(I’m describing the slow accretion of the colors selected to surround me, practiced by me, a nonprofessional. An inattentive process of anti-design, if you will.)

It starts out with silver.


Just silver.


Silver came home first, in the form of all the Mediterranean shrubs and subshrubs that evolved this unique adaptation for drought tolerance.


Stir in some gold because…well, it’s gold.



Yep, silver and gold. Drawn to silver, equally drawn to gold, but initially separate impulses. Quietly, almost stealthily, the garden increases its shimmer quotient as I consistently bring in more silver and gold every time something becomes worn out or overgrown, in need of replacing. Unconsciously, I’ve built up a treasury of it, and now it’s silver&gold, the two together, inseparable, that’s got me hooked.

Add a dash of red in the stems of a kangaroo’s paw, and I’m done. Simply done.


From The Guardian 4/14/10: “In a letter to his brother Theo in 1882, Van Gogh wrote: ‘There are but three fundamental colours, red, yellow, and blue; composites are orange, green, and purple. By adding black and some white one gets the endless varieties of greys; red grey, yellow-grey, blue-grey, green-grey, orange-grey, violet-grey. It is impossible to say, for instance, how many green-greys there are; there is an endless variety. But the whole chemistry of colours is not more complicated than those few simple rules. And having a clear notion of this is worth more than 70 different colours of paint because with those three principal colours and black and white, one can make more than 70 tones and varieties. The colourist is the person who knows at once how to analyze a colour, when it sees it in nature, and can say, for instance: that green-grey is yellow with black and blue, etc. In other words, someone who knows how to find the greys of nature on their palette.'”

The green-greys of nature exquisitely painted by Solanum marginata.


And apparently this silver and gold fetish wasn’t just happening in the garden. I’ve had this bolt of fabric in a cedar chest for decades, stowed away for some forgotten rainy day purpose. Again, silver and gold. The mustardy Frankoma jug bought 20 years ago is also the color of the room I’m sitting in. And within a very few shades of difference, also the new color on the house. And the color of the new ceramic pots I bought after staring at the range of colors offered for a good 20 minutes. (Like I could actually come home with any other color.) Do I plan any of this? Absolutely not. Did I notice Colonel Mustard sneaking in to all the rooms, indoors and out? Not at all. It’s design by sleepwalking.


Not everyone’s favorite colors. My husband calls the new house paint color “meconium.” If you’ve had kids, no further description is necessary. It kind of bugs him.

Am I buggin’ you? I don’t mean to bug ya…just a shout out for silver and gold.

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4 Responses to Silver&Gold

  1. Pam/Digging says:

    I’m with you, Denise. We hot-climate gardeners have an abundance of silver and gold to choose from. Why fight something so beautiful?

  2. Kathy says:

    Colonel Mustard.Lead pipe. Library.Frankoma? I need more research. You set my pottery creds down a notch.

  3. Denise says:

    Pam, that’s so true. And there’s all that silver in your garden of the stock tanks too, which ties in so well.
    Kathy, you don’t need any more pottery research!
    Dustin, I just had to blog about Solanum marginata. Thank you so much for this one.

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