Some people are told to not rock the boat; not all take heed.
Yet, the loudest voices are often those advising others to just fit in, even belittling the unique – probably at least as bold as those they criticize. Sometimes bold is cultural (compare the “genteel southerner” to the “brash Yankee”), from upbringing or ancestry (I compare dinners with a friend of Swedish ancestry to my own family at dinner), but often it’s in gardens.
Maybe it’s perspective. Or perhaps it’s also being afraid, or even being downright boring since “everyone is doing it”.
Let’s explore my take on what bold might mean, as a part of this month’s Garden Designers Roundtable.
Radical vs. Conservative?
An everyday scene for many westerners, but bold for others…but no matter where they live, many like this kind of sunset…Music Mountains, E of Kingman AZ
In this Henderson NV front yard, a native plant like this Joshua Tree is often called bold, maybe even radical, especially without that lawn for everyone passing by to “roll around on” or “rest their eyes on”
Like this hilarious ad from the Southern Nevada Water Authority – here
Yet many don’t consider this as radical – it’s a non-native, thirsty honeylocust, native to the eastern US, used blocks away from the Joshua Tree – it and others struggle to maintain a full canopy in this well-irrigated landscape
That’s one bold blue sky! But what’s radical and conservative at an open space area parking lot? Spiky Sotol plants in the desert? Or shaping each member of this Turpentine Bush mass into cubes, destroying the mass effect, and taking load$ of time (where the naturally-tight-growing plants need none of that), and the design is far from formal (look out sotols, I think you’re next!)
But since I was “already there”, I couldn’t let things end on such a bad note. With only 8 hours from Las Vegas to Albuquerque, I fit in a 2 hour mountain bike ride at Bootleg Canyon…bold! So was my wipe-out 1/2 way through the caldera…
blue and yellow walls at this Tucson residence, with various cacti, hesperaloes and agave…bold, beautiful
In this case, I had first-hand insight that the bold purple wall was objected to, by someone who thought nothing of the purple Russian sage, and loved their own blue spruce they had to baby (talk about radical in the desert)…I’m partial to the design of both properties you are looking at:-)
Bold and gold in historic Boulder City, across from one of my projects…I wish I could park this classic in front of my retro landscape renovations…
…such as this project…sometimes bold restraint is designed, in walls, mulch and walking surfaces, and plants
bold design can let a stunning background stand on it’s own…that’s why I put the retaining wall where it is, and kept most of the regional but non-locally-native agaves and sotol this side of that wall, in part of a 2002 Sandia Heights design of mine
the obvious is bold here…clumps of these cacti in pink bloom…miles of desert punctuated by these
Doña Ana Cactus / Coryphantha macromeris
‘Lavender Spice’ Mexican Oregano / Poliomintha madrensis bold against the tans of this UTEP wall
In the end, I think bold is as simple as being more real, having the grace in seeing interest in something and someone less flamboyant…and the wonder of someone more that way. Believe it or not, I do…every day. I actually think my Swedish friend is every bit as passionate as my hand-waving, boisterous paisanos talking about their favorite meal, while still feasting on a great meal.
And there’s more! Please join my fellow lords and ladies of the Roundtable, as we nosh on more bold views, from across our slice of the globe –
Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO
Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK
Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN
Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT
Jenny Peterson : J Peterson Garden Design : Austin, TX
You might even find some more to add to the discussion, that we failed to add or hadn’t even thought of!