Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Some Interior Garden Design Ideas This Christmas

Susan Wheeler, a garden designer in the White Rock/South Surrey area, is writing another guest blog to-day! She uses photos from her own gardens to illustrate her ideas. She has a Garden Design business:  as well as her own blog at  Many of the plants that she recommends are available here at West Coast Gardens.
We thank Susan for sharing her expertise with us!

Interior Garden Design... using the same principles required for your outdoor garden design.

Hello to all my gardening friends,
Today I will be talking about how you can bring your outdoor garden’s beauty and interest right into your house, especially during this Christmas season.
I love to have flowers inside my house anytime, but especially at Christmas. And not just flowers but a whole range of plants that provide texture and colour, just as I have in my gardens, outside.
I had been asked by White Rock Gallery, a very beautiful art gallery (at 1247 Johnston Road) to provide them with an indoor arrangement for one of their Open Houses in December. I wanted a large planter , black and very plain and large enough to hold a number of real living plants, not just cut flowers or greenery. I found one for this shop and also bought a second one for my own home.
Below, you can see how it turned out for the Open House, set in front of one of their large windows.

Caption: Most of this greenery is made up of live plants which will last a long time, right through the Christmas season, and beyond.

I wanted to keep the colour scheme as neutral as possible so as not to draw attention away from any of the artwork on display and yet it still had to be interesting. And so, I relied on texture.
The main plants were the large white Poinsettias, together with tall, unopened white Amaryllis buds which provided the height and had the look of ‘spears’. In addition, I added some small Norfolk Island Pines (Araucaria heterophylla).
Some of the plants that I used on the edges, were small Skimmia japonica ‘Fragrant Cloud’ which has very pretty greenish buds in almost a lime green tone. Also, you will see small-leaved Ivy, ferns and Selaginella. West Coast Gardens had all of these small house plants that I needed to complete my project.

Below, you will see how my own planter turned out. The white Amaryllis opened up very nicely and lasted a long time. I had it placed on a very sturdy glass and wooden tray on an ottoman in our Living Room.

Below, is another arrangement that I had made for the front cabinet that guests would see as soon as they entered, right at the front door.
The tallest plants are fragrant Narcissus, together with more white Amaryllis as well as some red-twig Dogwood stems, for added height. The middle white blooming plants are my favourites, especially at this time of year, the Helleborus X ‘Jacob’.
To finish off the edges, I added several Ivy and ferns. Some variegated cut twigs were included to disguise the soil at the edges of this large planter. And because the decor colour in this room has quite a lot of gold in it, I added a few golden pine cones.

Caption: Fragrant white Narcissus greeted our guests as they came through the front door.

Another year, I made up this planter, below.Because it rested on my glass and wooden tray and would not stain the ottoman, I was able to use a real wreath as the base, to which I added more of the golden pine cones. The plants were white Poinsettias and Diffenbachia, together with stems of variegated greenery, added at the edges. The basket is one that is very heavily lacquered  which I have used many times, for any number of live plants.

Caption: A live wreath provides an interesting base for this planter.

Caption: Close-up showing the two complementary variegated greenery pieces: the Diffenbachia and variegated twigs, used to disguise the edges.

Below, our Powder Room, which is a dramatic white and black scheme with textured wallpaper and red accents in the paintings, needed a strong red planting. For this room I chose a most unusual Poinsettia which had very crinkly bracts. I bought this one at West Coast Gardens but I have never been able to find one again. I do wish that they would try to find it again! I would certainly buy them...
I added a lovely red Kalanchoe  (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) at the front of the arrangement.

Caption: The strong reds of the Kalanchoe and the unusual red Poinsettia complement the red accents in the paintings and the border, above.

Because ‘eye goes to colour’, I always consider the accompanying pieces carefully. Here you will see that the guest towels have the same colours as the Harlequin mask beside them.

Caption: If at all possible, try to have the co-ordinating pieces work together, colour-wise.

Our Family Room is more casual than our Living Room, and so I have chosen a more rustic basket in which to add my plants, below. As I love white flowers, I have done this arrangement using the white Poinsettia but have added the brown tones that are in this room as well, by using the large Magnolia leaves with their undersides of velvety rusts. And for some spiky-ness I have added in the false Aralia, Dizygotheca elegantissima.

Caption: In our less formal Family Room I have used a more rustic basket.

Even the leaves of this false Aralia, below, seem to have a somewhat brown-ness about them that helps tie the colours of this room together.

Caption: The fuzzy brown indumentum on the back of the Magnolia leaves works well with the colours in this room.

Gardening and Design Tip: I think that one of the most important things to consider first, whenever you are planning anything to do with design, is colour. Whether it is outside in your actual gardens, or inside your house, remember that ‘eye goes to colour’ and if you start with this in mind, it will be hard to go wrong!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have been so very patient with me this year.... it was an especially busy one and I did not get to my own Blogs as often as I wanted to, but there is always next season!
Also, if you are interested, I will have a new blog post on my Tips Blog, at   on Friday, which will be all about the principles of design which you can use when decorating your Christmas trees.I plan to have several photos of my own trees, to show exactly what I mean. I also plan to add a number of tips that I have learned over the many years of tree decorating! Hope you can check it out....

And may I wish all of you a most wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year. Take the time to remember to always ‘smell the roses’.

Susan Wheeler

Susan Wheeler
Green Design Gardens
South Surrey, B.C.
tel: 604-542-1960
”Close your eyes and see the beauty” – Author Unknown

NOTE: all photos and text in this website/blog are copyrighted and may not be used without the written permission of Susan Wheeler. 

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