New perspective

Birds-eye tilt-shift from September

The entire horticultural staff went to the first of our winter conferences this week.  I can really only speak for myself, but I think we get a lot out of these outings.  Not only did we get to pal around with Layanee from Ledge and Gardens and learn scary things about Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorn Beetles but we had the pleasure of listening to Sydney Eddison give her Gardens to Go: Creating and Designing a Container Garden talk and slide show.  We already have a well worn and dogeared copy of the book on the potting shed shelf and it’s one that Gail and I each have at home too.  And even though we refer to the book annually for container bed ideas as well as for new furniture colors every so often, hearing Ms. Eddison talk about her process was like seeing the photographs (by Steve Silk) of her garden for the first time.

July tiltshift in the Display Garden

She talked about borrowing from her experience as a set designer when she designed her patio container garden and it was like a little light went on in my head.  Of course a garden must have an entrance that entices you in and even doors themselves are important elements in the garden.   You never know who might walk through so she says to make sure to allow for and embellish that mystery.   Frames are very important in sets and gardens because they help draw the eye to vignettes and vistas.   And the flow of movement in a garden is as important as on a stage.  You certainly don’t want the ingenue (especially if that’s you) to trip over any of the props.

A fresh perspective calls for a fresh perspective and I learned this picture trick from Sydney Eddison’s partner in publishing, her favorite garden photographer, Steve Silk.  “Tilt Shift” is a photo editing technique (click here for a Photoshop tutorial or here for a web editor) that somehow magically transforms the view from life size to itty-bitty-teeny-tiny.  It’s like creating a mini model mock-up of the garden complete with flocking grass and paper trees.  (Be careful if you try it.  It’s a little addictive.)

The Cutting Garden in September - tiltshift

Are you finding any new perspectives on your garden?

5 thoughts on “New perspective

  1. Tiltshifting worked really well for some of those shots. Loved the last one in particular. I’m glad you included the photoshop tutorial; I’ll have to try it out. Looks like a lot of effort for results not much better than the tiltshift site, but, hey, worth a try. Sydbney is always an entertaining and inspiring speaker, glad she came by Blithewold. I’d love to come out there for a photo visit some time. Haven’t been to Blithewold for maybe 15 years. The gardens are looking spectacular.

    Steve, I tried the photoshop tutorial first only to find out I have an old version that doesn’t include a lens blur filter or something necessary… drat. But the web tilt-shift was quick and easy and too much fun. I hope to see you here at Blithewold soon – the gardens have changed a lot in 15 years! -kris

  2. I’d seen Steve’s pics, and these are wonderful too, especially that last one. How fun that you got to see Layanee.

    Ms. Eddison’s advice is excellent. I’m working on designing entrances and “flow” through my new garden. Well, I’m doing more thinking and visualizing than actually building at the moment, but it will come.

    Pam, I have to admit that while I intend to apply what I learned from Sydney here at Blithewold, I couldn’t help but think about how to put her advice to work in my own garden… (I need all the advice I can get there!) -kris

  3. The photo effect is awesome. My first thought when I saw the pictures was, “Wow! they made a little model of the garden.” It all looks like a suped-up English version of the beginning of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. The use of this in evaluating the overall design of the garden is enticing, especially with the blurring. Perhaps that’s how Gertrude Jekyll saw the gardens she designed since she was profoundly near-sighted.

    Susan, that’s too funny about Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood – maybe that’s why I like this trick so much! And I never knew that about Ms. Jekyll… -kris

  4. Ooooh, I’ve been seeing tilt/shift in the photo blog world a lot, but you and Craig both playing with it are going to push me over the edge into diving in! And I’m going to show my husband this post as an encouragement for more well-designed spaces and less crap left lying on the porch ;)

    Lynn, tilt/shift is too much fun and so easy. I have to admit though that when I looked for pictures of my own garden to mess with, I realized I hadn’t taken any distance shots because of all the “crap left lying on the porch”… It’s good to have something to shoot for, so to speak, this season. -kris

  5. Kris, I am behind on my reading as you can see but it was a treat for me to speak with you and enjoy the sessions even the one on the ALB! I love these pictures and will have to try the technique although I don’t have photoshop. The garden looks like it would from the fairy’s point of view! Love these shots.

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