Sunday, January 31, 2010

ILLUSION OF REPOSE

Chairs & benches are favorite focal points. Why?
They give the illusion of repose.
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Weeks & months may pass without time to sit in my garden. Doesn't matter.
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Potency lies in the illusion, throughout my days, seeing from the windows, views prettier than any Hallmark greeting card.
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Seriously. How can Hallmark compete with a deep red cardinal landing on the top of a chair & singing to his mate? A squirrel bringing lunch to the arm of a bench in the potagere?
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Comfort must not be illusion. Sit test each chair/bench.
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I don't care if it's rescued or only $19.95. If it's not comfortable & fabulous, don't take it home. Remember my estate sale question, "Will this be fought over at my estate sale?"
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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I took the pic in Susanne Hudson's garden.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

CALLANWOLDE & FREDERICK LAW OLMSTEAD

Circa 1920, a dowager survives demolition, 1971, in a neighborhood Olmstead designed. Ceiling of trees outside, ceilings inside, below. Proof, again, of what survives landscape design: TREES & MEADOW. Please, dahlings, you must begin your garden with TREES & MEADOW.



I lectured at Callanwolde, (Dekalb Federation of Garden Clubs was host), this week. All original, below.


I realized I was taking Callanwolde for granted. I've lectured & attended many events here thru the decades.


The courtyard was enclosed, above. A little fetish of mine, enjoying the styling of refreshments garden clubs provide. Charm straight from the heart.


Front terrace, above.
Hand-painted silk panels in the dining room, above.

Hand carved front door, above.
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Garden clubs weave a tapestry of nurturing around their communities. Most members don't realize the potency of their actions.
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Many Garden Club meetings I've sat thru, waiting to speak. Learning who has died, been sick, had a baby, moved out/in, crime issues, new fundraising plans to benefit xyz, holiday plans & more.
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Garden Clubs are the last bastion of civility in our neighborhoods.
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If I were to get a Phd in horticulture, Garden Clubs & Society, would be my topic. That's my soap box & I'm staying on it!
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Took the pics this week at Callanwolde.

Friday, January 29, 2010

GARDENING BABETTE'S MEAL

PECAN ORCHARD has lived across the globe for decades. Now, she's home. In a Georgia pecan orchard, below.Returning home, PECAN ORCHARD made a lifestyle choice. Nature.
Utilizing land & outbuildings for: family, friends, honey bees, dogs, cats, chickens, goats, horses, ponds, potagere, hay, pecans, fruitery, pleasure walk, birding, sports, & more.

PECAN ORCHARD wants to do it herself. Using little outside help.


Her petite muck boots are outside most doors.


Century old outbuildings are being refurbished.



Friends are sharing in her bounty.

And me? Sitting at my folding table/chair en plein aire I drew a concept plan for PECAN ORCHARD. Decades of study, travel, books, designing, contracting, paying attention, being present, successes, failures, joys, tears, stress, serenity, went into PECAN ORCHARD'S garden.
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Drawing the concept plan, hours felt like seconds.
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Uncovering her garden, seeing what was already there.
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Leaving PECAN ORCHARD I felt, surely as Babette did, above, serving her meal.
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Magic lies in letting go.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Top, pic from PECAN ORCHARD'S home/garden this week. All other pics from the movie, Babbette's Feast.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

IS IT THE COVER?

Even necessities of a garden must be fabulous, below. A question, to help you get there,
"Is this worthy of the cover of a garden catalogue?"
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Plantings, Patio, Porch, Potting Table. The question remains the same, "Is it the cover?"
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics taken in Susanne Hudson's garden.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

POT WORK

Why plant when the pots
look this good?
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Choose wisely & never plant, water, fertilize pots again.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics taken during an Italian study tour of gardens, yes, a warm sunny summer afternoon.
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Note from PUPPET BARBUDA: Sustainability of annuals? Not. Wholesale greenhouses with heaters, swamp coolers, irrigation, manual labor, trucking of soil, containers, fertilizers, & more. Then, trucking of annuals to retail sites, more labor, watering, losses, then driven home to final user, more watering, potting soil, fertilizer, labor. Hmm.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This IS Designed: FRISSON

Old tools, old shed, below, works every time. Totally designed, above. Ha, you thought it was an area 'not done'? Hardly.From the same garden, above.
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Create FRISSON in your landscape.
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Tension between formal/informal. Ying/Yang.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics taken in Susanne Hudson's garden.

