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GardenSMART Episode

Show #25/6812. Transforming A Deck Into A Gardening Work Of Art

Summary of Show

Beauty Of Containers
Eric loves the utility and BEAUTY OF CONTAINERS. They have the ability to transform any space into a work of art, a thing of wonder. Many plant lovers are working with small spaces where containers are the perfect solution. There have been so many innovations in the world of containers that have unlocked new ways of bringing nature onto the patio or deck.
For More Information Click here

1ST Thing Pamela Does
The very FIRST THING PAMELA DOES is put together what she calls an activities and facilities chart. At this step she goes over with her clients everything they would want to do on that deck. Eating, for example - how many people would you want to sit? Lounging, how many lounge chairs would you need? Cooking, do you want an outdoor kitchen? Do you just want a grill? She goes over absolutely everything they would want to do. When designing pools areas she will do the same thing because pools are now outdoor living centers in their own right. Once she gets information down she then scales it out to see how much space is left.
For More Information Click here

Tall, Thin Pots
Another thing she uses a lot in terms of containers are TALL,THIN POTS. And, that’s because they doesn't take up much of the floor space but at the same time you get a lot of soil in taller, thinner containers. They support larger plants and will support vegetables as well.
For More Information Click here

Planters On The Walls
Pamela uses walls too. We often put artwork on the walls inside your house, Pamela puts artwork in terms of PLANTERS ON THE WALLS outside of the house thereby creating a work of art in a planter.
For More Information Click here

Overview Of This Deck
Pamela has done an impressive job with this planting. Eric would like for her to give us a little bit of an OVERVIEW OF THIS DECK. You talked earlier about the way you conceive a patio planting. Talk us through this specific space and the way you were thinking about it. What she wanted to do here is max out the plants. She wanted this to be literally a garden deck. So what she did immediately was think about putting height in the corners and then using these long, thin window box planters on the deck railing to be able to maximize the planting. In terms of the colors she wanted to utilize she chose silver because of a hanging basket she saw at Longwood Botanical Gardens which absolutely blew her away.
For More Information Click here

First Container
Eric would like for Pamela to walk through each container. He knows our viewers are going to want to get into her head a little bit with what she was thinking with each one of these plantings because the combinations came out wonderfully. Thank you, but the FIRST ONE worked and it didn't work because what Pamela is doing here, and Pamela knows Eric is well aware, that she's planting things to be able to write about and talk about not only what works but, as well, what doesn't work. She's working on a book on window boxes. This works in some respects but was a miserable failure in others.
For More Information Click here

Planting Holes In The Side
This particular window box is large plus it also features PLANTING HOLES IN THE SIDE. Wet the root balls then just slide the plants through those holes. It's very, very easy. The holes in the side give it extra fullness.
For More Information Click here

Vertical Elements In Container Gardening
Eric also knows Pamela also loves to work with VERTICAL ELEMENTS IN CONTAINER GARDENING. The next planting is amazing and he thinks really, really shows off that technique well. This is actually a basket. This basket like the window boxes, has holes in the sides so you plant through the sides for extra fullness. It is supported on a post that goes down to a ring on the bottom. Pamela used the same begonias, they're not getting quite as large because there's not as much soil mass in this one. She also used impatiens. Plus a plant she was so excited to find. This is called Browallia. Pamela calls it an old fashioned annual.
For More Information Click here

Container With Boldness And In Some Ways Simplicity
What Eric loves about the next composition is its BOLDNESS AND IN SOME WAYS ITS SIMPLICITY because it's kind of a study in silver and purple. It has a lot of repeated themes from the other containers but what is so impressive about this is its’ composition. It's really, really stark. Pamela appreciates that. It means a lot coming from Eric. It's a pretty simple composition. She likes to experiment with really bold centerpiece plants and the Persian Shields really are the most dominant plant in this particular planting. Pamela contrasted them with the silver, Dusty Miller.
For More Information Click here

