I thought it was about time I wrote a post about the Gardening Course I’ve been busy with. I signed up for the “Planting Design” Course by Hilary Thomas with My Garden School. The course is a four week online course with lecture notes and video tutorials and students are encouraged to complete an assignment after each weeks learning module.

I found the first week very hard going as I was way out of my depth. The module was “Selecting plants based on form, texture and habit”. Whilst I understood everything, the assignment was just too much for me – I couldn’t do it at all. I battled with photographs – nothing looked right, actually everything I put together just looked ridiculous so I gave up on it. I decided to give the second assignment a try before throwing in the towel – and I thoroughly enjoyed doing the two assignments we were given for this week. Perhaps I am a little less out of my depth on these latest two. I’ve added them below – I’m pretty sure that seasoned gardeners will find many flaws in my plant groupings and will think they are amateurish, but I promise you, compared to my first attempt (the one I tried to do and gave up on), these are masterpieces and I’m quite proud of them. Once I approached them as something I might actually try in my garden, it seemed to flow quite easily.

My Assignments

ColourContrast and Harmony

Contrast and harmonyColour

1). The second assignment was called Colour (the first photograph above), the brief was: “Using pictures from magazines, catalogues or books design a contrasting colour scheme for Spring interest. Select three plants that have blue / violet flowers and three that have yellow flowers”. Now yellow is not a colour I have in my garden and I battled a little thinking outside of my garden scenario on this one. Finally I just pictured a space and how I might fill it if I was forced to use yellow and blue and … well that’s what I chose. I’m not sure the Iris works with the roses but I thought they looked pretty together. What I really wanted was something small and “breathy”, in yellow. Something like Guara. But they don’t come in yellow as far as I know. Is there any yellow equivalent? What would you suggest?

2). For the first assignment called Contrast and harmony (the second photograph above), the brief was: “Select five plants that are evergreen and would make an interesting group if planted together. Consider the plants for contrast and harmony of form and texture. Once you have decided on your plants either, draw a simple sketch showing how the plant group will look or use pictures from books or magazines. Name the plants” Once I thought about the plants I have growing in my garden that work well together and that I love, I came up with the grouping of Lamium, Acorus gramineus (variegata) and dwarf nandina pygmaea and though about what I still want to add to this grouping and remembered how much I have been admiring the Caladiums in the gardens of fellow bloggers … and bam! Then my assignment flowed. I had some difficulty finding good photos to use (the whole scale thing throws me – but we were told not to worry about that – just to put them together on the page), and I think it looks quite nice(ish). Lamium and Acorus look gorgeous together in my garden, not as good on the pictures above.

I’ve just seen that my next set weeks lecture notes and videos are available. This week we are learning about “The Role of Plants in the Planting Scheme”. I’m looking forward to it. I hope I manage to get through this one.

Happy Gardening