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Try, Try Again

February 7, 2011

Temple, four ways


The design process begins with the spark of an idea, then often, after a series of experiments – trials and errors — a solution will present itself. When I’m painting, designing newspaper pages, or illustrations, this involves multiple sketches, color studies, experiments with textures, etc., until I’m satisfied with the final design … and the same is true when designing a tableau for the garden. In this instance the idea was to create a succulent mini-temple, using a painted metal/rusted greenhouse I’d bought a couple years ago via craigslist. We’d scored some great junk Saturday, including a motorized grinder on a cast iron pedestal and once I’d removed the grinder, the pedestal had a vaguely Grecian look to it. A perfect perch for the Acropolis-greenhouse. Placing the greenhouse on the pedestal I knew it’d make a great home for a trailing succulent, and … um, something else. Just what that something was I’d decide later, so we headed to the nursery, where I found some great senecio radicans that had the perfect hanging effect. I also bought some other complementary senecios — plump, white senecio haworthii and star-like senecio scaposus, just in case they might be needed. Back home, I removed the greenhouse’s glass panels; I wanted the senecios to trail unimpeded. The tray needed drainage holes, so we added them, filling it then with soil and pebbles, then the senecios. Looked great … but now to add that something else … I’d been thinking about the possibilities, so I brought out all the elements and set each idea up. Here’s how they panned out …

Pleading in polka-dots

First, I added a polka-dotted ceramic head I’d received as a birthday gift. I felt the face’s pale skin would complement the distressed white temple nicely … and, the red lips and orange dots would serve as nice pops of color. Stepping back, I realized I was wrong: the head seemed stranded in the temple and it’s blue eyes seemed to be pleading for release. Plus, I hated the hot color spots … it didn’t work. Time for Plan B:

Scary baby

A concrete baby’s head with a jaunty rhino horn in the middle of its forehead, another birthday gift, was added. Much smaller than the previous noggin, this one was just too tiny, and dark, in the space. And, propping it up on a pedestal didn’t help. Way too sinister, altogether. Maybe something fun would work …

Planet disco

A metal toy rocket from the 1950s, landed next … it would lend the feel of a landscape to the interior of the temple … and, instead of a moon, or sun, how about a mirrored disco ball? Surely, this outta-left-field, kitschy approach, would lend the tableau just the right touch of whimsy and interest, right? Wrong again — it was too much!, Rancho wasn’t ready for this flight of fancy.

Right stuff

Finally, it struck me: the chalky white senecio haworthii! … The color was right, and the chubby-pointy foliage had an upright effect that would eventually fill the temple’s interior nicely (while not interfering with the radican‘s trailing aspect). This time when I stepped back I sighed that sigh that let’s me know I’ve found my design solution. I’m not sure where I’ll place this tableau, but it’s got to be somewhere special … some little corner of the garden that could use a nice bit of well-considered design.


12 Comments leave one →
  1. rosenatti permalink
    February 7, 2011 11:31 pm

    I WANT IT.

    That is all.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      February 7, 2011 11:40 pm

      LOL… where are you? If you’re nearby, and I can’t find a place for it, you can have it!

      • rosenatti permalink
        February 10, 2011 9:44 am

        Aw, thanks, you’re a gent! I’m in San Francisco and was just telling myself the other day, “Self, you need to go on a roadtrip in search of an iron succulent mini-temple, preferably one reminiscent of the Acropolis.” And I agreed.

        Gotta admit, though, having seen your fab garden, that there’s no way this isn’t going to look good in it. You’ll find the perfect place and the perfect vignette… because that’s just the way things roll at Rancho Reubidoux.

        But if you ever get bored of it… *cough*

      • reubix1 permalink*
        February 10, 2011 1:23 pm

        Well, the Acropolis will change yet again (constant change: another RR standard feature!) … update coming soon.

  2. February 8, 2011 2:20 am

    way cool. ok, you can totally ignore this suggestion, but i love that last vignette, but it seems to beg a third feature. you have two wonderful, contrasting shades of green and silver, but what about a pop? something red or orange or purple and shiny or spiky or opalescent? or something delicate and reflective dangling from the top? or something clinging to the outside? sorry, but i’ve come to expect the unexpected from you!
    (also, you have very fun friends to give you such nice gifts!)

    • reubix1 permalink*
      February 8, 2011 4:24 am

      First: I do have great friends who give great gifts… and, taking your suggestion to heart, I have another solution to the last vignette. I won’t reveal it yet, but when I’ve put it together I’ll do a quickie post on it… thanks for the challenge!

  3. February 9, 2011 5:56 am

    Another great find.

    Next time you’re in Long Beach you should come see my garden and Denise’s garden.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      February 9, 2011 6:27 am

      I would love that. I’ll be in touch!

      • February 16, 2011 3:18 am

        Cool. We do a reciprocal garden visit now and then. We’d love to see yours.

      • reubix1 permalink*
        February 16, 2011 3:44 am

        Sounds good… post- the garden show in April would work for me … we’ll talk, Dustin

  4. mattisalomaki permalink
    February 22, 2011 5:30 pm

    Ah man, you are giving me that kick I need to do something with this bird cage I had to have (and now has been sitting dormant for about 19.5 months). I am still chuckling about the mini disco ball. nice. Matti

    • reubix1 permalink*
      February 22, 2011 5:54 pm

      Seemed like a good idea at the time! But then these are the hazards of listening to Sylvester on the pod while gardening!

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