If you’re hunkering down and need something to do, how about select plants for your garden? And, while it’s still too cold to actually get out there and plant, think about what you want to see and even smell.
Your garden needs some variation in height
Choose plants wisely for the back of the garden. Of course, this will be the location of the taller plants. But, by varying the texture and combining evergreens along with deciduous, it makes things more interesting.
As fond as I am of winter plants such as Red Twig Dogwoods and Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick, I believe evergreens hold up a garden and act like the backbone. Consider combining conifers such as False Cypress along with broad leaf shrubs such as Rhododendrons and Azaleas. If you’re looking to add a splash of brightness to your garden, you could always add a Japanese Holly ‘Drops of Gold’ to your evergreen collection.
Low growing plants in the front of the border accentuate the shape of the bed. They help soften any sharp edges or difficult transitions and draw your eye through the bed itself toward the back of the garden. The front can be all the same plants such as a border of Boxwoods or Heuchera. Or, they can be different plants, but they should all be about the same height.
Think about how the sunlight affects color
Hot colored plants such as red or orange can make a hot space feel even hotter, while blues and soft yellows help to cool it down. If you’re looking to brighten up a darker space, consider bolder colors such as red or yellow. Plants that thrive in the shade are often light green or chartreuse and their foliage can help brighten a dark spot.
Remember – Consider the change of seasons. Spring is a transitional period, often associated with Easter which tends to have a pastel color palette. Autumn tends to have us thinking of russets and oranges.
Consider form, line and color
Certain plants, such as Canna Lilies can steal the show with their dramatic display of foliage. Heuchera come in a rainbow of colors and are low to the ground.
The phantasmal foliage of Japanese Painted Fern brings attention to any garden. Think not just about the color of the foliage, but also the shape. It creates additional interest when you combine plants with feathery foliage such as Amsonia or ornamental grasses with that of large leaves such as Helleborus (Lenten Rose) or Ligularia (Leopards Bane).
Incorporate a little nose candy
Aroma is candy for the nose. On average, a person takes 23,000 breaths a day. The scent contained in each breath conveys information on mood. In fact, nothing alters our mood more than scent. Smell goes directly to the section of the brain that controls stress levels, heart rate and blood pressure – that’s why Yankee Candle is so successful! So, plants like Lavender and Roses are both beautiful and therapeutic. Plus, research has proven that scent conveys memories more strongly than any other sense.
Tips for incorporating fragrance into your landscape:
- Place fragrant plants close to areas where you can catch a whiff of the aroma. Think of putting them near windows, walkways and especially entrances or patios where you or your guests might spend a little time.
- Place scented plants in a sunny spot or near a south facing wall. The reflected heat may make the scent a little stronger. Incorporate scented plants in patio containers or window boxes.
- Plant fragrant plants in an enclosed space, such as a walled garden or a small side yard. The scent will tend to collect there and stay rather than be carried away on a breeze.
Remember the pollinators
A garden is comprised of many different elements. Even in this short segment we’re talking about height, color, fragrance and texture. While we’re admiring the beauty of our landscapes, hummingbirds, bees and butterflies are finding food and pollinating our gardens.
Research shows that pollinator numbers are declining due to a number of factors. And habitat destruction is one of them. Please consider making your garden into a mini habitat for them. You’ll be glad you did!