In The Garden With: The Art Garden

August 4, 2010

Colorado Rocky mountain High….The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye….
Rocky mountain high…(I can’t help myself with that one….)

I love hosting hometown friends.  Jocelyn Chilvers gardens and writes from Denver, land of ridiculous beauty and where I personally draw so much of my own design aesthetic.  Jocelyn’s site is The Art Garden and here is a little more about her:

I was born in Washington, DC, and named after a street there….I spent a year (54 weeks, to be exact!) living in Quito, Ecuador, as a high school exchange student….If it has anything to do with fiber, I’ve probably done it….As a college student, I couldn’t decide whether to major in biology or fine art; landscape design was the perfect fit—I’ve been at it for thirty years now!

My Favorite things: Jocelyn Chilvers
• My sunscreen: Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF #45. Every. Day.
• My reference library. Over the years I’ve acquired a wonderful selection of books on landscape design, plants, and construction how- to. Some of them were published early in the 20th century, others just recently. Some of them focus on European or Asian gardens, others are very regionally specific. They are my go-to source for information and inspiration.

Jocelyn Chilvers Garden Denver Colorado

• My own garden. Designing and maintaining my own landscape – a work in progress for 25 years – helps me “keep it real” when working with clients.

What do you do to find inspiration?
• I visit my local, independent garden centers. The Denver area is fortunate to have a number of stores that carry cutting-edge plant selections and all of the other accoutrements for gardening and outdoor living. A stroll through these stores always rejuvenates my
creativity. (All those raw materials on display—so much potential!) This also gives me a chance to see what my clients are seeing and may be influenced by, and how local retailers are interpreting national trends.

jpcelyn chilvers garden center view
• I bring home an armful of books from my local library. Occasionally I’ll select a book on gardening, but mostly I go for books on art, architecture, fine crafts, or interior design. I look for new color palettes and how they are combined (i.e. proportions), the use of forms in creating spatial relationships, positive/negative space, and textures. Sometimes it’s a fast flip through, sometimes it’s a pouring over the details, but it’s always stimulating and thought
provoking for me. On my nightstand now? Henry Moore Textiles (Lund Humphries 2008) and Knitted Lace of Estonia (Interweave Press 2008)

textile inspiration rom jocelyn chilvers
• I travel. Different geography, different climate, different plants and hardscape materials, and different lifestyles all impact how landscapes look and how people use them. Inspiration comes when you’re surrounded by a fresh environment.

Best Garden or Design Advice Ever (Given or Received)?

• There is so much more to landscape/garden design than knowing plants and how to grow them. If you want to become a good designer I advise that you “cross-train” in another medium. For me, it has always been fiber and textiles (although I love to take photos, I don’t consider myself a serious photographer). For you, it might be painting, pottery, or sculpture. The more practice you have manipulating the elements of art via the principles of art, the better designer you will be.

REgister now!

A Free Master Class



  1. Blue Iris says:

    Jocelyn is so right about cross-training. It’s not hard if you love design, you most likely love different types of design and art. Photography is a great way to take another view of our landscape or its elements.

  2. Robert Webber says:

    Great to find out more about Jocelyn’s approach to garden design.
    What a HUGE fund of experience!
    Agree with so much she said.
    Other crafts are a huge influence. Yes.
    Thanks for this.
    Wonder if i told Rochelle enough myself!
    Best Wishes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Does Your Garden Need a Makeover?

Learn my 7-step system to design and build a stunning garden anywhere in the world.


Join my Free Class!

Understand the 5 mistakes everyone makes when creating a garden. (Save yourself time, money, & headaches and get much better results!)

See how to work directly with me (but at a DIY price!) to
design and create your own gorgeous garden.