Sunday, May 31, 2009

COPYING & MAKING IT NEW IN THE LANDSCAPE

A century old, at least, I copied it in my landscape. Outside. (Thank you Pigtown*Design, it was your idea.) And I don't like to collect things nor stray from simplicity. So why am I enjoying this blue/white Chaos Display?
.
Maybe I'll keep it for a month or years. Doesn't matter, I'm enjoying it now. 3 RULES FOR LANDSCAPES:

COPY + SIMPLICITY + REPETITION
No matter how many times it's been done before, if it's beautiful elsewhere it will be beautiful & unique in your landscape.

What is the saying? Non-fiction is a true story, myths are stories that happen over & over & over.... Landscapes are myths, at least mine is to me. How else to explain the grace my garden exudes? Using the 3 rules: copy, simplicity, repetition will give you mythical grace in your landscape.

Setting up the blue/white CHAOS DISPLAY, below.

Intentionally design your landscape to create impromptu Still Life, above.

Went to my favorite junk shop to complete the blue/white collection last Friday. I would tell you where but the friend who shared the shop with me did so with a demand, Do not tell anyone about this shop.

Pic, above, is not styled. The box was awkwardly heavy & I set it on my patio table to begin arranging the Chaos Display. Magazine shoots are fine but I delight, especially, in good pics not styled. The impromptu of life creating still life.

.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Saturday, May 30, 2009

TEA PARTY IN THE LANDSCAPE

Mr. Rabbit came from Tuesday Morning about a decade ago and has been in my landscape ever since. Who wants to maintain potted flowers or replenish them twice/year? A couple of days ago Mr. Rabbit invited me to a tea party. Thru the years his arms have held fresh flowers cut from the garden or a dried hydrangea.

Not many men carry a tail as well as Mr. Rabbit. I adore subtle details.
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Friday, May 29, 2009

BEGIN LANDSCAPE WITH ITS END

Studying old landscapes abroad it's obvious what survives. Trees. Tree design: canopy, understory, weeping, horizontal, pyramidal, evergreen, deciduous, conifer, variegated, burgundy, green, waxy, pubescent, peeling bark, colorful bark, single trunk, multi-trunk, spring bloom, summer bloom, fall bloom, fall foliage, fragrant, butterfly host, bird host, shade house, buffer winter winds, increase property value.
.
I took the pic above about 2 weeks ago in North Georgia in MR. JIM'S garden. He's hired me to write about his garden. It will open to the public in 2 years and I want you to start planning your trip.
.
For now, what about the trees in your landscape?
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Thursday, May 28, 2009

DESIRE FOR LANDSCAPE LIGHT

Designing landscapes to light interiors came later. Not in college, or studies abroad. Simply living. Realizing garden light throughout any day, any weather became necessary to serenity. Adoring how the light of sunny days, rainy days, sunrise, humid late afternoons, fall sunsets, and 100's more configurations touch my furniture, art, books, cats and me. Natural morning light, no camera flash, above. Thought you would like to peep inside my home.
Afternoon light streaming into my office landing on Laskett.

Petunia in my office by lamplight before a winter's sunrise. I adore the transition from dark to dawn to sunrise to daylight. Dark, when lamps are on in the morning knowing, soon, my garden will awaken around me.
.
Some days seeing the landscape, from inside, as chiaroscuro. Walking outside in my gown during those few seconds of magic. Being greedy, wanting a magical gloaming on the same day.
.
Nobody tells you these things about a landscape. They imbue you with a desire for its light.
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

LANDSCAPE INSPIRATION FROM AN INTERIOR DESIGN BLOG

Chaos of blue/white makes me smile. Seen at PIGTOWN DESIGN it was a blog header for AN AESTHETES LAMENT. Where does inspiration come from? I saw museum quality blue/white in a similar chaos display at Chatsworth in England. Oh my, is 'Chaos Display' a new design trick? Without inspiration.
It may take a few weeks but I'm field gathering blue/white china now. I'll place it on this patio table. It was originally a sofa table. My frogs will be on the move. Don't know where yet. But it will be fabulous, where ever they land.
.
Is any of this important? YES. Why? It makes me smile.
.
What makes you smile in your garden?
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

DESIGNING A SMALL PATIO: SHOPPING

SAY SAB likes pink and everything traditional. Her tiny walled patio is hot, humid, buggy and viewed often thru the windows of her office and kitchen. Two years with nothing I forced her, last week while in TEXAS, to start the patio. Should I tell you SAY SAB is my big sister?
.
Time wasn't on our side to shop & she didn't want to spend much money on a patio to be viewed more than used.
Art, above, for the brick wall from TJMaxx $30.
Large urn, a composite, above, Target $70. Only 1, I wanted her to get a pair. Oleander will be planted.

