Paul Gellatly: “The Tatooed Gardener”

Known as the “Tatooed Gardener” Paul Gellatly has a significant presence on facebook and Instagram, with millions of followers. His presentation for NMG centered on two themes. Firstly, he talked about design principles and then he recommended his favorite plants by category.

The design principles he recommends are the following:

  • Make use of annuals to make decisions about size of plant, color etc., before making a more permanent commitment to a perennial or shrub.
  • Use the vistas available to you. It could be a neighbor’s yard, a tree in the distance, hills or woods behind a property. By accenting what is around a property you make use of it and include it in your design visually. This makes the space feel bigger.
  • Use layering to create a full and aesthetically pleasing look with the largest variety of plantings.
  • Plant closely to fill the garden and suppress weeds for a more attractive look.
  • Accent variegated plants by placing them next to solid colors, contrasting textures.
  • Use tropicals for truly outstanding accents.

Paul recommended several unusual and rare plants including different cultivars of perennials, clematis, ornamental grasses, shade plants, peonies, Japanese maples and natives. He feels that including some natives in the garden is a must and is particularly fond of monarda punctata (spotted beebalm), geum triflorum (prairie smoke), and trillium luteum known as the yellow trillium. He says that the most important considerations when making your own list of favorites is to be willing to update your list often but at the same time not forget the” old reliables”, to include native plants, and consider practical things like zone, color, soil needs etc. Always look for plants with 4 seasons of interest. A plant that still looks interesting in winter is very important in our climate.

Paul concluded with a quote:

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”  So true as all of us begin to look ahead to the oncoming of spring, full of plans for a fantastic garden this year!

authored by Tanya Crowell

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