Black And White

Running crews is the perfect thing for my three month old titanium knee whatever apparatus.  As much as I am inclined to baby that thing, working demands that it be put to use-confidently.  This is not to say that the men on my crews do not cut me some slack-they do.  They get the plants to me; they make sure I get up and down, as needed.  But that knee is getting the workout it needs. This was a black and white day.  My morning installation-so many variations on black, chocolate, red and orange in the plants.  Seeing my palette of bananas, black oxalis, red irisine, lime selaginella and so on, my client asked if I were going traditonal on him.  Very very funny, this from him.  His planting-distinctly alternative.  Very much about spare, serene and modern design.  Much about visual challenges that hopefully represent his notions gardening.      

This quietly gorgeous Francesca del Re tapered pot got a green and black calocasia front and center.  The black red spikes-an unexpectedly tall underplanting. Lime selaginella energizes the entire discussion going on between that large leaved and curving voice, and the spiky and dark second fiddles-good music. 

The centerpiece of these pots-bananas.  Banana plants-they grow  proportional to the pots/soil mass they are planted in.  In ground, 14 feet. In these pots-6-8 feet.  Green and brown leaved, with red violet midribs-a concert with a great opening, and and a dramatic finish.  All of the other plants in this pot will be in celebration of the bananas.  

Lime and black is a dramatic combination.  That said, be sure to back up the black with a lime element that will showcase the subtleties of the black foliage. Consider the eventual size of each plant-growing up and growing out will tell everything about your understanding of maturity.   This lime dracaena will grown faster, and outdistance these black red spikes.  The green/black/red stemmed pepperomias are a transitional element.  The lime creeping jenny to trail- exquisitely lime. Contrasting colors is not enough.  Mass, texture, rhythm-consider these elements as well. 

My box trucks-I haul soil, bark, tools, stakes-whatever.  All over.  My shop is located in an industrial park far off the beaten path.  This makes us a secret of sorts, and we certainly are all about being dirty.  Whenever I see this truck, it makes me laugh.  We like dirty-that dirty work makes a good garden possible.  

The box truck is home to all the tools of the trade-and then some.  The translucent roof makes it possible for me to see what is up there. The American companies that made this truck available to me-many thanks.  This roof-a dream come true for any designer looking at color.  Or for any crew person looking for a roll of bark wire.

My afternoon was all about a client who loves white.  She has no use for anything that even remotely resembles black, although her taste runs to clean lined and modern too. I am happy to oblige. When planngs are done in a single color, the visual emphasis changes.  Form, mass, texture and line become the important issue.   A black morning and a white afternoon made for an exciting day. 

White dahlias, white trailing verbena, white annual phlox and variegated licorice-a very strong statement in white and green.  But not nearly as strong a statement as this steel break formed pot.  48 inches in diameter, there is room to plant plenty.  It would  be equally happy to be planted with loads of a single plant.  I am reluctant to plant one variety only-one never knows what the summer weather will be.  I  would rather replace a few things, than the entire planting. 

No matter the black or the white, the design issues are all the same. This airy euphorbia gets plenty of emphasis from the contrasting green and white large leaved plectranthus.  The relationship of these two plants enchants me.  The best part of my job is being party to lots of gardens, with very different points of view.  I have all kinds of music going on; I could not want for much more.