Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Garden Cat


Laura, below, was born in my garden this spring.

 Her mother, below, is feral.  A tortoise shell I call Torte De Shelle

 Torte De Shelle's lover, Gray Cat, feral too, has a big head, big balls, a lot of John Wayne mixed with Robert Mitchum sprinkled generously with James Dean.
Today, Torte De Shelle is at Life Line Animal Project, AtlantaPets.  It's not a spa treatment.
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Spay, rabies, worming, ear mites & etc.......
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Wish me luck with lover boy.
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Garden & Be Well,  XO Tara
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Pic of Laura taken this month.  No worries about her, she's mine & HOME.  Found homes for all of her litter.
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THANK YOU, Life Line Animal Project for the services you provide.  You are saving lives with your low cost spay/neuter.
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If you've read this far, I know you are a pet person.  You can't imagine how crowded the lobby was with people bringing in animals this morning.  Extremely emotional in every good detail.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Abolish Your Foundation Plantings


What to do when your foundation has plastic coverings at the windows to your basement?  
 With this eyesore, abolish your foundation plantings.  1st, maximize the plastic coverings in function/aesthetics, 2nd, can they be glass?  If they can be glass, determine to find the glass for free.
When I received the question, yesterday morning, I immediately thought of this garden, above.  No foundation plantings but lots of  LUSH.
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And this garden has the charming table/chairs.
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Proof of the landscape design rule: place a focal point near an eyesore to draw the eye away.
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Garden & Be Well,             XO Tara
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Took the pics in England, admired it's beauty & economy of maintenance needed AND usage.  Not a garden only to be pretty, a garden to be enjoyed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Garden Designers Round Table: Lawns

