A Blog about Landscape Design in San Diego
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Succulent Celebration

Succulent Celebration

On June 7th and 8th Waterwise Botanicals nursery in Escondido,CA  hosted the 1st annual Succulent Celebration, a festival dedicated to all things succulents. Falling Waters Landscape was on hand to represent the company and take part in the festivities of the weekend. As I approached the front entrance I knew it would be lively since the roads were lined with cars on either side. The Festival was truly a celebration of all things succulents as every guest speaker was an expert on succulents.

The respected and accomplished speakers on hand included :

Photojournalist & bestselling author Debra Lee Baldwin

Plant Research and Development Manager Kelly Griffin

Landscape Designer Michael Buckner

Waterwise Botanical founder Tom Jesch

Designers Chris Berg, Carmen Contreras

Solana Succulents owner Jeff Moore

Mission Hills Nursery owner Tiger Palafox

 

Debra Lee Baldwin was a crowd favorite for capturing the crowd with her humor and knowledge. On friday morning she had the attention of the largest crowd of the weekend with her talk on her top 10 favorite succulents for the garden. Her Potting demonstration on saturday was also a favorite for her quick yet beautiful succulent bouquets that awed the crowd for their visual appeal while using a minimal variety of species and a few simple design principles. Each and every speaker gave insightful talks about their respective topics and provided informative tips for homeowners and their gardens.

 

 

 

 

Debra Lee Baldwin

Debra Lee Baldwin

Tiger Palafox Entertained with an informative talk about myths regarding succulent landscapes and let everyone know that mixing succulents with non succulents is OKAY. People tend to be afraid to experiment mixing different types of plants at times. The talk also informed on the extreme hardiness of succulents and how they don’t need established root systems for survival. Succulents will however thrive and aesthetically look and perform better with regular watering.

 

 

 

Succulent Festival

Succulent Celebration

Waterwise Botanicals plant experts were on hand throughout the entire weekend helping guests who meandered through the rows of varieties of plants and succulents being sold. Nursery tours were held throughout the day while maintenance and care tips were providing guests the know-how for a successful garden.

 

Succulent Celebration

Succulent Celebration

The festival brought vendors selling pots and unique flower arraignments in interesting containers. Some vendors even ventured from Santa Monica, CA while guests traveled from as far as Oregon. The crowds which consisted of people from all walks of life were busy from morning to late afternoon. Bbq Food Trucks were on hand during the lunch break and brought long lines which allowed people to mingle and talk plants while enjoying mac n cheese brisket sandwiches on sourdough bread.

 

Succulent Celebration

Succulent Celebration

 

Sketches

Sketches

Breaks between the speakers allowed guests to meander through the nursery and allowed me for a quick 5 minute sketch of the succulents in the display gardens. Sketching can bring inspiration from time to time and may be the catalyst for the next set of Falling Waters Landscape designs.

Succulent Celebration

Succulent Celebration

 

 

Succulent Celebration

Succulent Celebration

 

Succulent Celebration

Succulent Celebration

Sketches

Sketches

The 1st annual Succulent Celebration by Waterwise Botanicals was surely a great success. The public was well informed on a variety of subjects about their succulent gardens and topics of pest care, irrigation, complimentary plants and tips for plant care were flowing from many a professional. The public was flowing through the entrance from morning to night with cars parked along the road as far as the eye could see as they, just as I were excited to have the opportunity to hear from experts in the industry and browse the large catalog of succulents available at Waterwise Botanicals. We can’t wait to come next year and see what the celebration brings us.

Succulent Celebration

Succulent Celebration

 

Within without- James Turrell

Within without- James Turrell

 

In the late summer of 2011 I had the opportunity to view an installation by James Turrell at the Venice Biennale in Italy. This is a yearly world art exhibition showcasing acclaimed progressive artists from all over the globe. Turrell’s exhibition was the only installation out of hundreds with a line to view. I waited for nearly two hours in order to enter a room with two other people for no more than 5 minutes. The installation had not a single object inside. The only things encompassing the room were space, light and total disorientation. That was the point though. While waiting in line we stood in anticipation of what to expect of the visual and perceptual artist and his latest installation. Many of Turrell’s works engulf ones visual perception of the space they occupy and subsequently alter your perception of the light that is emitted either extremely apparent or subtle. It is difficult to describe his installations as you are usually attempting to describe perceptual illusions.

Apani Installation by James Turrell at the Biennale, Italy

Ganzfeld APANI, 2011, Venice Italy Biennale

When I emerged around the corner towards the entrance we were looking at an illuminated wall shining a bright neon colored rectangle. At the base of the wall was a set of stairs running down either end and leading to a base like a pyramid. We remember not knowing what we were supposed to be looking at until out of nowhere a man walked out of the projection. The way the light reflected off the rectangle made the depth of the neon rectangle dissolve and subsequently was the first perceptual experience. Upon entering the room we are instantly void of depth and given the feeling of standing in an endless room with no end. The only cue we receive is a slight incline of the room. after the first few minutes the acknowledgment of the space we occupied started to become apparent and the size of the room began to emerge. Then just as it began, it was over and we were walking out the wall and down the stairs. Our experience was so brief yet incredibly profound. The wait was well worth being taken on Turrell’s visceral ride of light and space. The installation let me know of the great impact a designer can imbue to a viewer with such a brief  visual and experiential moment.

Ganzfeld APANI 2011, Venice, Italy Biennale

Ganzfeld APANI 2011,
Venice, Italy Biennale

 

Ganzfeld APANI 2011 Venice, Italy Biennale

Ganzfeld APANI 2011, Venice, Italy Biennale

James Turrell has been working in the light and space art world since the 1960′s and received a Macarthur “Genius” grant in 1984 for his contributions to the art world and progressing the field of light, space and land art installations. He is widely considered one of the signature artists of his generation and his works are scattered all over the world in various forms. His works began manipulating artificial light sources in isolated environments to create illusions to ones perception with light. Turrell then began experimenting with natural celestial light and building structures that would compliment the light to create illusions of depth and perception.

 

 

Diving the Light

Diving the Light

Dividing the Light

Dividing the Light

Turrell’s lifelong project however actually takes place inside an extinct volcano called Roden Crater. The idea is to bring all of his works’ ideologies into one mega land art installation. His aim is to bring the light from the sun and moon into the crater and cultivate celestial experiences that are inspired by the ancient cultures who also looked up to the sky and created mega structures to study and honor the celestial cycles.

James Turrell in front of Roden Crater

James Turrell in front of Roden Crater

“My work is more about your seeing than it is about my seeing, although it is a product of my seeing. I’m also interested in the sense of presence of space; that is space where you feel a presence, almost an entity — that physical feeling and power that space can give.

Roden Crater has knowledge in it and it does something with that knowledge. Environmental events occur; a space lights up. Something happens in there, for a moment, or for a time. It is an eye, something that is itself perceiving. It is a piece that does not end. It is changed by the action of the sun, the moon, the cloud cover, by the day and the season that you’re there, it has visions, qualities and a universe of possibilities.” – James Turrell

Within Roden Crater

Within Roden Crater

 James Turrell can’t be considered a typical landscape designer by any measure. James Turrell can be considered an innovative and immensely progressive thinker and designer. His attitude toward art and the many manipulations one may incorporate to alter the perceptual experience have most definitely affected the design and art field. Turrell’s work is successful for it’s transcendent characteristics for not being conventional art nor conventional landscape design. The blending of mediums has been significant in progressing both fields and creating lasting impressions on those who have the opportunity to experience his installations first hand.

 

Skyspace

Skyspace

As I step outside the office and look towards the mountains beyond the carpet of suburbia sprawled before me I visualize a place unknown, untamed and uninterrupted. Dangerous and undomesticated animals are sure to be lurking within those hills. The normal resources I have at my disposal are not available to me within the trees. Stripped of familiar avenues, I must find my own way through this novel landscape. If asked, I’m sure many people would call what I am describing as the wilderness. Folks may say we live in civilization and that is the wild. I sometimes wonder to myself where this idea came to be. Surely the places unknown beyond the familiar comforts were once described in books and newspapers. They must have written of far off landscapes of mountains or deserts unfit for man. People would be terrified, while others a bit excited. In the end though, the wild is over there and we are here. Somewhere along the way we as a society made that distinction. Somewhere along the way we drew a line and it has stuck, unwavering for years on end. Are we supposed to know that we must live here and not there?  Must we be tamed and abiding members of society and deprived of any wildness that may be hidden within us?

Into the wild

Into the wild

What seems to emerge from this is that what we are describing are merely states of mind and designations. We choose to say that those mountains, forests and deserts are the wilderness. The default definition of wilderness became those areas on earth not developed by us and left as is as a sort of preservation of what once was. It is a place of danger without hand rails and caution signs. Enter at your own risk. Similarly, the wild was given this designation as a place unknown, uncomfortable and not refined with wildness as what occurs within the wild. If I act wild then what am I doing? Am I undignified and out of control? What I end up seeing is that we chose to designate wilderness, the wild and wildness as how it is defined today.

What I hope to happen is that we start seeing a paradigm shift in how we view these terms. If you were plucked from a small farming town and dropped in the middle of Tokyo wouldn’t you then be in the middle of the wilderness. You would be surrounded by the wild. Everyone around you characterizing a sense of wildness that you are unfamiliar with. All signage would be foreign to you and thus you would have to find your own way around with hardly any way of communicating with the inhabitants. The large autonomous forest replaced by man made sky scrappers engulfing your plane of sight would still play the same role within your existence wouldn’t they? They would still be large structures looming over you as a reminder of your new wild.

We are so trained to live within the constructs of the progression of societal evolution that we at times fail to forge ahead and create our own opinions about the norms that have been ingrained into our heads. We created wilderness in that we have defined it to be as it is. Stopping traffic in the middle of rush hour to play a game of soccer would be an entirely new and foreign plane and environment that would be completely wild to you. Your untamed wildness may emerge and what once was defined as a freeway brings a new definition. What if we designed intended wilderness’? What if we made landscapes unfamiliar to you? Is that necessarily a bad thing? I don’t think so. If we are to re-examine the definitions that we created then wouldn’t we be poised to create new and avant-garde landscapes prime for success? We must embrace these possibilities to fully realize our potential to create and re-create. The mountains and deserts will prevail. Is it the only wilderness? No. Embrace the idea that you are entering the wild when you alter your normal routine. Acknowledge that taking a hike on a trail is not wild at all but completely man made. Your state of mind determines what is wild and what is not. I hope everyone enters the wild from time to time.

 

“And the walls became the world all around” – Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are