Monday, March 26, 2012

a garden plan

I read an article in last year's July issue of Real Simple magazine about flower arranging. It was kind of the typical flower arranging 101 article, but I really loved the way they described a simple bouquet.

"Create a foundation; add large face flowers; weave in wispy elements."

I thought this was the most perfect way to go about planning a garden. Especially if, like me, you love having plants that you can also bring indoors to enjoy. If you plan your garden like you would plan a bouquet, everything you plant will be useful and you should never be without enjoyable flowers all season long. Plus your backyard should grow into and form its own bouquet-look naturally.

{foundation elements}

You can think of foundation plants mostly as foliage plants. That is, those plants with either small insignificant flowers or none at all.

Some foundation plants I really love include solomon's seal, ferns, and dogwood. Any sort of tree or small shrub is perfect for this task as well so consider the colour of leaves and branches when choosing bushes and trees. When it comes time to trim back branches, you can easily add them to a bouquet to provide structure. And don't forget that flowering plants can be used for foliage when they're out of season, too. I think some great foliage can come from plants such as the leaves from bleeding hearts.

Large taller flowered plants like monkshood and delphiniums can also anchor a garden and create a foundation, so you're not entirely limited to leafy plants.

Foundation plants are the first plants you should think about when planning a garden. Beginning with a solid base will make figuring out the size and shape of the design that much easier. Planting the larger base plants gives you a better idea of what flowers can fit around, under, and between them.

{face elements}

Next are face flowers. These would be considered the star of the show so think large commanding blossoms. Some of my favourites are peonies, alliums, roses, lilies, irises, and oriental poppies. These are the fun and exciting plants that everyone is immediately drawn to.

{wispy elements}

I think wispy elements are the most creative and pretty element you can add to a garden. Typically, these are the light, airy, and sometimes oddly shaped flowers. They're beautiful on their own but don't command the same attention as face flowers. I would also include ground cover in this category. It would be easy to remove runners from some varieties to add to bouquets, plus they create a more layered look to a garden which is something I think wispy elements add to a bouquet.

I love the options given by Real Simple. These include columbine, bleeding hearts (the flower portion), sweet peas, and ferns. Some options that I've included in my garden so far are coral bells, speedwell, and lamb's ears. I'll be looking to add some of these next year: astilbe, baby's breath, fleeceflower, foxtail lily, honey suckle, clematis, lady's mantle, liatris, lily of the valley, meadow rue, poppy varieties (like icelandic and californian), and sea thrift.

I would also go so far as to include herbs in this category as well. Nothing would be prettier than a few sprigs of rosemary or basil mixed into a bouquet and it would add such a nice smell!

You definitely don't have to be an expert gardener to have a great yard. Just like decorating, whatever you like will always work together and you should never be afraid to make mistakes. If you really love a plant but you're not sure it'll make the winter, plant it and wait and see.

1 comment:

danielle and dinosaur toes said...

you know, i really like the idea of thinking of gardening as flower arranging! i love the way that the heights and colors of our plants in the garden mix to create something beautiful (and obviously delicious)!