Jazzing Up the Garden with Color, Contrast and Movement

This talk is for gardeners who, when confronted with a learned treatise on the color wheel, go numb in the brain. Perhaps, like me, they hear a stubborn inner voice insisting, “Gardening shouldn’t be this hard – and it should be a lot more fun.”

Savoring sizzling plant combinations in other peoples’ gardens, while being dissatisfied with my own, led me to look a lot closer at what made certain combinations work – or not. A truly satisfying garden is much more than just a bunch of nice plants. It’s boring if plants just sit there next to each other – they need to interact, to carry on a conversation, to have dynamic contrasts.

I’ve packed this talk with dozens of exciting plant combinations photographed in gardens across the country. Starting with simple combinations, and an explanation of how the gardener used color or texture, gesture, light-reflecting qualities, repetition, color echoes and other qualities, the talk progresses to more complex schemes. Plants with distinctive character and plants that move – or appear to – enliven the mix.

Jazzing Up the Garden with Color, Contrast and Movement gives gardeners simple intuitive ways of thinking about combining plants that anyone can use easily – without angst or color wheel.

Contact Karen to book this talk

My hands-on Custom workshop based on this talk has been a big hit at garden centers. Working with container-grown plants allows for interactive audience participation and allows customers to carry plants around the garden center to see what “zings” with their chosen plants.