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Garden Design

Postby Scrapinthehat » Jan 22, 2012 11:53 pm

Why, why, why...oh please tell me why I struggle with garden design? As many of you know, I am a ruthless gardener. If I don't like a plant, out it goes. I have to be selective given my space is small, relative to most of yours. No problem. So any remaining plants are only those I truly love, but putting them together in a cohesive manner is such a struggle. There are a few pockets I am happy with but overall not so much.

I do spend winters researching plants and planning my space, yet every year plants get rearranged...again. Garden design is something that just doesn't come naturally. Honestly, I think it goes beyond "gardeners are never happy with their space". I do take solice in the fact that every year it is better than the last. Maybe that means I'm learning from my mistakes. Yeh!!

What are your thoughts and experiences regarding garden design?
"Better to be a silly girl with a flower, than a silly boy with a horse and a stick."
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Re: Garden Design

Postby orchidguy » Jan 23, 2012 12:34 am

I've found that I am my own worst critic, and am wondering if this is the same in your case?????. The pictures you've posted in the past, were truly lovely, and maybe you just need an objective viewpoint.

As for garden design as a whole, again this is subjective, and beds that I might love, will not meet the standards of others.........but.......WHO CARES. I truly think the first step in creating a beautiful space, is to be true to yourself, plant what you want for yourself and not how it is going to look to others.

There are many "genres" of garden style (harmonious, asian, contrasting.......) and when you find a design that you really like, make that your starting point.

Most beds that I am most pleased with, are my "junk" beds, where everything extra is thrown into.These are like the beds I grew up with, when people didn't order/buy many plants, but started theirs from pieces given to them, or seeds started, and most were absolutely gorgeous.
The beds that I've planned out according to texture, colour, and flower form, looked just that to me.....planned out. So only option here, was to add plant material that just didn't seem to go with the others, and by golly, they turned out okay.
Unlike you. I am not a ruthless gardener, and rarely don't ever move something once it is planted, so I had better be comfortable where it is at. I follow this even in my home. Once something has found a place, it will usually be there forever. (a place for everything, and, everything in it's place)
Know the plants origins (will give a great advantage to their needed growing conditions), how much work each plant is going to require, and how much time one is willing to give to maintaining the bed as a whole. I still think the gardens you have graced us with in the past were beautiful to me.
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Re: Garden Design

Postby Laura » Jan 23, 2012 6:41 am

I have such a problem deciding where to put things ... case in point,for several years I have had two rose bushes in pots because I don't want to plant them in the wrong spot ... :roll: .

I have to start a new bed this spring and I have no idea how it will get started,I am fretting over how to begin.I need to do something with the area at the side of my house where the trees fell.I did draw out a few ideas but struggle with what plant should go where ... then I added to my problem with thinking of planting native plants that should not be too orderly or contrived in order to "look" natural.

I am afraid to do it wrong so I do nothing .... funny but with the Patch I don't worry about it at all,just put in as many veggies as possible and see what happens.I suppose since it only lasts one season I can get away with it ... it's the perennials that give me the problem.I do hope one day to have a great garden but am afraid that it will always be a work in progress ... :wink:

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Re: Garden Design

Postby Scrapinthehat » Jan 23, 2012 1:18 pm

Dan...your post has me reflecting on my garden preferences. "Contrasting" sums it up well. I like plants to stand on their own. Specifically, neighboring plants should have contrasting shape & color..often for both foliage and flower. I used to look at the garden as a whole, but now I work on specific vignettes. Each vignette consists of around 5 plants (probably because I can't process any more than that...lol!). I do like some harmonious details. It's especially appealing when neighboring plants pick up on some (not all) of the color from their neighbor. For example, if plant A has a yellow centre (ie. Columbine) , then plant B may be solid yellow (ie. Globeflower). I also have a special affinity for the color lime (maybe it reminds me of warm days with a lime margarita in hand....yum!). Lime/chartreuse foliage or lime flowers, or just lime centres (ie. certain daylilies) really grab my attention. So I work something lime into several vignettes.

Oh...and I typically only show pics of areas I'm happy with, but I'm glad you enjoy them too.

