Thursday, July 8, 2010

Who's Afraid Of A Little Orange?

It happens a lot. When I get to the place in the interview where I ask new design clients about their favorite colors, I help out by first explaining the difference between cool and warm colors, just to get a read on their preferences. Donning my professor's ascot and corduroy sport coat (with leather elbow patches), it unfolds something like this…

"Green, blue and violet are cool colors: They soothe and bring calm to the garden. In color theory terms, cool hues "recede", blending into the background and making no demands on our attention."

I pause, receiving a nod of comprehension from the client, then reload and start the second volley…

"On the other side of the color wheel are the warm colors: red, yellow and orange. They tend to be more vivid and add excitement to…"

I realize that she didn't hear a word after I mentioned The Color That Shall Not Be Spoken.

"No orange," she snaps, visibly shaken, but mustering a semblance of outward calm.

You'd think I'd said, "And over in that corner we'll put the zombie coop and feed them children and puppies from the neighborhood."

"No orange…please!"

I've got plenty more to say...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Art City Studio : : Hidden Art Trove in Ventura

Art City Studio (197 Dubbers St. Ventura, CA) is a fantasyland of stone-shafts of raw, rough, black-scarred basalt; twenty-foot towers of stacked travertine, internally lit, coming to life after dark.

For years, I've been hearing tales of Art City from landscape designers raving about the custom fountains their sculptors conjure up. Since I'm not only having my Edhat turf expanded 250%, but also writing for Conejo Valley-based 805 Living magazine, I decided to sniff around for a story.

This art lover's wonderland occupies a sizeable lot surrounded by unapologetic industrial buildings, stacks of shipping containers, and car mechanics. But you instantly know you're somewhere special. Along the sidewalk, rough-hewn columns of Kansas limestone, or "post rock", signal something unexpected in this invisible neighborhood.

Now it get interesting, so click...

Garden Like A Vulcan : : Let Logic Guide You

After I've been declared Supreme Ruler of the Universe, I'm making Star Trek's Mr. Spock my Magistrate of Sustainable Gardening. He'll be in charge of a new mega-bureaucracy with far-reaching powers to bring clear, logical thinking to landscape maintenance, because so much of the work people do in gardens makes no sense.

Take raking, for example.

CRS (Compulsive Raking Syndrome)

I don't understand what's so bad about seeing fallen foliage under plants. With all the zero tolerance raking going on you'd think someone had dumped radioactive, Ebola-infested asbestos everywhere. As my buddy Owen Dell says, "Why do you think they call them leaves? You're supposed to leave them there."

Week after week you or your gardener are out there scraping away with one of those harmless looking flex rakes, rounding up every leaf that had the temerity to fall in your garden, and then having the pile hauled away.

That's quite silly, really. Not only are leaves a multifaceted resource for the garden, but excessive raking will eventually compact the soil's surface into an impenetrable, crispy, lifeless crust.

Lots more to read here...