Saturday, June 7, 2014

Create a Moon Garden

Monochromatic Garden Scheme

One of the simplest color schemes for your garden is the monochromatic scheme. This scheme is composed around one color. You may ask, Won't a garden with just one color be boring?  A well planned monochromatic garden can be cooling, refined, imaginative, straightforward, calming, hot, delicate or lively… will never be boring. Keep in mind, a one color scheme can incorporate numerous shades, tints and tones of that single color. The possibilities are unlimited. A solitary color scheme liberates you so you can focus on form and texture. Height, Shape and foliage composition are more noticeable, and subsequently, they become substantially more important in a monochromatic scheme. Combining imaginative form, texture, and design with subtleness of a monochromatic color scheme can bring about an extremely sophisticated effect. Another plus of the monochromatic color scheme its that it creates a felling of spaciousness, since it's not hindered or broken by an alternate color. Therefore, it's a fantastic scheme for a smaller garden. A solitary color does NOT suggest a solitary flower. Besides annuals and perennials, consider bushes, trees and vines that will "upgrade" your solitary color plan with their blossoms, foliage, bark and buds. Here are a few simple guidelines for a rewarding monochromatic garden.

The crimson tones in the coleus and impatiens are dazzling in this monochromatic planting.

Simple Guidelines for a Rewarding Monochromatic Garden

1. Use numerous tints, shades and tones of a single color.
2. Use the entire color line of a single color.
3. Remember less is more.
5. Pay attention to the deviations of a solitary color and integrate them in your scheme for captivation.
6. Texture and repetition help characterize the garden. Redundancy likewise brings together a garden blueprint.
7. To clearly define color masses pay special attention to height variations.
8. To add enthusiasm to the monochromatic garden pay attention to form.
9. To move from one shade to the next utilize the green foliage.
10. Use plant groupings of distinctive sizes, contingent upon the darkness or lightness of your solitary color.   Plan your plantings of various shapes and sizes around the lightness or darkness of the color. To gain a satisfactory visual expression, plant a greater amount of the lighter color plants than darker ones.
11. Increase the number of plants in each group by 1/3 as the shade of your color becomes lighter. As an example, for a pink color scheme you could utilize nine light pink plants, six red/pinkish plants and three burgundy plants.

To complete your monochromatic garden, don’t overlook architectural elements. For a more completed look you can include color-coordinated hardscaping. Use shades of your color on structures for fascinating impacts. Fences, arbors, benches, structures and ornaments dont always need to be a dull brown or grey.  Bold window boxes and painted pots an supplement your plantings. A vividly painted birdhouse, a bright blue bench or even a purple doghouse can make monochromatic garden come alive.


My favorite monochromatic garden scheme is a moon garden. A moon garden is the ideal spot to prop up your feet at the end of a hectic day. The garden is a retreat, loaded with soothing sounds, fragrant aromas of blooms and moonlit magnificence. A well-planed moon garden conveys stillness and tranquility. As the daylight ends and nightfall descends, take a bit of time to relax. Invest that time in a garden that is elevating and moving, rather than before the TV. Making a moon garden incorporates serenity into your landscape, and its simpler than you might suspect.

To create a moon garden that overflows with tranquility, begin with a prime area, not a huge size. Without a doubt, the garden ought to be large enough to incorporate a couple of the fundamental components, however it needn't be intimidating to make or keep up. More modest, more personal gardens regularly lend themselves to unwinding. They encompass you and focus your senses more than wide, open spaces.

    1. White blossoms are the hallmark of any moon garden
    2. Silver foliage lighten up the moon garden and glow in the moonlight
    3. A fountain adds soothing and jovial sounds of moving water.
    4. Candles or low lights add to the mystic of a moon garden
    5. Mirrored balls can reflect the low light and add interest.
    6. A few colored accents are welcomed and add interest during the day. Too many colors become muddy at night
    7. Mosquitoes are attracted to moon gardens also so take precautions. 
    8. Bat houses or ponds stocked with goldfish can help with insect control.

