This is the first year I have actually tried to incorporate any sort of theme in the gardens with annual plantings. With over 50 designated areas that get annuals planted in them for our yearly display, it is quite daunting to have a theme or a concept that goes through the whole gardens. There is a limit to how many beds can have a more elaborate design. The rest follow the rectangle shape of the bed, with and edge, a second, and a middle planting.
Sitting there last fall, I was perusing over annual catalogues, checking the list of seeds I collected, and thinking about great colour combinations. The thought of space just popped into my mind as I doodled different shapes for some of the beds. I got excited and thought it might be fun to try. Instead of pouring over catalogues, I started googling images from space telescopes, like the Hubble.
While the other planets are mostly one colour, photos of Jupiter were quite exciting with its monochromatic colour bands:
Plants used to make this design are: Spilanthes Peak-a-Boo, Alyssum Snow Crystals, Marigold Strawberry Blonde, Marigold Vanilla, Millet Purple Baron, Carex Red Rooster, Matricaria Snowball, Celosia New Look Red, Celosia Fresh Look Orange.
Saturn was also different, but featured many of the same tones found in Jupiter until I came across an infrared photo taken by the Hubble, which was really quite colourful.
Plants used to make this design are: Penstemon Party Bells Violet, Snapdragons Speedy Sonnet Bronze, Petunia Evening Scentsation Blue, Anchusa, Alyssum Wonderland White, Grey Creeping Sedum.
With no other planets to be inspired by, I then looked to other features in space. Galaxies came to mind, along with a certain round, mounded bed that I knew would be perfect for one. I chose to do a spiral galaxy, since it would have the most graphic effect.
Plants used to make this design are: Marigold Vanilla, Ageratum High Tides, Salvia Merleau Blue, Petunia Limbo Gp Heather’s Mix.
For the last two designs I decided on a more graphic approach. I did a stylized sun, and two beds full of meteorites.
.Plants used to make this design are: Melampodium Delight Lemon, Bidens Bidy Boom Red, Marigold Zenith F1 Series, Zinnia Star Series, Strawflower Copper Red, Amaranthus Hot Biscuit.
Plants used to make this design are: herb Chive Onions, Alternanthera Purple Prince, Alyssum Carpet of Snow, Marigold Hot Pak Yellow and Hot Pak Spry, Melinnis Savannah, Basil genovese.
When there is space, there is always room for a little time. The last design is a graphic representation of an hour glass:
Plants used to make this design are: Gomphrena Gnone Mix as a border, Dusty Miller Silverdust as the glass, Celosia Sol Gekko Green as the sand and Mini Mint a new groundcover that is only 0.5cm tall in the background.
By Karin Clemens, Head Gardener & Grower at Rockway Gardens.