Top Five Landscape Trends of 2018

A great article on the top five landscape trends of 2018 from the NALP. Check out this article and then you’ll notice that The Plantium can help you with ALL FIVE TRENDS! Awesome!

http://www.greenindustrypros.com/news/12393671/experiential-and-eco-friendly-the-top-five-landscape-trends-of-2018

1. Experiential Landscape Design

With the plant filter criteria in The Plantium, designers can now find specific themes for garden and planting spaces that trigger and enhance the user experience. Would you like to design an entirely scented garden along the office campus footpath? Or create a bird and bee sanctuary outside a client’s kitchen window? With The Plantium, intricate plant criteria can be considered side-by-side with fundamental environmental criteria to design gardens and plantings with greater meaning and experience than ever before. You can even make sure you’ll find those plants at area wholesale nurseries.

2. Climate-Cognizant Landscaping

The Plantium’s vision statement is ‘Changing the way the world sees plants’. When we think about changing climates and resilient landscapes understanding plants, their environments, prioritizing their uses, capturing data regarding the success and failures of plants in the cultivated landscape, and gathering data regarding plant availability are just a few crucial pieces in the web of designing and procuring plants that are good choices for each unique climate. Data gathered by The Plantium allows growers and plant propagators to better understand what plants are being specified in what areas of the country and even what criteria are important to landscape professionals.

3. An Emphasis on Water Management and Conservation

No matter where you are in the country, the word drought has entered the conversation at one point or another. Water, both quality and quantity, is our most precious resource at the greatest risk as we cope with a changing climate. As landscape professionals we are charged with taking a HUGE leadership role in the stewardship of this resource. Educating ourselves on beautifully executed xeric designs, educating our clients on what xeric landscapes really are, and educating growers on the plants we need to accomplish superb water-wise landscapes are important aspects of this landscape trend. Tools like The Plantium that can combine great aesthetic plant choices with water-wise considerations will be critical to the forward progress of this trend.

4. Enhanced Equipment and Technology

Why yes, landscape professionals are DEFINITELY integrating more technology (like THE PLANTIUM!) into their businesses and work. Software like The Plantium has the ability to capture and disseminate data regarding the best plant choices for different climates, assisting growers and wholesalers make good choices in the plants they introduce and grow each year. It helps landscape professionals educate their clients regarding their plant choices. Like many technological tools, it also simply helps professionals do what they do, FASTER. Find plants, organize planting projects, and evaluate designs in the blink of an eye. There’s a reason why 85% of the professionals that view a demo of our software buy it!

5. Plants in Playful Colors and Patterns

How do you best integrate year round whimsy and color into the garden? How do you purposefully combine the ultra-violets that are the trend for 2018 with fantastic complementing colors and playful leaf interest? How do you keep track of these all these aesthetic characteristics and not lose site of the other environmental aspects of the garden? The Plantium. That’s how.

Thanks for the great article NALP. https://www.landscapeprofessionals.org/

Plantium Search Results

 

Exposing Myself and Other New Year Resolutions

I had a professor once tell me that 90% of inspiration is preparation.

You can find quotes all over the web to a similar effect. There was even a study done recently which indicates that many of one’s creative solutions can be directly correlated to the information one consumes.

And that is why, this year, I resolve to look at more porn.

Plant porn, that is. With some design porn thrown in for good measure. As creators of built works, we must first visualize the outcome we want: What will the finished project look like at every level of detail? What new combinations of plants or materials can we create to engage the people who will inhabit the space? But the longer you are in the profession, the greater your risk of constantly retreading the same path. Utilizing the same design solutions, going with the same plant combinations.

black eyed susan

It’s an old standby but still a beauty. Rudbeckia ‘Denver Daisy’ Image Copyright The Plantium Company®

More politely referred to as “visual inspiration,” sexy imagery of other people’s work is a fantastic way to ensure you keep your own work and your enthusiasm fresh. Flicking through other’s design solutions creates an arsenal of ideas at our disposal that you can then piece together in new ways to solve your own design challenges.

