Native Plants for Containers & Window Boxes

Native plants have a high survival rate because almost all of them are already adapted to growing in their native climate. Because many indigenous plants have been drought-tolerant, they do well in the drier terms of a container or window box, especially in heat, Mediterranean-style climates.

Container Shrubs

Native shrubs are more suitable to grow in containers rather than window boxes in which the bushy branches block the view from the window. One native shrub that grows well in a container is that the desert ruellia (Ruellia peninsularis), a native to Southern California in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. This 4-foot-tall sun-loving plant produces a dense mass of glossy leaves and purple petunia-like blossoms appearing in the late spring. Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) is a southwestern shrub that grows in USDA zones 8 through 11. When implanted in the ground, this sun-loving bush attains 20 feet tall with long spiny stems that stay bare during dry spells. This plant quickly grows leaves and crimson flowers after it rains.

Annuals for Containers and Window Boxes

Showy indigenous annuals grow well in containers and window boxes. Pick short- to average-height plants to grow in the window boxes. Native to the Pacific West is that the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), which reaches about 12 inches tall with ferny green leaves and summer cup-shaped flowers offered in golden-orange, yellow, cream and red. This native annual closes its petals during cloudy weather. Remove the spent blooms to keep the plants out of developing seed pods. Farewell to spring (Clarkia amoena) produces pink cup-shaped blossoms on sprawling 1- to 3-foot-long stems. This summer flower closes at night and opens again in the morning, welcoming visiting honeybees.

Perennials for Containers and Window Boxes

Short native perennials can endure for years in containers and window boxes. Using perennials eliminates the need to replant the containers every year. One creeping indigenous perennial is that the redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregana), which grows in USDA zones 7 through 9. This shade-loving plant produces shamrock-shaped leaves and white or pink cup-shaped flowers from spring through autumn on 6- to 12-inch-tall stems. “Siskiyou” evening primroses (Oenothera speciosa “Siskiyou”) grow pale pink summer blooms in USDA zones 4 through 8, reaching 8 to 10 inches tall in full sun. Pinch off dying flowers to protect against that perennial from reseeding itself.

Window Box Native Vines

Native vines work best in window boxes in which the stems cascade over the edge of the rim. These plants need a little trim to maintain the size of the vines short enough so that they do not hit on the ground. One native vine is that the “Amethyst Falls” American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens “Amethyst Falls”), which grows well in USDA zones 5 through 9. This deciduous vine reaches 8 to 10 feet long, and is covered in purple flower clusters from spring through summer. “Chauga” wild hydrangea vines (Decumaria barbara “Chauga”) create woody stems reaching up to 40 feet long as back. Clusters of snow white flowers appear in the summer and the dark green leaves turn tan-colored in the autumn. This native vine brings butterflies and grows in USDA zones 7 through 9.

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Size of a Clementine Tree

The citrus fruits commonly called Clementines (Citrus reticulata “Clementine”) are small, thin-skinned mandarin oranges. The sweet treats are a variety of class II tangerines, according to Purdue University. Often seen in shops around the fall vacations, they’re desirable for their usually seedless pulp, smooth skin and petite size. Clementine trees vary in size based on the time of this tree and also the cultivation habits of this grower. They’re winter-hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 9 to 11.

Tree Appearance

Clementine trees are as appealing as the fruit: compact, around and usually free of thorns, though some hybrids are spiny. The trees have long, slender, bright-green leaves that stand out vigorously against the bright orange of this fruit. Clementine trees possess a rounded crown formed from the drooping branches. They aren’t dense trees, so they don’t require much pruning, as stated by the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Sometimes they’re pruned to mend damaged branches, as the wood is brittle and tends to break.

Tree Size

Mandarin trees in general achieve a maximum height of about 25 feet and width of 12 feet. They’re classified as medium-sized trees. Most don’t achieve their maximum size, nevertheless. Just the oldest trees achieve this height. The Clementine tree can be pruned to stay much smaller, though it requires less pruning than other citrus trees. Some Clementines and other citrus trees are cultivated as bushes rather than prepared to develop on one pioneer as a tree. Clementines may also be grown in containers, either inside or outdoors. These potted trees usually range between 8 and 11 feet in height.

