Friday, February 27, 2015

Front Door: Before & After


Lovely home, below, builder-special landscaping.


Page Duke: Before the landscape design

What, below, happened?

Page Duke: A Strong Landscape Focal Point

Adjusting eyeballs back into sockets, the before/after leave only questions.  Did new owners move in?  How much property for the site, for the front yard?  What does the backyard look like, too small, slope, etc?  Who's brilliant idea to treat the front yard as a back yard?  Painting the brick, yes.
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Every penny of this hardscape goes into house value.  Wooooowzzzzzza.
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Views from inside the home changed.  Lifestyle of the home changed.
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Historic garden design, nothing new.  However, totally new here.
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Pics Page/Duke.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Vision Quest: Landscape for a Barn

Vision questing a barn this month.  Construction was completed recently, and without intervention it is already perfect.  Anything done must appear not-done.
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Large, it will be used for family events, and professional.  Cars, people, caterers, ease of use for all, without hindrance to views..
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Maintenance must be insignificant.
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Knowns include, hiding hvac/septic/trash, gravel, stone, meadow, ease of flow for cars/walking, large groups/small groups, social events/educational events, exterior lighting, meals en plein air, an impromptu lair for the owners,

House in Blacksod Bay by  Tierney Haines Architects, Three sandstone wings protect an inner courtyard from fierce coastal winds at this seaside house in Ireland by Tierney Haines Architects.

An Irish landscape, above.  Stark, beautiful.

Historic Old Barn | Historic Barns

Simplicity, above, to the bone.  A bit of slope, perhaps add 'jewelry' with a stone wall, similar to the above using stones found on site.

Oxfordshire Barn Conversion by John Minshaw photo© Lucas Allen

At the doors, stone terraces, above, will keep most of the gravel off shoes, and interior vintage wood floors.
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Ina Garten uses hedges, below, at her barn.  I need to site the hedges to obscure the necessities, and allow 'flow'.  Must be deer proof & evergreen.



Need shade at the barn for outdoor meals.  Martha Stewart, used pin oaks at her barn, below.  Perhaps 2-4 oaks sited, just right, for a harvest table, and the tractor.


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Once the necessities are sited, gravel, stone, trees, hedge, flow, the barn is 'done'.  However, at that point, I'm open to adding a flourish, maybe a single espalier heirloom fruit tree, in the vein of Arne Maynard, below,
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 Image result for arne maynard
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Along with knowing lavender will be planted, and several types of self-seeding flowers into the meadows at the barn.
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This is the 1st salvo vision questing, next will be on site, alone for a couple of hours, then on site with the owner.  After that, we set it aside, let the left/right brain magic play.  Decisions made, then taken to the 'men' creating the literal landscape.  Their input, from a base of decades experience, filling out the full breadth of the team.  More changes.  Finally, a garden beyond measure, exceeding expectations.  Yes, exactly why I like working with a team.
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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All pics from my Pinterest board, here.    

Friday, February 20, 2015

Garden Design: How to Handle the Car/Driveway

Beloved accuses me of being too wildly appreciative of the simplest elements of life.  Therein lies my wealth, is my response.
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Since the chicken coop massacre, a month ago, the pair of profoundly wounded hens are healing well. But, cannot get to their roost at dark.  Every evening I lift my girls to their roost.  This task enriches my soul beyond measure.  Merely thinking, 'I need to go lift my girls', as the chiaroscuro of dusk goes entirely black, makes my day.
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I keep a journal of pairs of words, and have begun noticing pictures insert themselves as pairs.  The latter due to Pinterest, for sure.  Favorite Pinteresting spot?  Claw foot tub, glass of wine, Pinteresting on my large galaxy note, cat sleeping nearby.  Ridiculous, my bad, told myself when the tub was put in a few years ago, 'no technology - only books.'  Lost the battle, joined the winner.


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New landscape, above, with an old soul.  Adored, immediately, eyes locked/loaded, the car entry.  A lot of challenges in this landscape, myriad.  Each solution, a winner.  Why the car entry, so much?  Its location, scale, needs, necessities are each diminished, in abeyance to greater drama/importance, the front door.  Owner/designer got every layer right, including the 1st layer, William Morris's, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."   "The true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life."
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I must know who you are at the curb.  Want to see, above, their interiors, art, books on the shelves, colors....  Garden design, above, is as beautiful in winter as summer/spring/fall.  Low maintenance & eco.

