Thursday, July 23, 2009

Your Garden Style

Rear Center Garden
What is your gardening style? Do you have one? Do you even want one? Aspire to a style? What is it?Heuchera Garden
Oftentimes we speak of and hear about gardening styles. What exactly is a style and how do you choose a style of gardening?
Front Sidewalk Garden
Well for me I think my style of gardening is considered cottage, eclectic, and maybe a bit crowded. Can that be considered a style?
Front Foundation Bed-Right Side
I find I garden in this manner because I am a bit of a plant collector. I not only want every plant I see, I also want A LOT of those plants.
Sunny Perennial Border
I like lots of color and I want color all year long. As such, I must pack in a lot of plants in order to have something blooming all year. These plants must be planted in big enough drifts to make an impact when their neighbors are out of bloom.
Greenhouse Garden-Sunny Side
At the same time they must be close enough together so that they can carry the color when their neighboring perennials are out of bloom. A hard mission for any garden let alone the numerous ones I have here at Tiger Gardens.
Northside Shrub Border and Walled Garden
I want lots of textures, foliage, and blooms too. The whole garden should work together but how do you get the look you want? I really crave a succession of blooms and can anticipate when the next plant will bloom but putting it all together is a challenge. I do not want to see any ground in between the plants and the less grass I have to cut the better.
Crabapple Garden
So I keep packing in the plants wherever they seem to fit and wherever I think they'll do well. Some things work and some things don't. Then of course I have to adjust my style. I dig plants, I throw out plants, I move plants, I simply abuse my plants in my quest to get the perfect garden according to me.
Greenhouse Garden-Shade Side
Did I mention my garden is sun challenged? No where on this one little acre of dirt does the sun shine for more than 6 hours at a time. That one little spot is in my driveway. Ha! What fun!
Spa Garden
So I garden with shade and shade plants. I enjoy the shade yet I yearn for sun loving plants. I adapt. As do the plants and that is a great thing.
Front Center Garden and Part of Forest Pansy Garden
I try to garden to please me and to find my exact specific gardening style. Gardening is an art that is never really complete. It must always be worked on and oh yes, let's throw in the fact that the gardener will change. We are not static. Just because I garden in a cottage type style now does not mean I will always garden this way. So I adapt and still I strive to find my garden style, but really the whole thing with gardening styles is misleading. The type of gardening you do should be called the "Piece of Me" gardening style. Because no matter what your style is it is uniquely yours and you leave a piece of you in your garden each time you tend it, plant it, edit it, prune it, weed it, well you get the idea.Northside Shrub Border
Don't get wrapped up in garden styles, just enjoy your garden for the reasons you do. And don't ever let anyone tell you what type of style you should have in your garden. Strive to be you and leave a piece of you in your garden. This is what makes all gardeners have a special connection to their gardens. A garden is uniquely the gardener's. You can have ten thousand gardeners gardening in a formal style and I guarantee you not one single garden will be the same. Forget about styles and garden the way you wish to garden. Find your own style...

in the garden....whatever it may be.


  1. Tina, that's exactly my style too ... the "no particular style" one ! ;D
    In my opinion the garden that gives me the maximum joy is perfect. It could be awash with pastels or exploding with bright clashing hues but if it makes my heart sing, that is the garden for me.

  2. I fear my neighbours would call my gardenstyle 'untidy', I prefer to call it 'wild'.
    In my garden, you find lots of 'natural habitats', like a flowermeadow, a hedgerow, and lots of native plants (unfriendly people call them 'weeds') are growing there.
    Many people can see the beauty of those natural habitats, but other think it is just untidy, which I strongly protest.

  3. I think our styles are very similar as well as our approach to gardening. For a long time I would say- "I never met a plant I didn't like"....and brought home many, many plants.
    The garden is always evolving. Sometimes with the help of voles and bunnies, sometimes when a big black dog crushes everything!

  4. Love your gardening style -always something fabulous to look at:) Have a super day everyone! Ciao

  5. I want Penelope Hobhouse perennial borders but no they are not deep enough. I have to get in there and weed you know. Plus my garden is a what is flourishing this year kind of garden. :)It is mostly trees actually. I call it park-like.

