Graceful Garden – The Natural Garden Trend

A graceful garden can be created in so many different ways. A popular recent trend is to create naturalistic landscapes. This style of gardening refers to creating a setting influenced by nature and using toxic-free methodology for plantings and maintenance. Plantings tend to be of native species that thrive in the region, and not of exotic species. Design is less focused on formal flower beds and plots, but on the natural formation of plants. This style creates simplistic looking landscapes, full of plant life, arranged as they would be found in a totally natural setting!

When planting a naturalistic garden setting, the key is to layer the plants. Look at a meadow or wood for inspiration, noticing how plants naturally grow overtop and around one another quite freely. Tree canopies make the top layer, the understory is made of shrubbery, and then there are the low lying ground covers. Try to mimic these ideas in your setting. The idea is to blur any formal lines, and create a graceful transition from the indoors to the outside.

Naturalistic planting should be done with native plants. They should be planted as they would grow naturally. This means plant in clusters and communities that would grow together in the wild. For example, if your area has hemlock growing, plant wild cherry and hazelnut as well. These trees are often found growing together.  In the wild, these plants are often noticeable because they grow all year long, adding beauty for more than just one particular setting. These plants are superb for a naturalistic garden because they add beauty all year long, and not just for the warm season, as showy flowers do.

The key to creating successful plantings and growth is good soil. The soil must be nurtured and maintained. Growing plants can take many nutrients from the soil, so annual compost layering should be practiced to keep the soil rich and fertile. Using a compost mulch will also help to maintain water so you should not need to water as frequently, and will cut back on the overgrowth of weeds and unwanted plants.

Naturalistic gardening also involves a certain way of gardening and caring for plants. The goal is to care and plant using the least amount of toxic materials. This means staying away from harmful pesticides, and relying on natural means for caring for your plants. If you have an insect problem, instead of spraying harmful chemicals on your plants, try just spraying the plants with water from your garden hose. Often this will remove the pests. Also plant flowers in your landscape that encourage beneficial bugs, flowers like sunflowers and cosmos are known for doing this. The idea is to plant carefully, placement is important as the location for the plant will affect its overall growth habits.

By using natural methods for creating and caring for a garden, as well as planting as plants would from and grow naturally, a lot of care and maintenance needs are diminished! By choosing plants that are regional and native to the area, they will flourish on their own, needing little care and maintenance from you.  These plants are also used to your particular climate conditions, allowing them to be resilient and strong in the face of seasonal changes.

A naturalistic garden setting is becoming a popular gardening trend, as it not only create a beautifully natural setting, but it also requires less maintenance and upkeep, and relies on natural solutions to problems, avoiding chemicals and toxins that can harm your plants as well as your health!

By: Susan Soler of the Team