Book Recommendation: Paul Bangay’s Country Gardens

Book Recommendation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

I love a good gardening book, and when a new book arrives in the mail the first thing I do is sit down and flip through all the pages for initial absorption of the photos. When I first opened Paul Bangay’s Country Gardens to look at the photos, I had to stop a third through because I was exhausted. Every single image had elements I wanted to study, even at first pass. It took me three attempts to make it through the book for my first glance, each time sending my mind into a haze of inspiration and ideas. My copy now rests next to my desk for anytime I need to get my head back into that inspired haze.

A peek in Country Gardens by Paul Bangay, more at Thiningoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

The book is divided into 20 individual country gardens. However, I feel the classification of “country gardens” is misleading. Yes, these gardens are mostly fair outside any metropolis, however their structure and elements of Paul’s designs can be applied to any location and any size garden.

 

Here are a small sampling of the gardens in the book, even though they don’t do the book justice. A peek in Country Gardens by Paul Bangay, more at Thiningoutsidetheboxwood.com

A peek in Country Gardens by Paul Bangay, more at Thiningoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

If you are looking to add any other books to your library, I also recommend Stonefields which follows Paul’s personal garden masterpiece from inception, creation, maintenance and continuing evolution. The last photo above is from Stonefields to give you an idea what to expect from the whole book.

A Visit to White Flower Farm and walking The Lloyd Border

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A visit to White Flower Farm, touring the greenhouses and walking the Lloyd Border - More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

Another stop our road trip from Ohio to Boston was to visit White Flower Farm in Morris, CT. We met with Elliot Wadsorth and he gave us a tour of the gardens and greenhouses. When we told family, friends and clients from Ohio to Connecticut about our planned stop, they all knew of White Flower Farm which showcases just how many gardeners White Flower Farm has touched.

Walking the Lloyd Border at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

One of the first areas we walked was the Lloyd Border, named after the late Christopher Lloyd, famed for his creation of Great Dixter in the United Kingdom. The border at White Flower Farm was designed by Fergus Garrett, the head gardener at Great Dixter, with the planting starting in 2011. The border is 20 feet deep and runs 280 feet long backed by a hedge European Beech and edge by a slate walkway. As you walk down the border, the mood, colors and textures constantly changes and you experience and walking back in the other direction gives a completely different experience.

Walking the Lloyd Border at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Walking the Lloyd Border at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Walking the Lloyd Border at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Walking the Lloyd Border at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comWalking the Lloyd Border at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Walking the Lloyd Border at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comWalking the Lloyd Border at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comWalking the Lloyd Border at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comWalking the Lloyd Border at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comWalking the Lloyd Border at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Here are a few close-ups of the border. Focusing on individual groupings allows you to see how different foliage and flower textures play with one another. We visited at the very end of July, but walking this border through the different months you will have a completely different experience of how all the plants play together.

Walking the Lloyd Border at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Walking the Lloyd Border at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comWalking the Lloyd Border at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comWalking the Lloyd Border at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Another area of the farm to view the use of perennials is in the Moon Garden, featuring a collection of all white blooming plants. This border looked particularly breathtaking while on our walk with the moody overcast sky.

The white perennial border – Moon Garden - at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comThe white perennial border – Moon Garden - at White Flower Farm – More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

I need to also share this photo of the amazing garden shed at White Flower Farm. Love the mix of the solid and vented portions, moss growing on the roof, tapering stone wall and the ferns nestled at the foundation. Garden Potting Shed at White Flower Farm – More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

I cannot believe how much inspiration we found on this one trip to the East Coast. Still have all the gardens we visited with APLD to share, just need to find time to organize all the photos.

What to expect at the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) Conference

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After returning from the APLD Boston conference, I reflected about how the conference was beneficial to me as a designer. With no shortage of trade shows, garden tours and conferences to attend each year, I wanted to share some insight into the conference and my personal experience to help anyone on the fence with attending.

