Refresh Your Garden Design

refresh your gardenWell done but not my cup of tea.  No matter how often I read about analogous and non-analogous color schemes, I can’t keep it in my head.  And occasionally I would look at a picture and think it was fine only to discover this was the bad “before” picture.  So, not too helpful for my limited visual skills.

Having said that, the book like all of Rebecca Sweet’s is very well organized and beautifully illustrated.  A bit of a California bias means she includes some zone 8 and above plants that are gorgeous but probably annuals for us.  The final chapter, offering suggestions for plants that will provide the desirable form, texture, weight and so on was quite inspiring.  Here are my notes with images pulled from hither and yon.

For “texture with weight,” consider a small weigela, only 3′ x 3′.  ‘Dark Horse’ offers bronze foliage in full sun – might work as a good weight to the sunny border.  Image from the Sunray Gardens blog.


I am looking for something to put in front of the yews by the steps.  At the moment this little bed is a dog’s dinner of little bitty things that I put there in despair, punctuated by the  pipe thingy.yew bedI was thinking of a low-growing viburnum or maybe this dogwood,  Cornus sanguinea ‘Cato’ Arctic Sun, that Sweet recommends.  But I think it needs a more prominent spot to do well.

Cornus sanguinea Arctic Sun 7249

Next are two plants for “form and shape.”  Here is donkeytail spurge, Euphorbia myrsinites,


whose form and repetition I love. Low-growing, drought resistant, offers a sense of movement in the garden.  I’m just not sure where I would put it.

And this is spiral aloe, aloe polyphylla.aloe polyphylla

She recommends this as a specimen for a container or succulent garden.  Only zones 7-9 but it could work here.  I love it in this container.

Finally, cotoneaster, aka bearberry.  I already have this at one end of the walkway garden.  Perhaps it or its relative, Cotoneaster dammeri ‘Streib’s Findling’, an “excellent spreading ground cover with a stunning herringbone silhouette,” 6″ tall by 8′ wide, might help a driveway area that’s gone all to hell.cotoneaster_procumbens_streibs_findling_01

This bed came with low-growing juniper that I extended farther along up to the walkway garden.  But this year it is dead and dying and depressing.  I think low is the way to go, so maybe this cotoneaster or another one?

Note: I did my best to find plants that might solve a problem rather than plants that just caught my fancy.  Whether I will implement any of these ideas remains to be seen.


3 responses to “Refresh Your Garden Design

  1. I love the pattern on those! I will love to know what did you choose!

  2. I plan to get cotoneaster and put it along the driveway.

  3. That sounds good, a nice groundcover and a native. I have bearberry now and it’s doing well.

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