Plants reinforce function, intellectual content, themes, green or ecological strategies and create immersive, emotive experiences.
It's a daffodil extravaganza in Richard's garden right now. Here's a representation of his favorites.
Land Morphology moved to a new office space a little over a year ago. One of the best features of the storefront space adjacent to Seattle’s soon-to-be-demolished viaduct is the garden. We’ve had fun developing it and watching it evolve over the past year.
Like all gardens, there are challenges to overcome and particular requirements to meet. In our urban space we have a large itinerant population with occasional nocturnal activities; and that’s just the rabbit. The rabbit is an unexpected visitor, considering our space is surrounded by buildings and concrete. Fortunately the rabbit prefers the northern planting bed and leaves the southern garden to the neighborhood dogs.
Our garden beds are a testing ground for us to experiment with plants before we recommend them to clients: on one side are our more formal perennials and some smaller shrubs, as well as existing katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) trees, while on the other side we’re developing a looser, meadow-y garden.The glue that ties these two beds together is the proliferation of bulbs. As gardeners are wont to do, our first fall/winter in our new home occasioned the planting of over 1,000 spring and fall blooming bulbs.
All 1,000 of these bulbs were put into an area slightly larger than a city-sized front garden and still didn’t entirely fill up the space. Our early flowering season began with an explosion of beautiful crocus (C. vernus ‘Jeanne D’Arc) and muscari (M. armeniacum ‘Saffier’). Last year the show continued with two lovely Northwest natives Camassia leichtlinii ‘Alba’ and Brodiaea ‘Ruby’ (syn. Triteleia) but petered out into the summer. To remedy this we’ve added perennials like Geranium ‘Blue Sunrise’ and Lavandula x intermedia ‘Alba’, as well as two standard knockout roses to act as living sculpture.
We’ve taken over the beds on the opposite side of our path to give us a part shade/shade place to plant. We’ve added in Astilbe ‘Visions in Red’ and many types of groundcovers including Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’ (underperforming) and Erodium x ‘Album’ (good performer). We’ve had to use smaller statured shrubs to limit potential hiding places and have had good luck with Sarcococca humilis var. humilis and discovered that rabbits enjoy Styrax japonica ‘Fragrant Fountain’ and Hebe pinguifolia ‘Sutherlandii’. In true Daphne form one of ours has found its niche, while the other three have sulked their way into the compost bin.
And, because you can never have too many bulbs, this past fall found us out planting another 2,600 to ensure there was plenty of color for our neighbors to enjoy. and should the sun ever shine in Seattle again, it will reflect off the 250 daffodils (Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’ and ‘Thalia’) we’ve planted in rivers of sunny color through our shady beds. If you’re driving on the viaduct going south take a peek over the side and check us out!
Land Morphology celebrated the holidays by taking the crew to blow glass at the Seattle Glassblowing Studio last week. Our instructors, Zach and Tom, helped us create a number of bowls, floats, and ornaments. We experimented with applying color and the intricacies of forming shapes. Blowing a bubble and forming it into a beautiful piece is not as easy as the pros make it look!
Adrian, Lindsey, Renee, and Richard work on blowing technique!
Chris at the Glory Hole. Garrett and Paul finesse the shapes of their pieces. Lindsey is ready!
Scroll through some of our finished pieces...
We were able to commission a group piece at the end of our session. Tom and Zach worked hard to create our glass dart board...
Sequoiadendron giganteum 'Pendulum' is an old cultivar of one of the largest and oldest trees in the world. Interest in the large tree prompted European growers to try to mass produce the species for their landscapes. Found in France in the 1860's, no two trees of this cultivar are the same. The cultivar is extremely variable, forming contorted, twisted shapes over time.
I recently had the opportunity to hear my friend and nationally-renowned interior designer, Thomas Jayne, speak here in Seattle for the Northwest Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art (ICAA). Thomas is noted for incorporating modern elements into traditional interiors in provocative and dynamic ways. He is also a master of color. What struck me during his lecture was his deep appreciation of history, an encyclopedic knowledge of period furniture, and the playfulness with which he approached his projects.
Hebe pinguifolia 'Sutherlandii', like most hebes, originally comes from New Zealand. Although hebes are generally not considered to be very cold hardy, 'Sutherlandii' is one of the most hardy, withstanding lows down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. This short, rounded, well-kept shrub will grow to about 18" to 20" tall, forming half-spheres in the landscape