What to expect at the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) Conference from Boston 2017 - More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

This year the conference was in Boston, MA, last year it was in Santa Fe, NM and next year is in Toronto.  My comments below follow the structure of both past conferences, but with images from Boston. You can see images from the Santa Fe tours I posted before HERE.  In my following posts I will share images from the Boston conference garden tours. I have so many I need to work on editing to the best ones, but this post gives you a sampling of the garden tour locations.

 

The conference is broken down into two main buckets; speakers/educational/panels and tours. I am adding a third section for networking, since it can be forgotten benefit out side of CEUs when reviewing the agenda. There are around 100+ attendees over the course of the event with some staying the whole time and others for just the tours or speakers/courses. And with a conference that size, there are not a lot of extra bells and whistles.

What to expect at the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) Conference from Boston 2017 - More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

SPEAKERS/CLASSES/PANELS

The conference portion of speakers, classes and panels takes place inside a hotel conference space which keeps everything in one central location. The Conference (counting pre and post) runs five days. I am not sure how long this link will live, but HERE is a breakdown of the schedule this year. With a pre-conference events on Thursday and the kick off with the in the classroom conference including six different sessions. Below is a breakdown of the conference topics:

  • Opening Keynote: The Art of the Makeover – Reinventing Existing Landscapes with Patrick Chasse, ASLA
  • Designing with Natives with Travis Beck, Director of Horticulture, Mt. Cuba Center
  • Quenching Heat, Humidity & Drought: Gardens that Dazzle – Withstanding the Dog Days & Onward with Warren Leach, Landscape Horticulturist and owner  Tranquil Lake Nursery.
  • Expose Yourself! How to feature your work locally, regionally and nationally
  • Place Making – Designing for Place through Customer Engagement with Garth Woodruff, APLD Assistant Professor Andrews University
  • Closing Keynote: The Designer’s Way: Creating Gardens and Lives of Beauty and Meaning with Julie Moir Messervy.

I spoke along with three other designers in a pre-conference panel about growing and expanding your business, which was a marathon, 3 hour, non-stop discussion about how we are running our business. It was a great discussion, and I hope there are more of these types of panels in future conferences. However see my next bullet point on networking.

 

What to expect at the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) Conference from Boston 2017 - More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

NETWORKING:

Most beneficial element of the conference for me is always the networking with fellow designers. No two designers have the same firm structure, career path or plant palette. However, everyone is open to talking about the good and bad of the business and giving as much advice and experiences as possible. The time on the buses, during break sessions at dinners and hotel bar drinks – I have had the most impact on my professional career from the networking during those moments. It was through this networking time I have joined a group of other Design | Build | Maintain companies across the country for monthly calls sharing business insights.  I think this is a factor that is overlooked in considering a conference, but again is so valuable to professionals.

 

What to expect at the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) Conference from Boston 2017 - More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

THE GARDEN TOURS:

The APLD garden tours are scouted by local APLD members, and majority include private homes that are infrequently opened for tours. Given the group are all gardeners, home owners know the group will treat the space with respect and care. There are two days of tours, which the closing session and awards at the end of the final day. I would not let the location of the conference stop you if not aligned to your local environment. Last year the conference was in Santa Fe, and while the area has very unique terrain and water needs and completely different from Central Ohio. However the use of materials, planting combinations/patterns and incorporation of artwork was inspiring and relevant to me as a designer (Again see my photos HERE). Actually maybe more so since made me look at things completely differently than my normal environment. Also, as you can see in many of my following posts, getting photos without people is not a problem. You also have fellow experts around you if there are any questions, someone will know the plant, tried the method or how to maintain.

 

 

What to expect at the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) Conference from Boston 2017 - More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

COSTS, PACKING and QUICKTIPS:

I know it is a financial Investment to attend the conference, and I would budget with conference, hotel, food and travel to cost in the range of $3,000 – $3,500 for five days. You can save on hotel rooms if you are willing to room with someone, you spend very little time in your room between tours and the classroom time. It is a packed agenda, expect to leave the room around 8 and return around 9/10 pm.

