Two Great Gardens - One With English Inspiration, One With French Inspiration
A Beautiful French Style Courtyard Garden
Eric notices the creeping fig and how Debbie has trained it in a tudor type diamond shape to add accents to what would otherwise be long white stucco walls. Debbie measured the walls first, put up wire as guides, then just let it grow in a pattern. She is up there weekly on a ladder clipping away to keep it under control. As they say, in the first year it sleeps, the second year creeps, the third leaps - and it's in about it's third year.
Debbie talks about some of the plants in this area she's used to make everything come together. She used four two balled ligustrum topiaries in large pots to add height to make everything come together. Then 2 spiral ligustrum topiaries add height and more formality to the French courtyard. The courtyard is really a more French parterre form with gravel paths and boxwoods surrounding the plant material. She used pinta along with victoria salvia and sunpatiens which do well in the heat. This year she's trying to add a pop of lime green color with duranta along the edge of the beds. In the center bed she used germander instead of boxwoods, they're clipped like boxwoods to make use of the somewhat limited space. And it all looks great.
Eric notices that many of Debbie's designs are plant intensive and for many gardeners they are able to achieve that by propagating their own plants. Are there some she likes to propagate? Debbie has propagated day lilies, niko blue geraniums and cat whiskers which she has in the courtyard. Around most of the beds she has liriope which she has divided. If a plant can be divided she will divide it, she is a very frugal gardener and dividing is easy to do. Eric thinks it's a fun thing for gardeners to figure out what plants they can propagate easily with stem cuttings or through mound layering. Of course division is a tremendous way to make the most of the plants we have.
What's the secret of transitioning from a competent gardener to a confident one? Pruning! Though pruning shrubs strikes fear into the hearts of many, it is actually a simple and rewarding process. All you need to do to master it is to understand a few basic principles behind the why, when, and how of pruning shrubs.
Click here to sign up for our monthly NEWSLETTER packed with great articles and helpful tips for your home, garden and pets!