I went to a gardening seminar several weeks ago. The speaker said she was going to reveal how to design a garden and look like you know what you're doing, whether you do or not. My ears perked up! Really? I wanted to know the secret!
She went on to say that the easiest way to make your garden look good was to stick to only two different colors, and eight different types of plants.
My heart sank. There is no way I could ever do that.
I tried to put in a white garden. I had all kinds of plans to use only cream and white roses, intermixed with other white perennials, and a little purple thrown in. Sounds like it might fit her plan!
Unfortunately, one of the first plants I bought for this new garden was red.
So much for my white garden. Guess I don't have much self-control. Now, instead of it being "the white bed", I call it "the new bed".
It's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and I realized that my garden has an entire rainbow of color in it. Want to see?
|Lion's Fairy Tale rose (in the new bed - actually white!)|
|Cupcake miniature rose (in the new bed, too)|
|A lot of reds: canna foliage, Home Run rose, Hot Lips sage, Knock Out rose in back (not the new bed - whew!)|
|Pat Austin rose (uh, yep, in the new bed)|
|Charles Darwin rose - I am in love with these beautifully shaped blooms!|
(Yes, this is part of the new bed.)
|Luna Moth (Goes with any color of garden!)|
|Black and Blue salvia|
I've read these could become invasive. Oops!
(Not the new bed.)
|Unknown - but I love this color!|
(Not the new bed, either. But if I can find it's tag, I'm going to get some for it!)
Hope you enjoyed my garden's rainbow of color! Do you have more than two colors in your garden?
Thumbs up for the "new garden"! Your roses and combos of color are beautiful. Happy GBBD!ReplyDelete
Thanks! So far, I am very happy with the new garden, even though it's not all white!Delete
With all due respect it is YOU who should be giving the classReplyDelete
haha - I was happy to learn, although the presenter and I didn't garden exactly the same way.Delete
What a beautiful garden! That presenter must have gotten all her lecture out of some boring book. My roses won't be showing up for another 2 months.ReplyDelete
I really think that's the "rules" she goes by when she puts in a new bed. She went on and on about her white garden - which really was white!Delete
I could use some expert advice on garden design, too, but two colors and only 8 plants?? No way! Your garden is beautiful as is, and I love your rainbow of colors.ReplyDelete
I think it was meant to simplify things. I'm much too much of an impulse shopper to stick to anything like that!Delete
Hi Holley, love the rainbow of color in your garden right now! Lyon's Fairy Tale Rose is new to me. It looks very pretty. Regarding the advice to use only two different colors and eight different plants, to be honest, in general that sound downright boring to me and the choices seem to be way to limited. Looking at your gorgeous garden photos I don't think that you needed to attend that garden seminar ;-)! The Luna Moth is such a fantastic creature...ReplyDelete
Oops - I think I misspelled it! It should by Lion's Fairy Tale rose! Well, anyway, this rose is new to me last year, and I am really looking forward to seeing how it does in a year that's not so stressful as last year's record heat! So far, I love the look of the blooms! I was surprised to see the Luna Moth out in daylight - hiding behind a leaf. You would be surprised what all I had to do to get that picture!Delete
There is no color in flowers that I don't like. I have an orange and green bed.ReplyDelete
Would love to know what that purple flower is. Lovely roses.
I wish I knew what the purple flower is, too. I have a lot of oranges in my garden. They are some of my favorite colored roses.Delete
I think your rainbow of colors is beautiful. I have all sorts of colors in my garden as well, and have found that gardening is much more fun that way. Love the Pat Austin rose and the Luna Moth. :-)ReplyDelete
I like having all colors in my garden, too, although sometimes I wonder if some of them clash. I don't have the most sensitive eye for color - but all those colors, clashing or not, still give me great pleasure.Delete
Holley, the Charles Darwin rose is pretty with the planting companions in lavenders and purples. Happy GBBD.ReplyDelete
Right now, it's one of my favorite roses. I just love it. Almost gold, then fading to cream. And smells wonderful, too!Delete
Your plants are just lovely. I wouldn't worry too much about not being able to stick to a particular "plan" of color, because most of the fun and excitement of gardening comes from diversity and surprises! Whatever you've done with your garden is working great because all the color differences are beautiful. You should be proud :-)ReplyDelete
I do love the surprises! I guess that would be hard if there were no diversity! :)Delete
The lunar moth is exquisite - yet another visitor to your garden showing its approval. I think that garden designer is probably right, with the less is more approach, but it doesn't sound like much fun.ReplyDelete
I love seeing these big moths in my garden. I do see that sticking to her rules would make for a very neat, tidy, and professional looking garden. Mine can sometimes look a real mess! :)Delete
Good grief! Sticking to so few colours.....impossible. There's way too much gorgeousness out their tempting n' a-teasing me to take them all home! I think gardening should be like weight control...a little of what you fancy!ReplyDelete
Jane - it is impossible for me! And you're exactly right about the tempting and teasing! That's how the red got into my white garden! hahaDelete
wow, what a great job, i start off new beds thinking about sticking to certain colors and it always changes when i see some that would work better in the area, love the new garden bed, it looks lush and already mature in my eyes, well done!
