangeas!! I know I promised no more … but these  are not mine and I can’t help that others find them as appealing as I do.

© All photos & text 2010

NOT A GOOD THING!

I tried to grow some Clematis with Hydrangea paniculata, the late-blooming  panicle hydrangea, (sometimes refered to as ‘Pee Gee’ or ‘Tardiva’.) but this is not successful.

                                                                   

  Clematis Purpurea Plena Elegans In Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pink Diamond’    ( above & below)                                                               

This hydrangea is pruned drastically early spring. When the clematis starts to grow, the branches of the hydrangea are low and bare .  There,  they intertwine. The hydrangea however, keeps on growing, thus  the clematis  blooms deep in the shrub and not in front, where it is wanted.

 Here Clematis texensis ‘Gravetye Beauty’  hidden in  foliage.                                                                   

 Another lesson learned.

FRAMING THE VIEW

Recently, Tara Dillard of A Garden View, posted  about frames in the landscape. It brought to mind a lovely vignette I saw in a garden while in England. Initially I thought an artist had set up to paint.

As I approached

                                                                       

I saw

                                                                        

What had been ‘Framed’.

 The lesson here is that framing a view brings it into relief.  Scroll back to the last photo, see the difference? See Tara’s post here.

©All photos & text 2010

GARDEN UPDATE CONTINUED

                                                                      

Plants with a cascading habit,  call attention to the ground plane.  Above, The heavy flowers of  Snowflake Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowflake’),  draw the eye to the  Japanese painted fern (Athyrium nipponicum).

                                                                     

 The flower on ‘Snowflake’  has  double sepals, significantly different from that                                                                    of ‘Amethyst’ above, or ‘Alice’ below.

                                                                      

                                                               

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’   forming it’s  flower heads. This is one hydrangea that SHOULD BE PRUNED early spring. These hydrangeas form flower buds on NEW GROWTH.

UPDATE ON EPHEMERALS:

                                                                   

The Trillium are fading, (see yellow foliage). What will clothe the ground now is Vinca. I really tried for Selaginella kraussiana aurea, below

                                                                    

 but it prefers the path so I’m going to stop fighting and let the vinca do its thing.

                                                                   

Arum foliage has died down & the berries have formed. They need to ripen, then they will be spread where more are needed. See previous post on Arum.

FINALLY THE POTAGER:

 Below squash, peppers, cucumbers, beans, Eggplant                                                                  

  and below, TOMATOES!!                                                                

 Have a great week end!

©All photos and text 2010

CLEMATIS CRUSH

I previously mentioned my Clematis Crush ( here and here ). Beside the beautiful flowers,  the fact is they require only vertical space. That makes them the perfect companion to any shrub or small tree. Most shrubs have a limited bloom time so a well-chosen  flowering vine can really extend the season of beauty. Also, from a design point of view, any element seen at eye level has tremendous impact.

 I thought I would showcase some of the clematis blooming in the garden now.

                                                                         

Clematis  viticella ‘Venosa Violacea’ climbing through a viburnum.

                                                                     

 Clematis texensis ‘Catherine Clanwilliam’ on an obilisk till it reaches into the branches of Styrax obassia. Below, looking up into the flowers.

                                                                      

                                                                      

Clematis ‘Piilu’ or sometimes called ‘Little Duckling’, an Estonian hybrid with smaller flowers.

Most of  the above are blooming in viburnums that are passed their peak.  The clematis fill the  gap between bloom time and berries in this part of the garden.

Below, Clematis ‘Rouge Cardinal’ being trained to clothe Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowflake’.

                                                                     

Finally, Clematis purpurea plena elegans, chosen to bloom with the roses. Below.

                                                                     

I hope you consider adding some to your garden.

© All photos & text 2010

TEXTURE

How important is Texture?  Texture can be more pleasing than flowers, and persist longer. In smaller gardens where every design element  is seen up close, it is of particular importance.

                                                                    

Here the  bold glossy leaves of  Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis)  stand in a mass of delicate Maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris).

                                                                      Plants used for background need to be fine, dense and matt in order to be a suitable foil for either statuary or flowers. Above St. Fiacre against a matt evergreen Arborvitae (Thuja plicata).  On either side the coarse, shining leaves of Gardenia (Gardenia japonica) and  Banana Shrub (Michelia figo),  reflect too much light to be an effective background.

Contrasting textures apply not only to plant relationships.

                                                        Here the fine ferny foliage of Japanese Maple ( Acer palmatum) stand out in sharp contrast to the smooth Bluestone walkway.

                                                                      

 The best effects are achieved with simplicity.  Texture = contrast = beauty.

© All photos & text 2010

TRANSITION SPACES

There are several types of transition spaces. The first would be the porch or veranda. Here the veranda unites both indoors and out, creating a continuous living space.

                                                                            

My veranda outfitted for a long hot summer of outdoor living. (above & below)

                                                                        

Below, the sweeping  lawn and the trees on either side anchor the house to the landscape, strengthening the relationship between architecture and site.

                                                                       Other transition spaces that create interest in the garden are pergolas, trellised walkways  or arbors.

                                                                     

Here one passes through a dark shaded area into a pool of sunlight.

                                                                       

                                                                       

The above arbor was created using only plants. No Money? No excuse!

© All photos & text 2010

GERTRUDE JEKYLL & GARDEN ROOMS

Probably one of the most influential garden designers of the early 20th century, Gertrude Jekyll, was a proponent of separating the garden into separate enclosed areas,  each devoted to a season, or a single plant.  She believed no garden could possibly be kept at it’s best for the entire season.

Below, her Autumn garden of Michaelmas Daisies. Painted by George Samuel Elgood.

Another view, painted by Helen Allingham.

Allingham also painted a break in the main flower border. Notice how Jekyll used masses of yuccas as  punctuation points on both sides of the path.

These watercolors illustrate her lush planting style and skillful use of color.