My name is Lisa Orgler and I love teaching garden design in a fun and simple way. Click here to learn more.

Theme Garden Design Process: Plant Materials

Theme Garden Design Process: Plant Materials


1. Pick a theme

2. Brainstorm

3. Research

4. Translate to physical form:

5. Create the plan


This is my favorite part...adding life to the garden!

Planting design is a special skill that is tweaked over time. As you start, jump in, explore, move plants around, and always continue to experiment. Consider the form, texture and color of plants (in that order). I've also listed some planting design tips here.

There are thousands of plants. Having a theme and understanding your site will help whittle down choices. Please always consider your zone, whether the site is shady, sunny, wet or dry, plus soil quality.  

To choose plants that reflect your theme think about:

1. Were there any specific plants actually mentioned in our brainstorming and research lists? We didn't have specific plants, but cats were mentioned (catmint!), plus sheep (lamb's ears!).  Yes, a little bit of a stretch, but such fun plants to add whimsy to our knitting garden story. Amazingly they fit into our color scheme too!

2.  Were there any shapes mentioned that could be reflected in plant materials?  We had several shapes, but I still like the circle or sphere as a dominant form since it reminds me of yarn balls.

3. Choose plants based on our color palette.  Our color choices were purple, blue, white and gray (find out why I chose these here).  This is often the easiest way to narrow down your plant list.   

4. Choose plants that have cultivar names that reflect our theme.  I didn't have much luck finding plants with knitting terms in their names.  If you discover some, please let me know in the comments below.

I focused mostly on #2 and #3, plus some inspiration from #1 when making my partial list below.  I also considered textures, height, form, and bloom times. 

Below are just some plants that we can use for our knitting garden (mine is a sunny location). There are many more possibilities, but I hope this will give you a good overview of how to start your own plant list.


COLOR: All of these included at least one of the colors in their foliage or flower.  Two had it in both (snow-in-summer and cowslick allium)!

CONNECTION TO YARN: As I mentioned above, the catmint and lamb's ears both connect to words on our brainstorming list (cat and sheep).  Someone on my Facebook page also mentioned this: choose plants with a soft/fuzzy texture reminiscent of yarn (lamb's year, lavender, rosemary, pussy willow, etc.). I saw this after I made the list above, but what great additions!  You may see some of these pop up in my final plan.

FORM: I chose three plants because their flowers were shaped like yarn balls (the alliums and the snowball viburnum). I also chose two plants because their long, slender flowers reminded me of knitting needles (vernique blue speedwell and caradonna meadow sage).

If you've had success with additional cultivars of the plants above or have other great plant options for a knitting garden, please let me know in the comments below.

In my next post I'll finally whip up a plan for our knitting garden (scary and exciting all at once!).  Until then, you're invited to peek at my KNITTING GARDEN PINTEREST BOARD as I continue to collect inspirational images. 

You can pick up this whole process in my free eBook by signing up for my design updates.

Creating a Knitting Garden

Creating a Knitting Garden

Theme Garden Design Process: Ornamentation

Theme Garden Design Process: Ornamentation