AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO LANDSCAPE DESIGN
CONTAINERS and VESSELS
Its a gnarly world, just ask Mother Nature.
I really enjoy borrowing from her native cookbook, from stone through her vegetative forms.
As can be seen in this aged Totem Pole Euphorbia emerging from this hand-hewed cantera stone vessel, she rocks!
I've written throughout this site on the benefits of being a collector and transformational, retro-fitter of found artifacts, in the practice of exterior design, (that's a mouthful).
To me, essentially, existentially, anything with a hole in it can be utilized as a planting vessel, (that's a bit Freudian).
Consider such an 'opening' then as a basin for a Water Feature.
Tree burls, rain-pitted limestone's, Terra-cotta containers, extruded plastic containers, pistons, hubcaps, helmets, lamps, toilets, hats, buckets, bells, beacons, fossils, bones, turtle shells, Christmas bells, and of course,
Hand worked stone, metal and wood.
Conical stone vessel on wrought iron stand, with golden barrel cacti grouping.
Adjacent piece is an unsullied geode.
Hollowed out, quarry stone with forest of Totem Pole.
Lichen licked carved stone vessel with...gads, I'm having a 'sometimers' moment; I found this erotic tuber one lazy afternoon, hiding out in a greenhouse...
A lovely worry-worn wooden 'Matate with a crested cercus miniature.
Prior to this piece finding a client home, I had it perched on top of the entertainment cabinet; it reminded me of the days of T.V. rabbit ears...ah,
what's up doc...
Flowering Bromelia in mesquite carved vessel.
Containers and Vessels are vastly underutilized in the choreography of an exterior design. Generally, they are left to the homeowner to acquire, place and plant, long after the landscape contractor has picked up his closing payment. And yes, it goes deeper readers, for it is the 'landscape architect', the conductor who most often misses the beat.
Its not a matter of ignorance on their part but of the non-billable hours that would be required of them to drill down into their respective designs to include such minutia. A level of detail to that of say choosing the right jewelry when going to meet the prospective in-laws for the first time (man, that was serial lifetimes ago)....
Don't get me wrong, I'm a structural designer at heart; I want the design to read as if it were a completed composition before one twig is planted, (too many landscape designers rely too heavily upon their planting design). And once the 'hardscape is built and is beautiful on its own, then and only then is it time to bring in the planting structure, furniture and planting containers.
Containers anchor & delineate corners, terminal wing walls and entry, while providing focal points, establish landscape windows, and if composed correctly will blow further sweet life into the design.
One of the issues in container design is 'cheaping out' on these fixtures; as if they are temporary ornament. As discussed throughout this site, one needn't 'break the bank' in order to create a durable & aesthetically pleasing landscape. There is al-ways a creative and affordable solution, if one chooses to look. Pottery Barn is a last resort. A container should look good on its own when sited, prior to planting, think of them as a sculptural element.
So, include Containers as a line-item in your budget.
Containers are an awesome design element for those with second and third homes as well. This is a niche market, those part-time snowbirds, so to speak. Consider exotic, over-scale containers that can be overfilled with annuals prior to the residents' return. Or, large scale bonsai trees as a more permanent planting. Or, weeping, trailing, flowering vines cascading down the face of the vessel.
By the way, you do not have to own a second home to apply this logic; just thought that I'd throw it in there.
Large, attractive containers can also be planted with perennials and companion herbs. The 'edible landscape' is finally coming into its own (geez, took long enough). That, by the way reader, is the paradox in which folk like me who came of age in the late '60's had the opportunity to witness (assuming that one's eyes were not welded shut), the infinite number of possibilities within reach, (Faulkner's got nothin on me); a new world order, so to speak, including 'Edible Landscapes' !!!
Alas, that window was quickly slammed shut and only now, thanks to weathering, a bit of sense is leaking through.