I'm not good at sticking to a certain color, either. It's a good thing I love all colors! Or, maybe that's why I'm not good at sticking to it - because I do love all colors!Delete
Holley, it's impossible to do a garden in two or three colors.Your garden is like rainbow, very lovely.ReplyDelete
I love a rainbow of color in my garden, and would find it hard to reign that in - but I guess it would be beautiful, and look very planned - more of a landscape than a garden. Guess that's why I'd find it impossible, too - I love plants too much!Delete
Beautiful blooms, Holley.ReplyDelete
Formulas like that are meant to be easy and they rarely work for real gardeners. A garden done that way can look good, but would be a bit uninteresting to someone who truly enjoys gardening.
I don't have much blooming here so I'll just enjoy all the other GBBD posts.
I think you've hit the nail on the head! I think it would look good - but oh, so boring to someone that loves plants!Delete
2 by 8 is a cookie cutter, a piece of lumber, the bed size. That is not a garden. What did the rest of your audience think?ReplyDelete
That is how my rose garden drifted into 4 beds, each colour themed. Whatever I choose fits by my rules, into one of them.
I used to try to put different colors in certain beds, too, but ran out of room so now mine are all jumbled up! I think the audience thought this might be a good formula for people that were very insecure about their design skills, a jumping-off spot.Delete
Well I love to break rules and I couldn't restrict myself - there are too many plants I want to grow and it would take all the fun out of gardening. I much prefer your rainbow colour arrangement anyday!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the lovely comments on my blog about my photography - it's taken me a long time to master those skills and become free lance though I neglected my gardening blog in the process - now I'm trying to get back into it more.
You really have a gift in photography. As for plants, I seem to want to grow all that I see! :)Delete
I would never have the self-control to limit my color choices to just two! It would be like putting on a straitjacket. I'd feel claustrophobic! To heck with following this secret plan! I think that your garden is amazing as it is Holley! Happy GBBD!ReplyDelete
I would have the hardest time at the garden centers sticking to this plan. I guess that's why I never could! Like I said - no self-control! :)Delete
Only two colours and eight plants, how boring. I much prefer your garden. Just a few words of advice; if that speaker holds another gardening seminar, don't go. Happy GBBD.ReplyDelete
I'll have to check my notes and see what else she said. It might make a good post. That just stuck in my mind because I knew I could never stick to that formula!Delete
Two colours? That's ridiculous... Surely a garden needs red, white, yellow, blue, purple, orange, green and all other imaginable colours of flowers!ReplyDelete
As for eight - 8!!! - different kinds of plants, that will not even be enough for my diminutive vegetable and herb garden!
