Thursday, December 31, 2009

NECESSITY: LANDSCAPE FANTASIES

A Woodland Walk in my tiny garden, below, aka, air-conditioning side of my house. Chair rotted long ago. Red bud tree died slowly, rotted slowly. Great fun watching songbirds gather insects & make homes in its wood.
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LANDSCAPE FANTASIES abound, "What do I want to do here? Hmmmm!"
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A beautiful garden is fabulous but having a portion of your garden in the realm of fantasy is rich indeed.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

LANDSCAPE TRANSITIONS

TRACTOR CHICK hired me for her new home, below, enveloped by bare red clay. Her mission statement was clear. A challenge, and fun to work with. In a few days the new landscape will be complete. AND HERS. Odd feelings are erupting.
One of several hallways, above, in her new garden. A Crape Myrtle 'Natchez' allee.

My garden, above. No need to feel I'm doing without.
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Bittersweet to hand over TRACTOR CHICK's landscape. It's already a life force. Her life force. I merely chiseled a statue from stone. It was there all along. Oh my, this must be a form of separation anxiety!! Intellectually I know the garden will only get better as TRACTOR CHICK takes over.
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So why am I pouting?
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

LANDSCAPE AWAKENING

Augusta, Georgia, 1968, summer, the home & garden of the late author of adventure novels, Edison Marshall. A pair of Indian tigers he shot, flanking a fireplace, did attract my eye. Lunch, served by 'staff' did too. A tour of the house included a true ghost story.
In the garden a pair of huge Galapagos turtles Mr. Marshall brought home from an adventure. Fountains, paths, meadow, urns, statues, fragrance, heat, humidity, butterflies. Never had I seen such a place. I awoke.
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It is said we try to recreate the rooms that first awakened us.
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In Mr. Marshall's garden I learned my parents were not to be taken seriously. Afterward, they spoke only of the house, staff, antiques. If they were 'real' people they would have spoken of the garden. Those moments, circa 1968, in the garden made my blood fizz.
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Still fizzing.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic, garden circa 1910, from Smithsonian Archive.

Monday, December 28, 2009

KNOW WHO TO ASK

Ask a landscape contractor specializing in brick/stone/concrete/mortar for ideas about a path or terrace? It's fairly certain you'll end up with ideas like this, below. Instead of something like this, below.
Gravel ranges $20-$48/ton & doesn't require skilled labor.
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At a girlfriend's for dinner I broke a personal rule, "No Landscape Designing, Unless Asked. " She told me the story of several contractor bids to repair her old, broken concrete patio. Each bid into the thousands of dollars. I asked her, "What do you think of gravel?"
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Yes, dahlings, less than $300 later she had a gravel terrace. She asked me, "Why didn't any of the contractors tell me about gravel?" She loves the terrace & so do I. We've had many dinners, brunches & glasses of wine on her gravel terrace.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Top pic from Smithsonian Horticulture Archive, Bottom pic from the movie, It's Complicated. No time to poke around for my girlfriend's gravel terrace at the moment. Another post!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

IT IS UNCOMPLICATED

This landscape had me at its gravel. Did you notice this landscape requires no skilled maintenance?
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Pillow? Already telling us something about the home's interior.
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Vines adding lushness without taking up space.
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Pot clusters created as still life's, art. Not some stupid notion of need-a-garden-idea-here.
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Do you feel the pots, bench, plantings, gravel leading you to the back door?
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Sense how this garden room can be as easily rearranged as an interior room?
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This tiny garden room gives a huge sense of the woman living here. Does your garden look like your inner self?
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Do you think this garden was professionally designed? Yes? Me too.
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If this were your garden room, and you didn't have it professionally designed would it look this good? More importantly would it have cost so little to implement? Of greater importance would it be as easy, cost effective, to maintain? Topping the importance list, would you have created a garden room inviting you to use it?
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PUPPET BARBUDA loves this Vanishing Threshold garden.
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Pic from the movie, It's Complicated.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara aka PUPPET BARBUDA

Saturday, December 26, 2009

UNDER GLASS

Aren't these glass trinkets fabulous under glass?
PUPPET BARBUDA laments Smith/Hawken going out of business this year. Those garden trinkets above? Yes, from S&H.
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Look closely, real close. All the trinkets are garden related. I want 'em. BAD.
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And I agree with Susanne Hudson's presentation, Under Glass.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Friday, December 25, 2009

