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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
shade garden on 6-11-12
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Dress up Your Yard


April brings us our fourth gardening trend for 2014: Dress up Your Yard. I often talk about my various outdoor garden rooms. Outdoor spaces are truly an extension of your home. You might have a kitchen for barbeques, a dining room to entertain guests on the patio, a lawn for games, a firepit for socializing, and so on.

Outdoor spaces are fashion statements that reflect our personal style. I was first intrigued by this concept when I visited a Chinese garden in Portland, Oregon. The guide there explained that Chinese gardens all contain five elements: plants, architecture, rocks, water, and poetry. The poetry was words on buildings, in rocks, or along paths that reflect the personality of the garden owner.

The Garden Trend report discusses how we also dress up our yards with jewelry in the garden. They mention brightly colored new flower varieties such as Bling baskets by Costa Farms or Crackling Fire Red Suntory and Yellow Suntory Begonias.

Dressing up our outdoor rooms involves more than adding plants. They are made more functional and fun with fountains, garden art, decorative planters, lighting, and more. My gardens are a respite from life's everyday stresses. Plant colors, smells, textures, and tastes excite the senses, while water or wind chimes soothe our soul.

We also add décor to garden with accessories. Be careful not to overdo it and I find it best to stick to a particular style. If you are eclectic, you might use bold colors and shapes such as bright wall murals, towering colored bird houses, or bright retro lawn furniture. A more rustic person might hang decorated old garden tools on a fence or plant flowers in a galvanized tub.

Gardens make a personal statement even without careful planning. I am a naturalist at heart and so my garden styles are all free and flowing. Subtle hints of our family's personality peak out here and there. A tree face brings our patio ash tree to life, showing our jest for fun. A dragonfly stepping stone in the center of my perennial garden hints to my love of nature beyond plants.

Our best statement is found in our newest garden – a secret shade garden located behind our pool and gazebo. I designed this as a secret garden, based on the book by Frances Hodgson Burnet. In the story, Mary discovers a neglected secret garden. Her new friend, Dickon and his animal friends, help her bring the garden back to life. My garden includes carefully selected and placed animal sculpture. Mary is represented in a small water feature of a girl watering flowers. For added whimsy, an occasional gnome has decided to make this new garden their home (my sons added that part!).

Whether you use a simple decorative throw pillow or recycle items like a mason jar into a hummingbird feeder, find a way to dress up your yard with your own personal stamp. Enjoy!



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