Monday, January 25, 2010

RAISE THE RED LANTERN

Oh the drama, below.
Fresh, modern, above. Raise The Red Lantern, 1991, above, has an incredible garden scene. Lasting seconds, I watched & rewound dozens of times. A courtyard of bonsai. Trees, ancient, human sized, centuries of nurturing. A potted forest.
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What seems new, top pic, is a centuries old idea.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic via Style Court, Francois Halard photographer, published in Ammo 2009.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

FURNITURE ON THE LAWN

Timeless perfection, deeper than you think, below. Why? Have you deduced wisdom in the plantings? Dwarf conifers, deer resistant & once established zero irrigation.
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Combined by design: contrasting textures - colors - forms, use of backdrop, focal point - furniture on the lawn, & no down time; showy all year.
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Tara Turf: pollinator zone, feeds beneficial insects, fragrant, attractive to butterflies & honey bees, needs zero irrigation-chemicals-fertilizer, & less mowing than tradition lawn.
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I'm a GARDEN WHISPERER, are you?. Did you know this wasn't just furniture on the lawn?
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic from The World According To Isa

Saturday, January 23, 2010

LUSH WITHOUT SPACE

Want to add lushness without taking up space? Put a vine on your house. Or espalier a woody shrub. Not much, above, but loads of lushness. And little maintenance. Rich, welcoming. Don't you want to know what the inside looks like? And the garden? Already sense you would like the owner?
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Slow down, dahlings. 3 questions, above, are quite serious. And part of designing your landscape.
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Ask those questions of your frontdoor & back patio area.
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Color, empty pots, scale, path, axis, light fixture, bell pull, enfilade each play a role too. But I'm only speaking of the vine today. Isn't it amazing how the simplest of garden pictures is, in reality, a full landscape design course?
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic from Kathryn Ireland

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

VELCRO CROTCH

Gardening clothes aren't serious. Please, someone, manufacture garden pants with a VELCRO CROTCH. By the time I run inside finally, finally to the powder room it's a battle to get my sweaty pants off. Seeing, above, I know what to wear pruning my peony patch circa 1798 with staff in attendance.
How I'm feeling, above. Chaos reigns in my home: painters, plumber, carpenter, electrician. Soon, when garden clubs have their meetings in my garden the flow will be so much better.
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Did you know they existed? Garden club meetings in a garden? With catered box lunches!!!Learned of them thru Penny McHenry. She had them, to perfection. Penny would lead a tour of her garden, about 1 hr, then everyone would gather iced tea/box lunch & settle throughout garden & home. The breaking of bread with one another would perform its magic in Penny's setting. The magic? Grace & spirit.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Top pic Christian Lacroix, bottom pic Galliano.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

GARDEN SPECIALIST

Doctors, lawyers, engineers & more have specialties. ELLEN OGDEN is the KITCHEN GARDEN specialist.
Whether you have acreage or a tiny city apartment you can have a kitchen garden. Beautifully & easily.
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Ellen & I spoke at the same symposium in Vermont a couple of years ago. Wow. Author, speaker, gardener. She's been living a kitchen garden lifestyle for decades.
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No, dahlings, kitchen gardens aren't boring or ugly. Think potagere. The French concept of vegetables-herbs-fruits-flowers-flowering shrubs in lovely combination.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics from Ellen's site, Kitchen Garden Designs.
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Note: You think a kitchen garden will be too much work? The work my garden does on me is more important than the work (playing*) I do in my garden.
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* We don't say, "I work tennis, I work football, I work golf." Ha, "I play tennis, I play football, I play golf." However, with thanks, my garden does, indeed, work on me.

Monday, January 18, 2010

EXPANDING ARCHITECTURE

Welcome, below, begins at the gate. Imagine the landscape, above, without the gate/arbor/fence. Much smaller. Expand your architecture, leverage your welcome.
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Resist temptation to use a property line for fencing.
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The more entries a landscape has the better a landscape is.
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Placing a gate on axis with your frontdoor creates an enfilade, a view thru to a view. Most desirable.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic on Lane Realty, via, Hooked on Houses.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

4SOME: CLUB, WING & ADIRONDACK

Adirondacks were the 1st 4some I saw outside. And LOVED. A client had a 4some of club chairs w/ottoman at their center, inside their home. Gorgeous.
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Now, wingchairs in 4some, above, outside. Yes!!!
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What works here?
* No foundation planting.
* Vines on the house.
* Color: bricks, chairs, pots, foliage, flowers, sky.
* Pots: size, plantings, placement.
* Scale.
* Flow.
* Axis.
* Contrasting textures. Dark leaves by chartreuse leaves. Big leaves by small leaves.
* Canopy & understory trees.
* Walls: plants & house.
* 4SOME of Chairs. Comfort.
* Invitation. Steps leading you further, if only in imagination. Doors, beckoning the great indoors.
* Mystery. Yes, I want to see this garden. Yes, I want to go inside this house.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic from Maison Sud-Ouest, via, Garden Rooms. Had to show it to you. This garden has stuck in my head as pure pleasure.

