Red Prairie Coneflowers are GardenWise

Red Prairie Coneflowers & Brightly Colored Gardens

I was going to do a lengthy post today about fantastic colors for your spring garden, pointing to the Red Prairie Coneflower, pictured, which is a beautiful coneflower  that will add fantastic and eye-catching color to your garden.  You won’t be able to pass by this beauty without stopping to get a closer look each time you walk by.  

But I found a story in the Kansas City Star from this week that expresses exactly what I was going to write about by syndicated garden writer  Marty Ross, with the headline,  “Consider Color in Context for Spring Gardens.”   Marty expresses it so well, I’m going to urge you to read her story, below link, and to “Brighten up: Color is in the Forecast!”

http://www.kansascity.com/2011/03/05/2691676/consider-color-in-context-for.html

GardenWise Solutions to Potentially Costly Problems

Take Action!

Last year I took on a project to repitch and reset a flagstone patio with a Belgian block border that had been installed eight years ago. Below are some “during” and “after” pictures.

The patio was built for a new construction home. After the house settled a bit, the rear patio did as well and run off water wasn’t draining away from the patio. The project was not costly yet very important to do to correct and extend the life of the patio for another decade. By solving the problem early, I saved the homewners a lot of grief and future headaches.

I don’t have to go very far to check on this project because it’s my own backyard! Yes, when my landscape architect (me!) talks, I listen. I made the corrections to our patio just in time to enjoy our garden for spring and summer. And once again our run off water is flowing freely to the surrounding landscape and drains.

If you see lingering puddles of water in your landscape, there may be a larger problem looming on the horizon. If you act in a reasonable amount of time, an inexpensive solution can extend the life of your beloved landscape and prevent larger and more expensive problems down the road.


GardenWise on Outdoor Living

New Entries Create Outdoor Living

Ease of movement and flow are essential when connecting your indoor and outdoor spaces.  Think of your outside space as a room, and what’s the first question that comes to mind?  “How will I get there?”  This can easily be achieved,  especially in an older home, with a few additions.   Replace a solid door with  a door with glass,  add some wooden stairs, and your journey begins.  Create functional  areas for entertaining, focal points with water, and smaller areas for  intimate  conversation.   

And be sure to make it personal!   This is one of those times where it is all about you.  Add meaningful touches to your space.  What were your favorite flowers growing up?  Which trees do you remember at your  grandparent’s home?  Which flowers were used on  your wedding day? 

Personal touches with visual touchstones to memories and past experiences will create a thoughtful and intimate space for you to enjoy for many years.

Garden Layers Add Depth and Distance

Garden Layers are GardenWise!

Add beauty and curb appeal to your front yard with a sidewalk garden. The most  productive  gardens in smaller spaces use  layering, combining layers of plants  that  grow  at  different heights. This bottom  garden is  a great example;  each plant and flower plays its part, and the sum of the whole creates  an  optical illusion  that  gives  your entire property  so much  more depth while adding a significant amount of space between your home and the street.  

The white alyssum and purple-leafed lobelia in the front set the stage  for taller  tulips and butterfly flowers, which are in turn backed by society garlic and a wall topped by glowing pink bougainvillea.

And even if you don’t live in a warm-climate area, you can still take advantage of tropicals such as bougainvillea. Just treat them as annuals, or grow them in containers and bring them indoors for the winter.

Architectural Elements are Garden Wise

From Garden to Landscape

For those creating a master garden plan, think seriously about enhancing your landscape with architectural design elements. Earlier we talked about how these types of elements, patios, arbors, walkways, etc. will serve as much needed bone structure for any garden space. By adding a garden gate and some fencing that can be modern, Asian inspired, or whimsical, your garden will have the structure it needs while showing your own personality in the space.

Also think about water and how you can add it to your space. I can’t say enough about water and the importance it will play in your garden space. Water features come in all shapes and sizes, so don’t think because you have a smaller space you don’t have the luxury of a water fountain. By adding water to your garden you will create a wonderful visual while adding the relaxing sounds of gurgling water, something we all can look forward to after a long day in the world outside our front door.

Another favorite garden structure is the pergola, which can serve as a doorway or shelter in your space while adding a dramatic effect and appealing focal point. I designed and installed this D.C. roofdeck garden and I think about it often. It’s a cozy roofdeck oasis that delivered big results, leaving its guests, and designer, with total roof garden envy.

All Above Photos are GardenWise, Inc. Gardens Photo Credit: Lydia Cutter