SANTA FOR BIG GIRLS

Santa's are specialists. Blessedly Garden Santa knows big girls want: plants arriving in 20 & 45 gallon containers, 6 tons shot pea gravel, well-rotted manure, granite grit, mulch, & strong men not afraid to work it from sunrise to sunset.
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Wishing you a Garden Santa Christmas!
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic taken at Susanne Hudson's in Douglasville, GA.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

SO OBVIOUS

Can you name this? SLEIGH PORT !!!!!
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Carport, heliport, airport............
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Yes, another pic from Susanne Hudson's last week. She named her Sleigh Port. The antique sleigh? Americans are larger now. A pair of young teens would fit. Two adults? Barely.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

SEEING THE SMALL

Photographing landscapes teaches me to, See The Small. It's a surprise which 'Small' owns the whole.
Macro, above, the red ball in a lantern is a yawn. Pulled aside, micro, caressed with the camera, top, it's a delight.
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So? What's the big deal?
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Once you see landscapes thru the camera you don't have to use a camera to appreciate Seeing The Small's of your garden. Your eyes will create the art. At least mine do!
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics taken last week in Douglasville, GA. Styling by Susanne Hudson at the home of Jeri Farmer.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

DISCOVERY

Landscape Design, blue/white ginger jar, below, $3, thrift store, color, no plants, no watering, no replanting, tablescape. Found this pic, above, yesterday. Discovering I've shot this jar

throughout most seasons. STYLED pics aren't my thing. Pink Debutant camellia blossoms adorn the blue/white ginger jar now. Awaiting Mother Nature's styling before I show you.
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Did you know this about my landscape design & gardening? Choosing beauty. The, "Oh, WOW", of looking out every window of my home. Everyday.
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A powerful life choice. Grace. Ironic, it's not what I was looking for, it's what I found.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Monday, December 21, 2009

SIMPLE SWAG

Simple Swag is often the best choice. No attaching it to this picket fence. Loop it behind the posts. Drape. Done.
Live swag with pine looks better mixed with fir. Pine, alone, falls jaggedly. Pine with fir is floofier.
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On to the compost pile at New Years.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic taken at Susanne Hudson's last week.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

PUPPET BARBUDA GARDEN CENTER SHOPPING

PUPPET BARBUDA, landscape critic, was invited by a dear friend to a soiree at a bonafide retail garden center this week. PUPPET was sooooooooooo excited. In PUPPET's world plants are wholesale & arrive in trucks with vigorous helpful men. Retail garden center experiences are rare. (Yes, PUPPET purchases from big box hardware store plant departments 3-4x's/yr. Are they garden centers?) PUPPET BARBUDA's mental math, "What is my spending cap at the garden center today?"
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Instead, a preening tragedy. The garden center, inside, was dramatically static, by a decade, or more. Garden merchandise is more tempting at TJMaxx or Marshall's or Ross. (PUPPET shops those places for her garden many times/year!)
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How to fix this? PUPPET BARBUDA wishes Atlanta interior design blogger, Things That Inspire, would be invited to decorate/merchandise inside the garden center. In exchange? Promotion of her work & blog. The garden center is tight on money in a tight economy, understandably.
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PETERSHAM NURSERIES in England is where PUPPET BARBUDA vicariously shops. PUPPET is on PETERSHAM's email list & adores each missive. Their pics (they're on Flickr too) have her smitten. At least the distance to PETERSHAM's saves PUPPET money.
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PUPPET BARBUDA is horrified a new gardener, or non-gardener, would enter the Garden-Center-of-Preening-Tragedy and think, "This is what gardening is about?" Though a fabulous remnant remained from another era, CUSTOMER SERVICE. Oh, the poor dears had not much to sell.
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When PUPPET BARBUDA saw the pic, above, via Dust Jacket Attic, she thought it had more to sell to gardeners than the garden center stuffed with merchandise she visited this week. PUPPET BARBUDA's heart is on her sleeve about gardening & wants each element of the profession, & you the gardener, to prosper.
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It should be easy to have a sustainable, eco, organic, low-maintenance, spirit filling, beautiful garden. PUPPET BARBUDA would survive without hers but she wouldn't THRIVE.
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Life is short, thrive.
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Garden & Be Well, XO PUPPET BARBUDA aka Tara
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(Mental math? Thrifty PUPPET BARBUDA was willing to go $200 max, instead, ZERO)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

VANISHING THRESHOLD IN HINDSIGHT

Oh dear, the perfect garden room, below. Of course I must redesign it to have French doors leading into the garden. And, obviously, a new garden on axis with those French doors. Recognize, below, the house?

A bit of the garden room, below. The perfect urn on plinth. Would look good with/without a planting. Evergreens, so plain, flanking the walk are charming. Not a garden of depth, below, but one with integrity & charm. Recognize the house yet?

