The Color Within, Seventh in the Series, Process of Design
Color is used with restraint in this garden. It occurs in groupings rather than arbitrarily dotting the landscape. The garden is tiny, so creating large drifts is out of the question, but repeating plant form and color helps to unify the space.
Blue, yellow and white comprise the main palette, but pink pops from the landscape in spring, giving the garden a bright youthful glow so early in the season. Especially needed because the plants are still small.
This adds an unexpected surprise to the color scheme. The pink plants include the peony, the cherry tree and the lilac, which bloom sequentially to prolong the interest in the cool, wet spring.
It adds variety too. The feel of the garden changes over the season. This is much welcomed to alleviate boredom in a small space.
It is a good practice to document a new garden’s development, whether in a garden journal or photographically. Pictures really do tell a thousand words. It helps to see the development over the season and how color is distributed and sequential; where there is repetition and clustering.
First the tulips, pear tree and cherry tree all bloom together. The pear was planted to precede the cherry. Some years, they bloom together. It is all dependent on the Spring weather. Tulip varieties are planted to prolong the season. Above, you see the late-blooming lily flowering White Triumphator with tulip Maureen.
Starting in spring, take photos just as the snow has melted and perennials are starting to poke through the cold soil.
This way you know if you can fill a certain spot with more foliage and you do not impulsively buy more than can be planted. If you plan your garden well there will be little down time for color and texture.
The next flush of flowers is the rhododendron, viburnum and iris, followed by the azaleas and clematis. The peonies are the last to bloom in spring.
Azalea blooms along with the Coral Bells, above. The Clematis is just starting to flush and fill in the concrete reinforcing mesh used as a trellis. Being in the industry gets me some useful construction scraps. The Clematis did not care if this was an expensive trellis.
Summer is packed with color. The yellows were selected because their vibrancy does not wash out in the strong summer sun like that of the whites. The lilies juxtapose nicely with the blue Allium, Nikko Blue Hydrangea and Munstead lavender. The whites shine at night.
Lavender, although long living, gets weather worn after a number of years. When this occurs, it is best to replace it with new plants or cuttings from the old plants. To maintain the appropriate size for the location, these will be replaced with cuttings every tree years. Cuttings are easy to take and grow.
Lavender grows extremely fast and will have a new showing in no time and rebloom as does the Delphinium, daylilies and coreopsis as shown in the fall. White Astilbe can be seen in the image below to the far left.
Repeating plants is essential even in a small garden. The spikes of Delphinium, Allium and lilies occur in triangulated positions in the garden, affording continuity, texture and unity throughout the small space. In the image above, the young climbing, Golden Showers roses can barely be seen. The vines are just starting to fully cover the fence.
Perennials will take three years on average, shrubs and trees are dependent on the size and species initially purchased.
This garden was actually redesigned after three years. The garden became more formal, but added reds in the mix. Yellows became less dominant, and the blues increased their presence.
The Chamaercyparis or false cypress were replaced with boxwood, arborvitae were added for height and repetition. I will show this transformation later.
Pink gladiolus come back and multiply every year.
Fall brings phlox. Calamintha, clematis and Oriental lilies in one bed. The other bed will rebloom with the summer flowers and additionally the Caryopteris.
A row of Caryopteris is planted and grows to three feet high. In bloom, they attract many kinds of bees and butterflies. There should never be a dull moment in a well-planned garden, especially if it is small and manageable.
The Sweet Autumn Clematis covers the garage wall, blooming after the big flush of Yellow Trumpet Vine. Iceberg Roses sit below.
A little fountain will add the soothing sound of water in a shady corner. A little bleach keeps the moss and algae in check.
This fountain used a piece of grated walkway to support the pavers. It was structurally sound enough to support the weight of a few adults standing on it as a walkable surface. The geraniums are a place keeper until the ivy covers the brick, as it does today. The fountain has been since replaced by a planting bed.
The Alyssum fills in quickly between the stepping-stones. The natural flagstones have been replaced by pavers for less work of planting. As pretty as this is, it reduced maintenance.
Here is the links to the other posts in the series. Sorry about the poor photos, but I did not have the negatives to make a good scan. The front planting will be shown later.