Think of phormium, an erupting fan of lance-like leaves conjuring up a subtropical landscape, or an agave, its rosette of leaves lethally margined with shark's teeth and ending in needle sharp tips. These compelling plants epitomize the 'sharp' gardening style, which uses exotic looking planting to achieve an exciting contemporary look.
Sharp gardening revels in spiky, sword-leaved evergreens, using architectural foliage plants to build bold structure. Flowering perennials flesh the skeleton out: thrusting spires such as kniphofias compliment the spiky shapes; thistle-type flowers like echinops - a sphere of blue pin-pricks with spiny foliage - provide foils; globe flowers with strappy leaves - aliums and agapanthus - echo the spear-like leaves and add contrast. Ornamental grasses with their pointed tips complete the look, their floating, feathery outlines setting off the rigidity of spiky forms.
Dramatic and long-lasting in its effect, low maintenance and lending itself to small areas as well as large, sharp gardening is a style for any time-pressed modern gardeners who seeks a massive impact in the garden and interest throughout the year.