Different viewpoints

Sometimes when I'm working in the garden I look up and think "wow, this really looks great!". At other times I look up and think "wow, I have a lot more work to do!". I suppose this difference in feeling toward what is the same garden can partially be explained by mood -- some days I'm just crabbier.

It's also possible that these different opinions could also be explained by where I'm currently working, because I've realized that my garden looks better from some vantage points than others -- which I'm sure is true of all gardens (individual plants and people too, right?).


Take the image above for example. This view of my largest 'Home Run' rose just isn't that exciting to me -- it doesn't make me feel like I'm doing a good job with the garden's design.

Look just a little bit to the right though...

...and it's a much more pleasing view. It looks like I know what I'm doing, and you don't even notice all of the weeds (do you?)

So a very slight change of viewpoint made a big difference. What about a big change of viewpoint?

In the previous photo I was standing under the deck looking toward the back of the yard. In the above photo I'm standing on the driveway looking across the back yard at the same rose. (You can just see the corner of the deck at the right edge of the image.)

This is an even more satisfying image to my eye, even this early in the season (things in that raised bed will change substantially in a couple of months).

Let's try another vantage point:

In this one I went back under the deck but then walked out a few steps and turned a bit to the left -- almost looking back at the spot from which I took the previous photo. This view isn't perfect, but I really like it. You can see the boxspring trellis on the right with just a hint of greenery climbing it, but the bamboo, japanese maple, and glimpse of the pergola really make this shot pretty to my eye.

Moving further down the path between the roses and bananas but keeping my eye on the pergola I no longer see the rose (it's out of frame to the left), but the shot doesn't need it:

This view is a satisfying one. Nice work me!

Continuing a bit more into the yard but turning so I keep the patio in view, another rose:

This one is 'Nearly Wild'. Although there are a few drooping bamboo culms messing up the photo a bit, this is one of my favorite views in the garden.

Okay, those are some nicer views, but what other views don't look so good in the garden? Well, there are many, but let's just look at one more example. Standing in almost the exact same spot as in the above photo, but turning to the right we see...

The pond. Now you may look at the above photo and think "beautiful!", but I just see "blah". It's nice enough, but makes me want to work on this area more. It will look different later in the summer once all of the bordering plants (Colocasia mainly) get big, but for now, it doesn't really make me happy.

Move to the other side of the pond though and look back at it...

...and now you have a view that really satisfies me! I get the same feeling when viewing it from up the hill:

I think it's the large-leaved Petasites japonicus that really do it for me.

So what's the point of all of this? I guess it's that I can save myself a lot of work if I first look at a "problem" area from different viewpoints -- I may not need to change anything after all! (A secondary lesson may be that when I have visitors in the garden, keep them moving!)

If you've got spots in your garden like this, that look better from one viewpoint than another, I'd like to see them! Post a link in the comments, or email me a photo if you can.


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (June 6, 2013 at 11:46 AM)  

I cannot believe how green your garden is. It almost hurts my eyes :-).

Good food for thought in your post. To me, our garden always looks best from the least familiar vantage point. For example when I look out the 2nd story guest room window (a window I don't look out of very often) or when I happen to be on top of a ladder looking down.

Hoover Boo  – (June 7, 2013 at 11:54 PM)  

I have my favorite views, for sure, I'll have to think about your post and take my camera out to the garden and see what I can see.

But otherwise I'm with Gerhard--your garden is so GREEN. It doesn't hurt my eyes, though, they are drinking it up.

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