Creating Garden Tapestries (from the Northwest Flower and Garden Show)

If you were in the audience when I spoke at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, Friday afternoon/evening, I would very much appreciate your review of my presentation. Go here: Thank you.

The information from the handout is right here:

Creating Garden Tapestries: Designer Tricks and Tips

In the tapestry tool kit:
In the garden tool kit:
Garden space

Keep in mind
• Use of Color
 Bold Application of a single color can be extremely profound
 By this I mean analogous or monochromatic type schemes:
Red/pink (and within that there is a bluish red vs orange red)(Longwood)
 Yellow, orange, white and shades thereof (Longwood)
 Shades of blue (Lurie Garden in Chicago)
 Shades of yellow, shades of red (Longwood)
 Maybe you prefer a softer color palette? Pastels are well suited to the maritime areas of the Pacific Northwest. Fog/mist illuminate add a certain ethereal light to pale colors. It is YOUR garden. Rock it.
 Complementary color schemes. A lot more “busy” than a riff on a single note. (Carolyn’s orange and blue)
 This is what most of us get because we are plant collectors, geeks, lovers! It is hard to say no. Harder to say no to a plant than a kid. Really.
 Shading and tonal variations create incredible depth, very subtle, often not noticed. They do their job silently. Same as in tapestries. A dark green backdrop to a softer green will allow you to make the softer green pop. The eye will “read” the brighter color first. (Cabbage tapestry)
• Repetition: of color, form, and multiples of plants. In the words of the beloved Seattle garden designer, Linda Plato: simplify and repeat.
 This is the key to creating a memorable garden tapestry. Repetition & threading the colors THROUGHOUT the garden.
• Always, always, always create or use something as a focal point: a giant urn, (Sun Valley blue urn)(Dee’s red urn)an awesome vista (consider framing it), a water feature, etc.
• Create a line taking you to the focal point
• Change elevations to create a sense of “going somewhere”
• Texture/shape/flower shape: umbels, bells, cones, globes, swords, fountains, spikes. Thrillers, fillers and spillers. Fuzzy, shiny, pokey, gray, soft, fine and bold.
• Appeal to all the senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, taste. Grasses move. Aspen leaves quake and rustle. Backlit grasses glow. Lamb’s ears for feeling softness. Lavender = fragrance. Euphorbia = odor. Edibles for taste.

Cool tricks for creating color palettes for the garden:
 Make an electronic mood board. Or story board.
o In Picasa, find all the photos of plants you like.
o Click the little pin to hold them in the tray at the bottom of the page.
o When you have them all together, move them into a NEW folder, and title it: Plants I love or whatever.
o Then, go through, and create collages of these plants.

 No computer? No problem! Cut out the pictures of plants you like (use last year’s plant catalogues) and paste them on a poster board, using non-permanent glue and moving them around until you get a pleasing palette.
 Use Pinterest!

A handful of books to help:
Making Gardens Works of Art, by Keeyla Meadows
Fearless Color Garden, by Keeyla Meadows
Color by Design, by Nori and Sandra Pope
Malcolm Hillier’s Color Garden, by Malcolm Hillier
Natural Companions, due out, March 1, written by Ken Druse . This is a real looker!

I can be tracked down on my blog: or you can hear me on the River Radio, 94.9 Boise ID. Podcasts are at, look at the Morning Show. I am on FB:, and Twitter as wildwestgardens.
My email is Check out the cool garden design tool we’ve created at