Tag Archives | plant combinations

Photographing foliage

A garden photograph is not simply a landscape photo taken in a garden.  It should communicate something about gardening, something that enlarges the viewer’s understanding and appreciation of gardens.

This photo of fresh emerging, nearly chartreuse foliage of Rhododendron hyperythrum is a fine landscape photo, a nice leaf pattern with a sense of vibrant young leaves unfolding, but it says little about gardening.  True, part of the reason we take photos is simply to share the beauty of plants and the wonder we see, but I challenge my students to “think like a gardener” and find a photo that goes deeper than that. Continue Reading →

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Depths of Perception

My perceptions are changing every time I walk into my garden these days.  My detached retina is almost a toy to be played with, a marvel, a new way of seeing.

tropical garden tapestry, meyes detached retina

When I walked into my garden to document the first rain, I allowed these new experiences to flood over me.  I posted here 2 years ago about my annual walk into the wilds with the a first winter rains but this year I wobble too comically to wander far from home.  Nor did I need to, for every half step is a new delight.  The joy of California’s first rain and the spontaneity of breaking all my camera rules was making me giddy. Continue Reading →

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Lawn Reform

I have recently been asked to join the Lawn Reform Coalition, a group of garden designers and environmental advovates who are promoting new ways to think about the American fetish for lawns.  Since my own particular advocacy is for sustainability, and most recently, meadow gardening specifically, I thus welcome the opportunity to be a part of this group.

A mini prairie meadow as a front yard garden

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The Background On Backgrounds

new verbascum and mapleI’m one of those who believe the basic language of visual design applies to almost any topic or media. The ideas that make a successful garden vignette could also be employed to create a pleasing painting, a tempting textile, a beautiful building, or a fine photograph. There is a design language, and it does boast a few important “phrases.” Thus we hear, ad nauseum,  about contrasting forms, about the use of color, the value of texture, blah, blah, blah. I don’t mean to belittle those essential elements, but how come we never hear anything about, say, backgrounds?   Continue Reading →

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GGW Design Lines: Big And Bold

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Structure, to me, is all important in garden making. Without it, a garden usually looks wimpy, mushy, and kind of inconsequential. There are exceptions, of course, but I’m just saying. Anyhow, I like using manufactured items from time to time, but feel as if the basic bones of a garden should come from its plants. So I work leaf by leaf, and build my garden vignettes by assembling dramatic juxtapositions of foliage. With color I’m conservative, often creating monochromatic yet kaliedoscopic effects by exploring all the subtleties and variations of a single color in a given space. But with leaves, I go all out. Continue Reading →

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