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Report From PIA – August 7

One of the challenges, and pleasures, of designing a garden is thinking of how we might use plants in an unexpected different way. Planting a climbing hydrangea as a groundcover instead of a climber, for example, or draping a weeping evergreen over a trellis more commonly covered with roses.

We might not want to do this to such an extent that the landscape looks odd, or contrived, but nevertheless it can be interesting to shake things up now and then. I am surprised at how difficult this can be for me…I think of myself as a creative person who has a good eye, but I can frequently stray toward the customary and before I know it my perennial or shrub border looks fairly predictable.

Yet I don’t want to place plants in a way that looks artificial or put-on. There needs to be some flow from planting to planting, and ultimately I’m aiming to create a garden, not avant-garde art.

We search for that combination of stability and shake-up in life as well, and here it can be just as tricky to do gracefully. When do we stick with the tried and true and how to know when it’s truly time to try something new?

Instead of the usual trellis with climbing roses, we planted thornless blackberries on the side of the shed.


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