It seems that ideas for the garden never end! You know how I love gardening, and you know how I love books. So it was impossible for me to resist a large coffee table book called “Step Outside: Urban Terraces and Gardening” by Alex Sanchez Vidiella. This book is full of stunning ideas for decorating outdoor spaces: not only with beautiful garden furniture, but other elements like planter boxes, fountains, and pools.
Looking at this book, I had two first impressions: number one, how lovely and coordinated and serene everything looked. My second impression was, where do they keep the garden tools and the bags of soil and the extra pots and all the gear that we gardeners need? But that was neither here nor there, because I noticed something very interesting in quite a few of the pictures, and that was their use of trees in planters.
It’s not something that we think about doing, because we’re used to planting our usual plants in our planters. But I must tell you, the look was striking. They didn’t have huge trees: one planter that I especially liked was about the size of a typical half-barrel planter, but it had what looked like three plants in the planter. One was taller, perhaps about four feet high, quite airy looking; then down below there were two smaller shrubs. Even though there was no color to this planter, it looked very beautiful. I was thinking that if you and I were going to try something like that, we could easily use something like a golden spirea or a pink or tangerine potentilla for the “lower level”, and something like a small mountain ash for the lighter, taller tree.
Another interesting idea seen in the book was something that looked like a raised bed, perhaps eight by ten or twelve feet, with neat timbers all the way around. Off to one side of, but in the bed, there was a gnarled tree, something like a mugo pine. Below the pine, white stones were arranged in a kidney shaped pattern; the remainder of the raised bed was planted to grass, clipped very closely. They described this as a “macro bonsai”, and it was stunning. I’m guessing that trimming that little irregular shaped patch of lawn was likely done with a whipper-snipper, since there wouldn’t be room for a lawnmower; but if you wanted to have a striking focal point near a deck or patio, this would be it. And the work would be minimal. I love the book because it is full of ways to “think outside the planter”. And like my sweet Mom always used to say, “If we don’t like it, we don’t have to do it again next year.” Let’s have that fearless joie de vivre, gardeners, and plant something totally unexpected in a new and exciting way! Don’t be frightened to think “outside the planter”!
I’d like to remind you about the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society’s Spring Plant and Bulb Sale on Friday, May 25 at the Parkland Mall, Yorkton. The next meeting of the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society is on Wednesday, June 20. This is a “members only” meeting at Skinner Garden Classics. Members, if you need any details, please call Liz at 782-2830. This is always such a fun event, we hope all our members will be there!
By now, we’re out and about in our gardens — have fun, plant something new and exciting, and be sure to wear a hat!