inspiration or makeover?
Fellow blogger Gardener of La Mancha posted some photos of the Northern California coastline where he's living these days. He made the connection between the rocky coast and a classic, Japanese dry garden, and that reminded me of the sharply jutting rocks I loved on the northern coast of Okinawa.
Then there are the tent rocks here, in northern New Mexico.
All of this has got me thinking about finding inspiration in nature and my garden philosophy (thanks Sara and G of La M).
I attended a lecture two weeks ago. The speaker was extremely accomplished, but I didn't enjoy his work. Rather than complement or acknowledge the surrounding geography, he creates massive replicas of features (water, stone) that seem out of place.
Perhaps this is a knee-jerk reaction to the enormous sums of money I know it costs to build a cliff where there isn't one, or to install a 3 acre lake in the middle of a field. Regardless of the cost, I prefer to work with the natural landscape rather than imagine I can drastically improve its shape and composition.
I'm all for drawing inspiration from nature. In fact, I use upright stones in my own garden. But there's a difference between inspiration and a complete makeover, don't you think? For excellent examples of how local landscapes can inspire gardeners in a way that works with nature (not against it), see two books by Scott Calhoun: Yard Full of Sun and Chasing Wildflowers. I recommend them both.