Friday, April 29, 2011

How To Copy A Design


Before her bedroom, below, I fell for the garden & parking court in the movie, Something's Gotta Give.Hunting/gathering last week, $20, gotta love it
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"Every garden needs a desk.", Susanne Hudson said. Crazy idea, yes?
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Life is good. Bedroom & garden will BOTH get a desk/chair.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Zero idea how to reconfigure the bedroom for a desk/chair & zero idea where to put a desk/chair in the garden. This challenge is pure catnip.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Design For Winter Not Summer

Design for Summer & it's pretty in summer. Design for Winter & it's pretty all year.
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A new thread to that thought, design a summer garden to look like winter. Hmmmmm. In the heat/humidity/mosquito summer seeing a cooling garden of winter. Interesting.
Summer, above, Lake Maggiore, Italy. This qualifies.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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How do I know it's a summer pic? I took it.
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Epiphany came reading, "Ms. Malcolm's books have wintry atmospheres - both intellectual and aesthetic - that derive partly from the way she takes facts and attaches them, like someone hanging tea-light candles from high rafters, to mythology and classic literature, mostly Russian." "When a relative recalls, in the courtroom, the dead man eating a pomegranate, the Comp Lit student in Ms. Malcolm pounces. "Of course he was eating a pomegranate," she writes. "Characters in Russian literature are always eating (or offering) fruit at significant moments." Dwight Garner, New York Times, in his book review, Iphigenia in Forest Hills: Anatomy of a Murder Trial, by Janet Malcolm.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sir Cecil Beaton In Reddish

"Cecil was actually the first person ever to walk me round a garden, which he regularly did at his house in Reddish.This seemingly simple act, like so many in one's life, was seminal in opening up to me the very idea that one could actually make a garden at all." Sir Roy Strong, about his friend Sir Cecil Beaton.
Do you walk friends round your garden?
Do you have friends that walk you round their garden?
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I do.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics taken in my garden last week. FYI, zero watering for these plants. Beauty Without Effort; great mantra to me. Just another little detail why "sustainable" is such a COS. (Does this show Puppet Barbuda's age?) Sustainable? Why accept sooooooo little? FTS.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Turning A Hedge Into Entries

For decades I've designed gardens. What I know for sure? It's not about the plants. By the time someone contacts me they are in a new chapter of life, sometimes a new book. Are they aware? Mostly, no.
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When the garden is born again, their life is changed.
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My job is to "capture the humanity of what is under way".
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Myriad times I've taken 1-2 plants out of a hedge & put in a path. Creating 2 entries instead of 2 dead-ends. Isn't the vocabulary stunning? Entries vs. dead-ends.

Then, it happened to me. A hedge in front of my home became entries.

Within the new hedge/entry a potager became a gravel terrace with adirondack chairs, a place to have lunch, talk on the phone, eat breakfast, read, sit still waiting for hummingbirds to fly so close I can hear their wings. And the Chinese snowball blossoms drop their petals in benediction of the foxgloves, above, about to bloom next.
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How could I know when the entry was born I would have a new room to LIVE in? And I had entered a new chapter.
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It's easier to see a new chapter in a client's life.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics taken in my garden last week. I've done more than the Bay Terrace the past year. A Conservatory, Tea Olive Terrace, Natchez Terrace. Though I didn't know it while creating these garden rooms they have given me the strength to finish a book in my life.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chinoiserie & Design

Wisteria 'Amethyst Falls' at my front door today. A tiny area, yet interesting, and welcoming. (Without moving my feet these pics are a scan from left to right.) Peeking beyond the Wisteria, below, urn/plinth on axis with my bay window.
Filtered thru Wisteria foliage, above, the gravel terrace with large flagstones leading to the frontdoor.
The little Pot Cluster, above, and adirondack chair.
Classic Landscape Design, above, and pollinator habitat. (High & low density, canopy/understory, walls, floor, contrasting foliage textures/colors.)
Landscape Design's Pulitzer Prize, above. Beauty, privacy, low maintenance, organic, all season interest, pollinator habitat, fragrance, fantasy within reality, a place to sit, a spot viewed on axis from within the house.
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Take the camera view a bit to the right you'll see neighbor's homes, their cars, their landscaping, the street. Honestly, who wants to live that way? Seeing neighbor's stuff? It's not my realm. The pics above ARE my realm.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Puppet Barbuda apologizes for bluntness in her captions today. Puppet Barbuda is zealous in details of landscape design/pollinator habitat. Puppet Barbuda disdains the ridiculosity of pretty garden pictures focusing on 'a plant', 'how to dig a hole', 'plant them 2.5432" apart'. Information providing you nothing about putting a beautiful garden together. When Puppet Barbuda reads interior design books/blogs/magazines they don't tell her how to produce the fabric on the couch, how to dye it, cut it, sew it, staple it & etc.....they appreciate she has a BRAIN.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