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This garden, above, honors the car gods, and slab-of-concrete-god.  Parking court reigns supreme.  Front door?  Welcome, ye car.  Welcome, people?  When the annuals die, shrubs stop blooming, what's left?  
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There is power in awakening to,  "...genuine interest in all the details of daily life."  Aside from increasing property value, decreasing HVAC costs, above, this homeowner will have less stress/frustration with caretaking their landscape and increased pleasure/calm/peace/atonement once the epiphany arrives, my garden needs to be ME.
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An afternoon Garden Design class, using only these two pics, is enough.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Top pic, Cote de Texas.  Bottom pic, here.
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Bottom pic is common USA landscape story.  House built, builder landscape, keep for decades, done.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Zillow For-Sale-By-Owner: Success using Narrative

At the start of Downton Abbey, Ralph Lauren's ad, has a voiceover with a description about his design process.  First, he creates a story.
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Joy, I'm not odd, Ralphie does it too.  My garden designs each begin with narrative, a story.
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Story, for the life you want, not the life you have.  Jung's idea of having our outer life match our interior life.
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Cabin, below, I sold on Zillow, for-sale-by-owner, for a friend, last week.



(Lead photo, above, for vacation rental sites/Zillow for sale by owner.  Added this photo to Zillow Diggs for further exposure.  'BEFORE', pics at bottom of this post.)



('Eat-in Kitchen', above, is an asset in your listing, and 'life'.  Staged the drop-leaf table/chairs/cushions, cook books, wood cutting boards, small lamp, rolled the valence smaller at window over sink, gaining 10" extra views into the woodland.  Removed plastic cooking spoons & their plastic holder.  Wood cooking spoons & white ironstone canister from junk shops.  Added felt bottoms to all chairs/tables sited on wood floors.)

Before the internet, at a client's home, I gathered my stack of glossy 4x6 pics, the ones best matching her new story, aka garden design.  Before I could pull her story of pics she had walked into another room saying, "People would not get divorced if they......"
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Returning, she plopped down a scrapbook.  Continuing, "People get divorced because they don't honor what they have, keep no memories of their times together, awards they've won, note the milestones of love, honor what the other provides, pay tribute to losses, dwell in the successes of each other......."  (No, I don't remember her words in a quote but I do remember their intent, deeply.)


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She began 'showing' a Creative Memories scrapbook, above.  She was one of the first Creative Memories scrapbook sales associates in Atlanta, and its most successful, at that time.  Her home had been extensively renovated recently, and the new garden was being payed for with her Creative Memories income.
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Before leaving her appointment I bought a scrapbook & extra pages.  Within a month my portfolio was ensconced.  Until the internet, I brought that Creative Memories portfolio to each Garden Design appointment for years.  The start of my blog was solely for pictures to be available for clients.  Instead, it's more, bringing design & lecture work.  Who knew?
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(Fake Canadian spruce was on the mantel, above, staged it downstairs and placed native dried flowers on the mantel with art, a Cole Weston print from my mother-in-law.  Staging isn't about buying everything 'new'.)

The Cabin was for sale with 3 realtor companies, spanning 5 years, before I met the owner.  On his way to winterize, I asked to see pics.  Crime scene bad.  (Again, those pics at bottom of post.)
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A used mop, rotted firewood at the front door, every room arranged to  honor a TV god, not relationships.  Mountain views spanning 2 states ignored, no sign of love-laughter, nor interactions amongst generations, grandparent-parent-child-grandchild.  A guest book was in the living room for friends to sign, and the cabin had no scrapbook of pictures.  (Mounting metaphors, Jane Austen now has a cheshire cat smile.  A really good post soon, with Jane Austen's teachings, and a client's project.)
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No welcome at the front door, a narrative following into the bowels of the cabin.  Cheap extended-stay motels do more to say welcome.  "Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure."  Jane Austen.
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Lucky me, these egregious problems were easy to fix.
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From those first pics, I knew the narrative to create for selling the cabin.  And, bringing in money with vacation rentals until then.



