Saturday, July 30, 2011

How To Choose The Best Urns & Containers

The very best containers?  NEVER NEED PLANTING.
 Any container considered for purchase, ask yourself, "Is this so fabulous it can remain empty?", and, "Will this be fought over at my Estate Sale?"
 These classic beauties, centuries of existence across continents, are classic for a reason.
Size, form, & color are considerations.
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Garden & Be Well,            XO Tara
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Pics from my wholesaler.  These 3 urns are truly my 'go to' urns.

Friday, July 29, 2011

English Garden Troughs + Houses

Mary's garden house is its own world.
Selling various troughs & houses via merchandise marts, Brookfield, trade shows, fairs, festivals, symposia, flower shows, nurseries, & etc Mary's garden always has at least one of her treasures.  With new ideas.
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Been trying to figure out how to put one of her houses, already in my garden, on a stand like hers, above.  Clematis climbing a leg.  Aged cedar.  It may never happen but the dreaming is fun.
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Color On The Front Porch

Plates change, colors change, Mary's front porch always delights.
 Mary grew up in this tiny cottage.
 Love this type of caress, below.
 Porch & front door face a side, not the front of the cottage.
 Not quite an acre, it lives bigger, having mature canopy hardwoods & understory trees.
 Love her blacktop.
A view from the front porch into the garden, above.
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After decades away, in much larger homes, life conspired for Mary to live in her tiny cottage again.  I know it's a blessing in my life.  She's around the corner from my garden.
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Garden & Be Well,         XO Tara

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Checkerboard In Tara Turf

Pair of conifers at the entry, a pencil shaped evergreen on axis, and a checkerboard path in Tara Turf leveraging the drama.

 Pink Crape Myrtle adding seasonal drama.
Mary is the queen, designing this garden room, it's adjacent to her parking court, and acquiring most of the contents FREE.  She did the work herself.
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 Since starting to post about Mary's garden, a few days ago, her age has gone up daily.  I said she was 60's.  Nope, she sent a note, she's 71.  Well, a day after that she sent an email saying she was embarrassed at her math skills, she's happily 73.
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Are you getting my point?
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Garden & Be Well,                  XO Tara

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Moody Water

Near their kitchen door, in a courtyard, on axis with window views, below.
 Subtle, quiet, good.  I delight in the green slime & hear nature's song in these drops.
 I knew the pump was adjusted, 'just so'.  Laughing with knowing eyes, they said it was.
 Often the biggest gestures are simple.
 Their moody water taking the courtyard for its own.  Redolent of the lion
in Cinema Paradiso.
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Garden & Be Well,              XO Tara
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Water in a garden can be this diminutive yet take your heart in metaphor.  Don't overlook simplicity.  Top pics I took in a client garden.  Bottom 2 pics I copied from the movie, Cinema Paradiso.
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Garden Designers Round Table is all about water today.
Read More !!!

Water!

Water; water everywhere…or not enough at all!  Water is the lifeblood of every living thing, and yet it can be destructive in its extremes.  It’s a resource that is ephemeral and unpredictable – be it by natures’ vagaries or politicians’ whims.  The partnering of thoughtful water management with appropriate plant selection is crucial to any garden design. Today the Garden Designers Roundtable presents the topic of water.
We are delighted to introduce Debra Lee Baldwin as our guest blogger this month.  Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin lives in the drought-parched Southwest, near San Diego. “Water?” she asks. “Ha! I wish.” Debra authored the Timber Press bestsellers Designing with Succulentsand Succulent Container Gardens.   As a renowned authority on these elegant, easy-care and waterwise plants, Debra shares her expertise in print and online, via radio and TV, and at horticultural venues nationwide. She is one of several acclaimed authors and photographers who share the blog www.gardeninggonewild.com. More info: www.debraleebaldwin.com.
Now, please follow the links below, joining our special guest and members of the Roundtable, as we write about water.

Monday, July 25, 2011

How To Edit Design

Focal Points: use 1 per area.

 Too much stuff?  Site subsidiary focal points away from main focal point.  Focal points & subsidiary focal points should 'Just Touch' foliage.
 Obelisk and ornamental grasses great combo.  A subsidiary focal point becoming a focal point when the grasses are herbacious.
Adore the siting of Mary's ball.  You'll not see it if you're walking and looking in another direction.
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Garden & Be Well,        XO Tara
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Editing is one of the hardest things to do in a Landscape Design.  Mary is the queen of editing.  Her work puts her into contact with lots of FREE good garden 'stuff'.  Yes, same fabulous Mary as previous posts.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Landscape Design: Subsidiary Focal Points

At woodland's edge, below, a tiny vegetable garden.  Perfect siting for her red leaf Japanese maple.
 Too pretty, rusted urn, to not use, below, but the garden already has a main focal point here, the roundabout (yesterday's pics), it's discreetly tucked into a 'shrub clump'.  A subsidiary focal point.
 Leaving yesterday's roundabout, below, a path.  Peaking thru the garden, above, notice her USA flag.
With its curve this path has my interest.  Eyes, mind & feet are pulled.
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Yes, I'm going to walk you thru more of Mary's garden next post.
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Garden & Be Well,      XO Tara
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Adore the concept, SHRUB CLUMP.  Of course it's from Gertrude Jekyll.  It's difficult to read her in bed at night.  She's always exciting.  Graham Stuart Thomas, same thing.
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Mary didn't know I was coming to her garden, she is at the beach with grandchildren.  Nothing is styled, and why historical landscape design concepts keep working.  Note arrived from Mary yesterday, she's 71.  Important for you to know this.  She is the gardener.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Landscape Design: Proud Of G*d's Dirt

One of the best landscapes, below, I know.
 A landscape NOT to be used in national magazines.  Why?  Tara Turf & G*d's Dirt.
 This is real landscaping.  She's into her 60's, busy & on a tight budget.  Watering, chemicals, fertilizer?  Not needed here.
 Don't look dear viewers lest pics of G*d's Dirt offend.  Tara Turf + G*d's Dirt.  (National magazines, large audience garden radio shows, Mr. Testosterone-On-Wheels-Mow-Blow-Go-Comodify-Everything-I-Touch,  & nurseries would have to change their business model for my type of gardening.  Not much to sell.  Yet my business model supports me.)
 Roundabout with focal point, above/below.
A Landscape Design feature 1,000's of years old.
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Why pimp it for a tidy monoculture lawn needing weekly mowing, edging, water, chemicals, fertilizer, lacking fragrance, change thru the seasons & pollinators?
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How we treat our pollinators is how we treat ourselves.
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Garden & Be Well,       XO Tara
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Do you know the science of Mary's garden vs. the typical national magazine garden?  Cytokines released by myriad plants in nature boost white blood cell counts, fighting cancer.  Monocultures reduce nature's bounty.  Read this study recently.  Had no idea, prior, about our symbiotic relationship to myriad plantings.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hydrangeas On Speed

At my back door, below, this week.
 Potted hydrangea & a potted variegated boxwood.  Last year this hydrangea was a cutting in a 4" pot.
 Susanne Hudson has phenomenal growth planting 4" potted hydrangeas in large terra cotta pots.  Phenomenal.  Of course I copied her.  It worked.
Aaron Copland anticipated my arrival, writing Appalachian Spring for my garden & for me.  I hear it in my garden & looking at the pics.
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Garden & Be Well,      XO Tara
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Pics from my garden during days of great drought, heat, humidity & zero maintenance or watering.  This is why I've taken you around my garden the past few days. You must know how easy it is to have a garden.    

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Italian Meadow


Studying historic landscapes across Europe for almost 2 decades I was lucky to 'get it' about the use of meadows in Landscape Design.  Meadows stole my heart.  Meadows near Lucca, Italy save me from the tedium of traffic, standing in line & etc.  Give me an unpleasant task, or person, and my brain/spirit leave for Lucca.   

 Of course I have a meadow, above.  Set in the 1" spaces between gray flagstones in the formal Tea Olive Terrace.  (Alas, the stone you see is my foot trail.)
Rimmed with the formality of an abelia prostrata hedge & etc., above.
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In my meadow (can the start of a sentence get better?) English daisies bloom in Spring, rudbeckia fulgida x fulgida bloom summer-frost, annual blue ageratum bloom late summer, mazus reptans has it's tiny orchid blooms numerous months, then weeks with only stone.  Cold stone formal.  And I delight in that change.
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Garden & Be Well,       XO Tara
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Sir Edwin Lutyens put meadow straight up to, and touching, Sir Christopher Lloyd's Great Dixter.  THAT is where I 'got it'.  Hope you know about Lloyd's mother too.  An early naturalist.  A DEMENTED person offered to pull up my meadow recently.  Thinking it was weeds.  My college for ornamental horticulture & landscape design in USA?  It was horrible, teaching me to landscape like Mr. Testosterone-On-Wheels-Mow-Blow-Go-Commodify-Everything-I-Touch.  And to design from the street looking at the house.  Still makes me cringe.  Before Jesus even the Romans knew where to start a landscape design; from inside.  Loved my time in Israel studying landscapes.  Oh my, Puppet Barbuda came out to play a bit this morning.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Poke Salad In Landscape Design

Poke Salad, aka Poke Weed, in the foreground, below

Arching tendrils of pearls & foliage contrasting deliciously with the crape myrtle.
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Come thru the gate (you're standing in the street now) & into my Tea Olive Terrace.  Thru the pink crape myrtle blossoms you can see my office windows.
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Poke Salad is great for birds, they love the berries, they mature a deep aubergine.  One year, they ate so much they were pooping, on the fly, and it (purple poo) was landing across the street on my neighbor's white garage door.
Who knew birds were the original Jackson Pollock?
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Garden & Be Well,              XO Tara
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Pic taken in my garden same day as previous pic.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Landscape Design: Macro & Micro

A bit of distance from my garden, macro, below.

 Closer, below, you see colors & textures
 Up-close, below,
you see micro details.
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Do you see my neighbor's house?  It's there.
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I designed this garden space, at my driveway, to greet me as I come/go in my car.  It had been lawn.
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There is not a day in the year this garden is without bloom.
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Maximum pollinator habitat too.  Why/how?  High density, low density, tall plant height, medium plant height, low plant height, contrasting form, year round blooms & groundcovers.
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Pure Bravura. Why?  Drought tolerant, little maintenance.  Full sun area, deciduous trees shade my house in summer & let the winter sun in.  Cha-Ching, savings.
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Garden & Be Well,         XO Tara
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Pics taken near my front door, same day as previous post.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Front Door: Curb Appeal

Yesterday, at my front door.  

Ivy 'Gold Heart', discovered studying historic landscapes in England.
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Espalier Oakleaf hydrangea, discovered studying historic landscapes in Italy.  (Irony, Italy teaching a USA southerner how to prune hydrangea.)
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Plaque is a Christine Sibley piece & I don't like 'words' in a garden.  (Great profession, exceptions to EVERYTHING.)
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Garden & Be Well,            XO Tara
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Epiphany yesterday.  With heat-humidity-droughts my garden is gorgeous from every window view.  And I haven't done any gardening for weeks.  Groundcovers, flowering shrubs, flowering trees, a few perennials & self-seeding annuals, focal points on axis.  No accidents.  I paid attention studying across Europe AND have a mission statement for my garden.
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More correctly, my garden is a metaphor for what I want in my life.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lawn With Mowing Strip


Make it easy, to mow or weed-eat flush with your home, below, with a stone strip.
 Choose stone wisely.  These, above, were easy.  We copied the stone, granite, already used at their frontdoor.  Stone should look like it was quarried on site, or nearby.
Landscape Design is all about repetition.
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Notice 4 more MAJOR Landscape Design topics in the pics?
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Garden & Be Well,           XO Tara
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Why is the deck painted?  Lattice isn't off-the-shelf-big-box-disgusting.  How was the size of the arbor chosen?  How to choose placement of deck steps.  Same garden as previous post.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

When A Window Becomes A Door


The engraved invitation to Tea arrived last winter.  Didn't know her but you know I wasn't going to miss fresh tea & homemade cookies & sandwiches.  What's not to love about a crowd of ladies?

 I sat in her kitchen, above, and said the baywindow should become a French door and the deck should be extended to include it.  Of course I proceeded to point out why her existing backdoor did not work functionally or aesthetically.
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You would have thought White Lightening was in my tea.  Horrified in hindsight, at my conversation, at the time it was normal Tara Talk.
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Did I mention the bit about property value?  Flow?  Feng shui?  Removing her valences?  It would really open up the view.  You are wasting your lake view.
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Upon leaving I said her frontdoor needed replacing; why & what should replace it and the color needed changing.
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Cannot believe I'm telling you all of this.  Indeed it's a true story.
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The new frontdoor has arrived, it's on its side in her garage.  Awaiting installation.  And we're changing the direction the door opens into the foyer along with the color.
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She loves to cook & always sends me home with homemade delights.
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Garden & Be Well,                XO Tara
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Same garden as yesterday's post.  Can't wait to show you the perennial garden she created.  But, of course, the new deck must have steps leading from its side into her fabulous perennial garden room.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

When To Let Lawn Touch The House

Great Dixter, in England, had Sir Edwin Lutyens & Christopher Lloyd.  Seeing bits of the meadow sweep to, and touch, the house was a revelation.  Frank Lloyd Wright used the conceit.

New deck above, its patch of lawn touching a full length of it.  On purpose.  Lutyen's idea.
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Planting a STUPID row of bushes (green meatballs) along the deck provides what benefit?
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Lawn, here, is a perfection of size & maintenance.  And looks larger without the row of green meatballs.  The deck, also, looks larger without the row of green meatballs.
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Note: deck faces east, and a lake.  Finished days ago.  Furniture, pots/plants arriving soon.
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Underestimate A Frontdoor?

A front door is the focal point in the front yard.  The house & views into windows also.  Before ANYONE comes thru your front door their opinion is influenced.  


Door, hardware, windows are original to this early 20th century home.
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Paint colors, height of knocker, paneling of door, which side the door opens, wooden grid of sidelights & transom, type of hardware metal, scale of door & windows.  A lot of creativity, work, aesthetics, historical consideration & more is understood in the 'conversation' creating this door.
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Is your front door a focal point?
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Is your front door so fabulous future owners, in another century, will decide to keep all of your choices?
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Pic from the same house, with the metal flowers, as previous post.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fun Flowers For A Busy Life

She sent me an iphone pic of bright metal flowers, "Can I have them?"  

 Tennis, sailing, dogs, family & career, she doesn't have time to water flowers.
 Hardly visible from a few steps away, on purpose, the surprise of dragonfly & bird.  Staked hi for movement in the wind.
 I first saw metal flowers in an urn on top of a home in Italy.  They were bronze and centuries old.
Maybe these will go rust, and left alone.  Doesn't matter, today they are fun.
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Garden & Be Well,       XO Tara
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Pics taken last week at a client's home.  No accident she found the flowers, they are her.  Are things in your garden 'you'?