Annual planting season is an event like no other. The next six weeks are the most intense design/plant days of my entire year. I review the plants, first. I have a large group of plants that I custom grow, and then there is the shopping for whatever looks great and sparks an idea. My annual design is plant generated. They may inspire a color palette, an shape, an exciting exercise in texture, or suggest a gorgeous mass. Groups of pots-I think a lot about the rhythm that gets established. I could explain my process in a hundred essays-but in the end, my eye is my own. All I have to offer anyone is my point of view. That point of view-I have no formula. All I have is my off the cuff, late to be delivered, idea. The big idea here-trust your own vision, or find someone who can beautifully represent you. Should you plant for yourself, I am happy to contribute to your effort. But be advised-what I do in the blink of an eye, is all my own.
My client with the firebowl-she has an event on Thursday. Flowers-especially in a zone 5 where the summers are relatively short-are a very emotional issue for Michigan gardeners. Once the weather shows signs of breaking, I get calls. Everyone is so relieved the endless winter is over-everyone wants to move outside, and enjoy every day of the summer. No one has any interest in the night temperatures, the soil temperatures-why should they? That is my job.
But all of them have special birthdays, trunk shows, parties, graduations, anniversaries-important milestones. Milestones that need be celebrated with flowers. A late May early June annual garden is no looker-everyone knows that. But when the seasonal flowers are planted, any event is all the better and happier for that expression. My notes are as much about events that influence scheduling, as design.
Inclement weather-whatever. There are no rain days when we plant annuals. The annual planting season is short, so we all have gear. The actual planting is a footnote. The bulk of the work is the contracting for custom grown material, the contracting for a custom soil mix, the maintenance and gas for the truck, the design, the shopping, the arranging for transport, the hauling of soil, the cleanup, the disposal of debris-big, and largely unseen, work. Whew!
My client Susie wanted orange this year-she loved how my pots looked last year. What do I so love about her? She has one big idea to express-having done so, she is confident enough to step back, and watch what happens. We have been working together more than 15 years. Relationships get forged, over time. Those relationships show, believe me. Good design relationships result in work any eye would appreciate.
We moved one pot this year to a new location-I was caught flat footed today. I had to regroup, and come back. I spent no small amount of time deciding what should go in that Francesca del Re pot at the corner of the pool-as well I should. Taking the time to do a thoughtful job in the middle of a frenetic season-I can be depended upon for this. No client knows I am awake half the night worrying about their design, their life and their installation-this is as it should be. It is my worry about how to bring orange,white, and lime to life for Susie.
I planned and planted surely around the pool deck. That newly placed planter took the better part of the afternoon to resolve. I promise to post pictures of the mature annual plantings-you can decide if you like them.
My client Susie-she bought giant white dahlias for her wood boxes. Fine. I tuned up. The planting of the annual gardens and pots-lots of emotion, lots of changes, lots of conversation-lots of tuning up. I would not have it any other way.
Outside her annual plantings-I am so pleased to see the butterburrs have taken hold at the pond. The long view-so beautiful. Any relationship forged over a conversation about the landscape-energetic, and very beautiful. Thanks, Susie.