Monday, May 7, 2018

Why the Classically Designed Garden is Today's Modern

At the front end of designing your garden there's a common halting point.  Language.  No words to describe the form, function, style, flow, Nature, abiding your life to house to garden, and etc.  There are layers of meaning in what is lost.  A trinity of margins listed, above.  Life happens in the margins. 
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Somehow, that language is in your soul's DNA.  Once heard, immediately, "Of course."
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Several generations of Americans have grown up with foundation plantings needing harsh pruning, lawns needing toxic fertilizers/chemicals, annuals swapped 2x/year, put it on contract, mow/blow/go. 
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Back to language.
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What Garden Design language do you see, below?
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Made me smile seeing this pic.  Have seen 100's of gardens designed in this manner.  Humble cottage, to manor born.
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If you had to label this Garden Design, below, what are your labels?  No worries, it's your head/heart, and those labels may be far better than mine. 


Alexander Cameron, Virginia Woolf, and Leonard Woolf stand outside Bowen's home. Bowen's Court (Cork, Ireland), 1934
Pic, above, here.
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Garden Design, above, Gravel to the House, Formal, Wildwood.  Margins at house to garden, gravel to formal, formal to woodland.
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A trinity of Garden Design styles, a trinity of margins.  Where margins meet, pop.
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Beyond intuiting classic Garden Design, above, decades ago, I was a slow learner about its true depth of purpose.  Do you know what I'm about to say about this style?  Go you, hope you do, Earth is a better place for you knowing it.  And I'd adore knowing how you learned it, intuited it, how old you were at the time.
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Classic Garden Design, above, is also designed for maximum pollinator habitat, Wildwood next to open meadow. 
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House & Garden are one, Vanishing Threshold. 
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Another value to Classic Garden Design?  No toxic fertilizers/chemicals, less maintenance, lower HVAC expense, increased property value. 
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Ironically, classically designed gardens are unique in every permutation.  Guaranteed. 
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More, classically designed gardens are 'fast' to 'show'.  Instead of a decade, or more, classically design gardens are felt/seen upon completion of gravel, planting, etc. 
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Sustainable, eco, organic, pollinator habitat, potager for yard to house, and other buzzwords, each contained, inherently, in Classically Designed Gardens. 
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Classically Designed Gardens are Today's Modern.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Already spot Virginia Woolf, above ?  Cannot count the times I've read, To the Lighthouse.  Look forward to reading it many times more.
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Decades gardening classically, a new layer was reached, without anticipation, once I got chickens, 8 heirloom chickens.  I scoop their poop from the coop daily, and toss around plant margins, not atop the roots.  Cannot imagine, decades missing out on this.  No regrets, at least I know it now.
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Once Chickens arrived to my garden I also gained a gift, a change in perspective, away from merely  'gardening' to one of Stewardship.  The honor of Stewardship.  Washing of the servant's feet.
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The door of Stewardship is all encompassing.  In every good way.   

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Hubert de Givenchy & Bunny Mellon: Garden Design Titans

Grandeur of place, below?  Yes, in the mundane ubiquitous manner of magazine writings.  All nice, especially the teaching/learning of color, scale, flow, function, contrasts, axis, light & etc.  Extrapolated by you, from magazine writing focused upon material goods and their rarity/quality/cost, not spirit of the life lived in this home.
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Grandeur of place, below?  Yes, in a life of joy and stewardship, anticipatory, participatory, simplicity.  Accoutrements describing a pace of life lived, below, no words needed.  Garden beyond brought inside, Vanishing Threshold.
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Heart of a gardener, in that basket, below.
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Knowing there is time, soon, to go into the garden, with everything needed.  Perhaps the basket was set the night before, or early in the morning.  Items set in the basket across moments of time, and thought, wanting to be sure nothing is forgotten.  Is the basket set and ready to go?  Is the basket set after coming in from the garden?  Don't know, and adore the not knowing.
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Perhaps that basket a gift from a dear friend, Bunny Mellon?

Habitually Chic® » In Memoriam: Hubert de Givenchy
Pic, above, here.
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Finally noticing the garden beyond the doors, above, so much delight in the basket, a kindred spirit.
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Had seen a similar garden, above, and saved it, also deposited to Garden Design of the Ages brain file.
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Garden Design of the Ages, below.
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Without searching for the creator/owner of the garden, below, I had found it without intention, above.
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Hubert de Givenchy, home/garden, above/below.
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Habitually Chic® » In Memoriam: Hubert de Givenchy
Pic, above, here.
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Image result for hubert de givenchy bunny mellon
Pic, above, here.
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Door to the garden, from Bunny Mellon's home.  Birds of a feather.
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From the Sotheby's magazine, A World of Her Own, by Sarah Medford,
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" Nearly 50 years ago, when couturier Hubert de Givenchy was at the height of his career, he set about improving the gardens at Le Manoir du Jonchet, his estate just outside Paris. A keen gardener, he nonetheless sought help from his close friend Mrs Paul Mellon, who understood the transformation that would be necessary to bring the landscape, which had been laid out in the Louis XIV style, into keeping with the Renaissance-era manor house. “Bunny helped me with plant choices, placement and juxtaposition,” Givenchy recalls. But in a move that took his breath away, she also helped him with the larger precepts of suitability and scale. “She had a model tree made of wood that she would fix big and little arms onto,” he says, noting that they would move the replica around the grounds as they worked. “She wanted to see how each silhouette would fit in. The end result always appeared to be simple.” He pauses for a moment. “She went for perfection.”
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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How do I know so much about the basket at the front door, top pic ?  Exactly how I garden.  A basket is set, filled over several hours, finally, life at its richest, out the door with my basket, into the garden, cats following.  Eternity here, begins.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

18 Garden Design Rules You Need to Use: All in This Seemingly Simple Garden

Get 'the' Garden Design memo, below?  Aside from 'the' memo, what are the bullet points for the memo in macro, not merely micro?
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Garden Design course in a single photo, below.  Not the entire curriculum, but enough for major memo about Garden Design.
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Seriously, if you were teaching this Garden Design course today, what bullet points are in this photo, below?
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Wish I had you in a real classroom, no more than 20 of you.
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I was a fully fledged adult arriving to Garden Design, the engineering degree not-so-much help.  Aside from intuitively knowing Garden Design was a process, its machinations were so magic in effect, layers remained indecipherable.  No words, no language to process a good Garden Design.
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Worse, went to get another degree, this time horticulture, and the same thing happened, zero language or understanding of historic Garden Design principles were taught.  But , baby I had 'credentials'.  Junk in the trunk.  Monster junk, harmful to Earth, body, spirit.  That's another book/article/lecture/post.
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Off to Europe, late 80's, studying historic Garden Design 20+ years.
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This garden, below, made me smile at first site.
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Why do you think it made me smile?

