Great gardens are like rooms in a house; they are balanced areas of form, shape and colour. Just as a room in a tastefully decorated home it is the small details and ornamental focal points that make a garden truly memorable.
Consider each garden a room in your home. Sometimes certain rooms need sprucing up or complete overhauls. Creating new gardens is like renovating an area in your home. Selecting plants for that particular garden is the decorating aspect. Keep focused in this manner and your gardens are sure to be a success. Be bold! Choose an unusual shape for a garden. Be assertive. Choose colours you find appealing. Be creative by using different heights and textures.
The first and best tip I can offer involves spending time in the garden. It is something I began doing about ten years ago. If there was an area in my yard that was screaming for colour or height or just something different, I would do this. Go outside with gardening book, lumber magazine and tape measure in hand. Sitting on a bench, chair or flower box I would stare at this section. Flipping through the books and measuring would assist me in choosing items that were appealing. Then put the books down and gaze around the area to think of ideas to implement. Get an overall view of the site. This will enable you to accomplish your goal. Of course there are several factors to consider, price usually being at the top of the list. Completing projects in a reasonable time frame is another concern. Adding unique thoughts to give the personalized touch to gardens is always desirable. This is attainable with imagination and minimal cost.
After spending hours at the site I would plan, consider and reconsider and take my time before making any decision. That is the beauty of gardening. You have lovely thoughts and complete relaxation while tending these wonderful specimens. You may think this tip is silly or ridiculous, but believe me most of my better ideas have flourished from sitting outside gazing, wondering, thinking, planning and contemplating. Somehow being there allows your imagination to run wild. You can and will create masterpieces using this technique.
Still not convinced, let me ask you a question? When you choose new furniture, draperies, carpet, tiles, flooring, etc., do you take a fast look at the room and make your decision within minutes? I think not. Instead you plan, view samples, visit stores and see model rooms. Time is spent selecting the right colour, the proper fabric and attention is paid to every little detail. I am sure if you like antiques (I love them) you think nothing of running about to auctions, garage sales and little shops. So in essence your gardens are an extension of your home. They make a statement. If you enjoy interior decorating, you are going to love exterior decorating.
So let’s begin. We will look at an unsightly area behind my garage. The brick needed tuckpointing, that was done to discourage any rodents from setting up shop. Then a 4’ X 8’ sheet of lattice was fastened to the wall. The cost was approximately $10.00. The decision was made to grow Euonymus, Clematis and beneath create a small garden.
Instead of planting one clematis the decision was made to select two. One is the JackmanII and produces large deep violet-purple flowers. The other is the Comtesse De Bouchaud producing medium sized flowers that are mauve-pink with yellow stamens. By choosing two varieties the wall now boasts layers of deep and light coloured blooms.
Due to the fact that this area is seldom used it did not seem prudent to spend a lot of money purchasing plants. To the right side of the garden there is a tiny flower box with a cedar tree and some perennials. After the tree matured some of the bottom branches were clipped to provide adequate space for the array of perennials. The vines were planted and at a garage sale I purchased two small urns. They are in the garden filled with geraniums and impatiens. We could not forget Oscar! Catnip was planted. This area was not a prime concern so the rest of the garden remained empty.
The most amazing thing happened. Within weeks the garden was taking shape. You ask why? Because I had some plants that were not doing well and did not want to lose them. I transplanted these specimens to this little garden just for an experiment. It was my intent to baby them along and determine if they could be nourished back to a healthy state. To make a long story short, approximately three years ago we witnessed the birth of a ‘hospital garden.' Since that time any sickly plant is removed and placed in the ‘Hospital Bed.' This garden is always flourishing and I transplant the healthy patients to new or existing gardens. The other beauty of the ‘Hospital Garden’ is, if a perennial does not survive the winter I have a replacement. The ‘Hospital Bed’ is multipurpose. It nurtures ill plants, adopts the homeless and provides a recycling area for new flowers.