How To Design Delight

Necessities of life delighting me in other gardens. Gravel, chair, hydrangeas-roses-sasanqua-boxwood, collection of old watering cans. Of course I designed them into my garden.
Provocateurs of epiphany.
And beauty.
Filled with rainwater from the same storms killing-destroying in North Carolina, Chinese snowball petals fragrant at the top end of new decay.
Always, on to the next season. Always.
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Always, leaving this season. Always.
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Frisson, more delightful & engaging than perfection, to me.
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What is delightful to you in a garden? It's this simple, yes, to design delight into your garden.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics from my Potager this week.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Landscape Design: Copy

Tea Olive Terrace, below, yesterday morning, pic taken from my upstairs office window.
Why shouldn't I copy what I loved while studying landscapes in Italy? Copy, it's a rule of Landscape Design.
No money & no time are no match for DESIRE. (Tea Olive Terrace, aka side-yard, abuts the street. Private, gorgeous, emotionally enthralling EVERYDAY.)
English Daisy's blooming, annual blue ageratum will bloom late summer, rudbeckia fulgida x fulgida, yellow, bloom now till Christmas.
In Italy, above, this week. Nothing I don't have in a 'working class' cluster home subdivision in USA.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Bottom pic from Paul Gervais in Italy. Enjoy his blog, I do !.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bunny Mellon Style

A garden, below, needing tending or a garden tended to perfection?
Is this garden, below, your idea of heaven or a mess? (Have this garden, below, in any post 1985 deed restricted subdivision & you'll get 'nastygrams' from the HOA demanding it be 'weeded'.)
A fairy tale, below, or needs pruning?
Bunny Mellon likes it SCRUFFY !!
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A woman to love.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Oddly, I've always been repelled by deeply manicured landscapes. Repelled & disgusted by tidy landscapes omitting an intellectual component entirely. Is Puppet Barbuda being too vague in her dislikes? Puppet Barbuda abhors subdivision tidy landscapes installed by the 'builder' and maintained ad nauseum thru the decades; as if tidiness is an excuse for a 'decent' landscape or an intellect.
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Vanity Fair has a lovely article, where the pics came from, about Bunny Mellon here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Landscape Design Zero Plants: Before & After


Landscapes take 3 + years to look good, on average. Most gardens get stuck in the '+'.
Unfinished, this garden is ready for showtime. Those pallets of stone, above, MAKE the garden, below. Ha, no plants, yet a garden is born. Why?

Landscape Design 'listens' to the site.
The biggest focal point in a garden? Your home. Vanishing Threshold.
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Consider: paint colors, light fixtures, shutters, doors, views into windows, turning windows into doors, getting rid of disgusting foundation plantings, pathways to move the eye + foot thru your garden, land stewardship, how to be in the garden for pleasure (tea-wine-canapes-luncheon-reading ipad-etc.), historical concepts of landscape design, thriftiness, no watering once established, no chemicals ever, no fertilizing once organically stabilized, groundcovers instead of mulch, succession planting, something coming into bloom throughout the year, canopy trees, understory trees, evergreen walls, & more.
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Consider all of the above & you won't wait 3 years, or 3 seconds, for a beautiful garden.
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Proof is in the pics above.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Look at the new frontdoor again. See what I did? Took out the transom, replaced with a taller door. Getting rid of that subdivisiony horrendous aspect, ca. 1970's, of windows/door at same height. Guess how we chose the color for the frontdoor? (Another post.)
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Eco Gardening is a SMALL concept. Vanishing Threshold is how I create a garden.
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(Puppet Barbuda has zero attitude, she's all PUPPET'ude !)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Trianon Palace Versailles

Petite Trianon, below.I remember well, age 16, walking into the lobby, below, of the Trianon Palace hotel.
Our room had 2 walls of French doors opening onto gardens, below.
In that room I lost my
retainer. Carried away on the breakfast tray by room service.
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There was a wedding the first nite. I felt like 'Sabrina' watching the party from a tree. A band & singer sounding like Sinatra.
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Earlier in the day touring Versailles. The Hall of Mirrors belonged to my mother & me, no one else there. Workman recreating carved mouldings and gilding them in some of the rooms. I was able to talk with them, touch what they were doing.
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Then the gardens.
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There is only 1 picture of me in my home on display. It's here, in my office, I am standing in the garden at Versailles.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Top pic from Habitually Chic. Alas, I never saw the Petite Trianon. Other pics from Trianon Palace Versailles.
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In the garden at Versailles my mother found a place to sit. I spent hours alone, wandering the gardens. A harbinger of my favorite way to tour a garden. That day I knew something was 'wrong' with my mother. The gardens electrified me. Mother sat, bored (or happy to be rid of me while I wandered). There was no discussion of the gardens between us. I had no vocabulary to speak of gardens. Nor did I perceive it was acceptable to like the garden so much. I was silenced. That didn't last.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Beatrix Potter: In The Real World

In the real world Beatrix Potter took her pet rabbit with her many places.She was also Mrs. William Heelis of the English Lake Country. Buying several properties and living a life of agriculture & livestock.
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Have you already laughed at the picture?
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No?
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Look closely, see the chicken wire?
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I'm sure the pun was NOT intended. But it's too rich to ignore. Beatrix Potter in a garden trying to keep the rabbits away.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Found the pic online. Beatrix Potter is a huge reason, via buying all of her farms, the English Lake District is 'mostly' intact. Ironic, that fact alone would be enough to make her famous. Instead her Peter Rabbit books dwarf her Lake District accomplishments.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Anna Wintour: Garden Room

Light, a trinity of topiaries, rough wood table, sleek metal chairs, drain in the floor, white walls to reflect more lite, Anna Wintour has the perfect garden room. (Read that sentence again, it's a great formula. Go, create your own garden room.)
(Pic, above, Ann Wintour's garden room in World Of Interiors)
I don't think Anna likes to linger after her lettuce.
(Pic, above, Christopher Baker)
I do. These chairs, above, are for me.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Habitually Chic had these pics in a fabulous post.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Following Matriarchal Advice

Blessedly I've followed the matriarchs.
I did get caught up, alas, yet happily, in the work of Ryan Gainey/Brooks Garcia/David Bennett McMullin . A trinity of FABULOUS, their work inspired, and I needed to 'go there'.
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Preparing for an open garden (High Museum), the MATRIARCHAL EPIPHANY arrived, "Why copy the gardens of 'those guys' ?"
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Thus arrived LEAF LITTER MULCH.
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By the end of the day, exhausted-bruised-bloody (you know....gardening), I perused my garden & inexplicably began to cry. Big tears. Deep sobs.
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I was seeing the gardens of my MATRIARCHS; they used leaf litter mulch. My grandmothers, long dead, yet in that moment of epiphany, both held me.
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The missing component, LEAF LITTER MULCH, was so simple.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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I took the pic in Ireland at Helen Dillon's garden. In addition to leaf litter mulch matriarchal gardening is: tough plants, proper soil prep, no chemicals, no irrigation system, little expense, little time, little to no turf..........living incredibly busy lives. Mentor, Mary Kistner, began gardening in earnest after her beloved husband died. He didn't believe in ornamental gardening. Amazing, yes? A man would stop a woman from ornamental gardening. Hers is not the only story in this vein. Most are from earlier eras but some aren't. Also learned about proper soil preparation from my matriarchs..........the 'guys' at the Extension Service were wrong. More about that tomorrow.
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Loving the movie, To Sir With Love, Puppet Barbuda honors her trinity of FABULOUS guys. They gave her the MATRIARCHAL EPIPHANY. Hope you have time to visit their links.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Good Looking, And Free, Support

Why buy plant stakes?Sticks are
more attractive & FREE.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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No sticks? Pilfer what your neighbors put out at the street. I do.
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Pics from Rob's garden, Au Coeur du Jardin, in France.
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Puppet Barbuda KNOWS no one reading this has ugly plant supports (costing real $$$) with green plastic ties (costing more $$$). Once, shopping at the Handy Ace Hardware in Tucker, GA I hit the brown twine/jute lottery. As they stocked shelves with product from China its jute twine was tossed aside as trash. Puppet Barbuda was quickly on her knees, gathering her treasure.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Butterflies, Gravel, Fresh Poop

Butterflies, oddly, adore gravel after a rain. Gathering nutrients & moisture.Butterflies adore fresh poop. Again, gathering moisture & minerals.
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Brooke at Velvet & Linen put a potager in her frontyard, above. She also acquired some chickens.
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Increased pollination, the circle of life.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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What good is increased pollination? Increased food production/acre.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Yesterday: Good & Bad

I designed their garden several years ago, yesterday they sent their newest focal point, below.Less than a week ago my guys completed a client's duck house. Yesterday CBS-TV parked
in front of their home. Storms, 2 days earlier took trees down & power was still out.
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The duck house?
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Smashed, gone. Ducks fine.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Cannot wait to meet Shiloh, top pic. Duck house? Will rebuild.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thomas Jefferson's Scrapbooks

Long thought to be the work of his daughters, researchers, not too long ago, realized scrapbooks at Monticellowere scrapbooks by Thomas Jefferson.
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Fascinating.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Centuries of peoples have 'scrapbooked'. Kept my 'scrapbooking' a semi-secret for decades, as if it were a vice. Something only children do. Now? I think 'scrapbooking' is left brain/right brain stuff. Mine help me navigate. A source of memory, inspiration, creativity, calm, & etc.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gertrude Jekyll: Munstead Wood

Christopher Lloyd said, "The garden dies when the gardener dies." Gertrude Jekyll's beloved home, Munstead Wood, above.
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Technically correct, but dead.
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I see a garden needing its mistress. Missing her. Aching for her.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic above, Charlotte Wehychan.
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I also see maximum pollinator habitat: canopy/understory trees, walls, groundcovers, high density, low density. When Jekyll designed landscapes was she aware of her interface with pollinator habitat?