Pushing The Boundaries Of The Use Of Bold Colors
The next window box is what Eric would consider to be classic Pamela Crawford design. It's PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES ON THE USE OF BOLD COLORS and does a great job of showing people how daring you can be by just putting a foot out there in the direction of something that is really, really eye catching.
For More Information Click here

The Largest Of The Planters On This Particular Deck
Believe it or not, Pamela found all these plants at one garden center. She was looking for a fantastic centerpiece and found this centerpiece, then looked at something to put on the side, then looked at other things she could put in. She was so excited when she got them home and planted them. This is the LARGEST OF THE PLANTERS ON THIS PARTICULAR DECK. The reason that it's the largest is that she likes to use the concept of dominance. She wants one planter that's a lot bigger than the rest.
For More Information Click here

Experience The Space From Inside The Home
Eric comments about one point Pamela made that he thinks is really important as we think about the design of decks and patios is it's not just about that space but it's about the way that we EXPERIENCE THE SPACE FROM INSIDE THE HOME. He loves the fact that when he walks in her front door and looks through the windows onto her deck, we see the patio area and the planters.
For More Information Click here

Repeated Themes In Containers
We've talked about the theory of using REPEATED THEMES IN CONTAINERS and how that really ties everything together. And it's one of the things Pamela has done wonderfully in this little corner of her deck. The bromeliads are represented in all three of these containers. What Pamela was trying to do here was have a unifying factor other than just silver because she wanted to do these with different plants.
For More Information Click here

Where To Find The Names Of The Plants On This Show
The best place to FIND THE NAMES OF THESE PLANTS, and their botanical names mentioned is on the GardenSMART website for each show. Find the correct episode, look for the icon Plant List, click on it, then Google the botanical name and you're going to see lots of them for sale.
For More Information Click here

Container With A Dark Feel
Eric and Pamela look at a different container. It has bromeliads in the center of course but did something she’s not sure she likes that much. She put the Persian Shield with the bromeliads and have kept them trimmed low. Pamela thinks it does add a little bit of A DARK FEEL. Eric likes it, it's nice. Then she has added the Tradescantia Nanouk again, in several spots. But the real star for Pamela is this Torenia. This trailing Torenia has provided a higher percentage of color than just about any other trailing plant that she has been able to use.
For More Information Click here

Next Container - With Blue Trailing Torenia
Eric would like to move on to the NEXT CONTAINER. Let's talk through the plantings. This one has the blue trailing Torenia. One can readily see the difference in the percentage of color. It’s a little bit astounding that the purple does so much better. Then there are the Just Pink vinca. They have done really well and it surprises Pamela. She always thought of the Polka Dot plant as a shade plant. Well, guess what? This gets about four to six hours of sun a day. It's darker here than when planted in shade, but loves it. Then she has Dusty Miller, then some of the Purple Angelonia pulling up the back.
For More Information Click here

One Of Eric’s Favorite Color Combinations
The next container is ONE OF ERIC’S FAVORITE COLOR COMBINATIONS of all the containers on her deck. It's fun and it's lively and also brings in a lot of really bold reds that are not represented in many of the other containers. Pamela explains, this one was luck. This represents another time she went to a garden center and spotted these Queen of Heart Petunias. One thing that really makes any container garden make a statement is having bold plants that have more than one color in them. She saw them and went, "ah." So picked up the plant then went around the nursery to see which other plants looked really great with it.
For More Information Click here

LINKS:

Pamela Crawford
Great Landscape Artist - Landscape Designer - Gardens -Pamela Crawford

Column For Large Pots
Pamela Crawford Basket Column For Large Pots (Top Basket Not Included), Basket Columns: Kinsman Garden Company

Plant List

Show #25/6812. Transforming A Deck Into A Gardening Work Of Art

Transcript of Show

GardenSMART always has so much fun gardening with containers! In this episode we catch up with one of the queens of container gardening to enjoy her latest project.

Eric loves the utility and BEAUTY OF CONTAINERS. They have the ability to transform any space into a work of art, a thing of wonder. Many plant lovers are working with small spaces where containers are the perfect solution. There have been so many innovations in the world of containers that have unlocked new ways of bringing nature onto the patio or deck. Many of these new methods allow for intricate vertical plantings and a much more dynamic display of color and diversity.

