Sprouting up earlier than even the crocus, the home and garden shows are a sure sign that spring is coming.
Later this week the Tacoma Home and Garden show will start the spring fever, and one of my new topics at the daily seminars is “The Art of Gardening: Make Like Monet But Keep It Simple”
Claude Monet is the father of the impressionistic style of painting, and his garden in Giverny, France, was the inspiration for his masterpieces and still one of the most visited gardens in the world.
Other artists, from Renoir to local boy Dale Chilhuley, have been inspired by gardens.
You don’t need a pond with water lilies or priceless art glass to borrow the beauty from the world’s most famous artists. Keeping it simple is about taking an idea and adapting it to your own more humble exterior or interior designs.
Here are a few take-home ideas if you can’t make it to the Tacoma Dome this week:
Add a bowl of water to your garden.
Float a few blooms on the surface. Now you have your own Monet moment.
You can also float blooms in a bird bath, or indoors, just fill a bowl and float some flat hellebore flowers that closely resemble water lilies.
Plant your flowers in blocks of color.
Mix in tall, medium and low varieties but keep them all the same color family.
Monet was losing his eyesight as he aged and tended toward large plantings of the same color.
In our climate, a sunny spot with golden daylilies in the back, yellow coreopsis in the middle and short mini marigolds in the front can wake up a summer garden with a chunk of color.
Just blur your eyes and you’ll see why Monet used squares of mono-color as inspiration.
Use glass in the garden – from marbles to roosters.
Glass marbles on top of houseplants or potted outdoor plants make a weed-blocking, water-conserving mulch that also adds a bit of Chihuley-inspired glam.
Now about the roosters.
A neighbor of mine found glass roosters and hens at a thrift store. She placed them into her flowerbed of complementary colors and the result was remarkably elegant but original.
Look for recycled glass ornaments, vases, plates — or even chickens — to use as glass accents in your garden.
The second topic for my seminars at the Tacoma Dome is “Hydrangeas, Hellebores and Heucheras – Year-Round Color With the Heavenly “H” Plants.”
The featured plants are called heavenly because they love our cool and damp Northwest climate and are also slug resistant.
Enjoying some color in the landscape all year long is easy if you build your garden around the “H” plants. These three also can be used for creating colorful container gardens.
Here is a planting recipe for creating a pocket garden of color no matter what the season.
Start with a partly shaded site – perhaps under tall native trees or on the north or east side of the house. Improve the soil by adding organic matter. Mounding the soil into a berm at least one foot high is the easiest way to improve the very poor soil near tree roots.
Next add the hydrangeas. Chose Endless Summer hydrangeas, which flower on old and new wood. You will be assured of flowers every summer even if we have a late spring frost or prune at the wrong time of year.
Hellebores are winter bloomers that love to grow at the feet of hydrangeas. When in flower, the hydrangeas are still leafless, so the blooms can stand out on dark winter days.
Hellebores do well in soil enriched with organic matter, as do hydrangeas, making for great bed mates and a happy marriage .
Heucheras are the foliage plants that give more long-lasting color to this planting plan.
Heucheras are related to our native woodland coral bells and make tidy companions for the hellebores growing beneath the skirts of the hydrangeas.
Look for deep purple leaves to contrast to white snowbell blooms or lime green heucheras if you want to mix in brightly colored bedding plants for more summer color.
Just mix and match the heavenly “H” plants and all your gardening sins will be forgiven.
Marianne Binetti at Home and Garden Show
Marianne Binetti will speak at 1 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Tacoma Home and Garden Show at the Tacoma Dome.
Thursday and Saturday: “The Art of Gardening – Make Like Monet But Keep It Simple.”
Friday and Sunday: “Hydrangeas, Hellebores and Heucheras: Year-Round Color With the Heavenly “H” Plants.”
For discount tickets and more information, visit www.OTshows.com