Rachamankha Hôtel in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I didnt know about architect Khun Ongard Satrabhandhu until today when I saw the very cool…
Pic, above, here.
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Pair of stone animals, (are they cows or horses?), at the entry, above.  At a distance, even, performing their duties.  Sentinels announcing, "Yes, come this way, enter, you're welcome, we want you to walk this way."  In their wordlessness of welcome, and direction, a benediction, grace.  Remember, if you need words in your garden, it's a fail.
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Already, you're getting a Garden Design bullet point from the garden, above.
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Imagine the same pic, above, yet a small sign placed at the front of the steps, Entry.  Oh dear, that would be banal, gauche, worse, lacking in grace.
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Walking a garden with a kindred spirit, seeing such a sign, 'entry', in an otherwise beautiful setting, we'd merely make eye contact, make a face, move on.  Pure understanding.  However, walking in this garden with a kindred spirit, our feet would not be touching the ground.  Looks between us, total joy & grace, move on, hungry to see more, time & reality have ceased to exist, life is only the garden at hand, and perhaps a good cup of tea with a scone, or such, when we alight on a chair.  Perhaps a glass of wine, cheese/crackers, freshly quartered blood oranges?  Exactly what happened with friends while visiting a private garden in Alabama last week.  Another post, promise.
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Notice the world's most historic Garden Design Color Trinity?  Green-Brown-White.
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Contrasting foliage, above, large leaves next to small leaves.
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Foliage at the far right column following the Garden Design Rule: Just Let It Touch.  Especially love that rule, made it up myself, one of many, noticed across Europe yet never put into words anywhere I've read, or heard in conversation, lectures.
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Garden Design Layers: Canopy, Walls, Floors, each designed & executed.  Better, purest simplicity.
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Crunch of gravel underfoot, Sound in the garden, in addition to wind thru foliage, and hopefully the sound of water is in this garden, above, too.
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Subsidiary color to the main Color Trinity?  Noticed already?  Lead color for pots, bench, windows/doors, railing.
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Pruning shape, rounded, for plants in pots, contrasting formal with the informal of canopy tree foliage at far right.  Furthermore, choosing to prune potted plants rounded, in contrast to the square columns.
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White chosen is creamy.  Bright white would jump forward, making the space feel smaller, especially the terrace.
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Repetition of pots and their plantings.  Repetition of Green.  All Green gardens are the fastest to achieve their goal, and the most serene.  A simple plant selection, not too much diversity, calm, and tough plants too, less maintenance/disease/watering/bugs.
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What did I miss for this Garden Design course in a single photo?  What shouts to you?  What makes you smile?
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Garden Design Rules Executed in the Garden Above:

1.  Pair of focal points announcing an entryway.
2.  Color Trinity chosen: green-brown-white.
3.  Canopy-Walls-Floor designed, executed.
4.  Contrasting foliage sizes, large leaves next to small leaves.
5.  Contrasting foliage pruning, formal & informal.
6.  Sound designed, wind thru foliage, crunch of gravel underfoot.
7.  Subsidiary Color chosen, lead, for pots, furniture, windows/doors, rails.
8.  Creamy white chosen instead of bright white, creating a large space for a smallish front porch.
9.  Small variety of plants chosen, simplicity, greater visual impact.
10. Tough plantings chosen for ease of maintenance, no bugs/fungus/watering.
11.  Repetition of pots chosen, and their scale, color, shape.
12. Repetition of green.  All green gardens are the fastest to achieve their goal, and serene.
13. Last column, foliage barely touching, Just Let It Touch.
14. Needing words in your garden a 'fail'.
15. Hospitality a layer of expectation good Garden Design provides.
16. Using grace as a design layer.
17. Big impact Garden Design visually, yet simple ingredients, few ingredients, easy to maintain.
18. Keep it simple sweetie.  This garden's simplicity is its super power.  Intellect oozes from this
      Garden Design.
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Up front, I bristled at Garden Design Rules.  What would I tell that girl now?  Get over it, waste of time, you won't reinvent the wheel, better, your originality lies within every Garden Design rule.  Promise.  Most importantly, learn how to break any Garden Design rule, that's a bit tougher, yet necessary.  Pay attention.  Pay more attention.  Pay closer attention.  See all.  See what's not there.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Work in Your Garden? I Never Work in My Garden.

Another classic permutation, below, of classic/historic Garden Design's most popular & effective Color Trinity: Green, Brown & White, subsidiary color, blue.

Ralph
Pic, above, here.
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Search thru years of postings about my Garden nattering, you won't find how-to-mow, how-to-prune, & etc.  Why does Garden Design receive that curse from the majority of its writers, at all layers?  Interior blogs, magazines, books do not show pretty interior pictures, then describe how to vacuum a sofa, spot clean a wool rug, remove spider webs from outdoor ceiling fan blades, you catch my drift.  Why curse the Garden with that mundane minutia, to the, almost, exclusion of the way to have a beautiful Garden?

 Colonial Williamsburg vacation
Pic, above, here.
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This topic, having a beautiful garden, in my heart since birth.  A primal drive.  Not knowing I was a garden whisperer until my 20's.  How did I learn?  Realizing other people don't speak of trees, bushes, meadows, yards, flowers, birds, insects, seasons, in any depth, depths I've known since, again, birth.  Alas, years of being a Garden Whisperer, without a language for speaking it.
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Wish I could say I've knocked it out of the ball park knowing/sharing the full Garden Whisperer language.  I try to in my posts. 
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Gardens, beautiful classic historic Gardens, are in the realm of Nature, and the realm of the unspeakable.  Grace, joy, peace, in their depths, are experienced actions, no words can describe. 