Fruit Size and Appearance

Clementines are the smallest among the mandarins. The fruits average a little more than 2 inches in diameter, tending to be somewhat broader than tall. Their small size, coupled with the sweet taste of this pulp, means that they are most frequently consumed as snacks rather than used for canning or juicing. The fruits have bright orange, smooth skin and rich, red pulp.


Clementine trees must be cultivated correctly to achieve their optimum lawns. They enjoy warm but not humid conditions, which means they can’t be easily grown outdoors in many regions of the southern United States. The trees grow best and make the most fruit when cultivated in subtropical conditions, according to the Texas A&M; Agrilife Extension. Clementines prosper in well-draining soil and full sunlight. The fruits are normally prepared for harvesting in November and December, but the fruit is occasionally damaged from early frosts.

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Plants at a Pond Ecosystem

Even in landscapes, small ponds make an ecosystem of their own, sustaining plants and creatures that wouldn’t thrive in the drier conditions of a conventional landscape. Various types of plants thrive in a pond environment and boast features that make them lovely additions to the landscape around a house.


Many types of flowers make their houses in or near ponds. The Santa Cruz water lily (Victoria cruziana), which resides in the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 10, is one of the biggest, with floating lily pads that can reach 8 feet broad and 16-inch flowers that move from white to pink in a single evening. A smaller waterlily is the “Sunny Pink” (Nymphaea “Sunny Pink”), which creates lotus-like flowers in USDA zone 4 through 10 and pads that hit only 12 to 18 inches round. Beside the water, water-friendly plants such as the “Deutschland” astilbe (Astilbe x arendsii “Deutschland”), which grows in USDA zone 4 through 9, thrive from the always moist soil.


Nearby the water, trees provide shade to animals through the hottest part of the day and precious soil stability with their extensive root systems. Trees that live close lakes are adapted to additional wetness and comprise larger species such as the river birch (Betula nigra), which resides in USDA zone 4 through 9 and grows rapidly to 40 feet tall, and many smaller varieties such as the “Kilmarnock” willow (Salix caprea “Kilmarnock”), which resides in USDA zone 4 through 8 and grows only to about 8 feet tall.


When many shrubs favor drier soil conditions, some are adapted to the constant wetness of existence at the banks of a pond. The “Chirimen” marlberry (Ardisia japonica “Chirimen”) thrives in USDA zone 6 through 9 from the shaded areas near a pond, producing deep green leaves and white flowers in the summertime that give way to bright red berries in winter.


Close to the banks and even partly submerged, several species of grass thrive. “Sparkler” sedge (Carex phyllocephala “Sparkler”), which resides in USDA hardiness zone 7 through 10, grows in exploding clumps of cream-rimmed short green blades, while variegated Japanese sedge (Carex morrowii “Aurea-variegata”), which thrives in USDA zone 5 through 9, grows as tall as a foot, with mild green blades that hang lazily close to the water’s edge. Grasses such as the horsetail reed (Equisetum hyemale), which resides in USDA zone 3 through 11, can spend a lot of the time with their foundation under water while their long stalks shoot up to harvest energy from sunlight.

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What Can Be Grown in Loamy Sand?

The type of soil in your lawn determines how well you can develop plants and what types of plants will do best. Soils support plant roots and supply plants with oxygen, nutrients and water. How well they do that depends upon the dirt particle type and size. Sand is the largest particle, silt is clay and smaller particles are tiny. Loamy soils have a combination of three particle sizes, and sandy loam contains about 60 percent mud, 10 percent clay plus 30 percent silt. It’s good drainage and can develop many types of plants well, especially if it’s amended so it contains more organic thing.

Root Vegetables

Sandy loam has a good texture, without heavy clods of clay or accumulations of stone. This is the very best land for growing root plants where the roots require unobstructed, even dirt. Three commonly grown root vegetables prefer loamy sand. Carrots (Daucus carota) become Reducing or forked in heavier soils, and don’t grow well. The roots of beets (Beta vulgaris) won’t expand in clay soils. Beets are biennials which develop in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 8. Radishes (Raphanus sativus) prefer sandy loam or sandy soils. Onions (Allium cepa) grow well in sandy loam because they need good drainage and a non-compacted dirt which allows for bulb expansion.