Pamela Crawford, joins us once again in this episode. Pamela has authored a host of books on the subject of container gardening and has devoted much of her professional career to making containers accessible to every gardener. She has just finished an amazing collection of containers for her back deck and we’re excited to explore the area with her latest creations.

Eric welcomes Pamela, it's always great to spend time together, to learn about containers and all the wonderful things that she is doing. Pamela has had a very, very long and illustrious career of great garden and container design. For our viewers that haven't met you yet, walk us through the scope of some of the projects that you've been involved in. Pamela thanks Eric for the kind words. Projects that include outdoor living are some of her most favorite and that's because she's not only talking about something that looks aesthetically good but additionally talking about something that family is going to use for the rest of their time in that home. Accordingly she always starts out talking about functionality, what are the activities that they want to do in their outdoor living areas. Pamela then sets up spaces for each one of them.

This episode is very special to Pamela because we're coming from her deck. Over the years she has used a lot of different materials for decks - wood, of course and she's also used travertine. It’s a fabulous stone which really, really looks great on upscale patios. Recently has been designing quite a few gardens that are a combination of artificial turf and either pavers or travertine stone. So, when talking about gardening, especially container gardening on decks and patios, it's universal to almost every single gardener.

Not everyone has a large yard where they can garden but most people have some small space, even if it's just a stoop or a patio. Eric loves doing these shows because he feels the information presented is applicable to so many people. Eric would like for Pamela to talk about some of the broader design techniques that she keeps in mind when thinking about how to tackle ones' space. What's going through your mind as you're looking at a patio and just getting started with it?

The very FIRST THING PAMELA DOES is put together what she calls an activities and facilities chart. At this step she goes over with her clients everything they would want to do on that deck. Eating, for example - how many people would you want to sit? Lounging, how many lounge chairs would you need? Cooking, do you want an outdoor kitchen? Do you just want a grill? She goes over absolutely everything they would want to do. When designing pools areas she will do the same thing because pools are now outdoor living centers in their own right. Once she gets information down she then scales it out to see how much space is left. Once that is complete she starts playing with the pretty stuff. Generally with planters most of them are placed around the edges of the patio. If the patio has a railing she loves that because she can do what she did here, which is actually attach planters to the railing, then goes from there. Basically, between the people who are living there and the patio itself, it's almost as if it tells her what to do. And that's so important because she is trying to create additional living space and thinking about how are they going to use it. And that’s also a great principle in gardening, too. Think about how people are going to use that space. It's where we cut the trails, how we basically put in larger pieces from a standpoint of either hardscape or plants. Viewing a patio in that same way, from a functional approach, is so important. Even using containers to accent the architecture of the home or to fill in little spots and add pops of color. It's a great way of thinking about it.

Another thing she uses a lot in terms of containers are TALL,THIN POTS. And, that’s because they doesn't take up much of the floor space but at the same time you get a lot of soil in taller, thinner containers. They support larger plants and will support vegetables as well. Eric totally agrees, the wonderful thing about a really tall soil column is - the more volume of soil that you have, the more bulletproof the plants are going to be. You need that big reservoir so you can actually go on a weekend vacation and come back and still have happy plants.

Pamela uses walls too. We often put artwork on the walls inside your house, Pamela puts artwork in terms of PLANTERS ON THE WALLS outside of the house thereby creating a work of art in a planter. And that's one thing Eric loves about Pamela's work is that there are so many creative ideas and so many unusual ways of using containers that when you see it in action, it's like, "oh, well, of course, of course we should use containers that way.”