And fortunately in this digital age there is no lack of resources! Pinterest is probably the best known imagery resource. (Check out The Plantium’s Beautiful Landscape Ideas board!) Houzz is another great source of design imagery. But perhaps my new favorite imagery resources are the web pages of fellow landscape professionals, especially those practicing in my area. Check out the gallery on the websites of your competitors! You will see different solutions to design and planting challenges you yourself have likely encountered.

But looking at imagery related specifically to the field of ornamental landscaping is only one step in really good preparation for inspired creative brainwaves.

ice plant

Flowers are early and short-lived but punchy and the juicy leaves live on as a great groundcover. Delosperma floribundum ‘Starburst’

Image Copyright Plant Select®

 

partridge feather

Pairs the heavily contrasting grey foliage you are looking for with a brilliant bright yellow flower! Tanacetum densum spp. amani Image Copyright The Plantium Company®

So this year I also resolve to expose myself.

Exposure to many types of thought processes, creative thinking, and problem solving gives you an even broader well to draw from when working on your projects. Maybe you will find inspiration from a painting you encountered, a material you saw while hiking, or even a book you read.

So get out there, surf some plant porn, and expose yourself. The next time you face a design challenge your colleagues might comment on your inspired solutions, but you will know the secret.

moon carrot

It may look like an alien landed in the garden but it will get a lot of attention! Seseli gummiferum Image Copyright The Plantium Company®

spanish gold broom

Striking in the spring and great texture all season long. Cytisus purgans ‘Spanish Gold’ Image Copyright Plant Select®

Soil Depth and Plant Selection

Dive into The Shallow End

As designers and installers we are tasked with creating landscapes in all sorts of conditions. Often these conditions are challenging and not necessarily what plants might prefer in their natural environments. Soil depth is one of the most common challenges we face. From containerized plantings on a pool deck, to street trees or green roofs, almost every designer will eventually need to choose plants for a constrained location.  This article will give you some insight into creating successful plant designs in tight places!

The definition of limited soil volume!

Talk about limited soil depth!

Making sure your plants have enough room to root seems like it would be the primary concern when creating a design with restricted root space. However there are really multiple factors you have to consider before you even get to soil depth!

Proper Drainage

Planting areas with restricted soil depth or restricted soil volume are notoriously prone to drying out quickly, but don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need to address drainage! Whether your planting bed is in the lawn, green roof or a planter, proper drainage is crucial. While certain plants can survive inundation in a natural setting, standing water or improper drainage will quickly de-oxygenate and compact the soil in contained situations and kill your oh-so-carefully selected plants. There are many ways to tackle drainage and all are dependent on the design situation. If you are working on a new install, drainage is first and most important thing to get right, as is can be difficult and costly to fix down the road. If you are working in an area with existing poor drainage, find solutions before considering any next steps!

 

Soil Health and Longevity of the Design

The anticipated lifespan of landscapes varies considerably. Before you choose plants, consider how long you anticipate your design persisting before a “refresh.” Are you creating a container design that will be replaced every year or even every season? Are you planting trees and shrubs you want to see mature over time?

Planting areas with restricted root space require monitoring of soil health. The more restricted the soil volume, the more quickly that soil will be depleted of nutrients crucial to the plant’s health. However if a refresh of the plant material (and soil) is planned to occur frequently, then shallower soil profiles can be no problem. If the design contemplates trees and shrubs that are intended to grow to maturity over time, then a more significant soil volume should be considered to promote long-term plant health.

Proper Plant Selection

Let’s look at those tough little plants growing in the cracks and crevasses! Plants that grow in these conditions in the natural world tend to be tough, resilient, vigorous, and drought tolerant plants. If you have all the right soil and bed conditions but choose sensitive plants, it is likely your design will still struggle without intensive care. And don’t forget how soil volume can affect plant hardiness. Plants with reduced soil volumes, especially container plantings, are much more susceptible to larger swings in soil temperature. If you are planting long-lived plants in containers it is best to pick plants at least two zones hardier than you normally would.

