Showing posts with label Color. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Color. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Following & Breaking Rules

Green-brown-white is the top historic exterior color trinity for gardens.  Who, ever, likes/wants rules?
.
Late to the game, me, once I learned the trick to garden design rules.  I hadn't known or trusted garden rules deeply enough to wisely break them.  That's all there is too it.  Trust the rules, follow the rules, break the rules wisely.  Why the bother?
.
Knowing the rules, breaking the rules, creates a garden & exterior more deeply 'you'.  Rules don't make every garden the same.  Rules make every garden potently different.
.
Adored, seeing this garden, below.  In the pink.  I want to know this person.  Just from this pic, a tiny portion of their exterior.  More, I want to see the owner's interior.

Live Beautifully Outdoors:

Pic, above, here.
.
Hope you realize that's what you're patio/deck must do, too.  Others must see it, and want to come inside.  Others must see it and 'know' who you are.  Those are garden design rules !
.
Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

How Color Choice Affects the Size of Your Home

Calm, rustique, classic, nestled, below.  What plays the major role in this Exterior Design?  Color.
.
Imagine home, below, with white trim.  Pop.  The house just moved forward, got smaller, the roof lowered, the garden shrunk.  Merely, painting the trim white.  Ironically, this home previously had a teal blue trim.  Same effect, to lesser degree, than white.
.
Everything is thriving, but we do need some rain - it's been very dry here in the Northeast. From my driveway, my house looks beautiful with the tan colored woodwork - it is such a change from the teal blue. Do you remember the old trim?:

Pic, above, Martha Stewart.

In an area that is small, or with disparate components, here's the color trick, below.  Did you already intuit the trick?  Everything should be the same color, or color family.

 My longtime housekeeper, Laura Acuna, set up some refreshments on the lower terrace parterre outside my kitchen. Some cool pomegranate iced-tea and some cheese wafers.:

Pic, above, Martha Stewart.
.
Exterior color, if you haven't given it much thought, does potent work to every exterior.  Make sure your exterior colors are doing the right potent work.  Potent for good vs. potent for bad.  It's your choice.  Make every layer of narrative with color choices exterior/interior and you've just raised property value, and made every day in your home happier.
.
Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Backyard: Lawn vs. Gravel

From the 1st time studying historic gardens in Europe over 20 years ago, gravel changed every thought about a 'lawn'.
.
Perhaps it was coming from a region of USA with ubiquitous patchy backyard 'turf' lawns.
.
Gravel, below, set with a top rate template of plantings too.  No worries what the plantings are, below, use the best plants in your zone fitting the appropriate sun/shade, size, foliage evergreen/deciduous.
.
Best plants?  Don't know best plants for your zone, USA?  Go to your county/state/extension office online.  Typical mission statement for the Extension Service,        

"Mission

Our mission is to extend lifelong learning to Georgia citizens through unbiased, research-based education in agriculture, the environment, communities, youth and families.

UGA Extension offers educational programs, assistance, and materials to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, or handicap status. "

.
Your county Extension Service will have a listing of the best trees/shrubs/groundcovers/vines.  Motivation is for the proper plantings, not to sell you something.
.
Knowing the best plants for your specific location gives you liberty to copy good gardens world wide.
.
Don't feel comfortable choosing the best plants for your garden plan?  Take a picture of what you want, perhaps below, and ask your Extension Service agent, or their volunteer Master Gardener to choose for you.  This service is paid for thru your tax dollar.

.:

Pic, above, here.
.
Choosing gravel, align with color that may already be used with your home's exterior, or interior.  If there is a predominate stone in your location, choose it.  Measure square footage you want to cover with gravel, 2.5" thick and place your order.  The stone source you order from will turn your square footage/depth into 'yards'.  Small gravel is best, more residential.  Large gravel is commercial for parking lots or building construction.
.
If you're fighting a poor turf lawn in your backyard, consider gravel.
.
Garden & Be Well,   XO
.
My 1st phone call to Extension Service was ca. 1985.  Going to the mailbox I noticed a vile odor.  Exploring, discovered ooze at the base of a large oak.  Their diagnosis?  Slime flux.  Solution?  Poor a mix of clorox/water on it.  It worked, and I'm still friends with the Extension agent helping me.  Weirdly, he's retiring next year.  How is that possible?  He's also the 1st person ever asking me to speak.  He created a new layer in my career.  In return I've never said 'no' when he's called asking me to speak for Extension.  About 6-7 years ago he asked me to speak on pollinators.  A disaster I thought, but said 'yes'.  Pollinators?  Boring.  How was I to know it would become one of my most requested lecture titles?  He called earlier this month, one of our 'peeps' is moving back to Georgia.  A young woman we watched grow in her horticulture career and are both so proud of.  She took a lot of my seminars, always asked the best questions, a great can-do attitude.  She moved away for a huge huge huge job, but Georgia family/friends are pulling her home.  He asked if I would give her a reference.  As if !!      

Monday, June 20, 2016

Design: House Meets Patio

Commercial, mostly interiors shop, March, below, better at garden design than most garden centers.
.
Not a lot here, excepting there is a lot.  Each layer, perfect.
.
Color, flow, plants, staging, texture, contrast, plants, still life, heights, focal points, axis, seasonal, lighting, vanishing threshold, multi-functional, over-dose-theme, easy maintenance.
.
At this phase, below, personally.  Have purchased a harvest table made from wood of a century old tobacco barn.  What's the phase?  Choosing chairs.  Looking at galvanized metal.  Time is a luxury, the table won't fit in my van, Beloved's trucks are at a jobsite for another few weeks.  Need 10 chairs.  Don't want all of them to match, perhaps they will.  That is the fun of the hunt.
.
march-1

Pic, above, here.
.
Color trinity, above, great for my zone, tail end of Piedmont swallowed by Coastal Plain, in depths of summer's miseries heat-humidity-bugs, gives the illusion of 'cool' viewed from interiors.
.
Alone, this pic is a, Design: House Meets Patio, course.
.
Ironically, my horticulture degree included zero about this zone.  Zero
.
Notice the stone at the open door?  Very nice.

Garden & Be Well,   XO T
.
Go into the typical box store garden center, and be greeted by zillions of colorful greenhouse annuals, chemicals to annihilate bees-butterflies-man, finish off with fertilizers to poison groundwater, and kill earthworms and mycorrhizal fungi in the soil.  With zero irony the same garden centers sell annual flowers to attract butterflies, planted in soil with systemic insecticides, all with banner marketing.  Aka, killing the same butterflies you're trying to attract.
.
Made a mistake at the seed store early this month, bought a small bag of 'organic' fertilizer for our lone tomato plant.  Reading the label at home, after opening, it's N-P-K, ugh, kills earthworms/fungi.  At least the tomato is in a pot.    

Monday, June 6, 2016

Exterior Color Trinity

If asked, "What color trinity did you choose for your garden?", what is your answer?
.
Is your first thought to list the colors, or wonder what type of crazy question is this?
.
For centuries choosing a Color Trinity for the garden has been a layer of garden design.
.
Faded gray/green, charcoal & creme, below.
.
Very nice.
.
Knowing green/brown/white is the classic garden color trinity of-the-ages never stops me from seeing delicious color trinities from myriad resources.

Little Georgia Cafe in East London, between Hackney City Farms & Broadway Market walking north from Hackney Road on Goldsmiths Row. The most interesting, beautiful family and woman proprietor here as well.:

Pic, above, here.
.
Garden & Be Well,   XO T
.
Wish we could meet for lunch today at the Little Georgia Cafe.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

