Gardening Inspiration

My inspiration comes from many places; the masters of the gardening world, books, nature, floral design, art, and often the site itself.

The masters of the gardening world have earned unlimited budgets and large staffs that allow them to create stunningly beautiful landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see. Many of them can still give inspiration for smaller lots and smaller budgets. One of my favorite designers is Piet Oudolf. He uses large sweeps of colour, and creates the visual of a meadow. Even though he generally gardens in Europe; he uses many plants that thrive in Calgary, such as Nepeta and Echinacea species.

My favorite book for inspiration is called Plot, by Meredith Kirton. She looks at famous gardens from all over the world, and from ancient times to modern. Then she explains the elements of designing a garden in terms of designing an indoor room, with walls, floor coverings, windows and more. My favorite floor covering would have to be creeping thyme. With varieties from 1 inch tall to 6 inches tall, and many different colours and textures, I can create a tapestry worthy of a Persian rug.

Nature is constantly an inspiration to me.  I grew up at the edge of a forest, overlooking a river and the mountains, with hardly any manmade elements in sight. Mother nature is the best lighting architect, with shafts of light highlighting flowers on the forest floor, or the sparkle of stones in a waterfall. When I install a waterfall, I move rocks around until I get the quality of sound that Mother nature would be proud of.

Wedding bouquet I was a floral designer for several years before I became a professional gardener, and I still use many of the skills I learned in the floral industry when I create gardens. I was taught the importance of depth, texture, and colour, and I was able to play with those elements on a small and immediate scale.

Art can inspire me simply by colour or mood.  Claude Monet’s paintings have a soft feel that makes me think of late summer; enjoying a beautiful garden as the sun goes down and colours become less distinct.

The reality of a garden site is not the same as it appears on paper.  There are borrowed views from neighbouring properties, both pleasing and unpleasant, and there are unique topographical characteristics that can serve as inspiration. My best friend is a garden hose, in which I can create beautiful sweeping curves that I rework and redesign as I observe them from as many places as possible. City lots can appear very grand when elements from the adjacent lots are used and repeated.

Posted Monday, April 4th, 2011 under Gardening ideas.

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