Wednesday, August 4, 2010

WEDNESDAY: Outdoor Wednesday - CdlV Gardens

Firstly, thank you to Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for hosting Outdoor Wednesday. Please stop over and take a peak at all of the other great spaces today. (Link at the bottom, too!)

The Garden at CdlV, Summer - 2010

I love to play in the dirt - and I always have, though it wasn't always while planting flowers. I remember taking old screens at my grandmothers "farm" and screening dirt to make sure there were no rocks or impurities, and then making mud pies, taking mud baths - anything that I had pictured as being "luxurious", oh yes - my mother had a field day with the laundry. But as I grew up, or more accurately, when I moved to WNY, I really got into gardening - and found that you can get your hands dirty that way too! Now, I'm no expert - in fact, I have always told you that when it comes to gardening I'm a big novice - but I've learned a few things in my cultivation of the Garden here at CdlV, my tips as it were, and I figured today would a great day to share pictures, and those "tips" with all of you.

1. Layers
Just like in interior design, the richness of texture from layers of color, size, shape, and height build a garden from lowly to holy cow! Knowing absolutely nothing about gardening in the onset of our planning, I did take into account height, and tried my absolute best to keep color in the front of my mind. I've learned however, that in the grand scheme of things, Mother Nature laughs last, and sometimes those things you don't plan to grow so quickly skyrocket, while things that claim to be invasive, and fast growing linger on the sideline, eventually becoming shaded out. So, if you're planning a garden, or revamping your own, think about layering: color, shape (of leaf, flower, and stem) with the tallest in the back smallest in the front.

2. Plant "Outside the Lines"
Just like my interiors, my gardens are never one distinct style. There are some formal garden aspects, cottage garden points, English garden notions, and some ports of whimsy. Additionally, I avoid straight lines in my garden beds and plantings, and opt for curves instead. I find that curves in a bed, add a certain grace to the sightline, and are more flattering to the eye. They give the garden at CdlV a way of becoming separate from one another, making the yard feel more expansive, and more fun to explore.

3. Have no horticultural fears
I learned during the back breaking work of taking CdlV from zero to pretty decent work in progress, that you can't allow yourself to be afraid of the outcome. Mother Nature works her magic in the most interesting ways. If you plant something that doesn't make it through the winter - count it as an inexpensive learning experience, and if you plant something that you end up regretting, pull it out and give it to a neighbor or friend. My philosophy: If you like it, PLANT it! Your garden should be a full expression of you, and offer an exclusive peak into your soul for the few or many that you let in. Don't get bogged down in the particulars, because part of the joy in Gardening is the experience - don't let fear take that from you.

4. Create a Destination
Gardens, like interiors - are more than the flowers and the lines of your garden. There has to be a reason for you to continue your "tour", to continue the enjoyment of the space. We decided that the space next to the garage was a perfect place to create our idea of a destination. The pergola was my solution to the small dining room, and even though I would have loved to make it bigger, what we have is perfect, and gives me an opportunity to make more use of the greenspace. If you're looking for a spot to put a destination, you don't have to make it permanent. Think of a space perfect for a small table (even one from inside) that you can set a dinner space for the day. A fountain, or a bench, even a smaller- separate planting bed is a great destination point.

5. Use your Imagination
This should be my number one tip, but I think it's a great way to end this post. Above all else, the garden is THE perfect place to let your imagination run wild. Our homes carry certain constraints on our creative palette, but the open air of a garden can become the perfect place to let your mind free, and create explosions of bright color, fun and interesting pairings, and the ideal format for those qwirky follies you adore in the store, but question where you'll put them at home.

"Earl" peeping through the spent sundrops.

All in all, the gardens of CdlV are a work in progress, they will probably always fall into that category, and trust me when I say I'm ok with that. Some things are never meant to stay the same, and a garden, in my opinion, is on the top of the list. Now, leave a comment, then run over to Susan's, then make time to go get your hands dirty!