Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The New Garden Loves The Color Wheel. Let's Talk about Brown

It is hard to imagine a slogan which did more to harm  California agricultural interests and gardening enthusiasm than the slogan on this sign.

I am not a drought denier. I am the wife of an engineer. The kind of man who harnessed creativity to science to make real things which never existed outside a dream. Inventions hard to roll out on the tongue, like  automated video imagery database using photogammetry. Gerry has accomplished feats I shall never fully comprehend. But observing him solve problems for 40 years, he taught me that scientific opinion is not a firm monument in the way of the 10 Commandments. Observations change. Goals change. Knowledge changes. The more knowledge man obtains- the more profound the case for God's existence. 

He has given man great power- but not the power to change brown to green like Jesus turned water into wine. 
The sage green wall is the perfect foil for 'Love and Wishes' Salvia (from the Sunset Collection), milkweed and the monarch butterfly
California history may record 2015 as the year of the year of  California's drought-induced clinical garden depression.  On signs and billboards, paid for by the taxpayer, that "Brown is the new green. " Hogwash.  Who says? Science. The color spectrum. The color wheel.

Image result for isaac newton color wheel

In 1666, Sir Isaac Newton looked up from his study of falling apples to rationally arrange the structural relationship of colors to each other. Since then, the study of color is of encyclopedic range. However, not until the great water panic of 2015, has man panicked into hallucinating that brown and green are interchangable. Here's the truth:

Greens are composed of differing portions of blue and yellow.

According to Wikipedia "Brown is a composite color which can be produced by combining red, yellow and black,[1] or by a combination of orange and black."

Brown squirrel. Green lawn. 
Which is the ideal to predominate in a garden? Isn't it cheerier to see the brown squirrel leaping across a green lawn than it were a green rodent scampering across brown thatch?  

In Ode: Intimations of Immortality From Recollections of Early Childhood, Williams Wordsworth did not reflect on love in a scratchy hayfield. Rather he wrote: 

What thought the radiance which was once so bright
Be now forever taken from my sight, 
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower
We will grieve not, father find
Strength in what remains behind

Brown has its  honored place in gardens. Brown tree trunks, branches and composting leaves lead the eyes through the garden, leaving us in contemplative rest. But beware: brown in the garden should be like black in a home. Not so much as to be oppressive.

One of my favorite brown is compost tea for the garden
The quality manure tea bags Annie Haven makes on the family ranch tickle an amber liquid to quench the garden. Hint: make sure the family does not switch this brew with the family sweet tea: not unless you don't ever wish to be in charge of refreshments. Again. Ever.

The drought humbled us. The cost of water made us rethink our gardens. But it did not kill our desire for beautiful spaces. Instead, it makes us crave the sustaining beauty of gardens even more.

The Celebration Garden at the Huntington 
Stay tuned. My prediction for the Spring of 2016 is the start of the Great Gardening Revival. Intelligent by design, beautiful by desire.

Until we meet again, thank YOU for all You do to make the world more beautiful. 


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Get Your Ticket for California Dreamin' this Mother's Day Weekend

"Gardening is the art that uses flower and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas."
~ Elizabeth Murray 

Iamge  from Previous Tour, courtesy of RSSM 
The Rose Society of Saddleback Mountain (RSSM), a non-profit American Rose Society (ARS) affiliate, is pleased to announce the 25th Elegant and Enchanting Garden Tour. 

Where: South Orange County 
When:  Saturday, May 7, 2016 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
What: Four unique and innovative private gardens 

Don't let the sponsoring organization's name restrict your imagination in what the tour features. The event is about more than roses. It is about the full-spectrum of the opportunities to create beauty. And happiness. In personal gardens.

The cliffside home of Rick and Julie Borgens included a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean
The garden selection process is rigourous. RSSM master gardeners select sites for variety, special features, and floral elegance. The tour date promises gardens blooming in full spring splendor with magnificent floral and plant displays, garden architecture, and ideas for environmentally sound garden practices.

A very traditional garden vignette in the garden of Patricia and Steve Buice

The  RSSM Elegant and Enchanting Tour is a unique opportunity to go behind the gates of some very special private properties not normally open to the public. While the pictures are from past tours, let the descriptives of two whet your appetite for this year's gardens.

Isn't this the best  Mission Project display by Patricia and Steve Buice 
The 2016 tour theme is California Gardens/California Dreamin’. This year's selected gardens include a hillside San Clemente California ranch  with the diversity of plantings our region is known for. Besides the vegetable garden, the landscape is abundantly planted with specimen California trees, fruit trees, roses, Pride of Madeira, and aloes. It is a sanctuary for birds and pollinators.

Garden Designer Dawn Saunders arranged plants with a masterful eye towards color and ease of maintenance. The garden has been photographed by a MAJOR publication for release at a later date.
This year, plan on visiting a discrete upper San Clemente  stucco home. Ornamentation includes beautiful Spanish tiles. The owner, a landscape architect, has an incredible collection of succulents.  The piece de resistance: a rose climbing over the garden wall, the adjacent fountain luring visitors down the garden path.

The remarkable garden of Maria del Carmen Calvo led to cover article  for  Western Art and Architecture. 
Tickets from prior tours  have funded more than $50,000 in scholarships.RSSM funds Horticulture and Plant Science-related scholarships for college and university students at Cal State
University Fullerton, Saddleback College, Cal Poly Pomona, and other institutions.

Purchased in advance, tickets are only are $25.00. To order tickets, visit the RSSM website