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.

Random Gardening Links and Recommendations

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This amazing spring weather we are having in February has been a blessing and a curse. We are able to get out and work and enjoy beautiful weather, but we all know winter is still here and hope she does not wreak too much havoc on the daffodils and spring flowers. Wanted to share a few quick links and thoughts.

 

 

Better Homes and Gardens March Issue, must buy! 

March is always the garden/outdoor issue for shelter and lifestyle magazines, but Better Homes and Gardens hit it out of the park with this issue. I highly recommend you pick up a copy, for not only the great information but to support the issue. There is a great dry climate garden by David Salman from High Country Gardens, excellent collection of artfully arranged expert advise and beautiful living carpet. Stephen Orr (@steporr) of The New American Herbal and Tomorrow’s Garden is the editor, which you can see how he is elevating the “Garden” in Better Homes and Gardens.  The cover story on tulips is beautifully shot with lots of great varieties showcased, just wish they showed how to actually add to your garden with companion plants, but that is just the designer in me wanting to highlight the entire experience not just single plants.

Random Gardening Links and Recommendations, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

Lexington Road Trip Highlights:

Every February, our son has a 4 day weekend and we take advantage with a quick family road trip. Last year we went to Nashville for the Antique show, and this year we went to Lexington, KY with some stops on the Bourbon Trail and Horse farms (which was amazing). However there were other highlights which included connecting with Jon Carloftis and Dale Fisher from Jon Carlofits Fine Gardens at their amazing home, Botherum. It was an evening that the whole family will never forget, and a showcase of true Kentucky hospitality.

 

We also stopped at two nurseries, Pemberton’s (from Jon’s Recommendation) and Michler’s. Even though it is still Feburary, we had an amazing time exploring both spaces. Michler’s was a maze of old greenhouses with crazy details in the old buildings and Pemberton’s greenhouses packed with winterizing tropicals was like a private botanical garden. Not to mention the greenhouse knowledge of the fifth generation (maybe 6th) family running the nursery.  We need to make a return visit sometime soon, to see the spaces in their Pre-Derby prime and visit a few more Distilleries and Farms.

Botherum, Jon Carloftis Fine Garden , Thinking Outside the Boxwood Random Gardening Links and Recommendations, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Random Gardening Links and Recommendations, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Random Gardening Links and Recommendations, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Random Gardening Links and Recommendations, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Random Gardening Links and Recommendations, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Random Gardening Links and Recommendations, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

ENTER TO WIN A TRIP TO ANY BOTANICAL GARDEN.

Every gardener needs to enter this contest to win a trip to any American Botanical Garden of your choice.  Enter at this link –http://swee.ps/tivnxcIo and select your desired botanical garden and list why to be entered before April 30. I entered with a desire to visit the New York Botanical Garden, which I still to this date have not visited. I also selfishly would take the trip to also visit the High Line and the Russell Page garden at the Frick. If looking for some ideas where to visit here are a few  recommends

 

This Tuesday I am heading up to Cleveland to hear Patrick Blanc speak on vertical gardening. Other than that I will be in the garden as much as I can or working away getting everything moving forward for spring.

 

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap

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Well this is a long over due (about 6 months past) recap of the 2016 Perennial Plant Association Symposium this past summer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since this was a six day conference over the summer, we made it a road trip from Ohio up to Minneapolis with a few stops in Chicago and Wisconsin along the way. The trip alone was amazing and while I was attending the conference the family had a great time exploring the city and meeting up with us in the evening. (I shared stops in Chicago and the Olbirch Botanical Garden).

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The Perennial Plant Symposium is the annual conference for the members of the Perennial Plant Association or PPA. The PPA is run by Dr. Steven Still and his wife Carolyn, both of which are retiring this year after years of creating an amazing association,  symposium and not to mention garden tours abroad. I enjoy this conference for the mixture of design professionals with the growers/plantsmen creating the new and unique varieties along with growing the best specimen. At this event you get to meet the folks that cultivate and hybridize the perennials and  grasses that we use in our gardens along with trailblazing unique methods for growing.  The wealth of knowledge and experience is second to none.  Truly the whos who of the ornamental plant world attend.

 

For the conference, it includes a trade show, classes, speakers and garden tours. Generally there are three tracks to choose from for those in the wholesale nursery trade, retail nursery trade and garden design. You are able to attend across sections based on the topics and speakers you are interested and tours between the three trade disciplines, with a final stop/meet up at the end of the day for the groups to reconvene. I did not take many photos during the classes or trade show, but did capture while on the tours and end of day meet ups. One of my favorite speakers was Jeff Epping , from Olbirch Botanical Garden who talked about the planting techniques of gravel gardens popularized by Beth Chatto.

GARDEN TOURS – DESIGN FOCUS;

No surprise I attended the design tours, which included public and private homes.TIP:  while on these tours, drop pins on your phone so you can return back to neat areas or nurseries to purchase more plants to take home (benefit of driving). A great end of day stop was at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. We had a great time walking, driving and resting around the different areas and found the ornamental grass test plot that has different cultivars side by side to make it easy to compare size, color, shape, etc. I need to share that whole experience separately, especially the library.

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood 'Thicket' by weaver Kelly English at Lyndale Park Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

A Tour stop included Tangletown Gardens and a farm to table dinner at Tangletown Garden Farm outside Minneapolis. On our drive home we had a departing breakfast and stopover back at Tangletown and their restaurant, Wise Acre. One of the stops we made a stop and a return visit was to see Tangletown Gardens and eat at Wise Acre. Both our meals on the farm and at Wise Acer were delicious, and picked up a few plants to take home from the nursery.

Wise Acre and Tangletown Gardens A visit to Tangletown Gardens in Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Birch trees in Containers at Wise Acres, in Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comA visit to Tangletown Gardens and Wise Acres in Minneapolis, MN. Birch log and greenwall screening used to cover utilities - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comA visit to Tangletown Gardens in Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comTangletown Gardens, Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comField to table dinner with the PPA at Tangletown Gardens Farm, Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comField to Table PPA Dinner at Tangletown Gardens Farm, Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

When we arrived to Minneapolis, we spent time wondering around the downtown shopping and eating. The bummer was the day we where to spend exploring neighborhoods and leisurely driving to Minneapolis included heavy rain, so we did not get to explore outside of a return visit to Tangletown Gardens at breakfast at Wise Acres.

Edible Curb Plantings seen in downtown Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

I just returned from a long weekend in Lexington, KY and am reminded how traveling (no matter how short the distance) is a great reboot and inspiration revitalizer. This year the PPA symposium will be in Denver CO with all the details released earlier this week on speakers etc. Visit http://ppadenver.com for details and to register.