Plant the fundamental part of the garden around a living space, then utilize a percentage of the same plants out farther into the outlying areas to make the garden appear to subside into the night, giving a greater feeling of space and softening the garden directly into the night. Placing your moon garden at the end of a delicately lit path will incorporate the journey into the gardens character.  In order to make your moon garden a peaceful oasis, privacy will be a significant factor in the placement of the garden.

Regardless of the size and area of your moon garden, there are a handful of key segments that assume important roles in making your evening sanctum. A garden is physically constructed of plants and blossoms, yet a moon garden is portrayed by its climate, as well. The center of your garden is its soul, its tone and the mind-set its intended to conjure. Basically, the right sorts of plants and blooms, mixed with the finest trimmings, can mold a garden to both stir your senses and settle your spirit.

Foliage Plants

Foliage plants are the backbone of any garden, creating a backdrop for flowering plants. In a moon garden foliage plants have their own characteristics, this is especially true when using variegated foliage plants. To naturally lighten up the moon garden use foliage plants with white and cream colored leaves that will reflect the moonlight beautifully.

I like to start with a handful of Dappled Willow trees. They lend height to the moon garden and are used to define the area of the garden. I then add a few dwarf conifers to extend the backdrop for the lighter-shaded flowers and to keep interest during the winter. If you have a larger space regular conifers can be used for the same effect. Woody plants will establish a foundation for your moon garden, so choose them carefully. Don’t go overboard, remember more is not always better.

Dappled willow trees and shrubs will grow well in full sun, part sun or part shade.  Best color is produced in full sun.

Now that we have a foundation for our moon garden and the perimeter has been established  we can add a natural privacy fence for a more intimate garden. I like to create my fence using a mixture of grasses like: Blue Fescue, Panicum Heavy Metal and Blue Oat Grass

To complete the foundation of the moon garden add a few grayish-blue accents by adding perennials like: false indigo, lamb’s ears and sea holly. Not only will these plants lighten the moon garden up, they will also give it compelling textural notes with their upright, spiny and soft foliages.


Now the fun begins, creating the heart and soul of your moon garden. Choosing flowers for your moon garden is like throwing an exclusive party with a members only guest list. White and cream-colored flowers like: white oriental lilies, angel’s trumpet and moonflowers, sparkle in the twilight. Coupled with their delicious nighttime fragrance they are a must have for any moon garden.

Moonflowers only bloom at night. their fragrance is full and delightful.

Mix annuals that have sheer blooming power with perennials that have longevity. Including non-fragrant perennials and annuals like: Gaura, white coneflowers, garden phlox, sweet alyssum and Shasta daisies, will keep the moon garden from overpowering the senses and allow it to have interest during the daytime hours.

Mixing typical gray-foliaged plants, with simple day-blooming white flowers, and blossoms with a true nocturnal nature, the ghostlike paleness of blooms and leaves and the mystical buzzing and floating of the nighttime moths can be enjoyed together. The entire moon garden can be coordinated to showcase the extraordinary magnificence of plants in cool, blue lunar light.

Garden Furniture

You will need a reflective area to relax in order to utilize your moon garden for solace. The furniture placed in your moon garden ought to be inviting to you and your visitors. Overstuffed weatherproof chairs will allow you to sink down into luxury. A hand carved wooden bench will give a more natural feel to the moon garden.  Alternately, you may need to include a sprinkle of pale shades by adding some painted patio furniture to draw the eye. Whatever you choose, make sure it is comfortable and agrees with your homes style. A foot stool, a chaise or even a bistro table for wine glasses isn’t a bad idea either.


You could install an in-ground water feature for the moon garden to add the soothing and jovial sounds of moving water. However, a standing fountain will provide the same traits at half the cost. Never buy a fountain without being able to hear it first. Noisy motors aren’t attractive and you will have to decide if you want a babbling sound or a trickling one. Hide the fountain in the foliage plants so it doesn’t become a prominent focal point and make sure you bury the cord in conduit to avoid accidents in the dark. Wind chimes can be used as an alternative to a fountain. Deep hollow bamboo tones or clean, crisp metal notes are great choices.


Placing a chimnea or fire pit in the center of your moon garden’s sitting area allows you to enjoy the garden year round. On cold night it will warm the toes as you sip warm beverages to warm your insides. For a bit of romance and subtleness you can incorporate hanging candle chandeliers, votives, or candelabras all of which will look alluring in the dusk.

