Monday, August 31, 2009

PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR LANDSCAPE

Having trouble landscaping? Look at your landscape thru the camera. Not metaphorically, literally. Even the brownest thumbs are intuitive landscape designers thru a camera lens.
Looking at a picture & knowing: something bushy goes there, tall here, get rid of that, throw out those pots, curve the shrub border this way, add groundcover in that bare patch, move the chair closer, need new light fixtures, and the house cannot be painted white another moment & etc.
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Your thoughts are probably on target but you don't know which plants, what color, style of furnishings, shape of terrace or lawn & etc. Then you get frustrated and toss out ALL of your ideas.
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Slow down. Trust your instincts. Take a landscape class about plants, take another about design & tour gardens. If you can't slow down, of course, hire a landscape designer. For DIY use the camera to help you design.
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Pics, above, were a surprise. The gates are at each end of my side garden. Not close in the landscape it was interesting coming across the gates, together, in photography. Seeing them together changes my perception of the side yard. How odd.
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Always learning.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Sunday, August 30, 2009

UGLY LANDSCAPES

PUPPET BARBUDA adores trolling obits in NYT. A line James Lord (newly departed) wrote about his thought of Gertrude Stein, "made me think of a burlap bag filled with cement and left to harden." Describes too many frontyards across America, yes? PUPPET BARBUDA knows, WELL MAINTAINED LANDSCAPES DO NOT EQUAL WELL DONE. There is more to the equation.
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Driving around town, PUPPET BARBUDA, continually hears Bette Davis, WHAT A DUMP. (Please, does anyone know, did Bette Davis ever say this in film or interview?)
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Ok, PUPPET BARBUDA will throw a quick, and obvious, bone about the landscape, above. Paint the foundation the same color as the siding.
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Next, PUPPET BARBUDA, wants free labor from the homeowner, free mulch from the county, and $175.00 maximum for plants; taking this ugly frontyard to gorgeous while raising curb appeal, property value and the inner spirit of the homeowner. Bette Davis be gone.
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PUPPET BARBUDA has more thoughts but must meet a client at the Peachtree Battle Smith/Hawkin for its going out of business sale.
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Garden & Be Well, XO T
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Pic from, Extreme Housewife, she bought the house/landscape as shown & is landscaping as I type!

Friday, August 28, 2009

LANDSCAPE DESIGN WITH A ROUNDABOUT

Roundabouts, below, are the 2nd most common landscape design conceit. After Enfilades. Roundabouts add drama where 2 paths meet. Above, you can walk straight past the urn or make a right/left angle turn.
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Not low maintenance, above? The urn, Queen's Pot, doesn't need to be planted. Perennials? Compost them & plant flowering shrubs. Turf? Create Tara Turf or rip it out & put in flagstones with creeping thyme in the cracks. (Shade? Plant dwarf mondo in the cracks.) Flagstones too expensive? Use #89 granite gravel.
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Turn the Roundabout, above, into an Enfilade? Removed plinth from urn. Place bench or small summer house at far stone wall. Voila, you've made an Enfilade from a Roundabout.

Note: Paths, above, are hallways. Roundabout, above, is a foyer. Enfilade to fictional bench or summer house is a living room.
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Honestly, this landscape design stuff is simply moving the couches & chairs & tables about.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Thursday, August 27, 2009

LANDSCAPE FOR DOGS

Wickedly delightful dogs, below, at Chatsworth in England. By the front door this window tells you who lives here, Vanishing Threshold. Before entering the frontdoor, below, entering Chatsworth by bus.
Water For Dogs? Chatsworth had my heart before my feet hit the ground.
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Perhaps you know Chatsworth from the movie, The Duchess, with Keira Knightly & Ralph Fiennes. They portrayed the Duke & Duchess of Devonshire, whose home was Chatsworth.
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Chatsworth was home to one of the world's most celebrated Head Gardeners, Paxton. That is the movie I want to see. Paxton & The Duke.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

RUSTY vs PAINTED

Rusted was great until it became invisible. What to do? Paint. Found the 'gates' at Scott Antique Market years ago. They are late Victorian fence sections from Egypt. I put 2 nails into a post & with galvanized wire attached them. They're non-functioning, always open.
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The rusty gates arrived, below, with specks of Robin's Egg Blue.
Gathered a few chips to color match at Lowe's.
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Studying landscapes in France I loved how they painted most accents the same color. Good enough for France, good enough for me.

