Welcome to summer – it finally arrived, and to our July edition. So far in our series we have covered two themes: the Asian Theme and the Mediterranean Theme. In discussing both themes, we have followed a similar procedure in discussing hardscape/structure in the first edition, and then plants in the second. By taking two months to discuss each design theme and their challenges, we have been able to show more pictures of the same yard, giving you a better “look” at the theme in discussion. In reviewing the past two themes, for the Asian Theme’s second part (March 2011) I switched over to a smaller yard. I wanted to show you that a theme is determined more by selection of hardscape and plants, than defined by space. I wanted those of you with smaller yards to be encouraged. By making that decision, I was not able to share other photos of February’s featured yard. Recently, I visited this landscape and was so pleased with its growth, that I wanted to share it with you. So we will take a break from our series to enjoy the beauty of a maturing Asian themed landscape. We will revisit the before, and the just completed landscape of October 2010, featured in the February 2011 article, and then put the matured landscape of May 2011 pictures in sequence, so you can note the transformation. I will also include two photos that have not been featured. Notice with the May photos that the bark space is “disappearing” as the plants mature. It takes time for this to happen, and next year the landscape will be even fuller.
Though I am the landscaper/designer and have been working with plants for over thirty-five years, the creation of beauty within each plant and the detail within each different flower never ceases to amaze me. So that you can appreciate what I am talking about, and enjoy what I see weekly, I will limit my writing and let the photos speak for themselves. And know, that it is even better when you can see the plants and flowers in person, for all the beauty of the beauty, it is not the same as being there. Enjoy…..
The main photo is the WOW picture. Look at the difference in the growth from October (before) till May (after), pretty astounding. The flagstone, rock spire, boulders, bamboo, pottery, etc., all are very complimentary and supportive of the theme, but the plants are the stars of the show.
Main photo May (after)-planted and next photo October (before)- ready to be planted is what greets you as you round the corner and come into the backyard from the side gate. Notice with Oct (before) photo the planter is narrow and really of no consequence, but what a transformation with proper selection of plants and hardscape features combined with 6 months of growth, WOW! It’s a great view of the yard, even though part of it disappears because of being on a slope – you still get a good sense of it.
Photo below Oct 2010 and Oct (before) shown on page 14 are the before and just completed landscape photos featured in February 2011’s editorial. Take note of the slope in photo May 2011 on page 14. It is a wider view of the back yard than photo Oct 2010 shown below and gives a more complete view of the yard. You can see how we used the slope to our client’s advantage.
Final words; I see many “landscapes,” in the course of a year, and many have expensive outdoor rooms, barbecues, patios and walls. They are more hardscape by design than landscapes, and because the plant selection is not there, really there is no invitation to come outside and enjoy. The artistic value of material and structure is not like the living beauty within the right selection of plants. And sure, there are plants that should never be used in our yards, and these are the ones I see the most used. I call them the shopping /grocery store plants, and they rightly belong in that setting because they are tough plants, but not in our yards. The soul responds to the beauty of creation, the flowers, the scents; there’san enjoyment in working in the yard, all this is very healing. It allows us to come in contact with ourselves, our thoughts, and become recharged for another day. I like my patio and my walls, but they do not recharge me like viewing the beauty of the landscape or working with the plants and seeing them grow. So as you consider landscaping, keep these words in mind. Good Gardening.
This month since we are emphasizing the plants, I would like to take two plants and discuss them; the Dwf. Pomegranate (Punica granatum nana) pictured below. Native to Iran and through the Himalayas, it attracts hummingbirds and blooms a beautiful orangish- red tubular flower all the way from May till October. By late summer it is bearing edible fruit, mini pomegranates, and by October it is covered with them, reminding me of a decorative Christmas tree with ornaments. It handles most soils well, stays to 2 1/2 feet tall and the same width approximately. It is deciduous in the winter, so all hard pruning should occur then.
The second plant is such a cute and interesting plant, and appropriately named, Kangaroo Paw. It has a botanical name that reminds me of something from chemistry, Anigozanthos Haemodoraceae. All plant names are Latin, and describe aspects of the plant, particularly the flower. With a name like Kangaroo Paw, can you guess it’s place of origin?…. Australia of course: the land of Eucalyptus trees and Koala Bears. It blooms from late spring all the way to fall, if the old flower spikes are continuously removed. It attracts hummingbirds, and the flowers are fuzzy to the touch. They can bloom red, yellow, orange, pink and green with a yellowish center, and there is even a variety the blooms with mixed colors, the breeders had fun with this one. The one featured is a red blooming dwarf, but taller varieties are also sold. Depending upon the variety, the flower spikes range from 1 1/2 feet to 4 1/2 feet, they take a wide range of soil, but are sensitive to our cold winters. So cover them, at least for the first year. The flowers last long in a vase, making them ideal for summer bouquets. Blessings