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Friday, April 2, 2010

More patterned gardens- parterres and knots for--- parking strips??

Fig. 2
Parterre’s ( “meaning on the ground"- thanks Wikopedia! ) have not gone out.This  is one of  Rosemary Verey's  and here's her plan for this garden.If you disregard her plant choices and translate the pattern in to    succulents in yellow green, medium green and blue green in a raised bed--it just might work. To date raised beds around here look more like this:

  Herb gardens in every other gardening magazine have a parterre design-- and very nice ones, at that. A woven design is also called a knot garden, and in England gardeners, really get off on them. You can order interesting plans for Celtic Knots from the Book of Kells, ( Knot Gardens Unravelled)  for mucho dinaro or you can copy a simple one from a photograph . Or get out your copy of the Book of Kells and trace your own.

Nothing to it, right? Might be a little challenging to translate to plants, but not without interest for a rainy day......

But we are pressing on into less exotic territory with parterre’s to be created of succulents. Formal patterns work well for parking strips---of which there are far too many strips covered with thirsty grass all over So Cal. Or, even less inspiring, strips that are barely covered with expiring annuals and weeds.

It is not easy to plan an informal succulent parking strip that isn’t going to look like nobody understands it. You could try the Gertrude Jekyll approach to borders for ideas. However, a formal pattern merely requires 2 0r 3 3 different succulent ground covers of warm and cool  greens:

See Vesey plan above Fig. 2
Or  this This is a plan Verey did for a low water parking strip in Florida. It would work in SoCal just as well.

Or you could go to a design based on repeating this pattern :
from Debra Lee Baldwin (op cit). We are not talking box hedges here but plants sold by the flat at around five to seven dollars retail at all the Big Box garden centers: ice plant, freeway daisies, gazanias, sedums.  Not a major expense;  parking strips are not enormous. The average around here is 6 ‘ by 24’.

 Low-water plants in formal patterns are well within the competence of maintenance gardeners. All the pattern needs is an occasional weed removed and maybe a little clipping . No sprinkler systems required.

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