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A Gardening Life – June 25

Everyone has them. There are always places in the yard and garden that aren’t finished, are rough and funky, or are simply less than appealing. Sometimes we fence them off and other times we place plants in front of them. Consider, however, that totally screening such areas isn’t always necessary. Occasionally if we place one thing in front of the problem space it will stop the eye from roaming further.

On the side of our house there was an outdoor shower that my husband and I have never used. While it’s true that showering under an open sky is a treat, this space was small and not really very private. We’ve never gotten into the habit of using it so we’ve removed the walls and the pipes but the concrete pad and drain remain. A large, potted bay tree sits here, but this alone doesn’t make the square flooring look completely purposeful. So this year I decided to stop the eye with a planter filled with annuals.

The plants in this container haven’t filled out much yet but already I find myself looking at these flowers instead of at the old shower. Mission accomplished.

Sharing the Wealth
Stopping the Eye

  • Make sure the object or plant that you’re using as a distraction is large enough. If you have a pot that isn’t large, place it on a stand or include it in a wheelbarrow or another suitable way to display the container.
  • When using a plant to stop the eye look for something that is unusual in form, color or texture. This is particularly important if there are other green plants in the area. ‘Summer Wine’ Physocarpus, Aralia ‘Sun King’, or plants that are variegated come to mind as useful, eye-stopping selections.
  • Plant stands intended for indoors can be used as a focal point throughout the garden. Some may rust but this often adds to their charm.
  • Unexpected objects or an arrangement of things can be useful when spaces are too tight and narrow for a plant. Small vines can be grown up and around such objects…the Summer Shandy Hops vine is perfect when a smaller vine is needed.
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