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The Fallow Times

by germinatrix | February 27th, 2012

I recently went to The Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, CA, to see the Aloes in bloom. They were tremendously beautiful, and I’ll share those images with you – but something else caught my eye. Something quieter. Something in keeping with the season, something that reminded me that even though it was a super sunny 74 degrees that day, it still is winter.

The tracery of Parthenocissus on a wall.




a line drawing by mother nature

Los Angeles is a city that loves illusion. The winter character of this city isn’t very different than what we see during the summer – green green irrigated green. Evergreen trees pushing up into the sky, aggressively  blotting out the warming sun. It can be oppressive. In most parts of the country, unclothed branches etch themselves against a background of gray for several months, a leafless tree canopy that opens up to the winter sky.

I love that this vine is even more beautiful in its naked state than it is fully clothed. By removing more than 50% of the previous season’s growth, the underpinnings of the parthenocissus has been exposed and the qualities of movement and flow have been enhanced. It reminds us that there is beauty in the fallow times, and that is something we don’t see enough in Southern California. This vine was lovingly crafted for its winter look – and I applaud that loudly!

a plant doesn't have to be a scene-stealer to be a show-stopper

We all love the sexy floozies of spring and summer – big, blowsy roses, flowers of all colors adorning trees and vines, richly colored leaves (often crazily variegated) – but we need a version of visual silence in our landscapes sometimes. A moment for our eyes to adjust. That doesn’t mean that we need dead air – by treating our deciduous plants with as much care for their ornamental appeal off-season we are taking a step to further detail our gardens for year-round visual appeal that is subtle and thoughtful. Right on, I say!

I want to meet whoever pruned this vine and give them a hi-five! Or a kiss on the cheek. Or a new pare of pruners…

XOXO Your Germinatrix

3 Responses to “The Fallow Times”

  1. Beautiful and naked! You captured it perfectly G…of course you did:-)

  2. thank you for this beauty shared.
    I feel compelled to visit these walls immediately.
    and then plant this.
    and then learn how to prune
    and then…

  3. Beautiful sentiments, beautifully written.

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