Tropical Modern Landscape in NYC!

Botanical Gardens are my favorite way to find a rush of design inspiration.  So when I heard the New York Botanical Garden had a Brazilian Modern Landscape Exhibition featuring the design style of Roberto Burle Marx, I had to go!  I flew to New York City to see a tropical display garden.  Yes, I live and surrounded by tropical plant material in West Palm Beach, but this garden was full of ideas and inspiration and it was well worth the trip!


Tip: Finding inspiration is easy. Paging through gardening or design books, driving a scenic highway, strolling through an art museum, browsing a garden center and visiting a botanical garden are great resources for inspiration.


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My iPhone was capturing photos with every few steps as I walked though the garden exhibit.  After being in the space and allowing my mind to calm, I put away the camera, and found stillness in the space.  This is where personal reflection allows the buzz of inspiration to turn into idea generation. Allow yourself to day dream and mentally place similar plant combinations in your own design work.


Go Above and Beyond: Keep your eyes and hear open to events and destinations that spark your design attention.  Travel across town or across the country to be inspired! Take a sketch pad to record notes and thoughts.


Every direction I turned was a picture-perfect combination of color, interest and texture. Summarizing the design concepts that I took away from the Brazilian Modern Exhibition were the following:


Flooding the beds with a mass planting of color


Above uses a mass planting of coleus.  The orange coleus is a complimentary color to lush green backdrop. This offers a vibrant and juicy element to the design.


Mixing Plant Textures


Texture is a BIG win in this photo.  Palms in the background, two types of philodendron layers with of aechema shooting through the border edge of crossandra.


Using dark plant foliage to create depth in the design


The use of the dark foliage not only creates depth but also serves as contrasting or negative space in the design.  The Queen Emma crinum lily and the purple alocasia magically transition from the shadows of the the garden planting to the “real” accents of the design.


These concepts can all be incorporated into both residential and commercial designs with familiar as well as exciting new plant material.


Ask for help: If you are at a loss for design inspiration, I can assist you with your design development.  It may be as simple as creating a photo rendering design that uses an outsider’s perspective to get the design juices flowing.