A Good Home, Canadian Gardens, Gardening, White gardens

Exterior Design – Gardening for Impact

 

I’m an amateur gardener. Many of you know more about gardening than I do.

But I’ve learned a few things over the years and I shared some in my previous post on affordable gardening. 

This post is about creating impact.

Blog Photo - Hosta green around tree

The first thing I’ve learned is that you can create impactful garden scenes with a fairly small range of plants – if that’s your preference. At the farmhouse, we had many kinds of plants. At this new garden, we have far fewer. So we use a lot of hosta, hydrangea, ferns, and boxwood throughout our garden.

Blog Photo - Hosta around tree

I’ve learned that structure matters. Plants of the same variety massed together in a circle or  semi-circle make a strong structural statement.

When we lived at the farmhouse, a neighbour was throwing out clumps of green-and-white hosta. We gladly took some.  We divided and planted them around this tree, below.  They formed a lush circle in just two gardening seasons.

Blog Photo - Afternoon Tea guest in garden

My husband created two circles, above – one with hosta and one with boxwood. Look closely and you’ll see a taller boxwood semi-circle too.

Boxwood is perfect for creating structure. We buy them small (aka inexpensive) and let them grow. These ones, curving along our present garden path, are now two years old and will be trimmed and shaped soon.

Blog Photo - Boxwood along path

Contrast is another way of creating impact. The hosta and Japanese forest grasses, below — planted along another curve in the path — make a nice contrast.

Blog Photo - Hosta and Forest Grass

 Meanwhile, ligularia’s dark leaves, below, contrast well with almost anything.

Blog Photo - Ligularia

It’s a backdrop for the light-green hosta. But notice the green-and-white grass, below left.  Alone, the shape and colour of its blades would contrast nicely with the leaves of that hosta too. 

Blog Photo - Hosta and contrast

Contrast can also be created using varieties of the same genus of plants. Note the different kinds of hosta used below.

Blog Photo - Hostas of different colours

While contrasts are striking, we also like the harmony that comes from repeating a single colour throughout the garden at certain times of the year.

The red blooms of bee balm, below, echo the red of the chairs.

Blog Photo - Red Bee Balm and Bird Bath

Blog Photo - Red Bee Balm and Red Chairs

And the white blooms of bridal wreath spirea reinforce the white-stained arbour, below.

Blog Photo - White garden Bridal Wreath and Arbour

Sticking with colour, let’s talk about single-colour gardens and borders. 

Blog Photo - White garden Hollyhock single

Blog Photo - White garden Daisies

The white hollyhocks and daisies (above) and Annabelle hydrangea, below, are striking when grown en masse.

Blog Photo - White garden Hydrangea CU

Blog Photo - White garden Hydrangea several

Fast-growing and easy to divide, they are popular in all-white gardens. (Vita Sackville-West’s white garden at Sissinghurst in the UK is most famous, but many gardens, both private and public, have these plants in their white borders.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Courtesy: Parkwood Estate, Oshawa, Ontario

Of course, we’ve also learned that a single plant can make a magnificent statement, as does this giant Sum and Substance hosta.

Blog Photo - Hosta Giant Sum and Substance

And this equally striking goatsbeard.

Size, form, texture, contrast and colour: all can make a strong impact in your garden.

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A Good Home, Canadian Gardens, The Garden in Early June, Tree Peonies

Garden Porn – ish

Well, it would be garden porn but we’re at that in-between stage right now.

Flowering plants are still budding up…

Blog Photo - Garden Peony about to bloom

Vines are twining up…

Blog Photo - Garden Clematis vine in June

And if it weren’t for the Jack In The Pulpits, cuddling up to an overwhelmingly tall hosta…

Blog Photo - Garden Jacks

Blog Photo - Garden Light Green large hosta

And these sweet little wild anemone flowers cozying up against the stone wall ….

Blog Photo - Garden Whtie flowers against wall

And the vegetable garden, with tomato plants and eggplants and peppers and herbs shooting up in the hot sun….

Blog Photo - Garden Tomatoes and eggplant plants

Or the annuals in pots, under the guardian’s unwavering gaze…. 

Blog Photo - Garden Face and flowers

Or the empty coffee mug forgotten on the Muskoka chair….

Blog Photo - Garden Mug on Chair

Blog Photo - Garden and pot and chair

Blog Photo - Garden Blue pots CU

And green stuff on the ground or climbing up the walls….

Blog Photo - Garden Path and Greenery

And this one and only bloom on this most reluctant tree peony…

Blog Photo - garden Peony in bloom

Overseen by a multitude of ferns and other shrubs not yet blooming…

Blog Photo - Garden peony shrubs and walls

I’d have nothing to show you at all!

A Good Home, White flowers, White gardens

A White Garden

White flowers against green: the picture of serenity.

Blog Photo - White garden Bridal Wreath and Arbour

I used to dream of having a garden bed in just those colours.

Never happened.

Blog Photo - White peony

But between June and July, you’ll find several patches in our garden.

Green and white Hosta in several places…

Blog Photo - White garden Hosta around tree trunk

Hollyhocks….

Blog Photo - White garden Hollyhock single

Daisies ….

Blog Photo - White garden Daisies

Blog Photo - White garden Daisy CU

A flock of Goatsbeard….

Blog Photo - White garden Goatsbeard

Blog Photo - White garden Hosta blooms

White Hosta blooms (above) and Solomon’s seal below….

Blog Photo - White garden Solomons seal

Blog Photo - White garden Queen Annes Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace (above) — a weed to my husband, a flower to me…

And Hydrangea everywhere….

Blog Photo - White garden Hydrangea several

Blog Photo - White garden Hydrangea CU

Blog Photo - White garden Hydrangea at night

Now, to get them all together in one place at one time and I’d have … well, not exactly Sissinghurst … but for me, the perfect white and green garden!

I hope you are enjoying your summer.

A Good Home, Birds, Flowering shrubs, Flowers, Garden, Gardening, Joyful Moments, Life in canada, Lifestyle, Nature, Non-fiction writing

In A Dark Garden

Have you ever walked in an early-morning garden after the rain?  

It’s dark, fresh, cool. And quiet. Even the birds are still taking cover.

Blog Photo - Rainy Peonies

Blog Photo - Rainy Day Lily leaves

Everything’s drenched.

Blog Photo - Rainy Rhodo Bloom

You squint at something pink  in the darkness….

Blog Photo - Rainy Columbines in dark

… ah, columbines. And you think how wise this first clematis bloom is, so nicely sheltered against a wall.

Blog Photo - Rainy but sheltered clematis

You’re lost in admiring this flowering shrub.

Blog Photo - Rainy Garden with Flowering shrubs

Its branches are so rain-heavy, they’re almost touching the ground.

Blog Photo - Rainy Branches over Hosta

You’re wearing sensible shoes, so your feet don’t get wet. But next thing you know, you brush against a wet branch.

Blog Photo - Rainy Burning Bush Leaf

And another.

Blog Photo - Rainy Pine needles

Turning away, you almost collide with a horse.

Blog Photo - Rainy Horse Weathervane

Your hair, face, nose and shirt get wet.

But the air is cool on your skin. Fresh and earthy to the breath.

Blog Photo - Rainy Yellow hosta

And one intrepid bird starts to sing.

Blog Photo - Rainy birdbath

You softly walk around in the dark garden, thankful to be alive.

To hear, see, feel,  smell, almost touch this morning.

And to take a few pictures, even though you once failed photography.

Twice.

Dedicated to all early risers, including my beloved husband who takes care of our garden and takes much better photos than these.