Wednesday Vignette – at your feet

Visited a major grower of conifers today. The impressions from their display gardens were many, varied, and often stunningly beautiful (fear not – they will one day become their own post) but for today’s vignette, I will cherrypick a combo from their front gardens, that I found both visually arresting, relatively easily accomplished, and beautifully pragmatic. They liberally used Muhlenbeckia axillaris (Creeping wire vine) throughout the gardens – and who can blame them? It looks so good!

The textural simplicity of random lengths of cut bamboo, drain rock, and Wire vine really appeals to me. This is the very dense and low growing Wire vine - Muhlenbeckia axillaris - not to be confused with its larger-leaved cousin Muhlenbeckia complexa.

The textural simplicity of random lengths of cut bamboo, drain rock, and Wire vine really appeals to me. This is the very dense and low growing Wire vine – Muhlenbeckia axillaris – not to be confused with its larger-leaved cousin Muhlenbeckia complexa.

Muhlenbeckia axillaris as ground cover

Zooming out a little, Black Mondo grass (Ophiopogon nigrescens) had been allowed to poke through the dense cover here and there, in front of a large, mossy boulder. Evergreen, easy, and superb!


And, of course, zooming out just a wee bit further, there are maples and conifers – the ultimate companion plants – subtly contrasted against the green carpet.

I promise – there will be lots more on this later – I just have to process all that sensory overload first – it was beautiful and overwhelming, all at the same time. So very much to learn…

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
This entry was posted in Wednesday Vignette and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – at your feet

  1. Mark and Gaz says:

    Reading through my phone, at first I thought it was mind your own business, then you said Muhlenbeckia, beautiful!!

  2. annamadeit says:

    Isn’t it? I’ve seen the M. complexa used as ground cover before, and it was almost knee-high, and quite the thug, actually. I love how low and ground-hugging this one is. I would almost say it’s perfect! I might actually have to become the go-to green ground cover in my yard. I’m quite a bit enamored…

  3. I didn’t know wire vine made such a great groundcover. I’ve only seen it in pots. I tucked my Wednesday Vignette into another post here:

    • annamadeit says:

      Be careful though, if you try it. Pretty sure the one you usually see in pots is the larger one – M. complexa. It can be used as a ground cover too, but will be almost knee-high. If what I saw in this vignette is its true behavior, this little one is far more ground-hugging. I have the larger one in a planter from last year, and as I pulled it out the other day, I saw that the Muhlenbeckia had grown into this L-O-N-G strand that had nestled itself in everywhere. Glad I caught it before it had attached itself everywhere.

  4. They must do A LOT of pruning to keep it so lush but not covering everything. I’ve seen it take over and bury rocks at the Kennedy School gardens. Oh and I can’t wait to see more. I suspect I know where you were and I’ve been meaning to get there for AGES!

    My WV:

    • annamadeit says:

      Are you sure you saw the little one? I know the larger one will effectively become a smothering blanket in no time, it seems. So, I do take your warning seriously. We were told that they have 4 full-time gardeners on staff to take care of their display gardens. So, I should probably ask, before planting this one, huh? As you probably guessed, we went to Iseli – well worth your time for sure. Gives you a whole new perspective on conifers – a wonderful one!

  5. Peter/Outlaw says:

    You had me with the first image of bamboo, rock, and green! Stunning combinations at all distances! Were you in Boring by any chance? I love, love, love Iseli’s plants and look forward to your future posts.

    • annamadeit says:

      Yes, we were at Iseli to pick up a smaller sized order. What an amazing display – it was fantastic to see so much growing at mature sizes. I think conifers in nursery pots are so intimidating – will they be 3′ tall. Or do they grow 3′ per season? I hope to get better at siting them after this visit.

  6. rickii says:

    Such a tease…but a beautiful tease.

  7. Evan says:

    I love simple groundcovers, the way they unify and visually soothe a space and set off the larger specimen plants growing through them. Looking forward to seeing more!

    • annamadeit says:

      You and me both, Evan! I need to research this one just a bit more before committing, but I am severely tempted. I love the bamboo edging, too.

    • annamadeit says:

      More soon to come, Evan! I’m a big fan of ground covers too, but I will have to do a bit more research on this one. Maybe just start with a couple of plants to see how it develops? I admit to being severely tempted by this one…

  8. Alison says:

    Three great shots! In that third one from furthest away — the colorful rocks look like Jordan almonds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s