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iLandscape Show Warms Landscape Professionals

What does a gardener do when the temperature is nearing 30 degrees below zero? Does she stay indoors bundled in warm blankets while sitting in front of a fire? Nope, she heads to the iLandscape Show.

Tony Avent

I began the morning getting ‘plant drunk’ while listening to Tony Avent, owner of Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden in Raleigh, North Carolina as he shared his passion for plants and his philosophy of landscape design. It differs drastically from those who profess the key to great design includes planting in drifts.

Instead, he spoke about planting a limitless number of different varieties. ‘Don’t deny gardeners the opportunity to collect plants,” he advocated. When I heard him say it is not only okay to plant one of this and another of that, that it is actually preferred, he had my full attention.

Perennials with Contrasting Forms
He shared this photo of maidenhair fern planted with ginger.
Perennials with Contrasting Forms
In this example, Aralia ‘Sun King’ provided both bold texture and color contrast.

He revealed his secret to creating beautiful landscapes, “Choose two plants with contrasting forms.” He shared photos of examples from his own garden.

Tony Avent's Garden
To prove he practices what he preaches, Tony showed us this photo of his own garden.
Tony Avent's Garden
He also shared another view of his garden.

After two-plant combinations are mastered, vignettes are easily turned into tapestries. Wow! Just wow!

With plant lust running through my veins, I walked the show, running into many industry friends, past co-workers and fellow garden writers. It was a veritable love fest!

Display at iLandscape Show
Display at iLandscape Show

Walking among displays with flowering plants, forced bulbs and houseplants was just what I needed.

Hydrangea Summer Crush

This new hydrangea was garnering a lot of attention. I planted some samples of Hydrangea Endless Summer® Summer Crush® last fall. I hoped the one-foot-deep blanket of snow was keeping them warm and safe during the current arctic blast.

After lunch, I listened to Mark Dwyer of Rotary Gardens in Jainesville, as he presented a program on annuals with fabulous foliage.

He shared this photo of Rotary Gardens planted in a yellow and blue color scheme…
…and then another showing the same space planted in yellow, orange and red,

If you have never been to Rotary Gardens, you must plan a trip (or two) this summer.

I felt so lucky to be in such a gardeny place while a polar vortex had much of the Midwest in its frigid grip. I hope you enjoyed the virtual escape from winter, too.

Garden with me!

4 thoughts on “iLandscape Show Warms Landscape Professionals

  1. Sounds like a great event. I’ve always wanted to meet Tony. (I’ve met Kelly and Sue of FRF). Did Tony say anything about the massive rain the east coast got last year? If regular heavy rain is the new normal, not sure if cyclamens will do well.

    1. Hi Linus. It was certainly the best way I can think of to spend a super cold winter day! I have heard Tony speak several times and he never disappoints. I love the passion he has for plants and gardening. He did not mention the weather during his talk, but I am sure his garden will continue to change with the changing weather. There is always a new plant to try, right? Thanks so much for your comment, Linus, and for reading the blog. I really appreciate it.

  2. What a fun way to spend a day. I have a small garden so I tend to plant onesies when it comes to large plants. My soil is so bad I usually plant 3 or more perennials. I like them to fill in. Some times I do a onesie with perennials just to see if they will grow where I want them to. Oh gosh this gets me to thinking spring. The Arctic Vortex has come and gone here. Now the Luscian storm is bringing the cold back. After all it is winter.

    1. I am so over this winter, Lisa. It has not been an easy one, and we could easily have another month or so here in Chicagoland. Hanging out with fellow industry folks was a great way to spend that nasty winter day. I am with you about planting onesies. I have a large garden – an acre – so I have areas in sun and others in shade. And while I do love the look of large drifts of annuals and perennials, I also love ‘collecting’ plants, trying new ones (just to see if they’ll grow) and discovering what is new at the garden center every year. Let’s keep thinking spring. It will keep us warm as we (impatiently) wait.

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