Don’t forget, The Plantium can help you quickly select plants for even the toughest planting project!

Find Tough Plants Fast

Soil Depth

And now we finally come to soil depth.

We have all seen the beautiful and resilient plant that appears to be growing happily, in what appears to be almost no soil volume. However, plants grown in-situ from seed are are much more successful establishing themselves in challenging growing areas than transplants.  Imagine going from a pot in a comfortable nursery to being blasted by sun and heat in a roof deck! To have you transplanted plants thrive, follow these basic rules of thumb for soil depth.

Plant Type Plant Height Minimum Soil Depth
Annuals Any 3”
Turf Grass NA 4” (3” in warm climates)
Perennials <8” 4” (3” in warm climates)
Perennials 8”-16” 6”-8”
Perennials/ Ornamental Grasses/ Shrubs 16”-24” 12”-18”
Perennials/ Ornamental Grasses/ Shrubs 2’-6’ 24”
Shrubs/ Small Trees >6’ 3’ Minimum (should consider overall volume as well)
Trees All Should be calculated on overall volume for each tree and not just soil depth

If you are looking for more information on soil depth and bed construction, check out this great article by Proven Winners.

https://www.provenwinners.com/learn/make-your-bed

Maintenance

Lastly, on-going maintenance is the greatest issue facing these planting designs. In addition to soil replenishing mentioned above, containerized plants can also suffer from large swings in soil moisture. Because they are prone to drying, too much irrigation is often applied, and over-watering is perhaps the most frequent maintenance faux pas committed against plants with restricted root space. Carefully working with the maintenance team is critical to head off this issue early on.

Happy Planting !

Check out The Plantium’s great plant selection tools to make all your projects a breeze!

Start your Plantium Free Trial

 

Connect One Design Shout Out

The Plantium is made for landscape professionals BY landscape professionals. To that end, it’s been an exciting summer in the Colorado mountains and the Connect One Design landscape architecture team has been hard at work. Check out Connect One Design in the media. We couldn’t do what we do without an amazing staff and The Plantium software!

Here’s just a few fun pics from the field. Enjoy!

 

Importance of the Allergy Friendly Landscape

Most of us think summer sneezing just ‘comes with the territory’ but did you know that you can alleviate some of it with an allergy friendly landscape!  As landscape professionals, the concept of an allergy friendly landscape is a crucial one. Regardless of the scale of a project our understanding of high pollen generating plants is critical to making some changes for the better in our cultivated landscapes.

Wind blown pollen

Wind blown pine tree pollen. Makes me sneeze just looking at it!

Background

Most of us suffer from just a little sneezing and sniffling from seasonal allergies but the implications of high pollen rates can be far more serious. “Deaths from asthma continue to climb each year at alarming epidemic rates”.1 While the causes of these increases can be debated it is clear that high pollen rates play a role in many health related issues, especially in the young, old and those with compromised respiratory and circulatory systems.

Studies have shown death rates among high-risk populations increase on days with high pollen and high pollution. Similar to the association of very hot or very cold weather to higher death rates, one cannot attribute it directly to the weather condition but rather see a correlation in high-risk populations.2 Impacts like thunder death outbreaks also bring home shocking impacts of high pollen in urban settings.3

So, how did we arrive at the increases in allergies and asthma? We all know the issue relates to high pollen counts, but what is pollen and has atmospheric pollen been on the rise in recent years? Pollen is the microscopic grain carrying the male gamete of a plant that will pollinate (via transport by insects, birds, wind, etc.) the female ovule of a plant. This microscopic grain is both an irritant and a nasal allergen in humans (and other animals; yup, dogs get allergies). Anemophilous plants generally cause the most allergies because they pollinate primarily by wind. The pollen grains of those plants are light and small, in order to be easily dispersed by the wind (and therefore tend to stay airborne and easily breathed in by humans). The role of female plants in an allergy friendly landscape is critical because they are attractive (for sure 🙂 )! The pistil of female plants is STICKY in order to capture the pollen grain. In an allergy friendly landscape female plants (and flowers) are important because they both do NOT produce pollen, AND they pull pollen out of the air with sticky attractiveness! Two other important aspects of pollen creation are important to understand as well – pollen production is increased dramatically with additional CO2 in the atmosphere (urban settings) and changes to the timing of pollen generation is being sparked by increased climatic temperatures.

