Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fine Foliage

This past weekend I went to see Karen Chapman speak about her book Fine Foliage.  I have been intrigued with this book for some time now, and was delighted to see that she was doing a speaking tour in the Chicagoland area.



The barn where the presentation was held was decorated with sprigs and pots to add a bit of garden to the room and the adjoining greenhouse was open for us all to stroll through for that bit of spring inspiration! 






Her humor coupled with her keen eye for plant combinations left me inspired and driven to do everything I can to make my garden layered with harmonious colors, forms, and textures.  Karen's presentation spoke to me because the emphasis, as the title portrays, is on foliage first and then flowers when creating the garden.  I enjoyed learning about color echoing which is the idea of picking up common color tones from the plant foliage you select.

Here is an example of a color echoing combination that I came up with for my garden...


The lime green of the Bellwort compliments the green in the sedum leaves.  And the barberry's tones pick up hues from the sedum.






I would highly recommend Fine Foliage to anyone who is looking for amazing foliage ideas to carry their own garden through the seasons.  And if you would like more inspiration Karen has a lovely blog called Le Jardinet.


Here is to a great week! 
Happy Making, Baking, and Growing!

44 comments:

  1. To be honest I don't really think much about foliage in the garden but after reading this post I will have a wander round and give it a little more attention and just see if by accident more than design I have any nice combinations. It certainly sounds like it was an inspirational talk - glad you enjoyed it.

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  2. I wouldn't even know where to begin in my garden! I know my way around a veggie patch a little but I'm afraid it stops there. I'm always admiring other gardens as I drive along. Sounds like you picked up a few good ideas :) Happy week to you...

    Sophie xo

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  3. This sounds like a great talk. I would have enjoyed it too, though I don't know all that much about the topic. Thanks for sharing this experience, it sounds like you really got a lot from it!

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  4. I bet you had a wonderful time and were in heaven being there. Just what you needed to get you through until real spring arrives and it gives you much to think about in the meantime. Enjoyed your post and it stimulated some ideas already in my mind.
    Cindy

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  5. I bet this was so much fun and the timing is perfect to add new plants to the garden! I think I tend to go for flowers more than foliage (like all my daffodils) even though I know foliage is what really makes the garden look cohesive and that's where the beauty is at. I hope we'll get to see some of your beautiful combos in action! Have a great weekend!

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  6. Sounds like you had a lovely time. I like the look of the summer combo.

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  7. Hi Nicole, this book could be just the right one for me! Even though theoretically I know how important foliage is in the garden, I feel in practice I don't pay enough attention to it nor do I have the skills to determine what plants really would go well together. I just have come back from a trip and after a garden tour it became very clear to me that some areas need serious help and redoing, so this book might provide me with some helpful inspiration. By the way, I love the first container planting with the pink flowering dark leaved plant. I assume it is a bergenia?
    Happy spring!
    Christina

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  8. Planning for foliage is one of the concepts I am trying to incorporate in my blank slate plan. Like everything else it seems to require a balance between colour and form. Be warned, envisioning the endless combinations can become addictive.

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  9. Wow - love the combos you've come up with!

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  10. I am loving foliage in a garden more and more as years go by. I used to be ALL flowers and have lately discovered that foliage can really do as much as flowers for a garden. xo Diana

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  11. I am thinking that with my little Tasmanian Devil, I need to have foliage planted and have my flowers in raised containers around the garden. I will check her out.

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  12. Sounds like a wonderful, inspirational talk! I would have loved it. Most of my garden is shaded so I rely on foliage plants as much as flowers. I am excited to read her blog! Thanks for sharing!

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  13. Would have liked to hear that talk. Sounds like a good book.

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  14. Beautifully colorful gardens have always amazed me, I love their look but have had trouble achieving the same look in my gardens. Your post points out how using foliage can make that anchoring backdrop a well planned garden needs. I'm so glad you were able to attend that lecture. I'm going to look for this book and give it a read. Hopefully Karen Chapman will be visiting the St. Louis area sometime soon. Enjoy your week, my friend!!

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  15. Sounds like you had a great day out. I think foliage is really important to get all round the year colour. My favourite is actually variegated holly! Jo x

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  16. Where would flowers be with out het support of their foliage? Great post. xo Jenny

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  17. How nice to sneak away for a bit of 'garden' time. I can't wait to see pics of your garden in full bloom! xx

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  18. It all looks wonderful and I bet you had a ball. I am just looking at my garden thinking I need to learn lol x

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  19. Sounds you had a wonderful time visiting Karen Chapman's talk. I am always interested in new books, so I have made a note of this book too.
    Wish you and your family a lovely week!

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  20. Hey Nicole! I think I need your tips for my new garden! Honestly, I never thought about the color combination!
    great sharing!

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  21. Sounds as though it was very interesting! I like the combinations that you have selected so far. xx

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  22. How fun! I see in her bio that she's in the PNW. I wonder where she lives. Sounds like a great book.

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  23. Such pretty combos! I bet you're really getting the itch to start planting now that things are warming up. (Well...not today...but soon! ;)

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  24. Sounds like a very enlightening presentation! And you certainly got some nice inspiration for your own combinations there :) Hope you have a splendid week Nicole!