Under the moon, a garden communicates its magnificence through the cadenced of light and shade in its reflecting surfaces.  Some will enjoy it in silent seclusion while others in jovial jubilation. However you enjoy yours, a moon garden is a place where life’s treasures can be cherished and revealed.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Bring Your Garden Alive With Color

Everywhere you go there is color. Even people are color blends: the colors in our hair, eyes and even our skin establishes our unique image. The fashion industry has whole market built on whether you are a spring, summer, autumn or winter person. It's all about what colors compliment your physical color blend. Color defines us as individuals, you can't be gothic if you dressed in pink. Colors can even influence our emotions.

The Color Wheel

Gardeners are artists, our plants are our color palette, our rakes, hoes and shovels are our brushes and the landscape is our canvas. In order to create a masterpiece with our garden we must first expand our knowledge on color. Color in a garden is the thing that most individuals first perceive. An extraordinary garden is outlined around a consolidation of colors and tints. A ton of practice, some experimentation, in addition to a little training will help us develop our mastery of color in the garden. Since color plays such a vital role in our garden blueprints I am going to devote an entire week on the subject. Throughout this week I will show you how to plant several different color schemes (i.e. Polychromatic, Monochromatic, Triadic etc.). Yet before we do that we must gain an understanding of what color is and how it works. In order to do that we need to study the color wheel.
The color wheel is an essential tool for consolidating colors. The first circular color graph was composed by Sir Isaac Newton in the seventeenth century when he initially utilized a prism to part daylight into colors.
The color wheel begins with the three primary colors: red, blue and yellow. These three fundamental colors join to make all different colors. In order to get our three secondary colors we must blend our primary colors: Orange (red+yellow), green (blue+yellow) and purple (blue+red). Past these, six tertiary colors are prepared through mixtures of the primary and secondary colors. Most color wheels hold just these twelve colors, despite the fact that in actuality there are an unending number. These colors are arranged on the wheel by their connections to one another, the color progression is arranged by how the colors appear in the spectrum. The color wheel can also be broken down into warm and cool colors. To do this, draw a line between yellow/green and red/violet so that you divide the wheel in half. On the right half of the wheel will be your cool colors - blues, purples and greens. On the left your warm colors - reds, yellows and oranges. 

Warm Colors

There's an artistry to utilizing color as a part of the blueprint so it glimmers and serenades us, particularly when utilizing warm colors. Warm colors give sentiments of security and serenity, and can pass on the extremes of passion, enthusiasm and energy. Warm colors demand attention of not only themselves but anything adjacent to them. Reds and yellows are an excellent choice for centering attention on a garden focal point, or as a border along steps and other places where caution may be needed. As individuals enter your home, you may want an atmosphere of exhilaration. Bold colors like yellow, orange and red help make that inclination.

Choose and place your warm colors carefully as they can be overwhelming to the senses. If too many warm colors are used, the result might be turbulent, inducing a visual migraine on your garden's visitors. This could be further muddled by utilizing warm colors that clash, bringing about a used car salesman color scheme. You know, the striped pants with a Hawaiian shirt topped off with a plaid jacket. You simply must shield your eyes from this visual overload! As per color experts, this isn't simply a matter of taste. Evidently, our brains have an inborn aversion of too many contrasts at the same time.

Complement your warm colors with a backdrop of green, brown or gray.
The Canna lilies against the dark green hedge are dazzling.
A rule of thumb is to have around 10 to 15 percent of truly warm or hot colors in your garden blueprint. Remember, the principle color of gardens is green, a cool color. Most cool colors in the garden hail from foliage, yards and leaves of trees, bushes and plants, which structure the "foundation of our canvas." Warm colors have a progressive quality to them, making them appear to be closer than they truly are. Use them to attract attention to the areas of your garden you want to be predominant. Cool colors have a tendency to subside so utilize them to make parts of the garden appear to be more distant or less obvious. To make a flower bed look bigger, put warm colors in front and cool colors in back.

