Gail and I have been thinking about the big new bed in the Display Garden at least since last year. We shifted all of the keepers out of the Idea Beds last fall to make way for the new bed and then waited (im)patiently for the guys to dig it all up, re-grade, re-sod, place pavers and decorate.
(Check out Fred’s new fountain! – the guys made it from recycled greenhouse gutters and a parking lot stone that the caterers kept crashing into.) All the while we kept our eyes glued to the size and shape of the new bed and tried to form some how-should-we-plant-it-? ideas in our heads.
I think Gail and I have different methods for idea making but what I realized again (I realize this every year when we plan and place the gardens) was that we are amazingly in tune with each other and what we want the gardens to look like. Gail has memorized all of the plants we grow and makes copious lists of them on random sheets of paper and in notepads. We talk about themes and schemes – for instance, one bed this year will be heavy on green and pink flowers; others are cottage-potage garden mixes. Gail organizes the plants in the greenhouse by color and then by garden and meanwhile forms a mental image. I on the other hand am not particularly organized and if I’m not looking directly at a plant, I’ll pretty much have forgotten what it looks like. I can form hazy mental pictures of colors and textures but really need to “see” what I’m thinking. I got out Gail’s lists and my tiny tin of watercolors and tried to capture my vague fog of thought but it wasn’t until I actually went out this morning (while I was still fresh and well caffeinated) and started “plunking” that I could begin to see what the bed was going to grow up to be.
After Gail came to work and said “Yup – that looks good!” and Tara approved the holes, we got right down to planting. It’s only a start but the bed I have been calling “the big empty” suddenly today needs a new name! How do you come up with the design for your beds and gardens? Do you ever work with a partner?