In defense of Color

peachymomo(Ca 8)June 10, 2010

I'm a California girl and I have not spent much time on the East Coast so I do not have experience with the look of the gardens over there, but I think they must be very different from ours over here. I live in a rural area and the front yards tend to be full of roses and riots of color. Most have a few fruit trees, and tomatoes and other veggies are not uncommon. Perhaps it is because these are older houses that are meant to be lived in, not sold. The newer developments tend to have easy to maintain cookie-cutter landscapes that I do not like.

I love an old, overgrown garden and don't think they detract from the house. As I drive around town the houses I most admire I can often barely see because of the old vines rambling over them. Wildness and biodiversity are my favorite qualities in a garden, even my vegetable gardens. And I am perfectly happy to tolerate some barrenness in the winter so that I can enjoy a better show in the spring, summer, and fall.

I'm not saying formal, evergreen gardens are bad, I'm just saying that roses and perennials aren't bad either.

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I think most people on this forum will agree with you! I am partial to old English gardens with a very formal feel. I often feel in the minority whenever I post. Informal definitely seems to be the favorite style here! To each his/her own right? :)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 5:35PM
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It's a matter of climate differences :-) In many parts of California, roses and perennials are year-round participants in the garden, even to some extent in parts of the south and areas of the PNW. In areas that have very defined seasons and cold winters, these aspects are missing for much of the year. A garden based solely on seasonal color provided by perennials, roses or any other plant that goes through a regular period of dormancy is going to look pretty bleak for 4-6 months or longer. An evergreen component is essential.

Evergreen does not have to be formal however, nor is it always boring or limiting in color. Look at some of the conifer gardens that populate parts of the UK for example and you'll find a huge range of colors and a mix of shapes and forms that provide unlimited interest. And nothing formal in design about them :-) Color in the garden is not just provided by flowers - in fact, color provided by flowers alone is pretty transitory and most designers recognize the value of foliage in providing year long color in addition to textural contrast.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 5:36PM
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