Flower Shape, Another Design Tool

I was observing at my garden this spring,  contemplating which plants would need to be moved and what new flowers I would add to replace those that didn’t survive the winter.  Normally I think about color, height, and flowering season; however flower shapes also are an important element in garden design.

Here’s a list of eight flower shapes and what you can expect them to do for your garden.Flower Shapes

  • Daises are the shape to choose for a simple, natural look.
  • Flatheads horizontal shape gives the eye a place to rest and has a down to earth feel.
  • Clusters provide some weight to a design. Loose clusters like phlox make good transitions between different shapes because of their indistinct form.
  • Spikes are great attention getters that add height.
  • Plumes bring a playful mood with fuzzy flowers and make a good transition between spikes and flatheads.
  • Globes unusual shape stands out making them great accents or focal points.
  • Trumpets and Cups are similar in shape but different in effect. Trumpets are attention getting while cups are simpler and more casual.
  • Fillers provide a good looking backdrop to fill in bare spots.

Planning a lot of differ shapes, will keep your eye moving throughout the entire garden, making it more interesting to look at.  On the other hand, too much contrast can create a confusing jumble.  Remedy the situation by repeating a shape to provide a sense of unity.

Even a wild color combo like pink and orange, can be unified if you keep your flower shapes simple such as hot pink zinnias with flame orange sunflowers.

To keep a monochromatic garden from becoming bland, use a variety of shapes like white hydrangea, lilies and delphinium.

If you want to spotlight a favorite lily, plant it with filler, like baby’s breath which isn’t such an eye catching shape.

Finally don’t forget, flowers change with the seasons, so take advantage of the shapes of seed heads and blooms, like coneflowers, that dry out on the stem to add year-round interest to your garden.

Summarized by Bev from Garden Gate, October 2004

Posted by Bev

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