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In Mexico

by germinatrix | August 3rd, 2009


lovely, friendly merida!lovely, friendly merida!

I’m in Merida  right now, taking some meetings and familiarizing myself with the way things work down here – which is, predictably VERY different than what I’m used to!

I love a challenge – but it is crucial that you have a good team behind you when taking on something that stretches you beyond your comfort zone … and I couldn’t have better support than Jorge Pardo Sculpture ‘s awesome design/production studio. They are SO fierce and passionate about this project – and with that kind of energy behind a thing, no matter what the obstacle, the end result will shine. I know it.

Since I’ve been on the road so much lately, I’ve been thinking how incredible travel is for a garden designer (pro, hobbyist, beginner – whatever your level!). Seeing natural and man-made phenomena that take the right side of your brain for a joyride is EXACTLY what you need sometimes! We can get so focused on our zones, on what is native and appropriate, on the plants we have worked with forever and trust, that we forget about taking risks and trying new things! I understand why – I mean, when somebody is paying you lots of money to make a beautiful garden for them, throwing caution to the wind and experimenting with new plants might be a little foolhardy, sure … 

At the same time, nothing disappoints me more than a talented designer who starts to churn out cookie-cutter gardens. Traveling with our eyes wide open is a way to refresh not only our bodies and our spirits, but our sensibilities as well. 

One of my favorite blogs is Alice Joyce’s Bay Area Tendrils - she takes you to amazing places via her website, and has such a sensitive eye for inspired spaces. If you can’t actually travel right now, take a few virtual trips with Alice, and then think about how you can adapt some of what you’ve seen for use in your own garden. I was tremendously inspired by her post on the Ira Keller Fountain in Portland, Oregon.  Hmmm… I wonder how that structural marvel will influence my future work? Who knows? These things are often work their way into your creative process sideways, or through a back door, rather than head on. Otherwise it would be a knock-off rather than a point of departure … so I like to look, see, experience – and then wait. Percolate. Something will bubble up to the surface right when I need it.

a yellow bird, preening next to yellow seedpods. inspired.a yellow bird, preening next to yellow seedpods. inspired.

11 Responses to “In Mexico”

  1. Dear Germi, I’m blushing with pleasure and pride. Of course I feel the same way about my attachment to thegerminatrix. I look forward to each new post to get me thinking about design issues, and feed my lust for plants. But I also count on them to add delight to my day, and it comes in many forms. I’ve been particularly engaged by your Merida entries. They bring back a journey that seems like it happened in another life. Before Tom… before California. Alice
    aka BayAreaTendrils

  2. I think you probably need to visit Portland and see the Ira Keller Fountain in person….

  3. Germi, long time, no see! Been a busy few months here…. I’ll fill ya in later on over a bottle (or two) of wine.

    I love your Mexico photos! And you’re right; having a great team beside you on a major project is a great way to work.

    By the way, I found me some Green Wizards! Yippee!! I planted them right between irises and calla lilies. An odd combination, I know, but they all play nicely together.

  4. You are so right – we can never stop opening ourselves to new sources of inspiration, whether we’re professionals or hobbyists. Yet it’s a lesson I have to learn over and over again – it is so easy to get sucked into the day to day of design work.

    Hope you are going to share more about the project you’re working on – sounds delightfully international. As someone who is generally too lazy even to hop over the hill to take a design project in Berkeley, I am doubly impressed!

  5. Eric Chaffee says:

    Please do tell about the gardens of Merida! I will be there in December.


  6. Tendril my dear! How could I NOT link to you when doing a post on travel? You are an INSPIRATION! You know I enjoy your blog SO MUCH, and I adore how you take us on the most amazing garden adventures with every post. You’ve given me a goal – I am going to see all of these wonderful places you’ve shown me somehow!
    I’m so glad you are enjoying ‘The Merida Diaries’ – and there WILL be more to come! It is just so lovely down here, and I am learning so much!

    Okay, Loree – I am THERE! So that means that you and Megan and I need to have an awesome lunch and go plant shopping, too!
    Is it a date?

    Hemadi! HI! How great to be busy – I hope it’s a good, FUN busy! I need to get some Green Wizards back in my garden – Aren’t they AMAZING? And I think your combination sounds great – how about using the ‘Green Goddess’ Calla lilies? Have you seen those? To DIE for…!
    Thanks for stopping by again! PLEASE don’t be a stranger!

    Susan, I have to admit – just between you and I – I am NOT the type of gardener to take on exotic projects! Isn’t that funny?! Everybody who knows me just laughs … I am a famous homebody! But when something like this comes along … well – who can say no to working with incredible people on a once in a lifetime project?
    Your point is so true about the day to day design work – it’s very easy to do what we KNOW works – and that IS what clients pay us for, afterall. But I still want to have the energy I had when I started this whole garden obsession – and for me, that means keeping things a little on the edge. It takes a very specific client to enjoy that kind of process, so when we find them, we have to revel in it! Right?

    You are going to LOVE Merida, Eric! If you don’t alreay have a place to stay, I have to give you a hot tip – Hacienda Merida on Calle 62… it is WONDERFUL. Conde Nast Traveler put it on it’s Hot List of 2008, and it deserves it. It is very small, only 8 rooms, but what a lovely experience!
    I am having the best time here, and Merida seems to capture the imagination of everyone who visits – I bet it will weave it’s spell on you as well!

  7. Oh wait…I guess I shouldn’t speak for Megan….

  8. Inspiring as always. Can’t figure out how you get so MUCH into your photographs. I always feel like I’m there, walking into it and seeing it all.
    Love how you stretch yourself although a confirmed homebody. That is cool . Lesson for me too! Thanks.

  9. Gorgeous, as always. Safe and fun travels, dear sister.

  10. Loree – Right On! And we’ll just have to kidnap Megan…

    Sarah! Hi! Thanks for that compliment – I always feel like SUCH a novice behind the camera, so that was a great boost for me!
    Yes, I REALLY have to push myself to take on projects that are out of my comfort zone – which tends to be a 10 mile diameter from my house! So when an interesting project comes my way, I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and jump in. They may not always turn out wonderfully (I have stories of projects that left me in tears), but they are always adventures and valuable learning experiences. And if we stop learning, we die – and I CERTAINLY want to avoid THAT!

    Sweet Keith! My soul-brother! I’m back at home with great memories, nice photos, and good work under my belt. A successful trip. Thanks EVER so for your good thoughts – you are magic!

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