Garden Tips May 2014
The Representative Garden
What do I represent? Who am I? Who do I want to be? What do I want to aspire to? What do I want others to think of me? These are beginner questions one can ask when designing a representative garden. If I represent environmental change, how do I make a garden that intelligently represents second or third generation recycling combined with aggressive open source hybridization that will serve the communities intellectual stimulus? To say it more plainly, what can I do that is new and different that helps the environment?
What means can a garden convey that will demonstrate that grand parenting is really fun and relaxing while still productive for gourmet lunch gatherings? Where have I been the most inspired, learned life changing lessons, had the most memorable encounters with others and how can I represent that in a drought tolerant low maintenance way?
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to new representative garden ideas. Of course, banks and corporate office complexes may want to represent the solid, secure, stable engineered environment they represent. This too can be revisited to inspire conservative, tried and true sensibility for a business image that reads ‘trust the process and keep up the good work’.
Of course when those employees go to lunch the café or restaurant patio may have fourth wave feminist furniture and seasonal flower displays that tickle and delight the appetite for life and love of everyone while being straight forward, honest, empowering and in your face.
This month’s tips will seek to inspire finding your next garden design, putting ideas together and living the life you want to show the world.
1. Aristotle said that “Contemplation is the highest form of activity”. Try looking at what you want to say with your garden. Rather than how you want to say it, look at who you are and what message you want to deliver. Each one of us have a message we project into the world. Contemplate what yours is. This is not simple and hugely rewarding.
2. Revisit your forming, where you were first inspired, what made you who you are and how you are now. Think about how this would look in a hard scape ( stone work, patios, sculpture) and what colors, textures and foliage would demonstrate that.
3. Re name “therapy” to “continuing education” for a lift in perspective. Look at talking to a psychologist as creative revisiting of who I am. I’m not saying to stop taking your meds. If you need them, take them. You can still think, go ahead and try. This and horticulture can create some interesting gardens.
4. Get “Luminosity” and “Whack Pack” apps on your smart phone. These will stimulate your brain and help you with ideation for your garden design.
5. Design together. Start a design group, read this column and other articles on innovative landscape design at the beginning of each meeting or walk or lunch. This will activate the old adage “Two heads are better than one”.
6. Convert an engineer or programmer or nerd to gardening.
7. Be a nut case for a day, a week a lifetime. We need more nut cases.
8. Re-marry your husband / wife, partner, best friend. Design your garden for the ceremony and the new relationship. After all it is spring.
9. If you don’t know what type you are, great! This opens doors for you to be whoever you want and to create anew until you settle into what is comfortable. Start by picking some flowers to grow. If you don’t like them after a while, try cactus. After all Morticia Addams of the “Addams Family” grew roses to cut the flowers off and arrange the thorny stems.
10. And being spring it is time to have a picnic. This is where true inspiration comes from. To take an afternoon, lie out on a blanket, eat fruit and cheese, drink wine and share the outdoors with family and friends, this is what recharges our imagination. If a picnic is new behavior, good. Do it several times in order to practice and perfect your picnic technique. Look at French impressionist paintings for examples of how you might dress. It’s all fun.
Jack McKinnon worked in the Sunset Magazine gardens for 12 years and is now a Garden Coach. He can be reached at 650-455-0687, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org visit his website at www.jackthegardencoach.com