White marble table, $60 TJMaxx, looks old adding instant character.

A pair, $12 ea. TJMaxx, medallions to go on the brick wall above a pair of windows.

At the door, Target $30. From their Smith & Hawkin line.

Metal art, from Ross $20, to go over a yet to be bought table.

Pair of cast aluminum chairs, Lowe's $98 each, with good curves, traditional style, and most importantly, comfortable.
.
Look at the concrete. Ugh. We will stain it a gray field stone color.
.
This is the pace of REALITY SMALL PATIO DESIGN. Magazines & TV create illusions of great speed. Ha. I'll keep you posted on this project. I doubt it will see much change unless I'm in TEXAS with SAY SAB.
.
In a perfect world we would shop consignment, thrift and garage/estate sales too. And wait for sales. Instead, SAY SAB already waited 2 years and I was only with her 2 days. A determined 2 days.
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

LANDSCAPE & INTERIOR DESIGN

Good landscape design flows from the center of the home to the property line. Landscapes, too often, begin at the curb looking into the home. Why be an outsider to your own life? Go inside your life, begin your landscape there.
.
On Mother's Day, SHE shared her home, cooking, family, garden & time with me. Can you tell she likes white flowers in her landscape? Want to see the landscape SHE asked me to design? Of course you do. But not yet, the portico is being put on next month.
.
Where does your landscape begin?
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Monday, May 18, 2009

CLEAN DESIGN: LINE, TEXTURE, FORM, COLOR

See why I chose to stay with my hosts last week in Birmingham? Could a hotel compare? This is the view as I drove into their driveway.
.
What is the view pulling into your driveway? In a subdivision.
.
Houses are everywhere here. Below, I'm standing in the garage shooting the same border + lawn.
View, below, from the neighborhood sidewalk.

Design elements are met, below.


Trees contrast form: cone & oval, canopy & understory. Clean line of turf: dramatic frisson turf + bed. Colors: contrasting shades of green + flowers. Textures: large leaves next to small leaves. Contrasts: calm of turf + energy of plantings
.
It's no surprise professional photographer, Joe De Sciose, designed this landscape. Color, line, form, texture are all components of his day job. Joe & his wife Gail planted, and maintain their own landscape.
.
Their joy is evident.
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Sunday, May 17, 2009

DECADENCE ON THE LAWN

Masterpiece Theatre, decades ago, had Miss Marple. The English settings were incredibly decadent. Furnishings on the lawn. Tea on the lawn. A notion inextricably appealing.
.
Oakleaf hydrangea are peaking now at Aldridge Gardens, above, in Hoover, AL. Their hydrangea festival was last week. After I finished lecturing box lunches were served in the garden.
.
Why share this ridiculous notion? Without direct effort my life has included countless repasts in the garden for decades, at home, with friends, clients & lecture venues.
.
What began as an infatuation has, indeed, become a way of life.
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Saturday, May 16, 2009

GARDEN WALKABOUT IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA

My hosts in Birmingham produced a proper custom garden walkabout. It began in the English Village area on Cahaba Road at Continental Bakery. Of course I had a scone, orange cranberry. We lolled about in conversation & laughter before heading out on foot in search of enticing gardens. Less than a mile away we found our quarry.
This little garden, literally, 2' wide, and about 45' long.

Crunchy gravel, lovely understated pots, lots of serene green, touches of chaos, touches of order. Big dose of tasty aged architecture. Can you believe this is Birmingham, ALABAMA and not Birmingham, ENGLAND?

THE Norman Kent Johnson, landscape architect, bought a falling down shed 2 decades ago and created this Norman delight. Notice thru the window, above, the house is 1 room deep. It has only 1 bedroom (upstairs).

Yesterday I forgot to mention, rub tools with boiled linseed oil if you want to copy Norman's idea. Don't worry it comes boiled. You don't need to do it.