(Custom made local mountain laurel, above, rails were hidden behind a sofa.  Easy staging change.  The cabin had no books or magazines, I made sure new magazines were always updated, and created a library for all ages, and sexes.  A vacation rental comment included appreciation for the good 'library'.  Perhaps my favorite complement during this process.  Another comment included disdain for the Scott single ply toilet paper !  Fine, we upgraded to the new softer Scott.  That was my favorite funny comment. Drink coasters were added to every side table, dresser, beside table.)
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Listed for-sale-by-owner on Zillow, the cabin sold in a year, go me.  Disclaimer, this was time consuming, hard work, and took every professional/life skill learned.  Along with a Tinkerbell attitude carried since before memory began.
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(Adirondack chairs, above, removed from porch, brought to newly created stone fire ring & placed facing mountain views.  Owner received a call from potential renter asking if there was a fire ring.  My bad, why didn't I think of it?  Owner had the fire ring within 24hrs.  She rented.  Stones, in the background, were brought from the owner's Athens acreage to contain new plantings. )



(Master bedroom, above, had dated brass lamps and bare walls.  Lamps & art staged.)
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The morning of closing on the cabin I awakened thinking about the new owners.  How the narrative of staging the cabin, shooting/listing, wrote them into existence.  Literally.  
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At closing I mentioned this to the new matriarch of the cabin, and asked what attracted her to the cabin from Zillow.  She said, "The pictures, especially the one from the bed in the master.", above.


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(All bedrooms have French doors with views into mountains or woodlands.  Bedroom #2, above, another king size bed.)


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(Bedroom #3, above/below, I chose a childhood theme with all the art, and added children's books to the dresser top.   Lamps were placed at every bedside in every room.   Final bedroom pic, above, showing French doors in each bedroom.  Dated brass lamps were brought to this bedroom, from the master.)



Underwater, however, closing the cabin wasn't too painful financially.  Vacation rentals carried the 'underwater' financial load, and with my Zillow for-sale-by-owner listing, zero realtor fee.



(Half way up the drive, above, welcome to the cabin.)

Several trips to the cabin removing staging items, and helping my friend.
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A bittersweet surprise.  His deep sadness, and some tears, at a cabin he thought would nurture his family for decades.  Time passes, children reach an age when 'the cabin' is not a desirable destination for more than a year at a time.  Expenses mount, an investment turns into a loss with 2008, workloads increase, and his times at the cabin become caretaking trips.



We mentioned these tears to the new owners.  They shared their own story of tears selling their family home, to buy the cabin, their full- time retirement home.
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Before closing last week, the evening of signing the first contract, my friend gave deeply from within, including in the prayer before supper, the new owners happiness in starting a new chapter of their lives, purchasing his cabin, may it bring every joy to them, their family and friends.  His eyes moist.
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Zillow is easy to use, for-sale-by-owner.  You'll especially like the weekly email metrics sent about people visiting your listing, in comparison to similar listings.  My cabin metrics, every week, were out of the ball park.  Which is horrible to a personality like mine, Tinkerbell.  Only 1 metric matters, 'sold'.
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Vacation rentals were easy, and successful, with the cabin, how I did it with AirBnb, VRBO, FlipKey, Craigslist, HomeAway, here.
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My friend saved an impressive amount of money with  skills learned on the job with garden design, curb appeal, interior design, writing books, lecturing across the country, working with clients.  He was a horrible client !  He was sure, "little ideas about moving furniture......", would not work.
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Back hand down the line winner.  A metric I adore.  Especially when a title is involved.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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I have 2 friends locally, Atlanta, GA, successful realtors, in the business for decades.  (Connie Morelle, Dave Wagner.)  If either had been within the first group of sellers for the cabin, it would not have needed me, for sure.  Lake Burton, where the cabin is, has a strange economy after 2008.  Multi-million $$$ homes sell, anything less struggles, and is underwater.
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Owner of the cabin has a realtor friend, Athens, GA, still working in her 80's, wildly successful, and could have sold the cabin too.  Alas, our trinity of friends did not work the Lake Burton zone.  (Will update with her link soon.)
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 Metrics, for the cabin, from the local Lake Burton realtors were as low as the local Lake Burton vacation rental company.  Why?  In metaphor, those professionals learned of Creative Memories, without partaking.  They learned of the internet, without paying heed.  Those local realtors decided to kick & scream about the new economy & technology & etc.  Me?  I decided to have FUN staging & listing the cabin.

