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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

See my work on Pinterest at Garden Guru Montreal

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Web Photos That I Like

It is rare that I feature the work of landscape architects even though I have great admiration for their profession. As a perennial gardener, I find that most of their work lacks the color that I seek. The primary focus of their projects is the configuration of hardscape elements. Plants and ornamental shrubs appear only as design accessories and color is used sparingly.

While visiting internet sites that focus on nature, I came across riveting panoramic views of gardens that caused me to stop and admire. They turned out to be photographs of the works of the landscape architecture firm of Oehme, van Sweden and Associates. What separates this firm from most of their peers is a philosophy of the New American Garden that allows the visitor to see nature first and then to notice the hardscapes. The inspiration for their gardens comes from the American meadow and reflects the year-round beauty of the natural landscape. When color is used, it is dramatic.

Here is a view of the Gardens of the Great Basin at the Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glencoe, Illinois. It consists of fourteen acres of plantings, pathways, terraces, knolls, overlooks and bridges. According to the publicity supplies by the firm, each garden within the Great Basin captures the unique attributes of the Midwestern landscape.

In the photo above, ornamental grasses are effectively used to highlight the colorful plants in the foreground. Notice how yellow, pink and blue perennials, when planted in waves, create a powerful composition.

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Reader Comments (1)

Allan thank you for your very smart advice about how to keep track of plants. My daughter does this and has quite a portfolio. I guess because I do well identifying my perennials I think I am going to remember. But, with hosta and ferns, they all start resembling each other, especially since they do not have an identifiable flower.

I was at the Botanic Garden in July and took many plant photos. I will need to make another visit to find this lovely planting.


February 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

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