My newest gate, above, from Rustic Rooster in Loganville, GA. There is no fence only the abelia hedge. Yes, you knew what color I would paint it, posted here.
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Rusty things in a garden are soothing. But I wanted to SEE my things.
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Let's dish gate money. Bought the old gates for $80 ea. and have seen them in antique shops, since, for $400.00 ea. Newest gate was, $125.00, made in Mexico.
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No 'correct' answer to rusty iron vs. painting. Look inside your home. Often I'll see a color in artwork, fabric, wallpaper and use it for painting iron. Sometimes I leave it rusty. It's the house AND garden telling you which to do. Vanishing Threshold.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

DON'T WHACK

Crape Myrtles do not, DO NOT, need whacking. Prune to shape but DO NOT WHACK.
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This is my Crape Myrtle at Stone Mountain Park at the Walk-Up Trail. Blooms are fragrant in the morning only. Interesting.
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Blossoms on the ground? Know what they're called?
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The Snows of Summer.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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For those outside the zone of crape myrtles I am showing off aren't I? But you must appreciate our zone is not friendly to peonies. Which should not be in the realm of possibility.

Monday, August 24, 2009

FOCAL POINTS MUST BE LEVEL

Focal points in the landscape must be level. Most will shift in a year's time. I bought a pen sized level and straighten brick edging, benches, plinths, urns, & statues each year.
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At Susanne Hudson's, above, last week. LOL, her landscape is GORGEOUS, and real. Soon her plinth & urn will be level again.
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Are your focal points level?
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Sunday, August 23, 2009

PUPPET BARBUDA : FLOWER SHOW IDEA

Landscape Design companies have carte blanche at Flower Shows. Flower Shows are dying across America, why not change the concept of carte blanche? PUPPET BARBUDA wants to see a new flower show competition division. Six gardens with the same design executed in whatever plant materials & hardscape & focal points & furnishings, a designer fantasizes.
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What? For example, use the design, above.
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1. Instead of lawn, above, a flagstone terrace. The 4 cone shaped evergreens (2 are in shade to the right)? Instead, 4 trees. The low hedge? Becomes a tall evergreen hedge with a low flowering hedge. Entering the hedge, on axis, place a bench. Etc...
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2. Instead of lawn a gravel terrace with harvest table and chairs. Replace evergreen hedge with understory trees. Hang chandeliers from tree branches over the harvest table. Etc...
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3. 4. 5. 6. What's the point?
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One idea, endless permutations.
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PUPPET BARBUDA wants Flower Show gardens to be relevant to those paying entry. Who? YOU. Plant societies & other non-profits seem to be getting it right.
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PUPPET BARBUDA thinks Flower Show gardens have become testimonials to the type of gardens Landscape Design companies wish to SELL.
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Nothing wrong with making a buck. Ha, Flower Shows are dying across America. Remember?
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And PUPPET BARBUDA cares about that.
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Other ideas, please, to save the Flower Shows of America?
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Woof xo T
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Pic from Anson Smart.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

SEASONS IN A GARDEN ROOM

Her voice, You must have Rudbeckia fulgida fulgida. Standing in the aisle layed with old roof shingles in the perennials greenhouse. I worked propagation, professionally, moons ago. (Moons ago is less aging than 'decades' ago, yes?) Her gold Rudbeckia fulgida fulgida has been blooming July-Dec. ever since, in my garden, above.
A bird planted the spring English daisy, above. Recognizing a true landscape designer, I kept it.

Same chair, above, fall view from my office.

Early summer, above, hydrangeas start and Rudbeckia fulgida fulgida are 1' high.
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A supporting tapestry to my days, for many years, I realized I should gather pics of my formal stone terrace & part-time meadow. Threads aren't finished, will get you a pic of the blue ageratum blooming in Sept.
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This terrace is a nurturing friend.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Friday, August 21, 2009

PLAYING LANDSCAPE DESIGN

Timeless, evocative, redolent, delicious, below. Taken days ago in Tirano, Italy by Tongue in Cheek. Thinking of all the ways I've seen its incarnations, playing the LANDSCAPE DESIGN GAME. How would the pic, above, look without its pot and placing the statue, below, instead?
Really stuff the top pic. Where would you place the bench and 2 pots with gumball evergreens, below?

Perhaps the top pic has no pot and this plaque, below. Changes everything, yes?



What if a chair is placed in the top pic? You seeing iron or wood?



This pot, above, would look tasty in the top pic. Of course I took its picture in Italy.
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I'm always playing the LANDSCAPE DESIGN GAME, even with fabulous landscapes.
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The most challenging LANDSCAPE DESIGN GAME? A split-level ranch. But that's digressing.
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LANDSCAPE DESIGN GAME for today. What, from your landscape, could you place in the top photo?
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Nothing for this Italian spot? Oh darling, today, shop or dumpster dive. With elan......and put me in your head. Ask, Is this so wonderful it will be fought over at my estate sale?
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

THINGS THAT INSPIRE

Landscape design absorbs interior design thru window views from the landscape.
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Lighting inside the home, views into the home & window treatments are landscape design.
What is your interior design tossing into the landscape? A boring, unwelcoming, back of a couch? Backside of a large screen TV? Picture frames on a table, from the backside? Oooooooooh. Nooooooooooooooooo.
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Not in my landscape design realm.
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Tara's Trinity: Vanishing Threshold, Lifestyle-House-Landscape.
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THINGS THAT INSPIRE, interior design, came across my nattering about Vanishing Threshold. And got it. She posted an incredible collection of Vanishing Threshold pics. Ooh-la-la, enjoy.
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PUPPET BARBUDA says, Look closely thru the large window above, a couch back. The room may be beautiful inside but from outside it's not Vanishing Threshold.
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Pic sent from observant friend!
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

GARDEN CLOTHES & THE VELCRO CROTCH

Yoga, biking, climbing & etc. have proper clothing. Why not gardening?
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Summer garden clothes? Linen drawstring pants, knee pockets for pads, various side pockets for tools, and a velcro crotch.
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Velcro crotch? It's a waste of time prying off sweaty garden pants. All I want to do is quickly slip into the house, use the restroom, and pronto, be back in the garden. Instead, every summer I'm fighting with my pants. Above, an interesting pair of shorts. SHIPMAN found them, "the shorts are from The New Worker . They are called Blaklader. They are from Sweden. The blue ones I showed you are on sale for $27.00. Remember they run small. I would say 2 sizes small.

I like the long pants but they are more expensive and I think they would be very hot. Great for working in roses or briars though. They have knee pads built in."
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SHIPMAN was wearing these at our last appointment. The pockets were a dream for delegating helpful labor to your tools.
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Alas, no velcro crotch.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Monday, August 17, 2009

GARDENING: NEXT GENERATION

ZARKO has grown up in this home in Pazin, Croatia. Embraced by history, land, books, cooking, music, technology, wildlife, family.
ZARKO is an old soul. Singing Carmen at age 5, wearing his sister's dress.

ZARKO made these photographs of his home.


His mother's hands, above, at a new stone table in the garden.



Sunflowers ZARKO grew.

ZARKO recently won a state horticulture competition. His plans are landscape architecture at university. ZARKO is staying several weeks with SPO & CAPE COD this summer. He's the beloved nephew/son SPO never had.
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Adding to SPO's landscape design Friday included ZARKO. He'll build a dry-stack stone wall, & a short flagstone path, on axis from living room seating to views thru the glass frontdoor. And the flagstone seating area cut into the slope for 2 Adirondack chairs shown yesterday.
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SPO is sweeter than I. She asked ZARKO if he wanted to work in the garden. He's a kindred spirit so I knew, without hesitation, yes he wants to build stone walls & terraces in her garden.
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English is new to ZARKO and how he uses it is humbling. I sent ZARKO a few questions last night knowing I wanted to post his pics for you.
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Below, ZARKO in his own words.