Microscopic Helianthus Pollen

Microscopic Helianthus Pollen – it sure looks like it would irritate anybody’s nose!

So what does this have to do with the cultivated landscape and an allergy friendly landscape? This is where the concept of botanical sexism comes into our vocabulary. “Arborists often claim that all-male plants are ‘litter-free’ because they shed no messy seeds, fruits or pods. In the 1949 USDA Yearbook of Agriculture, which focused on trees and forests, this advice was given to readers: ‘When used for street plantings, only male trees should be selected, to avoid the nuisance from the seed.’ In the years following, the USDA produced and released into the market almost 100 new red maple and hybrid-maple-named clones (cultivars), and every single one of them was male.”4 At The Plantium, we believe male cultivars have an important place in the landscape, but it is important to understand that the use of male (and only male) cultivars and overall plant selection play the most important role in developing an allergy friendly landscape.

Scope and Scale

When and where it is important to think about an allergy friendly landscape? There are many projects where understanding the right plants for a low allergy and allergy friendly landscape are important. Being conscious of pollen generation on all your projects can help address the growing issue of high pollen in the cultivated landscape. Our responsibility as landscape professionals should be taken seriously! Consider your client when embarking on a residential design. Just asking the question about any allergy or asthma sufferers in the household (and then designing an allergy friendly landscape) can help make a successful landscape and a happy client. Allergy friendly landscape plant selection is most important around high risk populations, including playgrounds and senior living projects. Finally, projects in urban centers should be addressed carefully as the greatest population of allergy and asthma sufferers per capita reside in cities.

Amaryllis Stamen

Up close and personal on the Amaryllis stamen. The sticky pistil of an amaryllis flower gathers up all this pollen for fertilization!

Making Great Plant Choices

All of this background begs the question… what do we do now? Here are a few thoughts.

  1. Understand and educate yourself on the benefits of the allergy friendly landscape.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the OPALS rating system. Thomas Ogren created the first and only known rating system that ranks the allergy potential of plants.
  3. Discuss the need for an allergy friendly landscape with your client.
  4. Educate yourself on types of plants that might fit in an allergy friendly landscape and follow a few best practices such as:
  • Gender balance the landscape.
  • Use fewer wind pollinated species.
  • Encourage sterile cultivars and showy flowers (most plants with big colorful flowers are insect pollinated! Bees welcome?!).
  • Avoid high pollinators: male only willows, poplars, aspens, ash, (fruitless) mulberry, cypress, junipers, yews, myrtles, currants, etc., olive trees, Bermuda grass. Fruit trees are good but nut trees tend to be allergenic.
  • Develop maintenance manuals for your clients that encourages trimming of existing high pollinators and good maintenance of installed plants (e.g. trimming privet before it flowers). The Healthy Schoolyards Initiative5 has a great start at a list of maintenance measures that can be undertaken on existing landscapes.

The Politics of Allergy Friendly Landscapes

While it appears uncertain that low pollen ordinances are having an impact, landscape professionals should be aware that there are a growing number of urban centers enacting pollen control ordinances, including Pima County, AZ, Clark County, NV, Albuquerque, NM, Phoenix and Tucson, AZ, and El Paso, TX, among others. Other cities such as Louisville are embarking on some truly innovative approaches to understanding and addressing the epidemic.

Conclusion

While we can thank pollen for so many wonderful things like solving murders (it’s a plant’s fingerprint!), determining the age and quality of coal seams, and our delicious fruits and vegetables we now need to be stewards of our own air and address the issue of excessive pollen in our cultivated landscapes!

