Saturday, September 2

A Fleeting Combination

I admit, Mother Nature is often a better garden designer than I am. The whole point of gardening is to improve on the natural beauty that Ma provides... but sometimes she finds a way to improve on a gardener's improvements.

Latest case in point: A few more of the huge 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth toppled over in windy storms this week. They look so good spilling into the iris, though, that I haven't had the heart to cut them back yet.

Their red flowers and dark foliage are doing a nice job of tying together the red-tipped Japanese bloodgrass, the purple 'May Night' salvia blooms, and even the 'Blackie' and 'Tricolor' sweet potato vines.

You can see how they add movement to the vignette by directing your eye from plant to plant, too. The upright bloodgrass, salvia and iris lead your eye upward, the cascading amaranth sends it back downward, and the sweet potato vines--along with the lines of the retaining wall block--bring you back to the bloodgrass to start the circle all over again.

When they were upright, as you see in the second picture, they were more of a foil than anything else. They set off the iris foliage and the intermingled yellow flowers of the bronze fennel nicely, but they didn't direct movement back around and through the garden.

I liked them as a spiky accent, but their newest incarnation has brought to my attention the need for more directed movement in my garden. More plant combinations that lead the eye around a vignette and then to the next area I want to highlight.

Thanks, Ma, for this week's lesson... even if you had to break a few amaranth to get me to pay attention. (Ask my real-life Mom and she'll tell you that I seem to learn best "the hard way!")


Anonymous said...

Interesting combinations. I love the way you think about stuff like that.

Kristin Ohlson said...

Well, Mother Nature hasn't been doing her part in my garden. Except for sending the bees-- I do have a lovely cacaphony of bees.

lisa said...

Lovely composition! Mother DOES know best! I say this only beacause MY mother doesn't own a computer, and will not read this, of course! ;)

Unknown said...

Thank you all for visiting and commenting. :)

Kristin, I'll take the bees anyday!

Lisa, tee hee. Mom does read this, and still I'll say it... I've actually said as much to her face. Only maybe I've said it in such a way as to point out how much smarter she is now compared to during my high school years. ;)

Annie in Austin said...

I think you stole that quote from Mark Twain, but he won't mind!

The 'tumbling' sort of shape that the amaranth has taken really does add energy to your garden composition. Since Mother Nature couldn't have added to this beautiful scene until you chose and planted everything so well, most of the credit should still be yours and not hers.

Unknown said...

"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." - Mark Twain

Indeed, Annie, that's one of my favorite Twain quotes! I confess. :) Thank you for the compliment as well.

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