Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Japan Garden at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg

"Ideally, the garden and the museum are not separate architectonic works, but are to be perceived as parts of a total concept. Both living spaces seemingly flow symbiotically into each other. In a certain sense, the garden can be experienced from the house and the house opens up into the garden."

Photos: © Joachim Thies

garden architect:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Compost as Muse

Born in New York, New York, 17 February 1939 John Pfahl has been creating photographs for the past 30 years that in my opinion illustrate the potential and fragility of nature. Pfahl's portfolio includes photograph series with titles such as Extreme Horticulture, Altered landscapes and Arcadia Revisited. Although more light hearted than his other works, for me "The Very Rich Hours of a Compost Pile" offers intimacy and insight into the artist's life and work.

The Very Rich Hours of a Compost Pile
"My compost pile, situated in a hidden corner of the garden, constantly changes with the passing months. The rich efflorescence of rotting vegetable matter creates a day book of both the memorable and mundane meals that grace my table." John Pfahl

corn and pinto beans

frozen peas

honeydew and slug

orange peels and fennel


swiss chard in snow

watermelon rinds

For additional insight into Pfahl's work please visit

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Local Talent

Two great Victoria venues to visit this weekend
Szolyd Announces their outdoor living show in Victoria, B.C. April 24/25. They will be presenting their innovative line of exterior concrete furnishings in a beautifully staged garden located just minutes from downtown. Those attending the show will receive a 25% discount towards purchases made during the two day event.

Some of the items to be seen include:
Local handcrafted large format concrete planter line
water feature concepts
Permanent concrete tables that hold up to the merciless Victoria weather
Unique art pieces and small decor items.
G-ROC + 85% recycled glass product of the year
Large and small format tiles of all colours and sizes

For more information please visit:

Ivan Meade-Trevino is the principal designer of the Meade Design Group. He brought his innovative design talent from Mexico to Vancouver Island in 2002 and is known for his stunning interiors, unique furnishings and eye catching graphics.
Ivan will be showcasing his many talents in an exhibition at the p.s Gallery at Place this Saturday evening at 7pm.

Friday, April 17, 2009

10 meadow wildflowers of British Columbia

On a walk this morning I passed a neighbours garden that has naturalized with Dodecatheon hendersonii and Erythronium oreganum, a striking example of our native wildflower meadow. For me this image evokes a sense of complete balance and was the influence behind today's post.

image Christian Barnard

1. Dodecatheon hendersonii - Henderson's shooting star
Inhabits moist to wet meadows, grassy bluffs and stream banks.

image Rod Gilbert

2. Erythronium oreganum - Easter lily
Forming enchanting drifts of white nodding flowers our native Easter lily can be found in dry to moist meadows and open forest.

image Rod Gilbert

3. Camassia quamash - Common camas
Camas inhabits open meadows and grassy slopes.

image Bob Keller

4. Triteleia hyacinthina - Fools onion
Found in open grasslands, coastal bluffs and rocky grasslands.

5. Allium acuminatum - Hookers onion
Can be found thriving on dry hills and flats, rocky open knolls and coastal headlands.

6. Antennaria rosea - Rosy pussytoes
Occupies dry grassy slopes, meadows and along river terraces from sea level to the sub alpine zone.

image Rod Gilbert

7. Sisyrinchium douglasii - Satin flower
One of our earliest wildflowers, it can be found in our Garry oak ecosystems or on rocky bluffs.

image Robin

8. Lamium utrulatum - Spring gold
Inhabits our dry open meadows.

image random truth

9. Ranunculus occidentalis - Western buttercup
A very common flower in our parks the Western buttercup can be found in meadows, woodlands, thickets, and along our beaches and streams.

image via Botany BC

2. Fritillaria affinis syn. F. lanceolata - Chocolate lily
Fritillaria is found in open Garry Oak meadows. grassy bluffs and open forests.

image Rod Gilbert

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Australian Impact

Project Name: The Australian Garden
Client: Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranborne

Principal Designer/s: Taylor Cullity Lethlean with Paul Thompson
Design Team: Kevin Taylor, Perry Lethlean, Kate Cullity, Marshal Kelaher, Samantha Parsons, Jimmy Yang, Ross Privitelli, Gary Keltie, Susan Farrugia, Sarah Haq, Ofri Gilan, Natalie Schneide

Site Area: 25 Hectares
Construction: 1995 - Ongoing

"The project seeks to stimulate visitors, in creative landscape compositions, using the diversity and potential of indigenous flora.", Taylor Cullity Lethlean on The Australian Garden.

aerial view during construction

Garden features:
Red Sand Garden
Rockpool Waterway
Dry River Bed
Arid Garden
Exhibition Gardens
Eucalyptus Walk

The journey through the Australian Garden starts with the Sand Garden where the expanse of red sand contrasts with rich green and grey foliage.

The themes of the Exhibition Gardens are:
the diversity of Australian plants
water conservation
the future garden
home garden
the children’s backyard garden

The design of the Dry River Bed relates to the ephemeral nature of water within the Australian landscape and the power of water to shape the land into river-beds on a seasonal basis.

Photographs: Dianna Snape, Peter Hyatt, Jill Burness, Ben Wrigley

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Vintage Printed Matter

This book has been in my library for as long as I can remember. It continues to act as a brilliant conversation piece and I can only hope in its earlier years, the considered content provided its owner with a new respect for the local flora and fauna.

The Author + Illustrater C.P lyons, was born in the prairies but made his home in Victoria BC. The book was originally published in 1952 and the copy you are looking at was revised and published in 1965.

The book is filled with author illustrated captions of our native vegetation.
Also included in the hand rendered detailed botanical drawings is the tall man in the hat, for scale of course.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hort Couture

What do the catwalks of Milan and the art of gardening have in common, absolutely nothing,
until now.

Meet Fashion Designer Vivienne Westwood's latest muse, her gardener Andy Hulme........

Among the images of Vivienne Westwood's menswear show for autumn/winter 2009/10 one lanky, elegant, bearded model stands out from the skinny young men. There's a clue to his identity: the collection, full of tweeds and leather, was tramped up and down a catwalk covered in gravel. Knee pads, thick gloves and even the odd trowel complete the look, for the model is Westwood's own gardener Andy Hulme, muse and inspiration for the whole collection.

above + below
Westwood's gardener Andy Hulme

Asked if gardening in Vivienne's creations was uncomfortable, Andy replied:

"Well, in 20 years, I've investigated every type of military, industrial, country clothing. And you can't beat Westwood!
"I mean, the idea we have now of work clothes, leisure clothes, sports clothes… it's quite a new idea. If you look back, people wore suits to do everything."

At first, he thought the idea of a collection based on his look was a joke. "People were mentioning it to me and I kept thinking they were making fun of me. I even thought, this is a bit evil, they are all joining in on it!" And then he went through the strange process of watching the collection evolve. "The first time I turned up and saw a couple of photos of myself on the wall of the studio, it was a bit weird, but then I thought, what an interesting thing to happen."

collection photos by: Davide Maestri

Some fashion-industry commentators were rather dismayed at the idea of a mere horticulturalist kitted out in Milan's finest productions. The website opined that a gardener would hardly be likely to go out pruning in Lanvin-inspired high-tops. Yet all the evidence would suggest they are wrong. Today, Andy is wearing the most extraordinarily composed three-piece suit, topped off by a doubled pair of jaunty hats. In one hand is a roll-up; with the other he's digging out peonies.
story via The Independent

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Garden as Influence at Gardenwise online

I have been invited by garden and landscape Magazine GardenWise to be a regular contributor to their online publication.

GardenWise is largely focused on gardening in the diverse regions of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. It is the largest-selling gardening magazine in B.C. The magazine and website focuses on organic and sustainable gardening practices.

"Gardens are the link between people and the outside world. As a culture, we have felt the need to reunite ourselves with our surroundings and have created gardens to fulfill these aspirations and values. The creation of the private walled gardens of a busy city, the design of new and avant-garde public parks, and the action of lawn space turned over to cultivate food are a few of the responses by humans to the ever-increasing pace at which civilization and technology are developing"......

I invite you to visit my post "The Garden as Influence" at