Designing a Perennial Garden

Returning home after a weekend north, our “zone five” garden isn’t showing much additional green. What has appeared is the bright sunlight that hastens a winter-weary perennial along. Yay!

I recently read some garden tips inspired by master landscape architect, Piet Oudolf. The article supplies basics for creating a four-season garden. I’ve been working to bring different aspects of our perennial garden forward slowly, learning more each year about shade and sunlight patterns in different seasons. You just can’t rush planning. The good news is that you can always update it.

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In Master Piet’s Garden

Here is the article. And some thoughts as to how Piet approaches the subject. My takeaways are to learn carefully about your space, consider it in every season; and choose plantings based on both color and architecture for the plant zone you live in. (There’s a link in the article for identifying your zone.) I was pleased to find that a few of the plants identified are already planted in my garden!

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L-R. Aster oblongifolius, or “October Skies,” flowers from Hosta “Halcyon,” a plant that thrives throughout the seasons and “Salvia pretensis,”that offers many colors and blooms late and into cold autumn days.

One of Piet Oudolf’s claims to fame is his work on New York City’s incredible High Line. Although my style is not quite as wild and wooly, the main driver for many of us gardeners is to find peace in the out -of -doors, a place of sanctuary. As this video eloquently displays on the High Line.

 Two categories for organizing outdoor space are structure and color. Sometimes my passion for color puts structure at a disadvantage. Clearly, you need both. In the past couple years, I’ve deliberately added evergreens, whose forms anchor the beds all year. The perennial grasses that provide additional structure have so far escaped me. As you see in Piet’s gardens, they’re important. Top on the list for this year is to identify some perennial grasses that will start to address that structural element  -maybe without quite as much wild drift. Are you looking for grasses? The grasses add height, interest and form long into the colder weather.
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An early summer Connecticut garden

I’ve long been a fan of Prince. I think he was incredibly talented. Did you know he wrote Sinead O’Connor’s huge hit “Nothing Compares 2 You?” This is a recent release that’s a compilation of Prince’s 1984 rendition plus outtakes not yet seen. Prince was, in addition to being a writer and singer, a performance artist -intensely visual without much accompaniment required. (You have to scroll down for the video). Still, he was a crazy artist, not a style I aspire to.

As Spring rolls along, keep Paola Pillows in mind. They’ll bring that beautiful garden calm inside your home. We’ll be selling pillows and some brand new scarves at the Bruce Museum at their annual Crafts Festival, in Greenwich for two days, Saturday, and Sunday, May 19 and 20. If you’d like to buy but can’t be there. Reach out to me here and you can direct for the special show price.

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                                                                             Palma

 

 

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