Last week I stopped by one of my favorite retail nurseries, Orchard Nursery in Lafayette, to pick up some bulbs. Of course, I’m always looking for inspiration so made sure I had time for a quick tour. Here’s what I found:
If you’re a fan of both Japanese Maples and fall color, now is the best time for those of us in mild weather climates to choose a tree. For my money, the stand-out cultivar for brilliant red foliage is Acer palmatum ‘Tobiosho.’
Are you ready for a change from the American lawn as we know it? John Greenlee’sThe American Meadow Garden, Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn, is inspiration for designers and homeowners alike, especially in California. An experienced nurseryman, award winning horticulturalist and designer, John provides a detailed guide for the reinvention of sod lawns that includes site preparation, plant selection, installation, maintenance and how species and cultivars perform in different climate zones. The design focus is supported with stunning Saxon Holt photographs of mature meadow gardens both public and private that demonstrate John’s principles of an American Meadow Garden
Let me begin by saying that the title of this post is not meant to insult the razor sharp intelligence of the average Blue Planet Blog visitor – because, dear reader, you are far from average – but rather is a nod to my own amateur status in the art of feng shui.
My first encounters with garden feng shui happened when potential clients scheduled consultations with me after first meeting with a feng shui practitioner. Inevitably, they had been given suggestions about what to include in the garden and where things should be placed with little thought given to views, neighbors, circulation, scale, etc. Suffice to say, this did not make me a feng shui fan, but it did convince me I needed to understand it well enough to work with clients who are.
After much research, I discovered a plant-centric approach to feng shui that I continue to incorporate into my designs. My guiding principle is simple – rely on plants and other traditional garden features like terra cotta and wood to ensure all five elements of feng shui exist within the garden. My aha moment came from reading the books of Gill Hale (many of which are sadly out of print), which showed me that each element can be represented literally or symbolically via a plant’s shape or color. This chart demonstrates the Creative Cycle, which occurs when all five elements are both present and balanced by supporting elements (those on either side of it on the Creative Cycle).