Colors that are exceedingly hot should be isolated by elevation, or beside a structure or hedge. If your garden is small, restrict yourself to a few colors, however, if your garden is large then be bold with your color choices. Use breathtaking warm colored blooms such as: Sunflowers, Black-eyed Susan, Crocosmia, just about any Cannas in yellow, pink or red, fields of Day lilies in yellow or red. Use warm colored plants that will bloom in the summer as this is when they are at their best. Pastels will look faded in full sun but warm colors will shine. For you container gardeners a splash of hot color can work for you too, to lighten up an entryway or to draw attention to a prominent area of your garden.

Cool Colors

A large portion of most garden blueprints will be comprised of foliage and grass which are generally cool colors. Cool colors inspire feelings of quietness, serenity and tranquility. Hence, for a meditation garden, purple and/or blue blooms would be a sensible option, especially when placed in front of a foundation of lush green. Ajuga „reptens‟ has beautiful whorls of tiny, blue-violet flowers on spikes rising above the foliage and thrives in shade or partial shade. In a sunny garden, Violas or Pansies would do well and they come in several different cool shades of blue, violet and purple.

Cool colored plants deliberately planted around a seating area makes a peaceful and serene spot to sit and visit or simply unwind. Essentially, blue and violet colored plants set around a fountain make us feel cool. Amidst a burning southern summer, this cool color respite is invigorating. Shaded zones of the garden might be lit up by utilizing cool-colored blossoms, for example, light pink or pale blues or even white. In the shade, darker colors have a tendency to get gobbled up unless they are encompassed by a lighter color to give contrast.  Blue is a retreating color and is one of the first to vanish at dusk, so plant blues in a hefty mass or with a divergent color to help it stay visible longer at night.

One of my most loved cool colored plant is the Hosta "Blue Angel‟ with its colossal, blue-green leaves and
bell shaped lavender blooms atop an erect, leafy, green scape. An, extremely cool plant!!
If your garden is small, you can manipulate the viewer's perception of it by utilizing cool colors. By planting cool colored plants towards the back you can make a little space seem bigger. To the human eye the back edge of the garden will seem to recede farther, giving the impression of a much larger garden. Cool color plants, for example, Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue', make an excellent foundation for warm colored blossoms, particularly when utilized within mass plantings. This fusion of cool and warm colors provides superb contrast making an eruption of dazzling color. There are numerous approaches to get cool in your garden. For a truly cool garden, get innovative and boost those cool colors! Keep in mind, there are no right answers, just numerous conceivable outcomes.

Tint, Shade and Tone

Before I end this post lets take a brief look at three words that are frequently used incorrectly: tint, shade and tone. These three terms are simple color concepts, yet when used with the color wheel can be quite powerful.

Tint is basically any color with white added.
Shade is basically any color with black added.
Tone is basically any color with grey (black and white makes grey) added. Tones are more pleasing to the human eye.

So now I hear you asking, Why do I need to know these terms, I can't change a plants color? Au contraire my friend you can. Consider this, you have a shade garden filled with dark succulents. While it may look nice on its own, by adding a few white plants to the garden you just transformed your succulents into soft, soothing plants by Tinting them. While there are not a lot of black plants you can still add Shade by using burgundy, wine, or maroon colored plants which will give your garden a deep, powerful and mysterious feel. Tone is the one we pay attention to the most in landscape design. Lets say you have some Echinacea Sombreros planted on top of a small knoll. If you cover the bottom of the knoll with something plain, like Mondo Grass, you are just accentuating the spicy red booms of the Echinacea causing it to become an eyesore rather than a focal point. However if you cover the bottom of the knoll with something like Dutch Clover then it's deep burgundy leaves and white flowers will Tone down the spiciness of the Echinacea and your garden will become more complex, subtle and sophisticated.

This bold garden has lots of energy, but the wine and white color combination
in the middle make it more subtle and complex.
Some color combinations draw attention while others create a sense of space and peace. Brilliant colors cause energy while cool colors are unwinding. It may sound complicated, but it's not. Remember you don't have to reinvent the wheel (pun intended)!

Landscape designers use certain color combinations on a regular basis because they work. So for the rest of the week I will show you how to use the color schemes to create varied effects in your garden blueprint. At the end of this week I will share with you a simple garden blueprint so you can have color in your garden year round.

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