"Around my house growing willow, buxsus, larch, euonimus, forzicia, siringa, wild lemon, hydragea, cedar, from fruit tree I have a apple, plum.
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I have 18 years I am born Jan/11 1991.
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The competition name was Hortus-this was state competition. Agronomy school of unyversity of Zagreb concetration in landscape arhitecture!!!
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Garden for me is place where I feel comfortable and it calms me. The garden is for me an essential part of life as only it can bring the body and mind in the stage of satisfaction and happiness. It will be like in the garden and tries something new, or growing, or attempt to produce something my.
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Garden is usually a reflection of a man and his way of life.
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I love the relationship between the garden and the house which is to breathe as one, must be connected.
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In the garden I also like What is life coming insects, animals that I love.
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garden can be a lot to do, very different styles, such as a small artistic work,and I love in gardens because it can turn into something completely different with a little effort.
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Cooking is my second to do that also is very interesting and full of new things that will constantly discover. I love experimenting and trying to make up your prescription. Cooking is especially because it does not need too much effort just imagination. Cooking is interesting because it can be synchronized with the garden, you cook food what you have in the garden. I was just interesting to create something from nothing
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.I and the music we have on you, I have a lot of rhythm, which sometimes have to spend in the club. my taste for music is diverse like that music is good quality and that is interesting. I love all things depending on the situation of. I do not have anyone who is my favorite, just like everything.
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My ideal career would be to work individually and to have some sort of freedom in the work .. but I would work on the design of gardens, and leisure would work in my garden that would certainly be perfect.
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I steel don't now my ideal job, I have not thought that far! but of course to me to abstain, and a bit of selfishness,and of course that I'm not poor."
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Sentences ringing of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. From a teenage Croatian boy learning English. Again, ZARKO humbles me. And to his parents? Thank you. SPO? Thank you.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Sunday, August 16, 2009

CREATING GARDEN SITTING AREA ON A SLOPE

SPO's home & garden are less than 1 year old. Already SPO is adding to her landscape. A sitting area for the frontyard where shade pools in late afternoon.
I designed SPO's landscape before she moved in. Summer & drought pushing shrubs & trees to fall planting.

Slight slope, below, 4 stone steps to a small stone terrace dug into the slope + 2 Adirondack chairs.


Playing, above, with exact scale: chairs, flags, string. Most plans drawn to scale say +/- 5'. Not good enough. (Note: string is superior to garden hose or spray paint; easily moved and laying exactly as placed.)


SPO served lunch.

SPO & her husband CAPE COD shared photos, she's from Croatia.


Yes, you do want to know how delicious this trifle was!!
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SPO shares something quite special with me beyond her garden, books, movies, home, cooking & laughter. Her dear ZARKO.
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I will tell you of ZARKO tomorrow.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara






Saturday, August 15, 2009

PUPPET BARBUDA: LANDSCAPE CRITIC...

PUPPET BARBUDA loves the Landscape Critique Game. "...this often ridiculous, awkward, unsatisfying and dour melodramatic adaptation."
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Above quote by, Manohla Dargis, film review for, The Time Traveler's Wife, in NYTimes.
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In what universe are those cheap white plastic (Fiberglass? You really think they would spend that money?) pots acceptable as landscape design at the front of this home? And they didn't know to buy a black hose? (Black hoses disappear at a distance.) And the concrete? At the very least why wasn't it stained before pouring? No, won't mention the expensive door and cheap pendant light.

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Attaching art critiques to landscapes. Cheap amusement. Enjoyed for years.
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PUPPET BARBUDA? Who's she? Oh dearies, she's my inner landscape design critic. Her name? Well. Hmm. Won't go there at the moment.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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photo courtesy, Ugly House Photos.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

VANISHING THRESHOLD: KITCHEN & GARDEN

SHIPMEN designed & contracted their own kitchen. Glass walls and ceiling, conservatory style, the garden arises just above your hips. You feel more like you are in the garden than the kitchen. Below, picture taken from inside.
Baubles from across the globe, below, constantly telling new stories of SHIPMEN; their life & work.

SHIPMEN had hired a 'known' architect but his work was paltry. Taking a loss on that little expedition they confidently created a vanishing threshold of kitchen & garden.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

GARDEN ROOMS

"So impertinent -- yet the house "did," for it was the home of people who loved their surroundings honestly."
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My garden is tiny. The gable, below, crowning my head while I type. Crepe myrtles for shade, fragrant tea olive crenellations along the cleyera hedge. (No grass it's my neighbor's frontyard!) "Italy is heroic, but Greece is godlike or devilish -- I am not sure which, and in either case absolutely out of our suburban focus."

My gate, below, delicately tucked into the hedge, always open.
A chair, below, just past the gate

in my potager. A room within a room. Studying in Europe many times yet, I travel farthest in my garden.

