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Right in my Own Backyard - This Year Plant a Theme Garden - by Brandt Carter
posted: Jul. 08, 2021

Right in my Own Backyard header

This Year Plant a Theme Garden
Gardening is one of the most expressive avenues of creativity. You are a painter, arranging colors on the earth's palate. You are a perfumer, cultivating a myriad of fragrances. You are farmer, producing all kinds of wonderful flowers, plants, and vegetables to be enjoyed al fresco. You are a weaver, threading the landscape with varying textures and shapes. All these attributes converge when designing your very own theme garden. It can be pot size, plot size, or estate size - this is the attraction.

So how do you begin?

• First, think of a particular interest. This could be anything from love of tea to reading Shakespeare or collecting Peter Rabbit memorabilia.
• List all the plants that could relate to your theme.
• Next, find a location that suits those plants, i.e., sunny, shady, rocky.
• Design the garden's shape, i.e., if planting for butterflies, dig for a garden in the shape of a butterfly.
• Till the ground, plant, and label for plant identification.
• Add sculptures, birdbaths, signs, and other decorations to complement the theme.

Some theme gardens ideas:

Mary Garden
Sacred Herbs
Author-based, i.e. Shakespeare
Fragrance Medicinal
Scented Geraniums
Heart Healthy
Historic, Shaker
Insect Repellent
Native American
Tea Garden
By Color - silver, pinks, etc.
Peter Rabbit
Thyme Garden
Kitchen, Culinary
Tussie Mussie
Edible Flowers
Knot Garden

My theme is an author-based garden. Gene Stratton Porter, an early 1900s Indiana nature writer, described a lovely yellow garden in her book "The Harvester." Although not limited to the plants she listed, I created a small area of all yellow flowers and placed the quote from her book in the garden. I hope these thoughts inspire your "creative juices" for a theme garden in your backyard - and don't forget to include a place to feed the birds.

Brandt Carter, artist, herbalist, and naturalist, owns Backyard Birds at 2374 E. 54th Street. Visit her web site Email your bird questions to
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