Architectural elements and large plantings are the bones which define a garden structure. In one section of my garden, a fifty-foot length of white post-and-rail fence is the foundation of my design.
Each post is an anchor for a large plant.
Peonies were my choice for the anchor positions for several reasons. First, this area of the yard is not used in winter, so an evergreen was unnecessary; a flowering perennial works beautifully.
Second, over time peonies become substantial plants, and at the crucial dividing positions, I wanted plants of size.
Finally, peonies were ideal, because although the blooms last only a couple of weeks, the foliage stays green all summer, giving my garden substance when we use this space.
After choosing peonies, I ordered an assortment from Martha Stewart picking white and pink varieties to compliment my interior color scheme.
Annually, the frothy blossoms give me another reason to be happy with my selection. In my opinion, peonies are one of the easiest flowers to arrange. Cut the stems in equal lengths, place in a narrow-necked vase, and voila a snowball of petals.
As spring turns into summer, I enjoy the profuse blossoms at each fence post dividing the fifty-foot long flower bed into nine mini-gardens. The peonies create side walls for narrow outdoor "rooms". In each space, I repeat colors with a variety of flowers to give a measure of rhythm and balance to a rather informal summer flower garden.
What bones define your garden? What plants anchor your space? Why did you choose those particular flowers and colors?