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F Words

Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is one example of a fruiting shrubs that can add fall and winter interest, as well as provide food for the birds (Richard Webb/Wikimedia Commons).

If you are designing a whole new garden , or even just a new bed, think about the following words all beginning with” f”, so you can remember important design elements: form, foliage, flowers, fruit, fragrance and focal points.

Form, or the shape of individual plants and groups of plants, contributes significantly to the overall silhouette of a bed. The individual shapes must be integrated harmoniously into the overall formation.

Foliage characteristics also contribute to the overall design, as well as the colors and shapes of the individual flowers. And fruiting shrubs and trees add fall and winter interest, as well as providing food for the birds.

It's always good to include some fragrant plants in a garden so that an additional sensory dimension is represented.

And, of course, focal points are essential in a garden. In a large island bed, for example, a small tree or a large bush or blocks of massed color can provide pleasing accents to beckon the eye. Beverly Nichols wrote “The gardener can provide the frame, set up his easel, and sketch the pattern but as time marches on he must constantly step aside and hand over his brush to nature.” However, most gardeners find it satisfying to partner with nature to create a garden tapestry. It is useful for the gardener to remember to check that all of the "f" words are contributing to the overall design.

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