Growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area. With a wiener dog.

November 15, 2014

Planting alyssum as a companion plant

One of the biggest mistakes that I see people do in their garden, or in any design, is failing to attend to the negative spaces, and failing to unify.

A negative space, as a design term, just means the visual *holes* created between any important element. Unfortunately, our eyes do tend to look at these spaces as much as the positive spaces, and if it's just dirt, well, it looks kind'a bad.

A unifying element just means something that seems to hold everything together. Yes, it's great to have a lot of different stuff going on (I love the look of diversity), but to keep it from just looking like a rubbish heap, it's a good idea to unify with a theme that plays throughout. That's the concept of design intention that I often refer to. Here in my garden I am using alyssum as a unifying theme. It's soft and subtle, but it's there.

The trick to planing alyssum is to *punch it in* around existing plants. I like to see if I can get it to seem to be *peeking out*. So this morning as I plant, I am just looking for negative spaces, and that's where the alyssum will go. Alyssum stays low and spreads, so buy it small, plant it with care, and let it fill in.

As you can see, I'm a lunatic when it comes to planting. My motto is *buy them small and take care of them!* Every little plant gets the VIP treatment - dry-release fertilizer, moisture crystals, and where the ground seems too dry and hard, fresh potting soil. Then it's all watered in with Miracle-Gro and Super Thrive.

OK, I just made a fresh pot of decaf, so I'm going back out there now!
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