 Habitually Chic® » Under the Tuscan Sun
Pic, above, here.
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Into my 40's, a sweet gardening epiphany arrived.  Creating & taking care of my own garden is pure washing-of-the-servants-feet.  Not a chore, not a to-do list, not something to get accomplished, not accomplished only because of homeowners association rules.  Collaterally I've been searching for the correct word, to replace 'work', "I work in my garden."  No, I never 'work' in my garden.  Time in my garden is, as Joseph Campbell shared, "...eternity here."  Working in my Garden is pure blessing.
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How does a person get from 'working' in their garden, to knowing time in their garden is the gift of eternity, and a blessing? 
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Moving along to Sunday School last Sunday.  Over a century old, my tiny local Baptist church is within walking distance of my ca. 1900 home, and I can hear its steeple bells from my house. 
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Interestingly the word 'servant' was specifically brought up in our lesson.  Our teacher saying the bible translation for 'servant' would more accurately, now, be translated as 'slave'.  Not debating this in the least, instead, enjoying its scope-for-the-imagination.
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The changing of a long known metaphor, using 'slave' instead of 'servant'.
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How many thousands of hours have I been in a garden, mine, clients, friends, my grandmother's ?
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At some point, no specific eureka epiphany, instead, a 'knowing' learned in my Garden.  The bible is the word of G*d written by man, inspired from G*d.
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Nature, a Garden, has no intermediary with man.  Gardens speak directly to us.  No translations needed.   
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A few months after moving into our historic home, 3 years ago, I was in the garden, on my rear, legs spread around azaleas, pulling weeds, sliding my rear down the hedge as I pulled.  A cobalt blue flash sparkled between my forearms, then flew away.  Odd.  Thought I was seeing things, a cobalt blue dragon fly, really?  Realized I may need to go get some water.
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Kept pulling weeds, and back came that cobalt blue dragon fly, landing on my forearm.  Something I knew could not exist.  Happily informing me, Wrong.  Incredible life lesson.
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Don't understand this life lesson?  No worries, understanding arrives in the drive to have or understand beautiful historic Gardens.  Promise.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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Another word my Sunday school teacher mentioned, 'fellowship'.  Saying it would probably be translated now as, 'partnership'.  Again, not debating this, totally enjoying the meandering thought paths.
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Again, something as simple as going to Sunday school, I received as a Garden Design class, completely geared for me.  Happens most days, every decade of my life.  Had thought of these moments, cheerfully, as selfish.  Blessedly, about 2 decades ago, realized those moments not selfish in the least, instead, those moments are pure grace.
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No, I never work in my Garden, instead I take from my Garden, and, remain open to receiving from my Garden. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Fruit Trees Need Guilds & Why You Must Know

Lovely, below, excepting why is the guild missing?  Before learning what a guild is, I would have thought this garden, below, 'complete'. 
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Do you know what a guild is?
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No?  Parlay what you know a guild to be, in secular life, into the orchard.

Growing apples takes commitment that keeps the fire in the American love affair with the fruit.
Pic, above, here.
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From Google:
"guild
ɡild/
noun
noun: guild; plural noun: guilds; noun: gild; plural noun: gilds
  1. a medieval association of craftsmen or merchants, often having considerable power.
    • an association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal.
      synonyms:associationsocietyunionleagueorganizationcompanycooperativefellowshipcluborderlodgebrotherhoodfraternitysisterhoodsorority
      "the copper craftsmen have formed a guild"
    • ECOLOGY
      a group of species that have similar requirements and play a similar role within a community.
Origin
late Old English: probably from Middle Low German and Middle Dutch gilde, of Germanic origin; related to yield."
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Obvious now, what a guild is?  No, at the front end, I still would not have understood what an orchard guild is.
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Orchard guild, below
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 Mown orchard path
Pic, above, Long Barn, here.
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Seeing the orchard guild, above, can you describe what the guild is doing?
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No, I couldn't either at the front end.
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An orchard guild is a mix of plantings, blooming at the same time the fruit trees are blooming, increasing pollination.  Increasing fruit tree yields by 80%.
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Do the math. 
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By weight & lucre, a fruit tree guild is your best employee. 
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Looking at the Google definition of guild, above, the mention, "related to yield." 
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So. moving along, knowing what a guild is, seeing this orchard, below.  I would like to see this orchard in bloom, trees & guilds.  The guilds, below, seem more appropriate to pleasure gardening not agriculture.  What percentage of the guilds are flowers blooming before/after the fruit trees, not providing support, pollinators, to fruit tree yield?

Prairie de vivaces et d'annuelles - Mon Jardin & ma maison
Pic, above, here.
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Guilds in an orchard are a symbiotic wilding.  Excepting the skills/knowledge of fruit tree guilds has become re-wilding. 
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30 Days of Rewilding - find your place in nature and watch your family bloom! - Lulastic and the Hippyshake
Pic, above, here.
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Nice sentiment, above.  Excepting we're more than 1 generation past agrarian & pastoral knowledge in the macro. 
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Zenobia Barlow, has created a system of ecoliteracy.  Actively educating about ecoliteracy.  Rewilding knowledge.  What are the bridges needed in Ecoliteracy?  Barlow has been drawing the map, aiming for territory.  Fabulous start.  Dozens more strategic voices needed.  We don't know, what we don't know.  More, Barlow's map covers myriad disparate layers, she knows she doesn't know & creates space for unknowing to become knowing, on the map to territorial knowledge.
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Decades I've been teaching at the local college, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Extension Service classes and Master Gardener's training.  Never a day passes I don't learn something important about gardening ornamentally or agriculturally.  More, much of the learning is counterintuitive.  What a ride !
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I add, below, for anyone interested in working with schools and ecoliteracy.  Learning from what they've already done, and adding to their knowledge.  A system designed with stewardship.  Another arrow for your quiver. 
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Why you must know what a fruit tree guild is?  Ecoliteracy.  Know this, get significantly more fruit for less money, less effort. 
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From,  The Center for Ecoliteracy, below.     
"The first guiding principle of the Center for Ecoliteracy's framework for schooling for sustainability — Smart by Nature™ — is "nature is our teacher."
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The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper. --W.B. Yeats

