Wednesday Vignette: Expanding Views, Adding Colors

This week I have a trio of vignettes that evolved each from the one prior. Wednesday Vignette is hosted by Anna of Flutter and Hum, as a challenge to seek out inspiring combinations in the garden and beyond. Because I'm so obsessed with plants and tend to focus narrowly, I usually stick to the garden.

I was actually focusing on the Oregano 'Kent Beauty' for another post, but as I was playing with framing the shot for the clump of oregano below I noticed something. As I zoomed in and out, I subtracted or added colors and created a simpler or more complex image, changing the effect depending on the colors. It sounds so simple and obvious when I read that statement back to myself, but the effect was still interesting. In other areas of the garden, colors are more mixed together, making this impossible or at least less well-defined.

The first image zooms in on the simple contrast between the bright heather and cool oregano. 

Zooming out and shifting the frame a bit adds a grey heather and makes the chartreuse and orange heather a smaller element in the mix, making the composition cooler over-all, but still with strong contrast. The oregano against the grey heather adds a contrast between light and dark, even while each echoes the blue-grey tones of the other.

Zoom out again and you add blue-violet salvia and green from heath, heather, and thyme. The contrast between the oregano and brighter heather is reduced yet again in impact, but remains prominent. The salvia seems to retreat or create a hole because of the darker, cooler color. The green helps unify all by bringing out the subtle shades of green in all the other plants.

I actually meant to post these vignettes two weeks ago, but I keep getting sidetracked. Since I've held onto them for so long, I was curious to see how it had changed, so I took another photo for an update. I tried matching it to the third photo, but didn't quite get the right angle or frame.

The oregano is blushing more, the heathers have started to bloom (about a month early), the salvia has been cut back, the crocosmia has bent down for a photobomb, and a heath that had been shaded by the barberries I dug out earlier has been fried by the prolonged heatwave. Overall, it's completely changed from the view above.

With the salvia cut back, you can also see a small bergenia to the right of the fried heath. I'm pointing it out because it's the only thing in this view with big, evergreen leaves and one of only two things, along with the crocosmia, to provide a contrast to all the fine textures of the heathers and oregano. I used to have more of the bergenia, but the deer kept it chewed down and it slowly declined and disappeared. This tenacious survivor hid under the skirts of the heath next to it and now that the deer are denied access it has been coming back. Large, evergreen leaves are one of the things this bed needs most, and I think I'll be bringing bergenia back to the garden. It's also surprisingly drought and sun tolerant for something that looks so lush, at least in the PNW, two more important features for plants in this bed. The one above is one of the more common pink-flowered varieties. I think I'll try to track down one of the white-flowered cultivars. Ok, so this turned into a little more than just the vignettes, but that's the point, right? Seeing things you didn't notice before, getting inspired, having ideas?

Comments

  1. I am glad to know that I am not the only blogger with back-logged pictures and plans. Most of mine just get pushed farther back. Yours turned into great inspiration. Your garden looks lush and cool.

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    1. Most of my back-log just gets pushed further back, too, but I really liked these photos so they made it through. Thanks for the compliments.

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  2. I like this idea of seeing a single vignette from several vantage points. I'm usually all about varying textures, but the uniform smallness here didn't call out to me until you mentioned it. You're right: the Bergenia will be a nice addition. I just planted some, unaware that it's deer candy. So far, they haven't discovered it but I guess it's only a matter of time.

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    1. The varying colors help make up for the lack of variation in texture. I originally tried bergenia because it's on deer-resistant plant lists. Unfortunately, deer don't read those lists so mine got chewed to the ground, especially at the end of summer and in winter. My deer seem to eat a lot of things that others in the area don't, though, so maybe your deer will allow you to keep your bergenia.

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  3. It's a good idea to feature the same vignette or combo from different angles. Each one takes on a different feel, all nice!

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    1. Thanks, guys! This one was especially fun.

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  4. You've provided a great demonstration of why so many of us love gardening so much. Not only does our garden change with perspective, it can also change dramatically from one day to the next, giving us something new to look at all the time. Wonderful post, Evan.

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    1. Thank you, Kris! You're right. Watching the garden change is one of my favorite things.

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  5. Wow, that was great fun. And what Kris said is so true, gardening is all about the perspective and fleeting moments we see in our garden, never the same place twice! You've also demonstrate how photography can greatly alter how we think a garden/plant looks.

    For your Berginia shopping adventures I recommend: http://plantlust.com/plants/bergenia-lunar-glow/

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    1. Photography can change so much. I could have cut out that burnt heath and no one would ever know everything in my garden wasn't perfectly healthy. Wow, that Bergenia certainly is bright. I can see how it would be nice on a dark, rainy spring day. I'm glad it darkens in summer, though.

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  6. I love playing the ZoomOut Game - except I usually play it backwards, with the cropping tool! What a great progression of photos - I enjoyed each and every one of them. I admit having fun contrasting things against each other, but the subtleties in the receding vignettes were beautifully subtle and elegant. Like with those Matryoshka dolls, I wanted you to keep on going. It was amazing to see the difference in only a few weeks. Great one, Evan! :)

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    1. Ha! I could have continued zooming out and shown the whole picture. You would have seen all the ugly bare patches in that bed, though, which I guess can be good for showing how photography can trick us. I tend to focus on minute details first and have to force myself to expand my view. The heat has really made things change fast.

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  7. Great post! Love looking at the same space from slightly different vantage points or adjustments of the lens.

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