Chrissie's Happy Color

Since everything outside is either white or brown, it seems like a good day to think about some other colors, lots of other colors. I'm starving for them. So where better to turn than to my friend--and garden juggernaut--Chrissie D'Esopo (remember her dragon?), who loves color and is not shy about it. I don't know too many other gardens that put on such a lavish display, with big blocks of color jammed higgledy, piggledy against other blocks of color. Wowsa! What a show.

She does it almost all with annuals, and plants 20,000 a season to get the colorific effects she's after in her ever-enlarging garden. She also uses lots of pots--500 or so--so she can more easily yank and replace any poor performers. The results do get attention--when Chrissie is open for a garden tour, she gets more than a 1,000 visitors, sometimes twice that. There have actually been fender-benders in front of her house, as passing motorists can't keep their eyes on the road. Yep, it's the kind of place that can cause whiplash. She has so much to see.

There are lots of ways to use color, from mannered, carefully wrought harmonys and color complements at one end of the spectrum and wild free-for-alls like Chrissie's at the other. Actually, Chrissie is just about off the charts. I use plenty of vivid colors too, but tend toward restraint in combining them, so it's always kind of liberating for me to see Chrissie's extravaganza. The sheer exuberance of color, splashed thither and yon, is something I call happy color. It's not about making conventional combinations, or using a color wheel or any other designerish notions, it's all about I-love-color fun. She even protects tender plants from pounding thunderstorms by covering them with her huge collection of umbrellas--all in bright colors, of course.


Chandramouli S said...

I, of course, remember the Dragon. Man, that was a marvelous work of hers and she definitely shows her passion by protecting her babies! Whoa! 50,000+ you say? Man She's really into it and btw, does she sleep?

Linda Lunda said...

AWSOM! And the DRAGON!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That was love at first sight!
Have you seen my ceramic dragon?
I just love dragons!
I think I do have to try to make a dragon like hers !

HelenJ said...

I love colours! But as you say, I'm a bit afraid to go maniac with them. But when I see Chrissie's garden, I tend to think otherwise. Much doesn't have to be too much! =) /Helen

Anonymous said...

That's MY kind of garden! I love brights and that first photo is exquisite! Wonderful combinations of color -- thanks for sharing this. It gave me a lift today, too. :)

Steve Silk said...

Chandramouli--Not 50,000, not yet anyway. As for sleeping, I'm not sure, but I haven't seen her working by flashlight.

Steve Silk said...

Linda--I have seen your dragons and they are wonderful creations. I like all the ceramic projects I've seen on your blog. Good luck making living one!

Steve Silk said...

HelenJ--At some point, there's no such thing as too many or too much. The hard part can be getting there. It helps if you know you're going for one of those "more is more" gardens.

Steve Silk said...

Nancy--It is hard to beat that front yard display. Over the top, but exquisitely so.