Leafy Vegetables

Although lettuce (Lactuca sativa) may tolerate many different soil types, it grows best on a sandy loam that has been amended with organic matter. Sandy loam warms up more quickly in the spring than do heavier soils, therefore sandy loam is the best soil for early types of cabbage (Brassica oleracea). Later-maturing cabbage cultivars prefer a more moisture-retaining soil. Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a shallow-rooted harvest that requires good drainage. It prefers sandy loam, which allows the more frequent watering required without building up excessive root humidity.

Other Vegetables

Rumors (Solanum lycopersicum) are heat-loving plants which get off to a good beginning in the garden if planted in loamy sand, which provides the good drainage and early higher temperatures that the plants require. As the plants gain dimensions and the weather warms, strawberries may require more water than plants on heavier soils. Rumors grow as perennials in USDA zones 8 through 11, but are usually treated as annuals. Additionally a plant tolerant of many soil types, peppers (Capsicum annuum), that develop in USDA zones 10 through 11 or as a yearly, prefer a well-draining loam or sandy loam.

Ornamental Plants

Drought-tolerant ornamental plants are adapted to withstand periods with low moisture once they are created. They require a loose, open ground texture their roots may quickly penetrate, such as sandy loam, and good drainage so that the roots don’t stay moist, which promotes root rot. A wide root system allows them to effectively harvest nutrients and water. Plants that thrive in sandy loam comprise “Panchito” manzanita (Arctostaphylos x coloradoensis), which rises in USDA zones 4b via 8b, and California lilac (Ceanothus spp.) . “Julia Phelps” California lilac (Ceanothus “Julia Phelps”), that will be hardy in USDA zones 8 through 10, bears abundant blue blooms in spring and early summer.

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Overwatering or even Underwatering Ficus Alii

The evergreen “Alii” ficus (Ficus maclellandii “Alii”) makes a good houseplant — its roots grow slowly, minimizing the need to re-pot the plant. It can also grow outside year in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, where it may finally reach a height of 10 feet. This plant only requires basic attention to thrive, but it is important to recognize the signs of underwatering or overwatering to keep the plant healthy.

Warning Signs

To decide whether an “Alii” ficus has been underwatered or overwatered, look closely in the plant. If it has not been getting enough moisture, then its roots might be damaged, preventing water from getting into the plant. This could slow growth, cause borders of leaves to turn brown and might cause wilting or falling of leaves and young shoots. If the “Alii” ficus is a houseplant, you might also see dry dirt pull away from the sides of the pot. Overwatering can also cause leaves to fall, but they generally turn yellow first or maybe you observe soft, brown leaf spots that indicate rotting. You might also observe moldy spots on the leaves and the dirt might smell musty.

Watering Correctly

An “Alii” ficus typically requires an ordinary quantity of water, but this may also depend on some degree on its growing conditions. When it’s grown in a warm, dry or brightly lit spot, it likely needs more water, while expanding it in low light or shade lowers the plant’s need for water. It’s best to check the plant’s soil regularly, to ascertain exactly if it needs water. Examine the dirt with your fingertip and water only when the top 1/2 inch feels dry to the touch. When watering, do so thoroughly, until water drains in the pot. Always allow the excess water to drain and never to leave a potted plant standing in a water-filled saucer. For an outdoor-grown plant, then check the dirt often for dryness and also aim for about 1 inch of water weekly, including from rain.

Other Care

The “Alii” ficus is native to the warm climates of India, Southeast Asia and China. Due to this, it may be sensitive to cold water, which may eventually lead to loss of leaves, so use tepid water for a plant grown indoors. If your plant is in the garden, don’t water it directly from the hose — instead, use a water-filled bucket or watering can that has been allowed to sit in ambient temperature for a few hours. If your “Alii” ficus is potted and appears to dry out every few days, this may indicate that the origins have overheard the container, so move it into a new, bigger pot, and always choose a pot with a drainage hole. For an outside plant which dries out quickly, add 2 or 3 inches of mulch, such as straw or shredded bark — place it on the ground under the plant’s canopy to help preserve soil moisture.


