Trying to cross a conceptual divide...
Design is a visual intelligence.
It is a different way of thinking.
It resists spoken language
as well as "opens up" critically
taken for granted structures
in every day life.
I have attached an image.
It is not of "a wall" like you have asked
Like I have proposed and spoken of.
I looked back at my proposal.
I wrote - "line/wall"
We spoke of it as "a wall"
because in commerce
It is "a wall."
The manufacturer calls it "wall stone."
"Wall construction" will be the process we follow;
in this sense
It is a wall.
But in my design
It isn't a wall but a line.
It is a solid form that creates order.
That in speaking of it as "a wall"
It gives the impression that it is
"An add on" or
As if we are working from a menu
And adding ornaments as we choose.
Yes. It is a line item on a proposal.
But this is to help understand how we arrive at the value of the job.
We may speak of breaking things up into production phases - "plants" and "wall;
But the design is one whole thing.
The wall relates to the maintenance and care of the garden.
The wall does the ordering
in place of the manicuring hand of the gardener.
It is an investment.
Its a machine.
Until four or five years ago
I had never heard of Fritillaria -
A fall bulb that emerges in spring
Alongside Daffs and Grape Hyacinths.
The tiniest of flowers.
Small enough to evade me
in my life of horticulture
Running 30 years at least.
I suspect it a new floral or garden consciousness -
Formed not in the garden
But on Instagram -
From where it has found its way into me.
Instagram has changed the scale
From which we imagine the garden.
The zooming up closeness of a phone's camera
Is bringing us closer to the garden
Where before we viewed it an arms length
Or whatever scale and distance
A persons body would stand and view.
Fritillaria is not something you would see from the street. Its not something you would make stand out by planting in mass. It is singular and only viewed up close - a distance I rarely found myself until now.
There is this divide
Between cleaner, horticulturist, and designer
That always needs to be navigated.
I always say
"The greatest problem we face
Is the word 'Landscaper.'
Fifty years ago, it worked.
It was primarily a construction term.
Then in the 70s and 80s
There was a massive economic shift
To a service economy, and
Into a weekly lawn mowing service.
You come to me
To care for your landscape -
Is the field,
The profession -
But you imagine our work
In weekly intervals;
You imagine our work
As if we are
the manicurists and cleaners.
We clean and manicure
As just a part of the work of caring,
But our production isn't organized
Around the interval of lawn mowing.
Our cycles are seasonal
Tied to the snow's thaw
The blooming of spring bulbs
And the dropping of flowers
from the shrubbery.
The soil drys in the summer
And we can work it
Build new beds
And set solid foundations.
As the summer nights cool in early August
We can sow turfgrass.
Soon the leaves start to turn
And we transplant,
And as the leaves fall
We clean them up and plant the bulbs for the spring.
We celebrate the holidays
And begin again as the snow thaws.
But the word landscaper
Has been completely subsumed
By weekly intervals
And I can't for the life of me
Figure out how to communicate that
Without sounding elitist
I'm trying to give consult and care
But there is a line that cuts you every seventh day
And you can't feel it;
But it makes me cry.
Spring Clean Ups.
Every job is complicated.
Yours has specific pruning details,
some rabbit feeding on Spiraea needs tending, and
The Boxwood are poorly shaped
- and I think they should be attended to.
There is some Japanese Knotweed
in the back corner of the yard
- You don't know what that is
but it should be tended to
immediately. Its an invasive. Its no small matter.
Every yard and landscape has its own set
of specific complications
And the value of our work
is FIRST based in consultation
and the dialog
that informs back and forth
collaboratively in the care.
Maybe you just want the security of knowing everything is cared for
and wish to minimize your work.
I can't finish this articulation.
It won't come out.
But, I put together a proposal for a spring clean up and offered to review it.
I was met with a
"Do you think its that complicated?"
Yes, I do.
I was asked
"Do we need a new lawn"?
During our consult
they turned to each other to whisper.
Apparently someone made the recommendation
they would need a new lawn.
"Well. The lawn you have right now
is doing what it is supposed to do -
Defining the space thought of as lawn.
So. You don't need a new lawn."
"If your lawn does not look the way you want it to,
that is another question.
Then you should say to me
'How can our lawn look THIS way."
I can help you get what you want and need.
But it should never be the work of the designer
to make judgements against you,
especially ones that make anxieties
that can only be relieved
by paying your landscaper.
The Buffalo Horticulture identity for the most part organizes around the concept of design build. But I see it as (A) "We always need the work" and (B) we are here to help in whatever capacity we are asked. Above is a architects drawing for a stair and retaining wall structure surrounding a basement height patio in a backyard. I feel my strengths on a collaborative team are that I can understand the organization and visual language of an architects design program and can offer feedback as we put the project together on little bits and pieces of detail, the number of ways I have experience building such things, and of course the production complications with certain ways of building - or, I may help find easier, less costly, or more valuable ways to produce. Most importantly, I think, is I can communicate.
...I saw a wood fence
on another designer's 'gram feed
and wished to comment
that it was "well executed."
But. To speak of an idea
a color choice
- as it relates to "the design"-
we don't say "executed."
I searched around
and found "articulated" to be the right word choice.
The black painted fence was a nice articulation.
I always feel I need to find the right photo
to aid an idea's representation.
But we can't have our mouths paralyzed
and be left without words
just because people prefer to look at pictures.
What I confront in the field
are not plants that need trimming
Sometimes trimming isn't enough.
We need to start specifying
that shaping be done.
"Trimming" is part of maintenance.
"Shape" and "form" are elements
And if you look around
that the way we seem to care for our plants here
In "The Buffalo Garden"
Is by trimming them, never shaping.
This idea is part of a larger conversation I want to have on "the spring clean up." I believe the clean up is composed of three separate elements - Cleaner and manicurist; Plant health and care giver (horticulturist); and designer/visual person - elements that are the basics of a, not having a name for it really, a person who tends to and cares for gardens and landscapes. Most of what we have come to think of as a "landscaper" now specializes in the first element - raking and edging. They are tasked with trimming but with a hand for neatness and cleaning not an eye to recognize repetition or line and form.