I had an interesting experience yesterday with a client that is still on my mind today. I am putting final touches on a project where my clients are a team of house flippers. This particular house is a very upscale Victorian home that will hit the market later this month in the the range of 1.5 mil.
My plan, which is purely planting based, called for a palette of deep purples and bright fresh greens (in foliage) and in flowers, sophisticated whites and a smattering of bright red (in landscape roses) . As it is typical and generally should be expected, the best laid plans can be thwarted when you show up at the nursery — especially late in the season. Some things just aren’t great and given that this needs to look hot on day one, and the client has less concern for how it ages, the ‘right now wow’ needs to work.
The roses at the nursery just weren’t cutting it….and in need of red — or a brighter color in general, to get us from October to the, hopefully soon, sale date in early winter, I came up with a few subs. One was Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) and the other Callicarpa dichtoma ‘Early Amethyst’.
image from www.gardensoyvey.com
We discussed and I have to admit, I truly liked both….but sticking with the color scheme, I thought that we would go with the Winterberry….even though I admit that the Callicarpa — while not the original plan color– actually was prettier in place. My reasons for preferring the callicarpa were based purely on trying to be true to the plan and on what looked best. But my client’s were, however, slightly different. He liked the callicarpa better too — but he followed with an explanation that still has me thinking.
Seems, in this particular neighborhood, there are alot of Jewish people, and they expect that the eventual purchaser of the house will likely be a Jewish family. And, he explained, because of this fact, the winterberry was just too Christmas-y and would be less desirable to a Jewish buyer.
I have to admit, this is a realm of design I have never given much thought to. That is, the effects of our religions have on the choices we might make for our gardens. Admittedly, there are many religious based gardens in the world and the beauty of nature is consistently and commonly tied to divine interpretations. But on a more practical level I never thought that Jewish people might not like plants that have some symbolism associated with Christian holidays. It has me wondering what other cultural or religious reasons might be behind other plant preferences or even design choices in general. I feel like, in thinking about this, I am just scratching the surface of a huge vast area of design that I had never before considered.
What do you know about this? Do you have specific preferences that you can attribute to your religious or cultural background? How do you see the manifestation of our personal cultures in residential garden design?