Monday, April 4, 2011

David Austin Roses Follows This Rule

Visiting David Austin Roses in England is more than roses. It's good Landscape Design. Fabulous focal points. And worth the effort.My rule for focal points, just-let-it-touch, above.

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Cheap focal points aka terrible-bad-disgusting look best at the dump, or at least engulfed in a vine.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Took the pic, 1 of 100's, at David Austin Roses in England. Was there at peak rose season.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

New York Times: A.O. Scott On Landscape

"Idiosyncratic...........sneaky.......overt....cosmic.
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Mundane.......dispiriting.
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Calabria......earthly transit........material transmutation.......care......engrossed.....cinematic prose.......epic.
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Lyrical depth.......all of creation.
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Incursions of modernity are minimal..........ancient.
Freshness......sense of discovery......
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Totem.................tragic........plot......character.....performance.................peasant customs.
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Clarity................
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Wit of a silent-film maestro.............................sustained..........Elegantly staged accident.
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Absurd.
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Rigged..............deftly.............most Newtonian of his farces..........
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Intrinsic preposterousness...
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Philosophical stratagem.
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Accessible and endlessly mysterious........
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If you pay attention....
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Grasp the connections..............................startling.........shocking..............angle of vision.......
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Disparate..........lingering.............
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You have never seen anything like this movie, even though what it shows you has been there all along."
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'You have never seen anything like this GARDEN, even though what it shows you has been there all along.' (My version of A.O. Scott's sentence.)
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How to describe what you've just read? Inspiration via words.
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A.O. Scott is a film reviewer for the New York Times. I read his articles with a pen, circling & underlining phrases & words. Later, I put his words & phrases into my journal, written by hand. Seeing his words/phrases I see gardens. Stories of gardens.
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The best gardens contain all of A.O. Scott's words/phrases.
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Gardens are where all resides. Metaphors for living. A moat of grace.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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My paternal grandmother played the newspaper on the piano. Her brain translated words/letters into notes. I translate stories into gardens. Forms of synesthesia?
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I took the pic in France, a private garden.
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A.O. Scott words from his recent NYTimes article, Eternal Complexities Of the Very Simple Life.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

How To Place Beautiful Things

My beautiful pot on plinth, below, placed on axis with the middle window pane of my bay window at the drawing room. Thus sited, it's part of my drawing room. Not separate.How to place, below, a beautiful summer house?
On axis with a main pair of windows from the home, of course !
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Oops. No pic of the view seen while in the summerhouse above. Ha, must get back to the Cotswolds for it.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Top pic in my sweet garden, in the Bay Terrace, aka front yard. I took the bottom pic in the Cotswolds at Sir Hardy Amies garden.

Friday, April 1, 2011

How To Choose Flooring

Landscape Design is a series of layers. After creating your ceilings & walls (previous 2 posts), create your Flooring. Shade, grass won't grow? Choose checkerboard, below, with shade loving groundcover.Forget STUPID lawn. Choose Tara Turf, below. A mix of what the wind blows in, the birds drop, clover, dwarf bulbs, herbs, spreading groundcovers & etc. Tara Turf is meadow made formal with mowing heights.
Want million dollar flooring for $20/ton? Choose gravel, below. Zero mowing, lovely crunch.


Choose flooring, below, to emphasize formal, informal. If this were a woodland design the flagstone would be removed & woodchips used. (1 of 3 gates, below, at the front of my garden.)
Mother Nature, below, laughed at my efforts, sprinkling a flagstone path with her petals.
River stones, glacial stones, laid in patterns for paths &
terraces. Rough laid stones, above, contrasting nicely with smooth stone folly & pair of obelisks.
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Wood floor inside with antique oriental rug? Same concept in the landscape, above:
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stone path=wood floor
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plants=antique oriental rug. (Adore using my engineering degree in this manner! You do realize you are entirely within my landscape design equation at the moment?)
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Design outside is the same as design inside.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Top pic I took in Susanne Hudson's garden, 2nd pic I took at Sissinghurst, 3rd pic I took in the Cotswolds, 4-5 pics in my sweet garden, 6th pic I took in Sir Hardy Amies garden not far from the 3rd pic. This is hilarious, I don't remember anything. These pics? Remember taking each of them.