Lauren Springer Ogden and Scott Ogden: Plant Driven Design – Honouring Plants, Place and Spirit

Scott Ogden and Lauren Springer Ogden, copyright 2015

putting plants first

plants are partners in the design rather than subordinate to it

rustic formality, Gordon and Mary Hayward garden, Vermont bromeliad mania, Jesse Durko garden, Davie, Florida
dryland mixed borders, Lauren’s former garden, Masonville, Colorado naturalistic garden, Red Butte Botanical Garden, Salt Lake City, Utah

learning from a plant—capturing its spirit

daffodils face southeast toward spring sunlight—our backyard, Fort Collins, Colorado Agave ovatifolia and Beschorneria septemtrionalis rosettes romance a limestone slope,

Scott’s design, Austin,Texas
an oddly shaped Colorado spruce (Picea pungens ‘Pendula’) dresses our foundation grasses and translucent foliage glow in autumn light in our backyard–ruby muhly grass

(Muhlenbergia reverchonii) and New Mexico olive (Forestiera neomexicana)

finding intriguing plants

genuflecting at Brunsvigia radulosa in eastern Cape, Republic of South Africa
robin’s plantain (Erigeron pulchellus)
‘Bartzella’ intersectional Itoh peony
silver Mediterranean fan palm (Chamaerops humilis v. cerifera), Lespedeza liukiuensis compact blue indigo (Baptisia minor)

extra narrow-leafed evening primrose (Oenothera fremontii `Shimmer’) moon vine (Lonicera reticulata `Kintzley’s Ghost’)

gardening where you are

creating a sense of place: connecting with architecture, site, region

David Culp and Michael Alderfer country garden, Downingtown, Pennsylvania locally mined shells for paving, Naples Botanical Garden, Ogden/Smith design Lauren’s former Colorado foothills garden
forest clearing with Les Brake’s garden, Willow, Alaska

Blending into a site/meeting site challenges

silver foliage and grasses fit into sere shortgrass prairie beyond, Lauren’s foothills garden perennial matrices blend into hayfield, Ogden design, Scripter garden, Niwot, Colorado Lauren’s foothills garden through the seasons
skimpy beds in hardscape–Kniphofia `Alcazar’, larkspur, purple coneflower, roses,

columns by Little and Lewis; Lauren’s design, Denver Botanic Gardens
steep hillside path planting with catmint, dianthus, stonecress (Aethionema schistosum) Lauren’s “hellstrips” with same and lots of Penstemon grandiflorus

concrete house foundation, small space—stacked troughs at Wave Hill, New York City

layers of self-sufficient plants:
steep slope with Abies procera `Glauca Nana’, ferns, bellflowers, Keith Wiley design, the

Garden House, Devon
autumnal colors blend with groundcovers and evergreens, Marco Polo Stufano design,

Wave Hill, Bronx, New York
Helictotrichon sempervirens, prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), Fragaria `Pink Panda’,

`Globosa’ Colorado spruce, cushion spurge, dwarf bearded iris
chaparral planting–Yucca constricta, agastaches, oenotheras, Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa), bristlecone pine, zauschneria, blue grama, little bluestem in our garden

matrix planting:

Narcissus `Hawera’ with striped flag (Acorus calamus `Variegatus’)
dried Allium albopilosum, Eryngium bourgatii, Astrantia major
Turk’s cap mallow (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii), Alstroemeria psittacina,

Lilium formosanum
xhybrida, Salvia lavandulifolia, Anaphalis margaritacea, Euphorbia

nicaensis, Weihenstephan, Germany

lessons from nature

the primordial experience of plants’ essence in the wild

maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris) on limestone seep in the Texas hill country ferns on limestone and coral fountain, Scott’s design, Naples Botanical Garden, Florida grasses and Kniphofia caulescens, southern Drakensberg, RSA
Ladyfarm garden, Mary Payne and Judy Pearce design, Somerset

inspiration from natural plant communities…

meadow and prairie:

needle and thread grass (Hesperostipa comata), Sandhills, Nebraska
paintbrush, prairie larkspur, Salvia farinacea, south-central Texas
stylized meadow with Echinacea pallida, Rudbeckia maxima, Allium albipilosum,

Calamagrostis xacutiflora `Karl Foerster’, Piet Oudolf design, RHS Wisley
daylily `Golden Chimes’, valerian, Deschampsia cespitosa, Pam Lewis design, Sticky

Miscanthus sinensis `Gracillimus’, cleome, cosmos, verbenas, Weihenstephan threadleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata), sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale), giant

blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia maxima), goldenrod (Solidago sp.), Weihenstephan

our steppe with small bunchgrasses, Tulipa vvedenskyii, Pulsatilla spp., Phlox bifida our steppe garden with fescues, Bellevalia pycnantha, Anemone blanda, dwarf daffodils our short sedge meadow with rainlilies (Zephyranthes ‘Grandjax) after summer rains,

