by germinatrix | October 5th, 2009
Okay – I just have to say it right out – making a garden in this part of the world is harder than I’m used to. I’ve been crossing my fingers that the plants that I want to use will be available, but until this trip, I haven’t been sure if that was the case. Everyone is very nice – VERY nice, but that nice comes at a price. I am not always told the facts of the matter at hand – I am often told what it is the people working with me think I want to hear.
For instance – I am doing a large meadow of Nasella tennuissima … a beautiful sweep of feathery blond grass that will swoon and sway with the wind, and will tickle the spiky leaves of the local sisal agave – Agave fourcroydes, otherwise known as hennequin. No other grass is like this beauty! I have been assured that we have this grass secured. I have doubted it. I have asked for pictures – none. But this grass IS found, I have ben told! When I finally got a photo of the grasses – just as I suspected … pennisetum. Still, I am assured this is the right grass. Sigh. I KNOW a Nasella when I SEE it!
BUT I have made significant progress this trip. I finally hooked up with Lucy, the owner of Jardin y Selva, and she is a bamboo maniac. Thank GOODNESS! I have been asking the plant hunters to get me my much beloved Otatea acuminata ‘Aztectorum’, and nobody has been able to find it – even though it is native to Mexico! What the EFF??? Anyway, Lucy to the rescue – she says she has it, as well as other desired varieties. I’m going to be able to plant Bambusa vulgaris vitatta, the Hawaiian Painted Bamboo that has a green drippy stripe running down the culms – such a close-up beauty! Thank you Lucy!
I also met Christopher from Jardin Jurassico, who is the very first person I’ve met in all of my Yucatecan nursery visits who speaks my language – botanical latin! There are very good reasons we who work in the business of plants use this crazy made-up language that has a tenuous relationship to latin proper – in order to identify a specific plant, we need to use a standardized name. Common names are lovely and descriptive, but are fairly useless when trying to get hard information on a plant. (for example, the common name of the aforementioned ‘Nasella’ is Mexican Feather Grass. But nobody in Mexico can find it! So much for common names…) And then we throw the Mayan names into the mix! A total shitstorm of of horticultural confusion ensues, and I end up thinking that maybe a few flowering trees, lawn, and a pretty shrub or two might not be that bad. Not really, but there have been moments…
But Christopher soothed and comforted me with his dulcet tones cooing in that familiar horticultural sing-song (with an appealing accent redolent of heat, humidity, and habanero peppers), showing me the amazing plants in his vivero (nursery), and thrilling me with big examples of gorgeous palms in the quantities I need. I also saw fantastic plants for the dry part of the gardens – the whole thing is coming together! Thank you, Christopher!
The work that Jorge Pardo Sculpture Studios has done is nothing short of … I don’t even have the words. Out of this world! I am so proud to be on the team that is making this happen! I have been keeping the new structures under wraps, but I feel I should give you all a peak … so I’ll show you what will be the lawn. It is up in the air, on the roof of what is called The Casa Principal (The Main House). The shapes you see are skylights – but talk about a dramatic sculpture garden! We decided on lawn because of the drama of the sculptures – and because we will be having alot of intensively planted spaces, so we wanted a breath, a quite moment. Yes, I am not an advocate of lawn – but here in the tropics a well placed, well thought out lawn can be justified. This is definitely NOT just a pas-thru space!
It is so super-cool I can hardly STAND it!
Pretty damned beautiful, don’t you think?
Just wait, more to come …