Garden Photo of the Day

Repetition is the key to happiness

Click here to enlarge this photo.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

Even just one of these containers is dreamy (1st photo). But a dozen of them (2nd photo)? Stunning! These photos were taken at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Click here to enlarge this photo.
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais


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  1. gottagarden 06/07/2011

    Way cool!

  2. Deanneart 06/07/2011

    Don't I just love this! Beautiful. I'd just love to have one of those containers. When we were at Longwood a few years ago they had this allee planted with caladium and it was absolutely scrumptious

  3. allenaim 06/07/2011

    They are gorgeous! I love the sense of scale in the 2nd photo. We were just at Longwood on is SO very amazing...

  4. wwross 06/07/2011

    Sorry, I am not feeling it. The container is really nice, but its so attractive and striking, the repetitive use takes away from its effect. Also, the plant seems out of place in that locations with that backdrop.

  5. Blewbury 06/07/2011

    Repetition is one of the tried and true ways of tying a garden together but this does not work for me. It looks expensive, just planted and high maintenance. What will it look like after the small bedding plants grow larger? How do you keep the grass from invading the mulch. How do the agave get watered? (Even agave need water when in pots.)

  6. sheilaschultz 06/07/2011

    This repetition makes an amazing statement. Very few plants can equal the drama of an agave. This a definite WOW for me, simplicity at it's best!
    Michelle, do you remember what the plants are for the 'trail'?

  7. LAgardener 06/07/2011

    Might not be practicable for home gardener who gardens on weekends, but this is a public garden. Plant and pot perfect for one another and both beautifully set off by the false cypress. The ground planting will pick up the yellow tones of the cypress. What a restful long view!

  8. greengrowler 06/07/2011

    I agree with Blewbury & Wwross - not loving it. Yes, the agave does seem out of place among all the verdant lushness the architectural element of the agave is not harmonious. And, the plants appear stuffed in the pots - they remind me of a cowboy forced to "fancy up" for a formal dinner. The urns are beautiful; the shape is perfect for a bubbling fountain.

  9. arboretum 06/07/2011

    At this stage, this is a very boring treatment to me, but I can't form an opinion about this very Victorian concept until the underplantings mature. michelle, what is the yellow underplanting?

    p.s. you know what i would have preferred as a general principal? It would have been a great exercise for the Longwood designers (or,even better, a group of different invited designers)to use these many pots as an exercise in design styles/aesthetic. Give each designer a stretch of 2 or 4 pots, planted as is, and let them design their scenario around them.
    And maybe, just for fun and audience participation, have the visitors vote.(Build your member involvement and your customer base!)

  10. soilgoil 06/07/2011

    I love Mindy's ideas; a creative challenge! I wonder if the underplantings are Golden Feverfew? If so, they'd better deadhead voraciously or they'll be all over Longwood Gardens next spring. I don't mind the agave in these gorgeous containers; they certainly provide contrasting texture. But I do think that this treatment of a long, formal allee is rather boring.

  11. MichelleGervais 06/07/2011

    I'm not sure what the underplantings were. It was a few weeks ago, and things were still really small. I wish I'd taken a closer shot so that we could figure it out!

    I think you have to consider the location when you take in these pots. This isn't a home garden by any stretch of the imagination (well, I guess it was at one point! Unimaginable.). Longwood is for the most part extremely formal, which makes this repetition appropriate.

    I love it, but I can see why it left some of you cold. But oh, if I could have only one of those containers! (I would definitely turn it into a fountain...)

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