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An Art Teacher’s Garden – FineGardening


Today we visit Nancy Clark.

I’ve been gardening since 1986 and have a 3 acre shrub and perennial garden on 16 acre property. As a retired high school art teacher, I still try to apply design principles to my garden.

Here, perennials, shrubs and onions are mixed together, with a large blue glazed container in the center taking the center stage.

Asiatic liliesThis is the same part of the garden seen from the other side a little later in the season. Annuals are now growing in the blue container, and Asiatic Lilies (Lilium Hybrids, Asiatic Group, Zones 4-9) that were just foliage in the previous photo are now blooming.

Bears breechesThe bear’s pants (Acanthus mollis, zones 7-10) have strong, glossy leaves and tall towers of white-purple flowers. Here the dark colors of the flowers are all the better when they are planted in front of a bright yellow-leaved barberry (Berberis thunbergii, zones 4–8).

BegoniasA rich foliage planting in different colors and textures provides a wonderful backdrop for this planter with showy begonias (Begonia hybrid, annual).

green gardenIt’s easy to see Nancy’s background as an art teacher at work in the garden, in his expert combination of various textures, heights, and dots of color that glow against the green backdrop.

pink gladiolusStandard garden design advice is to place larger plants in the back and shorter ones in the front. However, this is a great example of why mixing them up can be great. Here larger gladioli (gladiolus hybrids, zones 8-10 or as tender bulbs) in the foreground frame the shorter plants behind without blocking the view.

Coleus in a potThis beautiful colored lip (Solenostemon scutellarioides, zone 11 or annual) appears to be the ‘Redhead’ variety. Nancy made it possible to create even more impact in the garden by planting it in a tall container placed on a pedestal to give it more height.

wide view of the gardenNeatly mowed paths lead you to explore further.

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