Laura...I probably lean a bit toward the other end of the spectrum. I like my garden to look planned, I just don't want it to be too formal . If I am really stuck I go back to basics..look at the sites conditions and make a list of my favorite plants requiring those conditions. Start with a plant or two you just have to have and go from there. Ha, ha...look at me giving advice about garden desidgn. Hi pot, I'm kettle!!! I totally hear ya though...I would find a fresh new bed so intimidating.
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Re: Garden Design

Postby orchidguy » Jan 23, 2012 4:09 pm

fran primula.jpg
franchesca primula. Not a pretty flower IMO, but a wonderful accent to other plants
chart.jpg
this chartreuse heuchera now spans across the entire base of the gargoyle
hemer.jpg
one of many, many failed pictures of the daylilies
Scrap, like you, I really like lime or chartreuse as an accent colour. I tend to be very wary of neighbouring colours with these beautiful greens as they tend to be reflective and have a simultaneous contrast (pick up surrounding colours) to them. Bright yellows tend to make them seem more yellowish, and oranges seem to give them more of a muddy tone. So, again like you, I like to carry the colour throughout the portion of bed with accents of the same colour, but usually set this colour against very contrasting tones.(this is all personal opinion only)
These are all planted in the same area.
The picture of the hemerocallis is not a good pic. I took over 180 different pics of the different daylilies that year (believe 2010) and all the pictures came out this way or worse. The camera died that day, which in hindsight might be a good thing
Laura, when starting a new bed, I try to add the bones to the garden first (tree, shrubs including roses and large growing perennials, and any hardscape being put in) then over the season, add other perennials that compliment the existing plantings. (again only my opinion)
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Re: Garden Design

Postby Scrapinthehat » Jan 24, 2012 2:53 am

Look at all the lovely lime!!! I'm getting thirsty...ha, ha! My chartreuse heuchera is one of my favorites unfortunately in my infinite "wisdom" I thought I should plant it amongst other Coral Bells of every color imaginable. One's eye has nowhere to rest...just jumps from one plant to the next. Needless to say, "Coral Bell Corner" will be getting a major overhaul this year.

I've been eyeballing that Primula for a while now. It is definitely a nice accent plant.

Ohhh...that's exactly what I mean....just look at the nice green centre on that daylily...make that a lovely purple daylily...doesn't get much better than that. Does that beauty have a name?

I know I've said it before, but it's worth repeating Dan...I LOVE that gargoyle!!!
"Better to be a silly girl with a flower, than a silly boy with a horse and a stick."
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Re: Garden Design

Postby samthomas » Jan 25, 2012 9:18 am

It's the deceased of winter weather in the Area and I've got cottage nausea. I pass up the time used in my garden, so I've been checking the garden online, looking at all the vegetation I'd really like to add to my garden. Unfortunately, I've run out of space in my edge garden - if you want to place something new, I'll need to take out something I already have (and love). Plus, many of the elements I'd like to add demand complete sun, but my lot has many older plants, so I have very few places of complete sun.

Yesterday I determined the only way to fix the situation is to add a new garden place. It took place to me I could develop a new garden in the middle of my garden. This will fix all my issues - the place gets the most gentle of any place in my garden (as near to 'full sun' as you'll discover in my neighborhood), it's a huge, apparent place - a 'blank page' on which I can style a new garden - and, it will remove a lot of grass!

I'm energized - this will provide me something to function on in the cool, winter weather. I can invest time preparing the place, studying vegetation and emotionally 'planting' the new garden.
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Re: Garden Design

Postby Scrapinthehat » Jan 25, 2012 7:58 pm

samthomas...good luck with thegarden. Be sure to take before and after photos to share. We love new projects. :)
"Better to be a silly girl with a flower, than a silly boy with a horse and a stick."
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Re: Garden Design

Postby Darrow » Feb 04, 2012 10:51 pm

[quote="Scrapinthehat"] Garden design is something that just doesn't come naturally.

Garden design - what's that? :lol: :lol: I have heard about that concept but have never accomplished it. I also research garden catalogues and every year have big plans to grow my best garden ever. I buy so many garden magazines for ideas and it goes as far as me admiring other peoples beautiful well-planned colorful gardens and then the magazine gets packed away. None of the ideas get used by myself. I come to my senses and realize my garden will never look as good as those pictures. Each year I buy plants on sight, not having a clue where they will be placed. Hey, if it is a pretty color and flower, I buy it and usually end up just plopping it in anywhere I find a space. My comment is I will just put it here until I have time to move it. My garden is just a hodge podge of plants but, one good thing, the bees, birds, butterflies and hummingbirds love it and that is fine by me.

I'll bet you have a lovely garden as it is.
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Re: Garden Design

Postby Scrapinthehat » Feb 05, 2012 3:19 am

Darrow...I've never managed to copy ideas from a magazine either...at least not consciously, but I sure do like looking at them especially when it is dreary out. I don't expect my garden to be magazine-worthy, just me-worthy. I want my to reflect the true love I have for gardening and it's not there yet....imo. I do take solice in knowing that every year is, indeed, better than the one before. Although I have greatly reduced impulse purchases, fall sales get me every time which usually throws a wrench into the plans. Ya just never know when you're gonna find you're next favorite plant, right?!
"Better to be a silly girl with a flower, than a silly boy with a horse and a stick."
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