Saturday, February 28, 2009


Vanishing threshold landscapes inspire me.
House, garden & life in perfect accord.
.......... INSPIRATION. Botanical garden glass houses BORE me when I'm in them. But their pictures resonate, later.
You can pick up a few ideas. Pots on a roof, above.

A dramatic display template to copy, above.
I wanted to go down the stairwell to see the heating system. No Entry...said the silly sign.

The path, above, shouting, Walk Thru & Go Away.
.................The inspirational picture, top, shouting, Stay--Enjoy Life.

Everyone 'WALKING THRU'. No invitation to STAY. Darling, this is BORING.

Enjoying the mechanics of drainage more than the expensively glassed conservatory landscape.

Ok, I was seduced by some curves!

Nice, above, but it's landscape design boredom.

Mechanical jewelry, above. A crank to open the glass roof. Who was the man placing beauty into its function?

In the States it's rare to see a beautifully pruned hedge, above.

Curves, above, are sumptuous simplicity.

Opposite side of sumptuous simplicity, above, amusement park chic.
Have you noticed homes with AMUSEMENT PARK CHIC LANDSCAPES aren't really homes with a gardener?
Have you noticed homes with SUMPTUOUS SIMPLICITY LANDSCAPES are the home of an exquisite gardener?
Oh my, how quickly I traveled from What Inspires & What Bores, to, The Sacred & The Profane.
Often, I have to 'SELL' clients less than they ask for.
Steering away from elements of AMUSEMENT PARK CHIC. Knowing we all go thru the landscape design archetypes..............
Yes, I'll write more of these things later.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
Top pic via Euro Antique Market, remaining pics I took at Kew last month

Friday, February 27, 2009


Does it get any better than pots on roofs? What fabulously crazed person thought it up?
Life is better living in a home with roof top pots-urns-finials, did you know?
Enfilade = View from inside conservatory to outside architecture to landscape beyond.
Pic from Kew taken last month during my lecture tour.
Garden & Be Well, XO T

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Walking in London last month I saw this. Late Victorian tiles. Who knew? COLOR! PERMISSION! From curb to center of your house, vanishing threshold. Color, style, theme, intelligence, wit.
Weedy looking 'weed' edging the path is Forget-Me-Not. Pure SOPHISTICATION.
Can you imagine the blue blossoms spilling along the edge of the path? Calendar Shot.....
This morning, watching the dawn thru my baywindow, I glanced up from reading the NYTimes. 'Oh my gosh, the sky is the same color as those pathway tiles in London.'
A color splash lasting moments but still transmitting serotonins-dopamine-crack thru neural pathways.
Does color affect you this way?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Enter as I did. A gap in the hedge. No hint of what lies beyond. Curious? Standing in the gap, seeing a charming garden. A small Howard's End.
Echoes of the frontdoor................ the back wall of the summer house.

More evergreen hedges, below, leading where? Mystery. A potager? Clothesline? Chaise lounge for sunning nude?

Flagstone terrace, not lawn, at the house. Extending the house.
This house doesn't have a back. Each side is delightful.
Lead horse trough now a rain butt.
All the sticks & browns soon to become blossoms, calendar shots.
Winter's bleak chic more important than the ease of spring/summer blowzy caresses.
I didn't want to leave this Howard's End-a new clip- world-life-feeling-energy-joy.
This dirt path is landscape design brilliance. A feeling of the country in the city & cementing the idea of being in another garden room. Leaving the garden through another gap in the hedge. Tara's Golden Circle: the ability to enter/leave a garden room through 2 or more doorways. A little design trick I observed in the best of old landscapes.
This landscape is a several hour design class but you're busy. Thanks for taking the time to walk in the garden with me.
I shot these pics last month at the Birmingham England Botanic Garden.
Garden & Be Well, XO T

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Ric the Inn Keeper from Highlands, NC is ready to landscape his B&B. I'll drive up in March.

He has grassy areas and wooded.
I see Kew gardens at his B&B. Timeless, inviting, low maintenance, sustainable, serene.

Canopy & understory trees, shrubs, focal point bench, TaraTurf.

Contrasting: oval trees, weeping, conical, crooked, evergreen, deciduous, green foliage, yellow....

