Have you ever visited a garden that as a whole didn’t speak to you but parts of it made you smile? That happened to me last week. A garden I visited incorporated an extensive and lively collection of Mexican folk art. Colorful trinkets were everywhere and way over the top. Throughout the garden there were multiple icons and images of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, the patron saint of Mexico. Three of these just made me smile…one, the last one you’ll see here, made me laugh out loud.
I’m a collector of details. Often when visiting gardens, as I did in Northern California last week, it’s the details that stick in my mind’s eye. I muse on how I’d use them in a garden design.
Attention to the details in a design is what makes it sing. When you add the details up and they are layered and nuanced, they make a beautiful whole. Generally, I find places for details as well their ability to unify a design idea and to make visual relationships work are overlooked. Either there are too few details or they haven’t been edited well enough. Or, maybe I’m just cynical and jaded from visiting too many gardens (can one do that?), but in most of them the details are -in my opinion- more interesting than the whole.
So, here, in no particular order (mostly because I’m jet-lagged and swamped with work) are some lovely details from the last part of my trip. I haven’t been able to completely digest all that I saw, so enjoy my un-edited brain dump and use them for your own inspiration!
If you’d like to read my previous post on the courtyards at the Bardessono Hotel OR if you’d like to read what other designers think about the details, try these:
I finally got to see two gardens that made my heart sing. Both were what interior designers call ‘transitional’ design sitting comfortably between traditional and contemporary. We landscape designers don’t label our work in that way. What I will say that is probably more in our lingo is that both used hardscape and plants in a way that made them very much of their time and place. The designer’s hand was evident but not overwrought. Both were full of smart and useful ideas. Both had the budgets to carry out a clear view without much end evidence of compromise, but this is a postcard so I’ll mostly let the pictures speak for themselves. Time is limited so I can only cover one!
The garden is one designed by Bernard Trainor in Los Altos. (He’s one of my design idols by the way…)
We (me and 200 other APLD designers) spent the day visiting several gardens in San Francisco. There were some things I really liked, but damn my critical self, I have visited so many gardens that I need to be wowed and these gardens mostly didn’t wow me.
So here’s what I liked…
Color and texture at Flora Grubb (I first visited a couple of years ago)…
the use of plant names and graphics in a medicinal garden by Topher Delaney…
I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon with two designers who have been a huge influence on me over the last ten years. Michelle Derviss and David Feix were kind enough to take time out of their busy days to chauffeur me around Berkeley to visit some of David’s gardens.
I didn’t take many photos since David’s got thousands on his Flickr page (linked above) and I wanted to focus on our wide ranging conversation. Sometimes it’s so much more important to pay attention to people instead of plants!
Yesterday was a whirlwind of last minute edits, technical glitches and nail biting as we got the First Anniversary issue of Leafout the virtual door. It’s always that way.
Today it’s all about getting myself out the door to meet up with my APLD landscape designer compatriots in San Francisco. I think a day of rest would be a welcome thing, but it’s not going to happen…well maybe a few hours or so…
Here’s the latest issue of Leaf (just click to read it here). I hope you like it.
It’s always hard the week before a trip, and the week after, but the trips themselves are oh, so worth it! I’m headed west at the end of the week (after we publish Leaf) to meet up with 150 or so other APLD designers in the San Francisco Bay Area to visit gardens, drink wine and learn from each other. So this Tuesday I’m offering some travel inspired things, not necessarily for the garden and not necessarily realistic. With travel however fun and exotic, the luggage we use and how we get there isn’t glamorous anymore…I wish it was.
Hopefully I’ll have some time to send some ‘postcards’ here next week, but if not I’ll have plenty to share on the flip side. You can always follow me on Instagram, Twitter (user name in both places is SusanCohan) or on Facebook.
Images top to bottom: Oliver Peoples O’Malley sunglasses, vintage travel poster, vintage alligator luggage, and an urban walking boot.
I’ve been a bit neglectful here. I’m hoping this little bit of magic will make up for it, but I will confess to wanting to break out of the garden and write about other things that interest me. They may pop up here in the future–they will still be about design and creativity, and as I see it everything fuels my design discipline which is garden/landscape driven so it will relate! With that thought, though, I’ll share these lovely grasses.
There is no better season to enjoy the beauty of ornamental grasses than fall when the light is golden and makes them an other worldly radiance.
It’s hard for me to believe that Leaf Magazine is going to be a year old. Actually it’s way older if you count the planning stages, but our Autumn 2012 issue that will publish next week will mark a full seasonal circle for us. It’s been a journey of discovery on so many levels and I want to thank everyone who reads it and supports the magazine. (No I’m not preparing for an awards acceptance speech!) Some details below the cover…
Inside this issue you are going to find our usual range of things that we find interesting such as Corn Whiskey and Foraged Beauty products along with gardens, plants, books and great furniture and accessories for all types of outdoor styles.