Ideas for a 2012 Garden
This year the focus for gardens is on creating an inviting, pleasing, cozy outdoor space. This means a smaller garden that is simple to maintain. The goal is to have more time to relax and enjoy the garden. Smaller gardens need smaller plants, but this doesn't necessarily mean you have to give up anything. Many shrubs and plants are available in dwarf sizes and do well in containers. Butterfly, Burning and Honeysuckle bushes are great choices. The Dwarf English Boxwood is also a good-looking shrub.
The edible garden continues to gain ground and this does not have to stop in a small garden. There are Columnar Apple trees that grow 8-10 feet tall but less than 2 feet wide. You can reach out the back door and grab your McIntosh right off the vine! Dwarf Blueberry bushes are perfect for the deck or patio garden. They grow 2-3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Top Hat berries ripen in August, and you'll see Northblue berries in mid June.
The direction of water features for the garden is headed for smaller. The large waterfall is being replaced with water that trickles or gently flows, like in a garden fountain. Water dripping from a bamboo shoot or an old pipe is also popular. A solar fountain is a great option because it provides moving water with no operating costs. Solar fountains are self-contained, lightweight and portable. They can go anywhere there is direct sunlight shining on the panel. Attracting birds and butterflies should be a goal of your garden as they keep the insect population under control and pollinate flowers.
Foliage and Texture
Since flowers don't bloom for long periods of time, it's a good idea to add plants that have attractive foliage. Foliage that has interesting texture adds another dimension to your garden. Sun Coleus-Henna is an annual that has green leaves with a magenta border. It does well in containers and in beds. Creeping Jenny is good for hanging baskets. It has petite chartreuse foliage. Dracena-Spikes adds dimension to the garden with its green spikes. It stands out among other lower growing annuals and perennials. Perilla-Magilla Purple has rich-colored foliage that also does well in containers.
Color and Containers
What's hot this season is bold color. Color doesn't just need to come from blooms. Color can be anything in your garden. Metal or glass flower garden stakes, colorful glass animal statues, wind spinners, color changing solar stakes and gazing globes are just some ideas.
Containers look aged this year. Weathered, rustic, old or refinished to look old. Repurpose an old wooden bucket, or paint a metal milk jug. Using salvaged materials as garden art is not a new idea, but one that gets more popular each year.
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