Kicking and screaming (vs. singing and dancing)

"Unfair things happen. You might be diagnosed with a disease, demoted for a mistake you didn't make, convicted of a crime you didn't commit. The ref might make a bad call, an agreement might be abrogated, a partner might let you down.
Our instinct is to fight these unfairnesses, to succumb if there's no choice, but to go down kicking and screaming. We want to make it clear that we won't accept injustice easily, we want to teach the system a lesson, we want them to know that we're not a pushover.
But will it change the situation? Will the diagnosis be changed, the outcome of the call be any different?
What if, instead, we went at it singing and dancing? What if we walked into our four-year prison sentence determined to learn more, do more and contribute more than anyone had ever dreamed? What if we saw the derailment of one path as the opportunity to grow or to invent or to find another path?
This is incredibly difficult work, but it seems far better than the alternative."  Seth Godin

The best story here?  Find success selling your home on Zillow, for sale by owner, creating a story.  No worries about the real story, create a better story.  I did.  SOLD.
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Before pics, crime scene photos, below.
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(Valence, above, was rolled tightly to expose more views into the North Carolina mountains.  Amazing fail, this shot.  Easily staged and became the lead shot for selling/renting the cabin.)


 (No story, above, this shot could be in a subdivision instead of 3+ acres with views of mountains spanning 2 states, and a winding wooded drive.  We asked the new owners, at closing, if they put shutters on the cabin, 'Please send us pics !' )


(Acres of woodland views, above, from the French doors behind those curtains.  No lamp at the bedside?  Who can sleep like that? Bare walls? )


(French doors with woodland views, above, and another wall of windows in this bedroom.  Again, no lamp at a bedside.  Really?  What was the professional realtor selling?  Warning, don't buy this house?  Met their goal.)

                                         
(Bedroom #2, above, has a wall of windows with woodland views, and another wall with French doors and woodland views.  This photo is a dereliction of duty. )

                                            

(Master bedroom, above, with a TV god.  No art.)


(Famous dirty mop, above, with rotted wood at the front door.  Adirondack chairs crowd the space, and when seated you have views of the parking court.  Easy fix.)


(Sofa, above, hiding miles of custom local mountain laurel rails.)


 (Kitchen, above, was a dark lonely place before it became an, Eat In Kitchen, for staging/selling.)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Flowers vs Structure



Thinking backwards, creates my career.  Supporting backwards thinking are the big box, many independent garden centers, websites, newspapers, magazines, flower shows, and etc.
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In amusement, at myself, former queen of backwards thinking, you will discover zero rapprochement here.
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Flowers.  Sex machines.  I've taught college botany, but that was much later in the game.
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You want flowers in your landscape.
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Your landscape wants structure.
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A decade of learning across continents & another college degree separates the previous 2 sentences.
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Structure?  Trees, shrubs, groundcovers.  Game on.  Choose for zone, sun/shade, across all bloom/berry seasons, hardiness against drought/flood/disease/insect, no need for chemicals/fertilizers/irrigation once established, little maintenance, siting to shade/sun the house, and attractiveness to pollinators, and destinations for dining, and pure redolence in the sublime, in atonement or a gathering.
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Structured landscape, below.




Flowers, give me flowers, below.  Have this garden if you want, below, but do not start with this garden.  Start with structure, above.

Shade garden

Adore this pair of pictures.
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I began, after college, gardening for amusement, above, after decades trying to get it right, top picture, I've learned a garden is about stewardship.  Better, stewardship is reciprocal.  Settle for mere lilies?  Place lilies in context, structure, they will take care of themselves/soil/air/insects/wildlife/beneficial bacteria-fungi.  Plant lilies first, and you've planted your garden backwards.
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This isn't an admonishment about not having flowers, it's a path to having them more richly, and easily.  Not only for yourself, but myriad layers you've yet to arrive upon.
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Garden & Be Well,        XO Tara
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Top pic from here.    Bottom pic via Pinterest.  Which garden is gone by morning, eaten by deer !   Truly, this pair of pictures makes me smile, and know I'm blessed to be living a life that kicked me out of the first layer.  Did I like every layer Providence gave?  No.  Check out my Quotes board on Pinterest.   Pure grace, and thanks, Providence decided to site the theatrics of my life in a garden & career much adored.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Wallpaper Choices Designed for Winter

Drapes closed, below, Garden Design.


