Tag Archives: Garden Art

Fire Pit + Foliage = Fabulous!

IMG_4413

There was a gap in my garden; both a novelty and a major concern. Some people like plants spaced well apart with visible soil between each. Me? I’m a squisher. I like my plants to mingle, creating a tapestry of textures and colors, with plants weaving in and out of one another often creating pleasing if unexpected combinations. Bare soil is a wasted opportunity!

Our daughter is getting married in our garden in a few weeks. Such an event would send any gardener into a flurry of planting and primping but this is both a large and a relatively young garden so there are in fact still gaps (gasp!) One particularly offensive one was of course in prime view, partly because I just couldn’t decide what to put there and also because the surrounding plants were still growing in.

IMG_4416

I  found the perfect solution behind the barn – an old fire pit! The tile surround had long since disintegrated but the stand and bowl were still in good shape. A few holes for drainage and it made the perfect planter!

IMG_4426

These plump pads offer great contrast to the finely textured groundcover sedums.

Snuggled into the border things looked better already, but what to plant? Foliage of course and a medley of succulents was the perfect choice. Just as we combine ‘regular’ garden foliage by echoing a color from one leaf with a neighboring one, and varying the leaf shape and texture, so I chose big bold rosettes of Echeveria, plump balloon-type pads and a few finely textured groundcover succulents to fill in the gaps.

IMG_4407

Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone’ has fragrant blooms in early spring but of course I chose it for the foliage!

The color scheme for the wedding is ‘sunset shades’ with soft green and grey-blue accents so I looked for succulents that repeated those tones.

IMG_4421

This tough, hardy groundcover has wonderful glossy foliage year round

In just three weeks the plants have started to fill in nicely and by August should have formed a tightly knit foliage tapestry.

Bare soil hidden, foliage focal point created, planting emergency over!

IMG_4404

Sedum clavatum has fat rosettes of frosted mint green leaves

Practical pointers

The potting soil I used was Sunshine#1, a free draining mix with no water retention polymers or moisture retentive, organic material. I added just 10% compost and some slow release general purpose fertilizer. The bowl has several 5/8″ holes drilled in it and the soil was mounded up in the middle like a berm.

IMG_4396

Dinner is served….but NOT for the deer!

Deer are the bane of my life and have already indicated their preference for certain sedums in the garden by eating some and relocating others, so I am using the firepit cover to protect this meal! To give me additional height my husband has welded on adjustable feet to the lower rim of the cover.

Plants used included…

Tender (in Seattle area)

Echeveria nodulosa

Echeveria ‘Roundleaf’

Echeveria ‘Perle Von Nurnberg’

Sedum clavatum

Sedum nussbaumerianum ‘Coppertone’

Hardy

Sedum acre ‘Aureum’

Sedum oreganum

Sedum kamtschaticum ‘Variegatum’

 

plus….others whose tags have since been lost!

Enjoy this post?

Then join in the foliage party – sign up to get these leafy snippets delivered right to your garden. (Follow the link in the sidebar)

Fine Foliage Found at Dunn Gardens

After spending most of last spring and summer in my hidey-hole office writing Fine Foliage in my jammies, I made the executive decision to schedule at least one day per week for some sort of a garden oriented visit. Whether its a Botanical Garden, Private Garden or a nursery, I need to re-fuel my gardening mojo this year. In this post I will share a small bit of the foliage I found at Seattle’s historic Dunn Gardens last week.

IMG_8105-001
As a cynical old Hort-Head who always feels like I rarely get to see much new and exciting, May I always be BLESSED with the excitement of seeing a fern unfurling every spring.

IMG_8141Now having just written that last statement, why in the world have I NOT been obsessed with Rodgersia until we put it in Fine Foliage? I am simply besotted with it! I bought two in the last week. Quite the investment, but worth it!

IMG_8153On a guided tour, we don’t always have the time to investigate everything we want in detail, so I couldn’t properly ID this plant. But, in any case, I love the alien-esque quality of it rising all by itself in the middle of the moss with that coppery color in the sunlight. SO cool!

IMG_8156

Newly born Podophyllum, or May Apple in the moss garden look so pre-historic. I just want to pet their fat, glossy leaves.

