Our aim with this blog is to inspire you to try new foliage combinations and teach you how to accomplish them. We draw ideas from gardens that we visit and photograph across this country and beyond and occasionally we show you both success stories and embarrassing failures from our own private gardens.
Today’s post is more personal. This fall, while Christina has been single-handedly managing our Facebook posts I spent two months in England. For three weeks I sat vigil at my mum’s bedside as she slowly slipped away. The remainder of that time was spent taking care of her funeral, completing the mountain of legal paperwork and selling my childhood home which Mum and Dad designed and built brick by brick. For those of you who have been through this you will now understand the title of this post, because my life became a surreal grey fog.
On one particular day my husband and I decided to take a few hours away from all the ‘doing’ and visit Ness Botanic Gardens. Boasting 64 acres of mature plantings in a naturalistic setting it was the perfect place to stroll even though the misty maritime climate seemed to mirror my mood.
At first I feared that taking photographs would be pointless in such poor lighting but I quickly realized that the rich colors of the fall foliage and berries seemed to intensify in such conditions.
Rich gold and orange tones pierced the grey fog with ease, the glowing foliage appearing as lanterns to help the visitors navigate their way. Notice how repetition of a key fall color becomes an important design feature – a lesson we can all take home, regardless of our climate.
Or try framing a favorite specimen such as this Japanese maple below with softer colors.
Fall/winter blooming flowers can also be incorporated to bring additional layers of detail. The bright yellow shuttlecock-type blooms of Oregon grape (Mahonia sp.) shine more brightly thanks to the ruby foliage partners
I also loved this Mediterranean-inspired combination, the bold leaves of the peanut butter plant (Melianthus major) underplanted with a swathe of cigar plant (Cuphea ignea) interspersed with Gartenmeister fuchsia. Black mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’) adds a dramatic finishing touch.
As I slowed my pace to enjoy the moment and appreciate the colors of nature I was reminded that even when unbidden grey clouds obscure the horizon there is beauty to be found if we take the time to look.
As we enter into the Holiday season, many of us will be mourning the loss of a loved one. Whether that loss is recent and the intense mental fog is still swirling or whether time has afforded some level of acceptance my wish for us all is that we can seek and find beauty and for me there is no better place to look than the garden. Step outside and breathe in the crisp air. Walk slowly allowing your eyes to focus on small details. Look for a special leaf, berry or bud – Perhaps it is the way frost crystals cling to its form or a drop of dew reflects your gaze? Maybe the color captures your attention? Share it with us on our Facebook page or just tell us about it here.
Let’s help one another.
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