Dense Planting

I think every gardener intuitively knows that, because we gardeners and landscape professionals are inspired by natural plant communities that we may see out on a hike in a natural area, or on vacation. Very rarely do we see bare soil anywhere in natural, wild ecosystems.

I think one of the core principles of the natural world is that plants cover soil. (If you are in a really arid climate, you would have a lot of desert-scape bare-soil landscape.)

I think that the same principle is extremely powerful in a garden setting, and it produces much, much more sustainable landscapes if we meet nature halfway and work around this concept that plants cover soil; that nature abhors a vacuum.

I think that instead of mulching with wood, working with plants like they are designed in evolutionary terms to grow on this planet is beneficial in many, many different ways. It doesn’t only look more inspiring and beautiful to create lush, dense planting that mimics how plants arrange themselves in the wild, it also provides a habitat for some of the beautiful wildlife we so enjoy in our gardens.

And it soaks up the rain. We talk about rain gardens or sponge gardens a lot, and the more biomass we can put into our gardens, the more rain gets absorbed—put back into the ground to recharge the aquifer.

So I think on many different layers, working with this natural principle is beneficial and just so fulfilling and so meaningful for gardeners and designers.

Claudia West

One thought on “Dense Planting”

  1. The funny but also unfortunate thing about this is that some of the thickest landscapes I work with are in the Los Angeles area, which is a desert. There is not even rationing there like there is here. The landscapes are contrary to the natural environment. There are more chaparral landscapes in the San Jose area, which only chaparral. Some of the larger landscapes in open suburban areas are thick in a narrow area near the residence, but then blend nicely into the surroundings.

    Liked by 1 person

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