The Art of Chaos

photoThis pale pink Obedient Plant is a late bloomer. Physostegia Virginiana are from the mint family, so they can be kind of a pest under the right conditions.  But mine are lovely. Here are some sited among a yet-to-bloom golden rod called “Fireworks.”photo These Obedient Plants pop up here and there in a careless abandon that is hard to create.

Finding that tension between order and chaos has become my obsession in the garden. Too much chaos and your garden just looks like a sloppy mess. Too much order and your garden looks like a prison yard with straightjacketed inmates who are never allowed to deviate one inch from their allowed space, and each grouping is surrounded by a stern moat of mulch to keep them that way.

But finding the right plants to let wander can be a challenge.

Two other plants that have worked well for my site and conditions are Japanese Anemone and Coneflowers.  I planted a few of these and then let them wander. photo These Japanese Anemone were originally planted inside the fence but now they’ve escaped to weave themselves among the ornamental grasses on the boulevard.photoJapanese Anemones are great minglers because they don’t crowd anyone out, yet their flower stems rise above their neighbors in an attractive way. They seem to be happy in partially shade or even heavy morning sun, but I’d avoid western exposures.  Another thing I enjoy about Japanese Anemones is that they look delicate but are actually happiest left to their own devices—which is definitely my kind of plant!

A more sturdy resident that moved itself into the boulevard garden in the coneflower Goldsturm. I planted these elsewhere, and they just relocated to the sunniest bed they could find.  Oh, and the Joe Pye Weed?  You guessed it. I thought Joe Pye was too big for these smallish bed, but they look good at the edge (which breaks another ‘rule’ of gardening that says tall plants must be at the rear of a bed). Joe Pyes also respond well to pinching back, so that’s one way to maintain the chaos/order tension. photo

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