Personal Garden Coach

The Motivational Gardener at Large

Garden Designers Round Table: The Essence of Frondescence February 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — personalgardencoach @ 5:37 pm

A couple goes to an art gallery. They find a picture of a naked women with only her privates covered with leaves. The wife doesn’t like it and moves on but the husband keeps looking.

The wife asks: “What are you waiting for?”

The husband replies: “Autumn.”

The Garden Designers Round Table asked for a post on the topic of “Foliage and I am thrilled to oblige. However, the more I ruminated on what my take on this topic would be, the more I found myself flustered. Foliage itself is enough to make any designer swoon. It’s a monstrous topic!

I’ve written a few short blog posts already about the importance of basing a design around a substantive palette of excellent year-round foliage color called “Wedding Cake Landscape Design Theory” and another one that touches on this idea as well called “Ingredients for the Foundation of a Landscape Design”.

My personal inspiration for designing with foliage or anything foliage related comes from a book on this topic that is much more than a visual encyclopedia of foliage, it makes you re-think the possibility that flowers being omitted from a design plan can be just as floriferous feeling as with carefully chosen blooming ephemera. I HIGHLY recommend it if you’ve never read it, as well as any of the other books by this author, of which I have many!

Foliage by Nancy J. Ondra

In this book, foliage and all of it’s finer points are detailed expertly with the flavor of experience and the eye of a designer that I couldn’t give equity to in a short blog post. Sections dealing with Color, Texture, Combination’s, Variegation and a number of other elegant vegetative topics that NEED this book and it’s utterly amazing photography to do the LEAF justice.

So after much deliberation and angst, and a serious number of hours, I present my offering to you dear reader. I have decided that the best way I could address this post from my unique point of view is to put together pictures from my own library of foliage that is nearest and dearest to me and true to my location as well.

Obviously there is no way to include ALL the variety of incredible foliage I encounter that I wish I could share with you. But, if this gives you a small taste of what I’ve gotten to see in the way of charming and even outstanding foliage, then I will feel good about how I treated this passionate and VERY large topic that SO close to my heart.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and though they are not all labeled, if you see a plant that you don’t recognize, I’m certainly happy send you information on what that leafy bit of goodness was that you were curious about!

Below are links the the other Designers participating in the Foliage Blog post for Garden Designers Round Table. Please be sure to visit those sites as well and show them some love!

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40 Responses to “Garden Designers Round Table: The Essence of Frondescence”

  1. […] Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA » Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA » Debbie Roberts : Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT » Ivette Soler : The Germinatrix : […]

  2. […] Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA » Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA » Debbie Roberts : Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT » Ivette Soler : The Germinatrix : Los […]

  3. […] Keys at Garden Smackdown: Boston, MA Christina Salwitz at Personal Garden Coach: Renton, WA Debbie Roberts at Garden of Possibilities: Stamford, CT Ivette Soler at The […]

  4. Pam/Digging Says:

    Your photos are luscious, and I enjoyed seeing them grouped by color. I agree that Nan’s book (and Saxon’s photos, right?) is inspiring. Lovely foliage!

    • personalgardencoach Says:

      Thanks Pam! Photos in “Foliage” are by Rob Cardillo- pretty phenomenal! I look forward to reading your post later today.

      • I agree with Pam. I love the color groupings. You have quite an encyclopedia of foliage plants going on here. Nan Ondra is one of my favorite authors too.
        You have great taste Christina.

        Shirley Bovshow
        Garden World Report Show

  5. Lovely, lovely photos Christina! They’re brightening up our rainy gray day here in California! Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Andrew Says:

    WHEW! I thought I was gonna need the smelling salts looking through those pictures!

    They are *outstanding,* and I plan to reference them again. You always have such great ideas for combos — are you doing next month’s color post too? I can’t wait!

    • personalgardencoach Says:

      Wow! Smelling salts? The pressure is really going to be on for that color post now. :-) Thanks Andrew!