To the left of the front door a most civilized welcome. Don't you want to go inside?
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Friday, May 15, 2009

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: NORMAN KENT JOHNSON

He had me faster than hello. Shooting his spray of tools & 2' strip of landscape I was in SERIOUS CRUSH.
.
Do you know what talent it takes to create a landscape with NOTHING? And he did! He saw me shooting & came outside. NORMAN KENT JOHNSON, yes the norman kent johnson, talked with me outside his charming cottage for over an hour.
Met him while meandering the streets of Birmingham, AL where I lectured yesterday.
.
No time this morning. Will give you more about NORMAN KENT JOHNSON tomorrow. But wanted to get you his SPRAY OF TOOLS. Fabulous, yes?
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

LANDSCAPE MUSE: SHARING A WOMAN

Who is this woman? SHIP MAN sent her to me. As his name implies he travels the globe. In Capri a couple of weeks ago, this woman fascinated him. He knew I would be fascinated too. I've kept her to myself for 2 weeks wondering if she was relevant for my blog. Yes.
.
She taps into my heart, intellect, muse, hopes, fantasy, fears. Fears? Not of aging but of some of her experiences. But without those experiences she wouldn't be an incredible woman pausing on a sidewalk in Capri 2 weeks ago.
.
I've examined, closely, her hair, skin, eyes, ears, mouth, posture. She is beautiful. And her clothes are perfection. The quality of the fabrics, their color. The stunning collar of her shirt, the collar of the coat. Is the shirt Egyptian cotton, the coat cashmere?
.
What are her stories? Her loves, losses, pets, gardens, favorite books, recipes to cook, music, interior decoration and what do her shoes look like?
.
Simply seeing her feeds my muse. Greedy, I want to meet her. Selfishly thinking what she knows of life would add magic to my landscape designs.
.
Thank you SHIP MAN, seeing her is magic enough.
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Monday, May 11, 2009

A CHAIR IN LANDSCAPE DESIGN

Sir Walter Scott's landscape had a well-placed chair. I copied the idea and learned it was more than first epiphanied.
.
Blooming today, oh so fragrant Marchessa Boccella. She's remontant, blooming till frost and an antique rose needing no chemicals. A couple of weeks ago, below, Chinese snowball petals. A few are evident, above.

Soon, below, mopheads will be blooming again.
And the great southern drama, below, snow. When the teacup snowstorms begin I grab the camera & run.
Need to get the camellia blossoms in bloom with this chair and fall leaves. Who knew? Copying Sir Walter Scott I thought I was simply creating a single photo op with a chair. Instead it's seasons of beauty. And the random bird or squirrel alighting on the chair to dine.
.
I dine there too, on occasion.
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Sunday, May 10, 2009

LANDSCAPE DESIGN AT BREAKFAST

A tray in the garden is quite common. Oh the delight of my impromptu breakfast & accidentally matching.
.
Seeking accidental still life in the garden is one of my pleasures. Tiny moments writ large.
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Saturday, May 9, 2009

DESIGN TO MESMERIZE

Lecturing in Aiken, SC years ago I stayed with DANCING COUPLE. This picture, below, of the many taken in their landscape continues to mesmerize. Their pond mesmerized in real time and I realized, only this week, designing to mesmerize is an element of landscape design.
.
What mesmerizes in interior design? For me it's the enfilade of interior view to outside view. Still life of furnishings leading to the kinetic still life of landscape.
.
I still marvel at seeing trees, blue sky, white clouds, breeze upon the surface of the water, koi rippling the water as they live their life and rocks lining the bottom of the pond.
.
What design elements mesmerize you? In the landscape? Inside your home?
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Friday, May 8, 2009