References:

  1. http://www.academia.edu/4110694/Politics_of_Pollen_Article Copyright 2001, Tom Ogren
  2. http://www.webmd.com/allergies/news/20000427/high-pollen-linked-death#1
  3. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-38121579
  4. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/botanical-sexism-cultivates-home-grown-allergies/
  5. http://www.healthyschoolyards.org/

Image References

https://commons.wikimedia.org

Designing with Dog Friendly Plants

Ever wonder how we get our yards, parks, and streetscapes to be ‘dog friendly’? As in, how do we design a urine and trample resistance landscape filled with dog friendly plants? Well, let’s start with thinking about some alternative groundcovers that can take a little beating. These are plants that can be used as an alternative to turf. Turf alternatives can save water AND help fight off the brown patches that come with a ‘dog heavy’ landscape. A couple good examples in the attached pdf include Elfin Thyme and Ajuga. These are just two great choices, but you can always use your filter criteria and select low growing plants that can withstand foot traffic. In The Plantium’s filter criteria you’ll find the foot traffic filter under ENVIRONMENT.

The second issue is urine resistance. While this is NOT a filter in The Plantium, the attached pdf has some tried and true choices that can withstand the excessive nitrogen content in dog urine. Again, not an exhaustive list but a good start. Remember to also consider any plants that are TOXIC to pets and avoid those. Sending your little furry friend to the vet would definitely NOT be considered dog friendly plants! For those Plantium users, this is a filter criteria under WILDLIFE. For those of you not yet in The Plantium you can visit the ASPCA site (Plantium’s filter criteria is WAY easier, though!) 🙂

Lastly, and perhaps most obvious would be water. The faster you can wash away any leave behinds from the doggie visitors, the better chance of avoiding the burn spots, so let’s take back those brown patches and get into our dog friendly plants!

Dog Friendly List

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants

 

Designing with Bulbs

We’ve all read some great articles about designing with bulbs (and corms) so why not keep the discussion going? Designing with bulbs can be daunting. Visiting the botanic gardens in spring nearly blinds us with the glory of huge swaths of spring bulbs. Vast beds of daffodils, crocus and tulips are the sure sign that spring has sprung. A bed of crocus dusted with snow is an iconic image of early spring. Now let’s focus our attention on some other aspects of designing with bulbs, year-round interest and designing to specific bloom heights.

5177_WPFL_Eremurus-himalaicus-WMC_001Dahlia 'XXL Veracruz' AZTEC

The opportunities presented by designing with bulbs can be taken advantage of year-round with a little planning and great execution. Gladiolus and Dahlias can bring in a huge color punch during the mid-summer to late summer in warmer climates and similarly Allium and Autumn Crocus in colder climates. Similarly, lilies can provide a tremendous amount of foliar interest in the early summer months and then finish the season off with splendid color in late summer and even through the fall. The first step is to sort through the vast array of choices in bulbs and corms and remember what you are trying to achieve. Here a sampling of a season-long list for a garden in zone 6a, that’s scented, and attracts bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. This short list from The Plantium yields plenty of choices to keep you thinking about designing with bulbs all season long! There are so many more to choose from!

Bulb Flowering Season

The next consideration is careful planning around bloom height. This same list now includes plant (foliar) height vs. actual bloom height. Not planning for the bloom height of late blooming bulbs is a common mistake. Some height variations will be minimal but some can be more than a foot or even up to 4’! Check out the Foxtail Lily. Many of these bulbs are not known for lush foliage so you can place them further back in the garden (than you might normally based solely on foliar height) with other perennials or shrubs around them. This leaves their bloom to surprise us when the time is right!