Here is my quick packing list:

  • Camera and charger and a cellphone charging cube
  • Hat, sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Rain Coat
  • Business cards – make sure all your social handles are listed
  • Note Book, pen and traveling bag for the bus
  • Light Snacks and water for the bus rides

Other tips: Spend as little time in your room as possible. Go to dinners with attendees, meet up for morning coffee runs. Ask questions, lots of questions. Research the host city for additional spots to visit. Drop pins during garden tours to visit areas again.

What to expect at the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) Conference from Boston 2017 - More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

I know it requires a financial investment to attend a conference. I hope this helps give you some details on what you can expect and really what the end pay off can be. The APLD conference next year is in Toronto, Canada September 13-17. If you have any questions leading up to the event, please feel free to message me, I am happy to jump on the phone and talk.

Boston Container Designs

C O N T A I N E R S, Garden Tours | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

I am working pulling together all the posts from my trip out to Boston for the APLD conference and I found photos from walking around Boston that don’t fit into any of my other posts. Boston had some great container designs in the Back Bay area and along the shops on Newbury street. If you want to see more beautiful container designs from the Boston area, view fellow APLD member and Friend, Ellen of PERENNIAL GARDENS portfolio.

Boston Container Designs, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Boston Container Designs, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Boston Container Designs, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Boston Container Designs, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Boston Container Designs, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Boston Container Designs, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

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

G A R D E N S, Inspiration, Landscape Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Sites for Great RHS Chelsea Flower Show Recaps

Advice, GARDEN DESIGN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hard to believe that The RHS Chelsea Flower show has already closed and all the beautiful gardens are being torn down. Since I have yet be able to make the trip across the pond to see the gardens myself, I have gotten good at finding others that have for all the best images and videos. Since I am sure there are others like me looking for the best perspective to the show, I wanted to share my sources. Please if you have any sources please pass long, either videos, blogs or articles. Hopefully soon, I will be able to share my own experience until then I will continue to live vicariously through others. (Sorry for the lack of photos, but I clicking through the links you will not be disappointed)

 

ShootGardening.co.uk

Shoot provides photos and the plant breakdowns for all the show gardens. New this year they provide photographic photos of the plant IDs to help you identify the plants in the gardens and understand how they play with the others with spread, height and texture. This detailed information is great for anyone that needs help ID-ing the plant they like. You can also go back in the archives to previous Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower shows.

 

Preparing for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with James Alexander-Sinclair 

I love anything behind the scenes, and the videos James Alexander-Sinclair did for creating the Zoe Ball Listening Garden provide that on the fly behind the scenes commentary. The second video shows how they tested the sound vibrations in the water, which is just beautiful and you will never understand from looking at the finished photos alone. James has a series of videos called The View from Here… which are also fun watching.

 

RHS 3D Garden Views

For the best quality photos, no one beats the RHS’s own website. For the show gardens they even provide 3D tours, allowing you to experience walking through the spaces experiencing all the different angles. The RHS also has great videos of the whole process leading up to the big reveals that are fun to watch. The link provided is to the landing page of Charlotte Harris’ garden for the Royal Bank of Canada. HERE is another great video with Charlotte talking about the elements that influenced her garden design.

 

The Frustrated Gardener 

For amazing personal photographs, I love the posts from the Frustrated Gardener. The images are beautifully presented on the page, allowing you to focus on each one’s attributes. Beyond the Chelsea articles, this is an amazing blog to add to your reading list for a great garden design perspective.

 

Summer Containers using Elephant Ears and Caladiums

GARDEN DESIGN, Landscape Design, Plants

May is providing us a progression of peony and iris blooms, but the life of a gardener is planning for your enjoyment a season or two ahead. Now is the time to plant bulbs for summer containers that will be large and impactful throughout the hot months. Here are two options of bulbs you can plant in containers for high impact this summer.

