Honorable Mention for a Talented Garden Designer
February 23, 2009
Allan in Musings on Gardening, annuals, flowers, garden design

I live on the island of Montreal, where the winters are cold and long. Spring and autumn are short or non existent. As a result, early spring blooming bulbs and perennials don’t always make a successful showing and autumn blooming plants are rare. The net effect of this meteorological bad luck is that most of us living here have a heightened appreciation for flowers.

The city of Cote St Luc, the suburban municipality in which I live, is sensitive to our needs. Each season, the Parks Department goes to great lengths to plant flowers wherever possible, utilizing the most beautiful and most innovative combinations. Flowers decorate the park outside our City Hall, our green spaces and fill the concrete medians of our main roadways.

Planting inside the medians has yielded impressive results. The floral composition planted there runs at right angle to the driver’s line of vision. This is one of the most effective strategies a gardener can use because our brain sees all of the colors, textures and shapes at one glance. It’s the visual equivalent of all of the instruments of an orchestra playing at the same moment. It creates a wonderful sensory experience.

Every season, our city’s horticulture foreperson, Violette Sauriol, manages to find a plant or flower that is rare or unusual.The eye-catching originality with which she creates flower combinations is inspiring. Last spring, the little known annual, Verbena bonariensis, was used in the medians in combination with thirteen other annuals including the ornamental grass, Pennisetum sitaceum ”Rubrum” which is treated as an annual in our climate. Anyone driving alongside this composition might have thought they were inside a botanical garden.

The above photo shows the median as it appeared in August 2008.The composition is a masterpiece of color, texture and shape.Here Is the list of the annuals that were used:- Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum' / Verbena bonariensis / Ageratum houstonianum 'Red Sea' / Salvia farinacea Evolution 'Deep Violet' / Sennecio 'Cirrhus' / Petunia Wave 'Blue' / Petunia Tidal Wave 'Silver' / Portulaca Margarita 'Rosita' / Pentas Kaleidoscope 'Carmine' / Gomphrena Qis 'Purple' / Pentas Kaleidoscope 'Lilac' / Zinnia Cristal 'White' / Aster heteropappus 'Blue Knoll' / Iresine herbii 'Purple Lady'.

Another view of this median garden, highlighting Verbena bonariensis, was posted to my blog entry of February 9, 2009.

Article originally appeared on Garden Design, Montreal, Perennial Flower Gardens, Gardening Tips, Gardening Advice, Gardening Book Reviews (http://allanbecker-gardenguru.squarespace.com/).
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