7 Lessons For Leaders

--by Michael K. Stone, Zenobia Barlow, syndicated from ecoliteracy.org, Dec 12, 2013
The first guiding principle of the Center for Ecoliteracy's framework for schooling for sustainability — Smart by Nature™ — is "nature is our teacher."
Taking nature as our teacher requires thinking in terms of systems, one of nature's basic patterns. Systems can be incredibly complex, but the concept is quite straightforward. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, for example, defines a "system" as "any collection of things that have some influence on one another." Individual things — like plants, people, schools, communities, and watersheds — are all systems of interrelated elements. At the same time, they can't be fully understood apart from the larger systems in which they exist.
Living systems have their own dynamics. Observing systems reveals recurring properties and processes. They resist change, but they also develop, adapt, and evolve. Understanding how systems maintain themselves and how they change has very practical consequences that go to the heart of education for sustainable living. Much of the Center's work over the past two decades could be thought of as applied systems thinking. As an offering for leaders engaged in systems change, we report in this piece on seven important lessons we've learned.
While the work of the Center has been profoundly affected by the insights of our cofounder, systems theorist Fritjof Capra, as well as by other notable thinkers including Margaret Wheatley, Joanna Macy, and Donella Meadows, we will touch only briefly here on their important theoretical work. At the end of this report, we've listed a few sources for readers who want to pursue these ideas more deeply.
Seven Lessons for Leaders
For educators and change agents who are tackling the challenge of changing systems, some of them deeply entrenched, we are pleased to offer these lessons, based on our work with thousands of leaders.
Lesson #1:  To promote systems change, foster community and cultivate networks.
Most of the qualities of a living system, notes Fritjof Capra, are aspects of a single fundamental network pattern: nature sustains life by creating and nurturing communities. Lasting change frequently requires a critical mass or density of interrelationships within a community. For instance, we've seen from research and our experience that curricular innovation at a school usually becomes sustainable only when at least a third of the faculty are engaged and committed.
"If nothing exists in isolation," writes famed essayist Wendell Berry, "then all problems are circumstantial; no problem resides, or can be solved, in anybody's department." Even if problems defy solution by a single department, school districts are often structured so that responsibilities are assigned to isolated and unconnected divisions. Nutrition services may report to the business manager, while academic concerns lie within the domain of the director of curriculum. To achieve systems change, leaders must cross department boundaries and bring people addressing parts of the problem around the same table. For example, we're currently coordinating a feasibility study with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). It requires looking simultaneously at ten aspects of school food operations (from teaching and learning to finance and facilities) identified in our Rethinking School Lunch framework.
In the push to make decisions and produce results quickly, it's easy to bypass people — often the very people, such as food service staff and custodians, who will have the task of implementing changes and whose cooperation is key to success. It's necessary to keep asking: "Who's being left out?" and "Who should be in the room?"
Lesson #2:  Work at multiple levels of scale.
"Nested systems" is a core ecological principle. Like Russian "matryoshka" dolls that fit one into the other, most systems contain other systems and are contained within larger systems: cells within organs within individuals within communities; classes within schools within districts within counties, states, and the nation.
Changing a system affects both the systems within it and the systems in which it is nested. The challenge for change agents is choosing the right level, or levels, of scale for the changes they seek. The answer is often working at multiple levels: top down, bottom up, outside in, and inside out.
The Center for Ecoliteracy is applying this strategy in Oakland. We're supporting a pilot school, Cleveland Elementary, on garden and classroom projects that can be accomplished on a single campus. We're helping to facilitate the Oakland Food Web, which is a network of teachers, parents, and staff members from several Oakland schools, the district's food service, and the County Department of Public Health. The OUSD feasibility study, meanwhile, is taking on changes that depend on centralized administration, facilities, economies of scale, and coordination possible only at the district level.
Lesson #3:  Make space for self-organization.
Fritjof Capra writes, "Perhaps the central concept in the systems view of life" is that the pattern favored by life "is a network pattern capable of self-organization." He adds, "Life constantly reaches out into novelty, and this property of all living systems is the origin of development, learning, and evolution."
Networks that can effect systems change will sometimes self-organize if you set up the right conditions. Our seminars and institutes are designed for teams representing schools and districts rather than for individuals. Parents, teachers, administrators, and community volunteers — sometimes including people who had not met before the seminar  — have organized themselves into effective ongoing collaborations, such as the Oakland Food Web, which still continue.
Lesson #4:  Seize breakthrough opportunities when they arise.
Living systems generally remain in a stable state. That's a good thing; otherwise, we'd be living in chaos. But it's also why systems change can be so difficult. From time to time, however, a system encounters a point of instability where it is confronted by new circumstances or information that it can't absorb without giving up some of its old structures, behaviors, or beliefs. That instability can precipitate either a breakdown or — due to systems' capacities for self-organization — a breakthrough to new possibilities.
Remember the adage of former White House Chief of Staff (now Chicago Mayor) Rahm Emanuel: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." Take the epidemic of obesity and nutrition-related disease. It's a serious crisis that could precipitate a public health breakdown. At the same time, authorities who once viewed school food reform as a frivolous issue being promoted by foodies have now become more willing to look at the role that school food plays in an array of related problems ranging from rising health care costs to disparities in academic achievement. And that willingness in turn has created opportunities to use food as an entree for introducing a variety of sustainability topics into the curriculum, as we addressed in our book Big Ideas: Linking Food, Culture, Health, and the Environment.
Lesson #5:  Facilitate — but give up the illusion that you can direct — change.
"We never succeed in directing or telling people how they must change," observes Margaret Wheatley. "We don't succeed by handing them a plan, or pestering them with our interpretations, or relentlessly pressing forward with our agenda, believing that volume and intensity will convince them to see it our way."
So what can you do? In the provocative maxim of Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, "You can never direct a living system. You can only disturb it." How do you disturb a system? By introducing information that contradicts old assumptions. By demonstrating that things people believe they can't do are already being accomplished somewhere (one of the objectives of our book Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability). By inviting new people into the conversation. By rearranging structures so that people relate in ways they're not used to. By presenting issues from different perspectives.
Meanwhile, you can create conditions that take advantage of the system's capacity for generating creative solutions. Nurture networks of connection and communication, create climates of trust and mutual support, encourage questioning, and reward innovation. Effective leaders recognize emergent novelty, articulate it, and incorporate it into organizations' designs. Leaders sometimes lead best when they loosen control and take the risk of dispersing authority and responsibility.
Lesson #6:  Assume that change is going to take time.
"Quick fixes are an oxymoron," says Margaret Wheatley. "If leaders would learn anything from the past many years, it's that there are no quick fixes. For most organizations, meaningful change is at least a three- to five-year process — though this seems impossibly long. Yet multiyear change efforts are the hard reality we must face."
Anticipate that you'll need time for the education and training required for people to change attitudes, adopt new practices, or use new tools. Set high goals, but take manageable steps. Look for intermediate achievements that allow people to experience — and celebrate — success and to receive recognition on the way to the ultimate goal.
Taking time for stakeholders to understand each other's concerns and learn to trust each other's motivations and intentions can be time well spent. OUSD has one of the most comprehensive wellness policies we've seen. Writing that policy began with scores of community members meeting in a process marked by debate and often disagreement. When the policy was finally formulated, though, it received buy-in throughout the community.
Lesson #7:  Be prepared to be surprised.
Change in living systems is nonlinear. As they develop and evolve, living systems generate phenomena that are not predictable from the properties of their individual parts, much as the wetness of water cannot be forecast by adding together the properties of hydrogen and oxygen. Systems theorists call these "emergent properties."
In the late 1990s, we convened a disparate community of activists with a variety of complaints about school meals in Berkeley. A year later, the first district school food policy in the nation emerged. The coherence of the policy, which has had a worldwide impact, was an expression of the group rather than the vision of any single individual.
The art and science of systems change are continually evolving. We encourage people to experiment with these seven lessons — and to expect surprises. Frequently it's the unanticipated consequences that are the most rewarding and effective results of immersion in dynamic systems.
Some good resources:
Fritjof Capra, The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems (New York: Anchor Books, 1996); The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living (New York: Anchor Books, 2002).
Joanna Macy, Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Ourselves, Our World (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 1998).
Humberto M. Maturana and Francisco J. Varela, The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding (Boston: Shambhala, 1992).
Donella Meadows, Thinking in Systems: A Primer (White River, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2008).
Margaret Wheatley, Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time (San Francisco: Barrett-Kohler Publishers, 2005, 2007); Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2006).



The Center for Ecoliteracy where this article originally appeared supports and advances education for sustainable living. You can follow its work at www.twitter.com/ecoliteracy; he has also written for the Toronto Star and The New York Times, among other publications.
Zenobia Barlow, executive director of the Center for Ecoliteracy (www.ecoliteracy.org), coauthored Ecoliterate: How Educators Are Cultivating Emotional, Social, and Ecological Intelligence (Jossey-Bass, 2012) and coedited Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World (Sierra Club Books, 2005) and Ecoliteracy: Mapping the Terrain (Learning in the Real World, 1999), in addition to her role leading the Center’s grant-making, educational, and publishing programs. "


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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara

Thursday, April 19, 2018

How to Turn Tree/Bush Trimmings Into Landscape GOLD

How few have 'seen' this, below, seeing a pile of sticks/branches in a compost pile?
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From this starting point, below, take it, own it, play with it, see what happens in your garden.

2.Rose basket Magical Forest shop 1- now that is a big delivery of flowers.
Pic, above, here.
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At a bridal shop, below.  Owning the fence, owning it inside/outside, owned by the garden.  More, who knew onions were a historic sign of long life?

 enclos*ure – Page 2 – Life in gardens — old and new.
Pic, above, here.
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A new way to 'see' sticks/vines.  More, onions too.
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It's the way you carry it #WiseSayingsforLife
Pic, above, here.
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No reason not to try this, ingredients are free, with eyes to see.  And now you have them !  I've never been too proud to shop for my garden at curbside on garbage days. 
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Friday, April 13, 2018

Why Your Health & Property Value Are Better With This Hedge

Most notably, in the garden, below, is the hedge.  Yet not the only notable element.  At the front end of reading this post, make your list of reasons the hedge is a good idea.  Perhaps your list is all negatives with the hedge, fine, make that mental list.
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At a point long past, in USA, the petite hedge lost favor, foundation plantings gained the upper hand.  Ignoring centuries of Garden Design history.
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After WWII, USA had a building boom, and builders had a certificate of occupancy to gain before being able to sell their new homes.  Landscaping was part of that package for the CO.  A fact remaining in force.
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Pic, above, here.
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The style of a home's architecture does not influence whether or not to have a similar hedge, above.
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Subdivisions, city scapes, a home close to the road, are viable territory for a hedge, instead of a foundation planting.
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See the hedge, above?  Now, go inside the hedge, go into the garden, go into the home, look toward the sidewalk and road.
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Gone.  Sidewalk, road, cars, now blocked to your view, at a minimum diminished. 
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More, depending on the height of your hedge, and ground elevations, a hedge will obliterate most views of cars passing by.
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Multi-tasking, a hedge hiding the view of cars, from your home, filters myriad toxins cars release from engine/tires.  Did you know living at a busy road, with car/truck toxins spewing, is the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes/day?
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A hedge is also your starting point for a garden room.  Paradise, in derivative, is a walled garden.  Blocking the ogre of cars/traffic/toxins begins your sanctuary, with a hint of privacy.  More, a layer of control, better, controlled by you.
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What do you want to do inside your hedge?  A pair of benches inside the hedge, facing the house, focal points on axis, and a place to sit.  Perhaps a pair of stone terraces either side of the front walk, the list is long on choices, your choices. 
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A home, or neighborhood, with the garden design choice of front hedges, has increased property value.  If an entire neighborhood is conceived with all homes having front hedges, it will be of greater value than a replica neighborhood without front hedges.  Why?  Good landscaping increases property values. 
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Good landscaping also benefits health.  More layers of a good garden design, around your home, has more of the bacteria for our body's microbiomes.  Our bodies formed in synergy with Earth.  Without the bacteria of Earth, inside our bodies, we die.
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What are your thoughts about a hedge in front of a home?
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Monday, April 9, 2018

