Thursday, March 29, 2012

Come Hither

Years ago, a friend of mine moaned to her mother that no male was paying attention to her.  What's a girl to do?  Her mother replied, "Give him the come hither look."  She then gave a low, flirty stare out of the corner of her eyes.  I laughed, thinking "come hither" was a joke.

But a few years later, that same friend and I liked the same young man.  And while we were all together one day, I saw her give him the "come hither" look.  Obviously, she knew her mother wasn't joking, because he asked her out!

Darn it!

Golden Barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Aurea')

Whenever I see a photo of a garden that I think is beautiful, I try to analyze why it works and what it is that I find so appealing.  I may not be able to copy the garden, but I can possibly copy the concept.

I looked at one of my favorite photos for a long time.  It was of a central pathway with plantings on either side.  I felt as if I could figure out why that garden looked so beautiful, perhaps I could mimic some of those design qualities in my pathway garden.


I noticed a couple of things.  One, they repeated the same color on both sides of the pathways, and repeated that color all the way down the pathway.  Although it looked like it was just an abundance of color and flowers, in reality it was a finely tuned design.  The repeat of the same color all the way down the pathway drew the eye forward, and also begged you to walk down the path.  I nicknamed it the "come hither" design element.

The "come hither" element in my pathway garden comes from the golden barberries (berberis thunbergii 'Aurea').  Bright, with small leaves, they don't initially hit you as a big part of the design scheme.  But, I'm hoping, that subconsciously the repeat of these plants pulls you forward.


You can see three in this picture.  There are actually six of these bushes in this garden.

I love these golden barberries.  I love their lemon-lime coloring, their naturally rounded shape, their small size (mine are between 2-3 ft high and wide), and their little leaves.  I think their lime green coloring goes well with so many other plants, too.  And come fall, they turn a beautiful burnt orange.  The only thing I can say against them is they have thorns.  But it seems like everything in my garden has thorns, so I'm used to that feature.


Golden barberry is deciduous, and grows in zones 3 through 10.  They are my "come hither" plant.  Can't you see them giving you a low, flirty stare?

30 comments:

  1. It's darn sure working on me! What's your address???

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  2. I agree - your repetition down the pathway really draws the eye and the spirit forward! Love the glowing color of those barberries.

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    1. I love their color, too. So different, yet blends well, too.

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  3. Barberry are an invasive species here and I see them growing in the woods. I have it on my to do list to dig up some of those and transplant them where I can see them and incorporate them into my landscape. Your posting really inspires me to do so.

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    1. Yes, I've heard that some barberries can be very invasive (don't think these kind are). So glad you can get some free ones for your garden! That's a win-win. Gets them out of the woods, and you get free plants!

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  4. Hi Holley, I think the repetition of plants is one of the key design elements one has to consider if you want to create a harmonious garden "that flows". So I am totally with you here :-). It also brings a certain calmness and restfulness to the garden in my opinion. By the way, I love the chartreuse green color of your Golden Barberries!
    Christina

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    1. I hadn't thought of calmness and restfulness, but you are right. The eye (and the mind) would not rest without some kind of repetition.

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  5. Your 'come hither' plant almost had me there! Seduced...almost! xxx

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  6. Great idea repeating these lovely plants. I like that they're a little understated with no frilly flowers so the design is subtle but still have some great pop with that lovely colour.

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    1. No frilly flowers, which is unusual for my garden. But it's a softening to the otherwise jumble of color in summer. And I love the contrasting foliage of their tiny leaves.

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  7. What a good idea to use a shrub with such distinctive leaf color. Subtler and more reliable/long-lasting than flowers, but still a stand-out--nice! (I'm off to practice my come-hither look, since your friend had such success with it.)

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    1. Good luck with your come hither look. Obviously, while I was writing it off as a joke, my friend had been practicing!

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  8. I need a video of the come hither look.

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    1. haha - Sorry, I'm not sure where my friend lives now! :)

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  9. That barberry does have a lovely spring green color.

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    1. I love it in all the seasons. Well, not so much in winter when it has no leaves!

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  10. It does have nice colouring!

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    1. I'll have to remember to post a picture of it this summer when it's bright yellow, and this fall when it's a beautiful orange.

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  11. I like the way you analysed something that works well and already exists in your garden to apply to another part. Should work well :)

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  12. The color is amazing, a nice punch of brightness, but I worry about the invasive factor in our area. It is not officially on the US invasive species list but it is very suspect and something to keep an eye on (easy with this one because it is such an EYE CATCHER!:
    ECOLOGICAL THREAT: Japanese barberry forms dense stands in natural habitats including canopy forests, open woodlands, wetlands, pastures, and meadows and alters soil pH, nitrogen levels, and biological activity in the soil. Once established, barberry displaces native plants and reduces wildlife habitat and forage. White-tailed deer apparently avoid browsing barberry, preferring to feed on native plants, giving barberry a competitive advantage. In New Jersey, Japanese barberry has been found to raise soil pH (i.e., make it more basic) and reduce the depth of the litter layer in forests.

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    1. I know barberries have a bad reputation, and I know some of the are very invasive in parts of the country. Perhaps I should have put that in my post. This cultivated kind, though, are not supposed to be invasive at all, and I haven't noticed any in other areas of my garden or in the woods. But it's always good to research a plant before putting it in the garden! Thanks for the additional information.

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  13. I have a couple of upright chartreuse colored ones...I am keeping them for now...I love the color of the blooms and will look for something that does also give that come hither look!

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    1. I love these bright green ones! I haven't noticed any blooms on mine. I'll have to look closely this year to see if I can see some.

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  14. Flutter those eyelids! I love the bright green of it - very striking!

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    1. haha - fluttering eyelids! I suppose that's a part of the come hither look! :)

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