A Garden’s Best Font Size

Really a question of appropriate scale of plants and plantings, if you can’t read it without straining your eyes, then the font is too small.  A dizzyingly detailed landscape that is busy with a million colors and textures and fine leaves and so on cannot possibly be quickly rationalized.  Details are fine if there is an opportunity to be close to the landscape and if there is time to explore the landscape.  However, if it is being passed by at any pace or viewed from any distance, then a certain bold font, that is, plantings which are in some context massed together, is helpful if the garden or landscape is to be understood by those from certain distance or at a certain pace.
The size of font symbolizes the size of particular swath of species planting.  The size, at which reading or seeing the text or planting accommodates the most common and/or the most important readers or viewers, is the most appropriate.  Within a planting en masse, the gardener may plant more details on the interior, a more leisurely pedestrian level, to satisfy his or her need for finer points.  Or, a planting that appears en masse for its similar hue may reveal itself upon closer inspection to be a quite detailed undulation of multiple species without overwhelming the passer by.           

So...  is this font too small?


G. Fabulosa said...

Janna, you are a wonderful thinker! Your font is fine but could you be overlooking the impressionistic aesthetic; many small details creating a more subtle visual mood? English Country vs Italian Formal? Cyrillic vs New Times Roman?I think it all depends upon creative intention and matters of personal taste.

Janna said...

I know at least two people who would agree with you that I have overstepped my bounds and rejected all but the modern style.

It is not so! I love ALL of the historic styles, the merging of existing styles and the creation of new styles of landscape design.

However, all styles require repetition in order to be well identified as a particular style. Repetion is a form of en masse planting in my view, though not a mono-species/monochromatic en masse planting, but rather a mixture of plants that creates a unique hue (a brushstroke from a mixture of pigments) to be used regularly throughout the design to create balance and harmony.

Most styles can be accomplished with the appropriate scale for the appropriate point of view and pace of viewer (a landscape for the sake of curb appeal was my initial point of reference).

Please don't have the impression that I don't have a place in my heart for all styles of gardening, including the avid gardener's style which at my own home has reigned as a labratory for plant associations and hardiness ratings with some culinary herbs in the mix.

I can find beauty in most gardens. But it takes time to reconcile what is going on when a lot is going on, which may be too cerebral for the meditative garden viewer seeking to be soothed or the curious passer by.

Thank you for your comment and for reading. I hope to hear from you again!