  7. Germi Says:

    I can’t BELIEVE I don’t have that BOOK!
    Running out to get it asap – it looks like pure pleasure! Thanks for the heads up.
    As for the images. I’m dead.
    You have killed me with beauty. I think you’ve done that before – I am amazed that I have risen only to be taken down once more by the devastating beauty of foliage, foliage, FOLIAGE!
    Your images speak VOLUMES about why we, as designers, depend so much on interesting foliage. Not a flower in sight, but we are left satisfied – thrilled, and spent!
    Wonderful post, Christina!
    XOXOIvette

  8. A picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case your photo montage speaks volumes! Beautiful and inspiring.

  9. alyse Says:

    WOW!!!
    Seriously impressed with the photographs & the combinations in layout. Just gorgeous.

  10. Naomi Brooks Says:

    Mmm mm mm! Garden porn, in the way of some genuinely enticing pictures, to get my heart racing this snowy day in upstate New York. Now I can say that I’m seriously dreaming of spring …

    • personalgardencoach Says:

      Glad that I could provide some excitement to get you “going” wink wink nudge nudge with a bit of the Garden Porn! Thanks Naomi!

  11. Debbie Says:

    What a feast for the eyes! Thanks for sharing all those delicious photos, one is more appetizing than the next.

    • personalgardencoach Says:

      Debbie, I’ll be doing the “Color” post as well in about a month- now I really feel the pressure to provide another feast for you! :-)

  12. Pam/Digging Says:

    Of course! It’s Rob’s beautiful photos that adorn Nan’s book. How could I forget?

  13. Scott Says:

    Christina, beautiful photos, as usual. You certainly have an eye for the workhorse (foliage) of the garden, and any homeowner would certainly benefit from your expertise and design sense.
    Now I have to go add another book to my wish list! Thanks.

  14. I needed Andrew’s smelling salts as I looked through your photographs. (Had I had a a stronger will I could have stopped, but … I wanted to see everything.) These photos provide tangible proof that one doesn’t need flowers, to add color or interest to a garden.

  15. I love Nancy’s Grasses book – you’ve convinced me I need to add Foliage to my collection.

    I have three planting plans due and admit I’m feeling quite uninspired. Maybe the gray weather’s got me down. Your photo gallery is just what I need to get my creative juices flowing!

    • personalgardencoach Says:

      Susan, Inspiration is a fleeting thing. One of my favorite movies of all time is called “Always”, Audrey Hepburn’s last. In it she plays an angel and she talks about inspiration- YOU need to go watch it! And if my photos are a gentle whisper of inspiration for you, then I am honored.

  16. Incredibly delectable photos of foliage! Love it!

  17. melanie Says:

    What fabulous photos, I could spend all day looking at them. Now I’m inspired to think about foliage in my garden.

  18. I have almost all of Nancy’s books except that one.

    Your photos are just amazing. I feel as though I’ve just walked through a fantasy garden of earthly delights.

    Great job, Christina.

  19. carlalazzarini Says:

    Your photos and their layout are so beautiful that you should have your OWN book!!

  20. GORGEOUS compilation of photos. What fun!

  21. noel Says:

    i love how you arrange the photos in color schemes and them mix it up towards the end…nice collages

  22. I LOVE the foliage book! One of my faves. Did I already comment? I can’t remember.

    Well, I really REALLY LOVE THAT BOOK!

  23. Joan Says:

    If you could tell me the plants in slide 15 and 17. That would be great. thanks

  24. […] Christina is a character….such a pistol, so funny, so talented, and has worked in a gazillion different nurseries (some big, some VERY well-known) and is a fountain of nursery information!  Just watch where she sets her drinks down, though, as she’s another one who likes to get innocent dogs tipsy.. […]

  25. […] Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA » Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA » Debbie Roberts : Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT » Ivette Soler : The Germinatrix : Los […]

  26. […] writing about "Foliage and Texture!" Andrew Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA » Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA » Debbie Roberts : Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT » Ivette Soler : The Germinatrix : […]

  27. […] Christina is another character – such a pistol, so funny, so talented, and has worked in a gazillion different nurseries and is a fountain of nursery information!  Just watch where she sets her drinks down, though, as she’s another one who likes to get innocent dogs tipsy. […]


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