A Tale of Two Sustainable Gardens
Interested in making your garden sustainable but don't quite know how to do it? Take some tips from two experts who practice what they preach right in their own backyards.
Using varied planting in sustainable gardens need not make them chaotic. One way to keep planting and other elements in some order is to define your garden's structure when planning you garden, and stick to it closely when installing your vision. The examples shown here are held together with well-defined lines and shapes. They also include water, which provides an important wildlife habitat, and permeable hard-landscaping surfaces.
The Fresh Beauty of Varied Greens
This small garden sits on a north-facing slope.
Professor of horticulture and designer-owner Dunnett says:
"I wanted to create a woodland glade, with closely planted birch forming a light canopy and linking with the surrounding countryside. Clipped hornbeam hedges provide enclosure and structure alongside softer successional planting."
"Perennials form a dense groundcover, almost eliminating the need for weeding. The planting is 50 percent natives and 50 percent cultivated garden plants — together they give almost year-round color."
"The shed dictated the layout, but I like to work with compartments, which create a sense of discovery. The pond is filled with run-off from the paved surfaces — the bridge and the water have been a huge success."
Marsh spurge(image 1); Wood cranesbill (image 2); Woodbine honeysuckle (image 3); Green roof (image 4)
Burning bush (image 1); Purple lance astilbe (image 2); Marsh marigold> (image 3); Sweet flag(image 4)
Work in Progress
This sustainable garden in Westphalia, Germany is modest in size, but it includes a rich range of planting — ornamental and native species, selected for interest and their ability to thrive as good neighbors, are intermingled. A system of pathways provides easy access to them.
Barton, who first developed the garden with his wife years ago and continues to work on it today, says:
"In its early days, this was a family garden, but since our children left home it has evolved into something else."
"We develop areas as we gain new ideas, but the basic layout of the garden, as a series of "rooms," remains the same. We have structured the spaces with beech and box hedges, or with fences; and have created a range of small, informal seating areas to provide different views across the garden. In the main, we use perennials and shrubs, with some annuals added as necessary."
"For inspiration, we visit gardens, often in the Netherlands and southern England. However, we were originally inspired by a visit to a small private garden in Germany, the owner of which was the president of a local society, the Gesellschaft der Staudenfreunde, of perennial enthusiasts."
White water lilies (image 1); Siberian iris (image 2); European Beech (image 3)
Angelica (image 1); European hornbeam (image 2); Ragged robin
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Master gardener Paul James explains how to tame the most rampant runner, invasive bamboo.
Mrs. James' Favorite Plant
This "overgrown daisy" gets a place of honor on Paul James' patio.
Q&A: Potted Orange Tree Sheds Fruit
Find out why the fruit may be falling off early.
Landscaping With Flowers
Learn how to liven up your outdoor grass space with these tips for adding colorful flowers to your landscape.
Save money on fresh-cut flowers by growing your own bouquet garden.
Maintaining Your Herbs
Herbs are generally quite robust plants but appreciate a little attention. Leaving them to do their own thing is tempting, but many can get carried away if untended and spread themselves everywhere, so maintaining them is essential.
Planting herbs you regularly use for cooking is fresh and a great way to always have them on hand.
Feature Foliage in Leaf-Centered Gardens
Flowers aren't the only dazzlers available for design. Foliage has flair all its own, especially in tropical climates. Learn how to combine leaf shapes, heights, colors and textures for dramatic effect.
Firebush, Scarlet Bush
This evergreen shrub works well in a perennial border or in a butterfly garden.
How to Plant Blueberry Pots
These berries are regarded as superfoods because they're high in vitamins and antioxidants. Here's how to grow blueberries in containers.
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