24 Nov Interview with Karen Chapman
Flora: Tell us about the classes you will teach at the NW Flower and Garden Show?
Karen: I am both honored and excited to have been invited to present two seminars at the Garden Show again this year. Both my demonstration style talks will take place on the Monrovia DIY stage so I can make a mess!
My first seminar “Containers for Small Gardens – bringing impact to outdoor rooms,” will inspire and encourage you to bring color and life to the smallest deck or balcony. Space need not restrict your creativity! I will show you how to achieve dynamic plant combinations by using a strong backbone of evergreen plants accented with a few seasonal color spots. Minimum work, maximum impact – my kind of gardening!
The second presentation “From Blah to Ta Da!” will demonstrate how to transform those dull containers into bold show pieces. Add pizzazz to your pots and cure those winter blues as we explore the colorful possibilities together.
Flora: What does Le Jardinet offer?
Karen: Le Jardinet is a custom container garden design business creating unique combinations to reflect the clients’ home, surrounding landscape and personal style. After an initial consultation I assist in the selection of any new containers which might be needed and then plant everything up on site. Typically I will refresh containers twice a year but keep in touch with a monthly newsletter offering seasonal tips to keep everything in prime condition.
Being a certified professional horticulturalist, I also offer landscape consultations to address general gardening questions and concerns together with suggesting design ideas. How often do you see that something isn’t ‘right’ but don’t know what to do about it? That’s where I can help brainstorm solutions that you may not have considered.
I am always excited to have the opportunity to share my enthusiasm and gardening knowledge with others by presenting seminars to garden clubs and nurseries in addition to larger venues such as the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Meeting other ‘plantaholics’ and inspiring new gardeners is a true pleasure. All upcoming classes and seminars are posted on my website together with details on how to book a seminar for your own group.
Flora: Why did you open your own design business?
Karen: While working for a local leading nursery I was frequently asked by customers to help them design containers for their home yet without the benefit of actually seeing the space I could never be certain that everything would work together to produce a cohesive design. Being a perfectionist that was frustrating!
As an independent designer I take all the guesswork out of container gardening for the homeowner ensuring a professional result each time; beyond their expectations and meeting mine!
I absolutely love what I do, combining creativity and building relationships with so many delightful people. (I must admit that not having to water plants in the nursery at 6am or deadhead hundreds of pansies is definitely a plus too!)
Flora: What inspires you as an artist?
Karen: I’m not sure that I take myself that seriously! I just love to play with plants.
However that initial spark may come from dramatic foliage or the shape and color of the container. Occasionally the inspiration is drawn directly from the client. I was recently asked to design a rooftop garden for a lady with a wonderfully gregarious and extrovert personality. Her request was that my designs be “wild and colorful”. What more could a designer ask?! I created over 20 containers in a myriad of bold colors using accents ranging from cobalt blue beach glass to peacock feathers exploding from a grass! The result perfectly reflected my client and she absolutely loved it.
The artistry itself comes from creating exciting combinations of plants through the use of color echoes together with contrasting textures and form. Details such as the color of buds or undersides of a leaf are incorporated to achieve the greatest effect. Marrying the style of the container itself to these compositions also produces a more unified design. For example a sleek black container can perfectly support an elegant, contemporary arrangement whilst a simple rustic pot is more suited to informal creations.
Whatever the inspiration, the process should be FUN and the result something which will give you many months of pleasure.