Great plants look good dead

That title is a quote from my greatest inspiration, Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf. I was reminded of that yesterday when I took advantage of the near-60 F temps and put together a couple of dried arrangements for the house. I had no shortage of material to choose from, both cultivated and wild.

In his books (Designing with Plants, written with Noel Kingsbury), Oudolf stresses mixing up the different forms of flowers when designing plantings — spikes and spires, buttons and globes, screens and curtains, plumes, umbells, etc.

Combining good plants with a mix of these forms makes a good garden in season. Combining great plants that hold these forms into winter extend the season of interest in the garden — and provide great material for arrangements.

My favorites this year include the 4-foot-long spikes of Digitalis ferruginea, the Seuss-esque stacked globes of Phlomis tuberosa, and the curly, hand-like spires of Veronicastrum virginicum. Throw in some curly willow, the rampant teasel, various plumes and spikes of ornamental grasses, sedum umbells, some motherwort, hazel catkins, Verbena hastata and Verbena bonariensis seedheads, and goldenrod stems comoplete with galls and you’ve got and arrangement without half trying. I’ll add a picture next time I have the camera home.

Kingsbury has a new book out Seedheads in the Garden. I’ve only had a chance to skim the pictures, and was amazed how my tastes had already gravitated toward the species he includes.

I’m sure I’ll post more about Oudolf when I get a chance. A similar style has arisen Germany. (See The New German Style.) This winter I also hope to finally get around to reading Hansen and Stahl’s Perennials and their garden habitats, translated from German in 1990, putting the ecological foundation under this aesthetic.

Update: Lousy pix of the arrangements.
\'dried arrangements

‘Google bombing’ the elections

Update: Not sure if the google bomb helped all that much. Maybe it was switching to this blue tsunami as my desktop image a month before the elections:


Larger image suitable for desktop wallpaper.

Just doing my cyberpart for the cause. More about that here at DKos

In a nutshell, the links below help drive up objective analysis of Republican candidates in searches. So those people looking for last-minute info on these candidates will find those articles that will hopefully turn them Democratic.

Don’t forget to vote.

–AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl
–AZ-01: Rick Renzi
–AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth
–CA-04: John Doolittle
–CA-11: Richard Pombo
–CA-50: Brian Bilbray
–CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave
–CO-05: Doug Lamborn
–CO-07: Rick O’Donnell
–CT-04: Christopher Shays
–FL-13: Vernon Buchanan
–FL-16: Joe Negron
–FL-22: Clay Shaw
–ID-01: Bill Sali
–IL-06: Peter Roskam
–IL-10: Mark Kirk
–IL-14: Dennis Hastert
–IN-02: Chris Chocola
–IN-08: John Hostettler
–IA-01: Mike Whalen
–KS-02: Jim Ryun
–KY-03: Anne Northup
–KY-04: Geoff Davis
–MD-Sen: Michael Steele
–MN-01: Gil Gutknecht
–MN-06: Michele Bachmann
–MO-Sen: Jim Talent
–MT-Sen: Conrad Burns
–NV-03: Jon Porter
–NH-02: Charlie Bass
–NJ-07: Mike Ferguson
–NM-01: Heather Wilson
–NY-03: Peter King
–NY-20: John Sweeney
–NY-26: Tom Reynolds
–NY-29: Randy Kuhl
–NC-08: Robin Hayes
–NC-11: Charles Taylor
–OH-01: Steve Chabot
–OH-02: Jean Schmidt
–OH-15: Deborah Pryce
–OH-18: Joy Padgett
–PA-04: Melissa Hart
–PA-07: Curt Weldon
–PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick
–PA-10: Don Sherwood
–RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee
–TN-Sen: Bob Corker
–VA-Sen: George Allen
–VA-10: Frank Wolf
–WA-Sen: Mike McGavick
–WA-08: Dave Reichert