Lawn should have sections, arriving at, and touching, your home.
 Lawn around your home should be cut lower-tidier, above, than lawn further away, below.
 The best lawns are not monoculture, perhaps they are great for sports, they are Tara Turf.  A mix of grasses, bulbs, herbs, and what the wind  blows in.
 Tara Turf, above, in the cracks of a formal flagstone terrace.  Well, formal when the Tara Turf is 'dormant'.
 Low Tara Turf, above, enhancing the view and a place to play, sit, picnic.
 Spotty Tara Turf, above, a century old home with owners over 70 years old.  Easy to take care of, no fertilizer, no chemicals.
 What began as a design statement, above, enhances pollinator habitat.  And greater change thru the seasons.
 Lawn, above, a harbinger of spring.  And the owners.
 Lawn, above, until I realized the maintenance required.  Now, flowering shrubs.
 Lawn to the house, and it feels good.  Zero foundation plantings.  Lush planting in pots.
 Charming vignette, above?  Yes, AND, helping to pollinate fruit trees, vegetables.  Did you know 80% of pollination is from wild sources?
 At Sissinghurst, above, formal lines are mown into Tara Turf.  Tall lawn under fruit trees?  Increases yields 80%.
Tara Turf doesn't need watering, it enhances landscape design.  A detail within simplicity.
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One of my clients has a large potager, flowers/herbs/vegetables, her potager caretaker tried to talk her out of hiring my services.  She didn't need ornamental flowering plants coming into bloom every 2 weeks all year, she needed only plants feeding wildlife or people.
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We all learned something, BIG.  Her potager is outproducing any that he has created in his career.  Instead of getting 1-2 bloom cycles on her vegetables she's getting 3-4 bloom cycles.  Her yields are 100% higher, in many instances, than what he is familiar with.
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Why?  She created a landscape with something new coming into bloom every 2 weeks.  Birds, insects are in great activity everyday.  She has a mix of hi-density plantings with shrubberies/flowering trees and low-density areas with Tara Turf.
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Tara Turf is part of the equation for maximum pollinator habitat.  Beauty, low-maintenance, no expense for water, chemicals, fertilizer.
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Garden & Be Well,             XO Tara
.This month on Garden Designers Roundtable, We’re talking ‘Lawn Alternatives’, and we’re very excited to have the Lawn Reform Coalition joining us for a blogging extravaganza! The Lawn Reform Coalition is Thirteen gardening and environmental advocates from across the U.S. promoting change in the American lawn, a loose coalition of writers and activists (including lawn-haters and lawn-improvers) pooling knowledge of up-to-date solutions to the many problems caused by a lawn culture that demands perfection, conformity, and the overuse of water, fertilizer and pesticides. To learn more about the Coalition, and to join in the revolution, visit www.LawnReform.org.
We’ll be joined this month by the following Lawn Reform Coalition members:
Susan Harris
Susan Harris – Coalition instigator and head wrangler, Susan is a garden writer and blogger who promotes lawn alternatives and organic lawn care.  Online she blogs for independent garden centers, publishes a website about Sustainable-Gardening, and co-founded the national team blog GardenRant.com. Susan also co-founded the DC Urban Gardeners and Green the Grounds.org, a campaign encouraging First Families to landscape their official residences sustainably. Her individual blog Gardener Susan’s Boomer Blog, goes radically off-topic to answer the question: What Turns Boomers On?  Susan gardens and teaches gardening in the Washington, D.C. area.
Billy Goodnick
Billy Goodnick – Billy is a landscape architect based in Santa Barbara, CA, specializing in designing public and residential landscapes. His freelance writing and his Cool Green Gardens blog at Fine Gardening Magazine instruct and encourage readers to adopt a more sustainable approach in their landscapes. Billy also co-hosts an educational and humorous regional television show,Garden Wise Guys, that emphasizes water conservation and lawn alternatives.
Evelyn Hadden
Evelyn Hadden – Evelyn has been writing about nature-friendly, chemical-free, do-it-yourself, low-maintenance landscaping since 2001, when she founded the informational website LessLawn.com.  She gardens in Minnesota and travels across the country speaking to other gardeners about ecological gardening, lawn alternatives, and ideas for shrinking your lawn.  Her most recent book, Shrink Your Lawn: Design ideas for any landscape, won a silver medal in the Independent Publisher’s 2009 Living Now Book Awards for promoting a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Evelyn works with the Permaculture Research Institute Cold Climate to find and share ways to build a restorative human culture.
Saxon Holt
Saxon Holt – Saxon is a professional garden photographer whose images are well recognized in hundreds of magazine and book credits. In his work he seeks to change the aesthetic of what we expect to see in a garden photograph so that the media portrays authentic and sustainable gardens. ”The American Meadow Garden” and his two most previous books, Hardy Succulents, and Plants and Landscapes for Summer-Dry Climates, were all awarded prizes by the Garden Writers of America as “outstanding books”. He owns the stock photography library PhotoBotanic and blogs regularly atGardening Gone Wild.
Ginny Stibolt
Ginny Stibolt - Ginny is the “Transplanted Gardener” from Maryland, where she received her MS degree in botany, to NE Florida.  Her column for Jacksonville’s Florida Times Union is posted on her website and onFloridata.com, Many of her columns have been republished in Master Gardener newsletters and elsewhere, and she also writes for Vero Beach Magazine.  She’s the author of Sustainable Gardening for Florida, published by the University Press of Florida.
Of note, two of our own members here at Garden Designers Roundtable are also Lawn Reform Coalition Members. Susan Morrison and Shirley Bovshow will also be posting today.
Garden Designers Roundtable is also very excited to announce in conjunction with this month’s topic, that one of our own, Pam Penick, has a new book coming out in February of 2013 entitled “The Alternative Lawn”, to be published by Ten Speed Press. Look for more information here and on Pam’s blog Diggingas we get closer to the publishing date. Congratulations Pam!
Now without further ado, may we present to you our readers, ‘Lawn Alternatives’! Just click on the links below and Enjoy!
(and no, you’re not seeing double, Susan Harris has contributed two posts!)
Several pics I took, some I've lost the resource, some are from Paul Gervais.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How To Make A Garden Room

From a patch of open space, below, a garden room is created beautifully & affordably.  

Why the drama of always doing a lawn, hedging, stone terrace, poured concrete, blah-blah & blah?  (Well, that's obvious Boo Boo, it's more highly commodified. )
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A few pots, shot-pea gravel, furniture, poof, your new garden room.
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Of course it does help having canopy/understory trees nearby.
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Garden & Be Well,      XO Tara
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Pic taken last week at Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Surprise Match

Pow.  They matched the trailing plant to the gravel, genius, then color echoed flowers with foliage.

Pow.  I stopped in my tracks at this pot.  Genius.  (And began talking with the pot/plants/gravel.)
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Does anyone else have conversations with gardeners who aren't present?
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Pic taken at Atlanta Botanical Garden last week.  And the pot picks up colors of the moody sky.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Atlanta Botanical Garden


Mershon Hall, below, site of class I'm teaching at Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Magic-be-in-this-garden.
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You must understand it's a full sun landscape, hi humidity, hi temps, unbearable to body/mind.
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 Yet the eyes take in: pretty, perky, cool, happy, comfortable, rushing water, a Chihuly & etc.
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Somehow, the designer, made old-fashioned annuals look new & exciting.  Then I have to smile at the landscape design rules followed.  Spikey flowers next to round, a color theme, contrasting foliage colors/sizes,  multiple axis, focal point, enfilades, hi density & low density.
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I MUST find out who designed the plantings !!
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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took the pic last Tuesday nite at ABG
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UPDATE: garden planning by members of the horticulture department  ABG.....wasn't given their names but they are a dream team!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Help


Milledgeville, GA in the 1960's employed many at its hospital & prison.  Grandad's perk of being a doctor there was a home to live in, no rent, and a full-time maid.  Grandma was asked, "Do you want a thief or murderer?"  
"Once a thief, always a thief." she said.
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I spent a lot of time with Annie, above.  In the garden mostly.  Grandma made me leave her alone when she napped.  Annie's room, at the back of the carport, had a bed, table, chairs, lamps, chest, throw rugs on the concrete floor, a few things hung on the wall, oscillating fan, curtains at the windows, a door that locked and a screen door.
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I would peek in the window, often, wanting Annie to be done with her nap.
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Many afternoons it was only Annie & me at home.  This meant Annie was family.  My parents never allowed me to spend the nite with anyone or had a babysitter for me, ever.
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Eating lunch one afternoon, Annie letting me lick the silver spoon from the china sugar bowl on the table, I asked Annie why she was in jail.  She said she was in bed and her husband came home late and began arguing with her then messing with her and she asked him to stop.  He started hitting her.  She took the gun from the nitestand and shot him dead.
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Age 6, I knew this was self-defense.  But it was Georgia ca. 1960's.  
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Without Annie I couldn't have played in Grandma's garden for so many undisturbed hours.  When I did slow down for a Coke, pie or anything Annie thought I would like I always had Annie's lap, her arms around me and her wonderful voice telling me stories about her own children.  I loved the way she smelled.
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 My earliest memories of a garden are in Grandma's garden, and I was with Annie.
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Garden & Be Well,            XO Tara
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Monday, August 15, 2011

Conversations With May Sarton


Plant Dreaming Deep, by May Sarton.  
"We have to make myths of our lives....to understand the metaphor that reality always holds in it.  .....What I felt when all the good news came...was relief.  But what I had felt when I got back to poetry...was joy."
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Joy vs. relief.  A good pair of words to remember.  Without awareness gardening has always been my joy, never a relief.
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"A garden is a perpetual experiment."  Oh, it's tough reading May Sarton at bedtime.   No, my garden is a perpetual atonement.
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Yes, I've been laying in bed the past few nights in conversation with May Sarton.
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Garden & Be Well,       XO Tara
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Antebellum home near Bishop, GA.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Gate In Croatia


