Can You Visualize?

Watch the birdie! visual photo lady6024_zps83229983.jpg
Some people have the ability to perfectly envision a design in their mind's eye and create that design in the real world:  they can visualize.  The rest of us have to work at it.  
Different talents:
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I've got this new section of wrought iron...
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...and this one...
visual photo lady6035_zps6d9b501b.jpg help create a privacy screen between our home and the neighbors on the north side of the house. One option for the first piece is to allow Star Jasmine to grow up enough to engulf it.  I know this would work, not because I can visualize it, but because I've seen it in the real world:
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There are pluses and minuses to all the screening solutions I've thought of.  One idea was woven cloth privacy screen, which is often used on chain link fencing around construction sites.  Advantage is instant and relatively inexpensive.  Minus:  it will look like--a construction site.  

I've thought about the Jasmine for the lower piece, and some other vine for the upper one on the balcony, which would have to be grown in a container--another rose?  A Soladra maxima?  That's a big vine, but the way I nurture plants in containers, it would be stunted.
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I couldn't visualize, so I went and looked at a Solandra maxima in the neighborhood.  It's a big vine, alright.  Maybe something else would be better.  How about hanging some Wooly Pockets?
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Heh. Be realistic! 
I have at one time actually visualized something.  I visualized a focal point down at the end of the Gloomy Stair.  I added a tuteur, which looked okay.  I painted it lavender, which looked better but still not quite right.  Lately I've had a craving to paint something purple, so I painted the tuteur purple.  Better still.
Sometimes a lady needs to paint something purple:  
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Incidentally, the paint I bought turned out to be the exact same shade as the Jacaranda flowers falling from the neighbor's tree.  I hadn't even thought of that. 
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I then decided my purple tuteur really needed a vine.  It looked a bit wimpy by itself.  The spot is not sunny enough for most vines, and the tuteur is small, so I thought--visualized?--that a chartreuse sweet potato vine would be cool.
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Which it is, uh, sort of, if it grows more.  But that's as far as my visualization skills have taken me.  My screening problem remains unsolved.

How are your visualization skills?  They must be better than mine.  


  1. In my brain I have what I call my 'virtual drawing board', I use it at night when I can't sleep, that's where I plan all things, from garden and DIY projects to posts to write, to, previously - clothes to make, I can no longer sit at the sewing machine so I haven't made any new clothes in years but I used to make a lot for myself and for friends and family. I guess imagination is partly something you are born with, but I also think you can train your imagination, by using it often enough :-)

    As for screening, I think it is important when screening to choose something that is evergreen so that you have cover all year round and not just in the summer so the jasmine will be great. I don’t really know the plants in your climate, apart from that it is much hotter than over here, but for the pots, try to choose something with all year interest too!

    1. You are right, practice, practice, practice. I used to do a lot of sewing myself; not enough time anymore.

  2. I know what you mean; you have to try and work out what it will look like, which may not turn out as you expect. That's fine if it is quick and cheap, not so good if you have to wait or have invested in something.

    You can get some nice "shade cloths" now, that come in all different colours. You could use one of those on the inside until something grows on the outside.

    1. Yes, if it's quick and cheap, I don't care, but expensive-and-doesn't-look-right hurts!

  3. I think a vine is the right idea -- try it and see? You can always remove it, right?

    As a short-term solution, how about hanging framed fabric panels on the fence? I see them as being smaller than the fence section, so some fencing shows around the border. Shouldn't be too expensive, fairly easy to make and hang.

    My visualization often ends up looking much better than the reality. Not sure if that's good or bad.

    1. Framed panels is an interesting idea I never would have thought of myself, thanks! Sunbrella remnants stapled onto garage sale canvases. I'll think about that.

  4. I can't visualize at all but just put stuff in places and if it doesn't work, out comes the sledge hammer/shovel/pick ax. Eventually I'll get tired of that and simply live with the last effort or move.

    1. I read a comforting thing: the design of a garden is never finished. When it's not right, we can just say it's not finished yet! :)

  5. I can visualize things but it's not fun. I feel like it just means me copying other people or things that I have seen and I hate being so mimetic. After 10 years I've given up since I'm in this for my love of nature and plants. I try new things all of the time and although it takes a lot of work when things go wrong, and yes, my garden is not traditionally pretty, I think that my brain is wired to make my garden much like an artist's messy studio. I call it a plant laboratory—with and emphasis on the word "labor" in that description. I splatter paint here and there in the form of plants. I find this to be relaxing.

    Not to suggest this is at all for everyone but sometimes I come up with combinations of plants that make me very proud. Having grown lots of my own rare plants from seed helps me as well. On the other hand, I dream of having a patch of land to make my Jackson Pollock inspired flowerbed someday. Again, this is probably not what most gardeners endeavor to do, but it's my little green dream.

    PS Great to read your blog again. I've been away for a bit.

    1. Rare plants from seed, can't imagine. I can grow tomatoes from seed--sometimes...maybe...

      I love the image of a Jackson Pollock flowerbed!

  6. Is there a place where the vine can grow up the side of the house? Perhaps could be kept to a single trunk? I've seen bougainvillea grown this way but that's probably not the appropriate plant. Maybe something else will grow that way. Pots dry out so quickly in this climate.

    1. Yes that's the problem! When the Santa Anas blow I can water four times a day and potted plants still shrivel. Maybe I need a plastic vine?

  7. Your Jacaranda is gorgeous, such a pity we cannot grow it here in gardens. And I was surprised to see the Solandra maxima. Do you know I had it a long time ago in my conservatory, it grew far too big but I had many of that mangnificent flowers.

    1. I went and looked at a Solandra at the garden center yesterday, they are so very big! Too much for the space, I fear.

  8. I can visualize things, and even implement them, but by the time I'm installing something, I am visualizing something else. Sigh.
    Nothing wrong with Star Jasmine. That's one plant that I sorely miss from California. You can get a bunch of different kinds at, or a pink one at Logees (smells weird though). In your climate I'm also imagining Stephanotis, Mandevilla, Clerodendrum thomsoniae, Clematis armandii, Beaumontia grandiflora, Lonicera hildebrandiana, Hardenbergia, Sollya, or an espaliered evergreen shrub like Michelia...all things that I can't grow in my climate!

  9. I'm like you - I can identify plants that might work in a given setting not because I can visualize them there but because I've worked with them before. I find vines tricky because they can so easily get out of control. My husband hates Bougainvillea because it grew about a foot each week and had to be constantly cut back when it was planted along the driveway of our old house. After he took out the Bougainvillea, I put in Bignonia, which didn't grow into the driveway but did head into the neighbor's trees. My favorite vine is Sweet Autumn Clematis, however it does have to be cut back hard once a year. Good luck with your selection process!


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