Every garden has to start from the ground up. While styles, shapes and settings may differ, every garden, and perhaps most garden beds, must all have a centerpiece. Whether it's elegant, delightful, daring, bold or colorful, the centerpiece is a basic requirement. Without it, even the most stunning collection of plants lacks coherence and staying power. Here are some examples of Rogue Valley gardens that contain that charming bit of difference.
In Bonnie Selvitella's Jacksonville garden there is no lack of focal points. She has created a feast with flowers complemented by collections and collectables. One of the simplest ideas to incorporate could be that worn-out chair. Bonnie transformed hers with paint and a pertinent comment: "Sit awhile...smell the roses."
Out in the Applegate, Janice Napoleon's Zen garden presents many opportunities to contemplate. This Buddha transmits its mood, creating an echo in the viewer. Garden statuary can be placed in the open, as this one is, or as the anchor of a planting bed. Statuary has the added bonus of year-round accountability. They look good in every season.
Sharon Tooke didn't want to collect plants as much as she wanted to collect stuff. Her Medford garden is full of Western memorabilia, including two cowboy mannequins. That may be more drama than most gardeners want, but her able combination of items is instructive. Here, a shady corner is transformed by a set of milk jugs, a wagon wheel and a large birdhouse. Bring together items that echo the garden theme or nature, including birdhouses, ceramic pots or weathered tools.
The vivid red of this rhododendron is center stage in this scene from Pat and Gary Waller's Hugo garden. Plants change over time, so using them as a focal point generally means choosing a plant with four-season interest, or having a second focal point nearby for the "off" season.
When you find the perfect combination it's hard to take your eyes off it. This adorable bird gazebo on a white pole is paired with a white clematis. The theme is perfect for Michele Newby's romantic cottage garden in the hills east of Phoenix. For a more modern look, pair a metal trellis with passion flower or the exotic clematis 'Triblue.'
Symmetry and balance are hallmarks of formal gardens. Marty Ward does just about everything right in her English garden. The opening through the high border focuses your eyes on a container, shipped here from England when Marty and her family moved to Medford. The yucca stands regally on its pedestal, in certain command of the patio beyond the border. As if to emphasize the point, the willow tree creates the perfect backdrop.