I was surprised about only two colors. I surely thought at least three! :) I guess the eight plant limit was to force us into sweeps of plantings, instead of dots of this and that. I do dot my plants around a lot! :) I have heard people say don't put in red and everything will work, or don't put in orange, or no yellow, etc. I could never leave out even one color!Delete
I could never have just two colours in my garden. I can't imagine it at all. I would think it would be quite boring. Give me rainbows every time. I love all the colours you've got on show at the moment. As for just planting 8 different plants ... madness!ReplyDelete
She certainly wasn't in the "variety of texture" school of design! :)Delete
Amazing colors..my garden would be boring with 2 colors and eight plants...BORING...but nice for a small garden perhaps.ReplyDelete
I think even a small garden might need more diversity - as you would want to slow down the eye and stop to see every plant. At least, that's my way of thinking!Delete
Two colours and eight types of plants...what kind of planting scheme would that be? Uninspiring? Boring?? I go crazy with colours, that’s a planting scheme too! Christopher Lloyd (1921-2006) was a famous British gardener who was well-known for his bold gardening with strong use of shapes and colours. He once said: "There should be a willingness to use new and surprising colour". So there you have it, just continue with what you are doing :-)ReplyDelete
I certainly use a lot of surprising color combinations! :) I think I need to read some books by Christopher Lloyd - I think I'd really like what he had to say! And thanks for the comment on the roses below - I am liking Pat Austin a lot more this year - she's growing up finally - but I am truly infatuated with Charles Darwin. I go out to the garden and make goo-goo eyes at him every morning! :)Delete
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Do read Christopher Lloyd, Holley, he was a genius, imho. Though he caused something of a stir when he ripped out a Lutyens designed rose garden (you may not have approved!) in order to re-plant with tropical and exotic heady colour. Great Dixter is a fantastic garden - if you ever have the chance to visit. Dave (the above comment from Jim was me writing from the wrong Google account - oops).Delete
I plan to order more books soon - Christopher Lloyd will definitely make the list! I doubt I'll ever get to travel to Great Dixter, but I'll look for photos of it.Delete
Sorry, pressed the button a bit too quickly! Just wanted to say your Charles Darwin is a stunner, and so is Pat Austin and Cupcake too, lovely pictures :-)ReplyDelete
A white garden only works if you plan for seasonal color, maybe early spring with dogwoods, philadelphus, white daffodils, spiraea, candytuft and such. Brights are just going to sneak in there for summer and fall. Example: nicotiana in white will reseed as pink or purple. Make yourself happy. You don't need to use a formula for a commercial planting, which must have been what she was talking about.ReplyDelete
How would you use only eight different plants and have continual blooms?
You are so right! I don't know how that type of garden would look good in all four seasons! And a white garden, to be successful, would take a lot of planning. I used to be a planner, but now I'm a plopper, so I will probably never have that white garden.Delete
Ha ha! I tried a white bed too which was a joke because I have zero design sense and was unwilling to take out the stuff that was already in it that wasn't white! Actually, I didn't feel like it needed to be all white, but I liked the look of combining multiple whites together. Just today, I planted a Miss Bateman clematis in there, hoping its red anthers on white blooms will tie together some disparate elements. This is way out of character for me to actually plan ahead even that much and I don't exactly have high hopes that it will turn that spot into a garden magazine spread, but a gardener can hope, can't she?ReplyDelete
I hope your bed comes together just the way you imagine it. After I bought the red salvia, I knew it was "wrong", but I had no where else to put it - so in the not-white-anymore-bed it went. :) I'm kind of glad that was the first thing I bought for that bed - it really took the pressure off me. And I have put in a lot of whites in this bed, and now the red doesn't bother me at all. I actually like it, along with all the other colors that have made their way in there somehow. It's a colorful bed with a lot of whites, which fits me better anyway!Delete
Color rules are ment to be broken. Happy GBBD!ReplyDelete
Thank goodness! Because I think I break all the color rules! :)Delete
I always enjoy reading and SEEING your blog! Yes, of course I have more than two colors - I don't see how anyone can only have two colors.ReplyDelete
I wonder what the presenter's garden looks like. It must be lovely to have been asked to speak on this subject. And I can tell you, her all white bed will really be an all white bed - not a white bed with red salvia, orange and pink roses, and purple scabiosa in it like mine! :ODelete
Great shot of the Luna Moth! I think you have a great rainbow of color...sometimes I wonder what these landscape designers are thinking...boring! I recently toured a garden which was home to a retired landscape designer. It was nice but there were only about 8 varieties of plants that were repeated throughout the entire property. I just put in a blue and white garden. I think it helps to have white with another color. Somehow it just seems more doable.ReplyDelete
I do think sometimes that the big sweeps of color, although beautiful and dramatic, would never hold my attention as a gardener that loves to walk around every day, seeing something new. Interesting that the retired landscape designer also stuck to only 8 different plants! I think your blue and white garden sounds lovely. Yes, I agree that there needs to be another color in a white garden, and blue or purple would be perfect choices.Delete
Your 'new' bed looks fantastic..if this thing is less than a year old please send me your recipe!ReplyDelete
I put this bed in last year - so a year old. I guess to me, a bed is "new" until I start another one! :)Delete
Beautiful roses and I absolutely love the photo of the Luna Moth!ReplyDelete
I loved seeing that Luna Moth - I hope it has lots of babies!Delete
I love all the different colors you have in your garden...it flows and is interesting to the eyes. I like your method better.ReplyDelete
I think even two colors could make for a beautiful and interesting garden - but I'd definitely have to have more than 8 plants for it to be interesting to me!Delete
I always wanted a "moon garden" with only white flowers and silver foliaged plants. I don't think I have enough discipline to achieve it though! I think your garden is just lovely with all your pretty flowers. It looks like a very inviting place!ReplyDelete
I can see this new bed out of my bedroom windows, so I thought a moon garden would be beautiful to see at night through them. I'll just have to enjoy the spots of white that stand out in the moonlight, as I obviously don't have any discipline myself! :)Delete
I could never stick to that! I suppose it does work but really, where's the fun?? One thing I like is having beds which change colour with the seasons. My garden tends to be more blue/yellow/white in spring, pink and white in summer, and a bit more orange/red in autumn.ReplyDelete
(ooh that Charles Darwin rose is pretty too...)