Was this my intention?  Design my garden to interior design my home with the drapes closed?
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No.
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Another garden invention is born.
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Another proclamation from Providence, "You're doing it right."
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Later today, the sun will move upstairs, and fill the guest room walls with wallpaper, 'crape myrtle trees'.


Of course I want more.  A bird to fly across the drapes, land on a branch, and sing.
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Atonement is the unbidden word arriving as innate necessity.  Begun in my garden, enlarged by Nature, filling my home.  Nurturing, in ways unknown to be needed, when this began 3 decades ago.
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Vanishing threshold, home & garden in atonement, enlarged to a trinity, home-garden-spirit.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Pics taken a few minutes ago.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Free Garden Design

Modern 2,000+ years ago.  Modern today.
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No need to be an expert, to understand why garden centers are not 'on board'.



Calm.  Facade, bench, pots, gravel, fade their colors into each other.  I see the silhouette of branches in winter striking the house, and gravel.  I hear the leaves, wind rustled, see their fall colors.  Gravel crunching underfoot.
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This house doesn't make the Garden Design special, instead, the choice to have this Garden Design is special.
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Free Garden Design.  Equally at home with a brick ranchburger ca. 1963, pioneer cabin, starter home, $2 million home in a gated community.
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Myriad choices made with this Garden Design.  Especially adore all of the 'no' choices.
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Why is this Garden Design harder to choose than keeping foundation plantings, installed by the builder, and a pocked lawn needing mow/blow/go, fertilizers poisoning groundwater, zero aesthetics to increase property value, no choices for plantings to reduce hvac expenses, no thought for color, or pulling the foot outside to enjoy Nature?
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Picture from here.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Grand View with a Simple Staging Maneuver


French doors, below, overlook mountain views into Georgia & North Carolina.
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Before staging, the French doors overlooked patio furniture.
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Not in my realm.
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Staging, often, is this simple.


Mission statement for staging this cabin for-sale-by-owner, and vacation rentals was easy.  Maximize mountain views from every window & comfort & ease.  Make every picture, in every listing, say, "Rent me, BUY me."
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This pic made neither listing.  With that furniture?   However, 'Outdoor dining, seats 6', was in the ads.  Linen napkins/placemats and a tray were put in the kitchen.  And used.  Detective Dillard noted sweet remnants of a child's birthday party held on the deck, after one rental.    
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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More about staging this property, here.
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Staging is about making money, making a sale.  This client, a friend, quite pleased with the results of staging/listing.  At the front end, he was not on board with staging in-the-least.  After a year?  Results out-of-the-ball-park compared to his professional rental agency, and realtors.
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How I wished Jenny, my mother-in-law were still alive, sourcing kitchen linens for this project.  Thrift store & under $5.  Rough hewn linen, denim chambray color, and already loved/laundered to perfection, set of 10.  Brought one of my own trays for the kitchen.  Seriously, cabin kitchen had no tray?  Jenny,  gave me this, linens for meals, picnics, baskets & trays for carrying.  Her sister-in-law aimed a snide remark, after Jenny's funeral, to the wrong person, me, she said, Jenny ate with linen napkins but the rest of her house was chaos.  No, her home was lived in and loved, always filled with her grown children, their spouses & grandchildren.  Is there another measure?  Breast cancer age 57, Jenny gone.  For a few more weeks my sister/me are book ends to the age Jenny was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the age she died.  Another arrow of grief, unexpected, adding more depth, as if it were needed, to a loss.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Best Question for Work Success: Is it FUN ?

She called recently, "....help I'm in a new home.  A decade +/- has passed, since I was at her river front home, with tennis court, terraces, gardens, a place her husband loved to whip up 50 close friends for a Saturday dinner, often.  Perhaps the occasional movie star was feted at luncheon.  Not uncommon were the fundraising events, significant funds, successfully secured for their various beloved non-profits.
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Do you know what happens to women like this?  With age, their powers grow.  Do you know the key component of these women?  Aside from being matriarchs in every historic fiber, they are fun.
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(Bunny Mellon, below, is one of these women.)




