Is colour enough? No, in a word. Of course it is the first thing we see when looking at planting schemes and it can strongly influence their impact, but colour alone is only a small part of the challenge of designing effective perennial planting schemes.
I love yellow and orange and do use these colours as ideas for expressing my delight at the arrival of spring and perhaps the glories of autumn, but I do not take these colours as my starting point. Spring, for example, is the starting point of an annual cycle of birth, growth, maturation, decline and decay. These are the ideas that need to be explored before a simple colour is used to highlight the message.
The magic of a garden is in part their scale. Most gardens offer the opportunity to enter and move through the space they occupy and the spaces they embody. Through movement we have the chance to create a sequence of experiences in which moods, patterns, textures and rhythms can be played out. The possibilities of developing contrasts, harmonies, conflicts and irregularities through the use of plants, building materials, water and air in the spaces they fill are endless, yet all too often we see the same set of simple arrangements and solutions being implemented.
Perennial meadows have no form, place or recognisable model to follow. Hopefully, you will see them as simply an opportunity within a garden’s design to introduce a representation of an idea. Within themselves they may display colours, textures and patterns, but they should also be seen as just part of a whole, a bigger design, where maybe different meadows form relationships with one another.
Within this site I aim to show perennial planting combinations which have the potential of growing successfully together in given situations. This is the practical side of working with plants, but it is for you as a designer to find meaning in variations of these combinations as a means to make some form of artistic expression or emotional response.