Monday, January 31, 2011

20 Plants That Could Kill Your Dog

Amy Leigh sent me this title, 20 Plants That Could Kill Your Dog.From, See Fido.
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Enjoy !!
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic from a client this summer. We trade garden & pet pics !! Some food too.
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Thank you dearest Amy, I didn't know about this site.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

How Anwar Sadat Taught Me Composure

My mother's 1973 white Cadillac was abruptly stopped by a motorcycle cop, seconds later a foreign (Mercedes, Rolls Royce?) limousine stopped inches from the hood ornament.More police, car & motorcycle, what an inconvenience, stuck in another motorcade.
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Peculiar arrogance was placed on my DNA from childhood. Presidents, potentates, pashas, premiers, poo bahs, & etc all came to see my father's work, ABC, CBS, & NBC too. The last 3, a joke. Listening to the evening news to hear what they got wrong. Hollywood made movies about men dad trained. The New York Times runs obituaries of dad's coworkers; neighbors I grew up with. One neighbor, portrayed by John Wayne, lived a few houses down; he didn't work with dad & we didn't know him, it's not a very good movie. Last year another neighbor (he owned Coco Chanel's yacht, had the channel dredged to dock it behind his house) we didn't know was in the NYTimes obits, ha, gossip we heard in childhood was true, all in the obit.
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Back to the limousine. In the back seat, no more than 6' away, a man & woman, both looking forward, both with Mona Lisa smiles, eyes sparkling, clothes finer than I had ever seen yet not showy, skin radiantly hued & dewy, were spellbinding.
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The air around them a cloud they imbued with their intellect, passions, joys, loves, conquered hurts, spirit, grace & more. I was 15 & had never experienced seeing intuitively.
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Those minutes of 'seeing' were profound. Thankfully, more potent than the peculiar arrogance of the time/place of my upbringing.
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When Anwar Sadat was assassinated several years later, I was in college, mom made an offhand comment about us seeing he & his wife on their way to NASA. I had no clue I had ever seen Anwar Sadat. At 15 I didn't care who the people were in the limousine I cared about how to get what they had, that cloud.
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An introvert, that cloud sustains me designing gardens, doing live TV, lecturing in large auditoriums, accepting the vicissitudes of life while increasing its joys. Anwar Sadat & his wife were my epiphany, they mentored their composure without effort.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Found the pic online, it was probably taken a couple of hours after I saw Anwar Sadat.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Are You Making A Choice With Library Shelves?

Centuries old, below, this style of library shelf caught my eye 2 years ago. All books, no bric-a-brac.
A style matching my landscape aesthetic. Borders with: flowering shrubs/flowering groundcovers/flowering understory trees/bulbs. Brick-a-brac of perennials? Not.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Must take a pic of my library shelves for you & post it with a pic of my garden. A conscious aesthetic.
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Perennials, though pretty, are too much maintenance. Dead-heading, cutting back, downtime and they take very little space for their expense. Give me a flowering shrub.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why You Shouldn't Decorate With 'Cute'

"On the outskirts of agony sits some observant fellow who points." Virginia Woolf
When I NEED her words I don't need a cute stupid sign or focal point (cheap resin is particularly offensive, ha, expensive resin too) in the garden as I gaze out my windows.
I need beauty, strength & wisdom.
Upon a winter's day Providence laughs. Slowing me. Taking me away, for a few moments, into a realm of grace.
Away from the 'outskirts of agony' .
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Closer to seeing the 'fellow who points'.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics taken at Pecan Orchard's garden this month. Ugh, straining to see the 'fellow who points'. Knowing I will when I let go.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Choosing Exterior Color

Your front door does not have to be black. Nor does it need to be the color of your shutters. Choose a color threading thru your interior art/wallpaper/couch. I cannot design a landscape without seeing interiors.
Look at color choices in sun & shade, morning, evening, rainy days.
Beware of colors that are too alive. They steal attention. White is the worst offender. No worries, there are plenty of calm whites.
A color looking (for example) grey/green in shade, and at the same time looking green/blue in sun is fabulous.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Colour Me Happy is a dedicated COLOR EXPERT. I love everything written & photographed at Colour Me Happy. I like using Benjamin Moore Historic Colors. There is a reason they are historic !
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Pics taken at a client's last week.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Edwardian Simplicity

Pecan Orchard needs a gate. A simple gate.Visiting an English country house & garden I fell in love with this gate.
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Simple, but not.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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This gate starts a conversation, Pecan Orchard needs a taller/wider gate. The garden, above, typically English, a wildwood beyond a gate luring you away from the formal garden. Wondering, finally, if you'll find Sirens, Nyads, Dryads, Satyres.... The last 2 sentences summing up the best of Landscape Design !

