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Gardening design challenge: The triangle

This photograph doesn't show what's "really there" -- or else it does -- because the iPad's low-resolution, wide-angle lens -- shows a lot more driveway and problem area than is "really there." Either that, or my eyes, and possibly my heart, are focusing on the beautiful parts and helpfully airbrushing the ugly bits away. Anyhow:

One thing I've kinda sort learned how to do this year is think in three and even four dimensions about flower gardens. (There is probably also three dimensional thinking to be done about vegetables and trees, but other than growing Scarlet Runners up the remaining Evil Norway Maple, I haven't done that thinking yet.) The result has been to create vistas instead of beds. (I can't claim any credit for thinking this way; rather, I did the planting and only later figured out what I had been doing. That happens a lot to me in gardening, and I like good outcomes that don't necessarily come from perfect information at project start. "Oh, so that's what I was thinking!" There's also probably a book, or even a thought collective or two, that has terminology for this material, but if there is, I don't know about it. Readers?)

From the photo, you can see there are three possible vistas, determined by pedestrian walkways: The sidewalk, the driveway, and the stone dust path that I built earlier this summer. These three vistas form the triangle of the post title.

You can also see that the plants -- there are 11 kinds, but there are many more that aren't labeled, starting with clover under the zinnias -- are divided into two categories: High (green) and low (blue). You will also see that from two of the vistas, the sidewalk and the driveway, the high plants, being placed more toward the middle of the triangle, are behind the low plants, which are placed more toward the edges.

This arrangement inherently creates a tiny, dynamic drama for the pedestrian, in that, just as from a moving car, objects on the horizon appear move slowly if at all, and nearby objects quite rapidly, the filberts and the geraniums (say), which are high and farther away, appear stationary with respect to the zinnias, which are low and close -- with respect to a pedestrian on the sidewalk.

UPDATE The vista concept includes the dimension of time because it considers the pedestrian in motion. But the time is very short. I had in mind seasonal time, where some plants cycle early, some later, some still later.

I'm sure there are less clumsy ways to express this, but I have to catch a bus to my eye doctor.

So quick question:

Look at that hideous problem area, full of weeds (unwanted plants). What should I do with it?

triangle.jpg212.12 KB
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jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

"Oh, so that's what I was thinking

It's really called Luck, sometimes it happens and some times ---------

When my neighbor helps me with a project I just tell him I had this vision and this what I saw. He just looks at me like WTF have ever done to you. You are right about being able to see things differently and being from the trades it's something that really good trades people have.

Why not bring the pathway all the way to the driveway, then fill in the Heart with a couple of flowering ground covers of different colors.

That's all I got. I finished splitting wood and now I need to plant the greenhouse and clean/plant the garden for winter.

Submitted by lambert on

1. Can't bring the path to the driveway because of plowing in the winter but

2. ZOMG!! A heart! Talk about not seeing what's there... I wouldn't want to do like a "floral heart" with a crude outline (say, in pink) but I could definitely do that shape subtly. What a brilliant idea.

I think if I sheet mulched a nice array of something or other that would work better than ground cover. Or ground cover with other things, that build a vista. I keep promising myself an herb garden but I always let the basil bolt.

Submitted by hipparchia on

I keep promising myself an herb garden but I always let the basil bolt.

I let all mine bolt this summer too. i'm hoping they all self-seed and I have herbs growing like weeds there next year.

you can plant your herb garden and let them all flower and go to seed, if you want to. many of them make lovely flowers, and even attract bees that make good-tasting honey from the herbs. you don't actually have to take care of it as an herb garden for eating if you don't want to.

yeah, I saw the heart too. you also don't have to keep the heart shape if you don't want to.

Submitted by lambert on

So perhaps an herb garden that is not a kitchen garden would work nicely, and would also solve the ground cover problem. I wonder if there are flowers -- perhaps like peonies, of middle height -- that would be good companion plants for the herbs.

I like the heart, and long as it's not a flaming heart of Jeebus, or something. If the shape is subtly woven into the landscape, I think that will be fine.

Submitted by hipparchia on

long as it's not a flaming heart of Jeebus, or something

lol! that made my day.

there are a gazillion things on the web about companion planting. most of them tell you what herbs and flowers to grow alongside your vegetables, but every once in a while you'll find suggestions for which flowers and herbs to plant together. I have a book on companion planting that I found at a garage sale years ago and it has a section for herbs and flowers together, so check out garage sales for books!

also, some herbs that are pretty as flowers:

Submitted by lambert on

I think the challenging thing is figuring out the border. I don't want to make it out of bricks. Or begonias or something. It was to be subtle, but also not able to be overgrown by weeds. Perhaps merely the sheet mulch outline itself, although I like my sheet mulch to have a border.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

A mix of grasses (tall).

Peony bushes (fuschia, pink and white).

I'm gardening vicariously ... what fun!