If you’ve overwatered or underwatered that an “Alii” ficus and many or all its leaves have dropped and stems appear dry, then it is probably too late to save the plant. But if you’ve caught the problem early, when damage is just beginning to look, the plant is likely to recover fully. When it is a houseplant, store it in a well-ventilated room that is between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, in a spot that gets bright indirect light — too much sun through a hot window may lead to scorching of tender new growth. Cut back any branches which don’t reveal new leaves after a few weeks, wiping your blades with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol between cuts to avoid spreading plant infection.

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The way to Prune 'Yellow Bird' Magnolia

Although they produce dramatic, canary-yellow flowers, “Yellow Bird” magnolias (Magnolia acuminata “Yellow Bird”) require only light pruning to keep their graceful shape. These flowering trees grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. Prune them in late spring or early summer, after they have finished flowering to your year.

Getting Ready

Loppers or bypass shears cut through branches over 1/2 inch in diameter, but you will need a little pruning saw to eliminate thicker branches. Disinfect the shears or watched before you begin pruning so that you don’t spread disease to the magnolia. Wipe the blades with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol before pruning, and again after cutting through diseased timber or when moving between trees.

Removing Dead Wood

Dead and broken hardwood weaken the tree and provide an opening for diseases to input to the primary trunk. Magnolias might have significant winter damage, especially in windy areas. Cut back dead or broken branches to the branch collar, which is the raised ridge in which the branch joins to the main trunk or even a bigger branch. Make the cut flush to the collar but prevent cutting into the collar. Trim off broken or dead twigs flush to the primary division.

Cleaning Up

Crossed branches rub with them, eventually causing damage and weakening the “Yellow Bird” magnolia. Cut back crossed branches to the branch collar before damage occurs. Removing the crossed branches also opens up the inside of the magnolia so sunlight and air can penetrate the interior. Water spouts are erect branches that grow straight into the atmosphere. Eliminate these back to the branch collar to keep the graceful form of the magnolia.

Light Shaping

“Yellow Bird” magnolias don’t require routine shaping since they develop a balanced kind, but it is possible to cut back long, overhanging branches which block walkways or streets. Trim these back to the desired length, which makes a clean cut near a leaf or leaf grass. “Yellow Bird” includes a natural upright, pyramidal shape, therefore overhanging branches are not typically too long.

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The Way to Boost Don Juan Roses

The Don Juan rose, Rosa”Don Juan,” is a spectacular climbing rose that thrives in a variety of areas of the country. You’ll notice these climbers, with fragrance rose. The plant looks great throughout the season with dark, leatherlike green foliagebuds and ruffled blooms that repeat. After it’s become an established and established plant like other climbing roses, the Don Juan variety does not require care.

Add alterations where you will plant your Don Juan roses or mulch into the ground. Aim for a ratio of 1-to-2 or 1-to-3.

Dig a hole 18 inches by 12 inches deep for bare-root roses. Dig the hole about 1 inch deeper wide enough for the root ball than the root ball for container-grown roses.

Apply two to three inches of natural mulching material to the top of the soil over the roots. Organic mulches include wood chips, pine needles, grass clippings, leaves and hay.

Water your new Don Juan roses each time the ground two to three inches below the surface becomes dry.

Fertilize your roses with a balanced fertilizer in spring and following your Don Juan blossoms the first time. Fertilizer will make plenty of problems to your roses.

Prune any dead or dying branches as your Don Juan spreads and matures out. In general, you should enable them to grow instead of attempting to maintain them to one small location. Do so in spring, if you have to prune for size restrictions.

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The Way to Propagate Candy Corn Vines

Also known as firecracker vines, candy corn vines are native to rain forests in Central and South America. The blossoms are tube with yellow tips, which makes them seem just like pieces of candy corn or lit fireworks. Easy to grow and sturdy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10a through 11, candy corn vines bloom continuously and can increase the curb appeal of your house as beautiful climbing vines spreading over an arbor or topiary. In regions that are cooler, attractive houseplants are made by candy corn vines.

Take a 4- to 6-inch stem cutting in the spring from the previous year’s growth. Make the cut just above a node, where a leaf meets the stem.

Remove or flower buds from the stem. Cut off the leaves around the lower half of this cutting.

Add the bottom half of the stem — the component with no leaves — into a mixture of equal parts perlite and peat moss. Water before the pot starts to drain to its saucer.

Cover the cutting with a plastic bag. Drape the plastic bag and fasten it. Keep the potting medium moist by adding water to the saucer. Put in sunlight. Gently remove the cutting from the medium following 6 to 8 weeks and check for origins. In rooting medium if there are no roots or if they have just started to appear repot.

In potting soil following the 7, repot reach and look an inch long. Permit the plant to grow stronger and larger in potting soil before planting the blossom in its location.

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Green Grows Up: The Many Faces of Today's LEED Homes

“Doing my part to contribute to sustainable development is all well and good, but what will my house look like?” This is frequently the secret (or not so secret) thought running through the heads of many homebuyers and builders contemplating a LEED certified house. How can you balance environmental responsibility along with your tastes in architectural design and your desires for the house of your dreams?

Luckily, the market for ecological construction products is growing quickly. This is occurring as customers become more aware of the collective environmental impact of the building industry, and since the numerous rating systems, ecological laws and certificate applications, like LEED, help push the market down the path to sustainability.

Moore Architects, PC

What exactly does a LEED certified home look like architecturally? And how can it compare with what a sustainable house should look like?

That question is what sometimes launches LEED to a controversial whirlwind, which I’ll now try to sum up for you at a very basic way:

A LEED qualified house, as you are going to see in the photos in this guide, can pretty much look like whatever you desire. The strength (and weakness) of the LEED for Homes rating system is that it attempts to reconcile sustainable construction objectives with the present reality of the green construction market and the range of choices which are realistically available to most individuals.

Natural Balance Home Builders

This usually means that some LEED certified homes will give the very best of ecological characteristics, respect local and traditional construction techniques, keep small and compact forms which are easier to cool and heat, and push the envelope in advanced sustainable construction procedures.

Meanwhile, others could possibly be the consequence of a calculated attempt to gain the minimum credits for accreditation when keeping floor plans and luxury conveniences to compete with other luxury choices.

The range between the two can be quite large, hence the controversy.

The ideal course of action as a prospective homeowner is to understand the history of this controversy so you can make more informed decisions about a specific LEED licensed home.

Here are some crucial visual clues That Will Help You understand what you’re going to see in a LEED house and using a sustainable dwelling in general:

William Johnson Architect

Size: Just how large can my LEED house be?

Ideally, an ecologically responsible house is small and compact in shape. Small homes consume less electricity and require fewer resources to build. Fewer irregularities in the shape mean fewer chances for thermal bridges, which are things at the building’s envelope or skin which make it effortless for heat to escape in winter and enter in summer. To keep costs down for construction, cooling and heatingsystem, a small, compact footprint generally displays the best conservation methods.

Still, you will discover many LEED homes with massively luxury floor plans. Here we find ourselves in the heart of one of the LEED controversies: Many people believe that allowing a house over a certain size to pursue certificate is hypocritical in the event the message is supposed to be around conservation.

The other side to this argument is that somebody who wants to build a big house will likely do this anyway. If this major house is LEED certified, many aspects of it will help lessen its impact. Although some see this as too small of a step, others point out that at least it’s a step in the right direction.

Joni L. Janecki & Associates, Inc..

Placing (rural): Can my LEED house be from the countryside?

Still another visual clue for understanding the expression of a LEED house is its relationship with its site.

A rural house that is well integrated with its site can respond to the local natural environment and even contribute to the region’s biodiversity and ecology. Using resources already in the upcoming construction footprint (by way of instance, using excavated dirt for rammed earth walls, like this Caterpillar House) and by applying landscaping techniques like xeriscaping (the removal of irrigation demands), the impact of the construction can be minimal and the site can function as an extension of the natural environment.

South Park Design Build

Placing (urban): Can my LEED house be on an urban infill lot?

Likewise, in an urban setting, the advantages of the natural environment take the form of present infrastructure. Is the house near local transport and public parks? Is it true that the lot use construction volume while providing open space, perhaps a roof deck or even green roof? Urban LEED certified houses often take in several of these factors in an attempt to promote the development of infill sites while simplifying what’s called the “heat island effect.”

This phenomenon is the reason the temperature downtown is always a little greater than outside the city. When buildings, streets and sidewalks are packaged together, the joint effect of all that asphalt and dark colored roof material can be an “island” of warmer temperatures. The LEED rating system rewards homes which use permeable paving methods, shading and other strategies to help mitigate that impact.

Kipnis Architecture + Planning

Orientation: Can my LEED home need to confront a certain direction?

Along the very same lines, one thing you may find about a LEED certified home is the fact that it will be oriented to take advantage of passive solar heat gains in the winter and shaded in the heat of sunlight. This is a basic concept in designing some construction that claims to consume less energy.

Hint: When buying house to possibly buy, take a compass with you to see how well the house is oriented relative to the path of the sun. Several smartphone programs can help you monitor the sun’s path at a specified location.

Materials and approaches: Do I must use certain materials within my LEED house?

A home design that reacts appropriately to local building traditions and accessible materials can be an additional visual indicator of a LEED house and also an environmentally responsible construction.

Vernacular (domestic or functional) architecture of a specific region has an important role in design factors. However, it doesn’t mean your LEED home must be in the architectural design of the region you reside in.

Occasionally local construction procedures and materials can be utilised in fresh ways while still reaping the benefits of being cost-effective and geographically appropriate.

Josh Wynne Construction

High-quality construction details: Why does my LEED house design need to be this detailed and specific?

A really sustainable home requires durability and focus on construction details. We need this house to have a long, healthy life, so the details are very important. For instance, it’s not just the design of the wall area, or even only the choice of a specific sort of insulation; it’s also how that insulation is set up and how well it is examined and confirmed.

Among the reoccurring arguments in favor of the LEED rating system (as well as several other voluntary third party certificates) is that it gives a frame for this quality control check. It supplies a prescribed path for contractors to take, keeping them accountable to their original aims. Plus it gives the clients an excess set of verifications on the construction site.

Are you a LEED homeowner? Add a photo of your house to the Comments so we can see more of the range of architectural designs and aesthetic choices in LEED homes.

More: What’s LEED All About, Anyway?

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See Chelsea Flower Show Ideas Flourishing in a Real Backyard

In May 2013 the renowned RHS Chelsea Flower Show celebrated its centenary and once again gave us a superb spectacle of horticulture and garden design at its very best. However, do flower shows like Chelsea affect how we design our houses, or is it merely theatre by the garden layout elite?

We may not mirror the gardens that the designers create, but without doubt we are affected by changing garden designs and fashions born at shows like Chelsea. In my small backyard, these trends and fashions out of over the years can be found woven in its layout and plantings. Since beginning my new backyard in Devon, England, nearly seven decades before, I have been affected by the contemporary garden design I’ve seen at the Chelsea Flower Show. From the total style of my backyard to the option of the plant substance, I have been affected by the trends seen at the planet’s most renowned flower show.

Little gardens aren’t easy to design, as they can easily look cluttered and busy. Display garden layout tends to be quite organized, with solid lines and simple shapes balanced with gentle plantings.

My backyard is small at 30 by 30 feet, so it was critical that the layout was simple and practical, based on these powerful lines, as in the timber rill and the simple rectangular deck.

Topiary balls. Topiary balls, mainly with boxwood, are a favorite of designers at Chelsea in recent decades. I first saw them used en masse at Diarmuid Gavin’s 2005Hanover Quay Garden, in which the entire garden was planted with 2-foot-diameter, closely clipped boxwood balls put into a sea of lavender. He later reused the clipped balls into his 2008Cafe Garden.

Chelsea at 2012 again watched the use of topiary balls in many gardens, such as Thomas Hoblyn’s Arthritis Research U.K. Garden.

I have grown my boxwood balls out of small pot-grown plants, because they may be costly to purchase as specimens.

