“Quirky” has one thing in common with “obscene.” When Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart was presented with what the State of Ohio had deemed an obscene movie, he famously wrote:
I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.
So it is with “quirky,” especially as applied to gardens. Many, long posts could be devoted to landscape architecture in Berkeley, and there are many arguably quirky gardens. Here I present only those which hit the upper scale of quirky, the kind of landscaping which you know is quirky when you see it.
For starters, I find vertical gardens quirky.
If that is not quirky enough for you, there is the living roof, aka a green roof of vegetated roof, described by the City of Berkeley. Not to be confused with a rooftop garden, the living roof is the surface of the roof. I have found three, but am sure that there are more.
I haven’t seen these next two myself, but Berkeleyside has.
Quirk can also be provided by the container in which the plants have been placed.
This last photo, of the traffic circle planter, is Berkeley at its quirky best — a group effort, toy car embellished with mosaics, and tasteful succulent planting — in a traffic-calming circle.
A reader suggested one more. Either it wasn’t there when I walked Arch Street or I missed it.
For a fuller treatment of the quirky gardens of Berkeley, see Quirky Berkeley.
Tom Dalzell, a labor lawyer, created a website, Quirky Berkeley, to share all the whimsical objects he has captured with his iPhone. The site now has more than 8,600 photographs of quirky objects around town as well as posts where the 30-year resident muses on what it all means. This is the fourteenth installment in the series.
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