James van Sweden Prairie Inspired Landscape

James van Sweden, CornerStone Gardens
Olive trees have a lot of character, but can be rather slow growing.  Mature Olive tree specimens are widely available and transplant well.  Included in the CornerStone Gardens James van Sweden landscape installation are mature Olive specimens, a Rosemary hedge Rosmarinus officinalis, a mass planting of Mexican Feather Grass Nassella tenuissima with randomly emerging albeit purposefully planted American Century Plants Agave americana and Genus Coreopsis and another flowering perennial planted as randomly but with a bit more frequency.  This is  particularly easy landscape to install and maintain, yet is quite useful, habitat-friendly and beautiful.

With the exception of the Olive, the plants are exceptionally fast growing an generally inexpensive, providing relatively quick gratification for relatively little money.  The Chinese Elm Ulmnus parvifolia would be a less cumbersome investment and is very fast growing.  If a gardener or landscaper is to care for the structure of the Chinese Elm as if pruning a bonsai, the tree's aesthetic quality may compare to the Olive.

Enhancing the elegantly simplified planting palette is a sculptural element peering up behind the rosemary hedge, which invites the visitor to travel the path to investigate.  One might find similar sculptural industrial elements that contrast nicely with this prairie type of landscape at a salvage yard or at ARTEFACT or Restoration Hardware.

Mermaid in Front of ARTEFACT

The rosemary hedge frames the planting, setting it off, which keeps the natural looking planting from appearing uncultivated.  I imagined this first as a planting for a front yard with the trees somewhat near the home though set off some distance by the broad path and potential terrace which might serve as a foyer for a home lacking such a feature meanwhile providing great curb appeal.  However, this landscape design would be equally at home in a backyard with the trees against the back fence and the grasses nearest the home.  What is appealing about the latter arrangement is when looking from the home, one has the sense of floating in a sea of grasses.  The movement of the fine grasses with the wind is delicate and calming.  Many of these plants are easily propagated and so when considering a landscape design on a larger scale, this planting is not only visually effective and habitat friendly, but also affordable and engaging for the avid gardener.

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