In the continuing story of the Garden Design Course I’ve been doing through My Garden School, last week (which I told you about here) we learnt about Colour and Design Principles and this week was all about The Role of Plants in the Planting Scheme. I’m learning a lot. But I have to say that I am  surprised by how much I actually already know. After the first weeks lecture I felt very out of my depth, but these last two weeks lectures and assignments have been very rewarding and actually lots of fun to do.

This week we learnt about structural planting, ornamental planting, focal-point planting, ground cover and functional planting. The assignment we were given was broken up into 4 separate parts as follows:

1. You are planting up an urban courtyard and need to select five trees for a long season of interest. Name and describe one tree that will provide each of the following.a. Spring blossom b. Coloured foliage c. Autumn fruit or berries d. Autumn coloured foliage e. Beautiful coloured bark.
2. In a garden the structural planting provides the framework or backbone for the more ornamental planting. Describe the visual and horticultural characteristics of shrubs that are used as structural planting.
3. Name at least six shrubs that can be used as structural planting in a garden.
4. You are selecting ornamental shrubs for a mixed border. Name and describe one shrub that you might choose for each of the following. a. Coloured winter stems b. Winter flowers c. Summer flowers d. Coloured foliage e. Autumn fruits or berries.

Below are screen captures of my illustrated answers to questions 1 and 4. The other two were written answers (not illustrated) so I haven’t included them.

I was a bit stumped on one of the questions – “You are selecting ornamental shrubs for a mixed border. Name and describe one shrub that you might choose for each of the following – Coloured winter stems”. For the life of me I couldn’t think of one. I like Pittosporum nigrescens for its light foliage that plays up so well on the dark branches, but its more of a tree, not really a shrub, and I didn’t think dark branches alone were such a big draw. I finally did lots of googling and came up with Red Twig Dogwood, but to be honest I don’t even know if they are available here – I have never consciously noticed them at a nursery. Does anyone have any suggestions? What would you use specifically for its coloureds stems?

Course Assignment

Next week is “Seasonal Colour & Excitement”. I’m looking forward to getting my notes and the video lecture.

I’m really enjoying this and am seriously considering signing up to do a second course with them. I just can’t decide which one to do. My current choices are:
Gardening with Climbers & Clematis or Flower Photography.

Which one would you choose?