I Don’t Feel Harmonious

Theories about color in the landscape leave me cold.  I am an anarchist when it comes to formulating rules for landscape.  When anyone talks about our emotional connection to the environment, my back stiffens, i lean forward in my chair and wrinkle my brow, At the Perennial Plant Conference on October 18, Claudia West asked the question: Why do landscapes resonate deeply within us?  What is our color memory?

“Seasonal color changes in the surrounding landscape are limited to a very narrow range of greens and browns around a strong yellow center.” I had trouble with this statement.  It fits some landscapes in some parts of the world, but it is not a global statement.

Claudia West, followed Peter Korn (see previous post).  She tried to make a connection between her topic and Peter’s talk.  “… plantings that are close to nature feel harmonious to us and resonated deeply within us.  Designs based on natural plant communities often harmonize due to the plant’s similiar morphological adaption to specific site conditions.”

Korn and West share a love of natural plant communities.  West showed a photograph of Heuchera ‘Purple Palace.’  “Purple is extremely rare in nature.” Yes, Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ is a cultivar.  And this is where constructed theories break down.  In Peter Korn’s garden, species plants from all over the world populate his rocky terrain: blues, reds, pinks, purples, etc.  For me they are not out of balance.

West is writing a book with Thomas Rainer about the emotional effects of landscape.  I look forward to reading it.  In my own way, I’ve jumped on the eco-psychology bandwagon.  I just hope I can see the forest through the trees.

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