2 Most Common Mistakes with an Outdoor Kitchen

Helping, with Beloved, my mom buy a new car, I had a great chance at Garden Design.  Exactly, no life activity unrelated to Garden Design.
.
Wonderful salesman, rapport was easy.
.
During the sales process in his cubicle, he mentioned building an outdoor kitchen soon.
.
Upfront I knew my job was to thumb thru a magazine looking bored, let the men handle it.  Beloved has bought dozens of cars/trucks/caterpillars/trailers/boats thru the years.  Me?  Not so much.
.
His new kitchen perked me up, pronto.  I turned a page, drolly, looked up & into his eyes, "You're doing it wrong."    I quickly cut a glance to Beloved & went back to my magazine and droll, droll, droll.
.
"What do you mean?", my salesman bit, "Draw me your patio & new kitchen.", paper & pen quickly provided every error of his ways.  Not my 1st rodeo.
.
His errors?  Window views from the house to patio/outdoor kitchen should be of the patio and garden, not the outdoor kitchen.  When the outdoor kitchen is the focal point of the patio, the cook is most often, backside to his guests.  2 errors, easily remedied.
.
Taking the salesman's drawing, I turned it over and drew it correctly.  Pushing it slowly with my index finger across his desk, back too him, with a smile.
.
Instant epiphany, the salesman cut a look, first, at Beloved who did the quick squinched eyes & hint of shoulder squinch.  Then I got my look from the salesman, who received a quick smile, then back to droll, droll, droll with the magazine.
.
The men continued getting mom a new car.
.
It seemed Beloved was letting a certain small bit of $$$ float away.  Perhaps he was waiting for the kill?  I gave it some time, hmm, Beloved did not mention that particular bit of $$$.  Time passed, magazine pages drolly turned, then it seemed the men were about to handshake.  Oh dear.  That tiny amount of $$$.
.
"What about _________", I asked.  Beloved looked at me with a smile, the salesman with an "Oh s***" look.  Bingo, I got mom that money.   If memory serves, less that $400.  It had been rolled into a sentence about taxes blah blah, but you know I wasn't drolly reading that magazine.  My ears were all about mom's money.
.
Beloved got a handshake, I got a handshake and a hug from the salesman, mom got a new car.
.
This kitchen, below, is incredible.  Especially with the small space available.  A real cook's kitchen, without the kitchen viewed from the house, and the chef is at least sideways to his/her guests.  And, if needed, items can be passed from inside to outside from a window.
.
Salesman said he couldn't wait to call his wife about their 'new' patio.

The Most Amazing Outdoor Kitchens// Hamptons:

Pic, above, here.
.
The more I look at the pic, above, the better I like it.  And it already had me at 1st glance fabulosity.
.
Droll was my role.  Keeping my mouth shut, mostly.  Not in my element, buying a car or being quiet, being droll made me 'listen' better.  Oh dear, this seems to be a metaphor of some sort.

Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Touch of Black

Every garden needs an exterior color trinity.  Subsidiary colors allowed.  Green-brown-white the classic for centuries.  Black, below, boldly, tossed in instead of green.  Yet the green is there, in plantings hung on the black, and in the garden.  Blue/white, below, subsidiary to the main color trinity.
.
Tell me you noticed, below, the enfilade !

outdoor dining at its best:

Pic, above, here.
.
Quick glance, appreciate the porch enfilade, with closer attention, garden enfilade travels much deeper.  Well done.
.
Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Designing the Faux Path

Many times I've used a bit of woodland, buffer between neighbors, as a faux focal point. Occasionally, space allows for this much meandering path, below.  Most of the time, the path is a few steps leading to a faux gate.  In each interpretation the path is 'real'.
.
In the moment, below, Nature's yearly leaf fall.  Took me an ancient amount of time to realize, the trees are fed and enriched by letting go.  And the same is true for us, if we'll let go.  During senescens the color of photosynthesis is lost, and the true leaf colors appear.  Another story written in plain view, by Nature, another metaphor.  Beauty in letting go.  

Василий Поленов - Женщина, идущая по лесной тропинке:
.
Pic, above, here.
.
Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara

Monday, May 23, 2016

3 Layer Garden Design

An excursion, below, that should be a destination in Garden Design.

Tuinontwerp - tuinontwerpen door tuinarchitect tuinontwerper Zuid-Limburg Brabant:

Pic, above, here.
.
Using the 3 elements, above, of garden design, plan your garden.  A serious landscape, in vanishing threshold with interiors of your home, expanding lifestyle, all with ease, beauty, joy while amplifying your personal aesthetic.
.
Don't know the 3 elements, above?
.
Ceilings, walls, floors.  Put another way, trees, shrubs, groundcovers.  Another description, foyer, dining room, living room.  Yes, now you are seeing the trinity of elements in the design, above.
.
Two types of ceiling, above.  Can you label both?  Sky & trees.  Three types of flooring, above, low meadow, gravel, a chevron pattern.  Three types of walls, tall shrubs, medium shrubs, contrasting texture shrubs.
.
Pond is a nice focal point viewed from the foyer, yet equal in use to both living room & dining room.  .
Focal point on plinth, on axis with don't-know-from-this-pic.
.
Never thought about a garden like this for your home?  This garden will take your further, faster, lasting longer, than most other types of gardens.
.
Starting and ending points for this garden remain 180 from a garden beginning, "I want hydrangeas, peonies and..."
.
Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mix Matched Outdoor Furnishings?

