Thursday, July 14, 2011

Advice to the design-challenged: plant lots

It’s a good thing that the previous owners left good, well-delineated planting areas in my urban front beds, side beds, and courtyard area, because I’m not that skilled at overall garden planning and design. I just love gardens and plants. I guess I’m like those people who say they don’t know much about art but they know what they like.

This is what I like: full, colorful beds with mostly tall plants, and lots of fragrance. That said, I’ve had to compromise because of the abundant shade throughout the property. Shade will limit your color and number of blooms, depending on how much there is. But that’s OK, because I like foliage too.

My strategy has been to ignore any and all spacing recommendations that come with plants. I squeeze it all together and let the best plants win. This gives me the fullness that I’m after and is also useful in making sure I get the most bang for my buck in the few beds that have good sun.

Given my limitations, a smart thing to do would be to have a succession of spring to fall flowering plants for maximum wow factor, like daffodils to daylilies to rudbeckia to grasses in a sunny bed (with some slight additions), but that would be too limiting. So trial, error, and pack-it-all-in is still my design plan. And aim for a mid-summer peak. That’s partially for Garden Walk, but also because mid-summer is when I most enjoy being in the garden. Which is what it’s all about—not the work, the being there. Right now, the emerging lilies are making that especially pleasant.

And—let's not forget! Happy Bloom Day!

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