July 24, 2007

About Color and Planning

OK....I admit it....I really never, ever took the time to either create color palettes or plan any garden in my life before. I'm not really a planner, more of an, well, artist, I guess. I like to believe that I act spontaneously to influences....that brilliance just will happen, as if a devine creative gift such as being a designer, allows one the freedom to create....randomly. But I was wrong. With age, I have to admit that this theory of simply spewing out stuff generally results in, well, spew. Maybe that theory worked before there was SO MUCH to influence us...maybe it worked, let's say, in another period...like victorian, or arts & crafts, or even modernism in the seventies......but today, when jsut about anything goes, and when most everything is available to most everyone, all at the same time, there is a much greater risk of chaos, visually speaking, anyway. Random influence is dangerous, we all must stop it.

So welcome to some of the beds this year, where I am excercising restraint. I'm calling it ' practicing thoughtful research' ...and yes...it's still, quite creative, and even artistic since now, I am actually following a well-thought out and well researched color palette, but experimenting with various plant materials that may or may not be combined together normally. There are fine lines between such rules, since one must follow a foundational structure that limits plant material such as exposure, hardiness, etc....but since I happen to have a greenhouse, and I am more than willing to let a tropical plant die in the garden, as well as choose to dig it up in two months and lug a tub into the greenhouse for the winter, I might as well play with what new options I really have. I also considered, or tossed aside such things as texture and provenance - (i.e. tropical plants may or may not work with temperate evergreens, for instance). This experimentation doesn't come easy, it helps, I feel, to have a horticultural knowledge as well as an artistic one....yet these rules are ment to be broken at time, it sometimes is painfully clear when one experiments without prior knowledge. (in chef-speak- the whole cilantro may or may not go with cinnamon sort of thing).

So I made some color rules. First, I wanted to go beyond what I was seeing in the trendy gardening magazines, or what was being suggested for combination at my local garden centers. SInce I am first, an artist, color, naturally comes, well, naturally to me. Now, granted, not everyone likes my style and taste. But I wanted to also avoid the BIG rules that one often see's women following simply because it's all they know....."I want blue hydrangeas at my wedding"...."I can only plant blue and silver in my english garden" or "I must have sunflowers since I saw them on a cover of martha Stewart Living". Now, chill out, believe me, I am porbobly a greater fan of Martha Stewart that any of you could dare to be, but you must also understand that most likely, Martha herself is beyond sunflowers and blue hydrangeas at this moment....instead, most likely, she is experimenting and discovering such new plant trends as Crocosmeas and Corydalis. One shoud choose a plant because of more peprsonal reasons that how your neighbors will think of you.....sure, I love blue hydrangeas, as a beach house, in front of a bungalo, they have thier place. Choose plant material for the location.

1 comment :

  1. Matt -
    I love the picture of the Persian Shield. Purple and lime green are one of my combos and I have it all over my garden. This is an interesting post for me because I�m starting to plan next year�s gardens. I have �survival of the fittest� philosophy towards gardening and that also applies colors. The stuff I like stays, the stuff I don�t like goes. Since you have a design background, are you planning to do more posts about your favorite color combos, and the �science� behind why they work? That would be very interesting.


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