Though I have used mainly boxwood balls, then the ball at the foreground of this picture is Lonicera pileata, that will be a shrubby honeysuckle. It’s evergreen but tends to be a bit more rampant than boxwood, therefore it needs more clipping at the growing season. It makes a fantastic substitute for boxwood, as it doesn’t suffer with box blight, which may be a problem in some countries.

Additional evergreens that were used at Chelsea for topiary balls include Osmanthus x burkwoodii; Hoblyn used it from the earlier mentioned garden.

The “new English” style. The reduced planted boundary here follows the “new English” style that we have observed at Chelsea in gardens like Andy Sturgeon’s2012M&G Investments Garden.

The clipped evergreen balls give structure while being underplanted by means of a combination of grasses, herbaceous perennials, small shrubs and herbs. These are permitted to naturally intermingle, producing a tapestry of color during the growing season.

Cloud-pruned boxwood. Among my bigger boxwood balls has been permitted to return to a more natural form and is now cloud pruned following the methods used by the Belgian garden designer Jacques Wirtz.

I first saw this feature from Tom Stuart-Smith’sLaurent-Perrier Garden at Chelsea at 2010.

The foreground planting is mainly of hostas, appreciating the moist, shady place at the base of the raised wooden pool. The hostas are interplanted with blossoms to give a combination of form and texture that’s reminiscent of contemporary show garden planting.

Water includes. Most reveal gardens include a water feature of some kind, and in the past couple of decades they’ve tended to be formal and plant free, designed to mirror the surrounding garden.

I’ve used these thoughts in my garden with a narrow rill that edges the deck and then falls in a sheet into an easy wooden pool below. It serves more than just a decorative purpose; being shallow, so it gives a perfect drink channel for wildlife, and it’s great for cooling bottles of beer when I am using a barbecue.

Iris germanica. The stately flowers of Iris germanica, the bearded iris, have made it a firm favorite recently Chelsea show gardens. This year they can be discovered at Susannah Hunter’s and Catherine MacDonald’s backyard for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, in which they’ve used the gorgeous purple variety ‘Superstition’.

Planted in groups of the identical color, they not only make a statement when flowering in early summer, but also earn their keep throughout the year with their spiky architectural foliage.

Planted at a run down the side of my deck, so they balance the rill on the opposite side in addition to helping direct the eye back into the backyard. I chose a blue selection to reflect the deep blue sky we get in a Devon summer.

Exclamations of color. As the Iris germanica flowers fade, other flowers take their own place. Above the green of these boxwood balls and lush new-English-style planting, the vibrant red flowers of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ create a stunning exclamation mark.

That is just another display garden design idea I’ve made from Chelsea; a solid color makes a statement among a combination of foliage and pastel plants.

Green walls. The last idea I’ve brought back from Chelsea is that designers really seldom leave walls unclothed unless they’re a design feature in their own right.

I am blessed with high walls on either side of the backyard, which offer not only privacy but also a great canvas for climbers and wall shrubs. Clothing the walls really helps to create my small garden seem bigger.

I’ve layered my climbers, beginning with Clematis armandii ‘Snowdrift’ in early spring followed by Clematis montana (displayed here); afterward the wild Fallopia baldschuanica tries to battle its way through to give me a covering of white flowers through the summer.

Two other styles I love in the 2013 show. Of the numerous layout and planting thoughts from this year’s show I could move to my backyard, two’ve caught my eye: pillow-shaped topiary and ornamental cow parsley.

Having extolled the use of evergreen topiary balls, such as my own, I’ve really been blown away by the pillow-shaped Buxus used by designer Robert Myers in his Brewin Dolphin Garden. I know the ball-shaped plants were brutally ruined in the nursery and trimmed back into some flattened pillow shape — that the outcome is quite stylish.

The white lacy flowers of Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’ were used in Robert Myers’ backyard in his stunning planting of British sailors, while Christopher Bradley-Holepreferred to utilize Orlaya grandiflora, the French cow parsley, in his Daily Telegraph backyard; he used them to contrast against big trimmed blocks of boxwood and yew.

This is how I want to utilize them in my backyard — drifting about and above my topiary balls and perhaps bringing a bit of the Devon countryside inside my backyard walls.

Get more planting and layout ideas from the Gardening segment

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