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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Meanwhile, ligularia’s dark leaves, below, contrast well with almost anything.
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.
Contrast can also be created using varieties of the same genus of plants. Note the different kinds of hosta used below.
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.
And the white blooms of bridal wreath spirea reinforce the white-stained arbour, below.
Sticking with colour, let’s talk about single-colour gardens and borders.
The white hollyhocks and daisies (above) and Annabelle hydrangea, below, are striking when grown en masse.
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.)
Of course, we’ve also learned that a single plant can make a magnificent statement, as does this giant Sum and Substance hosta.
And this equally striking goatsbeard.
Size, form, texture, contrast and colour: all can make a strong impact in your garden.