Plant and flower shapes can have an inherent energy that can add a dramatic presence to a garden. This is one of the many lessons that I learned from visiting other gardens this summer.
Take the photo above. On its own a single heuchera bloom is rather unspectacular, but a spray of blooms rockets up from plant like a burst of fireworks. The fine flowers may be delicate, yet they can add subtle drama to the garden.
A floral plume can have remarkable impact especially on a tall, large scale perennial. This is Giant Fleece Flower or Persicaria Polymorpha growing at Lost Horizons Nursery. (I have it in my own garden as well and find that it prefers full or half day sun and does best in moist soil.)
Bears Breeches (Acanthus mollis), Lost Horizons Nursery, Acton Ontario
Best in part shade, plants like large scale Bear's Breeches can add an eye-catching structural element to the garden. Three foot tall spires of white flowers, which are clasped by purple bracts, tower above large clumps of shiny green leaves. (Bear's breeches do best in deep, rich soil in part shade.They especially do not like afternoon sun).
Mountain Fleeceflower or Persicaria is another interesting perennial that I spotted at Lost Horizons. The narrow pink bottlebrush-like flowers shoot skyward from a base of deep shiny green leaves. (It has a long bloom time and makes an interesting ground cover when planted in drifts.)
A fountain of leaves is flamboyant plant shape that you can also use to add a dramatic punch to your garden's design. Consider the Miscanthus below. It has a spectacular presence.
Lost Horizons Nursery, Acton Ontario
Doesn't our eye goes right to it? And nothing lights up a garden like a leaf variegated with white.
Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton
Applying the principals of repetition is another important design principal I observed in other gardens this summer. For example, you can make a bolder statement by repeating an plant. Instead of a single clump of grass, plant a row of the same plant.
Repetition in a private garden in Eramosa Township Ontario
Lost Horizons Nursery, Acton Ontario.
Repetition not only creates a cohesive design, it can also be used here to create a stunning vista. Just look at this path flanked with rows of globe cedar at Lost Horizons to see this design principal in perfect execution.
How about you? What is something you have learned from visiting other gardens this summer?