Friday, November 10, 2006

The Inspiring Plant Palette of Suzanne Porter

IMG_1944, originally uploaded by kath66.

A few years ago, the SF Chronicle ran a tribute to Berkeley Garden Designer Suzanne Porter upon her premature death due to cancer. The article was extremely well and lovingly written and really captured not only the talent of the woman, but her gardening inspirations that led her to appreciate such unique and hitherto unheralded plants, and especially folliage, and her way of putting them together to create a path for the eye, as would a painter. I loved the article, as it was a time I was searching for a vision form my own humble plot, and found an affinity with her aesthetic--particularly with her love of red, auburn, rust and brown foliage. Her favorite nurseryman, Don Rose, of Harlequin Gardens named a collection of plants after her. It took me a few hours to decode the list using my Sunset Western Garden Book and my American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia. Whenever I'm looking for a new plant, I pull out the list. It's conveniently organized by trees, shrubs, perennials, and grasses and vines. Though much of what was on the list I'd have skimmed right over, I now give them considerable thought because Suzanne loved them. Somehow I trust her, even though I never even knew her.

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