 

How to use Elephant Ears and Caladiums in containers for impactful summer containers. From from Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

ELEPHANT EARS:

Just as their name suggests, Elephant Ears have oversized leaves and are the alpha element or “thriller” in any container combination. Elephant is blanket common name for the genus Colocasia and Alocasia.  One is not necessarily better than the other.  It just depends on the what characteristics you are looking for.  Recently, most of the breeding has been geared toward Colocasia so you are seeing many interesting variations like Colocasia esculenta ‘Mojito’ and black foliage Colocasia esculenta ‘Diamond Head’. The tubers grow quickly and range from 3 – 5 feet in height. In a 2 feet tall container, you will have a lush, stately 7ft container. Elephant Ears can handle a variety of sun conditions, so are a good placement for anywhere expect heavy shade.

 

Thanks to their long stocks, you get to have a lot of fun experimenting with the foundation plantings around the tuber. You can go for burst of color or play with textures in the same tones. In the example below, we stayed in the dark tone, but would also look great if you used silver foliage for high contrast. SHOP or EXPLORE additional varieties at Longfield Gardens.

How to use Elephant Ears in Summer Containers. Containers feature - 'Portodora' elephant's ear Alocasia 'Portodora' More at ThinkingOutsidetheboxwood.com

A pair of containers flanking a walkway feature a single dark tone combo of Colocasia esculenta ‘Diamond Head’ and Setcreasea pallida ‘Purple Heart.’

 

How to use Summer Bulbs in Containers. Combo includes 'Portodora' elephant's ear Alocasia 'Portodora' against a black house. more details at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

This grouping of three containers from my house last year features ‘Portodora’ elephant’s ear, Alocasia ‘Portodora’ with a mix of under-plantings. The Portodora provided a perfect foil against the black wall of the house.

 

How to use Elephant Ears in Summer Containers. This combo features Colocasia esculenta 'Black Magic' and 'Calidora' elephant's ear (Alocasia 'Calidora'). More combos and details at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

This is a grouping of summer containers we completed for a client’s home a few years ago. The house was an impressive Georgian, and the elephant’s ears scale were great for providing the scale needed to match the home. Here you see Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’ and ‘Calidora’ elephant’s ear (Alocasia ‘Calidora’) with a few other containers with summer plantings.

 

CALADIUMS:

Caladiums have the same elongated heart shaped leaf, but offer smaller, delicate and more color variety than elephant ears. What they lack is size, caladiums provide impact from their saturated red and fuchsia foliage and create an explosion of color when combined with bright annuals. Other cultivars like ‘White Christmas’, provide a cooler palate mixed with silvers, blacks and purple companion container plants. They can also work between the “thriller” or “spiller” in container design, depending on your combination. Below White Christmas is used as the thriller, but mixed with an elephant ear could be the filler. SHOP or EXPLORE additional varieties at Longfield Gardens.  In general Caladium prefer some protection from the afternoon sun they work great tucked under a shady overhang or porch.

How to use Caladiums in summer containers. Combo Includes: Caladium 'White Christmas' Foxtail Fern Asparagus densiflorus 'Myers' Hedera helix 'Baltica' More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

This smaller container next to a side porch entry, features Caladium ‘White Christmas’, Foxtail Fern / Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myers’ and Hedera helix ‘Baltica’.

 

How to use Caladiums in summer containers. Combo includes Caladium 'White Christmas' with ferns. More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

This container features Caladium ‘White Christmas’ with a massing of Boston Ferns. This simple combo is easy to build and can be used with a wide variety of caladiums based on your color preference.

 

uilding Summer Containers with Caladiums. Combo includes Caladium ‘Florida Cardinal’ More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

This final combos feature Caladium ‘Florida Cardinal’ on the left and Caladium ‘Carolyn Whorton’ on the right, and both showcase how easy it is to add a massing of other annuals with caladiums even in smaller sized containers.

 

For containers this summer, we have a wide variety of both elephant ears and caladiums to plant and are working on some unique combinations to share once they have matured. Let me know if you have any questions about planting or caring for your summer bulbs.