Traveling is an amazing way to experience many different ways to plant, plants to use, and new ideas. Reading (for those who can’t travel) is another way to be inspired. I love to read books about gardening but I also love to read magazines. One of the best magazines to be inspired by is Garden Design Magazine.   Aside from a total lack of advertising, which is amazing in itself, the pictures and articles take you to a place you can’t go except on a very expensive vacation. The Autumn 2015 Garden Design Magazine took me to a place (on paper) that was truly inspiring. The wiles and ways of grasses can be very alluring and Le Jardin Plume, Feather Garden, in Auzouville-sur-Ry France is an amazing showcase of these lovely plants.

This is a fascinating garden. Grasses are used throughout the entire garden in modern meadow plantings and inspired the name ‘the Feather Garden’. I am particularly inspired by the beautiful boxwood hedge that is shaped as a wave. The hard edges and great curves in the hedge are accented by the planting behind it.   Calamagrostis grass with asters, thalictrum, veronicastrum, and sanguisorba in crimson and white are planted in small groups behind the hedge.  The grasses are cut down during the winter keeping the clean lines of structure in the boxwood uncluttered.   As the season progresses the grasses and blooms create an unstructured, tall, transparent wave of its own, a feathery mix that echoes the motion of the wave.

While I don’t have the scope and space that Le Jardin Plume has I think I can use the same principles to create something similar in my own garden.  Just behind the Koi pond there is a path that moves through two different areas of the garden. This is a perfect place to plant the boxwood hedge. The straight lines of the stone covered edge on the pond will echo the boxwood hedge and as it grows taller will be visible behind the pond from across the lawn.

I’ve used Stipa gigantea (one of my FAVORITE) grasses as the base with white agapanthus, Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’, and salvia behind that. I am being a little more structured in the planting scheme than the random planting at The Feathers but I think it looks unstructured from a distance. The tall inflorescence of the stipa look so fabulous during the spring, summer and fall.  The evergreen leaves of the grass have a blue cast that will look amazing in the bright light of the water’s edge. I’m thinking I might add some fall asters to the mix. The Amsonia goes an amazing wheat color as it fades so will blend with the grasses as they go soft caramel.  (amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ is available from Burpee).

This beach garden has a beautiful planting of blue agapanthus with Stipa gigantea.  Back lit it is stunning. Already this year the boxwood in the back has grown about 12-15 inches. The ground cover on the path is black pebbles, fine granite gravel, and thymus minus on the edges.

Here is the planting of the soon wave hedge!

What inspires you?    Garden visits and travel (Blodel Reserve, see my Traveling Plantswoman posts), Lectures (Anna Pavord at Meany Hall in Seattle), specialty nursery sales (Plant Fest from the Hardy Plant Society in Portland), or visits to local gardeners to visit them and talk about plants (Windcliff Open days).

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