Gardens hold more than dirt and plants. They hold power. They heal.

Gardens foster community and relationships and awaken the senses while they provide hope and teach patience and fortitude.

Gardens contribute to our quality of life whether we're working in them or sitting back and taking them in.

Here we will dig deep and expose what all gardens hold, teach and reveal.

ShowSpaces - Room to play

by Jeanette T

The black-eyed susans are in full frenzy and the sunflowers are eight feet tall and blooming but everything else is slowly fading.  I am cutting more and more spent blossoms and starting to think about what plants I should leave up for winter interest.  This is a needed break in the season of gardening.  A chance to slow down and watch the last flowers as fall swings in and reminds us to hurry and finish our chores before the snow comes.

For this ShowSpaces post I decided to find the opposite of the last garden, which was cozy and packed full of plants.  Too little space can be a frustrating problem in the city but out in the suburbs the problem becomes what to do with all that space?  I thought of sharing a certain house that we have worked on for a few years that has found some creative solutions.  In gardens not immediately close to the house,  there are simple mass plantings that are attractive yet easy to maintain and still look good from a distance.  Another key is to use plants that pair together well and help each other stand out. 

The house is set back in the forest and is reached by a long driveway.  At the top of the drive way is a raised garden with boulder walls and simple plantings of grass and black-eyed susans.

In the middle of the driveway is a small bed.  There are several small trees for structure and it is planted so something is blooming throughout the season.  Peonies are the first to bloom, then comes the clematis and fall is brought in by the sedum.

In front of the house is a beautiful perennial garden with a lot of color.  To ease the transition to the stone patio, we have lined the edge with containers of bright annuals.

Coneflowers stand out beautifully against the soft foliage of the cypress tree.

 The deep autumn yellow of the black-eyed susans is complemented by the warm tones of the fall blooming grass behind it.  The background is a shady dark forest. 

 Here, mass plantings of grasses, sage and more rudbekia serve to steer the eye away from the fence surrounding the pool. 

A border of hydrangea shrubs are easy to maintain and bring some lightness to the side of the house.  In the fall and winter their dried blooms provide structure.

A lot of backyards run along a forest or some other wild area.  Here, we gradually transition from the more formal beds surrounding the house to less structured beds running along the perimeter.  A thick layer of mulch in front keeps the forest plants from spreading and low maintenance bee balm provides some height and color. 

In the front yard there is a large hosta garden.  Groups of large hostas give contrast to the smaller leafed hostas that line the edges.  Clumps of ferns and bleeding hearts break up the mass plantings.  From a distance, the forest foliage is echoed along the ground by the season long greenery.

 This yard also uses containers beautifully.  They help brighten up dull spots against the side of the house and bring color and softness to stone patios.  The above container is placed on a south facing patio that can get very dry quickly.  With that in mind, we used large containers that hold water longer, and were careful to choose plants that would do okay in hot and dry conditions.

Autumn is coming and a few accents here and there can extend the warmth and color of the beds as the rest of the flowers fade away.