The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Making a Positive by Accentuating the Negative

As the yew hedges have matured in the last 15 years, the scale and proportions of the plantings have shifted. In the meantime, saplings have become trees. As the height of the hedges rises, I have become much more interested in the negative space that the borders in front of the hedges have created against dark green foliage of the yew walls. I am reminded of a Dan Kiley quote that "proportion is everything." Above is a photo of the garden last week during our first snowfall. The yew hedge has finally created the room of my dreams and I am trying to keep the scale and proportion of all the elements in check for the best effect.

Here is the same view of the Upper Garden, 'Hall with Balls' and Lower Garden in October. I am planning to add another wall of yew along the street (replacing the picket fence) to the far left of the photograph to enclose the 'Hall with Balls'.

The enclosure with make the 'Hall with Balls' a stronger, more unified, space. I will continue to prune up the trunks on the Cornus officinalis to contrast the dark yew hedge. I am also editing the placement of the box balls to form the most pleasing visual arrangement. They have grown more quickly than expected and have become more crowded than I had imagined.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am transforming a pair of symmetrical stewartias into a grove of stewartias.

It is the texture of the bark and the sinew of the trunks that interest me most.

I am beginning to lower the height of the under-planting of perennials and shrubs beneath the stewartias in order to better display the buff-colored trunks which contrast beautifully with the dark yew hedges. I am enjoying the negative space that is created by the trunks from a distance and at close examination.

The Right Border in early spring

The Right Border in the summer. I want to adjust the texture, height and color of the plantings to best feature the negative space of the backdrop of the yew hedge.

The Left Border in early spring

Plants with dark foliage will contrast the granite wall best. The plantings will be fine-tuned in the next couple of years to accentuate the line between the plants and the grey wall.

I have been also working on limbing up the crabapple tree in the Upper Garden to have the most elegant shape possible. As the garden matures, the way in which trees are pruned becomes an important feature in the garden against hedges, walls and fences.


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