Thursday, October 15, 2009

Inspiration, Part 2

Sometimes ideas arrive half-baked. The question then is if that idea will ever mature into a full-fledged great idea, or will it always remain half-baked? And more importantly, will you have the patience to let the idea ripen, or will you discard it too soon?

A couple of years ago, I had the idea to plant about one hundred drumstick Allium in a bed on the east side of my driveway. I loved the way that these burgundy red heads floated above other plants in early summer, adding little exclamation points to the garden. The problem was the "other plants" in that vision. The planting that first inspired me had used near-white daylilies under the alliums. But that always struck me like a one-hit wonder. "Give me a ticket for an allium. . ." It would look great for a short period of time, then all those daylilies would start to look a little ratty.

So my alliums floated away above the mulch. I added some liatris, which only added more vertical interest to a very vertical vision. What to do?

Thanks to Fran Sorin's excellent interview with Piet Oudolf on Gardening Gone wild, I began to explore Piet's great website. And there I found directions on how to finish baking my idea.

Piet is a huge proponent of ornamental grasses and uses them in his designs with breathtaking effect. One of his gardens has paired my infamous drumstick alliums with a low-growing, clumping ornamental grass. That's when the light bulb went off over my head, and I muttered, "Sporobolus!"

Next week I shall plant about a dozen Sporobolus heterolepis, or Prairie Dropseed, in that bed. Stay tuned for photos next summer of my alliums floating above a bed of grass!

And my next post will be on my favorite topic of patience.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmmmmm.
    My half (or less) baked ideas put indestructible images in my head.
    Like you I planted 100 of this and 100 of that last Autumn. My mind's eye was doing overtime.
    Unlike your alliums however, none of one lot came up, and a stray half-baked one of the alliums.
    So even before the grasses grow, you are already way ahead of where I will ever be plantingwise. Envy is rearing its ugly head.
    Any pictures of that fieldful of alliums?