I'm still working on getting my garden more autumn colors. We have such a long summer here, I tend to rely heavily on summer bloomers, and when autumn comes, I always realize I don't have enough plantings for that season. Your garden sounds very successful in any season.Delete
God, the Master Garden Designer, Who came up with the idea of gardening in the first place, probably had more than one color and more than eight plants in Eden. So, I'm going to follow His example and enjoy the variety of plants and colors that please my eye. Plus, I have a big back yard.............159 feet across the back of our "pie slice" shaped property. There is a lot of space to fill.ReplyDelete
You're right - when you see an open field that has been created and touched only by the Master Gardener, it is filled with colors of all kinds - and somehow they all seem to go together.Delete
Love your colors! When you add plants that you love in your garden, somehow they all seem to go together - they are an expression of your inner garden!ReplyDelete
Maybe if you are insecure or just beginning, The advise to use few colors might help you get started, but once you get going in gardening - how restrictive that would be over the seasons and the years!!
I love what you said: "an expression of your inner garden". That makes me smile. Now to go pull some weeds! :)Delete
I am with you Holley, your multi coloured garden looks fabulous and I am happy enough with ours, two colours indeed.ReplyDelete
I think for most of us gardeners that would be a hard formula to stick to. I guess if I were putting in a landscape and didn't want to ever touch the soil again, that might make more sense. I'm glad our love of plants shows in our gardens - so much more variety and interest.Delete
Wonderful post. I want to put in a white and green garden. Can you just transplant the red flowering plant or did you take it as a sign that you are just meant to grow a plethora of colorful plants.ReplyDelete
I took it as a sign. When you put in your white and green garden, don't buy a red plant first thing! :) Seriously, your garden sounds fabulous. Very calming and relaxing.Delete
Lovely rainbow colours Holley! Stick only to a few plants? Not to a plantsman! Can't imagine only having a few myself :)ReplyDelete
You're right - for people that love plants, I think that would be an impossible endeavor!Delete
HG - Only 2 colors? Boring!! Your rainbow garden is gorgeous and you do know what you are doing! Cheers, JenniReplyDelete
I think most true gardeners would find it a bit boring. I'm learning more and more every day -and that includes all colors and foliage!Delete
Your bottom flower is a Japanese iris, but I'm not sure of the variety. Pretty blog!!!ReplyDelete
That helps me narrow it down a bit, thanks! It has the prettiest purple color - I'd love to have a lot more of these!Delete
No way I could do that! Sorry, my garden is a hodge-podge. And I'm OK with that. I love, love, love the Pat Austin Rose! Your garden is perfect in my book!ReplyDelete
Pat is turning out very pretty. And to think I used to not really like her! :ODelete
I'm thinking that is advice not for gardeners, but for people who want a perfectly color coordinated yard. Ugh. Love your flowers!ReplyDelete
I think you're right - it would make a nice coordinated yard, but not much on interest.Delete
Your Cupcake miniature rose is such a pretty thing. You have so many roses in bloom. The Pat Austin is a gorgeous rose.ReplyDelete
This spring started out warm and hasn't gotten cold again. So, there's a lot starting to bloom here!Delete
The speaker at that seminar was insane, completely. Wasn't she? 2 colours? 8 species? Maybe one style and maybe no weeds? I so much like your supposed to be white garden! I'm waiting for my charles Darwin to flower at his first year. Yours look amazing amongst blues! How tall is your rose?ReplyDelete
My Charles Darwin was new to this bed last year, so he's still fairly short, but throwing up 4 ft. canes. Supposedly he get to around 4 ft or so, but in warm areas of the US (Texas, Florida, California), David Austin roses seem to get a lot larger than they are supposed to. I put La Marne behind it (supposed to get 6 ft tall) and Cupcake (miniature - 2 ft) in front, so I'm hoping he will stay to 4 ft or so. I hope you love your rose - I adore the color of antique gold this roses starts with, and then it fades to a cream. Just beautiful.Delete
Beautiful rose blooms and I love that Luna Moth.