Bulb Flower Heights

Using Denitrifying Plants in the Landscape

Turns out we have an addiction in this country. “Call it the nitrogen fix. It is like a drug mainlined into the planet’s ecosystems, suffusing every cell, every pore — including our own bodies.”1 In response, some jurisdictions (apparently finding dealing with addiction at the source – i.e. agriculture, wastewater, feed lots, poor landscape practices, etc. too difficult) are requiring the end user of non-potable reclaimed effluent to utilize only denitrifying plants in the landscape. Their theory being that if the ornamental plants can take up the nitrogen, then problem solved.

This discussion of overabundance of nitrogen in our water and soil could get really scientific, really fast (and unfortunately make for very dry reading) so instead I’m going to keep things pretty simple and straightforward and provide some great resources for seeking additional information.

The nitrogen problem. “Over the last century, the intensive use of chemical fertilizers has saturated the Earth’s soils and waters with nitrogen. Now scientists are warning that we must move quickly to revolutionize agricultural systems and greatly reduce the amount of nitrogen we put into the planet’s ecosystems.”1 Excessive nitrogen leaches into waterways, feeds algal blooms and contributes to eutrophication of water systems….. effectively starving plant and aquatic life of oxygen. It can even starve our children of oxygen, known as Blue Baby Syndrome, as a result of nitrogen contaminated drinking water.

The good news. Nitrogen is an inorganic compound which, unlike other macronutrients, can be turned to gas and released into the atmosphere. More good news. This means that the use of denitrifying plants can be addressed via phytometabolism in a relatively short period of time and presents good opportunities for field application.2 “Since all plants use nitrogen and support denitrifying bacteria, any kind of plant can provide some form of nitrogen remediation from soils and water. However, the method that provides the quickest remediation tends to be a system that includes plants with very high growth rates and evapotranspiration rates. Nitrogen is used up quickly, or the plant acts like a large reactor, priming the soil bacteria for speedy conversion of the nitrogen into a gas. Plants species that produce a lot of biomass have been those most successfully used in studies to remove high levels of nitrogen in soils and groundwater.”3 Some would then argue for the use of bluegrass and other fast growing turf, but studies have shown that a mixed species landscape will produce a more diverse microbial soil, and therefore denitrify faster via plants AND bacteria.

Finding the right plants. While in no way an exhaustive list, the book Phyto: Principles and resources for site remediation and landscape design, suggests a brief list of high biomass plants such as Bambuseae, Brassica juncea, Brassica napas, Cannabis sativa, Linum usitatissimum, Panicum virgatum, Populus, Salix and Sorghum. Additionally, some high evapotranspiration-rate plants include Alnus, Betula, Eucalyptus, Fraxinus, Populus, Salix, Sarcobatus vermiculatus and Taxodium distichum. Again, while not an exhaustive list one thing to note is that these tend to be high water use species. In a large scale remediation setting this is desirable (because you are purposefully applying large amounts of contaminated water), however, it tends to fly in the face of end user goals in the ornamental landscape that are working hard to reduce overall water consumption.

Unfortunately, it would seem that municipalities, especially in drought plagued areas trying to encourage water reuse, may end up further discouraging effluent reuse with these unnecessary regulations and may find themselves dealing with unintended consequences, such as forcing the use of plants that require even more water to both thrive and denitrify the soil. It is clearly a discussion worth continuing.

 

I’d like to thank Kate Kennen for the amazing information gathered from her book for this article. Kate is always an inspiration and this book is an INCREDIBLE resource for all practical applications, large or small, for phytoremediation and productive landscapes. It is a must read!

Find Kate here….  http://offshootsinc.com/

Find her book here…. https://www.amazon.com/Phyto-Principles-Resources-Remediation-Landscape/dp/0415814154

  1. Fred Pearce. Copyright 2009. http://e360.yale.edu/mobile/feature.msp?id=2207
  2. Kate Kennen and Niall Kirkwood, Phyto: Principles and resources for site remediation and landscape design. Routledge, 2015. Figure 3.1, Page 63
  3. Page 128

Sourcing Plants – New Plant Availability Feature (beta)

Sourcing plants is about to be easier than ever!

