Hannah McVicar & Introducing the Planting Plan Library

January 11, 2013

Spring inspiration botanical illustration by Hannah McVicar

I have an idea for a new regular feature here on Studio ‘g’ that I would love to know if you like or would participate in.

Above all things I want this site to be as useful and inspirational to you as it is to me.  And I also know that you all come here for a variety of reasons.  Some of you are professionals in this industry and some of you are beginning gardeners and then many others lie somewhere in between. I’m hoping that this will find appeal to all of you.

hannah mcvicar botanical illustrationHannah McVicar’s prints seemed like the perfect accompaniment to what I am proposing.  They are beautiful, inspirational (often featured in the beautiful pages of Gardens Illustrated) they are generally of plants and planting plans.  Hannah is the daughter of widely respected herb garden expert Jekka McVicar.  If you love Hannah’s images as much as I do, you can see many more products with her artwork at her website.

But it is planting plans that I want to get at.  When I was in design school, we had to create planting plans as trainee designers that would perhaps be the basis by which we might build not only our own style, but also the foundations of a working business practice.  These planting plans were tools for us designers to start with when creating something new for a client and were meant to use tried and true varieties as well as stylistically appropriate and unique blends of plants. They were to be something that we might use again and again as a particular set of site conditions presented itself.  I found them tremendously useful and as I ran my own business, I developed (as really any successful designer might do) many more typical ‘Rochelle Greayer style’ planting plans.

These plans are part of a designers signature and they the basis by which we come to know the work of the best designers among us.
hannah mcvicar botanical illustration

So, why not share them….at least just a little? (I’m not proposing giving away services so much as hoping you might want to  share a bit so people know what you do and what makes you special).

As a designer, it is hard to get the word out about your work, it’s quality and what makes you unique and just right for the jobs you want.  And if you are in the market for hiring it can be hard to find that right match designer for your project….and then there are those who want to continually get our own hands dirty and need some plant-spiration (I’m raising my own hand  on this even though I fall into the category of pro).

hannah mcvicar botanical illustration

So here is my thought — if you are a designer and want to share a planting plan here on studio ‘g’ drop me a note.  In exchange for sharing, you will of course have use of this platform (~8000 pageviews per day at the moment) and you can share a small piece of your work (one distinctive planting plan).  We will make sure to mention your website, where you are, and any other projects your might have going on – and you can use the opportunity to showcase your beautiful illustration, your imaginary planting plans (or maybe something from a past project that just plain worked well), and we will all benefit a bit from getting to know you and your inspiration and particular style.

I’ve created a permanent page where we will list these posts and as the participation grows we will try to organize them as sensibly as possible (by region, by type or planting, by designer name, by planting conditions — whatever makes sense).   Everybody wins (designers get exposure, recognition, inbound links and everyone else gets to learn a little something) — right?

I will dig out a few of my own to get us start next week — (I warn you – they are not as pretty as hannah’s work – so don’t go feeling all shy about your work either – we all have our style and it is all interesting) and I hope you will all join in.

In the mean time — let me know what you think of this — useful?  Suggestions for making it better? 

BTW — I have a pinterest board related to all this that you might want to check out — it all about Botanical Illustration — they are things that make me oooohh and ahhhh — I’m hoping that through this regular column I might find some more pinnable images.

images from Hannah McVicar

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  1. What a fantastic idea Rochelle – count me in! I will send you an email next week. Funnily enough I’ve been working on a similar idea for the new Plant Design online course which comes out next month. In that I’ve given away some of my best planting combinations (feels a little strange releasing them out into the world!). I tend to have ‘core combination’ which sound a bit like trainee designer planting plans you mention.

    My penwomanship isn’t anywhere near Hannah’s either, so that will make two of us!

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