Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Complete Garden: Blending biodiversity and function with Candy Venning (Venni Gardens).

Candy Venning @ Co-Motion on King.  
April 9th-- "If you have something in the garden that you love, you've got a place to start from."
That's landscape designer, Candy Venning (Venni Gardens) talking at last Saturday's workshop on blending biodiversity and function in your garden.

 It's a very reassuring starting spot for people like me who get immediately overwhelmed and intimidated at the sight of beautiful gardens (Candy showed numerous, jaw-dropping slides of the many gardens she's worked throughout the GTHA).

Through photos, we discussed common design issues and how to create and support habitats for bees, birds, and butterflies, demonstrating once again, that beauty is a garden that is biodiverse.

"We should be able to see pollinators in the garden," says Candy. Not to mention humans!
She asks, "where do you find the children?" You find them far away from the neatly manicured lawn. "Children want to play in the areas they're not supposed to. So do adults." Why? Because they are abundant with interesting plants, stimulating the imagination and delighting the eye. "It makes people happy to see things moving in the wind, bees, butterflies."

About spaces and remaking them so that can be used, Candy says that useful spaces are loved spaces; "they become part of your everyday life." In before and after photos, we see this in action where before, a client avoided going outside but then once the garden was made attractive, spent all summer in it. "More people want to have a cottage in the city," Candy says.

Unearth it
Candy suggests that when planning your garden, look for the structure in it. Find out what is already there, what can you build upon or enhance?  Also, can you reuse elements already in the site--like materials?
When planting, think about planting in drifts, that is fifteen or more of the same plant (things that mimic nature). Consider interesting folliage as opposed to flowers.
Candy mentioned that she always includes a "pee rock" for dogs--because they have to go--right?

Check out more tips from Candy here.

Oh and did I mention, Candy is hilarious? "I bought a garden that came with the house." You get it.