5 Top Secrets of Historic Gardens

At the 'very' front end of creating gardens professionally, in my 20's, I wanted to create these gardens, below.  Went to college again, got that degree, yet no closer to the skills to create this garden, below.  USA curriculum taught me how to be a guy in a truck, mowing grass, weed-eating, pruning, planting, mulching, swapping annuals 2x/year, installing irrigation, and dowsing yards with poisons toxic to animals/insects of land/air, designing with incurves/outcurves and a right smart focal point tree at the right corner of the home.  Really?
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2 decades studying historic gardens across Europe.  Truly.  Now, been designing gardens, below, for decades.  A blessed life.
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But, not where this is going.  Garden designing, below, is outrageously counterintuitive.  Take what you know, turn it around, flip it upside down, add a 3 layer chess board, bingo, you can design the garden, below.
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More, in an epiphany, knew the artistic/scientific rules of designing gardens historically applies to other arts, and life layers.
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Édouard Vuillard, Repast in a Garden, 1898
Pic, above, here.
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Time to jump to shoes, following historic Garden Design rules, in my mother's closet.  Mom has the best clothing taste of anyone I know.  Born/raised in Augusta, GA, her Aunt Pink owned a local dress shop, Pinks.  Aunt Pink went to New York City 2x/year, ordering clothes for her shop.  From birth to wedding honeymoon departure, Aunt Pink dressed mom.  I wore that same wedding dress too.
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Mom's feet have had a few issues recently, we wear the same size shoe, mom told me to take any of her shoes.  What an offer !
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Several hours over the weekend, going thru shoes for me, shoes to thrift store, shoes mom can still wear.
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Yes, trying on so many shoes, I started to get lazy.  Didn't really like some of the shoes, decided not to try them on.  Then, remembered how Historic Garden Design is a Template for Life, and mom's impeccable taste, I tried on every pair of shoes I didn't like.
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Exactly as in a garden, those shoes POPPED.  What was I thinking?  Trust.
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 Wearing Trench coat is always a great Idea. 45 Casual Work Outfits For Women In Their 40s
Pic, above, here.
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Unfortunately, some of the shoes I adored did not fit.  However, learning, yet again, the potency of Historic Garden Design rules I did not mind, the shoes left behind.  It's always all about a garden for me.   Pay dirt, again, living this way, gorgeous shoes.

Outsource your Monday-Friday wardrobe to an expert stylist who gets you.
Pic, above, here.
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Best Historic Garden Design Rule, above, ever.  Evah !  Did you see it immediately?  Hope so.
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"I want a Garden that says, 'Listen to me,' not 'Look at me.' "
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Look at the top pic again.  It's a garden begging you to listen, and more, listen to your heart, listen to Providence, listen to Nature, listen to friends.  A garden letting you slip the bonds of here/now.  A garden gifting you eternity, now.
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Historic Garden Design is counterintuitive.  Trust that in all your affairs.
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5 Historic Garden Design Facts:

1. A Garden Design must create a 'Listen to me' world around your home/life.
2. Know Historic Garden Design rules are counterintuitive.
3. Follow Historic Garden Design rules.
4. Trust Historic Garden Design rules for YOUR garden.
5. Trust Historic Garden Design rules for your Life.
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Seems simple, 5 Historic Garden Design Facts.  Ha.  Yoda simple.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

16 Shortcuts for Creating a Fabulous Landscape in Record Time

Carl Jung overlooked a common archetype.  How?  This particular archetype appears before parties on the home front.  I get the call.  At least a week ahead of their long planned, months, gathering.  "Tara, you've got to get the garden ready."
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What to do?  Not what you think.  With a party and little time, two necessities.  Fresh mulch, and clean lines.
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Clean Lines.  Huge Garden Design tool, party or no. 
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Brick edging, below, clean lines.  Garden, below, could easily go more formal with the edging.  Do you know how?  Soldiers.  What are soldiers in the garden?  Bricks as garden edging are called 'soldiers'.  Further, the higher the soldiers, the more formal the garden.
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Image may contain: people sitting, table and outdoor
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Before the soldiers, below.  Shot the pics merely thinking job process, instead, another affirmation of clean lines.
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Image may contain: people sitting, table and outdoor
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A lot of Garden Design here, beyond Clean Lines.  Focal points on axis, in enfilade.  So.  Everyone is a garden designer, label the focal points on axis in enfilade.  No?  It's one of the most common Garden Design tricks, used ad infinitum, on Garden book/magazine covers.
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Another Garden Design rule followed, above, flow.  Moving thru the space easily.
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Another Garden Design rule followed, above, Color Trinity.  Green-Brown-White is the historic favorite, and chosen, above.  Did your eyes/brain lock on that when you first saw the top pic?  Granite gravel, #89, and the livestock tank are the white prong of the Green-Brown-White here.  Table and trees, obviously, the brown.
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Another Garden Design rule followed, above, Color on Field Gathered Furniture all Painted the Same Color.
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Another Garden Design rule followed, Overdose Your Theme.  Small iron conservatory at middle of table, above, painted same green as chairs.
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Another Garden Design rule followed, Every Garden Needs a Water Feature.  More, I wanted the sound.  My chickens arrived, aged 6 days cracked, in this livestock trough with a heat lamp, now, it's another gift.
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Grading ahead of gravel, below.

