Dear reader, If you are stumbling upon this post without first having visited the Garden Designers Roundtable blog , I encourage you to start there and read the back story behind this month’s GDRT topic. Thanks.
Since Amy, our homeowner, used to have a career as a floral designer, I decided to ‘design’ a garden full of plants she can use in her flower arrangements for her home. As I was thinking about the various plants to include, it became clear that a flower arranger’s garden needs more than just pretty flowers.
A flower arranger’s garden needs to have interesting foliage and branches, too. Both evergreen and deciduous shrubs should have a home in a flower arranger’s garden. When choosing shrubs and trees, think about branches for forcing flowers inside in late winter, or that have berries in the fall, or colorful foliage throughout the year and that respond well to pruning.
A few such shrubs that can be used in Amy’s garden include forsythia (Forsythia koreana ‘Kumson’), beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis ‘Dream Catcher’), Japanese maple (Acer shirasawanum ‘Full Moon’), grape holly (Mahonia), purple smokebush (Cotinus coggygria) , doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum tomentosum), holly (Ilex spp.), redtwig dogwood (Cornus sericea), and buttercup winterhazel (Corylopsis pauciflora).
More Than Just A Pretty Face
A flower arranger’s garden requires lots of the same flowers so the garden itself is not bare and uninteresting after the gardener has borrowed some of its treasures for arranging. That means planting in masses rather than one of this and one of that. It’s also important to plant complementary flowers that bloom at the same time.
Don’t forget to consider the neighbors, too. Plant flowers that will bloom during different seasons. As one flower is fading another should be coming into its glory. Annuals and bulbs, as well as herbs, are also an integral part of a flower arranger’s garden so they should be used to round out your flower palette.
Just a few of the flowers I would use in Amy’s garden include cleome, nasturtium, fennel, lady’s mantle, rose, black-eyed Susan, tulip, crocosmia, and daffodil.
Include some perennials primarily for their foliage. This can be especially important if your flower arranger’s garden has more shade than sun. A few foliage stars that will work well in Amy’s garden are brunnera, lambs ear, fern, hosta, lungwort and heuchera.
Other Design Considerations
Don’t forget to give some thought to your color scheme when you are deciding which flowers to include in your garden. When asked, Amy said she did not have any distinct color preferences (usually it’s easier to think in terms of colors you don’t like in the garden – for me it’s red). After a tour of her newly painted home, it was clear she prefers to surround herself with rich, earthy colors. So a garden filled with primarily cooler colors seemed to be the way to go. A splash or two of orange, her husband’s favorite color, was also included.
As you’re designing your flower arranger’s garden, don’t forget to think about the kind of flower arrangements you like to design. If you’re more into small and dainty designs you’ll want different plants than someone who prefers big and bold arrangements.
A big thanks to Amy for agreeing to let the Roundtable use her new home as our first actual design project. It was a special treat to meet her in person and get a tour of her home and garden. If you’re interested in learning more about the inside of Amy’s home, check out her blog, ABCD Design (she also shares great recipes too!).
Don’t forget to check in with my fellow Roundtablers have planned for Amy’s garden: