Landscaping lessons from nature
North Bay communities are surrounded by plentiful, diverse scenes of nature that not only enrich our lives but educate us about designing gardens, as well.
The sorts, kinds, foliage and advancement patterns of trees and shrubs in nature differ significantly and together create desire and magnificence. The question is, how do we choose lessons from all-natural scenes and include them in our home gardens?
Choose a several minutes to glimpse at purely natural places that are satisfying to you. Examine the composition, designs and colours of the landscape and how they interact. If you can, choose photographs for later on reference — there is a lot to see.
Rolling oak woodland is dotted with rugged-profile oaks adorned with stalwart foliage, their lengthy lives penned on each individual change of branch. Every single tree reveals a temperament: upright, neatly rounded, spreading or even weeping.
Redwood and fir trees, with official and dim foliage, march up hills and down valleys. Contrasting with them are significant-leaf, deep-green madrone trees with sleek, muscular bark. Bay trees are robust in stature, with lance-shaped or elliptical leaves that are inexperienced above and pale below and shield profuse pale-yellow bouquets in wintertime.
Manzanitas in a blended landscape or amid chaparral are just about unworldly in overall look, with smooth skinlike bark masking sinewy and muscular branch structures, like historic Greek hero statues. Grey, inexperienced or white contrasting waxy leaves are embellished with delicate white or pink waxy bell flowers in early spring and muted reddish-ochre berries in summer months.
The oaks, madrone, manzanita, redwoods and other indigenous trees and shrubs are generally pleasingly and artistically arranged in styles and groupings over hillsides and valleys as if by an unseen hand, building scenes of beauty each on a big scale and in more personal settings.
The bigger-scale factors of the landscape are complemented by an understory or lessen layer of shrubs like smaller manzanitas, coyote brush, currants, coffeeberry, western hazelnut, dogwood and California lilac that also mature in patterned groupings.
Then there is a ground layer of grasses, inexperienced and tender in winter season and tough and golden in summer. A sprinkle of flowering bulbs and flowers sets off and delivers a foreground to the greater-scale landscape features.
See how the various layers of the landscape — tree, shrub and ground protect — interact to produce a cohesive scene and move the eye from higher to low, engaging it at each stage.
Also observe how the plants’ unique pure designs — open, dense, upright and spreading — perform to enhance or distinction with each other. Look at how the formal form of a fir tree contrasts with the dense, rounded sort of a are living oak both of those are a dim, official eco-friendly.
Leaf shape and color are significant landscape components, way too, from big, dark, oval leaves like madrones to smaller oval or rounded leaves, grey leaves like manzanitas or holly-like glossy leaves of mahonia.
We don’t need to faithfully copy the composition of the native crops to deliver a equivalent organic elegance into our property gardens. But we can mimic nature’s recurring forms, constructions, drifts and patterns on a a great deal scaled-down scale to capture a identical flavor and atmosphere.
When picking vegetation, use plants comparable to individuals found in the North Bay or use some nonnative crops as stand-ins or representations of them. Huge shrubs like California redbud, significant manzanita and California lilac can stand in for the significant trees several of us never have space for.
Madrone, which is really hard to build in property gardens, can be replaced by Arbutus ‘Marina’ or even the strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo. If you like a vibrant garden, the native creek dogwood, Cornus sericea, can be changed by the brilliantly coloured Cornus sericea ‘Hedgerow’s Gold’ — a medium-dimensions shrub substantially more treelike in sort than the straight species.
Indigenous penstemon like the blue-flowered Penstemon heterophyllus ‘BOP’ and the pink seaside daisy Erigeron ‘Wayne Roderick’ (or similar), mixed with native fescues, can be utilised as understory vegetation.
Manzanita shrubs can have a ground layer of California fuchsia Epilobium Schieffelin’s Choice’ (or equivalent) and deer grass Muhlenbergia rigens or yuccas. Another doable floor layer close to manzanitas or California redbud are native buckwheats (Eriogonum), the ground protect California lilac Ceanothus maritimus ‘Valley Violet’ and monkeyflowers.
Even if we can’t plant this calendar year thanks to the ongoing drought, we can learn a great deal from the character all over us to use when the rains return.
Kate Frey’s column seems each other week in Sonoma Household. Contact Kate at: [email protected], Twitter @katebfrey, Instagram @americangardenschool.