Image may contain: outdoor
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Another table, below, glass topped metal, Overdosing on a Theme, painted same color as chairs.  Metal table used as buffet table, leveraging party time, with harvest table.
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Image may contain: people sitting, table and outdoor
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Near the harvest table, below, Overdosing on a Theme, green furniture, galvanized pots/light fixtures, granite, terra cotta pots matching the red clay bricks used as edging, both burnt Earth.  Overdosing on a Theme isn't for spots of your Garden, it's for the entire garden.
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Image may contain: plant, tree, house and outdoor
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A reminder, below, to use clean lines.
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Image may contain: people sitting, table and outdoor
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(Never answered my own question, above, about the focal points in enfilade.  What are they?  Did you label them?)
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Image may contain: people sitting, table and outdoor
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Day ahead of our first gathering in our new Garden Room, above, Beloved/I were sitting at the table, above, tired, dirty, happy.  I was about to get happier, as a Cheshire Cat.
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Beloved says to me, eyes big, eyebrows raised, "We don't have enough chairs."  A best moment.  I've been dragging garden chairs home to this garden since we moved in 3 years ago.  Had a lot from my other garden, but I knew where this garden was headed.  Why was this a best moment?  Every chair I brought home, he complained about me junking up the garden, we have enough chairs, don't buy anymore chairs, you're wasting your money.
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Nope, didn't do the told-you-so, merely the Cheshire Cat smile.  His chair panic escalated, Let's move some chairs from the deck to here.  Nope, need those chairs for using the deck too.
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Our gathering arrived, some were spending the nite.  Guess what happened late in the evening?  Gathering for music, talking, laughter, stories, moved to the deck.  Strands of lites, above, were plenty of illumination for the deck too.     
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This gathering quite special, Beloved's friends from before kindergarten, literally.  Know many of their stories, and have requested I never know all their stories, "Don't worry Baby you won't."
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Tire swing, above, hanging when we moved in.  Knew I was going to cut it down.  Then my precious girls came with their dear mom, we had lunch and the girls ran/played, and were tire swinging in crazy ways never imagined.  They've been more, but  those were lunches on the front porch, time to get them back for lunch and tire swinging again, and dining nearby.
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Adore our new Garden Room, though living thru its cliche epoch.  Cliche epoch?  Trees & evergreen groundcover need to grow-grow-grow, own the space, diminish our input.  You know, the proper order of things.  Nature in charge, with merely a hint of us.
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Did you label the focal points in enfilade, from question, above?  Table to livestock trough.  At some point, not too distant, stone steps will lead from livestock trough into garden, extending the enfilade further.  Looking forward to making adjustments to scale/flow with that new layer.
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Hoop greenhouses going in at back of property for growing wholesale plants.  More wholesale plants will be outside under irrigation, coming close to the gravel terrace, above.  No worries, we'll plant a hedge, 5'-6', hiding the nursery, yet keeping trees, sky, and distant garden views in site. Probably tea olive, deer proof, fast grower, dense.
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Where are you on the Garden Design continuum?
Garden Design Rules, followed, above:
Use a Color Trinity
Green-Brown-White is historic classic Color Trinity
Flow
Overdose a Theme
Paint Field Gathered Furniture Same Color
Garden Party Top 2 Garden Preparations: Fresh Mulch, Clean Lines
Enfilade
Soldiers
Formal Soldiers
Informal Soldiers
Leverage Harvest Table with a Buffet Table
Focal Points on Axis
Every Garden Needs a Water Feature
Siting a Hedge: Constraints
Choosing Hedge Plants: Considerations
Keep Calm & Live Thru the Cliche Epoch

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

How to Take Charge of Your Ugly Landscape

Heads-up, every garden, below, uses the same 'Garden Design'.  Centuries old yet new in each incarnation.
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If you've found your way here, you've at a minimum considered what a real Garden Design is vs. mow-blow-go-commodify-all-I-touch landscapes. 
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More, you've tried Garden Design, your way.  Literally, the famous, Frank Sinatra, My way.  It didn't work. 
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How do I know?  Me too.  Excepting more stubborn, more original, too much more of the full-monty.  Zorba the Greek said it best, The full catastrophe.   

390a4222bca125474cf620398da2627a.jpg 640×960 pixels
Pic, above, here.
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With Garden Design, intuitive isn't the best path.  Garden Design is counterintuitive.
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After finally getting your Garden Design correct, you've got more layers.  Installing your Garden, plants, hardscape, focal points, just a few layers.  Hope I mentioned, how your Garden Design interacts with your home's architecture, paramount. 
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Garden Design does not begin in the Garden.  Garden Design begins inside your home.
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Look, awhile, at pics above/below.  They are the same Garden Design.
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Draw all these gardens, pencil on paper. 
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List why they are the same garden, in words.
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Most don't have a vocabulary to describe any Garden.
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I certainly didn't, at the front end. 
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 Miranda Brooks Portfolio
Pic, above, here.

 The wide open spaces of Summer - Ben Pentreath Inspiration
Pic, above, here.
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I still purchase Garden Design history books.  Adore reading about the same gardens across history via different authors.  Layers of elucidation, daily.  Three decades after beginning my Garden Design Journey.
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Garden Design doesn't limit itself to era, location, size, budget.  Nor plane of thought.  Intriguingly, plane of thought.  Anthropomorphic, literal, metaphorical, spiritual.  Casting about history and Garden Design, spiritual is bound tightly to Garden Design.  Being a USA citizen, too, there is something given, inherent, from birth, from our Declaration of Independence.  Pursuit of Happiness.
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"Among the many surprises this country (USA) holds in store for its new citizens… there is the amazing discovery that the “pursuit of happiness,” which the Declaration of Independence asserted to be one of the inalienable human rights, has remained to this day considerably more than a meaningless phrase in the public and private life of the American Republic. To the extent that there is such a thing as the American frame of mind, it certainly has been deeply influenced, for better or worse, by this most elusive of human rights, which apparently entitles men, in the words of Howard Mumford Jones, to “the ghastly privilege of pursuing a phantom and embracing a delusion.”  Hannah Arrendt.
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"The grandeur of the Declaration of Independence… consists… in its being the perfect way of an action to appear in words. And since we deal here with the written and not with the spoken word, we are confronted by one of the rare moments when the power of action is great enough to erect its own monument.
What is true for the Declaration of Independence is even truer for the writings of the men who made the revolution. It was when he ceased to speak in generalities, when he spoke or wrote in terms of either past or future actions that Jefferson came closest to appreciating at its true worth the peculiar relationship between action and happiness."  Hannah Arendt.
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"Like Whitman, who believed that literature is the seedbed of democracy, the Founding Fathers were greatly inspired by the literature and philosophy of the Renaissance — particularly by the “men of letters” of eighteenth-century France. Arendt traces the chain of ideological influence across time, space, and culture to the French Revolution and its ideal of “public happiness,” which Jefferson appropriated. In a paper penned two years before The Declaration of Independence, he argued that the ancestors who had left Europe for America had enacted “a right which nature has given all men… of establishing new societies, under such laws and regulations as to them shall seem most likely to promote public happiness.” He then incorporated this insistence on happiness into his blatantly obvious yet somehow stealthy revision of The Declaration of Independence, changing the formulation of inalienable rights from “life, liberty and property” to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
That such a subtle one-word revision of language can effect so profound a revolution in ideology may be strange, but not nearly as strange, Arendt points out, as the fact that it was undebated in Jefferson’s day and went practically unnoticed as it reoriented the entire national ethos for the centuries that followed."  Maria Popova
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"Tyranny, according to ancient, pre-theoretical understanding, was the form of government in which the ruler had monopolized for himself the right of action and banished the citizens from the public realm into the privacy of the household where they were supposed to mind their own, private business. Tyranny, in other words, deprived men of public happiness and public freedom without necessarily encroaching upon the pursuit of personal interests and the enjoyment of private rights. Tyranny, according to traditional theory, is the form of government in which the ruler rules out of his own will and in pursuit of his own interests, thus offending the private welfare and the personal liberties of his own subjects. The eighteenth century, when it spoke of tyranny and despotism, did not distinguish between these two possibilities, and it learned of the sharpness of the distinction between the private and the public, between the unhindered pursuit of private interests and the enjoyment of public freedom or of public happiness, only when, during the course of the revolutions, these two principles came into conflict with each other."  Hannah Arendt
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"Every modern theory of politics will have to square itself with the facts brought to light in the revolutionary upheavals of the last two hundred years, and these facts are, of course, vastly different from what the revolutionary ideologies would like us to believe.
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The rediscovery of action and the reemergence of a secular, public realm of life may well be the most precious inheritance the modern age has bequeathed upon us who are about to enter an entirely new world."  Hannah Arendt.

