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Publication: Garden Guides
Garden Design Pointers

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                   GardenGuides Newsletter 
                 Tuesday, December 19, 2006 

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To Achieve A Balance Between Lush And Tidy: 
Shrubs and vines are most likely the main contributors of the 
jungle look. Trees need thinning less often, but they, too, 
can become overgrown, particularly in warm and wet climates. 
Careful pruning for a higher canopy of leaves opens the area 
beneath the tree to more sunlight while preserving the tree's 
irreplaceable form, silhouette, and shade. If ripping out 
plants seems ruthless and extreme, do it in stages. Also neat, 
low plantings of holly, azalea, and liriope enhance rather 
than hide the fine arched windows.

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Garden Design Pointers 

by Barbara Blossom Ashmun 

The trouble with being crazy about flowers is that I want to 
grow one of everything. This is good for the nursery industry, 
but hopeless for a well-designed garden. Those of us who grow 
one of everything are called "collectors"--this word is 
enunciated with disdain by designers. So here I am, a Dr. 
Jekyll and Ms. Hyde of the garden world, a pretend designer 
who’s a collector at heart. What to do? The designer in me 
was appalled at the hodgepodge garden that the collector was 
throwing together. But the collector was equally determined 
to grow every new plant on the market. When I’d ask my friends 
to please stop me from acquiring yet another rose bush, they’d 
snicker with disbelief. It was time to get real and come up 
with some strategies. Here’s how I cope: 

Read more of this tip...

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Design the front of the border carefully, and put the 
collection in the middle. 

Plant three, five or seven of the same plant instead of just 

A drift of five pink summer phlox has a lot more strength than 
one lonely plant. Three lenten roses at the edge of a border 
have more impact than a single specimen. 

Color scheme.

I can get away with a lot more plant varieties if I keep the 
colors limited. I’m refining a border this year by narrowing 
down the flower colors to red, yellow and orange. That way I 
can add tons of new cultivars, yet tie the diverse elements 
together with a strict color scheme. 	

More below...

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Place a focal point to ground things.

When the flowers are so colorful that I get eye strain trying 
to track them all, I add a bird bath or a large terracotta pot 
to stop the action. Our eyes need a moment to rest on a plain, 
colorless surface, before moving on to the next group of 
exciting perennials. 

Repeat the same shape or color at intervals. 

Repetition lends rhythm to a garden. I sprinkle similar, gray-
leaved perennials and shrubs through my island beds (Artemesia 
‘Powys Castle,’ Artemesia ‘Huntington,’ Senecio greyii) to 
lead the eye gently from island to island. My gray buffers add 
calmness, order and a sense of connection between all the 
diverse elements.


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