You may be feeling a bit lost in the winter months without a garden to play in. But with the winter rain comes time cuddled up indoors planning your 2017 garden. We'll help you get inspired with our list of unique Garden Styles. (Check our blog next week for part 2)
English Garden - for the Tireless Inspiration Seeker
The original cottage gardens came from British laborers, who planted a functional mix of vegetables, herbs, and fruit interspersed with a few flowers to attract pollinators. During the end of the 19th century wealthier Brits started to idealize the cottage garden and created their own flower-filled versions, which have become the standard for today's cottage gardens.
This style has an emphasis on flowers and diversity, with less interest in layout except to ensure each plant receives its share of light and water. Use curved pathways in brick, tile, or stone to give a homey feel and let visitors explore. Classic enclosures include white picket, lattice, and arbor gates. Cottage gardens have a bit of a controlled chaos feel, with beds packed tightly with a mix of perennial and annual flowers along with vegetables, herbs, and foliage plants. The best part about the cottage garden is that there are very few rules, allowing you to fill it with the plants, flowers, scents, and colors you love.
Complete the look: with a wicker chair and an old rocking chair, a couple of antique wheelbarrows, and a birdhouse or two.
Zen Garden - for the Inner Peace-Seeking Gardener
Zen gardens focus on an intrinsic reverence for nature, which makes for a simple, easy to maintain garden that looks good all year.
Use large rocks and stones, river-rounded pebbles, and raked sand or gravel to create pathways and define "islands" of landscape among a sea. Use rough edges, rather than the straight lines, to more closely emulate nature. Plants of a Zen garden reflect the change of seasons, with azaleas and cherry blossoms in the spring, Japanese maples in the fall, and sculptural evergreens that look beautiful all year. Flowers are generally not included, but some carefully placed perennials can work as long as they don't detract the attention from the landscape. Nadina, conifers, bamboo, bonsai, Japanese maples, hostas, camellias, azaleas, and rhododendrons all work well with this style.
Complete the look: consider bamboo, pagoda lights, a Buddha statue, and even a tea ceremony basin.
A rain garden does not have a specific look, it is more a principal of landscape design that focuses on working with the natural flow of water. Plants in rain gardens are positioned near a runoff source like a downspout, driveway or sump pump to capture rainwater runoff and stop the water from reaching the sewer system.
On the next rainy day (most days for us right now!) go outside and look at the movement of the rainwater that falls on your property. Look at the flow of the water, where it pools and where it flows off your property to the sewer or local creeks. These are the locations where you want to plant your beds, bushes, or trees. The one rule for plants in Rain Gardens is choosing deep-rooted natives, as they are the sturdiest and will adapt easiest to the local climate and wildlife. An additional benefit of natives is that you can help with the survival of bees, butterflies, and local and migrating birds. These natural predators will, in turn, protect your garden from undesirable insect pests.
Complete the look: add several cozy, covered spots where you can be comfortable, while watching the rain fall.