The garden in black and white

a good combination

This shade garden has both shape AND a lovely pallet.

Designing a Colorado Garden.

Recently, I read an RSS feed from Horticulture magazine suggesting gardeners should design in black and white.  Instantly my mind went to white flowers next to dark luxurious leaves and my new favorite flower the ‘Nigra’ hollyhock with its dark hues.  I was quite excited to see just what would appear in the weekly tips section of  Horticulture magazine’s website, only to find a whole different subject.

To better see what may be lacking or in my case crowding a view, take pictures of your garden in black and white.

What seemed a nice jumble in color, actually shows that my garden has very little depth or interest.  Many of the plants I imagined would be striking as pairs, really have the same texture in black and white.  Thinking leaf color was different enough to strike a contrast, really doesn’t appear so in the black and white photo.

the garden in black and white

Here you can see the only highlights are rocks in front

 

The black and white view also really points out something I already know, I must keep editing.   Some of the plants have great shape, but their borders cannot be defined.  Take the gold flame spirea on the farthest right side, its shape cannot be determined due to the mass of various plants to its left.

The other thing to note is the garden as its grown over the years.  In photo 2 the day lillies were lovely little specimens, and the peony in the back had a great presence.  Over a few years the peony has gotten lost among the other plants.

 

The young garden

photo 2. The young garden with more shape.

 

So I now have some take aways for re-evaluating the garden and making it better.

  1. Give plants with shape more room to show it off.
  2. Clear some space so you can see behind the garden in some areas.
  3. Remove plants up front that are larger than they should be for the spot they are in.  – daylily.
  4. Remove the rose bush that has outgrown its space and does not provide a good shape.

 

For inspiration, I found the following pictures on the internet, and what struck me most was even though in color they are quite gorgeous, in black and white they are striking.

nicely shaped

A garden that shows off shapes

 

perky pallet

Perky pallet

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About Jenny Burris

An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.