Spherical flowers, fruiting structures, plant forms and garden objects can all contribute to both the formal and informal garden. The images in this blog are just a few that I put together to show the value of spheres in the garden. Of course, when we discuss the importance of variable "flower architecture" in the garden, spheres (umbels) can offer high impact as seen with the 'Blue Glow' globe thistle (Echinops bannaticus) seen both above and below at Lurie Gardens in Millenium Park (Chicago, (IL). Using flowers (annual, perennial, etc.) of different shapes will make a more interesting combination independent of color (also important of course!). Note the great combination below as those spheres combine well with the "spire-like" architecture of the rusty foxglove (Digitalis ferruginea). The second photo down shows cacti on the roof at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Note the visual impact this repeated form can have en masse. While spherical flowers are great, there are many plants that exhibit or can be "encouraged" to feature a spherical form. Using spheres to punctuate the garden (see examples below) can help complete a composition and when used in repetition, can create harmony and unity throughout the space throughout the entire year.
It was another dark and misty day at the gardens. L.P. Tree Service came down to hang the last 40 or so of our dangling icicle lights. These lights were ones that had blown down over the past month or so as we've had some sporadic heavy winds. We didn't want them to go to waste and both John and Victor (from L.P.) did a nice job putting all of them up in our tallest tree in the arboretum which is a 'Fialaspire' silver poplar (Populus alba). This should look awesome and adds another 4,000 lights to the show. Patrea and Dr. Gredler were in for morning painting with Patrea priming more re-purposed plastic containers and Doc continued on our "pedestal/urn" color conversions. Cheryl D. came in to say 'hi' and donate some holiday lights (thanks!). Maury and Glenn D. came in to chat about our Spring Tree Sale (organized with the Blackhawk Golden Kiwanis Club) which we hope to offer in conjunction with the Spring Plant Sale in May of 2014. Janice and Cindy met later in the afternoon for some top secret, 2014 "scheming." We also saw Bev D. and Rollie. While it was a quiet day at the Horticulture Center, I made it through three more catalogs, organized photos and kept occupied with myriad tasks. Enjoy your spherical experience below...
'Purple Sensation' ornamental onion (Allium) - spring
Star of Persia ornamental onion (Allium christophii) - early summer
'Red Wethersfield' onion (Allium cepa) - summer
'Summer Beauty' ornamental onion (Allium tanguticum) - perennial
'Aristotle' bush basil (Ocimum basilicum) - annual (natural form!)
late fruits (black aging to red) of 'Black Pearl' ornamental hot pepper (Capsicum annuum) - annual (with dark foliage too)
'Solanna Golden Sphere' tickseed (Coreopsis grandiflora) - perennial
'Las Vegas Pink' globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa) - annual
'Oklahoma White' zinnia (Zinnia elegans) - annual
'Oscar' balloon plant (Gomphocarpus physocarpus) - annual (milkweed family)
boxwoods (Buxus sp.) trimmed neatly at Olbrich Botanical Gardens (Madison, WI)
'Annabelle' smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) - woody shrub
buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) - woody shrub (native)
same as above
of course "non-living" spheres used as garden elements can have impact as well!
above in the Netherlands - funky