Monday, 29 March 2010

Branklyn Garden - plants and design concepts

With the long dark winter just about drawing to a close, our minds turn to spring time and all the lovely plants that we'll be seeing in the next month or two.  It reminded me of a college visit to Branklyn Garden in Perth when I was a horticulture student. I had no notion of working as a designer then, just knew that I loved plants and wanted a job that allowed me to be near them every day! Looking back at them tonight, once again I'm reminded of the importance of texture, colour, light, repetition, interval, shape & form, scale and rhythm in not just planting but every aspect of garden design. First, here's a great example of how invigorating just using green can be:
And even more visually exciting it can be with just the introduction of a small amount of colour. The difference between the Gunnera and Candelabra Primula highlight size and scale.
This hosta and Birch tree emphasise texture in its simplest form. Beautiful.
Look how the cup/bowl shape of the Gunnera is echoed by those of the himalayan poppy.
I'm a huge fan of the Christopher Lloyd approach to colour and love seeing more vibrant combinations in gardens I visit. In my own garden especially I don't get too worried about following the rules of what is 'good taste' or should work well according to pure colour theory. The best combinations can often be accidental. I'm really into orange & purple at the minute, here's a couple of zingy examples I saw there:
Often the same plant but in different colours work well. These pink and purple Aquilega are lovely together.
And these bright pink & marmalade Candelabra primulas are probably not to everyone's taste, but I think they're great.
Look how the light bounces off these grasses, lovely lovely lovely.
And how well they work in the middle of a bed of pink geraniums.
At Branklyn they also have some beautiful maple trees, the colours of which were so vibrant. The sunlight hitting the green palmatum one from above was amazing, as was the light filtering through the red leaved more dissected one.
Lastly just some flowers I like - their colour, shape and forms are stunning close up.

Go and visit - any time of year is great, but in late May/early June the show of Azaleas and Himalayan Poppies is stunning.

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