Monday, January 24, 2011

Whence Creativity?

This truck does it for me!! LOVE. Squared front, curving wrapped glass, black/chrome, darts of orange/yellow lighting above the cab. You can feel the power behind the grill. (Instant lust, wanting to take advantage of that power.)Most importantly the cab is asymmetrical for the
SMOKESTACK. This Tonka toy stirs my creativity. It had me hearing Nina Simone, "....POWER...."
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'Seeing' this truck was a 'conversation' with its designers.
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In a Mad-Max-bitchin' way, I love this truck being 1 of many tools in my quiver. Getting rid of things; bringing in the new. Creating art, with art. More than changing a home & garden, changing lives.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic taken at a jobsite last week. Feeding my Creative Muse is more than part of my job, it's part of my life.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chandeliers In The Kitchen

Diminutive, my pair of chandeliers hang, as inspired by a blog years ago, over a harvest table. Many mornings I'm here, in my wicker chair,
reading & looking out 3 walls of windows, starting my day.A view out 1 of those walls, from my wicker chair this morning.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Did you notice my ceiling is not white? It's a faded blue/green, depending upon the lighting. Below the chair rail is a terra cotta type color. Both colors are within the wall paper. Susanne Hudson was hired to choose the colors. 25 years in this house & I still love the wallpaper.
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Pics taken this morning.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Wall & A Painting

Pecan Orchard's back stairwell.
Yes, she liked the painting but I don't think she realized it sums HER up.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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In your home, what wall/artwork sums you up? When I lecture I always bring a large fabric for the stage, antique wicker roller basket, the books I've written, an easel; creating a still life. Subtle metaphors for who I am. Creating ME in whatever venue I lecture, taking ownership of my little spot. It's not about me, it's asking, "How would YOU own this little bit of stage?"
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That is what creating a landscape is, it's summing up who YOU are. Your choices of what to put in, what to leave out. Landscapes speak volumes.
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Pic taken yesterday at Hedgerow Farm.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Music Is A Drug: Take It

Gardens love music. My garden especially loved Bryan Ferry singing Cole Porter yesterday.
Music is a SECRET WEAPON in creating a fabulous garden (life).
For just as long as I've talked to my garden I've played it music.
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No, I'm not kidding.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Another chance, play this MUSIC for your garden. I had it playing on my iPad yesterday, walking my house & letting the music stream thru windows into my garden. It fell lovingly. You know what my garden did, it nurtured me back.
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Found the bottom pic online eons ago and have no credits to pass along.
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Top pic is my Music Room. It has a baby grand, turn table, & dulcimers. Must get a pic of that angle soon. Walls & ceiling are BM- HC Rockport Grey.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

MOASTING: Moaning & Boasting

Lecturing at the international America's Mart, the world's largest collection of product show, last Friday my contractor saw this first, below.
My name & lecture on the elevator doors. Yes, BOASTING.
Already experienced with TV, radio, & etc. a thrill (out of all proportion) seeing my elevator door debut !!
However, you see IMMEDIATELY their mistake, below.
Who are those guys? Where's my picture? MOANING.
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MOASTING: MOANING & BOASTING. A delicious word I discovered last Thursday. Duck to water. Been doing it for years.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Had a little time to wander the vendors. Gathered new resources for statuary, online fountains , torches, brass rain gauges, & met a fascinating French woman with a European Design & Trading Company, a man who does landscape design/owns a nursery in Montana (think he had a business card on him?) .......

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Steps

The change in elevation was deceptively 'not there' without my new Conservatory.
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Alas, My Dear Ladies both use canes. You know they will be in my Conservatory sharing wine/canapes before dinner.
Stone steps are dry stack, above. And, ta da, rescued from jobsites.
Serendipitously, I put in a side door to my conservatory. That door has a meandering woodland path, no steps. SAFE, for My Dear Ladies.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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No pics yet of the meandering woodland path leading to the side door. My guys put the steps in, wish I could say I did !!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Enfilades Increase Drama

Enfilade, a view thru to a view. In gardens or homes, I adore an Enfilade.
Standing outside the conservatory this week (in gown/robe/bedroom slippers) in the snow
I discovered a new Enfilade.
Oh yes, sublime.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Good accidents, without waiting 3-7 years for discovery, in the garden are verification you've done it RIGHT. Mostly, gardens take time.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Nassim Taleb: 3 Views

