Heavy on The Foliage
"I'm definitely not anti-flowers," says Chapman, coauthor of Fine Foliage (St. Lynn's Press, 2013). "But I use them as accents rather than main features." She's known for potting up unexpected groupings, where conifers mingle with succulents, edible greens stand beside dwarf trees, and houseplants get seated outdoors with shade-loving perennials. Whimsical arrangements too impractical for garden beds, due to spacing and growing constraints, become possible in containers that need last only one growing season. To accommodate the diversity, Chapman selectively hand-waters, giving less to drought-tolerant plants, and she blends her own potting mix, using an 80:20 ratio of bagged container soil (sans fertilizer or moisture-retention granules) to nutrient-rich compost.