Monday, December 2, 2013



it does not mean you cannot have structure in your garden.  What is structure?  Most people think of patios, terraces, arbors, etc.  However, I am talking about evergreen plants which provide year-round "structure" in your garden.

This consistent structure helps provide a backdrop against which to showcase more ornamental plants or give that cohesiveness a garden needs to prevent chaos.

This week in Alys Beach, I could not help admire the landscaping as it evoked a simple elegance.  Not fussy, not busy - just clean, concise plantings which complemented the architecture and enhanced the properties.

Let's take a look at some favorites…

Rosemary made a wonderful foundation planting at this house.

A classic urn with a solitary planting.

Several "green" spaces were throughout the property.


Yew formed lush hedges 
between the Palm Trees along the main boulevard.

I love how containers are incorporated into
 the Rosemary hedge here.

Who wouldn't want to relax by this fire pit
bordered by low evergreen hedges?

Another Agave makes a statement
 in this terra cotta planter.

While not evergreen structure,
I had to include these driftwood horses galloping
 through the ornamental grasses!

Palm trees and the amphitheater green
provided a great backdrop for this
statement Christmas tree!

Asiatic jasmine ground cover and
Angelina succulents in hypertufa planters border this patio. 
Evergreen hedges frame and separate the space 
from nearby property owners.

OTHER EVERGREENS included Wax Myrtles and Hollies for large hedges, Confederate Jasmine for climbing vines on doorways and trellis, and a variety of palms as foundation plantings.

Just because you are at the beach does not mean you cannot have a structured evergreen garden to enhance and complement your property!

Mater Natura Designs

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Did your summer annuals finally bite the dust with our recent frosts?  Trying to decide between all the pansy/viola options?  I hope this blog can help you decide which to use!


should be planted in sun to part shade and spaced 12" apart as this pansy will grow 6-8 inches tall and spread 24"!  Great in hanging baskets or containers. A wonderful spiller!

Cool Wave "Frost" is one of my favorites!  
Frosty white centers tinged with pale lavender blue edges.

Cool Wave "White" is classic.  Other favorite colors include yellow and purple.


is a  cross of the two and has a uniform habit and strong colors.  Exceptional overwintering for spring show.  Bloom size is between a viola and pansy.

Deep Orange is great to use and has a very clear "face" with no markings!

At the Garden Gallery - this is the first time I have seen "Purple Face" Panola.  
Another favorite is the citrus mix, which has orange, yellow and white.


has prolific blooms on lush foliage.  Smallest viola at 4-6 high and wide.  Perfect for planting in containers or at the front of a border.

Being an Alabama fan, I do love "Red Blotch" as it is the perfect crimson!

Clear Yellow is that perfect golden color.  Not too lemony and not too mustardy!
Other favorites include Penny White, Penny Denim and Penny Orchid.


has more blooms on a compact plant!  Excellent for overwintering and comes in many colors.  Most of the names are food related - so I leave the garden shop hungry when I buy sorbet violas.  Perfect for planting in containers or at the front of a border as it stays 6-8" high and wide.

Probably one of the more profuse bloomers is "Coconut Duet".

"Blueberry Cream" is tinged lavender blue at the edges and is creamy yellow toward the center.
Other sorbets to try are: Banana Cream and Blue Icy!


has great flower power and is a multiflora pansy. Medium blooms with strong colors this  pansy is 6-8" tall and wide.  Like other pansies can be planted in sun to part shade.

"Yellow Blotch" has yellow edges and deep red/burgundy edges.

"Purple" is a striking bloomer.  "Scarlet" would be another excellent choice.
"Lavender shades" is a mix with varying hues of lavender.


has high impact in landscapes and containers.  Engineered to have large faces and provide blooms for longer days. 8-10" tall and wide, this pansy could be used in the middle of the border.  A recent client used the Matrix pansy in the center of a container surrounded by violas.  Huge impact of color!

"Sangria" is new (to me at least) and I love how it combines reds, purples, deep pinks and oranges!

"True Blue" is a great variety and transitions well to spring due to its soft color.
"Light Blue", "White" and "Purple" also excellent choices.


by selecting some pansies or violas for your garden.  In the southern climate, they overwinter well and will continue to amaze with color through late spring.  Pair with snapdragons or herbs for a beautiful container or border!  Huge impact of color!

Hilary Ross
mother nature garden designs