Landscape design

While my book is very exciting right now, and while translation is my joyful source of livelihood, I also have an abiding passion for landscape design. The image shows a design I did for a client in 2011.

Snow Front yard - colors only cropped small

Landscape design and studies. I have always loved plants, but I first discovered I had a passion for turning them into designs when I spent a day with Roberto Burle Marx, the Brazilian artist/architect/horticulturalist/landscape designer, during a visit to Brazil in 1980. My interest was further confirmed when I later visited Monet’s gardens at Giverny and saw how the artist had used plants and their natural colors to create “paintings.”

I decided to study the subject seriously in 2007, and from then through the fall of 2011 I took courses at local community colleges, one or two a semester,  in drafting, manual and computer-aided design, xeriscape, plant recognition (annuals, perennials, vines, groundcovers, shrubs, and trees), urban forestry, and irrigation.

Pidgeonberry closeup

I’ve done 15 designs, one of which was selected as the best in a competition of 20 or so, and I’ve had three clients. Last year I designed a bed along the rear entryway to my house. (Beds can be complicated!) All the species have relatively low water requirements and are evergreen here in California. The colors and shapes of the foliage form a pattern. From spring through fall they bloom in shades of purple, blue, white, and yellow. The main attraction is a Duranta repens (pidgeonberry) trained as a patio tree, which has a long season of light purple blooms (see photo), followed by yellow berries in winter. It’s dramatic! I’ve had lots of compliments from neighbors. I will post more pictures when it starts to bloom again.

After taking a year off to concentrate on my book, I will be resuming my studies at the end of January. I have signed up for a more advanced design class in the Ornamental Horticulture Department at Cuyamaca College. I’m looking forward to learning more about site analysis and hardscape, and I hope to refine my drafting skills. I’m excited!

Tomorrow, the Enneagram.

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