Layers of narrative, below.  Color echoes a home run, for starters.  White to silvers, very nice.
.
Curiosity too.  Hydrangeas, below, at left in foreground, then further back, to the right.  A photographer's styling?  Perhaps a stylist guiding a photographer?
.
Did your mind go there at all?  The white hydrangeas merely props?
.
Hardly the 1st thing I saw in this delightful pic.
.
First thing?  Field gathered furniture, all painted same color.  Voila !
.
Studying historic gardens across Europe for decades it was France teaching me that trick.  No worries about field gathering garden furnishings.  Paint them all the same color.
.
Huge arrow in your quiver.

 :

Pic, above, here.
.
Garden & Be Well,   XO T
.
Almost a complete garden design course in this pic.  Canopy/understory trees, high/low density, scale, flow, focal point, simplicity, color, contrasts, repetition, ceiling/walls/floors, seasonal interest, winter structure, invitation, comfort, myriad uses, no chemicals, low maintenance.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Color. Color ? Color !

Remember, designing your landscape, I must know you from the street.
.
Parse the words.  To know you from the street, you must design your garden from interior views, and the same brain waves of style, color, flow, texture, individuality from inside to outside.
.
A trinity of pics, below, you should all be able to shoot, of your home.  This trinity, below, is a Garden Design, of the ages, quiz question.  
.
Today, now, your home/garden, mentally shoot these 3 pics.  Can you produce?
.
Every garden needs a color trinity, green-brown-white, is the classic for centuries.  No worries if it's not your flavor, choose your own color trinity.  Produce these 3 pics.  Quiz question remains the same.  Shoot & produce.
.
Color.  Color?  Color!  Which will it be?  This is your singular precious life.  Stretch your intelligence, comfort zone, think without your wallet.  Perhaps you need my personal question, epiphanized after too many decades people pleasing, "What would I do tomorrow if I were not afraid?"  When it comes to doing your garden, your best garden, I'm not the person you want to start a sentence, "I can't do that."  Those are 4 failure words.  Best 4 words I was ever told, "Be who you are."
.
Studying historic gardens across Europe for 2 decades, this lesson about color, above, and within the pics, below, was intuitively learned.  This stuff, above/below, is not in garden design books.  It's merely in the best historic gardens across history.  Want to recreate the wheel?  Knock yourself out.  Everyone loves the outliers who do, with success.
.
Since the start of designing gardens, color was easy to choose, I pull from interiors, what will work with the exteriors.
.
Furlow Gatewood's home/garden is over the top with the color trinity.  He makes me see it fresh, as if he invented it.  Better, he owns it.
.

Cuthbert House, on Furlow Gatewood's Compound, in Americus, Georgia, Photo by Max Kim-Bee~❥:

Pic, above, here.

rod-collins-furlow-gatewood:

Pic, above, here.
.
Fern, viewed from the garden, pulls me in.  Then the brilliant audacity of double axis to the mirror with the fern.  Swoon.

 One Man's Folly: The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood: Julia Reed, Paul Costello, Rodney Collins, Bunny Williams: 9780847842520: Amazon...:

Pic, above, here.
.
Nothing more to be said about your color trinity excepting, shoot it.  Picture worth 1,000 words.
.
Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Exterior Trim: Navajo White

I'm working at a project, craftsman bungalo, with good timing, exterior  paint was showing its last gasps.  Much better than paint with fresh new confidence, and the color is wrong.
.
They like the soft blue lapboard siding, it will be used again.  Their white trim was so bright it owned the neighborhood.
.
Of course they wanted white trim again.  Thankfully, they agreed, the existing white trim-columns-rails-step risers, much too white.
.
Which white to choose?
.
Navajo White, Benjamin Moore, below.
.
Calm, receding, means business but doesn't shout new kid on the block.
.
If Navajo White can 'sit back' with this much coverage, below, my client is safe, their Navajo White will let their home/garden speak, not the trim.