  6. Tina girl .. Count me in on that style too ! I am a plant collector and if I really love a certain plant, well I have to have backup insurance and have more than one for sure ! .. I just love plants : )

  7. Your garden is gorgeous! It definitely looks cohesive to me. My garden, on the other hand, has committed every faux-pas, if there were a "What Not to Wear" for gardens mine would be one it!

  8. Because I am such a scheduled person and run a tight ship in my home and with my gardens style is let it all hang out!!

  9. Hi Tina, good topic. My style would best be described as informal. Since I started adding some vegetables here and there maybe it could now be called cottage. Like you, there can be no soil showing in my gardens. If there is a space between plants, an annual must be stuck in to fill that spot. My garden is also transitioning toward xeric. I don't intend to water established plants so the ones I have must tolerate both the dry and the rainy conditions that are found in clay soil of the plains states.

  10. I guess my style might be called "Go with what you have when you get it and you only get it cheap." I love tall colorful plants but can't control when I get what... :) I'm not really big on style, overall, unless it's mid-century modern furnishings or architecture! ;-)

  11. Good morning all! Sounds like most everyone has an informal or wild garden style. Hmmmm, might we be setting a trend here? Let's throw all the rules out the window and keep it up!

  12. Tina,
    I don’t believe I’ve ever seen so much of your garden before at one time. It’s absolutely lovely! Very, very pretty. I think I would call our garden style Slightly Cluttered Somewhat Formal Cottage. I tried to stick with a style and I just can’t seem to do it. We just do what we like, to some gardeners we might go overboard to others we absolutely fabulous! :-)--Randy

  13. Mine must be "carefree" because unlike most gardeners, I relish the invasive plant. I let it take over then start another patch somewhere else. Although since we are rearranging the play yard for bigger kids, I must say it's turning out to be somewhat cottage. We'll see.

  14. Tina, It just amazes me how much color you have in your garden considering it is such a shady spot! It all looks so beautiful and carefully planned out to my eyes!

    I have what I call a small Semi-Formal Flower Garden by the boat shed. Then the natural woodsy area around the patio. Then what I call Spots of Interest in a planter here and there scattered throughout the yard. Nothing really formal at all. I just like digging in the dirt and planting things. But luckily, I am not into filling every single spot or I would be broke from all the money going on plants! lol. I never plan to fill up the entire yard as I like the color of green grass in the summer plus we have 2 and 1/2 acres and no way I could keep it all watered if full of plants and blooms…

  15. This is a great post, Tina--it should be read by every beginning gardener! Oh my, I know you've shown most, if not all, of these areas before in posts, but when you put all your gardens together here it is just amazing and so beautiful.

    I started out really enjoying the cottage gardening look, and I think that is what I've been after. But my garden has certainly become electic and crowded, too. I start out with plans for successions of blooms and color combos, but as I find new plants I "must" have, the plans go by the wayside. Thanks for reasssuring me that as long as it pleases me, that's what is important.

  16. I like everything too. The more the merrier(-: I enjoy seeing the succession of blooms from one plant to the next! I wish I had more flowering in the middle of summer!

  17. All your gardens look delish so I guess the style is a good one.

  18. Tina,

    Your gardens are beautiful! You have shade, I have too much sun. My winter daphne is dying on me!

    As you've seen, my gardens could best be described as "chaotic" and informal. I have no order, no tidy lines. It is what it is and it attracts so much wildlife that I can't complain... except about the rabbits! :-)


  19. I loved seeing more of your beautiful gardens!! So pretty.
    My style is cottagey I would say. I also like it cram packed with flowers with no dirt showing. My mom often comments that I don't have room for more plants and she likes dirt showing. I just don't get that way of thinking. Who wants dirt when you can have flowers? :)
    I go through phases of collecting certain types of plants, then move onto something new a year or so later. You're right trying to have something blooming all the time is a challenge and I'm always moving things around.

  20. Hi All.
    Love the pics Tina. So pretty. Sorry I missed it in person.
    I would like to know what is the grass in the Front Foundation Bed--Right Side?
    I've found I'm beginning to like the grasses quite a bit. For the most part I think they are almost self caring for. And most of my garden are green but I'm trying to fix that by adding more color in way of blooms. Seems as tho I do have color at different times but in different beds. It's working for me at the present.
    Skeeter, Anonymous, Dawn, Jean & Nina, hope your day is going great.