Pamela has done an impressive job with this planting. Eric would like for her to give us a little bit of an OVERVIEW OF THIS DECK. You talked earlier about the way you conceive a patio planting. Talk us through this specific space and the way you were thinking about it. What she wanted to do here is max out the plants. She wanted this to be literally a garden deck. So what she did immediately was think about putting height in the corners and then using these long, thin window box planters on the deck railing to be able to maximize the planting. In terms of the colors she wanted to utilize she chose silver because of a hanging basket she saw at Longwood Botanical Gardens which absolutely blew her away. She thought it was gorgeous. It was Dichondra Silver Falls. She had never really worked enough with that plant so wanted to see what she could do with it here. And what a statement. It looks like a silver waterfall that just kind of encases this area and provides that cool lush feel, because it feels like water. It gives you that relaxing soothing kind of feel. And, if you listen very closely you can hear the stream behind her house which is also gurgling. So that mirrors the waterfall.

Eric would like for Pamela to walk through each container. He knows our viewers are going to want to get into her head a little bit with what she was thinking with each one of these plantings because the combinations came out wonderfully. Thank you, but the FIRST ONE worked and it didn't work because what Pamela is doing here, and Pamela knows Eric is well aware, that she's planting things to be able to write about and talk about not only what works but, as well, what doesn't work. She's working on a book on window boxes. This works in some respects but was a miserable failure in others. First of all, the big success is the Whopper Begonia. When she planted it, it was green, a month later, it was green. She said to herself, I did not plant this to be green. She was just on the verge of throwing it out, then came out here one day and it was blooming. Look at the size of the flowers and the size of the leaves. Eric loves the foliage of begonias because of their beautiful, like waxy, shiny green leaves. They pop from 20 yards.

Now where this container didn't work was the fireworks grass. At the beginning there was a third one. It got so overrun by the huge begonia that although it is down there somewhere it's not showing. The Dusty Miller, same thing. They were a little bit overcrowded and the poor Dichondra around the bottom was actually shaded out. The begonia will thrive, the Dichondra will not.

The begonia was almost too successful there so it kind of shaded out the Dichondra. It's just a symphony of color and texture with little pops of silver in there. It's a wonderful juxtaposition with deep green foliage and, of course, all the beautiful coral red flowers. Eric thinks even though it was not as successful as it could be, it still really balances this container out. The Silver Falls mirrors the silver of the Dusty Miller. So it's still a wonderfully well composed design.

This particular window box is large plus it also features PLANTING HOLES IN THE SIDE. Wet the root balls then just slide the plants through those holes. It's very, very easy. The holes in the side give it extra fullness. Eric thinks this is a wonderful way of planting containers and certainly something that Pamela has definitely been an innovator in that space by making the whole container/window boxes basically just be a planting.

Eric also knows Pamela also loves to work with VERTICAL ELEMENTS IN CONTAINER GARDENING. The next planting is amazing and he thinks really, really shows off that technique well. This is actually a basket. This basket like the window boxes, has holes in the sides so you plant through the sides for extra fullness. It is supported on a post that goes down to a ring on the bottom. Pamela used the same begonias, they're not getting quite as large because there's not as much soil mass in this one. She also used impatiens. Plus a plant she was so excited to find. This is called Browallia. Pamela calls it an old fashioned annual. She had not seen it on the market in probably 20 years. It has performed beautifully and has for some time. You don't have to deadhead it, it blooms, one side is in shade, the other side in sun, it doesn't seem to care. Eric comments that some new colors have been introduced. He loves this annual as well and hasn't seen it in quite some time. And, remembers when back in horticulture school, it was abundant. He loves the fact that Pamela introduced a lot of new colors in this container but also there are some repeated themes from the window boxes that really help tie the two together. Every planter out here includes silver, pink and some of them include blue.

What Eric loves about the next composition is its BOLDNESS AND IN SOME WAYS ITS SIMPLICITY because it's kind of a study in silver and purple. It has a lot of repeated themes from the other containers but what is so impressive about this is its’ composition. It's really, really stark. Pamela appreciates that. It means a lot coming from Eric. It's a pretty simple composition. She likes to experiment with really bold centerpiece plants and the Persian Shields really are the most dominant plant in this particular planting. Pamela contrasted them with the silver, Dusty Miller. The Dichondra is repeated on the bottom and then this little baby is called Tradescantia Nanouk. It's a new Tradescantia, most of the others she has used really drape and go down. This one doesn't, it goes up a little bit. She would call it semi-trailing. The back of the leaves are purple, if you put it in shade it will grow but then it starts trailing a little bit and the leaves are relatively short and do not have the purple color. Eric loves the tricolor variegation. But you can't use them everywhere. Sometimes they can be a bit much but in this planting it's just perfect because it's a study in bold silver and purple. It's a wonderful transition plant because it mirrors the colors that are above and below it, all kind of melded into one plant. Eric thinks it's a great way of thinking about the way that we use color in design.