    Rowena @ rolala loves

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  25. Look at that enormous greenhouse! I think I might have got lost in there for a while! I love the idea of complimenting colours and textures in a garden- like a 3D artwork :)

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  26. Thanks for the recommendation, always looking for new garden writers to check out. This reminds me, need to get busy seed-starting!

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  27. SO jealous!!! Such great color and flower combos (and I LOVE whatever that is growing in the pot in the third photo down from the top). What a great book cover that is, too...if we could grown anything here, I would definitely be drawn to that. Sounds like a fabulous way for you to have spent the day, Chica! Can't wait to see your garden this summer! XOXO

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  28. Wow! Love the Sedum combination - the leaves fit so perfect so each other! Thank you for sharing!
    Happy spring and sunny days
    Elisabeth

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  29. Inspiring combinations, Nicole! I love the idea of combining foliage colors with flowers. The book looks intriguing and I will visit her blog, too. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon - thank you for the inspiration! Hugs xo Karen

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  30. Hi Nicole,

    The book looks amazing and how wonderful that you got to go along to discover all this inspiration.
    I love the combination that you came up with for your garden.
    happy day
    hugs
    Carolyn

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  31. I learnt something new from this post! Color echoing makes so much sense and would make decisions on which plants to use so much easier! Definitely something i will keep in mind for my garden

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  32. Sometime I just get overwhelmed with gardening tips. I tend to browse through the nursery and pick up what appeals to me ... usually something a little offbeat & uncommon. When I bring plants home I decide where they'll go (sun/shade) and that's about it. I do enjoy gardens though, and I do also look critically at my garden and think about what might look better. It always feels so hit & miss for me though, and if something doesn't take, it's such a long wait for the next year. It sounds like this book and speaking tour was perfect for you, and that you've definitely gleaned something very worthwhile from it. Your combinations are wonderful, and I like how you kept the ideas simple with just three plants each. And regarding our working in the garden ... I do believe I can see a sprout of iris poking through the ground now!! So exciting. I really want to move all my iris to a sunnier spot, but I understand they're not to be moved/separated until August ... more waiting! Well spring is thumbing her pretty little nose at winter, and we'll just have to ignore the dwindling heaps of snow along the driveways. Cheers! Wendy x

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  33. What I love about this Nicole are the painted doors with the pots and plants complimenting each other. I'm doing this at the moment with my front door and it's amazing how some plants will bring out certain colours. Great combinations. xx

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  34. That sounds like an interesting talk to have gone to. Love the bright lime green of those grasses - do you know what they are called?

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  35. You know this is such a good point... Have you by any chance checked out the 10,000+ orchids that have been on display at the Chicago Botanical Gardens? WOW now other than the fields of exotic orchids that were lovingly assembled across like 5 greenhouses... I actually did notice what lovely FINE FOLIAGE they chose to accompany the orchids! - definitely an art to being able to layer plants in a way that feels full, while creating floral features! - Sounds like it gave you a lot of great ideas to get going on...

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  36. Another beautiful post, Nicole. Such great suggestions and beautiful photographs. Love the color echoing idea; your presentation was excellent. Blessings, Diana (PS stop over and enter my giveaway if you get a chance!)

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  37. It sounds like you had a really good time at the event. There is nothing like being surrounded by beautiful and fragrant plants to get you revved up for spring plantings. We enjoy visiting Park Seed Company, usually around the third week in June, so it is in the summer. The company is located in Greenwood, S.C. and, though it is usually hot and humid down here at that time, it is still a lot of fun. We have not been able to attend in several years, but I hope we can make it this summer. They usually have some really good speakers and celebrity gardeners speaking there(ex. The Victory Gardener). They open a nursery area where you can buy seeds and plants grown from Park seeds. Fun!

    The mixes you have chosen for your garden are wonderful. I noticed you have mixed in the herbs, which I am partial to, and I brushed up on the Bellwort plant. It amused me to read that it was used for medicinal purposes(sore throats, etc.) because of its shape--like the back of the throat. Even more interesting was the fact that it was good for "diet drinks," which I think must have been akin to the health benefits of today's smoothies!

    I really enjoyed your post and it really makes me want to get out and get my hands dirty!

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  38. What gorgeous pictures, Nicole, and you always come up with the best gardening books--I will definitely look for this one!

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  39. First off I have to say thanks for your recent comment. I was so touched. I do remember those early days of your blog. Look at it now! It's so popular!
    Isn't that great that you got to hear Karen speak. I bet her talk was wonderful. Echoing colors is certainly a great way to make the garden feel cohesive. Your new combinations look terrific and I can't wait to see your garden take shape this spring.

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  40. That is so cool! I love the photos! How fun you got to go, I can't wait to see what you do with your garden this spring! Hugs Nicole, have a super wonderful week!

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  41. what lovely choices for your garden. I hope to get to work in my garden eventually if spring will just work its way here!

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  42. I love talks like these - I'm always keeping an eye out at our local garden centre for such things xo

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