GARDEN TREND: Monoculture Container Design

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GARDEN TREND: Monoculture Container Design, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

I give credit for the monoculture trend in container design to the brilliant container groupings by Danish gardener Claus Dalby. The groupings of containers he places at the entrance of his garden receive over 2,000 Instagram likes for the striking color and scale impact they create. Traditionally you see “mono” container groups of singular variety of specimen plants, such as begonias or succulents. However, this new trend focuses on a variety of plants curated based on color and texture. I compare it to a French or English florist showcasing the seasons best blooms at the entrance to their shop.  The work featured here is all by Claus, but there are a lot of Nordic designers that are creating amazing monoculture container groupings are large and smaller scale.

New Garden Design Trend - Monoculture Container Design showcased in the work by Claus Dalby. More on the trend at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

Generally, monocultures are not a good horticulture practice since they leave your garden vulnerable to pest and disease. Just ask anyone losing their boxwood to boxwood blight or dealing with the relics of Emerald Ash borer. However in container gardens, planting pots in a singular species gives you flexibility in swapping out under performers and revise placement based on height and spread.

 

New Garden Design Trend - Monoculture Container Design showcased in the work by Claus Dalby. More on the trend at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

HOW TO CREATE A MONOCULTURE CONTAINER GROUPING

 

SKILL LEVEL: This container design method is great for gardening novices, you can move and swap to keep it looking fresh and easily replant any unsuccessful pot. Also mono-containers can use smaller, less expensive containers and be placed in compact outdoor spaces. Plant geek level gardeners will also love this trend since you can highlight your unique plants and constantly fiddle with your groupings.

 

PLANT SELECTION: Following in Claus’ footsteps, I recommending following a strict color palate when selecting plants. Either go for variations on one color family or just warm or cool tones. If you are more confident in color theory, mix it up with using complementary colors, etc. But remember this is a designed collection, not a hodgepodge of random plants.

 

CONTAINER SELECTION: This design is great for smaller containers which don’t work with when building combo containers. Since using small and easily moved containers they can be made of just about any material; terracotta (just store indoors during freezing temperatures), metal, concrete, pottery, fiber-clay and reclaimed containers.

 

CARE: Smaller containers will have more frequent maintenance. Check soil daily for moisture. Some weather could require daily watering compared to their in the ground counterparts. Smaller pots provide less organic matter for growing and will result in root bound plants with a shorter plant lifespans for your plants. Outside of watering, remember to fertilize and feed your plants. Also lighter containers could be susceptible to strong winds blowing over, so just take note if placing on a balcony.

 

ARRANGING: For the height and impact, you need a multi-tiered surface. You can start with a grouping of tables nesting together or line a collection down your stairs. You can take it to the next level and find or build a tiered plant stand (try searching antique/vintage French and English plant stand for some ideas). The objective is to have a graduated height with focus on the plants not the stand. For the minimum I would start with 10 containers and a maximum only limited to what the space can hold.

 

GARDEN TREND: Monoculture Container Design, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

I am currently building my small container supply and designing a plant stand based on some antique French models to create my own grand display. I will share the plant stand design and planting results. Also, if you don’t already follow Claus on Instagram (with over 100,000 followers- I hope you do), I highly recommend you add him to your list and include posting notification. Outside of views into his own garden, Claus visits some beautiful gardens across Europe.

A Visit to Terrain in Westport, CT

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A visit to Terrain in Westport. Images on garden merchandising and container combinations. More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

Last week we returned from a 10 day, 1,600 miles and 30 hours of diving trip out to the East Coast for the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) conference in Boston. We decided to drive out and tack a few days on the front and back to visit family, take the kids to New York City and visit Niagara Falls with the flexibility to make additional stops as we wished. We included  in our itinerary a stop at Terrain in Westport, Ct. I have visited the Pennsylvania location during the fall when the store was between fall and holiday, but was excited to see their merchandising prowess during the summer’s abundance of plants. We visited on a Tuesday when the store opened, so had the ability to explore and photograph with little disruption.

 

 

A visit to Terrain in Westport. Images on garden merchandising and container combinations. More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comA visit to Terrain in Westport. Images on garden merchandising and container combinations. More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

A visit to Terrain in Westport. Images on garden merchandising and container combinations. More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com A visit to Terrain in Westport. Images on garden merchandising and container combinations. More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com  A visit to Terrain in Westport. Images on garden merchandising and container combinations. More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com  A visit to Terrain in Westport. Images on garden merchandising and container combinations. More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comA visit to Terrain in Westport. Images on garden merchandising and container combinations. More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com A visit to Terrain in Westport. Images on garden merchandising and container combinations. More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com  A visit to Terrain in Westport. Images on garden merchandising and container combinations. More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

You get the sense the store is set up more for the  “do it for me” clientele than the home gardener, but there are great ideas for any gardening retailer for merchandising techniques. Throughout all areas there completed grab and go containers or examples for shoppers to request the same combo to take home.

 

CREATE COLLECTIONS. Terrain took advantage of “end-cap” displays similar to grocery stores in the rows of plants. They used it as an area to highlight different planting combinations, not just related to a specific species.

