Monday, October 24, 2011

Garden Designers' Roundtable: Darkness

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!


Desert Dweller said...

Very in-depth ways to see shadows. Shadows are as important as the light, even to a sun-worshipper as myself! A number of those look within range of I-25, deep within the forgotten time zone!!!

The fainter shadows are even more interesting to study - never really looked at those until your photos.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

I find shadows fascinating - no mater the season (or the time zone)! Once you start looking for them, you'll be hooked. Thanks for your comments, DD!

Susan aka Miss R said...

What a cool post. I often take pix of shadows just because they're so evocative and pretty. There's a soulful quality to them I think.

JennyP said...

I love photographing shadows, too--sometimes the hint of a thing is more evocative! Beautiful photos.

Debbie/GardenofPossibilities said...

Jocelyn, What a great post for darkness. This time of the year is especially perfect for photographing shadows. I feel like I hardly know my own garden at this time of the year when the shadows seem to dance all over the place.

Genevieve said...

Beautiful photos, Jocelyn. I love your soulful and poetic take on the topic!

Pam/Digging said...

I love your shadowy post, Jocelyn. I'm especially smitten with the image of allium shadows against that steel wall. I'll be out looking for shadows in my own garden now.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Susan, soulful - yes. They come and go, strong and soft, like emotions.

Thanks, Jenny - I enjoy trying to capture the "fun house mirror" quality that shadows can evoke.

Shadows dancing - yes! A bit of wind, scattering leaves, drifting clouds all make for a dramatic season for shadow watching!

Thank you for your kind words, Gen!

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Pam, glad you enjoyed my take on "darkness" - I know you have lots of fantastic textures in your garden that will make for some fascinating shadow watching. Have fun!

Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker" said...

Enjoyed the black and white images and your focus on shadows in the garden. When you "turn off" the color, you can really appreciate plant forms, as you pointed out!

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Shirley - "turning off the color" is a great trick for all kinds of garden analysis! Thanks for your comments.

Karen Chapman said...

Beautiful images.

ScottHokunson said...

Love the shadows! Your images had me wanting to turn and discover what was creating them. A surreal pleasure in a garden experience.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Karen, thank you so much!

Great observation, Scott - those shadows can be tricksters, for sure!

Deb said...

Seeing your images and reading your blog has inspired me many times. I often feel like I am taking a class. Thanks so much!

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

My pleasure, Deb! Writing these posts gives me the impetus to keep looking and learning about gardens and design. Thanks!

rebecca sweet said...

Jocelyn - what a fantastic post! This is probably one of my favorites so far. I really enjoyed reading your in-depth discussion about the different types of shadows and LOVED the accompanying photos. Thank you so much!

TC said...

If only the sun would stick around long enough....!!

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Thanks for your kind words, Rebecca! This was certainly one of my favorites to prepare.

TC, come to Colorado - we have LOTS of sun!

Robert Webber said...

Hi Jocelyn, Delayed response! My, what an elite group we were! And what a lovely and thoughtful interpretation of the subject with stunning pics. I am sure anyone who sees this will think more and look more at shadows afterwards!

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Hi Robert, hope you enjoyed your vacation! Thanks for your nice comment - I always strive to inspire!