Yesterday, we met at her new home, and began with a house tour, then lunch.
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Much to talk about, before the garden.  Of course the garden threaded thru all.
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She's in a chapter not of her choosing, her husband died 3 years ago.  Hope he heard her talking about him yesterday !
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Real estate could have been bought anywhere, and she chose the best.  Near children/grandchildren.  Plenty of mousetraps.  (Don't know what a mousetrap is?  Allurements, enticements, enjoy my homemade soups/cookies/grilling, play in the entertainment center stuffed with pool table/pingpong/tv/xbox/card table/stereo/sofas a veritable college fraternity house ca. 1980 at SMU but better...)
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The new arts center was mentioned for her city.  Asked who was doing it, she said, "The city."  Not that naive, I asked again.  The group was mentioned, and I said, "They are all women aren't they?", "Yes."
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Told her what I knew of a similar effort, created decade+ ago, she wanted the woman's name who started it, and details about how the $$$ came in.
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Done.  Then to the topic of romance & love.  Books, movies, careers of others, cooking, decorating, gardening.....
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Pets.  



We were in the sun room, 3 long walls of windows overlooking the garden.  Her desk, in the living room, faces the garden, exactly as Noel Coward would have placed it.
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Before the appointment she invited me to an upcoming lecture given by, Andrea Wulf,   The brilliant woman connecting the agrarian life of America's founding fathers to the content of their new form of government.


Childless, I had no playmates my own age since marriage.  Oh my, the gift of infertility.  Age 22, my friends were in their 70's.  My grandmother's era.  Tail end of that era, now passing.  Matriarchal, philanthropic, cooks, decorators, readers, gardeners, spiritual, humorous, self-esteem, modest, stewardship, and every undefinable good thing.
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Asked if she saw, Selma.  "No."  Told her she should, it's another tale of agrarian lifestyle helping to form America.  Martin Luther King created more than a non-violent protest, he used stewardship of livestock to protect his flock, literally.  Pastor-guiding-a-flock was not cliche for March'in Luther, blessedly it was real,  Selma was poorly done, hope someone truly does MLK properly soon.
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Then, her team.  Girlfriend, has 'Thomas'.  He gardens, cooks, decorates, irons, does laundry, opens boxes from moving & puts them away.  In addition, she has Mr. Construction, Mr. Architect, and me.  Noticed, years ago, smart chicks, age 50+, all have a team.  Yes, I have a team.  And their names are only passed along in the manner of stewardship of their time/talents.
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Ok, we finally made it into the garden.
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More fun.  When I go back to draw en plein air, I will get pics for you.  Yesterday was too full with work/laughter.
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One thing I know for sure, if it's not fun with a client, it is not a good match or we are doing something wrong.  Truly, that is my barometer for work.  Is it Fun?
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Poorly describing sublime attitudes, above, someone with 'credentials' describes them worse than poorly, below, he is wrong on a logarithmic scale.  More terribly, it's in description of Bunny Mellon.

The NYT article quotes John Wilmerding, an American art scholar and trustee of the National Gallery of Art in Washington:
Bunny was part of a generation that no longer exists today: an amateur collector with a sure eye, great taste and upper-class refinement, who bought across the board, from expensive jewelry and paintings to trinkets.

Upper-class refinement?  Not only a small lens, cracked.  Bunny's generation is still here, at the tail, but still here.  Performing their magic with all Providence has passed to them.  Bunny was Bunny in spite of her 'upper-class refinement'.  I know several of these women, money is not in great sums for most, but their attitudes/actions trump money.  
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Bottom pics, La Contessa .  Top pic, via Lunch & Lattte.
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Dear John Wilmerding, Bless your heart.  Most don't 'see' the template of personality in women similar to Bunny.  When you see these women, without a cracked lens, you will see them many places.  Ironically, I'm sure at least one of them, if not more, have you in their flock.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Clive Nichols: Shooting Gardens at the Edge



Clive Nichols, below.  He shoots a garden, and it is his garden, yet given away as shutter snaps.

Wollerton Old Hall  A formal plantsman's garden with garden 'rooms' each with their own defining style



Of course you want your feet to crunch on the gravel, above, and walk thru that door. I have walked thru dozens of these graveled doorways across continents & countries, Clive Nichols shoots them exactly as they are in the memory of sparking brain cells.  His shots capture the owner's fantasy & caretakers hands, and my moments being there.

