We have a large patio which I've spent ages keeping free of weeds and moss over the years. Since coming back from the Portland Fling I've been pondering some of the ways gardeners there use the spaces between their paving and how their ideas might add an extra dimension to my garden.
Japanese gardens are big on moss and the Portland Japanese Garden was no exception. I've tried to be more relaxed about moss since I saw a similar feature at The Bloedel Reserve in Seattle 3 years ago, but I've come to the conclusion that whilst it looks good in this kind of setting, it doesn't translate that well onto my patio.
This is more like my garden's setting and I liked the way Omphiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' is used to separate different parts of the hardscaping at the John Kuzma garden, even though I'm not that keen on the particular plant used.
I preferred this 'woollier' approach seen at the Ernst Fuller gardens, though this time the plants are being used along a path rather than separating particular areas of the garden. Note also the contrasting gravel containing pieces of tumbled coloured glass. I saw this at a couple of other gardens and liked how this addition would add a different dimension in wet weather, especially when the sun shines on it afterwards.
At Floramagoria the owners had made a grass feature within their patio, which is set to fill out further over the season. We did have similar planting pockets in our patio's original design, but decided they wouldn't be that practical. Seeing this did make me regret that decision, but my practical head still says no.
Bella Madrona was fun, quirky and the ultimate party garden. Here I liked the re-use of bottles as paving with spaces left for planting, almost like a gravel garden. I'm not about to rip up my paving to reproduce this idea, but it is filed away for later.
Back at the Ernst Fuller gardens, I did like the way the gravel's been used to provide a neat contrast with the paving and add an extra line. The whole composition - hardscaping, planting, pots and other features is pretty good too.
Going forward, I'm going to create a line of planting to separate the patio from the top of the 3 sets of steps leading to the rest of the garden. I also want to introduce more scent, so I'll be sowing some orange scented thyme along the straight line you can see leading from the pig. A packet of seed costs a mere £1.35, so this is a budget (and bee) friendly way of doing something different.
The plant you can see at the end of the line is the Erigeron I planted a while ago and I don't mind if any seed from this intermingles with that of the thyme. I may also sow some thyme elsewhere - I have plenty of seed - between the cracks of the garden's side path for instance.
I'll also be adding some fine horticultural gravel into the rest of the cracks. This will help to keep the weeds and moss at bay and give the patio a more finished look.
This is the first post I promised about the inspiration I found during this year's Garden Bloggers Fling in Portland. Some will be simple and quick pieces, others may be more lengthy. I'll also explain how I'm taking the inspiration into my garden, where applicable. Whilst these are my personal notes, I hope you'll also find them useful.