Looking for some garden item to write about at this time of year that I might find useful in the future, I reviewed travel photos form last year. The autumn trip to Chicago included a visit to Millennium Park as indicated in a previous post 13.11.2010. The paved walks, stairs, furniture, planter shape, park lights, plan, and relation to the city all speak in a common formal voice. However, informal grasses and perennials were integrated into the park's planting beds in an creative way.
The perimeters of each planter were trimmed with uniform, neat hedges and annuals arranged in rows that reinforced the planter's shape and formal characteristics. The centers however, contained natural groupings of the taller, more conspicuous offerings such as ornamental grasses, buddleia, cannas, and vines.
I was impressed with this ingenious way to combine untidy plants with differing textures, densities, and growth habits into a formal garden arrangement. Let a formal uniform border surround and contain the noisy, unconforming plants inside.