Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 19 - Straight, Tilted, Curved

Most of the very tall plants at Federal Twist have blossomed leaving an interesting interplay of verticals, diagonals and curves.

As the season progresses, the plant communities take on greater complexity. But the strong lines imply an underlying structure and order.

It's messy, no finely manicured edges here, but it entertains me and gives me pleasure ...

... sensuous delight ...

... new thoughts, new ideas ...

... and feelings I can't express ...

... the interplay of chance and intention ...

I planted none of this Eupatorium perfoliatum (above). Rather, it planted itself. I'm just a line editor.

Here too (below), many of the plants seeded themselves ...

... and many of these were planted intentionally. Can you tell the difference?

An accident ... the great blue lobelia doesn't belong here, certainly not next to the box wood ... but I just couldn't pull it out. Perhaps next year.

Intention and chance ... the first plants to be put in here were Rudbeckia maxima; others followed, mostly without my help. The cloud of Filipendula I planted a couple of years later.

I wish I could say the juxtaposition of the Joe Pye Weed and the Sanguisorba was intentional. Was it? I can't remember, but I do like it.

One last chance surprise just caught my eye as I was passing - a molting praying mantis.


  1. Most delightful and inspirational. Thanks for these magical pictures.

  2. The editing in this garden is just right. Not too much of the gardener's order and not too much of nature's chaos... the balance is nice. I like the verticals, diagonals and curvy shapes all around, and I especially like the color combo of the rich sanguisorba with the frothy rose of Joe Pye. You may not have planned it but you can take credit for allowing it!

    1. I didn't mention the pleasure of watching changes over the years as one plant proves more suitable to an area than others, or particularly suitable over a series of years. I have to watch these and decided which will be allowed to dominate. Other changes are for aesthetic effect. Right now, my one Hibiscus 'Lady Baltimore' is flowering at the back of the garden and it's a wonderful spot of color in the distance. It's proven to be reliable, so I added three others last weekend. I also want to add more white for this time of year, all on one side of the garden, to catch the falling light of dusk, so I plan to divide several Sanguisorba tenuifolia Alba and place them about light droopy candles. I'll also try to spread my self-seeding Eupatorium perfoliatum about to get more white.

  3. "Intention and chance" is a great description of two polar forces that shape naturalistic design. I'm sort of enraptured with this tension at the moment, and on a personal quest to create chance through intention. So far, I've found that incredibly difficult in a small space, but I'm not giving up. That balance is precisely what I love about your garden! A great post.

    1. Thank you, Thomas. It's certainly an interesting way to garden, and it provides a lot to think about if you're of a philosophic disposition. It must be very difficult to do this in a small space. I'll be interested in hearing what you learn. Creating chance through intention, a thought-provoking way to put it.

  4. "'Serendipity' -- The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident. " An important part of garden making.

    I know what you mean by "feelings I can't express." My heart sort of sings during those moments when something in my garden looks wonderful.

    1. I love that word. And such an interesting origin.

      From Wikipedia: The first noted use of "serendipity" in the English language was by Horace Walpole (1717–1797). In a letter to Horace Mann (dated 28 January 1754) he said he formed it from the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, whose heroes "were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of". The name stems from Serendip, an old name for Sri Lanka (aka Ceylon), from Arabic Sarandib, which was adopted from Tamil "Seren deevu" or originally from Sanskrit Suvarnadweepa or golden island (some trace the etymology to Simhaladvipa which literally translates to "Dwelling-Place-of-Lions Island"[3]). Christophero Armeno had translated the Persian fairy tale into Italian, adapting Amir Khusrau's Hasht Bihisht[4] of 1302.

  5. Beautiful post...this really is the time of year when your garden is at it's most resplendent. I totally agree...the strong verticals are like visual anchors in a heaving sea of plenty.

  6. Scott, I love the metaphor "visual anchors ... heaving sea of plenty." You got it. My garden needs people like you to give it meaning. It's a participatory sport.



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