A visit to Terrain in Westport. Images on garden merchandising and container combinations. More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comA visit to Terrain in Westport. Images on garden merchandising and container combinations. More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Garden merchandising inspiration from Terrain at Westport, CT. More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

GOING VERTICAL. The play on height was used throughout the outdoor area. Very few products were placed on the ground, with most placed on tiered displays. The height brought plants closer to eye level and allowed more variety to be seen at one time. It also helped create gardening rooms and intimacy to the shopping experience.

Garden merchandising inspiration from Terrain at Westport, CT. More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com Garden merchandising inspiration from Terrain at Westport, CT. More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com Garden merchandising inspiration from Terrain at Westport, CT. More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

CROSS-MERCHANDISE.  Another key element was the cross-merchandising of containers with plant material and furniture. There were specific areas dedicated to containers, but in almost all plant areas, empty and planted containers were also merchandised.

Garden merchandising inspiration from Terrain at Westport, CT. More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comGarden merchandising inspiration from Terrain at Westport, CT. More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

VINTAGE & FOUND ITEMS: The display antiques synonymous with Anthropologie stores are also included through out the space. I was hoping for a bit more selection of the one-off items. They are still mainly used as visual props, however the best store for merchandising and selling antique items is Detroit Garden Works.

A visit to Terrain in Westport. Images on garden merchandising and container combinations. More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comA visit to Terrain in Westport. Images on garden merchandising and container combinations. More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Garden merchandising inspiration from Terrain at Westport, CT. More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Garden merchandising inspiration from Terrain at Westport, CT. More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Lessons from Moss Mountain Farm

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Elements of Moss Mountain farm you can use in your own garden - thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Back in May, I was fortunate to be invited back to P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm for the seventh Garden2Grow, my second. The event features two days of brands and passionate social gurus across home, food and gardening categories touring an amazing garden, discussing and learning from folks openly sharing their knowledge. After I left Arkansas, I came back re-energized with expanded knowledge and network of colleagues.

 

Elements of Moss Mountain farm you can use in your own garden - thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Allen designed Moss Mountain as a ferme ornée, a French phrase translated into ornamental farm. This was the same concept Thomas Jefferson applied in the grounds around Monticello, making the utility of farming beautiful and enjoyable to view. Ferme ornée can be applied to any home by incorporating utility plantings and elements into your ornamental garden beds with your neighbors being none the wiser. In the spirit of transforming your home into a ferme ornée, here are some elements from Moss Mountain you can apply in any home garden.

 

 

Ornamental Mow Paths

In the Midwest we have the luxury of space many do not have, but often open space around homes is surrounded by expansive field of grass. Moss Mountain features areas of native grasses and that are left to grow and only designed paths meandering paths mowed through.

Use designed mow paths to great interest in large open areas instead of large areas of formal lawn. Moss Mountain Farm - More details at thinkoutsidetheboxwood.com

Use designed mow paths to create structure in large informal areas, instead of maintaining formal lawn. Photo of Moss Mountain Farm, more at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

Signature Color

Outside the riot of bloom colors, using a signature color to tie together different areas of the garden and give all areas a sense of belonging to a certain place, signature paint color can provide that thread. Moss Mountain features trellis painted in a pale blue/green that match the gate of the decorative chicken pavilion. This color will continue to provide color to the garden, even when nothing is in bloom.

Use of a signature color throughout different garden rooms unifies spaces. garden trellises at Moss Mountain Farm - more images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Elements of Moss Mountain farm you can use in your own garden - thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

Dark Framework

Throughout the farm, the outbuildings all share the same signature dark black/brown color (another signature color). Dark architectural elements provide an amazing backdrop of the varied greens to pop and play hero compared to using white that can steal the spotlight from your plantings.

Dark colors on architectural elements provide striking element to the green foliage in a garden. Fence at Moss Mountain Farm - more at Thinking Outside The Boxwood

A collection of cut floral from uBloom waiting to be arranged, barn at Moss Mountain Farm. More images at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

Vegetable Garden Architecture

The vegetable garden at Moss Mountain is breathtaking in its formal planting design, scale and planting combination. The scale is difficult for many, but the combination of structure throughout is a source of inspiration and application. Using walk-able tunnels and natural elements for vining plants, a hedge row of asparagus for structure and hierarchy plantings in each bed take the very utilitarian and productive garden into a beautiful to view space. Below Allen used a common hog fence panel to sculpt his tunnel.

Using wire hog fencing to create a creeping vine tunnel to add structure to your vegetable garden. Garden at Moss Mountain Farm - More images at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

 

Edibles in Formal Areas

Directly surrounding the house are the formal, terraced gardens which feature a collection of annual and perennial plantings. Throughout the space, specimen edibles are placed to great structure and texture. Espalier apples and pears separate beds areas and a fig tree is focal point down a central pathway.

espiler trees in the formal gardens of Moss Mountain Farm - more images at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Elements for Moss Mountain Farm you can bring into your own garden. More at Thinkingoutsideboxwood.com

 

There are many more takeaways for any visitor to Moss Mountain beyond those mentioned above. On top of those listed, I still learned still more about video production, Instagram content, and content creation that I am still digesting.

 

Clouds rolling in at Moss Mountain Farm - More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

Our travels and the Garden2Grow event were sponsored by a list of great companies listed and linked below. Many of these are brands I have used personally and professionally before this event and continue after, others have altered my habits and the coffee we drink at home after learning from them.

Bonnie Plants

Good Dirt

Crescent Garden

Westrook Coffee Company

Sun Patiens

Sakata Home Grown