Tracery is most often associated with architecture in cathedrals, stained glass, and with the radiating ray arrangement of rose glass for instance. But in landscape design, it refers to the patterning that plants have in either form or the shadowing they cast upon other elements.
In winter, tracery is most often evident in the bare branches of tree form. The light that passes through and bounces off branches in both winter and summer, casting dappled effects and dancing patterns upon a surface. Tracery in architecture is traditionally geometric, where in the natural architecture of the landscape, is much more fluid.
But can you see a relationship between a cathedral and tall trees? Can you sense a higher purpose and higher power in amongst the forest? Trees make you look to the sky, the heavens and above. They create a protective enclosure and make the individual appreciate the sense of sanctuary. Can you see the correlation and imagery with the arches in the cathedral?
One has a tendency to notice light passing through trees and shrubs, with the changing patterns that it casts.
The sun glistens off the branches and creates visual interest. The rain and ice form a diamond effect refracting through dense branching, similar to how glass might reflect or throw light through a building. Tracery divides light and makes interesting patterns, some regular and others random.
Tracery is a division of the visual plane into positive and negative forms. It divides in intricacy and design, lights and dark, transparency and solid. See the different tones in the layering of the branching? Tracing is many faceted.
Look at the veining of a leaf or flower petal. It divides through a tracery of detail, and often in predictable ways in some plants. Others, not so much.
Light passes through leaves and acts like a screen or window depending on the translucency. You can see the shadowing of insects walking along through the leaf or petal, the shadow casting a silhouette of form.
Flower petals divide light and also let it through in varying intensity, like the way a stained glass window might.
Other forms are shadowed through.
The stained glass of the insect world is seen in the wings of many flying insects.
The light is divided by the veining and translucency of the wing membrane.
Trees especially trace the sky, like a child scribbling with a magic marker .
The branching designs are uniquely endless in patterning.
Looking straight up from below has a cathedral-like feel when surrounded by towering trees, the light passing through and blanketing the ground below.
The design of the cathedral is cruciform and has vaulting with ornamental bosses, corbels, and neo-gothic tracery. Photo by GWGT
Look at the line of birch below and see any resemblance to the ‘branching pattern in the arches?
What would this scene be without the row of birch marching along the property line?
Plants such as Perovskia, with the delicate silver branching really have the feel of almost regal tracery. In their summer cloak, the purples reinforce and mimic regal forebears.
The fine form of grasses sparkle after a rain? The droplets shine like little gems. Garden interest and beauty can be found in so many ways.
Join us by tracing your own interpretation of the word Tracery. You just might find a trace in your garden.
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Next post, Spring in the Blink of an Eye then… Month in Tens Calender, … then Worlds View – Water , Water Everywhere. Much is in store.