A lesson in leaves

When I visited this garden on the KenTon Garden tour, the first thing I noticed was the exuberance and dense planting of the garden – which took up all of this small backyard, except for a looping pea-gravel path around the center island. I remember the garden being very colorful, but looking at the photos now, I see that the colors were mostly greens. But I now notice also that the gardener has a masterful touch with choosing leaf shapes and sizes and plant placement. She mixes plant heights, colors and leaf textures brilliantly. My biggest mistake, I make everytime, is planting things too close together. This is a jam-packed, but well-edited garden. And it’s mostly shade!

I’m not big on religous statuary in gardens (I’ve seen it done so poorly in other gardens), but I have to say these few, and well-located statues, made of quality materials, looked great, appropriate and were integrated in the garden very well – not as afterthoughts. Even the wall hangings along the fence are tasteful. Simple brick edging is made nicer by using unique-shaped bricks. The easy-to-maintain pea-gravel path was a nice touch.
My only complaint about this garden — there was no place for the owner to sit in it and enjoy it! But I have a feeling, from seeing the garden lights set up in what looked like strategic spots, that this garden is probably enjoyed as much from the home’s windows day and night.

I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

0 comments on “A lesson in leaves

  1. Nowhere to sit! In a garden! I'd rather have one pot and somewhere to sit outside than a mile of dense planting and nowhere to pause properly . . . having said that – what I specially admire (because I can't do it myself) is being able make plants rank up in height like this. I also find that when, in theory, it's possible to make a big thing of a small garden – one is often snookered by the way walls and fences block off light. A small part of a big garden is so very much easier than an enclosed patch.


  2. No where to sit– as my daughter would say, “I know, right?” Looking at these pictures I am still very impressed with plant placement. It's a huge jigsaw puzzle with so many variables to get right to have such a healthy well laid out garden.


  3. You plant things too close together, too? This is my mistake with bigger plants, but it's more difficult to make this mistake with small plants. I never found pea gravel “easy to maintain” – it ends up going all over the place.


  4. Swimray,Even when I'm planting things too close together, I'm thinking that I should spread them apart more, but never do. It's a compulsion at this point. I really have to change my whole mindset about how to plant things. There must be a twelve-step program someplace. Her pea-gravel is contained between her brick edging and didn't seem to go all over the place, which I have seen in some friends' gardens.


  5. If you find the 12 step program, let me know. I should probably sign up.(I think the garden is gorgeous, and as for a chair, grab a folding teak chair that you can put right in the path… I mean, why not?)


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