OK...two colors and 8 kinds of plants....gee whiz...what fun is that? I don't think they are talking to plant collectors and cottage gardeners, are they?
I've gotten one part of the garden down to mostly yellows, whites, purples, lavenders and a sprinkling of red. But the 8 kinds of plants...I could never do that! Yipes.
Your roses are magical. I bet your garden smells heavenly right now.
I could never do just eight plants, or just two colors! My boxwood bed area comes the closest, but I still have more than 8 plants and 2 colors in there!Delete
Well, the limited plan might work in a small area, but I love your approach! I think the colors in your garden, including the new bed, are wonderful. In my own garden I haven't shown much restraint. I figure if it grows together, it goes together! My woodland garden may be the exception, where cool colors prevail. However, even there I have an occasional red or bright pink bloom. One needs variety!ReplyDelete
I like the idea of that if it grows together it goes together! I bet the occasional bright bloom in your woodland garden makes it that much more interesting.Delete
I think the lady who was giving the talk was probably more of a designer than a plant-a-holic, you know? People who just design gardens are always keeping it simple and employing all the design principles. But if you're a plant nerd (ME) trying to design around your obsession, it becomes a bit more tricky. Especially when you're (ME) gardening on a city lot instead of an estate like they do in England. I too had a white garden. It didn't even last a whole season. Love your photos.ReplyDelete
The lady was a master gardener, so I assumed she was a plant nerd, too. Glad to know I'm not the only one that failed in the goal of having a white garden!Delete
Two colors and eight different plants? Hmmm. . . Seriously?ReplyDelete
Sounds like a strip mall landscape to me, not a garden. :)
I'm going to count the different plants at our local mall - I think it has more than 8 different plants. I know it has more than 2 colors!Delete
Some people need to follow rules... but not you Holley! Your garden is so lovely, you obviously know what you are doing and can compose a complex symphony with hundreds of colors.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the compliment - not sure I'm all that good, but I'm working at it!Delete
I love all of the colors! And I have read so many gardeners that say that rules were made to be broken, least it look too sterile and life-less. I LOVE your 5th photo... just stunning. Makes me yearn for summer :)ReplyDelete
I think 2 colors and 8 plants would look a bit sterile and life-less. I am really liking the new bed so far. There's still more to add - I hope I don't mess it up!Delete
I understand where she's coming from. I went through the same design classes. In reality you have to know your audience.ReplyDelete
I don't think we were the 2+8 kind of audience! Same design class, huh? Wonder who thought of it initially!Delete
Love that black and blue salvia, I must find some! I think 2 colors and 8 plants would be beautiful but I'm just not that disciplined. My garden design is based on two concepts: "shop and plop" planning and "clown pants" color selection!ReplyDelete
Yes, I do a lot of "shop and plop" designing as well! :) I think that's why I could never stick to the 2x8 idea!Delete
Now I'm obsessing in the garden, counting the species in every bed. The Red and Purple Bed needs one more thing. There is blue spiderwort self-planted in the White and Yellow Rose Bed. Should I dig it out? It looks so good there.ReplyDelete
I'm glad I have no credentials and nobody pays much attention to what I plant or speak of.
That would be kind of fun to count the different types of plants in each bed - I bet I would like the ones with the most variety! And I think a touch of blue with your white and yellow sounds lovely. I would not pull it out!Delete
Ha, I try to group by color, but it often ends up rather a mix. I start with two colors, which become three, then maybe four, with a spectrum of shades of course... They all have green, so they all match, right?ReplyDelete
You're like me - I have all colors everywhere!Delete