Saturday, November 26, 2011

Designing with plants

Arranging plants in a garden is a bit like any creative endeavour. When you get it right, it looks effortless - but trying to get it right is a very different matter. I wrote a piece for The Independent Magazine this weekend, about this very problem and if you want to read it, here's the link.
I was interviewing two garden designers, Jill Anderson and Pamela Johnson, about their new book, called Planting Design Essentials.
As I say in the piece, many aspects of planting design deserve a whole book to themselves - colour, texture, finding the right plant for the right place and so on. But this is a good book to have at your elbow if you're planning a piece of planting, if only to make you more disciplined in your approach, and to help you think through the process in a simple, logical way.
Measuring the space, for example, before you go to the nursery or garden centre, will ensure that you come home with the right number of plants. If you find yourself succumbing to an impulse buy, as we all do, the book advises you to ask yourself some very tough questions about whether you have the right situation for this particular plant.
I've known Pamela Johnson for several years, and she is a valued member of my local gardening group - generous with her advice, and very good at making canapes! If you want to see what her own garden is like, go here.


Lancashire rose said...

I'm afraid I never ask myself those tough questions I should be asking, or if I do I don't always get the right answer. Thanks for the link to the Wandsworth Gardening Group. I love the way you have the members' garden links down the side. Everyone was beautiful but oh, Ruth's blossom blew me away. It took me back to our own garden at home and to the grounds of my university where spring the apple blossom filled the quad. We never see anything like that around here. Maybe the cherry blossom in DC, which I have never seen.

organicgardendreams said...

Victoria, I truly could need some help when it comes to garden design. Just yesterday I was working on my banana-shaped bed in the front yard and was thinking, oh boy, what a lame planting scheme I have chosen. Still I see some improvement in how it looks now in comparison to before I worked on it ;-)! Off to read your article in the The Independent Magazine and later look at the link to Pamela's garden and of course at the book! Thanks for the review!

Céline said...

I have recently experienced the too many plants factor ! At Botanic bay, we have planted a new hedge, only with the help of gardeners who had planted the shrubs much too close. So we ended up de-planting after them, and creating new beds for the overflow of plants ! Mind you, our garden is still very young, and lots of things are still possible.

Mark and Gaz said...

Superb article Victoria (and helpful!). I especially appreciate book reviews from fellow bloggers as it gives us insight on the content much more thoroughly compared to the ones that are found in the likes of Amazon, etc. Very handy at this time of the year too (gifts!). I've popped this book on my 'wishlist'.

Esther Montgomery said...

I overbought lavender recently. I bought the right number of plants but didn't check the height properly so they won't 'go' where I planned = so they are living in pots along the path. I'm hoping they look as if they are meant to be there - but it won't last.

Italia said...

Those plants were really pretty. Having those plants certainly adds beauty in the environment. Those lovely flowers are awesome in beauty.