The Wind Blows Hard against this Mountainside.........
purple_stapler: Blows. Hard. Heh. Heh. Heh.
Who will ever forget the electricity in the air when the opening notes to Kyrie filled the concert hall during the IT or when the chaser lights on the mother ship signaled the grand entrance for Where the Streets Have No Name? Making a theatrical impact, creating an exciting first impression is important for setting the charged environment for a concert experience.
Short of having Clay Aiken standing at the edge of my property as guests arrive, I will never get that same kind of reaction from my garden design.
purple_stapler: Wouldn’t FlatClay do? Also, electrical fences are great a creating charged environments. *hides FlatClay adorned with lei of blinky lights*
It sure would save me a lot of work though. I'd bet two front row tickets that no one would even notice the weeds or the dead moles the cat dragged to the door.
purple_stapler: Well, I hear that naked is the new black this season. Did you hear that, Clay?
purple_stapler ‘accidentally’ gets smacked over the head with gardening trowel wielded by beauzz, and makes a grand entrance to where the streets have no name.
As I watched the initial episode from the West Wing first season the other night, I was reminded as to why I got so hooked on this show right from the start. What a stunning introduction to the characters and visual energy of one of my all time favorite shows. What a way to make a grand entrance.
How do we create drama in the garden? The elements and principles of design that are applied to the stage are equally important for creating an impact in the garden. Think overall composition and the way each plant relates to each other in shape, size, texture and color. If we take a look at the elements of design, we can come up with a few examples as to how these principles can be used to advantage in the garden to help create an overall visual impact. These are just a few of my favorite combinations picked up from friends, magazines/books, garden shows, experimentation, gut reaction and pure luck. I'd love to hear about your favorite plant combinations that make a dramatic impact in your garden. I imagine they'll end up being my favorites as well!
When I began gardening years ago, I tended to choose a plant by flower color instead of foliage color. Any shade gardener will tell you the visual impact comes from the contrast in foliage rather than the flower. As the song goes, it ain't easy being green (all the time), so a great way to liven up that overall garden composition is to place high contrast colors to compliment the palette of your garden. I particularly love a well placed burgundy (perennial: barberry bush, coral bell, Japanese Maples, purple sage / annual: Persian shield, coleus) and chartreuse (in various hostas, Japanese iris, ferns, Hakonechloa grass, groundcovers). Even basic green comes in a variety of shades from the gorgeous silvery blue-green of Russian sage to the variegated beauties of euonymus.
When it comes to flowers, my favorite annual combination for sun is tall leilani blue ageratum (18" high) combined with fire and orange profusion zinnias. The large drifts of Van Gogh inspired complimentary colors pop in a sunny garden. These two annuals look great from May to November and never need to be staked or deadheaded. They are also disease resistant.
My favorite shade combination is the iridescent quality of Persian Shield combined with a cool palette of impatiens in roses, pinks, purples and white.
For perennial high key color drama, drifts of periwinkle blue Russian sage looks striking combined with yellow-orange Rudbeckia
Foliage seems to have endless possibilities for contrast in texture, size and shape. You can achieve a dramatic effect by including plants that vary and contrast sharply in height and form. I love mixing and matching textures and shapes with my hosta collection ( there are literally hundreds of varieties in every size and color imaginable) to create a contrasting and dramatic effect in the shade garden. My favorite hosta "companions" are hokenowia grass, spotted Pulmonaria, grasslike Liriope, bright green lacy textured ferns, arching Solomon's Seal, bleeding heart and varigated Jacob's ladder. Chartreuse (sedum), silver (lamium) and burgundy (ajuga) ground covers create a snap, crackle and pop and tie the whole shebang together with rhythm and unity.
No one will ever be standing on a lawn chair or craning their necks to get a better view of my "grand entrance", but a few well chosen plant combinations can create a visual impact for the garden that all will enjoy. There is one thing that a well designed garden and a certain red headed singer with a smoothly textured Voice by the name of Clay Aiken have in common...
.... they leave you wanting more.
Please share your garden "vignettes". ;)
*beauzz collects thoughts, hostas, and prone body of purple_stapler*
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