Ricochet News

Changing our gardening style

Sep 6, 2017
Changing our gardening style

Gone are the days of having large English country or lush tropical gardens, or the services of full-time gardeners. Our lifestyles and climate change are the two main reasons we have to address our gardening style. We are time poor, experiencing increasing droughts, and need to be able to care for our gardens ourselves – but what to do?

Mimi Rupp, a respected garden designer and champion of water wise gardens, has some advice when changing your garden style. She says “Gardens today are sleek and stylish, yet sustainable and water-smart. In the US they’re calling it ‘New Age Minimalist’. NAM gardens show off pared-down plantings that emulate art, or Chanel’s classic LBD.”

Here are some suggestions to spark some creativity in your garden:

  • Each detail in the new style of garden is designed to be savored. Use vivid wall colours to act as backdrops for sculptural plants, such as this trio of Aloe Ferox with its ‘candlelabra’ form, with a pair of Echinocactus Grusonii (golden barrel cactus) for textural contrast
  • Imagine a pair of Pachypodium Lamerii (Madagascar Bottle Tree) which fan out in front of a mustard-colored wall where they create the illusion of a giant abstract painting. Later, when bright green leaves sprout along the stems and white flowers appear, the golden background will make those colours pop. Add up-lighting for a bit of drama at night
  • Though succulents are static plants, through the use of clever planting, you can create a mesmerising effect. Imagine tiny rosettes of mixed Echeveria, and lime-green Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, widely spaced and surrounded by pebble mulch. They would look like anemones on the sea bed, and a reedy Chondropetalum tectorum, could play the role of kelp, moving in the breeze

  • Perch Tillandsia (air plants) on a tree branch with rosettes firmly attached to tails of Spanish moss (another type of tillandsia) that are draped over the branch so they move in the breeze

  • Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria), which is normally a houseplant but can be grown outdoors where winters are mild, to beautifully fill narrow borders

  • Picture the cool glamour of blue fescue and silver puya as they shimmer in a sunny border. Use companions like Phormium ‘Amazing Red’ and thread-leaf nandina (N. domestica ‘Filamentosa’) with a brushed stainless steel screen behind to contribute some additional glamour