|A gardener's garden, Denver|
Look at patterned graphics in paper and textiles: Whereas paintings of the abstract expressionist school can appear very chaotic, i.e. Jackson Pollock, printed patterns have a clearly defined structure and rhythm. This design stability allows me to really focus in on the use of color. Specifically, how various hues – sometimes quite numerous and diverse - are combined, and in what proportions. I apply this inspiration to the design of lush flower gardens, mixed borders and container gardens (read more about that here). Complex printed patterns reinforce my belief that complex plantings belong in a fairly structured and simple framework.
Look at the work of other designers: I am always looking for new ways to think through and solve problems. When I talk shop with other landscape professionals – like we’re doing here today – I get new insights into materials, plants, maintenance techniques and other trends that I might be completely unaware of. I also look at interior and architectural design to get a fresh perspective on how other experts are working with color, texture, proportions and balance in creating three dimensional spaces.
|Kendrick Lake Park, Lakewood, Colorado Designer: Greg Foreman|
|Chilvers' garden and fiber wall hanging, Xylem and Phloem|
Pull out the crayons! It’s all about training your mind to see, understand, and interpret what you’re looking at.
Andrew Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA
Carolyn Gail Choi : Sweet Home and Garden Chicago : Chicago, IL
Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN
Ivette Soler : The Germinatrix : Los Angeles, CA
Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK
Pam Penick : Digging : Austin, TX
Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In the Garden : Los Altos, CA
Rochelle Greayer : Studio G : Boston, MA
Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ
Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA
Last week I posted photos of some winter/holiday planters that appealed to me. This week I played off that idea to dress up some pots of my own. I used cuttings from my own garden, and it took about 20 minutes, tops.
I included red stem dogwood (Cornus sericea) for the - yes - red stems; the glossy, dark green leaves and blue berries of creeping Oregon grape holly (Mahonia repens); and sarcoxie euonymus (Euonymus fortunei 'Sarcoxie') provided the lighter green, trailing branches.
Are you decorating with goods from your garden? What are your favorites?
I often get nice comments on the quality of the photographs here on the blog (thank you!). Recently, Janine asked for a few tips on how she could improve her garden photos, and I decided it would be fun to expand on my initial response. Although I’m by no means an expert, my photographs are an important part of my business, not only for this blog, but for lectures and classes, to document the site conditions for my design projects, and for my portfolio as well. I also use photography as a design tool; in isolating my view through the lens of a camera, I can focus in on a unique composition or isolated detail. In other words, a camera often helps me “see” better. Last but not least, I think photography is fun --- I truly enjoy sharing my little corner of the world with you!
A high number of pixels also allows for better quality large format prints. Three of my photos have been cover images for Colorado Green magazine (a regional trade publication).
I like the natural look of these winter planters; they're decorative without screaming "holiday!!!" I also like the fact that the designer (unknown) played on the fall kale and pansy planting by simply adding colorful branch cuttings and pine cones. Less waste, more texture. Win!
European larch, Larix decidua, is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. It's one of those plants that I really wish I could have for my very own. I love the contrasting textures of the fine, deciduous (yes!) needles and the coarse, nubby branches. The bark is deeply furrowed, and the size of the tree is majestic. Oh, to see a forest of larch in it's native, northern European, habitat!
So what's the problem? Although Larix decidua is hardy to zone 2, and not too fussy about soil, it needs plenty of moisture and, I suspect, moderately high humidity. It also needs plenty of space, as it can grow 75 to 100 feet tall and 25 to 30 feet wide (comparable to a Colorado blue spruce). These growing requirements mean that larch is not suitable for most landscapes in the Rocky Mountain region (and why you rarely see it for sale at local nurseries).
These photos were taken at Fort Collins' (Colorado) City Park a couple of weeks ago. The trees are in a well irrigated area, and somewhat protected (and crowded) by a small grove of spruce trees. The foliage is sporting its yellow fall color; in the spring the new, emerging needles are bright green and then turn darker in the summer. I first became aware of this planting when I was a horticulture student at Colorado State University back in the 1970s. I was thrilled to see that they are still alive --- and not just a dream!
I recently visited The Gardens on Spring Creek in Fort Collins, Colorado, and was enthralled by the beautiful, rich colors of the late season edibles. The foliage of the artichokes was lush and full, and still wearing its silver patina, although the vegetables are now in a strictly ornamental mode.
Strawberry foliage in hues of garnet and ruby.
A few golden delicious apples clung to the espaliered trees (Note the wonderful demonstration kitchen in the background!)
My favorite: a giant array of silvery green and purple kale. The various foliage textures in the low afternoon sunlight really made this planting sing.
The adjacent garden plot was planted in a cover crop of annual rye grass. There is a good article on selecting and using cover crops as "green manure," in the December issue of Fine Gardening magazine, if you'd like to learn more about this beneficial gardening practice.
|The rounded bench back echos the rounded line of the wall. Design by Phase One Landscapes|
|View from back of house to seating area. Design by JHChilvers|
|View from seating area to back of house. Design by JHChilvers|
|Two seating areas on opposite sides of a small space. Design by Phase One Landscapes|
|The same concept with a more rustic interpretation. Design by owner.|
|Front yard pair of chairs perfect for watching the world go by. Design by owner.|
|Multi-season impact. Design by JHChilvers|
|Design by owner|
|Albuquerque Botanic Garden|
|Chair lift swing, Telluride, Colorado|
|Rustic flagstone bench in garden designed by Elenor Welshon|