Elements & Principals of Design

Elements & Principals of Design through courses at Flower Show Judge school.  It was all a bit overwhelming at first but after awhile I found I was using them in my everyday life.  Think of ‘elements’ as the ingredients of a recipe and ‘principals’ as the recipe itself.  Elements are the tangibles and Principles are how you use those tangibles.

Elements of Design

Color – The characteristic of light by which the individual perceives objects or light sources; how the eye sees and interpret wavelengths of light
Form – A three dimensional object
Light – Illumination necessary for vision
Line – One-dimension visual path through design
Pattern – design formed by solids and spaces between them
Size – the perceived or visual dimensions of components rather than actual dimensions
Space – the open area in and around a design
There are 3 kinds of space – total space, space within plant material, space established in design
Texture – Surface quality of a material

The only way I can remember the Elements is to put them in alphabetical order.

Principals of Design

Balance – visual balance or stability
Dominance – the greater impact of one element over the others
Contrast – use of opposite characteristics to emphasize differences
Rhythm – created by a dominant visual path of lines, forms, and/or colors in a design
Proportion – comparative relationship of areas and amounts
Scale – the size relationship of one object in a design compared to another

Some people use BADCROPS as an acronym to remember Principles. Drop the vowels and you have your PRINCIPLES.

Although my life involves a lot of creativity I have never had any formal training in art.  Once I was exposed to the E’s & P’s I realized that I apply it to projects in my everyday life.  I don’t aspire to be an accomplished floral designer, but I do enjoy giving it a good go.  I typically make my designs with succulents which aren’t considered traditional, but I do love creating them and that’s what matters most, right?!

Pruning Tips and Tools

I belong to a Facebook page called San Diego Gardener and get lots of great info there. This video is especially good and worth the 20 minute watch.

January in the Garden 2019

Happy New Year!

It’s cool in the yard, so most plants are in their resting phase.  They work hard the rest of the year, so let them gain their strength, because as soon as the weather hints at spring, they set their growing into motion.  Worm castings and mulch are the priorities for me in my garden.

Very importantly, I remind everyone at the new year to check your shot records for your last tetanus shot.  With our hands in the dirt, it’s important to be up to date on that one!

Here’s a more detailed list of things to do in the garden in January.

Happy 2019!!!

Kishu Tangerines

My tree is loaded this year! They are exactly what I wanted my tangerine tree to be, although they aren’t as sweet as they could be. Other than that, I love that the skin almost falls off and there are NO SEEDS!

I bought this tree three years ago and it was called a citrus cocktail because there were five different kinds of tangerines grafted on to the main trunk, but the Kishu has become dominant and I’m pretty happy about that.

Kishu Tangerines are weighing heavily, in a good way!

Happy Poinsettia Day!

By an Act of Congress, December 12 was set aside as National Poinsettia Day. The date marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who is credited with introducing the native Mexican plant to the United States. The purpose of the day is to enjoy the beauty of this popular holiday plant.  Here’s a brief history of the Ecke Ranch here in San Diego County where more than 75% of U.S. and 50% of worldwide poinsettia plants get their start.

Here are some links with interesting and fun facts about poinsettia:


Miscellaneous Monday 12-10-18

I’m starting to get in the holiday spirit.  Cold weather and some rain has been great!

Agroforestry – growing crops under trees

Taking hardwood cuttings: a tutorial

Fresh vs. Fake:  What kind of tree are you getting for Christmas?

I’m a bit of a birdwatcher.  Here’s a site with bird info: All About Birds

A lovely start to your week. Louie Schwartzberg: Nature. Beauty.Gratitude.

Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

Happy Monday and have a nice week!

Miscellaneous Monday 12-03-18

Who needs a greenhouse?  Here’s a catalog called The Green House Catalog

I have never been very successful with African Violets, but I do love them.  Here’s a growing guide – maybe there’s hope for me!

There are a lot of options available for ground covers: Stepables – plants that tolerate foot traffic.

Here’s a fun idea for gifts:  Chalk painted pots

Here’s some Monday beauty for you:  The Giant Sequoia – impressive in size and beautiful

Happy Monday!!!

December in the Garden 2018

December in the Garden is posted for your reading pleasure.

A lot of your plants may be looking a little stressed right now.  That’s okay, it’s just that time of year.  Plants are resting, storing up energy for spring growth.   The big jobs to focus on this month are keeping the garden tidied up, and mulching for root protection and to prevent soil compaction with the rains that are being predicted.  And most importantly, as always, enjoy your garden!


Splitsville – Root Strength

I heard a weird popping sound the other night and couldn’t figure out what it was until I took my morning garden walk yesterday.

I’ve had this Elephant’s Foot AKA Pony Tail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) for about 34 years.  The last time I repotted it was four years ago. How’s this for the power of nature?!  This was the fourth pot that this plant has split over the last 12 years so I think this monster’s next destination will be in the ground.