The Perfect Garden

As any garden lover knows, "perennial" refers to more than just a type of flower. It also is indicative of many things related to gardening -- a perennial fight to keep the weeds and pests out, a perennial hope each spring that our garden will be larger, healthier, and more vibrant than the season before, and a perennial love of nurturing the plants that bring us so much joy.

At this time of year we are again reminded that spring is a time for renewal and growth, a time to plan, prepare and dream of that "perfect garden" we are sure to achieve THIS year! With such a tremendous palette of flower choices and garden decor available, where do we begin? Letís take a look at the upcoming trends predicted for the 2004 growing season:

The line between indoors and outdoors has blurred. Homeowners want to bring the comfort of their home outdoors into their yard, and the beauty, color and fragrances of their gardens into their living spaces. How can this be accomplished?

Clay pot assortments make wonderful kitchen table centerpieces with river rocks sprinkled around, and planted with moss or grasses for a fresh springtime look.
Large urns or garden planters make wonderful bases for glass tabletops to be used as coffee or side tables.
Copper garden spinners can be hung indoors near a window to reflect the rays of sunlight and send them dancing around the room, bringing the warmth inside.

These are just a few ideas for bringing the outdoors in year-round, even when fresh cut flowers from the garden may not be possible. Try setting your patio table with a nice tablecloth and dinnerware set (some climates may be more conducive to this than others) as a method for extending your home comforts outdoors. Throw pillows in fun shapes and indoor/outdoor rugs may also bring some softness and comfort to a concrete patio or wood deck. Experiment -- you will be amazed at the possibilities!

Strategic garden design and planning is back. Gone are the days of randomly scattering seeds and waiting to see which flowers emerge. The chaotic nature of the wildflower look has been replaced with planned patches and patterns, coordinated colors and hues.

Do you prefer a garden that invigorates and energizes you the moment you see it? If so, then vibrant reds, oranges, pinks and yellows are the palette you will want to work from. However, if you prefer your garden as a relaxing escape from the harried world around you, shades of blues, greens, lavenders and pastels will better suit your style.

Another important consideration is whether you prefer a path meandering through your blooms, or possibly a sitting area deep among the foliage. Will it be made of pebbles, shredded bark, moss covered stones, or maybe sand? These are all elements of your garden you will want to ponder in the planning stage.

Accentuate your blooms with artistic dÈcor. There are no rules that say a garden must only be made up of flowers, in fact, an interesting garden that draws visitors back time and again has much more -- focal points which inspire and mesmerize you with their shape, movement and texture. They should coordinate with the overall feel of your garden, as well as adding interest in unexpected areas.

A double copper cosmix spinner, for instance, can be hung from a tree branch, garden pole, stake, or house. The slightest breeze will make each of the two cosmix spin in a different direction, giving you a mesmerizing visual. Adding motion wherever it is placed, the shiny copper reflects rays of sunlight and makes them dance around the garden. A very popular gardening accent, it is also available with a single cosmix spinning around a spiral of glass marbles which glow in the sunlight (Cosmix Spiral Planet). Both are available at Other garden art may include benches, stepping stones, birdbaths, or windchimes to add beautiful tunes to your gardening experience.
Color, color, color! According to Pantoneís Color Institute and The Color Factory (both professional color analysis experts), the trend in 2004 is bold, playful, lush and spirited. Timid colors are out and colors that get noticed are in. Vibrant reds and any shade of blue are THE colors of the season.
Now that you have some starting points for that "perfect garden" you are sure to achieve THIS year, put down that seed catalog and start planting!

Pam Mehringer - Pam is the owner of Blue Frog Goods, an online eclectic garden, home and office decor store offering uniquely designed items to add personality to your surroundings. She enjoys gardening, creative pursuits, and the outdoors; and strives to incorporate these elements into the products she hand-selects for the store, to introduce them to others as well.

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