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Report From PIA – July 5

When I talk about garden design and what makes a “Wow! Garden”, I speak about using elements that complement and contrast with each other. The photo below is a good example. Shades of yellow are repeated in the Spirea ‘Ogon’ shrub in back, the daylilies on the right, (‘Carolyn Criswell’) and the ‘Crème Brulee’ Coreopsis on the bottom left.

The ‘Hall’s Pink’ daylily on the left, the Heuchera ‘Pinot Gris’ on the right, and the ‘Grace’ smoke bush in the back repeat coral hues. Contrast comes from the difference between the fine foliage and flowers (the Spirea, Heuchera blossoms etc) and larger ones (dayliliy blooms and round Heuchera leaves.) Additionally, some of these plants are round and others are upright and thin.

Whether we’re planting a garden or cultivating a life, we’re constantly making decisions about what we want to grow. Looking at those things that complement and contrast can give us direction about what to add to our various landscapes.

No one wants a life that is single faceted, for example… I love gardens, but if my work, leisure time and volunteer efforts revolved solely around plants it would get a little tiresome. Every life needs some contrast.

By the same token, it’s nice to have some aspects of our lives complement other things we do so that there is some continuity. If your church involvement is completely separate from your work, hobbies and other activities, perhaps it would be satisfying to explore ways to bring some of your other talents into that spiritual community.

It can be instructive to think about all that we design – gardens, relationships, activities and communities – in terms of complements and contrasts.

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