UPDATED 5/1/17

Just choose your state and see all of The Plantium’s participating nurseries. Don’t see your favorite nursery? Just complete the form and get their information on our site as soon as possible! You can now also export existing plant lists as a spreadsheet, including availability.

Colorado Nurseries

Plant availability is live on The Plantium. Do you want to sign up a nursery that you frequently go to for plant material? Send them this link. Fill out the quick easy form and we can list that nursery’s stock for FREE! ENJOY!

For Nurseries

Plant Availability (beta) is LIVE! Sourcing plants can be the most disheartening part of planting design.  As a landscape architect I cannot think of anything more frustrating than spending hours choosing just the right plants for a project only to have my contractor or nursery supplier come back and tell me they cannot find half of what I specified. It drives me crazy!

That is why we are so excited to launch the new Plantium availability feature (beta) in Colorado, Utah and beyond. Landscape professionals in these states will soon be able to search for great plants, make lists, evaluate their designs AND locate those plants at nearby nurseries. While only in beta version right now, we are thrilled to make finding plants just a little bit easier. This plant availability feature will be live in the coming weeks. Start your free one month trial now, and take advantage of your free web training session so you can be ready to take full advantage of this new time saver as soon as it hits the primetime!

Thanks and Happy Plant Hunting!

By Heather Henry, President and CEO of The Plantium

Find Your Inspiration

Find Your Inspiration

Where do I find my inspiration for designing beautiful gardens year after year? Ten years ago I first witnessed a living wall at the Chelsea Flower show in England and after lots of dreams and drawing boards I finally got to create my first living wall last summer 2015 right here in downtown Aspen, Colorado.

in·spi·ra·tion

  1. Noun: the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

Inspiration and trends in gardening can start from an article in a magazine, a student’s concept while studying at University or at the array of garden shows that are held all over the world.  This is where I find my best inspiration.

A particular favorite garden show of mine is the Chelsea Flower Show in London, England – where all of the best and greatest designers in the world all gather over ten days and meet to show off their latest creations. It was here at the Chelsea Show I first saw a living wall and marveled at this enormous structure covered in plants.  Without seeing the vision of the designers before me – I would never have been inspired to cover a concrete wall in flowers!!!

These shows provide not just single inspiration (i.e. living walls) but everything from solar paneled irrigation, new types of plants (cross pollinating a rose and a daisy!) and even animal habitats. Creative urban wildlife habitats are another huge trend that I first saw at Chelsea as well as water features created from household gray water. Show and display gardens are designed to impress at garden shows so if you really want to see what’s at the cutting edge of gardening then you’d better hit the show road.

Garden shows are featured all over the world – Holland, Japan, England and America and feature world class innovators and designers who create show gardens that win awards and prizes and wow us all. Depending on the size of the show local, national and international celebrity gardeners such as Piet Oudolf (a particular favorite of mine) will unleash new planting schemes and plant combinations that are created in an environmentally conscious way to thrill and tantalize us all. By witnessing world class designers and their incredible ideas we can all take small parts of this back to our own backyards. Not that you have to build a living wall in your own back garden but rather maybe, just maybe someone else’s genius idea displayed at your local gardening show might just be the inspiration for your own garden designs!  After all we are all inspired by others.

Here is a selection of inspirational gardens that have moved me over the years.

Happy Planting!

Arabella Beavers, Busy Beavers Gardening

https://www.facebook.com/Busy-Beavers-Gardening-LLC-201131763257382/?fref=ts

Aspen, Colorado

All photos Copyright 2016 Arabella Beavers

Garden Inspiration

Beautifully designed stone wall also serves as urban wildlife habitat.

Garden Inspiration

A living wall seen in indoor and outdoor applications.

Garden Inspiration

This greenhouse should blow your mind!

Garden Inspiration

A living tower gives entirely new meaning to vertical planting.

Garden Inspiration

Xeric Mediterranean style in any climate.

Garden Inspiration

The beauty of hundreds of Clematis!

Garden Inspiration

A ‘plethora’ of lavender from many different growers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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