A Sophisticated Landscape Design Tool
Spellcheck highlights the word “interplanting”, but it is a legitimate planting technique that enriches your landscape design. I am adding it to my dictionary! When landscape designers incorporate interplanting in their plans, it is a sign they are experienced and willing to elevate to high-level garden design. Interplanting takes skill, complex thinking, and an intimate knowledge of plant material. The results can be elegant. It’s a sophisticated design tool to provide year-round interest or make a single garden area have continuous appeal.
Interplanting for successive bloom and foliage interest is a skill worth cultivating. If you learn the peak moments of growth and bloom for the plants in your yard, you can interplant to keep a garden spot performing aesthetically at its best for several months. Interplanting can be combined with thoughtful seasonal planning to stretch the usefulness of a landscape through all twelve months. By taking notes, recording observations, and using combinations that work in succession, you can build your interplanting aptitude.
The maintenance required for interplanting is high-level, too. Landscape crews must be able to nurture plants that are declining while encouraging new growth in successive plants growing in the same plant bed. I’ve seen miles of highway medians, through carefully timed mowings, progress through winter cover crop, spring wildflowers, to summer turf grasses, to autumn native plant mixes, changing color with the season and out-competing weeds. By deadheading, allowing last season’s growth to wither in place, and cutting back spent growth at just the right moment, you can make your own successful combinations. It is common for some plants to have two or even three flushes of bloom, with rests in between. With either careful maintenance or happy accident, the interplay of plant combinations can be developed into self-sustaining performances that repeat year after year. Planning for successful interplanting requires weekly observation and careful plant editing/clipping by someone with an artistic eye.