From, The Bed of Procrustes, a new book by Nassim Taleb."Education makes the wise slightly wiser, but it makes the fool vastly more dangerous."
"You are only secure if you can lose your fortune without the additional insult of having to become humble."
"You are rich if and only if money you refuse tastes better than money you accept."
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Wesley Yang wrote about Taleb, "He made what he has called his "fuck you" money when his bets against the market made him millions on Black Monday in 1987." "...the content of his next book, Anti-Fragility, ...will be about how we can create systems that mimic the resiliency of nature."
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Taleb also wrote, The Black Swan, and, Fooled by Randomness. Both bestsellers. Both about Wall Street.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics taken this week, of my month old Conservatory, from my bedroom window. Poppets, you should see my VINTAGE 25 year old linoleum kitchen floor, with battle scars.
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Conservatories are for the soul, kitchen floors a necessity. Younger, I would have done the 'right' thing, the floor. This age is exquisite, bringing me the Conservatory.
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No doubt, fate will bring a new kitchen floor, including, of course, new countertops, backsplash, sink, faucet, stove, refrigerator. Last year in the kitchen was: ceiling reconfiguring, painting, 4 new chandeliers & cabinets. In the interim, I don't look down.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Contrasts

Wildwood, mother nature's contrast of shapes, with a transition zone of pruned hedges, and another transition zone of tightly clipped lawn leading to a hardscaped yet watery focal point.
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Add the man made contrasts of circles, ovals, rectangles, squares & spires.
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Toss in multiple axis, changes of elevation, and canopy-understory-walls-floor.
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Even a non-gardener knows, intuitively, the plant selections are CHOICE. Serenity of greens, low maintenance, no irrigation & perfect pollinator habitat.
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Yes, this pic by Slim Aaron ca. 1960, is an exciting garden. Gardens are all CONTRASTS.


I doubt they thought about the garden at all. Their clothes, the gossip, & dry martinis, yes.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Something To Make You Smile


Last year when I designed her landscape her kitchen was sheet rock. Last week, below, still unfinished it's already fabulous. Sheepishly, she said, "I know it's ridiculous but it makes me happy to look at my new chandeliers."


A wise observation. Over a decade ago, in Penny McHenry's garden, I realized the same thing about things that made me smile. Her garden, tastefully, had many.

Near my front door, above, the cat. I bought the cat for no other reason than it made me smile.



Go ahead, give yourself permission. Choose things that make you smile.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Friday, January 7, 2011

Create Magic At Each FRISSON

FRISSON's are potent. Do you see this one?FRISSON's, done well, create magic.
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Transitioning mortared steps to a step set in dirt is a FRISSON. Sure, I could have designed all the steps with mortar but I wanted a more exciting FRISSON (and this path is not a high traffic area).
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Consider each FRISSON in your landscape. Where: potager meets woodland, turf meets flowering shrub border, house meets garden, terrace meets Tara Turf, path meets pond & etc........
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic taken during construction in a client's backyard last month. Client is DIY with some of the plantings, dwarf mondo will be planted between the stones set in dirt.
Andre Breton, photographer-poet-writer-surrealist theorist-expert on Soviet Modernist architecture was the one drawing my mind, via his photography, to the importance of FRISSON. Gertrude Jekyll was big on the FRISSON.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Visual Real Estate

Do you give away bits of your landscape? You bought it, you perform (or pay someone to perform) the upkeep, you pay the taxes & you have freedom to create YOUR aesthetic.Which house owns this fence?
Really?
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Sure?
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics taken at a client's last month. She's already told her painter what color to paint the fence. He said he just painted it. She said, "Tara is upset and it has to be painted this ______ color."

Monday, January 3, 2011

Front Porch: Before & After

3 decades of ugly, below, a single step to the front door & porch. A limitation to the eye & foot. Remove the limitation, below, open the porch to proper scale.
The new terrace caresses the porch on the left, below, and
right, below.
A new front door, paint colors & light fixtures are next. Of course the downspouts will be
painted Sherwin-Williams Best Bronze. Look again at the dreadful white downspouts.
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Stay tuned, there is furniture for the flagstone terrace and plantings to go in.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics taken last week. Can't wait to see this finished project. We've done a stone terrace in the backyard too and a neo-rondel in the orchard.