Readers who follow my garden book reviews may have noticed an emphasis this season on two landscaping topics:- a] gardening in confined urban spaces and b] landscaping without lawns.
From that perspective, it is reassuring that the publishing industry recognizes the large number of urban gardeners who have location-related challenges that need to be addressed. City dwellers must be relieved to know that having a lawn is not, and never has been, a prerequisite to enjoying a beautiful garden.
With the emerging targets markets for container gardening and no-mow lawns, it is prescient that Proven Winners reflects these two trends in their current publication The Gardener’s Idea Book. It differs from previous PW brochures as it focuses primarily on the urban gardener and apartment dweller, both of whom are more likely to garden on a patio, deck, or balcony rather than on a lawn.
Below are images of some of the urban settings that PW commissioned for their current brochure. They illustrate how easy it is to create a pleasurable floral oasis on a deck or patio using only containers, window boxes, and raised flowerbeds.
Once they are planted, such gardens require less attention and maintenance than traditional flowerbeds do. There is no space for weeds to grow in containers or raised beds covered with wall – to – wall plants. The abundant use of annuals reduces the amount of maintenance required to tend some perennials. In addition, there is little or no grass to cut, feed, and water on a deck or patio.
While the emphasis in this publication is on Proven Winner’s attractive, trademarked annuals, readers might want to consider adding perennials, ornamental shrubs, and roses to their raised flowerbeds. Where budgets permit, these plants are also quite effective when used for container gardening.
Plants included in above arrangements: ANGELFACE® Blue Angelonia hybrid, SUPERBELLS® Plum, SUPERBELLS® Red, and SUPERBELLS® Yellow Calibrachoa hybrids, Sweet Caroline Bewitched and Sweet Caroline Raven, Ipomoea batatas, SUNSATIA® Raspberry Nemesia hybrid, SUPERTUNIA®, Red and SUPERTUNIA® Royal Velvet Petunia hybrids, COLORBLAZE® Dipt in Wine, Solenostemon scutellarioides (Coleus), and GRACEFUL GRASSES® KING TUT® Cyperus papyrus
In matching containers above center: - SUPERBELLS® Dreamsicle and SUPERBELLS® Yellow Chiffon Calibrachoa hybrids, Efanthia Euphorbia amygdaloides hybrid.
In raised beds:- Efanthia Euphorbia amygdaloides hybrid, Sweet Caroline Raven, Ipomoea batatas, LUSCIOUS® Citrus Blend Lantana hybrid, SUNSATIA® Lemon Nemesia hybrid, GRACEFUL GRASSES® Purple Fountain Grass Pennisetum setaceum, SUPERTUNIA® Citrus Petunia hybrid, COLORBLAZE® Dark Star, COLORBLAZE® Kingswood Torch, COLORBLAZE® Royal Glissade and COLORBLAZE® ‘Sedona’ Solenostemon scutellarioides (Coleus).
Window boxes on edge of raised beds: - SUPERBELLS® Dreamsicle, SUPERBELLS® Yellow, SUPERBELLS® Yellow Chiffon Calibrachoa hybrids,and Goldilocks Lysimachia nummularia.
Above is an aerial view of the previous photo. Notice the abundance of plants and trees growing in the raised beds and containers. The verticality of the gazebo, trees, and tall plant on the left, deflect the visitor's gaze away from the confinement of the fence.
In raised beds above:- Efanthia Euphorbia amygdaloides hybrid, Sweet Caroline Raven Ipomoea batatas, LUSCIOUS® Citrus Blend Lantana hybrid, SUNSATIA® Lemon Nemesia hybrid, GRACEFUL GRASSES® Purple Fountain Grass Pennisetum setaceum, SUPERTUNIA® Citrus Petunia hybrid, COLORBLAZE® Dark Star, COLORBLAZE® Kingswood Torch, OLORBLAZE® Royal Glissade, and COLORBLAZE® ‘Sedona’ Solenostemon scutellarioides (Coleus).
Window boxes on edge of raised beds:- SUPERBELLS® Dreamsicle, SUPERBELLS® Yellow, SUPERBELLS® Yellow Chiffon Calibrachoa hybrids, and Goldilocks Lysimachia nummularia.
Plants used in various containers:- SUPERBELLS® Yellow Chiffon Calibrachoa hybrid, SUPERTUNIA® Bermuda Beach Petunia hybrid, SUPERBENA® Peachy Keen Verbena hybrid.
Window boxes: SUPERBELLS® Cherry Star and SUPERBELLS® Yellow Chiffon, Calibrachoa hybrids and ‘Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Light Green’ Ipomoea batatas.
In all of the photos above, notice the visual interest created by the contrasting textures of fabrics, wood, concrete, stone, container materials, metal, foliage and flowers. A comforting verticality, that adds to a sense of spaciousness, is supplied by upward growing plants, shrubs, trees, and a gazebo. Mood and atmosphere is enhanced by light and fire, as well as the borrowed view of the city sky line.
The colors green and terra cotta repeat throughout these urban landscapes to create a rhythmic, unifying theme, while the color and grain of the fencing timber provide richness. Only one of the above views indicates that there is a grass lawn in the distant background. However, in such a beautiful outdoor setting, grass becomes irrelevant.