I love this rectangular water feature, but will never have one like it in my curvilinear space. The photo is from Helen Dillon's garden.

I am using a very strict interpretation. As I understand it, Kim asks us to list plants or features that we would not have in our own gardens though we might admire them in the gardens of others. Therefore, I want to make it clear that I have no problem with any of the things I am listing here; some of them I really like a lot. I just wouldn’t, or couldn't, for various reasons, have them in my back yard.

1. Vegetables. I don’t grow them as I haven’t the space to spare for them. However, I do try to support local farmers by buying their produce (rather than imported supermarket stuff) whenever I can.

2. Grasses. I love these, but I don’t have the open, sunny area I feel is their best placement. They’d be great for my front yard if it wasn’t completely shady in the summer.

3. Birdbath. Don’t need it as they are happy to use the waterfall and the fountain.

4. Grass. I’m not kidding; a lush, green lawn can be beautiful, especially on large properties (think Jane Austen). It’s not the plant’s fault; it’s what we do to maintain it. In any case, I don’t have a blade of it; there’s no space and the terroir is all wrong.

5. Large stand of monarda—same reason as the grass. I suppose there is a long list of plants that need lots of sun and open space, but I’ve actually started to use many of them in my former rose bed, so this NIMG is flexible. I would love delphinium, for example, but have failed with it too often.

6. Neat, orderly beds, or geometric hardscaping such as that seen in Helen Dillon’s garden (above) and other formal gardens. I actually admire neatness, but I seem incapable of it. I also love a clean, minimal look, which I’ll never have.

I actually can’t think of too much else. If I like something I usually find a way to cram it in.


Unknown said…
Elizabeth, you are right--I did mean this challenge in the way in which you interpreted it. (Things that you love and appreciate in other gardens but just wouldn't have in your own, and why.)

There are some shade-loving grasses that you could use if you wanted to give them a try (hakonechloa, carexes, etc.) but I understand what you mean that most grasses seem better suited to open, sunny areas. I am right with you on that formal, rectilinear water feature from Helen Dillon's garden. I'm drooling, but I could never imagine something so formal and straight-edged working in my own yard.
Helen Dillon's garden is beautiful but it would look equally out of place here. Until your post I couldn't think of anything that I wouldn't try but the one other thing I won't have are large plants that have to be brought in for the winter simply because I have no space for them.
Carol Michel said…
I had the chance to hear Helen Dillon speak a few years ago and she explained how she used to garden and why she changed to this new design. It was all about simplifying things, I think.

Anyway, she was an entertaining speaker and when she talked about how evolution as a gardener, it just all made sense when she showed her new garden water feature.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens
Anonymous said…
I like that rectilinear space too.

Anonymous said…
Eliz: Beautiful picture of Helen's garden but it is rather formal for most of us. I always enjoy your viewpoint! Thanks!
kate said…
I'm like you in that I don't have the space or the light for growing veggies or ornamental grasses. I also do not have any grass in either my front or back gardens ... except for two tufts of Festuca glauca, and that survives without much water at all.

How is your pond doing?
EAL said…
The pond is awesome Kate--it is getting some leaves in it now, which is a pain. But it is totally surrounded by plants, very natural-looking, the opposite of the Dillon water feature. I have some images in my flickr site--link at bottom right.
lisa said…
I'm with you on the veggies...aside from a couple tomatoes in an old washing machine and an asparagus patch, I just buy local stuff in season. Up here the deer and rabbits are so plentiful, "real" veggie gardens must be surrounded by an 8' fence to enjoy any sucess at all-not for me.

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