Should I be disappointed when the interview sends mixed messages?
Consider the discussion of cuphea.
"Cupheas have a weak form but possess an extremely light, fine texture. They can set a receptive mood in which to stage more-assertive plants."
Okay, pair cuphea with assertive plants. I'm on board with that. But then there's this:
"Many of the sculptural plants that I love to use--beaked yucca, for example--have powerful forms, smooth textures, and subtle colors. [Sounds like an assertive plant!--ed.] If you combine them with another plant with the same qualities, the combination comes alive. Surround beaked yucca with cuphea--a lively plant that I see more as texture and color and less as form--and the yucca will steal the show."
But I thought we should use cuphea to set a receptive mood to stage assertive plants...?
Well, whatever. Design is an art, and you can't teach it like a science. Me, I am a scientist, and design can be a real challenge. I expect that, and I don't really mind. I enjoy tweaking my garden, and it's possible I enjoy the process more than the result. Well, that's me.
I have a cuphea on my roof deck. Cuphea turns out to be an excellent container plant for a hot, sunny roof in San Francisco. This one's looking a little piqued right now, but aren't we all? I had it with a fine-textured, hyper-flowery white angelonia and dusty lavendar agastage--it was horrible. Today, I took those out and added passalong orange-flowering aloe and passalong orange-flowering Cotyledon orbiculatum v. longifolium.
I happen to really like orange.