The shadows know . . . !
|a small courtyard garden is visually enlarged - and enhanced - by its shadow. Casa Benavides Inn, Taos, New Mexico|
As the days of autumn shorten, the low-slung sun casts longer and more distinctive shadows. The play between positive and negative space becomes more exaggerated; an even match for the color drama going on now, too.
Shadows help us see forms. Various textures and shapes reflect and collect light differently allowing us to distinguish unique elements amongst landforms, hardscapes and plants.
|dunes at White Sands National Monument|
|enhanced shadows expose the topography|
|shadows created by the foliage texture of this kale help us analyze and understand the plant's form|
|the variety of textures and forms in this garden create shadows that make it more readable|
Shadows cast upon a vertical surface create a multiplying effect that gives depth to a garden. They can also provide new interest and beauty to a blah surface.
|Allium shadows on brushed stainless steel at Kevin Robb Studios|
|the shadow of an tree creates the illusion of a climbing vine|
Shadows cast upon a horizontal surface heighten the textural nuances of the hardscape material and create a distorted echo of the item itself.
|ghostly images from vintage iron posts enhance a plain-Jane concrete patio|
|a lattice shadow on river pebbles has a watery distortion|
Another type of "shadow" is a silhouette. Items back-lit by the sun and viewed through a translucent screen have a fascinatingly different appearance - sometimes simplified, sometimes more complex. (Either way, it does give one the sense of having x-ray vision.)
|hidden flower buds, exposed|
|colors and shapes interplay like multiple layers of stained glass - Denver Botanic Gardens|
|a tangle of grape vines, simplified|
Our landscapes are changing rapidly now. As autumn moves into winter, and darkness dominates our days, I hope you will seek out the shadows and enjoy their stories.
Please visit my fellow members of the Garden Designers' Roundtable for more inspiring ideas and information on our theme of Darkness:
Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK
Genevieve Schmidt : North Coast Gardening : Arcata, CA
Thanks to M. Zwalen and M. Komodore for allowing me to photograph their gardens!