IMG_8169

Rich cocoa is what these leaves make me crave. A creamy mocha perhaps? Or Rocky Road ice cream? This Hardy Geranium paired with the fresh emerald green growth of the Lilly next to it, I don’t care, I’d take either one- scrumptious!

IMG_8167.CR2

An entire bank of Maiden Fern, oh the luscious texture, the black stems, that lovely lemon-lime color. I desperately wish for a shady spot to roll in these on a hot afternoon.

IMG_8198.CR2

This combination under a giant fir tree would not have occurred to me in a hundred years! See, this is why I wanted to go out and get inspired! Capo Blanco Sedum and Cyclamen? HUH?? But, ya gotta give it to them, it is really cool!!!

IMG_8213
Admittedly, I am Smurfy short, for those of you under the age of 30, go look that one up! Anyway, this combination of Mahonia (probably one like ‘Charity’) was towering over me next to the elegant Japanese Maple in the background.

IMG_8227

The emerging Cardiocrinum or Giant Lilly with its uber glossy leaves were so cool with this frothy new fern just coming up behind it.

IMG_8237.CR2

There are not many times in ones life (Hort-Headedly speaking of course) where you can photograph Rodgersia AND Acanthus ‘Tasmanian Angel’ AND Hosta all in the same frame. Happy dancing!!

IMG_8245.CR2

Again, this must go into the category of things that I NEVER would have thought of in a zillion years. This is a Rhododendron, I shall name it Rhododendron ‘Cirque Du Soleil’. :-)

IMG_8246.CR2

The hardy Geranium ‘Samobor’ has rather faint foliage markings here in this shady woodland, but it can be quite dramatic and splashy in brighter light. I love it with the Hosta, but what don’t I love with Hosta?

IMG_8259

It was SO bright and glarey by the time I got to this point in the garden it was almost impossible to get good shots, so even though this is not ideal light, the IDEA of this design was too good not to share. The very narrow Weeping ‘Blue Atlas’ Cedars all in a row, cascading their cool blue needles down in front of the plain Laurel Hedge was incredible. Adding that great sculpture, made it even better!

IMG_8261

The sea creature or alien factor of this Osmunda regalis stuck with me about this plant. The foliage was pure dark chocolate- extra cool!

IMG_8271.CR2Gold Yew framed this selection of different Epimedium so beautifully!

IMG_8278.CR2A MONSTER Astelia ‘Silver Shadow’ nearly supersedes the amazing Tree fern in the rear.

I hope you enjoyed a very small taste of the yummy foliage buffet at Dunn Gardens this spring. Want more???

Then join in the foliage party – sign up to get these leafy snippets delivered right to your garden. (Follow the link in the sidebar)

Visit our Facebook page too- we’re posting all kinds of beautiful foliage ideas in a zillion different ways there daily!

Palette Pointer for Designing with Foliage

Choosing a color palette for a garden space is really no different than choosing a color scheme for a room. It sure is an easy way to look at it isn’t it? We’re all drawn to certain colors, and those are where you start your process. Start with your instinct, start with the colors you LOVE and perhaps an inspiration piece or two.

Colemand Garden

Colemand Garden, Riz Reyes Designer

Sometimes your choice of where to start your palette might have to do with tying a particular color back into a particular area. Maybe it’s a color that calms all other colors down, or possibly the spark that lights other colors up. It is not a bad idea to have that one consistent thematic color of foliage in a given area to hold a scene together cohesively.

The photo above is a fascinating illustration if you imagine this small section of the garden as a room. The gold Acorus grass is the flooring, the silver variegated foliage plants in the middle are like a furniture grouping in the middle of the room. Calm, elegant, textural and yet subdued so as not to overshadow the artwork of the dramatic coleus on the back wall.

The coleus of course giving echo to the color of the ornamental chimney pot with its rich reds and the deep almost blackish burgundy Festival Grass. The color palette of this small garden was elegantly echoed throughout the rest of the area not in this photo.

The coleus and red grass picks up the rich tones of the garden art, OR does the garden art pick up the tones of the coleus and red grass? Either way, this is an excellent example of just one technique for designing with pops of color that make other more subtle tones shine. It’s a fine springboard for both a room and a garden.

Tell us here at Fine Foliage what foliage colors inspire your garden’s palette choices!