Some gardens are tableaus, living paintings that one walks by and looks at, like some sort of marvelous billboard. There might even be another tableau right across from it, which you can look at in the same manner as you turn and walk back in the other direction.
Designed by Laura Crockett, the garden of Craig Quirk and Larry Neill is not that kind of a garden. It is a garden you walk into, and then you are immersed. Your attention is drawn by something—a seating area, a piece of art, or an amazing plant. But as you move toward it, you see something else that makes you stop and look. Perhaps you move toward it or make a mental note to circle back around to see what is there. Then, again, your attention is drawn somewhere. Craig and Larry’s garden is not something you look at; it is something you experience. And it is less than a quarter of an acre.
They call their garden “Floramagoria,” a play on the word phantasmagoria, which was, in the days before Bela Lugosi, a type of theater that used lanterns to project images of scary things like demons, ghosts, and skeletons onto a screen as part of the show. While playful monsters are a running theme, Floramagoria is not scary—but it is thrilling, and visitors are certainly in for something to remember.
With gardens that are so unique and so imbued with the personality of the owners, it can be difficult to find elements in them that we can use in our own spaces. But we all want our gardens to be enthralling, unique, and suffused with our personality, so here are some ideas for anyone who wants to bring a little bit of Floramagoria to their landscape.
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