What kind of gardener are you? My attitude toward growing anything sustainable in my backyard has evolved dramatically. When I was a young mom our backyard floral display was of little interest. I pretty much killed anything I planted. My husband’s barbecue and our rambunctious boys ruled the outdoor space. But times have changed and so has my home. I am now fortunate to have fields of lavender, an olive grove and vegetable plots that delight me. And I am working on a cutting garden. Inspiration has come in many forms, primarily from the lush Italian countryside, how it looks, smells and feels. I know that I could have made a glorious haven in our first small outdoor spaces. If you are looking for some ideas, a little know-how and inviting photographs of all types of gardens, large and small, do some searches on line. Check out the gardens in your neighbourhood. Discover what grows well in your area. Look for magazines and books on gardening. Here’s a book that will have your green thumb twitching and your imagination pushed into overdrive.
In “Garden Style”, sought-after stylist and author Selina Lake presents an overview of different garden styles so that you can choose the designs that best suit you and your home. The accent is on cutting gardens, and what to plant so that you can have blooms on your tables inside and out. Lake’s favourite easy to grow garden plants include foxglove, sweet pea, alium, geranium and spring bulbs. (Visit your local nursery to find what works best where you live. Soil type and sun are key.) A simple approach to containers ranges from a selection of clear and coloured glass bottles and jars to vintage pots and pails. It’s the blooms that steal the show. When space is limited, use windowsills, shelves and walls to manage a vertical spread. A raised garden is easy to tend and makes a lovely visual stage. Small, movable containers allow you to take the flowers where you like. Plant up an old wheelbarrow for a larger, heavier collection of greenery. Plant an herb garden close to the kitchen door for easy picking and spicy scents.
Decorating with flowers is the theme, and Lake examines various options. Utilize botanical prints that you can make yourself and hang along a fence as well as inside your home and potting shed. Use fabrics with texture and patterns that mimic the garden. Wallpapers and paint colours take their cue from nature. Shown here is an indoor room dressed to evoke an outdoor mood. The walls and cupboard are painted in a pale green, while the bamboo armchair is spray-painted shiny bright green. The botanical feel is enhanced by outdoor furniture, vintage chairs made of metal and wood. A sea grass rug adds to the natural vibe. Cuttings from the garden include foxglove and sweet pea.
Here’s a simple summer project from Garden Design that kids and adults will love. Preserve your summer memories by making floral print napkins. Lake uses blooms from verbena, geraniums, marigolds, sweet peas, rose petals as well as cherries, raspberries and blueberries. Cut 20-inch squares of linen or 100% cotton and dampen in water. Lay flowers and fruit, which can be broken up, over the wet surface, then roll up. Place on wooden board and bash up with a hammer to break up the petals and fruit. Discard the flowers and fruit, hang to dry, hem all sides and iron to fix the colours. Wash the napkins in cold water as required.
Bring the outdoors in with paint colours from nature and weathered furnishings. 7667374
A line-up garden cuttings make a simply stunning summer display.