Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Time Makes Changes, Oh Deer

In 1982 I was asked to design a landscape for a site on the very southern, wind-swept edge of a housing community. This point of land routinely gets 50-90 mile-per-hour winds. So no tall trees, just low-growing shrubs and perennials. The clients wanted color. So, like the left photo shows, they got color. These colors vibrate in resonance with the foggy days. They are almost more intriguing than during the harsh light of full sun. What some thought would be a gaudy color scheme worked well during the many fogged-in days. The clients were pleased.

The bright orange and yellow are two types of Siberian wallflower [Erysimum x alliionii]. The small santolinas in the background grew enormous and spread to be the same plant on the right. [See the base of one featured in the October the 13th blog.] The wallflowers weren’t so fortunate. They became breakfast, lunch, and diner for the herds of deer that migrate through the property every day. The santolinas, gray and green, lavenders, sea pinks [Armeria maritima , also know as “Thrift”], California poppies, and daffodils slowly replaced or were planted to replace those plants that de-evolved. Life is change. And gardens should be influx with the environment. No static landscape here. The need to adapt and replace plants got the homeowners out to take an active role in the garden. This is more important than the “grand design”, but doesn’t show up in photos.

The garden has evolved since 1981. The owners’ have kept a close eye on what was doing well and what was struggling to live. Not to mention what the deer ate or avoided. The outcome is on the right. Taken from nearly the same angle as the 1982. [Not the same season, the lavenders and satolinas were not in bloom during the late summer.] The scheme morphed into an almost new design, but more in tune with the special micro-ecosystem of the place. And the elements will continue to shape this garden and its gardeners for decades to come. This not a static, photo shoot for one of Martha’s magazine, it’s nature playing with its self.

Let me know what you think.

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