|The home, garden and studio of San Francisco sculptor Matt Gil and his wife Lesa Porche are tucked against a rocky slope beneath a highway overpass|
Unhappy with your garden? I’ll give you something to gripe about: A tiny footprint, most of it vertical. And rocky. Really rocky. The view? Highway pilons, albeit with a lot of blue, California sky. What do you do with a space like that? If you’re sculptor Matt Gil, you use it to create a cool home and studio – and hire Dan Carlson of Wigglestem Gardens to make it green and, yes, beautiful.
So what ideas can a Toronto girl bring home from a California garden like this, with its otherworldly plant palette? As D.M. Thomas once told me in a writing class: You have to plough the field you’re given. Work with what you have. When faced with constraints, don’t rail and complain. Embrace them. You’ll surprise yourself with your own creativity – a worthy topic for today’s Idea File.
What obstacles have spurred you on to new heights?
|If you can tear your eyes from Gil’s artwork and the crazy succulents and desert greenery,
look closely at that gravelly “soil” and rocky backdrop. What would you have done here?
|A creative exercise I set for myself on this California Garden Blogger’s Fling was to ask which plants could be used to mimic this kind of architectural planting effects for a Toronto climate? Try it; it’s fun.|
|Look up; look waaaaaay up. Rather than fight it, many of the plants used
reinforce that sense of verticality. Read more about the garden here.
|The garden is a showroom for Gil’s work. None of which, unfortunately, would fit in my suitcase.|
|Through the open door, under a bower of passionflower, is Matt Gil’s studio, which we were privileged to see.
An inspiring beginning to an Idea File-filled trip.
Next time you’re faced with a challenge, think of the power you’ll feel when you conquer it. And give yourself credit for those you’ve already overcome. For some, that can be the biggest challenge of all.