It’s Not Easy Being Green
Jeanne DeBenedetti Keyes
On a soggy, wet day at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, Washington, I was struck with how calm and restful a garden can be; dressed only in the varieties of green, from the pale, yellow-green of moss to the dark and almost black-green of the evergreen trees.
Leaf size and textures take on a prominent role when color and beautiful flowers are not available to distract the viewer. Look at how the raindrops reflect the light and texture of these gorgeous Western Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanus); (below right) in contrast to the fine, evergreen needles of the Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) trees in the background. The placement of skunk cabbage in a sinuous curve is striking as a “planned” element in an otherwise “naturally” designed landscape.
The muted browns and purples of tree trunks and rocks, and Japanese maple leaves (photo below left) blend in well with the different shades of green. My heartbeat slows down when simply looking at these tranquil scenes. What is it in the human spirit that responds to these quiet forest places? The Moss Garden at the Bloedel Reserve may be a designed garden, but the effect is the same as if I was somehow transported to the beautiful wilderness of the Olympic National Park, not so far away.