Friday, January 15, 2010

MAKING IT LESS MAINTENANCE

Know how to create less maintenance, below? Replace turf with groundcover.
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Notice what is not in this landscape? NO FOUNDATION PLANTING !!!!
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Notice what is in this landscape? A French theme. OVERDOSE YOUR THEME.
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Notice how simple this landscape is? KEEP IT SIMPLE SWEETIE.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic via Things That Inspire. A favorite blog, named to perfection.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

WOMEN'S SUSTAINABILITY

Gardens of my grandmother & mentors, below. Five women, 4 passed, the last age 93. When, exactly, did their gardens go out-of-style? Gardens imprinted in childhood onto my DNA. By the mid-1980's independent garden centers were being replaced by big box stores. Later, HGTV was on the horizon. Then, lifestyle & garden magazines photographed 'fashionable' landscapes. Martha Stewart 'perfect' landscapes.
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Niche Gardens catalogue arrived yesterday. In watercolor, the gardens of my mentors thrives.
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Their gardens aren't perfect, they are better than that. They are real, fabulous, nurturing, scruffy, fragrant, inviting, attractive to birds-friends-family-insects.
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My mentors created gardens emanating grace.
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Gardens without irrigation systems or chemicals. Flowers & food grown in abundance with ZERO fanfare, NONE. It's just what they did, along with sewing, cooking, raising children, working, being active in church, playing bridge, being on the board of the local garden club, & taking care of a man.
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It's odd. The camera does not like the gardens of my mentors. In close-up they photograph beautifully. Take a picture of the garden, above? Not. It wouldn't make it into a magazine. Not 'perfect' enough. Too scruffy.
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Last year I gave up trying for the Martha Stewart Living perfect landscape. Why did I ever go there? My garden is the garden of my mentors. Woman powered, excepting when I need a hired man. (They are superior to husbands, they don't ask, "Why?")
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Something odd happened. Before an open garden last year, all floofed, poofed, ready for showtime I walked my garden paths. I began to cry. Big tears, big sobs. Why? I was finally back in my grandmother's garden. HOME.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Watercolor, above, Elizabeth Ellison.
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Mail@NicheGardens.com or 919-967-0078.
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And Martha Stewart? Soooooooo proud of her. She created an industry & makes money from traditional women's work that wasn't honored in the past. What Martha Stewart does? My grandmother did it all, & spoiled me while doing it. I am humbled by her generation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

POWER OF NUANCE

Meadow, trees, house. A trinity complete. A landscape design of choice, above. Dramatically static. Aristocratic courtship of man & nature.
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Can't you see this throughout the seasons?
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Plain? No. I see a flamboyant language. Elusive truth. A repertory of expectancy.
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Symbolist mystery with modern directness.
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Disparate harmony.
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Humble? Not in the least.
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Status in a meadow. Nature's & man's.
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I live in a subdivision. Of course I would love to live in a home looking across meadow into trees. Instead, I've created many garden rooms as a moat of grace around my home. And my life.
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I didn't know that when I began to garden.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic by Borjanna Eghbalian, Schloss Kasel, via Green & Stylish.

Monday, January 11, 2010

SHELL HEAD CONNIVING

She's art. A SEA QUEEN for the garden. I have heads & I have shells.
Alas. Talent to combine shells & head? To be determined.
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It begins. Lust. Discovered her at Scott's over the weekend. No clue where she'll go in my garden. YET.
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Why? 1 focal point/area in the landscape. Create a new garden room? Rotate an existing focal point off exhibit? Perhaps use her as a subsidiary focal point? Yes, this will give weeks of enjoyment. Conniving.
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Ha, this too, is gardening.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Saturday, January 9, 2010

UP TO THE HOUSE

Stone or gravel up to the house. First view, Scotland, almost 2 decades ago during a landscape study trip. I GOT IT !!!! Not during college, not during any symposium had anyone, ANYONE, said to put stone or gravel up to the house. I've been doing it ever since.
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Oddly, I've only recently done it for myself. Days ago. Why did I wait so long? Cobblers child?
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Shot pea gravel, above, $20/ton. #89 granite gravel is gray and slightly larger than shot pea gravel. Voila, color choice!!
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An idea for Manse & Caretakers Cottage.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Friday, January 8, 2010

