Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Naturalistic Minus Chaotic
The term naturalistic is being thrown around a great deal these days with regards to a specific style of gardening. My interpretation may be a little different than a gardener with lots of acreage or one with open meadows. A genuine naturalistic garden carved out of a woodland or lakeside would be a dream come true. At the same time I think a naturalistic style garden can be achieved even in the smallest settings.
I submit that to achieve a naturalistic 'feel' in a residential neighborhood it takes a great deal of planning and even orchestration. Which might not make sense at first. Can the words 'design' and 'naturalistic' be used simultaneously to describe this style of garden?
The mere mention of the word 'naturalistic' in reference to residential landscaping often conjures up visions of a messy and confusing mix of plantlife that has no sense of order. A disorderly roadside or mixed woodsy appearance might come to mind.
While I've seen attempts at naturalistic Florida gardens that fit this portrayal I lean towards the opinion that this is one of the overarching misconceptions of this type of gardening.
For a home gardener living in a residential neighborhood it's key to create a sense of cohesiveness to the eye even in a naturalistic setting.
For me, getting away from neatly trimmed hedgerows and massive amounts of well-manicured lawn was the starting point. It is the elimination of these elements that inspired my attempts at a more relaxed atmosphere in my garden. But then what?
As decisions were made to remove more and more of the lawn, achieving a more naturalistic environment has been done incrementally. Being that I'm a DIY gardener it's been necessary to take out sections of the turf slowly. Each time the digging begins a well thought-out plan for what will replace it is already in view.
I want to attract more wildlife and do my bit for the eco-system by adhering to our Florida-Friendly principles in my residential garden but I'm not a fan of chaos or confusion.
So what then is meant by naturalistic in this instance? What I've tried to do in my garden is mimic the way things appear in nature. But that doesn't mean letting anything and everything grow wildly. With artful placement of correct plant choices the goal is that each area flows into the next.
Is this a style of gardening you are also trying to achieve? What is your idea of naturalistic? What is your garden style and how have you gotten there?
Up next: Tips on Designing a More Naturalistic Garden and I'll give you my perspective on blending natives into the garden with an appealing result.
Update: Follow up post with tips is a click away here.