The next window box is what Eric would consider to be classic Pamela Crawford design. It's PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES ON THE USE OF BOLD COLORS and does a great job of showing people how daring you can be by just putting a foot out there in the direction of something that is really, really eye catching. Eric has found in his own designs over the years that sometimes the least impressive ones are where he has been a little too cautious and not had the boldness to just go for it. He loves this. It's spirited and it's beautiful.

Believe it or not, Pamela found all these plants at one garden center. She was looking for a fantastic centerpiece and found this centerpiece, then looked at something to put on the side, then looked at other things she could put in. She was so excited when she got them home and planted them. This is the LARGEST OF THE PLANTERS ON THIS PARTICULAR DECK. The reason that it's the largest is that she likes to use the concept of dominance. She wants one planter that's a lot bigger than the rest. It seems to really make a statement that's needed in most designs, even small deck designs. Plus, this is opposite her front door. And all of the containers are visible from all the rooms on the first floor of this house so it was a real, real joy. The Celosia is Red Dragon. The Coleus in front is a new one, it's the first time she has used it. It's called La Rambla. The next are generic purple pentas. Then we go down to generic vinca. Pamela wonders what Eric thinks of the three colors in the Calibrachoa? He loves it, they're fun. Once again, Pamela has a waterfall effect from the Dichondra.

Eric comments about one point Pamela made that he thinks is really important as we think about the design of decks and patios is it's not just about that space but it's about the way that we EXPERIENCE THE SPACE FROM INSIDE THE HOME. He loves the fact that when he walks in her front door and looks through the windows onto her deck, we see the patio area and the planters. Framing is an important part of the way that we view the garden from the home. Eric thinks that feature is really, really smart. And, don't be afraid to go bold. And Pam you have never have been afraid to go bold.

We've talked about the theory of using REPEATED THEMES IN CONTAINERS and how that really ties everything together. And it's one of the things Pamela has done wonderfully in this little corner of her deck. The bromeliads are represented in all three of these containers. What Pamela was trying to do here was have a unifying factor other than just silver because she wanted to do these with different plants. She didn't want to stay with the exact same recipe but needed them to coordinate together so that your eye didn't look away and say, "oh my gosh, that clashes and looks terrible.” So what she used for the centerpiece plants in all of these is a bromeliad. She calls it silver bromeliad. The botanical name is Alcantarea odorata. The reason she used it here is this corner gets a lot of sun. There are a lot of silver bromeliads. Aechmea fasciata is probably the most common that actually will not take full sun.

The best place to FIND THE NAMES OF THESE PLANTS, and their botanical names mentioned is on the GardenSMART website for each show. Find the correct episode, look for the icon Plant List, click on it, then Google the botanical name and you're going to see lots of them for sale.

Throughout all of these containers Pamela has incorporated a lot of the same repeated elements but as well splashes of new plants in each one. That keeps each container exciting and interesting in its own right. And, that is what Pamela was trying to do. She wanted to do different things this year. She didn't want this deck to look just the same as past years.

Eric and Pamela look at a different container. It has bromeliads in the center of course but did something she’s not sure she likes that much. She put the Persian Shield with the bromeliads and have kept them trimmed low. Pamela thinks it does add a little bit of A DARK FEEL. Eric likes it, it's nice. Then she has added the Tradescantia Nanouk again, in several spots. But the real star for Pamela is this Torenia. This trailing Torenia has provided a higher percentage of color than just about any other trailing plant that she has been able to use. The trailing Torenia in blue does not bloom as much as the trailing Torenia in purple. And then the Dichondra is down at the bottom. Eric loves the juxtaposition of texture in this one. The one thing he loves about the Torenia is the little snapdragon or foxglove type flowers. And this is very floriferous. It's a really, really impressive selection.

