Mass and form in the perennial border

It has been a long haul, and it is far from over.  But the perennial border finally is showing the mass and shape I want it to.

Yes, mass and shape, not just flowers. I find it interesting that while I love flowers and color, what really makes my heart sing is shapes and spaces.

When I first did the design for Timshala Gardens, I put the perennial border in the plan as a shape.  It was a destination, reached by walking through the pergola, with a seating area drawing you through the perennials.  I didn’t know what plants I would use, though I did know the sizes of the plants.

Because the site is so large, and because the perennial border will most often be seen from a great distance, either the plants need to be tall, or, with smaller plants the masses of color need to be large.  I plant perennials by the 50’s, so even if an individual plant is delicate, from a distance the mass will give an architectural effect.  Just a few (in this garden less than about a dozen is a few!) would have no effect.

Here are a couple of sections of the border, from last year. More to come.

Perennial border 6.16.2017.f

Perennial border verbena.clethra.willow 20180728_075050


In the garden, vs. on the outside looking in

I realize that if I have a design philosophy, it is this:  To appreciate a garden one should be WITHIN it.  Of course just looking at a good garden can certainly be enjoyable.  There can be pretty scenes, lovely compositions, brilliant plant combinations.  But unless you are surrounded by the plantings, no matter how wonderful they are, they always have a certain distance.   Just as having your nose pressed to the window looking into a joyous gathering is not like being there, walking through a field of wildflowers is very different from looking at it from across the road.

A garden is a three dimensional art form and treating it as something to be looked at from the outside turns it into two-dimensions.

At Timshala paths in every direction will take you through – not around – the different gardens areas.   Even the patios and seating areas will be within a garden.  There is a clearing deep in the Woodland Garden.  A triangular seating area acts as a transition between the Meadow, the Perennial Garden and the Woodland.

Even at the house itself becomes part of the garden.  Long pergolas lead from the main entries.  The moment you walk out the door you are directed, inevitably, along a path into the garden.

Look at the plans here to see what I mean.  Schematic design of Timshala