Near the chair an altar, above.
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"Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice, and we welcome "nerves" or any other shibboleth that will cloak our personal desire. She loved Cecil; George made her nervous; will the reader explain to her that the phrases should have been reversed?"
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LOL, it is my garden explaining these things to me.
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Once, my garden informed me about a thorny topic, Tara dear your confidence is a masquerade for fear. A changed perspective allowing me to make a better choice and leave the fear behind.
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I'm never bored in the rooms of my garden.



My office window, above, overlooking a garden room. Do you think I ever see my neighborhood?
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I set out to create garden rooms and instead created a world.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Quotes from A Room with a View by E.M. Forster




Tuesday, August 11, 2009

POT OF POTS

Perfect pots? They are so wonderful they can be empty. No fan of CUTE in the landscape. Wit, charm, style are attractive, classic, intellectual.
IT'S WHAT WE DO WITH WHAT WE HAVE.

In England last January at Whichford Pottery. Do you know what it feels like to be in an English pottery yard, nearing sunset, snapping pics and needing to get to the cashier before she shuts it down? What did I buy? Cane toppers. Know what they are?
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Will keep you in suspense until I've taken pics of them in my garden. Bought some years ago at Great Dixter too.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Monday, August 10, 2009

POVERTY IS A GREAT PRESERVER

Can you imagine if this mudroom had been updated in the 60's? Early 80's? Touring old fabulous European gardens and Charleston, SC landscapes moons ago I realized the Poverty Cycle was part of good landscape design.
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Why?
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The conniving of the human brain. It's humbling to walk the grounds of gorgeous landscapes owing their existence to pure persistance & passion.
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Mudroom above is more of Susanne Hudson's Douglasville, GA gorgeous home & garden. After her divorce she spent her last pennies on a crumbling old estate. It didn't stop her from creating a world class garden and lovely home.
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Susanne LIVES poverty is a great preserver with richness.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Saturday, August 8, 2009

LANDSCAPE LARDER

Landscaping is cooking by recipe. Cooks have larders. Do you have a LANDSCAPE LARDER? In Texas last week I gardened with my sister. Frustrating. She had no LANDSCAPE LARDER.
We needed brown twine, tall bamboo stakes, chicken wire, wire cutters, time release fertilizer, brass 'Y' connectors, mulch and etc.
With each need I traipsed to her garage. NOTHING.

My garage? It could outfit her landscape, and a few others, without a dent.

Buying mulch? Potting soil? Twine? A focal point? Stepping stones? Clay pots? Organic fertilizer? Brass hose connector? Watering can? Get extra for the LANDSCAPE LARDER.

My horticulture degree never brought up the topic of LANDSCAPE LARDER. Nor symposium or Extension Service.

Scotland was my first garden study tour. Each garden had a LANDSCAPE LARDER.

Need a 10' soaker hose? Buy 2. Need the tiny 1" sprinkler? Buy 2.

Most gardens need 2 secondary LANDSCAPE LARDERS. Keep a collection of tools near the front of your property & another at the rear.
With 20 minutes to garden in the backyard will you traipse to the garage, at the front of your home, for clippers & trug? Keep a basket of useful things at your backdoor: pruners, scissors, twine, clogs, weed popper, trowel, gloves, flashlight, spider stick, & etc. And at your frontdoor.
My garage? A fantasy LANDSCAPE LARDER: pruners, power tools (saw, drill, hedge trimmer, drimmel), ladders, shovels, rakes, post hole digger, trowels, focal points, organic fertilizers, water nozzels, hoses, chicken wire, wire cutters, watering cans, bamboo stakes, 2x4's, antique patio chairs, patio tables, birdhouses, netting, 2x2's, tomatoe cages, potting soil, tarps, pond pumps, lanterns, candles, citronella oil, pails in all sizes, troughs, yardsticks, tape measures, nails & screws all sizes, hammers, copper sheeting, clay pots, glazed pots, pot trays, wheel barrows, and etc.
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Buy quality for your LANDSCAPE LARDER. Cheap tools do a poor job and damage plants.
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I don't get more done in my landscape because I'm a professional. I get more done because of my LANDSCAPE LARDER.
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TIME IS PRECIOUS.
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Use your LANDSCAPE LARDER to gain more.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics of artwork by Olaf Hajek.
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OMG, think I would ever show a picture of my garage? Truly, my bad.