by MG Calla Victoria
Push the envelope with your gardening design and think outside of the box. When we purchase plant material sticking in the pot is a small tab instructing us on how far to space our plants apart when planting to allow for spread, and we generally follow those guidelines. However on a recent trip to Miami I was delighted at the planting techniques employed there. Along the raised interstate were banks of orchid trees planted so tightly that they created a beautiful hedge and sound barrier along an otherwise boring stretch of interstate. The idea was ingenious because as these trees grow quite tall, they created a beautiful wall of interesting greenery, and the unusual shape of the leaves of the orchid tree danced as the wind from the cars passing blew. I can only imagine what a spectacular sight this would be when the trees are in bloom. Another technique used there was the tight plantings of shrubs around bases of trees. I saw Schefflera ( of the genus of flowering plants in the family Araliaceae) which we usually grow as shrubs in tight plantings impeccably edged around the bases of trees forming full skirts. The most interesting treatment of this landscaping technique was at the Viscaya Museum and Gardens where an awesome wispy allee (pronounced al-lay) was created by tight plantings of spruce pine trees that were edged to perfection. So think of plant materials in different ways and come up with your own unique designs.