Clematis 'Shimmer' by Clive Nichols

Repeatedly, Clive Nichols shows the beauty of the present, above, yet greater enticements soon to arrive, in the bud.  Perhaps this is his talent, capturing the frisson of life's potent edge, the margins of change.  Providence.  Atonement in the cusp of change, abiding in the moment caught.
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Clive does not bring his equipment into any garden for amusement.  His skills are used in stewardship.

Lavender and olive trees near Grasse, France. Photo: Clive Nichols

These are not olive trees, above, with breeze blown lavender.  No.  You are walking thru lavender and touching olive branches as you pass.

clive nichols  I want to name this photo " wakie wakie, rise and shine!"  Julie

More than 'how' to shoot, Clive Nichols, knows 'what' to shoot.  He owns the rose, above, yet gives it away, both, in the same moment.  A truth about  gardens.  No matter the 'owner', a garden is given to all who see.


The coral garden Clive Nichols Photograhy

Clive, you unmask me, in a quick snap, above.  The snows of early summer have begun, above, with petals falling to the ground.  Tara Turf, winding past temporary focal points with the roses in bloom, and the subsidiary focal point with a watering can on the chair, Tara's Garden Design Rule: Just Let It Touch, a chair leg just-brushing the taller Tara Turf, rose foliage caressing a chair's shoulder, a petal fallen on the watering can, color theme chosen, scent of a mown path's new growth, scent of the taller Tara Turf, musky, redolent of native bees honey still being skewered into their pollen basket with nectar, and the gift of letting us have hints of roses on the wind, as you do.  (Wowza, that turned into a free, Garden Design Class - All About Subsidiary Focal Points.)


Clive Nichols - Library of contemporary fine art and botanical images of flowers and gardens


Nothing 'modern' in a garden is new.  Nothing.  New gardeners think there is a difference amongst styles of gardens across centuries, including our own moment.  Clive keeps shooting his own way, knowing the newest of gardens is as old as the earliest recorded.


Clive Nichols photo of Dominique LaFourcade's work 054586.jpg

Designer, owner, caretaker, time as it takes that trinity across occupants, above, Clive captures the earnestness of heart-on-your-sleeve gardening.

Clive-Nichols-Garden-&-Flower-Photographer. Wonderful lighting - wonder what it looks like at noon?

My garden study tours across the globe have been the most thrilling/exhausting work I've ever done.  Up at 4am for breakfast, riding the bus to another garden for a day's allotment of 2-3, rain/shine.  Clive Nichols captures exactly, above, the moment 4am-toil-expense-inconvenience, gone.  And, I can smell the freshly mown low Tara Turf, above, hear the water, feel the morning rays, understand dimensions, feel the proportions, intuit the age of focal points-trees-shrubs...turn toward axis, understand why they are there, showing off, or hinting at seduction.
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It isn't my interest to shoot like Clive Nichols.  My interest is designing gardens Clive wants to shoot.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Clive Nichols teaches photography classes, here.  Perhaps, in the fullness of time, I will take my own photography from the edge of being a Clive Nichols, to being a Clive Nichols.  Hunger still too strong to create those gardens Clive wants to shoot.  However, would love to attend a Clive Nichols seminar.  Perhaps one of my clients, with frequent flier miles, a barn with accommodations, a garden on site to shoot, and several nearby could sponsor something like this?  Acquiring Clive Nichols in their garden, shooting, as reward.

Friday, January 30, 2015

When Aesthetics Save Us

Garden design begins inside your home.
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Pretty views into the garden.



Science is catching up to the microbes swirling in gardens and their necessity to our beneficial gut bacteria, and skin.


You thought it was nice outside, open the door?
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Instead, DNA, pushing for survival.
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A nice day?  Hardly, Providence smiles.
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 Providence smirks.  Your agenda is a pretty garden.  Instead, done to historical template  (aka  Garden Design formula), property value increases, HVAC decreases, maintenance reduced, pollinators fed not killed, no fertilizers/chemicals poisoning groundwater/killing soil microbes, physical health is better, mental health is stronger.

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Science Daily, a garden/farm bacteria/health information resource.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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More, 

Take Two Hikes and Call me in the Morning: Nature Deficit Disorder


Pics early last summer with Laura, conceived & born in my garden.  Of course she moved inside.