Austin, Texas
matrices of North American prairie natives, our designs for moist and moderately dry

areas at Denver Botanic Gardens’ Chatfield Arboretum


fall in our garden with Acer tataricum ‘Hot Wings’, ruby muhly grass (Muhlenbergia reverchonii)

redbud, deciduous azalea, mixed forest, Garden in the Woods, Massachusetts understory of dwarf palmettos (Sabal minor), Palmetto State Park, Ottine, Texas bluets (Hedyotis caerulea), ferns, dogwoods, Mt. Cuba Center, Delaware amphitheatre built into the woods, Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania

Trillium grandiflorum and ostrich fern (Matteuccia pensylvanica)
foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia), eastern columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), ferns Wasatch maple (Acer grandidentatum) contrasts with evergreen Colorado spruce ditto early lilac (Syringa oblata) with lacebark pine (Pinus bungeana)
autumnal woodland floor–fallen leaves and mushrooms—senescence begets new life

natural patterns, placement, and process
repetition of plants
Thermopsis lupinoides, daffodils, cushion spurge, milky iris (Iris lactea), emerging

grasses in our meadow
grasses and sedges repeated through planting, Lauren’s foothills garden
bamboo sedge (Carex muskingumensis), Angelica sp., Actaea ramosa `Brunette’,

Rodgersia tabuliformis in a damp meadow planting, Piet Oudolf design, Bury Court Yucca recurvifolia `Margaritaville’ with rainlilies (Zephyranthes `Grandjax’, Z. citrina,

Z. `Ajax’) in our sedge lawn

clustered placement and different sizes suggest process:
grouping of white fir (Abies concolor)
Carex caryophyllea `Beatlemania’ between flagstones
Agave mitis, velvet creeper (Tradescantia sillamontana), ladder brake fern, Ogden design

the gardener’s hand
the dance between spontaneity and control
clipped and unshorn
: boxwood, scented geraniums, garlic chives (Allium tuberosum),

flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata), creeping thyme, Page Dickey garden, New York Santolina rosmarinifolia, lavender, Artemisia versicolor, Salvia officinalis Berggarten’,

seaholly (Eryngium spp.), Piet Oudolf design, Bury Court

stalwart and aggressive plants: astilbes and Iris pseudacorus
`Macho Mocha’, Sedum mexicanum
rampant native bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis), Abell ranch, Llano, Texas
self-sowing hollyhocks, larkspur, clary (Salvia sclarea), Wave Hill
self-sowing poppies, red orach, and mulleins amid perennials, Les Brake garden, Alaska

surprise, discovery, and playfulness

peekaboo gate with Daphne and Russell; eggs in the sedum–real or not?
water dish mirrors autumn skies and Solidago `Wichita Mountains’ in our garden view though window to pond, Classical Chinese Garden, Portland, Oregon

mosaic wall and bromeliads, Naples Botanical Garden, Ogden/Smith design

celebrating sensuality


penstemons, Nepeta `Walker’s Low’, poppies, blue flax in Lauren’s foothills garden seedless table grapes `St. Theresa’, `Himrod’ on our trellis
our front path in fall: Symphyotrichum lateriflorum `Lady in Black’, prairie dropseed

(Sporobolus heterolepis), Verbena bonariensis, Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium maculatum), golden rain tree, Diascia integerrima

light effects in the garden

Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) fiddleheads in early spring
Florentine tulip (Tulipa sylvestris), striped iris (Iris pallida `Aureovariegata’)
translucent ferns and new spring foliage in the woods, Chanticleer, Pennsylvania Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani), switch grass (Panicum virgatum) in fall Christmas luminaria along our snow-bound front garden path.


winter iris (Iris unguicularis); little sweeties (Narcissus jonquilla)
Wisteria sinensis draping a limestone wall
old garden roses around Lauren’s corral
sheared lavender, Matanzas Creek Winery, Sonoma, California, Gary Ratway design fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) in our garden

Brugmansia over pool, Tom Hobbs/Brent Beattie garden, Vancouver


invitation, journey, destination

seductive entry gate covered by Hacienda Creeper vine, Scott’s design, Austin, Texas sheared yews punctuate path through garden rooms, Tintinhull
sun and shade in courtyard with tropicals, Chanticleer, Wayne, Pennsylvania
bamboo path (Bambusa multiplex `Alphonse Karr’) leads to sunny spot, John Greenlee

garden, Pomona, California
banana “umbrella” for patio seating, Hotel Escalante, Naples, Florida pergola overlooking the Hudson River, Wave Hill; our firepit in autumn

sharing the garden with creatures

goldfinch on black-eyed Susan
anole on agave in Texas
monarch butterfly on Spanish iris in our Texas garden bumblebee on meadow rue in Alaska
tiger swallowtails on larkspur in our Colorado garden
Edie the cat and Rose the Pyr in our back garden
Mr. Maurice, keeper of the pots
mama and baby bobcats in client’s garden, Colorado Springs