Monday, August 26, 2013

Garden Designers' Roundtable: Bold

Canna spp.

Has your garden become the only place where you feel safe to express yourself, to vent, to let go of social norms and do a bit of visual screaming?

I hear you.

Use your voice to create something powerful and beautiful — not just noise.  Create bold notes in the landscape to develop focal points that can lead the eye through the space and unify it, too.

Two simple ideas to employ when you want to be bold:  big and bright.

A big object is a bold presence that demands our attention, whether it's the overall plant size (relative to it's surroundings), flowers, foliage, or an in-organic item that's been introduced to the landscape:

Hibiscus spp.
plume grass, Erianthus ravennae
giant silver mullein, Verbascum bombyciferum
an eight foot tall bronze sculpture by Kevin Robb

A bright object catches the eye and is easy to see in a world of green.  Think red, yellow, and white — the colors most easily discerned by the human eye, even in low light:
Bold red tulips in Spring demand that we "Wake up, already!" and leave Winter blah behind.
Acid yellow flowers and foliage is are not to be ignored. Design by DBG.
white glows even on a cloudy day
This brilliant blue hue, unusual in nature, demands our attention. Design by Carol Hines.

Big AND bright?  Powerful stuff:
purple smoke tree, Cotinus coggygria and Achillea at Denver Botanic Gardens
Canna and kale
Hesperalo parviflora. at Kendrick Lakes. Design by Greg Foreman
Cranbe cordifolia

big swaths of bright perennial flowers in the trial gardens at Colorado State University
holiday light extravaganza at Denver Botanic Gardens

Dare to be bold — you may find a voice that you never knew you had.

For more inspiration on the bold landscape, click through the links below:
Garden Designers' Roundtable


LostRoses said...

Some bold photos! And have you seen how boldly Aspen Grove shopping center is using HUGE hibiscus in their plantings? Stunning, as are your photos.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Thanks, LR, for the tip on Aspen Grove. I think Hibiscus are doing especially well this summer thanks to our wet spring and summer! Glad you enjoyed the photos.

Robert Webber said...

Great pics and great on the how?
The bridge!
Thanks so much.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Thnaks, Robert --- yes, that bridge was a stunner, I can't wait to see what they come up with this year!

Anonymous said...

"Voice to create something powerful and beautiful — not just noise" said it all! I think noise is what some bold gardens create, trendy nice to see some simple plant elements that stand the test of time!

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Agreed, David --- bold does not preclude elegant!

Debbie said...

Jocelyn, What incredible photos. The foliage of the silver mullein looks like it's glowing from within. I tend to like my bold a little understated so the yellow foliage really appeals to me. As do the white and, while not at all understated, the smoke bush is amazing.