Monthly Archives: April 2010

Amelanchier Trees Help the Design Challenge

This spiral garden that I designed a number of years ago has 3 Amelanchier trees in it.  They are the white foamy flowering trees in the photos.  A design challenge of this design was to integrate a created garden along the back woodland tree edge.  How do you do it so that you don’t have a line of tiny plants and then tall 80′ trees behind them?  The Amelanchier trees, or Shadblow or Serviceberry trees, are considered understory trees.  They grow to about 20′ tall and in this design help to graduate the height of the big trees down to the shorter plants in the garden.  They are that middle level of height – the glue between the woods and the shorter garden plants. Continue reading

Solution to Weeping Cherry Post

weeping cherry gone wrongWhat you see here is two different plants expressing themselves. The roots and trunk of this Cherry tree is a generic “Cherry tree” – used for its vigorous roots and straight trunk. To the side of the tree is a piece of Weeping Cherry tree that was grafted onto the bottom. This is how a Weeping Cherry is created. Most Weeping Cherries do not grow with their own roots – they are carefully spliced to the vigorous root stock. Think about the younger Weeping Cherry trees that you see around town – they often look like umbrellas with a bone straight trunk and weeping poof on the top. Two plants stuck together. Continue reading

Southern Spain – Container Pots

Contributed by Christie Dustman

As someone who has an aversion to watering plants in pots, I have to hand it to the Spanish with their plants in clay pots.  Check out the use of clay pots in these photos.  Why keep them on the ground when you can hang them on the wall?  Just like polka dots!  As I mentioned in my first post about Spain, the inner courtyards of Spanish houses are usually tiled and don’t have extensive planting beds in the ground.  So to bring in the refreshing greenery of plants, you see many plants in pots.

Geranium Polka Dots

And instead of paintings on the walls, you see plants in pots and painted plates hanging.  Bright colors highlighted against the whitewashed walls.  How fun!

Fascinating view of potted plants


SOUTHERN SPAIN – come visit with me

Welcome to Southern Spain – and the famous Alhambra.  I visited in March this year while on a biking tour.  The Alhambra is a city on a hill within Granada and is surrounded by a wall.  It houses one of the best preserved Moorish palaces in Spain and its gardens are renowned.  The mix of rectangles and arches lends a design complexity that is dynamic yet soothing. And the use of water in many forms adds vitality and coolness in an area that reaches 110 F in the summer.

As a lover of mixing angles and curves in my designs, I fell in love with all the arches and columns, especially the way they frame views and pique excitement as your view changes dramatically going from one garden room to another.  It reminded me of the Japanese use of gates to frame garden views.  But here, the emphasis is more on paved surfaces, tiles, water features and not verdant greenery.  Check out my next post about the use of flower pots!