I’ve been thinking about adding a few plants & stones to the corner of my yard, so finding this makeover was great timing. Scott mostly writes about technology & music on his blog, but google took me to this post from a few years back and I thought it would be a good fit for this week’s before & after. As you can see, the grass had already been scraped away for the “Before” photo, which left behind a perfect foundation to work with. Read the full post
Yes! – I’d frame that. I find the ‘G’ particularly nice and it reminds me of Colorado history and some of my favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder stories. I’m also partial to the H – (I love a good bridge) and the W (maybe my parents would like that — it is the first letter of my maiden name) seems so pleasingly garden-y.
The full set can be seen at the British Museums website. This illustrated alphabet was create between 1818 and 1860 by Charles Joseph Hullmandel and includes a full set of 26 contoured landscapes.
These are my favorites — which do you love?
…my book went up on Amazon.com for pre-order. I found out from a friend who mentioned it in an email….I was taking a break from writing captions (for the book). It all seems a little scary that the book is there for all the world to see….and we are still working on finalizing it….but there it is. You can pre-order it (I promise to sign it at any opportunity we have to meet!). Crazy right?
I don’t even have a full sized version of the final cover to share here….so if you want to see you will have to click here and go check it out: Cultivating Garden Style: Inspired Ideas and Practical Advice to Unleash Your Garden Personality.
Instead of writing about a particular plant or plant group, this week I thought I would talk about one of my favorite horticultural pruning techniques. The first time someone mentioned to me an “aerial hedge,” I envisioned puffy clouds of boxwoods floating through the air. But that would be weird and strange (like this week’s episode of Mad Men – yes, I am a big fan). Then, on a trip to Hampton Court, I saw a screen made from a quadruple cordon of hornbeam trees. A cordon is literally “cable” or “line” in French. It is also a horticultural term for a horizontal line of a topiary. As for these trees at Hampton Court, the hornbeam trees were growing out of a hedgerow of Taxus. The hornbeams were trained into four cordons and then tied together to make a big screen around the parking lot. It was beautiful and precise. Right then and there, I fell in love with the concept.
Years later, on a visit to France, a group of us visited Versailles. It was there that I saw miles of trees pruned into hedges. In some spots, the trees were limbed up from the ground so you could see across the plane but the tree canopies were pruned into long rectangles. Aha! This was the infamous aerial hedge. If you look at the competition gardens at the Chelsea flower show, one designer always goes for the aerial hedge. Maybe it is a European thing (like the man-purse) but aerial hedges never seem to catch on here in the US. I, for one, really dig aerial hedges (and messenger bags but not man-purses) and wish that more gardens would include them. Yes, they take time and someone has to work for years to prune and shape them but the resulting form is fun and really defines a garden. I can count on one hand, the gardens that I have seen in the United States that feature aerial hedges:
- Longwood Gardens (Tilia or little leaf linden)
- Dumbarton Oaks (Carpinus or hornbeam)
- Old Westbury (Tsuga or hemlock)
- Lotusland (Pittosporum)
- Heronswood (a really awesome, arching display of trained hornbeams)
There have to be other gardens that I have missed. Are there aerial hedges that you recall seeing here in the States? Why do you think that they have not caught on here as they have in Europe? If ever given the chance to design a Chelsea garden, I would design a satirical garden featuring an assortment of aerial hedges using plants that one would never expect to see grown this way.
Images: The Creative Flux, Jan Henry, Garden Drum
As a designer I am not immune to creative dry spells – but the key to maintaining a steady stream of ideas is to know how to re-inspire yourself. I gather inspiration from nearly every thing in my life; I never know when something is going to strike me in a way that causes new ideas start flowing. But when I am in a pinch and feeling the need to force the issue…I have to actively go looking and often I find the answers in the art of others.
