Re: Repetition vs. Specimen plantings
Dan and Mary bring up some very interesting challenges to the landscape
design artist. How to design
so that the results appeal to a WIDE group of observers. Ran Lydell, in his
presentation at the WSM this past
winter, did an excellent job in showing how to utilize Hostas in the
landscape. We're looking forward to his presentation
here at the Iowa Arboretum on September 16th. Maybe this time I'll remember
In Paul Aden's book, "The Hosta Book", the Liriope (Lily Turf) used as an
edger did about as good a job of tieing the design together as
anything I've ever observed (unfortunately, it is not a good plant for zones
under 5). I recently saw a garden where Bergenia (Saxifraga) had been
used as an excellent edger (in zone 3), and I have a section of my garden
where H. 'Gypsy's Boa' is used in repetition in a manner that heightens the
interest without becoming too boring. I intend to extend the use to the
opposing side of a display area because it does a nice job of creating a
resting place for the eye in an otherwise very "busy" specimen garden. In
my mind, the advantage of using
some repetition is that it gives the eye, and brain?, some respite for what
might otherwise be overwhelming.
This phenomena is analogous to the Austrian King's statement to Amadeus
Wolfgang Mozart, following presentation of a new opera when he commented
that some of the pieces simply, "had too many notes", and then something
like, "just cut a few and it will be fine". Amadeus responds with, "well,
Sire, which notes would you propose that I cut?". Of course, the king is
bewildered because he hasn't a clue on how to go about doing any
cutting--for his brain, he just felt it impossible to assimilate the
complexity--he just knew that after listening he felt overwhelmed, and
perhaps even fatigued. This could be what occurs as one observes a
landscape design. For some, it simply has "too many notes" and must be tied
together with some repetition.
For use as edgers, some Hosta may have been misnamed for they really don't
work all that well unless the scale is grand (my observation on Gold
Edger--it forms a lovely mound but is too immense for use as an edger).
And, perhaps this is one element to be taken into consideration. Mass
planting serve a greater use IF the scope of the design is to be on a
grander scale, i.e. The Planting Fields or a public arboretum vs. a smallish
city lot or a nook in the woods.
I would be interested to see if others have some "prize winning"
recommendations for SMALL edgers to be used in a Hosta dominated landscape.
These CAN be Hostas, of course, or other companion plants of which you are
aware that perform the non-invasive chore of tieing it all together that a
good edger can provide. (Incidentally, Dr. Bob Olson achieves this in his
garden using annuals at the edge of the lawn that helps to tie the design
all together. I am looking fow a few nice perennials that achieve a similar
As always, TIA.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2000 7:05 AM
Subject: Re: Hosta Ramblings---and milking the AHS membership
> In a message dated 09/06/2000 6:24:13 AM GMT Daylight Time,
> firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
> I am a firm believer in mass planting of hostas. When I see some of the
> hosta gardens on tour at the AHS national conventions that have one each
> a thousand different named hostas I question what motivates the
> believe it is a game of collecting and counting names. If the same money
> were spent on multiples of outstanding hostas that have proven garden
> performance there is no doubt in my mind that this "garden" would be much
> better looking.
> Dan, I think every garden should be personal and fill the needs of the
> gardener so if you like mass plantings then that is what you should have
> from a personal stand point I have to say that the only hosta plantings
> I don't enjoy are mass plantings. I may use a few of same kind in a
> but even that is usually broken with other things.
> I have pictures of mass plantings that are often used in talks when I say
> you don't want your garden to be boring then avoid this. If the garden
> pleasure to the owner then it is right for him or her. Just a personal
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