THRIFTING A GARDEN TABLE

"I can't afford....", begins many sentences pertaining to landscaping. I don't buy it for a moment. Monet's garden had it, Vita's, & all of Charleston, SC, THE POVERTY CYCLE. With it they created world class gardens. But I'm not posting about that epiphany today. Besides, ask yourself, "Do I have less intelligence than them?". Ha, my point exactly.
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Solid wood, below, great for a covered porch. I'm seeing it painted to match your shutters or your front door. Perhaps it's painted white and central to a collection of antique wicker? Table, above, my local thrift store this week, $25.
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Do you know where your local thrift store is?
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Thursday, January 7, 2010

THRIFTING GARDEN CANDLES

Lanterns, below, are my newest fetish since visiting Susanne Hudson's garden.Several Smith/Hawken going-out-of-business sale lanterns are awaiting styling in my garden. Candles? Sale candles of course. Thrift store, above, too. For pennies on the dollar I have no shame in unmatched candles. Prices above? Further reduced, 75% off.
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Sure the open garden or garden pic you'll see matched candles. Perhaps melted unmatched wax & an empty wine bottle with a dropped linen napkin.
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A perfect garden isn't my goal. I want a fabulous garden to feed my soul, delight my eye & challenge my intellect.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

GARDEN DESIGNERS BLOGLINK: TARA'S TRINITY OF THE SOUTHERN GARDEN

With, Tara's Trinity of the Southern Garden: Azaleas, Camellias, Hydrangeas, you'll have blooms everyday in your garden. Oakleaf hydrangea bloom late spring, mophead hydrangea bloom early summer & summer, 'Anna Belle' hydrangea bloom summer, 'Tardiva' & 'Pee Gee' hydrangea bloom late summer to frost. Above, lacecap hydrangea.

Southern Indica Azaleas, 'George Tabor', above, bloom in spring. They stand up to drought, bugs, cold. Use Exbury azaleas too, they bloom before 'George Tabor'.

Camellia sasanqua, above, bloom in fall. Camellia japonica bloom in winter.

Landscapes designed with evergreen hedges & entries, cultivate the eye, songbirds, & increase property value. Chinese snowball, above. Pathways should flow around your entire property, no dead ends. 'Tardiva' hydrangea blooming, above.


Use wit & whimsy in your landscape, above. Beware, CUTE, it's treacherous.


Start your landscape design from inside your home, Vanishing Threshold. Patio, above, viewed from my kitchen sink.

Design your landscape for February. It will be gorgeous all year. View, above, from my living room.


Site deciduous understory trees, crape myrtle, above, to shade your home from summer sun. Window, above, views stone terrace, below. Summer's blanket of rudbeckia gives way to smooth Tennessee gray flagstone the rest of the year.

If you're new to gardening in the South you'll adore, A Southern Garden by Elizabeth Lawrence, and, Hudson's Southern Gardening by Charles Hudson. Use your local Extension Service for specific advice to your county/state. The Garden In Winter, by Rosemary Verey is an incredible garden design book. My 5 books ( 3 on garden design, 2 on plants) are at the right, scroll down.
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Tara's Trinity Of The Southern Garden is gorgeous, low maintenance & a workhorse of your Southern garden design.
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Today is GARDEN DESIGNERS BLOGLINK across America. 12 garden designers sharing what's unique to their region. ENJOY !!!!!
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Jocelyn Chilvers (The Art Garden) – Wheat Ridge, CO
Susan Cohan (Miss Rumphius’ Rules) - Chatham, NJ
Michelle Derviss (Garden Porn) – Novato, CA
Dan Eskelson (Clearwater Landscapes Garden Journal) – Priest River, ID
Laura Livengood Schaub (Interleafings) – San Jose CA
Susan Morrison (Blue Planet Garden Blog) – East Bay, CA
Pam Penick (Digging) – Austin, TX
Susan Schlenger (Landscape Design Viewpoint) – Charlottesville, VA
Genevieve Schmidt (North Coast Gardening) – Arcata, CA
Ivette Soler (The Germinatrix) – Los Angeles, CA
Rebecca Sweet (Gossip in the Garden) – Los Altos, CA
Become a Fan of Blue Heron Landscape Design on Face book – http://bit.ly/yq1XT
Read the Blue Heron Landscapes Blog: http://www.bhld.wordpress.com/
Become a Fan of Blue Heron Landscape Design on Face book - www.bit.ly/yq1XT
Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ScottHokunson
Connect with me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/scotthokunson
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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All pics my garden except hedge with window. Took that pic while writing one of my books.