Ric, I want these pictures from Kew in your head before I arrive. I know you want more color. We'll place viburnum, rhododendron, mountain laurel, peony, antique roses, hydrangea, lenten rose, iris, on axis with views from the B&B.
TaraTurf is fescue, moss, clover, crocus, dwarf daffodils, whatever the wind blows in. Are you that brave?
I took the pics last month at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew.
Garden & Be Well, XO T

Monday, February 23, 2009


How landscapes intersect with a home fascinate me. Petersham Nurseries in England occasionally opens the private garden of Petersham House, below. Does your nursery understand the relationship of house & landscape? Petersham's vegetable garden. A seduction. Peter Rabbit feelings, I want to nibble this garden.

Simplicity. Narrow beds to work in easily. Brick path for foot and wheelbarrow. Soil I want to roll in, smell & feel on my skin.

Tree branches & twine ALWAYS trump
store bought stakes & cheap green plastic ties.

If people saw what I did with their trash they would offer to BUY it back.
. No branches? Field gather from neighbor's prunings.
This peak at Petersham House, landscape & vegetable garden make me want more. I want to see inside Petersham House.
Does your landscape do that? Ask yourself, Are people salivating to see inside my home because of my landscape?
photos from Petersham Nursery. Thank you Pigtown*Design for introducing me to them.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I fell in love with College Boy. Watching Brideshead Revisited with Emma Thompson I learned more. I fell in love with College Boy, the charms of his family and this house, owned by his grandmother, Miss Louise.

Built on land in the shape of Florida, the house faces the lake on both sides.

Built in the teens the house had servant quarters, a delightful carriage house with storage for hay, 2 docks, boathouse, guest house, stone tunnel, a boiler in the attic, badminton court, extensive gardens & a summer house.
Spring water, still soft & sweet, for the house came from land Miss Louise owned further up the mountain.

We honeymooned here. Living in the big house by day, sleeping in the guest house by night. Much later I realized every picture from my honeymoon is of plants.

Stones for the house & fireplaces, 13 total, came from nearby.

Dining room, below, still has this furniture. Pics from the 1920's.

The chair, above, missing a spindle, now at the desk in my bay window. It's an American windsor dated 1897 on the bottom.

The big house is 1 room deep with 19 pair of French doors.

Lake Rabun from the back terrace.
Family dinners, birthdays, anniversaries, being with my dogs, reading, or lunch alone thru the years on the terrace, above, fill my spiritual well.

Jenny, my mother-in-law, at right, dead of breast cancer at age 57.

So many hours boating. I can hear the motor of these boats.

After Miss Louise died Jenny had the chairs, below, in her garden. They are now in my garden.

The best view of any lake house. Hidden in the trees.
My competitive Texas tennis days never translated into being a good waterskier.
I spent hours gardening at Lake Rabun. Its landscape designed by a professional. Slowly, intuitively, understanding its paths, evergreen hedges, stone walls, cut-fill, axis, and more. How each room interacts with the outside. How a person's life interacts with a house & its landscape.
Miss Louise gardened here, her sister, Aunt Tillie gardened here, her daughter, Aunt Mary, gardened here. Jenny played. She taught me about picnics, music, books, nature, cooking, Peter Pan decadence, photography, films, bleak chic, dressing-up a cat, hiking and ultimately how to be myself.
Marrying College Boy was fate's way of placing 4 mentors in my life, Miss Louise, Aunt Tillie, Aunt Mary and Jenny. And Lake Rabun.
Lake Rabun is in every landscape I design.
Brideshead Revisted doesn't miss a topic I've experienced at Lake Rabun. Separating from the charms of others, or a place, is never easy. You don't know what's on the other side. With age you learn it's freedom.
Garden & Be Well XO Tara
Family pics


Gertrude Jekyll, Englishwoman & world's 1st landscape designer, said, When I design a landscape the first thing I consider is what to put on the house. Fascinating. College degree, uncountable lectures attended and not one person ever, ever, mentioned what to put on a house. I design with vines and espaliered woody shrubs on homes.

You can vaguely see the wires on the house, below. Vines with outward growth add a dimension of lushness & softness.
In winter, the wires are barely visible. Entirely cloaked in summer.

Run galvanized wire in horizontal lines 2' apart.
I use masonry screws for brick walls & a jackhammer drill. Copper wire doesn't carry the load of galvanized wire.
Woody shrubs espaliered against a home need no wires or trellising. Use espaliered shrubs for low maintenance.
I took the pics last month in England at Wisley, Royal Hort. Society.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara