Dream­ing: Ideas to in­spire

Ontario Gardener Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Win­ter’s white won­der­land cer­tainly is beau­ti­ful, but if you are long­ing for green, why not start dream­ing? With no daily gar­den­ing de­mands to consume your time spend it plan­ning out pro­jects for the up­com­ing gar­den­ing sea­son. Take note of what worked and what didn’t last year, per­haps there is an area of the yard that you want to ren­o­vate? Maybe you’ve been dream­ing of putting in a pond, won­der­ing what to do to break up some empty space, or have de­cided to add more con­tainer plant­ings this year. No mat­ter what it is that you’ve been dream­ing about do­ing, you can find in­spi­ra­tion from oth­ers. Take out your old gar­den­ing books or cruise Pin­ter­est and find some fab­u­lous ideas to im­ple­ment in your own gar­den next year.

Here are some in­ter­est­ing ideas on things you can do with con­tain­ers, path­ways, wa­ter fea­tures and veg­etable gar­dens from some of our pre­vi­ous is­sues. We hope they give you some in­spi­ra­tion. If you see some­thing that gets you ex­cited for spring share it on Face­book with us.

Charm­ing con­tain­ers

Make a choice to in­clude con­tain­ers in your gar­den this year. Vamp up your en­trance way with dif­fer­ent sizes and shapes, go with a colour theme or just go wild. Add some hang­ing bas­kets, wall planters or un­usual con­tain­ers to the mix.

The gen­eral rule of thumb with con­tain­ers is to plant a thriller, spiller and filler; but don’t just bow down to the usual flow­ers, ex­plore all of the dif­fer­ent plant op­tions avail­able. Try trop­i­cals, suc­cu­lents or minia­ture trees. That said, don’t dis­miss con­tain­ers over­flow­ing with one flower or die hard favourites, just add them to the mix.

Most home­own­ers use con­tain­ers around their decks, porches and on solid sur­faces; why not go rogue this year? Con­tain­ers look ex­tra­or­di­nary when placed within a flower bed, es­pe­cially when they are sur­rounded by ground­cover. They can also cre­ate beau­ti­ful state­ments when placed in the lawn, along a path, or just about any­where.

Add a touch of whimsy by adding a fairy or gnome gar­den in a con­tainer. If you don’t want to be bur­dened with ex­tra wa­ter­ing chores con­sider leav­ing out the plants and use stat­ues, stones and shells for a base.

Cre­ative up­cy­cling

Up­cy­cling, or re­pur­pos­ing ma­te­ri­als for another use is on the rise, es­pe­cially in the gar­den. It should be no sur­prise, gar­den­ers have been us­ing an­tiques in the gar­den for years – old steel or wood cart wheels, bi­cy­cles, milk cans, bar­rels, the list goes on.

Up­cy­cling can add per­son­al­ity to the gar­den and cre­ate a funky feel. How do you keep it funky, not junky? Don’t overdo it and cre­ate a sto­ry­board for your ad­di­tions. For ex­am­ple, if you’re adding an old wagon wheel, ac­cent it by plac­ing some milk jugs, a chicken statue, and some con­tain­ers filled with plants around it.

Step out­side of the or­di­nary when con­sid­er­ing con­tain­ers. Old grass seed­ers, wash basins, soup tureens, a set of tea cups, a tire, an old pair of shoes or the kid's old rain boots; the op­tions are lim­it­less once you start brain­storm­ing. So next time you think about throw­ing some­thing away, think, can I put a plant in that?

If you have odds and sods from old gar­den pro­jects ly­ing around (rocks, bricks, etc.) don’t just dis­card them, put on your think­ing cap and find a way to use them as well. One handy gar­dener found a cre­ative way to in­cor­po­rate all those odd shaped bits into an in­ter­est­ing path­way.

Me­an­der­ing paths

Gar­den paths are ro­man­tic and seem to say, come fol­low me. How you cre­ate your path­way is up to you and your choices are lim­it­less, from rocks to cedar chips, straw to re­cy­cled rub­ber, con­crete to nat­u­ral stone, to just plain grass; what you choose will not only set the stage for the plants it will show off but de­ter­mine the look and amount of up­keep you will be re­quired to do. Nat­u­ral path­ways that use wood­chips, tiny stones or other mulch are beau­ti­ful, how­ever, know that they will re­quire land­scape fab­ric un­der­neath them to pre­vent weed growth and you will still need to pull weeds or spray to keep the path clear. The up­side is that weeds are easy to pull with the fab­ric below.

A sim­ple but beau­ti­ful path can be cre­ated by plac­ing flat rocks or step­ping stones flush into the lawn. The stones cre­ate con­trast against the green grass, draw­ing peo­ple in and lead­ing them down the path. Th­ese are easy to up­keep as your lawn­mower will cut right over the stones as long as they are placed flush into the dirt.

For even more ro­mance make your path me­an­der along in­stead of go­ing in a straight line. It makes you won­der what is just be­yond that last turn. Use spread­ing plants as ground­cover around the trees to cre­ate a wood­land feel.

Veg­etable Gar­dens

Why not try raised veg­etable beds this year? They look neat and tidy and can be eas­ier on sore backs. The best veg­etable gar­dens in­clude a mix­ture of flow­ers and veg­eta­bles. So many flow­ers are ben­e­fi­cial for the ed­i­ble gar­den, at­tract­ing pol­li­na­tors and re­pelling pests, con­sider com­pan­ion plant­ing for gar­den health and beauty this year.

Who says you have to stick to a rule­book? Un-uni­formed can be just as beau­ti­ful as uni­formed. The mixed medi­ums used in the top left gar­den work well to­gether – from two by four raised beds to wicker edg­ing, box­wood hedg­ing and an old picket fence. For a more nat­u­ral look, one of our gar­den­ers used de­barked tree trunks for the gar­den edg­ing and smaller de­barked trees for sup­port poles and sid­ing. Wire fenc­ing is not only used to keep scavengers out, but also as a trel­lis for peas or beans to climb over on an A-frame they con­structed. Cre­at­ing A-frames for climbers also al­lows you to grow shade lovers or heat in­tol­er­ant plants like let­tuce in the shade pro­vided by the climb­ing crop.

Wa­ter fea­tures

Add the charm­ing sounds of a bab­bling brook by in­stalling a wa­ter fea­ture or foun­tain this year. Whether it is a creek, pond, or a foun­tain you de­cide upon, you are sure to en­joy its melodic melody all sum­mer.

Ponds and creeks can break up a large space or fill a long nar­row one. Give them a nat­u­ral look by blend­ing them in with plants and nat­u­ral look­ing stones. One of our gar­den­ers turned most of his back yard into a pond com­plete with gazebo, bridge and a small is­land but you needn't get that car­ried away. Small ponds can be beau­ti­ful too. If you like the look of a creek but don’t want to deal with the main­te­nance, build a dry creek bed, they too can add a stun­ning look to the yard.

Foun­tains are a less in­va­sive way to in­clude a wa­ter fea­ture. Many spa­ces can ben­e­fit from a foun­tain – place one on a deck or bal­cony if space is lim­ited. Larger yards can make the foun­tain cen­tre stage; we’ve seen our gar­den­ers sur­round foun­tain bases with flow­ers, place them in wa­ter fea­tures, make them the fo­cal point of merg­ing path­ways and blend them in with plants.

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