Ten years ago I was at a garden conference, and I will never forget it because I got into an aggressive garden lady argument over the “proper” contents of a front garden design. There was a sweet garden designer from Europe who spoke at the conference and insisted that the front garden be orderly and filled with subtle and calming color. This expert believed that strong colors and clashing shapes simply cannot reside out front. I believe the opposite – that rules are meant to be broken, bold color should be everywhere, and the only thing restricting you should be your own heart. Clearly my feelings are very strong on this point and while we garden ladies thankfully did not come to blows, it was equally clear that we all do not agree.
Above you see my front garden. In the lower part of the photo you see my container garden display; a mix of tropicals, cactus, sweet potato vine, flowering annuals, perennials, and houseplants all slammed together in a mad mad mad combination of happiness. Look to your left and see my ridiculously tall milkweed which self-planted along my sidewalk (photo below). Since milkweed is a requirement for a monarch butterfly’s survival and I have a few monarchs every year, I simply could not pull them up. My garden is a strange mix of natives and traditional perennials, flowers, and sculpture. Seemingly, it is designed willy-nilly, but truly it is designed with a very specific purpose; to please *MY* eye.
In my mind a garden is not about rules, it is about expression. Passionate, colorful, heart-felt expression. It is a connection to nature and a connection to creativity. Your garden is the place to throw your compost and your full self in order to create that which gives you joy. And so, my friends, I give you permission to break the rules. Live large. Garden passionately.
List of new plants in the front garden containers (photo at top) –
- Coleus ‘Inferno’
- Colocasia ‘Distant Memory’
- Colocasia ‘Thailand Giant’
- Cuphea ‘Vermillionaire’
- Grass Hakonechloa ‘All Gold’
- Hosta ‘Autumn Frost’
- Hosta ‘Cool as a Cucumber’
- Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’
- Salvia ‘Playin’ the Blues’
- Sweet Potato Vine ‘Blackie’
- Verbena ‘Superbena Stormburst’
If you want more information on what plants are in the photos in my front garden design, please shoot me an email at shawna at shawnacoronado dot com. Special thanks to Walters Gardens and Proven Winners for providing many of the annual plants seen in this garden. Fish art was created by FishintheGarden.net, the rain water cistern and fountain is from Aquascape Inc., and the bold blue chair cushions are from Target. Thanks to the Organic Mechanics Soil company for providing my organic worm-casting filled soil for my container gardens.