As we were discussing earlier, Pamela loves vertical elements and these containers really set off the corners of the deck especially as you're viewing it from the home. These vertical planters really are focal pieces. The centerpiece, too, is extremely bold. Pamela thinks that containers, in general, do really well if you buy something that might be a little bit bolder than what you had planned on to begin with.

Eric would like to move on to the NEXT CONTAINER. Let's talk through the plantings. This one has the blue trailing Torenia. One can readily see the difference in the percentage of color. It’s a little bit astounding that the purple does so much better. Then there are the Just Pink vinca. They have done really well and it surprises Pamela. She always thought of the Polka Dot plant as a shade plant. Well, guess what? This gets about four to six hours of sun a day. It's darker here than when planted in shade, but loves it. Then she has Dusty Miller, then some of the Purple Angelonia pulling up the back. There’s also a blooper in here. This was Pamela's old way of planting Dichondra. This is another basket that has holes in the side, a side planted basket. She put the Dichondra in some of the side holes but didn't put enough whereas when you look at the ones that have the waterfall effect you've got to have the Dichondra going all the way along the side holes and some of them tucked on the top edge as well. And that's an important thing as gardeners - gardening is trial and error. We learn a lot through the things that don't work every year. Pamela agrees and she writes about those too. Her bloopers are in her books as well as all the great successes.

The next container is ONE OF ERIC’S FAVORITE COLOR COMBINATIONS of all the containers on her deck. It's fun and it's lively and also brings in a lot of really bold reds that are not represented in many of the other containers. Pamela explains, this one was luck. This represents another time she went to a garden center and spotted these Queen of Heart Petunias. One thing that really makes any container garden make a statement is having bold plants that have more than one color in them. She saw them and went, "ah." So picked up the plant then went around the nursery to see which other plants looked really great with it. She found the La Rambla coleus, they just look like they were made to go together. Then she put really simple Pentas on top, then came in with Creeping Jenny. An additional experimental aspect of this one was that she didn't know if the silver bromeliad was going to look good with the lime colored Creeping Jenny but it did. She thinks what it does is bring out the little bit of green in both plants. Eric thinks it is wonderful the way that it all works together. And, as we've said many times in this conversation, it's worth thinking about going bold and experimenting knowing not everything works. But oftentimes the most surprising and the most amazing color combinations that we come up with are the ones where we're pushing the envelope a little.

Eric thanks Pamela, we always learn so much spending the day with her. It's been so much fun over many years just seeing the way that her design aesthetic has evolved and all the many wonderful things that she has put together and the many wonderful books that she's written. There is so much we're able to learn every time we meet with Pamela.

Are there any final words of wisdom that Pamela might have for our viewers? Pamela does, she's very enthusiastic about the availability of plants now. It used to be that one could only go to their garden center to find plants, thus were very limited. At this point she would venture to say that every plant on this deck is available online. So if you have problems finding a particular plant just google it and order it in. Eric thinks that's a great tip. Oftentimes, in the past, we would see, either in books or gardening television, plants that look really, really exciting to us but they used to be a challenge to find. But the world is getting smaller and smaller every day with the internet.

Pamela, thank you so much for sharing the day with us. We had so much fun and always learn so much spending the day. Then leave inspired to branch out and try new things with containers.

LINKS:

Pamela Crawford
Great Landscape Artist - Landscape Designer - Gardens -Pamela Crawford

Column For Large Pots
Pamela Crawford Basket Column For Large Pots (Top Basket Not Included), Basket Columns: Kinsman Garden Company

Plant List

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FEATURED ARTICLE
GardenSMART Featured Article

By Susan Martin for Proven Winners
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners

More people than ever are growing fruits and vegetables from seed. And winter is when most order their seeds for the upcoming season. Plus they make great Christmas gifts. The timing is super. Click here for an interesting article on the topic.

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