In hindsight this house has the first

Vanishing Threshold I've seen. As a child I cried seeing this scene. Still do.
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Vanishing Threshold? There is no distinction between inside/outside in the scene, above. And that is exactly what I've created with my house & garden.
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Ok, Netflix send me Meet Me In St. Louis! This time I'm watching because of the garden.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

VELVET & LINEN GARDEN: BEFORE & AFTER

A few days ago Brooke Gianetti, VELVET & LINEN, posted about changing her garden.
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Attraction to Velvet & Linen was immediate. Beautiful interiors matched to beautiful landscapes. Brooke creates & lives a Vanishing Threshold life. She's a master of color, scale, form, function & more. Before, above, she started her garden renovation.Small input, huge impact at the front door. Themes: evergreens, white, terra cotta. If the spiral had been placed closer to the front door, as most people do, the entire area would feel cramped.Oh lucky dirt, below, someone knows how to make you productive.Aren't these our best days, below? Coming home loaded with plants or antiques or art or books or thrift store junk?
Already in awe of Brooke's talent, then I see, below, she's A GRAVEL GIRL!!!!!!!


Brooke's pants, side track me a bit, shoes too, above. Tiny gardens are difficult, imperfections are magnified. Barely finished, Brooke's garden is a delight.

Wish I could see the YouTube of this garden installation. Hmm, edited to 3 minutes?

Garden magic, above. Notice the placement of pots. Bringing them close reduces the scale of the garage door. Opposite of what Brooke needed at the front door.
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Brooke, Thank you for sharing all you do.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics from Velvet & Linen. When you have time, there are many more pics about this project here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

LANDSCAPE ARTIST JONATHAN MYLES-LEA

Sir Roy Strong is my favorite living landscape designer. Through his books
I discovered Landscape Artist Jonathan Myles-Lea.

Jonathan created his signature style


using a combination of styles centuries old. But his PERSPECTIVES are uniquely new.




It amuses me imagining Jonathan painting my sweet garden. Seriously, I wonder what perspectives he would use. My checkbook laughs.
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No worries though. My life, surrounded by my sweet garden, keeps my soul laughing.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Saturday, December 12, 2009

IS YOUR HOA DOA?

PUPPET BARBUDA, this blog's favorite landscape critic, sniffed delightedly reading a review of the film "The Lovely Bones." A.O. Scott is one of her favorite film critics. "The novel is conceived with enough audacity to make this gimmick intriguing, and executed with enough art to make it effective." A.O.Scott
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PUPPET BARBUDA reads, "The landscape is conceived with enough audacity to make this gimmick intriguing, and executed with enough art to make it effective."
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A.O.Scott is a garden designer! PUPPET BARBUDA loves his trinity of questions a good landscape answers.
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Is the landscape audacious?
Is the landscape intriguing?
Is the landscape art?
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PUPPET BARBUDA is disgusted with typical homeowner association rules pertaining to landscapes.
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Older HOA's, especially, devalue property. How? Keeping landscapes in a timewarp of SHAG CARPET, AVOCADO GREEN APPLIANCES, POPCORN CEILINGS & ETC.
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Interior decorating is allowed to move forward why aren't landscapes?
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Outdated trim colors, foundation plantings pruned, for decades, into malicious, cruel shapes, and turf guzzling labor, water, toxic chemicals. Too many homeowners are bound by law to the uglies listed above. And losing money.
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PUPPET BARBUDA kicking dollars at words.
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Neighborhood of 350 homes, with outdated Home Owner Association rules.
Average home price, $425,000.00
Landscaping worth 5% of sales price.
$21,250.00 loss for each home.
Total neighborhood loss: $7,437,500.00
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Is your HOA DOA? Please, forward this humble post to your HOA president. Start a dialogue. Money is on the table. Don't you want more?
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara aka PUPPET BARBUDA
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Pic of lunch this week in my office

Thursday, December 10, 2009

BROKEN HEADS

Working in the shed behind the greenhouse I had to be careful of spiders, snakes, rats & stacks of collapsing merchandise. I loved it!! The oddest rat scurried at my feet. I screamed. Thoughts in chaos. Why? The small black rat was in reality the BROKEN HEAD OF ST. FRANCIS, about 3" & black, rolling quickly by.
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Brain thought, RAT. Eyes saw a face.
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That began my BROKEN HEADS collection.
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Girlie, above, is about 4". She cost a $1 at some nursery. Another joy of my BROKEN HEAD collection? Cheap. One nursery tried to charge me $12 for a BROKEN HEAD, ha, I walked.
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Only the observant will discover my BROKEN HEADS collection in the garden.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

FLOWING COLOR

SHE sent this days ago, below, a victory. SHE chose a new door & paint color. We had choices to make about the door surround; opting to keep the original windows. The door was custom made to fit her space. The color chosen to flow from the myriad gray-blues of her interior. When I saw her wreath I had to smile. Can you guess what color she asked me to design the flowering shrubs/trees in her frontyard?
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White.
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SHE has white: azaleas, viburnum, holly, camellias, magnolia, dogwood.
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It's counterintuitive, the more demanding you are of your landscape the easier it is to create.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

MY DEAR LADIES

She hired me to design her landscape. It included turning a window into French doors leading to a beautiful window encrusted room surrounded on 3 sides by garden. That room would replace
a rotting deck. Ick. Leaving that 1st appointment I saw a book by May Sarton on her bookshelf. Dahlings, anyone loving May Sarton is my bosom friend. I left with borrowed books & a new friend.

Time passed My Dear Lady installed her garden & built the French doors & The Garden Room.

More time passed and My Dear Lady introduced me to her dearest friend. Yes, I designed her garden too.

My Dear Ladies are retired school teachers and owned an antiques business for decades. Driving a used school bus they scoured northern USA for their southern antiques shop. Can't you see My Dear Ladies loading that school bus & driving stuffed with antiques?


Every Saturday nite My Dear Ladies & I are in The Garden Room, above. Wine, canapes & conversation. Always out to dinner late, in a rush, we talk so much. Sometimes, midweek, we convene, as we did last night. Other times we head off to Scott's monthly antique show.
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Occasionally we've convened in the hospital, both people & pet!
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Last Christmas my family situation 'blew-up'. Being a smart girl I drove to My Dear Ladies & The Garden Room. Ha. We had a fabulous Christmas. Last nite we tenderly broached the subject because we want to do it again. We are.
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It was presumptuous telling a client to knock a hole in their wall and build a new room. Little did I know I was designing my own sanctuary.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Monday, December 7, 2009

COLOR: CEILING, WALLS, FLOOR

Glorious fall is coloring ceiling, walls & floor. Pink walls, & ochre carpet, below. The grey flagstone terrace with dwarf mondo growing in the cracks, below? Now, a carpet of ochre. Magic. I adore the change, no matter how fleeting.
Oooooooh, the sound of walking thru leaves enriches my soul.
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And of course, I didn't forget to color the ceiling, below.
Looking up thru the art on the wall, pink camellia blossoms, into a golden/green laced ceiling, above.
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Designing in your garden is no different than designing in your house. It's one thing to paint or coffer your ceiling inside. Outside it's a feeling of, "I own the sky!"
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OWN YOUR SKY!!!!!!!!
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Saturday, December 5, 2009

CREATING A LIFE FORCE

TRACTOR CHICK's landscape is being installed. Double sided fireplace, bluestone terrace, gravel terraces, arbors, ponds, rill, outdoor kitchen, garden rooms, focal points, paths, allee's, orchard, compost pile, potting table with nursery area, tiny lawn to legally please the homeowners association. Hardscape is mostly installed. Plants aren't on site yet.

Yet it's already there. A new LIFE FORCE. Risking being, The-Fruit-Loop-Garden-Designer I called TRACTOR CHICK last night & said, "I feel the Life Force of your garden."

Guess what? She feels it too!!!!!!!!!

Normally, it takes longer for a garden to share its Life Force. Sadly, many landscapes never have a Life Force. If yours doesn't, once you ask, "Why?", you're on your way to having it.

PUPPET BARBUDA will not let anyone use the I-don't-have-the-money excuse. One bush, one tree, done correctly will create a Life Force. We've all been in check-book gardens, yuck.

What do landscapes with a Life Force feel like? Grace. An energy calming & inspiring; an energy making sense of anything life throws at you. Beauty, enriching & sublime filling the senses, feeding your inner muse.

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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

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Pics from my patio this week.

Friday, December 4, 2009

FALLEN

He startled me, at my feet, walking quickly to the compost hands full. A face, looking up. My garden, already an enchantment, transitioning from metaphorical to literal? HA!!!
Hanging at the entry on my arbor at the patio, he fell. Long forgotten, perhaps a squirrel knocked him off?
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His open mouth? He's a birdhouse hand-made of cast stone with marble eyes & a rough sandy texture. Bought him lecturing in North Carolina almost 15 years ago. A perk of traveling to lecture far from home, UNIQUE LOOT.
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I adore it when my garden surprises me!!
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What charming surprises has your garden given you?
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara