Smart & Sustainable, Green Garden Design, Coaching & Seasonal Maintenance

Friday, May 28, 2010

Theme Gardens

I love the inspiration of a garden theme. In the past I've blogged about different ideas that caught my fancy ... the Modern Mediterranean Garden, the Half-Barrel Garden, community gardens. The best thing is the list is endless ... wouldn't it be fun to create a Beach Garden, or the Indian Garden above? (Hint: the answer is yes!)
Note: the Indian Summer Lodge is actually in Houston and created by garden designer, Jeff Law, who specializes in xeric, tropical gardens.

the Mexican Edible Garden
I’m fascinated with Rosalind Creasy’s series of books on Edible Gardens(essentially, front yard gardens with an artful mix of ornamental and edible plants). She’s made a career out of writing about her own edible gardens in their various incarnations (The Italian Edible Garden, the Edible Flower Garden), and she’s provided us with cookbooks to go with these gardens, too!

Chilean Bell Flower
At last night's meeting of the Sacramento Perennial Plant Club, a slide show was presented by the director of the UC Botanical Garden, Dr. Paul Licht. I loved his enthusiastic talk and realized that botanical gardens like the UC garden (and our own UC Davis Arboretum) are great shopping places for plant lovers! Not only do these scientifically minded folk delight in rediscovering ancient plants thought to be extinct and bring them back to life, they also sell them to us! Click here for more info about the Chilean Bell Flowers above and sales info. The 34-acre garden has 9 geographical areas, as well as many indoor and outdoor specialty collections. You could be in a Japanese garden, overlooking a pond and see into Africa! Now there’s some thematic gardening!

In gardens, one needs similarities … of color, of style, region. This creates a feeling for the whole space. And, one also needs differences … provided by leaf shape, contrasting color or form. This sharpens the focus so the individual items can be appreciated. And, one needs focal points! Yep, they do. Something to catch the eye, a reason to linger.

National or regional themes can provide that unifying effect (or similarity) in a garden. On the larger scale (Earth) they provide the contrast. Perhaps someday we’ll graduate to an even bigger arena, where we’ll be showcasing our planet’s garden features in an interplanetary botanical setting. Easy to image a moon garden (dimpled planet, gardeners wearing anti-gravity suits), but just how far does your imagination take you?

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help! Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email


  1. Valori Wilson1:48 PM

    I love the use of unexpected colors and accessories in the garden- the periwinkle blue of the furniture and the spalsh of color in the rug, even the colors of the building extend and complement the garden so beautifully ! The eye doesn't differentiate indoor from outdoor- I love this concept !

  2. Speaking of exotic themes -- have you posted your pics of your award winning Moroccan garden yet? I'm anxious to see it.