When I was in design school we had to study plants in depth – and a huge part of that study was learning a way to use them that was not only effective and practical in the garden, but also in a way that was artistically distinctive to each of us as designers. The idea was that if we could strike on signature groupings, we could begin to define our distinctive styles as well as make the design process easier (by providing ourselves endlessly repeatable templates).
Do you have a signature planting look in your garden?
If you don’t, it would be an interesting exercise to go through at the very least so that you can re-inspire yourself. Here is what I do when I am trying to come up with something new and interesting:
- Find an inspiration source. I like art; maybe you might pick something that is already hanging on the walls of your home.
- Study the piece for composition, pattern, and notable personality elements and also pull out the colors that appeal to you.
- Using these reference points to start, look for plants that reflect the work. Let the list of possibilities ramble – maybe use a pinterest board to collect the ideas.
- Narrow it down. Once you have a pool of ideas, start refining a plan based on bloom time (if you want your plants to play together – they probably need to bloom together), habitat (they need to be able to survive side by side) and individual characteristics as they meet your needs.
I’ve been playing with the collection above and it started with this painting by Carolyn Swiszcz (if it appeals to you as much as it appeals to me – you can buy it as 20×200). The Coleus ‘Alligator Tear’s is a unique version of this plant – its feathery leaves reflect the pattern in the rug and the colors of all three plants are inspired by the painting. I also want the planting to consist of things that are good for cutting and arranging….so that helped me to eliminate other options. I am still working on this — and I think that I might add something that is the softest shade of peach pink….like perhaps a Verbascum ‘Southern Charm’. And once I get it planted…perhaps it will be become something that works well and I can use it again elsewhere and in future projects – this is how I grow as a designer and gardener.
This collection is as quirky as the original inspiration and I am pleased that I have captured that. How about you — have you used art (or anything else) to inspire planting? What image might you use to do the same?
Images: Images courtesy of proven winners, and my instagram images are from one of my all time favorite design books – The Conran Ocotopus Garden Color Palette.
Art: Garden Hallway, Grand Rapids, MI by Carolyn Swiszcz
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Proven Winners. I am not an employee of Proven Winners and all opinions are my own. See the other posts in this series.
If you have been around here a while, you might remember the daily garden posts that I maintained a few years back (you can check out the whole mess of them in the gallery of gardens). Ultimately, the pace of ‘daily’ was too much to bear and started to feel that it didn’t allow me take the time to dig a little deeper into each one. But I miss those posts and so I am thinking to bring them back….perhaps on a weekly pace- allowing a little more opportunity to explore each one more in depth.
This summer I am headed to Belgium for a month and I have started to look for places that I want to explore in the region. In my searching, I discovered Havetid which is actually beyond the range of my expected travels (being in Silkeborg, Denmark) but were it closer it would certainly have been on the list.
Inger and Jørn have created a beautiful garden that is full of interesting ideas. Their blog
is a treasure trove of images of what appears to be every corner of the garden. I pulled a few of my favorites that gave me interesting ideas. I am contemplating how I might break a rock such as this so that I too can plant a tiny sedum garden inside.
Why have a solid driveway when you can have something planted down the middle. And why settle for turf or a singular ground cover when a pretty rock garden is even more interesting?
Those gorgeous round balls aren’t boxwood – they are cotoneaster. I had to double check this too…but yes, they are really cotoneaster. If you want to know more about how these were created check out this post.
This idea charmed me too. Why not have a raised garden bed filled with box balls, rectilinear boulders, river rock, and a weeping larch (I think that is what that is?). Who says raised beds are just for vegetable gardens?
This garden certainly isn’t devoid of flowers, but I am finding that I am increasingly drawn to those places that aren’t too floriferous. This haven of textures is gorgeous and I am studying every detail for inspiration.
I’d love to hear what you found inspiring in this garden…make sure you checkout Inger and Jørn’s website
and report back with any other fantastic discoveries.
Havetid will be open to visitors on the 24 -25th of May, the 14th-15th of June and 9th-10th of August 2014 from 10am – 5pm if you are in the area.