Sunday, May 12, 2013

Looking at Trees

Winter returned today. High of 7C that feels like 2C with the wind. Lovely. Apparently a very cold front is moving in today. There are already frost warnings for tonight and Monday night.

Hubby and I made a very rushed tour through the botanical gardens Rock Garden this morning. Neither of us were dressed appropriately and he cursed the wind that chilled us almost to the bone.
I did manage to take some photos while racing through. The Rock Garden is where the tulips are showcased each spring. And while I took some photos of the tulips it was the trees that interested me today.

hubby among the Baskets of Gold

The Rock Garden is layered in narrow terraces that form an irregular circle around the base of the garden.

There is a large variety of trees and some are used to good effect. That small green deciduous tree in the middle will one day be a great focal point.

With all the rock and stone around it reminds me of my own garden.  Walking around the Rock Garden I looked at how they placed the trees and how closely one can place trees together.

Since adding a stone patio and walkway, as well as, a retaining wall creating two levels in my own garden, I have been trying to better understand how to use the stone to its advantage; how to place plants near stone to show both at their best.

I am a slow learner in this area. Appreciation of well placed trees or flowers is what I do best, but being able to create something worthy of appreciation is hard, very hard.

Reading garden magazines and books, looking at their photos to pick up tips, is something I always seem to be doing. Research is my middle name.

Putting all you learn into practice is not always easy. Each situation is different. I would like a gardening template. Something that looks good and works wherever you want it to go.

I would like to be able to achieve something beautiful like the placement of trees in this photo.

And so today as we rushed around the gardens I looked at the trees. Perhaps one day I will create something I can appreciate in my own garden no matter how small.


  1. Sometimes a great design isn't the result of a good plan but simply the choice of plants and the setting. You can't scale down what you see in parks and botanical gardens and make miniature versions of that in your own garden - it doesn't work. But you can pick elements here and there that will work beautifully, with the right kind of plants.

    I think you are going about it exactly the right way, looking at the big picture in places you like, and then come home and see what can be useful in your own garden.

    As for being worthy of appreciation - it's your garden, you are the one who should appreciate it, I assume your garden is not a public garden you are just taking care of as a job? Your garden is YOUR garden, do whatever you like, and enjoy both the process and the result :-)

    1. You are right of course Helene. I do appreciate my garden most of the time. But I guess I strive to make it even better - some improbable combination of park and woodland garden.

  2. I can completely relate to this post. I visit professionally designed gardens and marvel at how closely trees are planted, how beautifully they are integrated with stone and walls, and then I go home and lament how everything I have is too crowded and there is no hardscape structure! But we learn and we adapt our spaces to what we see, and it starts to work. But it really is a challenge as you say so well. Not easy to achieve at all.

    1. Where you plant too closely I plant too far apart. We are never satisfied with what we have are we? But as you say we are learning all the time and that change will come.

  3. Every photo has a change in elevation (which can not always be done in a small space) and a great use of massing (which can). What I suggest you do is take tracing paper over an image you like and block in the masses, trace around the outside shape and color them in solid. Use different shades of grey to represent what is close and what is far. Simplifying in this manner makes one see relationships.

    Don't look at each plant variety because that you can substitute for the size you need. But remember, the change in grade is what you are seeing the interests you. Just image each space flat.

    If you think you can, you can always make a black and white of the image. It does the same thing as tracing, but also adds much more information.

    1. What a smart idea. I will do as you say Donna and see what comes out of it.

  4. Patty what a wonderful place to visit .. too bad the temps were so cold though, and yes we too are under a frost warning as well but warmer temps to come later this week !
    Funny you should talk about garden soil .. I too have been doing that along with worm castings compost (actually driving around in my KIA with bags of it as well ! haha)
    I have hopes that I can find a reasonable landscaping company to do my flagstone pathways and a focal point this year.
    I have also been bitten by ever greens .. adding a few more to my garden .. pyramidal cedars under the grape arbor and I think another spot or two is crying out for attention in that department .. I want more winter interest this year ! .. and of course I am a rock hound too .. I love rocks .. they add such a definitive dimension that I love in a garden : )

    1. It sounds like you have many garden plans. It is very exciting. Do post any garden work on your blog so I can keep up.