Sunday, June 28, 2015

White Space

In graphic design, white space refers to the blank areas on a printed page. 
It allows the eye to see the print or graphics better. 
It lets everything else exist within the space. And it gives the eye a rest. 
Here is the tidy garden at the peaceful Saint-Paul Asylum in Saint-Remy-de-Provence 
where Van Gogh was a self-admitted patient. Ahh.

I never really thought about white space in a garden 
because I love the exuberance of an overflowing cottage garden. 
That is, until I recently returned from a week-long trip.
While I was gone, it rained every day and then the sun came out in force, 
unusual for Denver's dry, pleasant climate. 
It was a natural greenhouse and the garden loved it. 
I have delphiniums that must be ten feet tall. Really.

Some of the garden was so dense, you couldn't walk through it 
even though there are brick walks or stepping stones meandering through it.

It was lush and beautiful but too much. 
I couldn't see where one plant ended and another began. 
I couldn't focus on the individual plants as my eye jumped from one to another. 
My eyes couldn't rest.

So, even though I hate pulling out perfectly healthy plants, 
I had to start creating some white space.
Out went several tall orange poppies flopping into the columbine, 
some forget-me-nots clogging up the stepping stone path, 
and a thistle that has beautiful blue blooms but is invasive and has big teeth. 

The ornamental grasses were well behaved as were the rose bushes. 
The delphiniums are fast becoming my favorite bloomers and can re-seed as much as they like.
And the goats-beard with its long whiskery strands stays put in its space by the fence.

As I filled more and more white plastic buckets with plants, the garden began to breathe. 
The black-eyed susans and agastaches spread out their droopy arms 
and each plant seemed to shine in its own glory. 
I can see the paths and they invite me to enter. And I appreciate the white space.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for bringing this subject up. We who tend to fill up our space with our presumed treasures often miss out on the breather that comes with white space. I have been trying to purge and will keep "white space" in mind as I go about setting things free.