Sunday, April 2, 2017

Designing with Native Plants: A Naturalistic Approach

The post title was the title of my talk this afternoon at NCBG.  It was a bit of a stretch, perhaps, for a plant ecologist and gardener to be talking about design, but my message was really about how inspiration from nature, and wonderful plant communities, can inspire our gardens and how we create them.

It was a lovely afternoon, and I'm so glad to be part of a long-term sponsored program, now endowed, by Nancy Preston in honor of her mother, Evelyn McNeill Sims.  Thanks, Nancy!

The "rules" of design are fluid, but can be constraining, and my message around gardening with native plants (as used by talented naturalistic garden designers), is one of evoking nature in our gardens.
Piet Audolf garden:  his work exemplifies naturalistic garden design
A fellow garden blogger, Tony Spencer, shared this on his blog, from another talented native plant designer, Roy Diblik, on a post awhile ago:

“Each plant is like a note of music. It may be beautiful on its own, but it doesn’t mean anything until it’s combined with other notes to form a melody.  That’s what the design process is all about using plants to create music in space and time.”  

I really love this, and it resonated with the audience this afternoon.  What naturalistic garden designers try to accomplish in their gardens is creating and evoking nature in the lovely forms that we see on hikes and visits to wonderful natural areas.  

There are fewer of these than there used to be.  I embraced gardening for nature as an antidote to my gloomy thoughts about how we were losing natural habitats all over the world.

 So, my latest version of this talk is posted on the sidebar, along with updated reference lists.

Please send me an email if you have questions  -- education and encouragement is what I'm about in my post-paid work life (hmm, that's what I did when I was paid, too, now I'm thinking).  Let me know if I can send you reference lists/handouts, etc.!

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