  21. Hi all, Thank you for your lovely comments! I've worked hard on these gardens for sure. This is about half of the gardens. They've been looking mighty good this year. I've been pleased but do notice that crowded look. A good thing I think.

    Lola, That is 'Adagio' miscanthus. I have posted on it before. Check the labels under Adagio and/or ornamental grass. It is a great grass and I keep adding more since it does okay in some shade.

    You all have a great day! Still no A/C here in my neck of the woods. A wonderful thing!

  22. liebe Grüsse von Kathrin
    in der Ruhezone wartet ein award !!! herzlich Kathrin

  23. I love your garden style and I have enjoyed your blog.

  24. I think messy and crowded probably sums up my style - which has never really changed over the years!

  25. What a wonderful tour of your garden! I've seen bits and pieces before but never all together like this - it's simply beautiful! I strive to have a cottage garden, but it's not yet there. I'm still dealing with plants that the previous owner put in and I'm trying to figure out what to do with them. This past year I moved things around a lot, but I've got so much more moving around to do. Sometimes I think it would have been easier to start over with a clean slate and design it from scratch, but in the end it's better this way because I'm learning so much more. -Jackie

  26. Thanks, Tina. I may have to try it.

  27. A gal after my own heart, Tina. I like the way you think and your gardens are divine. I envy you the acre you have to garden on and its the one thing I miss the most. Small gardens such as mine are a real challenge.

  28. "Piece of Me" style sounds like a good one. I think the style of the garden ought to go with the house, if the house can be seen from the garden, or vice versa. That said, however, the gardener will probably be drawn to the style of house that goes with the gardener's own style, so there shouldn't be any jarring dissonance. (Think French Chateau with a cottage garden in front.) But, ultimately, you are right, the garden is there solely for the pleasure of the gardener. Whatever makes you happy works for me, and it obviously does for you too. Your gardens look wonderful. (Full sun is vastly overrated.)

  29. You've managed so well with the shade, Tina. It must be hard when you crave the sun-loving plants. Like you, I like a lot of different plants, so this year I picked a theme for my vegetble garden because I was so overwhelmed with the selection of seeds. I did a purple theme this year in honor of Prince.

  30. I am with AnneTanne, The wild is what I prefer. I am just too lazy for a sculpted, formal garden, even though I like how they look.

  31. Not sure what style I am, but I know I most definitely am NOT formal. :)

    Lovely garden photos.

    Leedra’s Photos For Fun

  32. Girl, you gotta lot of plants and know how to use them! I believe the best gardens are an extension of ourselves. If we garden to please others, our gardens will be flat. If we garden as an extension of ourselves, our gardens will SING.

    When I read your post, Tina, a melody comes to mind. Not one that is familiar in the since that I've heard it before, but new music. Because just like no two songs are like, neither are two gardens. Each original. Each right. La La Fa La La!

  33. I'm the same way - lots of plants, lots of variety. I call this the lush garden style.

    Always Growing

  34. I don't stand corrected but hubby just said our style is "plant and pray". Tsk, tsk..

  35. Tina, I really enjoyed this post! Every time you show all of your gardens I just Oooooo and Ahhhhhh they are so pretty.
    I think right now my gardening style would be called 'mish mash mess' until I get things arranged. I've always known what I wanted but didn't know quite how to do it and it ended up so completely different than all of the pictures I would show Bob all of the time.
    So now I'm busy filling in - trying to make it full with 'no soil showing' as I keep hearing everyone say.
    When I said Trial and Error I really meant it! I have just errd and errd and errd LOL.
    Love the Heuchera's you have. I guess I have a collection now. I know in antiques and collectibles they say anything more than 2 is a collection so . . .
    Guess I'll be a lifetime trying to make my gardens into something I'm pleased with - to see bloomin' flowers continually all summer long.

  36. I guess you'd call my style of gardening cottage plus being a part of the larger natural landscape.

    I especially like the picture of the rear center garden -- so beautiful. The combination of the Cosmos with the wine-colored Canna leaves really caught my eye too.

  37. I am also a "random style" kind of person. Having lived in the desert and landscaped hundreds of homes, it pays for me to adapt, somewhat - or I don't get paid, lol. But, by far, my favorite style is like yours, in the end. Lots of perennials and a palette rife with as much color as one can find. Love your garden!

  38. Tina,
    I so enjoyed seeing all the pretty views of your garden. You have achieved your goal of having colorful blooms ... your summer season is serving you well.