Gardens began, enclosed.  There was much to keep out.  Animals, and worse, other people.  Centuries of walled gardens.  The world was not a safe place.  Locked walled gardens prevail over the majority of Historic Garden Design. 
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Only recently, barely 4-5 centuries of process, have gardens been designed, open facing & welcoming to the outer world.  For most of those centuries, only the wealthy had access to creating a designed garden.  The entire world was a poor place, few with means beyond subsistence.   
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Growing up USA post WWII is the aberration, not the norm for historical Garden Design.  Ego about Garden Design, in the macro people population, private & commercial, is killing bees, other wildlife, poisoning groundwater, and ourselves.  Historic Garden Design, still reigns. 
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Intuitively, I glommed onto historical Garden Design.  Alas, getting into true historic Garden Design has meant having neighbors call the police, 3 times in 30 years, about my garden.  Why?  Too many flowers, no lawn.  My garden was different from their green meatball foundation plantings and lawn. 
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A life satisfaction about those police visits, 2 men, 1 woman, was receiving an apology from each. 
Each adored my garden.  Go me.  Indeed !

 Bunny Mellon’s Cape Cod Estate
Pic, above, here.
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Go me, without any victory is the more appropriate truth.  Why do the majority of homes with landscapes have fear about Historic Garden Design?  Why fear being 'different' from their neighbors? 
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Seems the choice is clear, but I'm weird-other-strange-eccentric (a few recent adjectives thrown my way).  Each time I'm given an adjective about my personality, my reply a heartfelt, Thank you. 
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Trust the path of being faithful over being effective.  I didn't always trust my heart over head.  Was raised to use my head.  Upon reaching the dark wood Dante wrote so well about, I knew, life moving forward would be with my heart.  A fork reached in the dark wood now?  Two questions.  Does this path enlarge me?  Does this path diminish me?  And a knowing, Don't force a solution.

 Green and white landscaping
Pic, above, here.

 West garden | Tom Stuart-Smith
Pic, above, here.
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Historic Garden Design, all pics above/below, time tested upon continents, eras, regimes, cultures, ages, sexes, people, livestock, wildlife.  Results?  Aside from beauty and happiness.  People & Planet thrive.
 David Hicks' garden at The Grove, Oxfordshire UK
Pic, above, here.
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Had to include David Hicks garden, above/below.  His deeply copied homage to Historical Garden Design.  More, he chose a change of seasons within his simplicity.  In leaf, above, deciduous, below.
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 darn good looking pool: David Hicks
Pic, above, here.
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A last pic, below, of David Hicks garden, above.
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  Bellis Vintage
Pic, above, here.
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Every Historic Garden Design, above, is a trinity of  Hedge-Meadow-Woodland. 
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My garden, 3 police in 30 years?  I broke no HOA rules, all was abided by.  Excepting the county chicken clause requiring an acre of land.  With my home and a recently purchased house as a rental, indeed I owned an acre of land in the county.  The law did not stipulate someone must own a contiguous acre. 
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Still, most landscapes meet minimum for HOA & certificate of occupancy when their house was built.  I wonder why people desire "the ghastly privilege of pursuing a phantom and embracing a delusion."  Howard Mumford Jones.  This is too narrow, too harsh, most churches follow the same type of HOA garden design.  Spirit is allowed inside the walls, not outside.
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Why all this kerfuffle?  What a lot of 'stuff ' written above.   Few Garden Whisperers are born each century.  Few to keep the candle lit.  That candle leading to great inner joys, and manifest happiness in action, the meeting of body to Earth as Providence intended. 
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Pace of life, deep intuitive epiphanies, joys of change thru the seasons, days, hours.  Living territory not map.  Living signal not noise.  Living one with Earth. 
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Of course higher property values are nice, teamed with lower utility bills, having a Historic Garden Design.  Perhaps scientific studies about improved microbiome health and historic gardens should be inserted here.
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Humor of Providence, all I wanted was a pretty garden.  I got that, and a life.
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All the gardens above are quite formal, low maintenance, yet rustic.  Balanced with Nature.  Gardens to live in, Gardens giving back to your life more than you put into them.
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How to take charge of your ugly landscape?  Use Historic Garden Design principles.  Unique in each permutation, promise.  More, the world will adore seeing what you add to the canon of Historic Garden Design.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara