Saturday, May 8, 2010

Beltsville Library Garden is looking good after two years, but....

There are problems of proportion, the same problems of proportion that I'm facing with the Florida garden. I ought to know better; after all, this is what I do. I design gardens, and when you go from jump street, the proportions require a bit of time to align themselves. Shrubs grow faster than trees so that after a year or two the shrub elements are typically way ahead of the trees. The first impression we have of a space usually is a visceral awareness of the relationships between the visible physical masses. When the trees aren't "trees" yet, we feel that something's wrong. And it is. Time passes, and if the concept is good, the growth of shrubs tops out, and the trees continue. Groundcovers fill in, we make minor adjustments to edges and curves shifting perennials and small shrubs as required and suddenly it begins to work. That's a good time and a good feeling.

The problems in Florida and at the Library are a bit different. I inherited both understory trees  and a large Heritage Birch at the Library so it's the shrubs that have some catching up to do; that's a much quicker process and, looking at the picture, the garden doesn't look horribly out of sync. On the other hand, in Florida the trees I inherited were giant Live Oaks so the understory trees, including palms, are what I'm waiting for and that'll take a bit longer.

Although most clients respond to their installations with enthusiasm and optimism, I know that once in a while the response will be one of polite approval or even overt skepticism. These people often call back in four or five years very happy and wanting to do more. I've had two of these calls this week and it's a wonderful experience.Now I just have to make myself be patient about Florida!

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