    Like you, my garden is mostly shady which I call dappled sun since it streams through the canopy of live oaks. No doubt my style is ecclectic~tropicalesque. My aim is full, lush, and extremely layered. I am now trying to accomplish that same look with even more xeriscape/native plant/florida friendly plantings. It's been fun and a great learning experience attempting that.

  39. So true Tina. Loved seeing all the views of your garden. It's lovely!! When it comes to style, I have none! Have space, will plant! But the plants, the insects, and me~~ are happy!!!

    I was away (in no-internet/slow internet zone) which is the reason for the silence from my side. I hope you have a great weekend!

  40. Hi everyone, thanks so much for your nice comments. I am glad to see I am not alone in my no style of gardening. It is such an individual thing for us all. Amd I must say that while I'm not responding to each individual comment I truly enjoy them all and you guys surely make me smile with your similar problems, ideas and tribulations in the garden.

    Kanak, Welcome back! We all take breaks at times and that is so expected. I hope you had a ball!

    G'night all.

  41. Thanks for the great post, I never think about the garden style before. I guess what I want is a simple garden, a little of everything, and doesn't cost a fortune. I do have a goal to add more purple lavender in the front yard, like a Mediterranean garden.

  42. Hi Tina~
    Thank you for sharing your love of creating and accepting your own individual garden style!We all need a dose of acceptance and joy regarding our least I know i do :)

  43. Hi Tina. Great post. I'm another person who doesn't like to see soil between plants. I pack my plants in too (for that reason & out of necessity) My garden space is no where near as expansive as yours. I enjoyed seeing all your many beds and plant arrangements. You have a good eye for combinations. I wish I could plant in drifts ~ if only I had the space. I have found a few plants that don't seem to like the crowding and those have to go.

  44. Ooh, Tina, great topic and thoughts~hey, we went to the same garden school! I cram too, otherwise, there's too much room for weeds! Lots of color, not intentionally coordinated by me but they all seem to work in the end :) Yes, definitely Cottage Style for moi! Btw, you could, you know, 'just' move your driveway to another spot...then you'll have a sun garden..hehehe!!

  45. You might call my garden style 'Improvisational.' I do what works in my particular climate, soil and situation using plants proven to thrive in a sub-tropical setting.

  46. Hi Tina,
    I enjoyed clicking on the photos to see them larger. I love your beds and all the fun stuff you have here and there. This is another of those posts where it's fun to read all the comments, too.

    I saw myself in most of what you said, but I don't always plant more than one of my plants. I seem to be a plant collector, and like to have more than one variety of my favorite flowers.

    One thing that started out without planning, but now I do on purpose, is that each bed has at least 1 kind of plant that is also in another one. Not all plants are in more than 1 bed, though.

    I have still been planting to fill holes, and creating more holes when I deadhead or cut back floppy growth. Yesterday, I planted some annuals in pots, and found some perennials in the yard to dig and put in other pots. When they are ready to be in the sun, I plan to put them here and there in the spaces.

    If there is a style I'm attracted to, it's cottage. I'm like you in that I do my own thing. I like what you said about "a piece of me" gardening. One thing I know I'm not, and that is a landscaper.

    There was an interesting article that described different gardening styles, but when I shared it in the Cottage Garden Forum, some people were offended because they didn't want to be labeled.

    Have a great weekend! I came here looking for your veggie garden update, but need to go downstairs first to see if Larry was wanting to watch a movie.

  47. I would have to say that I tend toward the cottage garden but that's because of the eclectic nature of a cottage garden. I plant things where I can, where I might think they look good. I want a lush garden filled with foliage and flowers to help keep the ground cool and free of light to prevent weeds. I think if you plan a style you can get there but if you don't plan one you'll end up where you should be.

  48. I guess my style would called eclectic too. I love the cottage garden style, and find myself cramming more and more flowers into every available space. But then I see professionally landscaped areas, and I like the structure too, so I'm torn!

  49. I want to dabble in a lot of different garden styles. In the end, I tend toward opposite styles and garden conditions. I like somewhat tropical, big leafed, sun loving plants, and then I love the shady woodland. I'm not sure I've achieved either one of them. But as you say, a garden is never finished, and thank goodness for that. I do enjoy every year making a little more progress toward the vision in my head.