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The Background On Backgrounds

new verbascum and mapleI’m one of those who believe the basic language of visual design applies to almost any topic or media. The ideas that make a successful garden vignette could also be employed to create a pleasing painting, a tempting textile, a beautiful building, or a fine photograph. There is a design language, and it does boast a few important “phrases.” Thus we hear, ad nauseum,  about contrasting forms, about the use of color, the value of texture, blah, blah, blah. I don’t mean to belittle those essential elements, but how come we never hear anything about, say, backgrounds?   Continue Reading →

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GGW Design Lines: Big And Bold

Sept 22.09 070

Structure, to me, is all important in garden making. Without it, a garden usually looks wimpy, mushy, and kind of inconsequential. There are exceptions, of course, but I’m just saying. Anyhow, I like using manufactured items from time to time, but feel as if the basic bones of a garden should come from its plants. So I work leaf by leaf, and build my garden vignettes by assembling dramatic juxtapositions of foliage. With color I’m conservative, often creating monochromatic yet kaliedoscopic effects by exploring all the subtleties and variations of a single color in a given space. But with leaves, I go all out. Continue Reading →

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The Waiting Game

Sept 14.09 002-1Sing it Carly! “Anticipation, anticipation/Is making me late/Is keeping me waiting.” Maybe Carly Simon was a horticulturist, because it strikes me lately that no one knows more about anticipation than a gardener. If you told me there’s any pursuit that is more about delayed gratification, about waiting for green dreams to be realized, about being just plain old patient, than gardening, well, I just wouldn’t believe it.
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Design Lines: Again and Again

Sept 14.09 086-1Hard to say if there’s any such thing as a foolproof garden design strategy, but the principle of repetition comes pretty darn close.  The basic idea is simple: use something more than once. And when I say something, I really mean just about anything. You might use two or more of the same container, two or more of the same plant, two or more swatches of the same color, two or more tuteurs, two or more of the same ornament,…or, as I said, two or more of just about anything. Then it’s time for the fun to begin. Continue Reading →

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Container Clusters

07 9.19 028

06 9.19 054As a dedicated container gardener, my approach to gardening in pots is always evolving.  I wrote about my thriller, filler and spiller recipe last season, and while I’m sticking with that basic approach, I find myself more inclined to create those kinds of combinations by using a grouping comprised of individual plants in their own pots. Groupings provide a lot of flexibility in design, plenty of eye candy, and a richly rewarding splash of structure in the garden. Continue Reading →

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