LANDSCAPE DESIGN & GEORGE WASHINGTON

On a July 4th I stood in line to tour Mount Vernon. The day was hot, humid, crowded. Not much is open July 4th except Mount Vernon. MOTHER DEAREST stood in line while I careened between the walled gardens of George & Martha.
.
It's fitting I fell in love with George Washington on July 4th.
.
There are some things you should know about this gardening man. George's walled garden at Mount Vernon is the Pleasure Garden with plants from around the globe. Though he was fighting a new type of war George hired a landscape designer for Mount Vernon. Imagine. He boldly fought a war without advice but hired advice for his landscape.
.
(men come to build sooner than to garden finely......as if gardening were the greater art...Pope)
.
Martha's, much-much-much larger, walled garden is for the production of food. Without interpretation it's obvious this is a unique couple and George is an unusual man.
.
While fighting the British it was not uncommon for George to study & implement English farming & landscape ideas. He was often the 1st to apply new methods from England on our soil.
.
While fighting a war to create a new country it was not uncommon for George to write long letters to his construction manager at Mount Vernon explaining paint colors, methods, aesthetics, time tables & more.
.
When George couldn't afford what he wanted at Mount Vernon he used fauxe. Best example? The exterior of Mount Vernon is wood, cut & painted, to look like stone.
.
George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson were each avid agricultural & ornamental gardeners.
.
What role did this play in their relationship to each other?
.
Did you know John Adams & Thomas Jefferson, while working in Europe, spent 2 weeks together touring gardens in England? Though both were inveterate journal keepers, neither man wrote of the trip. Why? We know much about the Lewis & Clark expedition but I really, truly, madly, deeply want to know about those 2 weeks in England.
.
Will stop here or embarrass myself by describing a screenplay of those lost 2 weeks. With darling Thomas involved you know it's a bodice ripper.
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Thursday, May 7, 2009

LANDSCAPE PHOTO ALBUM

Stranded on a runway, fog, in Switzerland, returning from a garden tour of Italy Peggy Cannon, gardener & artist, was my seatmate. A short amount of conversation led to my landscape photo album being pulled out. Peggy sparkled and said, Oh I've brought mine too!
We were on that runway 4 hours. Four delightful hours of gardens, antiques, oil painting, clothes, money, books, personal business methods, travel, food, pets, parents, siblings, men, children, in-laws. Our photo albums spurred a deep intimacy & trust.

Why did I stop carrying my landscape photo album? Yesterday, while my broken email was being repaired I put together a new landscape photo album. 48 pics of my landscape, 4 pics/page, gorgeous.


The album is potently tucked in my purse as I type. Last night, dinner with PRIMITIVE GIRLS, you bet, they've already devoured my album. And yes, they've decided they need one too. To whip out. And share.
.
These pics, all from my garden, are nice but only digital. It's delicious having pictures to touch, ogle, show off. Don't you want a landscape photo album too?
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

VEGETABLE GARDEN: SHAKER STYLE

Shaker settlement Albany, New York, below.
Master Gardeners in Albany, New York recreated a Shaker vegetable garden. Raised beds with planked paths. Easy access to harvest & weed. And, an enclosing fence. Keeping animals & debris to a minimum. Painted blue. Nothing was done solely for aesthetics with the Shakers. Why paint the fence blue? Function? The spirit world. To keep evil spirits away or ask God's bounty upon their crop, or both, I don't know.
.
Ann Lee, 1736-1784, founded the Shakers. It was disheartening to discover so little preserved about Shakers in Albany.
.
Inventions of the Shakers: marketing packaged seeds, flat broom, washing machine, clothes pin, circular saw, apple peeler & clothes press.
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
.
top pic from Shaker Heritage

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

LANDSCAPE DESIGN: WASHINGTON PARK, ALBANY, NY

Gertrude Jekyll, world's 1st landscape designer, said, When I design a landscape the FIRST thing I consider is what to put on the house.
.
Near Washington Park Jekyll's edict is planted. And there's a thrilling roof. Stone shingles are larger at the gutter, tapering toward the ridge.
.
Having something on your house does not always mean a vine. I prefer espaliered woody shrubs. No wires or trellis needed. Vines are often too much maintenance vs. an espaliered woody shrub. Nearby, below, what my LANDSCAPE DESIGN EQUATION advocates. When you create a landscape design begin with trees. What survives in a landscape? Trees, meadow & stone focal point. If you care about low maintenance, organics, sustainability with rainwater only, creating a realm of beauty to live amongst & leaving something for the future. TREES.
With age the trees have become more spectacular than the house, below.

Why is this painted brick, below, working for me? I used to hate painted brick. This painted charmer is near the homes pictured above.

And each of the homes edge Washington Park in Albany, New York. Yes, I was there during the tulip festival.

Original plan, below, for Washington Park. Much of the land has never been privately owned.

Below, the wisdom of what lasts in a landscape (trees - meadow) contrasted with the ephemeral (tulips).

Contrasts, another landscape design tool. Above, see the tree design? Canopy, understory, cone, weeping, horizontal, burgundy foliage, deciduous, evergreen, brown bark, white bark, grey bark.
.
There is a template for landscape design with trees. I didn't learn the template in college for horticulture. No. Studied landscapes in France. They don't muck about, as the English would say.
.
Pics of Washington Park from their website.
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara