Each owner of a small garden dreams of planting hundreds of different types of flowering and decorative foliage crops even in a small area. But sometimes it’s not so easy to achieve a special variety, the effect of a fabulous fullness of space. Perhaps that is why today, strict flower gardens and limited palettes are being replaced by natural design, in particular, one of its “wildest” trends - the art of creating dense thickets. In this publication, we will talk about the basic principles of creating "cultural" thickets of landscape in landscape style.Close-fit flower garden
The benefits of plant “chaos” in the garden
Landscape groups of plants that fill the area with chaotic plantings and mix dozens of different cultures together into continuous compositions are not as easy to create as they might seem at first glance. In order for such thickets to be truly perceived as a work of landscape art, one must not forget about the important rules and principles of their design and choose the right plants, keeping visible chaos under strict control. And although the full effect can be achieved in only a few years, but your result will last for decades.
Cultivated thickets - dense, seemingly chaotic landscape plantings, filled with various plants, under which a piece of soil is almost invisible, usually created where there is no place for classical solutions.
This “wild” branch of the natural style of landscape design allows even a modest 60-80 square meters to realize many ideas and grow dozens of species of various plants. Even the tiny garden, thanks to the creation of such seemingly natural, plantings is transformed, acquires depth and expressiveness.
In fact, the method of creating compacted natural plantings is a kind of antagonist for garden geometry and strict zoning. This design option is most suitable for those gardeners who want to plant as many flowers and species as possible, but at the same time they have an extremely limited area and need a non-standard solution.
But do not think that dense thickets are just a design option for gardeners who love the natural style and want to beat the disadvantageous area of their garden. This unique trend of landscape style of landscape design has many other advantages:
- The "wild" style suggests taking one of the corners of the garden to a composition that requires virtually no care. This design option will be a real lifesaver for gardeners who dream of a real garden for "lazy people". After all, the “thickets” are good because the plants in them develop freely, randomly, and practically without the intervention of a gardener.
- Dense thickets are dense plantings that have been created for decades. They are constantly changing on their own, but always remain attractive.
- No other variant of decorative compositions from perennials provides so many opportunities for improvisation. Dense thickets, if there is a desire and mood, you can constantly change, add new colors or, conversely, remove plants that disappoint. This is a great field for experimenting with style and your skills. Finding the best style for fans to improvise, rather than planning all the details, is difficult. After all, this is practically the only design option that is suitable for spontaneous purchases "outburst" and ill-conceived decisions. You can constantly bring something new, without fear of failure, change the garden in accordance with changes in your taste and skills, but always knowing for sure that it will still remain attractive and filled with plants that breathe harmony.
- This is an option that always works in any environment. If due to the specifics of the soil, the location of large trees, terrain, etc. you have a corner on the site in which it is impossible to design a classic object, feel free to take it to a dense landscape group. And, perhaps, this style will become your favorite and make you transform the entire site, turning it into a unique sight filled with hundreds of plants.
The flow of landscape style, aimed at creating dense thickets and filling the entire space with compacted plantings, has received many nicknames.
Some people call such compositions a chaotic design, others - blooming thickets, and others - a lazy natural style. But the name is not so important. Despite the fact that the creation of thickets in the initial stages will require perseverance and at least several years of work, in fact it is very simple and requires minimal investment. To apply this style in practice, you do not need to have a special artistic taste or professional skills. With perseverance and desire, their own dense thickets can create almost any grower.Close-fit flower garden
Strategies for organizing compacted landscape landings
There are two strategies by which you can create a compact landing in a natural style. This is a phased creation of "cultural" thickets "and
Phased strategy for creating "cultural" thickets
The simplest and most “improvisational” solution is the design of the usual composition, which is constantly changed and supplemented, creating thickets. This is the creation of a simple flower garden: planting the basic, most beloved herbaceous perennials, tree and shrubs as the basis of the composition, followed by gradual filling with plants that completely change their appearance and create the effect of wild dense plantings.
Thus, in the beginning they actually create a simple foundation in a natural style or composition with the most spectacular plants placed. Then gradually, step by step, the free space is filled with curtains of unpretentious and hardy soil protectors or able to capture the territory of perennials, which slowly transform the composition, evaluating and changing this look every time to your taste.
Initial planning strategy
A more complex and less interesting version is the initial creation of dense thickets into sections, dividing the territory on which you want to create lush thickets into sections or squares, each of which is drawn up separately.
This is an option that requires a lot of initial effort and planning. Some sections are reserved only for tall plants, others alternate height from high to low, individual squares are assigned only to carpet or ground cover crops, and individual fragments are used for the best flowering perennials.
Together, such square fragments create a kind of complex canvas, merging into a single concept only with time. With this design, each fragment of the territory is actually designed as a flower garden with a dense planting of perennials, in which only the minimum requirements for the distance between neighboring crops are observed.
In order for the thickets to be attractive, in each separate section there must be a unique set of plants in which exclusive accents are added to the basic crops repeating from zone to zone. Typically, about 5 plant species are used for each section.
Soil Preparation - Getting Started
But no matter what strategy you choose, remember that it will take several years, at a minimum, to achieve the full effect and create dense thickets. At this time, voids and glades in the flower beds should not only be planted in the spring and autumn with new perennials at the slightest opportunity, but also mulch the soil with decorative coatings in order to make the composition attractive at the very beginning of your journey.
You can put potted ones on empty places in compositions, plant summer people, not forgetting that over time the need for such measures will completely disappear.
The process of arranging a “wild” corner does not begin with plants at all. The very first and main principle of arrangement of lush thickets, natural compositions of compacted type is to ensure the quality of the soil on the site. It is impossible to grow ensembles as if completely filled with hundreds of plants and turned into fabulous thickets without fertile soil. And it is with the preparation of the soil for such compositions that work should begin.
Deep digging, careful weed control, improvement of characteristics due to the application of sand, organic fertilizers, replacement of the top soil layer and the use of mineral mixtures and microbiological preparations - all this will prepare a site on which plants will create really dense thickets in the shortest possible time.
Vertical alignment - “stretching” the space up
But planting plants should start with the vertical arrangement. It is impossible to create a feeling of a unique variety of densely growing plants even in a small space if you do not “pull” the composition up.
The most popular option is not at all an introduction to shrubs and trees, but the installation of supports and the creation of walls from vines. Their massive lush crowns create the same feeling of fullness with greenery as tall trees, but in fact lianas occupy a minimal area in horizontal dimension and allow creating illusions of a much larger number of plants with minimal means used. With the help of gratings and other supports create a kind of framework for thickets and arrange visual dividers, between which then fill the entire soil.
Rules for selecting plants for continuous natural groups
Cultures are selected on the principle of "from big to small." First place shrubs and trees, then plant grassy perennials and fill the space with groundcover that "closes" the plantings.Close-fit flower garden
At the heart of the principles of selecting plants to create dense thickets is always practicality.
Of course, you can create a dense planting and from continuous flowering crops. But, firstly, not all of them can boast of spectacular greenery that can create an attractive picture beyond the flowering period. And secondly, it will not be easy to take care of your flowering thickets. Therefore, plants are selected so that they maximally facilitate the care of plantings, allow you to get a composition that does not require regular pruning, complex care, constant division, but at the same time would be aesthetic. Charming flowering is added to the basic cultures that fill the space with lush plantings, but not at the expense of recognized stars, but thanks to the choice of more modest and hardy species.
One of the most important principles is the search for plants that are not afraid of close proximity, feel great in the company of soil protectors and are able to grow actively enough so that there is not even a centimeter of free soil left. And while perennials should not suppress their neighbors and affect them depressingly.
All crops that will be used to create dense thickets should have the following characteristics:
- maintain attractiveness for at least the entire active garden season, and even better - in winter;
- be hardy and unpretentious, drought tolerant and well adaptable;
- different attractive greenery;
- fully comply with the climate of the area and have high winter hardiness;
- belong to the number of perennial plants that do not require frequent transplantation and separation.
As for the color scheme, usually compositions in the style of compacted landings are made chaotic, abandoning a certain concept and mixing together as many colors as possible. Such flowering is the simplest option in order to emphasize the nature of the thickets formed. But, if desired, you can use both contrasting color combinations and stick to a more harmonious palette.
What kind of plants to plant in the "wild" corner?
Any designer who solves the problem of creating a garden that is easy to care for and limited by a small area, first of all, offers to actively use, along with trees and shrubs, grassy perennials from the number of soil protectors.
The cuff and geraniums are the main stars of this design along with thyme and creeping euonymus. These crops have indeed been planted for centuries. Constantly growing and creating continuous compositions, they actually create a design base that has remained unchanged for decades.
But such a trivial decision, although it is considered one of the easiest care options, quickly brings boredom. In contrast to the classical approach, the creation of lush and dense landscape thickets allows us to eventually form a truly diverse ensemble, in which hundreds of plants with different characters merged into a single image.
Cuffs, geraniums and their company are still great for creating wild thickets, but you can safely add plants with a much brighter character to them - magnificent phloxes with varieties of very different colors, spectacular euphorbia, inimitable textural beauty, fragrant rue, etc.
Correctly selected perennials should certainly play the main role in creating the effect of thickets. Rather, powerful, creating dense bushes with a dense planting or ground cover plants that are able to fully master the space allocated to them. When used correctly, they allow you to create a corner in which, from the chaos of diversity, an amazing joyful atmosphere and a fabulous harmony of shapes and colors are born.
Geranium, liveliness, bells, cuffs, penstemon, stonecrops are perfectly combined with each other and are able to fill the space in almost any territory. The traditional set of perennials can be expanded with catnip, veronica, loosestrife, dolphiniums, lavender, Turkish poppy, aquilegia, yarrow, ivy, cosmea, saxifrage, peonies, rudbeckia, ferns and astilbe.
But even shrubs and decorative wood can not do. If clematis and roses on trellises and other supports are the best means of zoning, space limitations, creating harmony between dense thickets and background, then medium-sized shrub-tree crops are the main means of introducing vertical diversity into the structure of natural plantings of compacted type.
Euonymus, holly, barberries, derain - these are just a few examples of plants that can successfully cope with our task. Such vertical accents will give a special charm to any composition. The main thing is to choose species that require virtually no care, which have been growing beautifully for decades and at the same time exuding aroma or captivating with particularly abundant flowering.
For example, spirea, chubushniki and lilac never go out of fashion and are appropriate even in dense thickets, like typical landscape stars - decorative apple trees, willow, cherries, weeping mulberry. Unpretentious roses, in particular, rose hips and species flower beds, hydrangeas with dogwood and cotoneaster, representatives of the heather family will not be superfluous in this style. In addition, these shrubs are not afraid of close proximity.Close-fit flower garden
Problems with a sense of chaos, disorder, and even neglect in large compositions, designed as thickets, can be solved with the help of unexpectedly added tall flower beds, drugstores and even beds.
Literally raising the composition to a new level or playing with the natural fluctuations of height and the complexity of the terrain, playing around terraces, slopes, slopes, creating several different levels of composition, you can achieve a feeling of amazing depth and organization. And in the thicket, such a game is especially spectacular.
In dense landings, details are important
When creating compacted landings, it is important to remember that there are no trifles in experiments with the natural style. Dense thickets may seem too boring if you do not pay enough attention to details.
An interesting masonry on the path leading to the area with plants with a compacted landing, stepping paths drowning in thickets, unusual curbs, a garden sculpture, a sundial or a drinking bowl, a bench or fountain unexpectedly hidden in the thick of plants can change the space and even make it seemingly “ wild "compositions are more expressive and spectacular.
It is better to draw motives for ideas from nature itself, without fear of unexpectedly adding boulders or stones between plants or using strict accents where only the natural beauty of densely planted and rather modest plants reigns.
Do you have “wild” corners in your garden? Share your experience in creating them in the comments or on our Forum.