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

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Entries in Form and repetition (1)


Form and Repetition

This photo was posted by Dee to " Red Dirt" on Feb.8, 2008. It is titled "Wanda's Garden" and demonstrates how form and repetition help to create magnificent gardens. Notice how the repetition of the yellow and blue flowers and their shapes guide the eye through the garden.I have broken a rule of garden design. In city gardens where space is at a premium, I have abandoned all pretext of designing with form and repetition, two elements that are essential to a beautiful flowing garden design.

Recently, I wrote about a client who wanted a perennial garden wherein each plant would be unique and eye catching. A reader wrote to me wanting to know what happened to form and repetition. I replied that in a city garden, form is determined by the shape of the flower bed and repetition is found in colors. There is no space to repeat a flower or a shape to create the visual rhythm so prized in formal garden design.

We all know what happens to a garden with many diverse elements in it. At first glance, it looks messy and unkempt; it is a riot of textures and colors. And that is exactly what my clients, the owners of small city gardens, want. For most of them this is their primary, if not only, residence. They want to experience the beauty and awesomeness of nature on their property, no matter how small a garden they have. There is no room here for the rules of landscape architecture and garden design. The disciplined designer in me is constantly challenged to find ways of pulling it all together. That’s when I resort to trimming a garden with one annual in one color or resort to planting a repetition of a few border plants.

In a garden with a color scheme that is primarily pink, blue, yellow and white, I will use Impatiens Accent Rose sprinkled throughout the flower bed as well as along the front border. This is the glue that holds the kaleidoscope design together. Then I will distribute several identical Sedum or Hosta at the front of the border to anchor the composition. If my clients are pleased, I have accomplished my goal. Form and repetition will have to wait to be used in someone else's garden.