She is Spomenka.  We call each other 'Sister'.  From Croatia, she has family there.
Sister sent me this last week, from Croatia.
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Sister knows EXACTLY what will pull heartstrings.  What is unique yet timeless.  Simplicity.
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And when we're together again, Sister's porch or my conservatory, she'll describe how this garden smelled, sounded, types of insects, birds, wildflowers,  temperature, humidity, a house nearby & more.  Sister will also tell me I was there with her.
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Garden & Be Well,      XO Tara

Friday, August 5, 2011

Leather Hinges


Have your eyes locked on the Leather Hinges?


Mary Kistner, a mentor, said, "It's what we do with what we have."  No, I wouldn't have thought, EVER, of leather hinges.
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Of course I contacted Penelope Bianchi, this is her garden, about her leather hinges.
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Her man, adore that phrase & adore women gardeners who say it, has done many years of volunteer work in other countries.  He learned from them to use everything.
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Thank you 'Her Man' & Penelope for widening my horizon, to see Leather Hinges.  Of course I can't wait to see these with more age on them.  
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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There should be a special sainthood for that class labeled 'Her Man'.  By the time 'SHE' calls he KNOWS whatever it is is impossible but he will do it, because he's 'Her Man'.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How To Use High Density vs. Low Density

CONTRAST is Landscape Design's potent tool. 
 
 Penelope Bianchi is the QUEEN OF CONTRAST.  Above, a high density garden room.  Lots of 'things'.  Do you know how wicked hard it is to stage a lot of 'things'?
Because Penelope is, indeed, QUEEN OF CONTRAST, another garden room, above, is low density.
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Each picture a masters class in Landscape Design.
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How to use high density vs. low density? Contrast them.
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Garden & Be Well,          XO Tara
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Pics via Velvet & Linen of Penelope's garden.  The garden is only 15 years old, yes, you may want to look again.  And, it's for sale.  Can you imagine the excitement & ideas swirling in Penelope's mind about her new garden.
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High density vs. low density isn't only a Landscape Design tool.  Landscapes with high & low density have the greatest pollinator habitat.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Penelope Bianchi: Keeping It Simple

Technically this, below, is not simple.  There is a lot of 'stuff'.  But it looks simple.

Why does it look fabulous?  What is the template?
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Themed, above, with stone & color, contrasting forms, quality, zone of frisson between formal/informal.
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Garden & Be Well,           XO Tara
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Penelope Bianchi created this charming vignette.  Potent, I want to see her garden, I want to see inside her house, I want to know her.  All these things, I know, because of her little vignette in a zone of frisson.  Pic via Velvet & Linen.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Early Naturalist

The Lloyd's house was already old when they purchased it a century ago.  It had to be shored up & gardens created. Their good fortune was hiring Sir Edwin Lutyens.  And Mrs. Lloyd wanted her landscape to be 'natural'.  After all, landscapes were then the Edwardian conceit.

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This is the path I first came upon at Great Dixter.  Had never seen a garden like this, yet it imprinted on my DNA as the way to garden.
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Hedges, meadows, topiaries, flowering shrubs, trees, paths, vines, stone, brick, water, axis, benches, focal points, rain butts, potting sheds, subtleties, compost.  Yes.
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But I don't do the herbaceous borders, too much maintenance.
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If this garden room is informal, above, what do you think the next garden room is?
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Garden & Be Well,           XO Tara
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Assignment: Go To Great Dixter.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Crossing The Line Into A New Yorker Cartoon


 The  landscaping was too tall at an assisted living home near me, I drove up to investigate.  Another victim of the economy?
 Signs of a last meal?

Perhaps the food sanitation score closed the business.
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Garden & Be Well,      XO Tara
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The richness of ALL the patio furnishings being white.  So, did they have a full table and share?  A full table and only 1 resident had an 'issue'.  "Pass the potty please."