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Showing posts from February, 2011

Garden Design Ideas:

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Formal design can display  symmetrical or asymmetrical balance
Most people think of formal landscape design in terms of symmetrical balance. For example, in the first photo, at the Strickland Arms bed and breakfast in Austin, when you draw an imaginary line down the middle of the walk (the main axis), each side of the front yard is a mirror image of the other.

Symmetrical balance
Brick pavers in the foreground are laid exactly the same on either side of the central walkway. The yard is divided into equal-sized groundcover beds (drought parched the bed on the right), and further subdivided into equal-sized beds of grass as one approaches the house.

What isn't obvious from this photo is that horizontal paths (sub, or secondary-axes) further sub-divide the yard at about two-thirds of the way to the house and, again right before the porch steps. All of the paths are bordered on both sides by hundreds of Liriope. This is a simple example of a classic formal layout, in keeping with the sty…

Snow Can Put The Bloom On Houseplants

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Snow is good for houseplants, but not in the way you might imagine. We've had a continuous cover of snow on the ground since the holidays and the increase in reflected light has had a very salutary effect on my houseplants, particularly the yellow Clivia 'Golden Dragon,' which I purchased in 2008.

In the summer of 2009, following advice from members of the Garden Writer's Listserv, I moved it out onto the covered, north-facing porch and was rewarded with a flower, albeit somewhat anemic and barely above soil level. Last year, despite the same treatment, the Clivia grew only leaves.

Inside the house, the Clivia sits in a northeast window, behind a lace curtain. Recent outdoor nighttime temperatures have hovered in the single digits for several weeks, keeping the Clivia's environment between 50ºF and 55ºF. Cold and bright are apparently the plant's ideal conditions, because it started pushing out a fulsome bloom just last week.

But the Clivia isn't the only pla…