If you’ve ever eaten at Rick Bayless’ celebrated restaurants Topolobampo or Frontera Grill, you know that the deliciousness of the food is directly proportional to the quality of ingredients. A good portion of these ingredients are grown in Bayless’ city backyard under the watchful eye—and green thumb—of master gardener Bill Shores. Shores has an extensive background in urban gardening, with a focus on high-yield food gardens. But for Shores, gardening is more than just produce; design, as expressed through order and beauty, is equally important to him. His horticultural creations are so lush and inviting, they feel like elaborate fantasies, perfect for entertaining guests. His passion for creating these spaces is evident to all who take Shores’ garden tours, which are one of the city’s best-kept secrets.
What is your creative process?
Color and texture are very important to me. Plants radiate vibrant colors and textures so I mainly use them as my artistic medium. I also like order in my designs. Order has a beauty of its own but also a strong functionality that I find very pleasing.
I plan designs on paper first but in the garden try to be open to new ideas. I often choose one plant and focus on figuring out how many design functions that plant can offer. I also try to be open to totally new ideas, such as placing plants in “temporary” spots. This often leads to discovering highly successful planting schemes. I also design planting systems such as succession and year-round planting plans for certain crops that also have their own beauty and order. I am working on ways to convey these through artistic diagrams. (Brenda Bergen)