Fling 2014: Ideas and Lessons (Plan to Steal!)

I'll ponder a few ideas and lessons I picked up from Fling gardens and steal let them inspire me. 

Idea from the JJ de Souza Garden:  the use of a single non-green color over and over again throughout the garden, swimming in a sea of green--I liked that.  If one gets tired of that non-green color-- just switch it out everywhere for a completely different effect.  The entry gate announces the primary color:

 Orange you glad you're here?
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Orange was repeated in many different ways, but never overwhelmed.  In containers and flowers:
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In the furniture:
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In tiny dots of color. 
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Idea from JJ de Souza again:  some odd detail, apparently a mistake, used in one area, repeated in another, so you know it wasn't a mistake after all.  The gardener winking at you.  Cool!  Or maybe it was just a really cool coincidence.
A Carex tuft by the front yard dining table:
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And one by the back yard dining table, too:
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Idea from the Ernst/Fuller garden,  the gas meter got sexed up without hiding the important part (the numbers):
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Another idea from Ernst/Fuller.  This translucent plastic panel fence made the neighbor's plants a mysterious, ghostly presence, while still providing privacy:
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Lesson from Floramagoria.  Add a few unusual plants;  be a little more adventurous--gardeners who visit can puzzle over them no end.  What is that?  Bait the botanimaniacs, in other words.
Oooh!  What is that?
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Oooh!  Is that a white frosted Fatsia?
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Idea:  reinvent garden cliches.  Gnomes, for example:
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Not your Grandmother's gnome, that's for sure:
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And a bust on a column--not your typical example, either:
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Different kind of--erm--froggie?
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Lesson:  more places to sit, not less.  Someday I'll have time to sit in the garden and look.  Someday.  Have the chairs waiting.  People sit down, relax...we all need more of that these days. 
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And not necessarily just chairs...
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And regarding garden chairs, here's a link to the excellent post by A Growing Obsession on what could be called Portland's Greatest Sits.

Lesson:  the smaller the space, the more important the details. 
Danger Garden, meticulously detailed...
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Chickadee Garden, charmingly detailed...
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Lesson:  the larger the space, the greater impact of mass plantings and repetition.
This is actually the Long Beach Airport, which we flew out of, but it illustrates the impact of repetition, and it was on the trip:
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Lesson:  what if your garden is neither jewel-box sized, or enormous?  In the Floramagoria garden, neither compact nor very large, massed small bog plants, repeated in several areas, makes the best of both ideas. 
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Fun stuff!  Portland gardeners are stylish, inventive, and smart.  Now, how many ideas can we steal--uhh, be inspired by?


  1. Your last paragraph sums up Portland gardens perfectly. So many ideas to borrow, I'll have to go through the photos again in winter for ideas for next year.

    1. There were some good ones. It will be interesting to see which ones filter out through the blogosphere and into real gardens.

  2. I usually come away from gardens like those with garden envy and a notebook full of borrowed ideas. Good to see it is not just me.

    1. "Good artists copy; Great artists steal." -- Picasso

      "Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Hathaway Aiken

  3. It's a kick (and an honor) to see what you would choose to steal from us.

    1. Every climate has its virtues. It's a matter of making the most of them, right?

  4. I'm seriously considering taking out a small business loan and bringing in huge numbers of that fatsia to SoCal. Silly for it not to be available.

    1. Based on cursory poking around the internet, I think the original source was Terra Nova. I wonder why they stopped growing them...crop failure? Lack of demand?

  5. There's a potpourri of great ideas here. I've been thinking about how to tie the elements of my garden together using color since I saw the first pictures of JJ de Souza's garden, although I frankly doubt I can restrict myself to 1 accent color (maybe 3, I'm thinking). Oddly, I was also strangely drawn to that dinosaur but maybe that's just a signal that I'm spending too much time with succulents right now.

    1. The orange throughout brought a real unity to the garden. I don't know how I could ever be that disciplined.

      I liked how the dinosaur colors matched the surrounding plants.

  6. Okay you got me with that image from the airport. I was quickly flying through the gardens in my mind trying to think where in the heck I could have missed that. Nicely done!

    1. You would have never missed that. The photo was prime danger garden bait. ;^)

  7. I too was smitten by the casual use of Carex in JJ's garden. I definitely want to steal that.

    1. Was it deliberate or not? Only JJ knows for sure...

  8. One of the best parts of these kinds of trips, besides meeting so many cool people interested in gardening, is coming away with so many great ideas to steal/copy/use in your own garden. We saw such a variety of gardens that there was something for everyone to try at home. Great post!

  9. What exactly is covering the gas meter, I would like to do the same at my home

    1. That I think was a vintage radiator cover--you could certainly have a wrought-iron worker or metal sculptor create something like that for you quite easily.


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