According to mythology, the Roman God, Janus, is the god of beginnings, transitions, and in ancient art and architecture presides over doorways and gates as a symbol for this. So appropriate, then, that we have our first month named for him. I have a friend who spends New Year’s Eve talking with her husband about all the things they did over the course of the year ending and the plans they have for the year ahead. I always thought this a wonderful tradition. It’s also a good plan when you are thinking about what’s new for your 2017 garden. Some of the new may be “out with the old,” in things that did not work out so well; for the new–where to turn for inspiration?
You may be wondering why I have kept the same photo and caption two weeks in a row. I did this purposefully. My son, Blake, and his wife, Arielle, were here for the holidays and they just bought their first house so we were talking about all kinds of home improvement projects. I love projects–inside and outside the house. Freshly motivated and with Arielle’s eye for feedback available, off I went for paint samples. Initially inspired by the flowers shown in the photo, three days later the project is complete. I love the new look. My sister-in-law told me when I thanked her for the gift card that helped fund the project, that pink bathrooms are back in style with pink porcelain fixtures selling for lots of money on eBay. Funny how things come back around. I didn’t know about the pink choice being fashionable; it just turned out that way. I usually suggest to clients that they have in the garden what they love–the same holds for inside the home.
The point is this: where do inspirations for design come from? And why do you want these “themes” in the garden? For the first question:
1. Every year, Pantone comes out with a Color of the Year. This year, it’s a color called “Greenery.” Wonderful! Expect to see this color everywhere–from home decor to fashion and of course in garden accents. According to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, “Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.” I love the vibrancy of this color and plan to use it in my garden this year. I will look for annual plants with this foliage color, for decorative accents like seat cushions and table linens. If you go to the Pantone website you will find color companions to use that will work with “Greenery;”
2. Art is another inspiration for the garden. Sometimes it is the mood of a painting, sometimes the artist’s color choices, and other times it is the way the artist has layered the composition that can be represented in planting beds. This is called a “painterly” garden design;
3. Even things like jewelry an inspire–like the pattern of a brooch that can become a pathway shape, or the way the colors are organized. Speaking of things old that are back in style–brooches are now, too, so if you have any from your grandmother wear, them with joy!
4. I’ve even been inspired for garden designs from books. I designed a garden for a young family inspired by the book, The Giving Tree; I wanted a single, beautiful tree to be the focal point of the garden so that the tree would grow along with the family and be part of the family’s story;
5. People can inspire –as in Arielle’s suggestions and modern use of phone apps for paint. She both inspired and motivated me. Inspirations, after all, still need execution.
Second part of the question. Why do you want these themes or inspirations in the garden? Mostly because it helps create a cohesive design. Good design is not usually an accident. Except for Mother Nature: she doesn’t not sit over a drafting table because she has a great, big, universal-sized wand and has been at it since the beginning of time. The rest of us need some guiding devices. We need things like a central idea around with other things are based or where an element is repeated throughout the garden which helps unify the space. There are more elements for design, but these are a few to help you get the creative juices flowing.
Please remember that if you need help, garden consultations take place all year. I’m happy to meet with you to begin your 2017 planning process.
Happy New Year!