The brick is painted  Benjamin Moore Navajo White (as is the limestone), and the dark trim is a custom color, starting with a base of BM 161...:

Pic, above, here.
.
Garden & Be Well,   XO T
.
Major careers for this couple, 2 small children,  she loves to cook, and hired me because she wants the focus of her entire landscape, it's not large, to be potager, chicken coop, pollinators.  They're doing painting/repairs & tree work this spring, landscape this fall.  She had all the right cookbooks, several shelves, in her kitchen.  Quirky, but that's a realm of assessment, kitchens.  And, you know I don't mean the make/model of equipment.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Front Door: A Course in Beautifully Scaled Details

Off the edge of perfect, below, beyond perfect.
.
Have never understood the predilection for oversized lights at a front door.  Studying historic gardens across Europe for decades, diminutive lighting, compared to USA, is the memo.
.
Tara Turf, below, to the foundation.  Alone, enough to instigate a nastygram from any HOA.  Here's the deal with Tara Turf, it's a rich way to live, according to Providence.  And me.
.
Opulent patina, not pressure washed away, on the walls, below.



Pic, above, here.
.
Who knew I would ever think a collection of little green meatballs was charming?  Indeed, these are.  Here, they are a whimsical pun.  You already thought the same thing, right?
.
The pair of small spheres.  Swoon.  Their plinths, double swoon.
.
Notice the climbing roses?  Not the physical plant but what they do for the design.  Taking very little space, espaliered, they give maximum lush.
.
Tiny gravel, above, color of the house, drifting into most-of-a-circle tiny flagstone, again colored to the house, terrace.  With no edging between gravel/plants or gravel/flagstones.  Your already picked up on this huge detail, edging, right?
.
Enfilade, above, is something we have at our ca. 1900 American farmhouse.  Ours, 80' long, with heart of pine floor, I'll have to figure out how to get the shot, we even have the trees in back, but our pond is behind the trees.
.
Our house, now, has a small gravel parking court in front, we kept the previous owner's half-round of bricks at the front steps.  Unbelievable, the vernacular language is the same, this home, above, and ours.
.
This front door, above, says the most important thing, "Welcome."  And, "You want to come inside, this house is interesting, the people who live here I want to know and see more, the garden, and....."
.
Garden & Be Well,    XO T
.
Beloved is a pressure washing fool.  One of these days, at present I leave the premises when he pressure washes, I will stand my ground, and instead of crime scene tape outlining a body on the ground, Beloved will pressure wash around my body on the wall of our home.  If this were our home, above, I know his pressure washer would have something 'wrong' with it each time he tries to use it.  Buy a new one?  It would have something 'wrong', always, too.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Choosing Color, Downsizing, Staging

She moved into her forever home many years ago, and finally, what she always knew, arrived.  Children out of college, grandchildren growing, the large family home/garden, too large.  Downsizing is her imperative.
.
The house needs painting, the orange brick never looked 'right' with the white trim.  Yesterday, I chose new colors for trim, shutters, gutters, porte-cochere ceiling. and the front door.  (Shutters will be Iron Mountain, #9, below.)

9. BM iron Mountain, 10. BM Kendall Charcoal, 11. BM Chelsea Gray (all Benjamin Moore):
Pic, above, here.

Her proclivity for birdhouses and interesting garden subsidiary focal points, will be removed.  House & garden simplified to their bones, creating a boutique hotel 'feel', "Welcome, it's beautiful here, everything is done for you, relax, enjoy the good food, sleeping here a heaven, etc."

  White house, grey trim, charcoal grey shutters,:

Pic, above, here.

A woman with many incredible collections, most will be boxed, much donated, little will remain, below.

 Traditional Cream Second Floor Landing:

Pic, above, here.

The process is stressful upon many layers, chiefly, the unknowns.  Once staged, I told her she will miss the more personal art/photos that are in storage, yet once moved, she will prefer living in the 'staged' type decor, with some of the personal tossed back in.  More, she will not regret anything donated.  And to expect, once their new home is bought, to be able to donate more furniture & 'stuff', and finally, once moved in a few more things can be donated.  Culling has a definite pattern over time.  Ironic, 'seeing' at each layer is quite clear, yet all layers cannot be seen up front, it is the unknowns at play.
.
I asked if she was willing to sell all of her furniture/rugs/art if the buyer offered.  Whoa, her 'yes' was fast, and with a smile.  Good, that helps in the staging and what goes into storage.
.
She has a day job, they own their own business, and her grown children's/grandchildren's stuff-stored-at-mom's must be downsized to zero.  Most of her husband's downsizing she'll be in charge of.  Both facts a layer of stress.  I told her, though she's the boss of this move, she's going to need her family pulling together as a team.  Huge pause then laughter.  She knows it will be herding butterflies.
.
She's already begun the process, and it's a wild chaos.  We walked her entire interior and garden, discussing keep/donate/store.  A good morning.  Now she knows the chaos is not reigning, it's merely part of the process.  Too easy to feel overwhelmed and not in control.
.
This has been a wild spring for clients calling and telling me they are downsizing.  Then, worse, a friend, really 5 friends stopped for my garden/lunch last Monday & no I didn't make lunch we went to a charming cafe in the town square, told me one of my favorite gardeners, Helen Dillon, in Ireland, will be downsizing & moving.  Helen's garden was the only reason I went to Ireland to study historic gardens.  I'm still processing the potential loss of Helen's garden, you can see it here
.
Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Monday, March 28, 2016

Don't Design Bifurcate: Interior & Exterior

For years I would write the editor of a specific interior design magazine asking why they would show beautiful interiors with terrible views out the windows.  No reply, ever.
.
However, the month arrived when that magazine had every interior photograph edited/photoshopped to its exterior views with a brightness as if a glare of a beautiful garden, all the ugly views, poof/gone.  And, the magazine has continued editing exterior views for years.  Nice story, yes?
.
This, below, is not that magazine.
.
Great interior, yet a bifurcation of decorating styles, life choices, from inside to outside.
.
What to do?

SHELTER:

Quick thought, without seeing the rest of the home's interior, stain the deck a shade, or 2, darker than the walls, above.
.
Poof, interior/exterior no longer bifurcated.
.
Another solution, add a shutter to lower half of the window, leaving only vistas of sky, trees, birds...
.
Money is no issue solution?  Enlarge the deck, choose a new rail, stain same color as walls, turn window, above, into French doors, fix a drink, put a new album on the turn table, enjoy.
.
Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
.
Pic, above, here.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Design: Speak Volumes With No Words

Live - Love - Laugh blares a painted garden sign, on the shelf, with price tag.  Next time you see any garden sign/plaque for sale think, "Danger Will Robinson.", while asking yourself the Dante'sque question, Does this path enlarge, or diminish, my thought?
.
Mostly, if words are put into a garden Alexis de Tocqueville has been given another arrow to release at USA.  Mostly.  And that's one of the joys of designing your garden, knowing when to use your tiny percentage allowed, to break rules.
.
In a garden it is important no matter the joys & sorrows amongst your days/years, you know you have a place actively nurturing sorrows and increasing joys.  Without effort.  This layer of garden design is rarely mentioned, but inherent.

Fun hedge idea:

Made me laugh, above.  No words.  Is it whimsy, or a pun?
.
Doesn't matter.
.
Secondary smile, above, at the height of the evergreen wall.  Noticed decades ago the economics of gardens and hedges.  The 4' hedge easily maintained by the owner.  The 6' hedge, still maintained by the owner, but a ladder is involved, or hired gardener.  8' + hedges pruned with scaffolding or cherry picker for hired gardener to reach.
.
Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
.
Found pic on Pinterest, and it had no link to provenance other than what is stamped on the picture, Getty Images.
.
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.", Alexis de Tocqueville.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Elements of a Famous Garden: Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival

Shade encroached lawn, below, so it was removed & a gravel path was added with a row of boxwoods.
.
Then, unexpectedly, a gift of huge pots with boxwoods, and an entryway was created, below.
.
This is a new portion of Susanne Hudson's famous Douglasville, GA garden.  Her garden is on the Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival tour this Saturday/Sunday.
.
Aside from being in magazines, on TV and tours, Susanne's garden should also be famous for how easy it is to maintain.
.
And, deer proof.
.
Susanne's garden reads like a Garden Design Manual.
.
Garden Design Elements:


  Complete architecture above, ceiling, walls, floors, doorways, rooms.

Hallway (gravel path)
Foyer (zone between arbor/boxwood in pots/end of gravel path)
Walls ( fence, side of house, hedges)
Color  (house/fence white theme)
Color ( layers of green, dark green, light green)
Color (granite gravel chosen to flow with white theme vs. brown river pebbles)
Ceiling (sky is designed by framing with canopy & understory trees)
Entryways (the more entryways a garden has the better a garden is)
Ballroom (invitation to the ballroom via the arbor, implied mystery, the garden beckons you)
Parlor (invitation to the parlor thru the large boxwood pots)
Art on the Wall (house is backdrop to the garden)
Art on the Wall (one focal point/area is the macro rule, here it's the arbor)
Flooring (gravel, low meadow)

Garden Design is Interior Design with different arrows in the quiver.  When you see a garden you like, there is a language to describe every element.  Learn the language, in this lone pic, above, and your quiver will be full for any garden you see moving forward.

When I give this lecture, I move to a new pic, use the laser pointer, and let the audience shout out what it is.  By the 3rd picture all are fluent.  Even those that were skeptical.  Name it to claim it is true for garden design.  Once you can name it, you can put it in your own garden.
.
Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
.
Pic taken by Susanne Hudson.  Spent the night with Susanne earlier this week, preparing for my lecture at the Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival this Saturday, 2pm, in the new courthouse.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

What the French Gave: Monocoloring


Credentials I have, yet my true Garden Design education spanned 2+ decades and several continents.
.
Smiled when I saw this, below.
.
France gave me 2 huge arenas of learning, 1 is below.  
.
MonoColoring.
.
Language is no barrier to studying the best historic gardens across the globe.  Gardens speak Gardenese.
.
Applying a French Garden Design lesson, below.
.
If you field gather garden chairs, no worries about style, beyond comfort of course, paint them all the same color. 
.
This lesson holds true at every price point home, castle, gated community, farm, villa, pied a terre, section 8 apartment balcony, townhome, even in my little working class cluster home neighborhood.
.
Chairs, below, have a choice of colors for monocoloring.  Use trim color from the house, or an interior color that is prominent in the best artwork owned or from the carpet, perhaps a wall color.

Mismatched woven chairs and a teak table set the scene for meals in the outdoor entertaining area of this California cottage.   - CountryLiving.com

Of course more needs to be done, above, in this sweet garden room.
.
Vine maintenance, above, is about a month overdue.  Bring a ladder to the French doors landing, with jackhammer drill, mortar screws, galvanized wire, install, finally, threading vine across top of French doors.
.
Stay there, and hang the lantern, from the second step, centered above the French doors with the bottom of the lantern hanging 3 courses of bricks above the top of the French doors.
.
Done with the ladder, put a level on the pot at the right of the French doors and get it level.
.
Finally, use some spare bricks from home construction and raise the serving table, next to the house, 4 bricks high.
.
All of these changes, are what my brain does, all of the time, driving or looking at Pinterest.  My brain 'fixes' gardens.  A well-honed skill.
.
My brain can rest from this particular form of Garden Design OCD when camping at beach/mountains, and joyfully in my friends gardens.
.
When a client garden is headed for Garden Tour it is amazing the to-do list we create for an already fabulous garden.  Pages long.
.
If your garden is ready for a garden tour, but you've not done one yet, I strongly encourage you to do it.  Your garden will go to another level.
.
You will never have been so driven in your life, promise.  Aside from weeks of exhaustion and hunting/gathering, your checkbook will provide, in a manner that feels like Zen but prior to the tour felt like fear.  It gets worse, you will begin new garden layers, to be finished prior to the tour, you never anticipated.  Providence, supplying epiphanies and inspirations, and you will be Peasant in Chief, happy to oblige. 
.
Did you just smirk at this?
.
Then YOU are the one that will do all described.  Promise.
.
Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
Pic from HERE.  






Monday, April 27, 2015

Planning a New Garden

Learned decades ago I cannot design a garden without seeing interiors.  Moving into a new home?  Difficulties designing the garden?  Of course.
.
Grieving leaving my garden, but oh my, the excitements of anticipating the new garden.  I'm in a new relationship.  House, garden, me, well trod territory, and favorite.  Slow down, did you notice the trinity?  Is this trinity, house-garden-you, yours?
.
Ignore this trinity at your peril.  It is not in the least selfish, instead the opposite, giving.
.
Counterintuitive.
.
It's the airplane cliche, put the air mask on yourself before helping others.
.
Once house & garden are leveraged fully, they are your ally in times of need, a spiritual base and retreat.  Beauty, ease, activity.  Another cliche, the more you go inward the more you outwardly connect.
.
This isn't where I'm going with you, another day.
.
Not in my new house/garden yet, I cannot design the garden.  How could I?  Don't know how I will live inside the house.
.
I do know I'm designing for my 80 year old self, deer, drought, unskilled labor, and my own needs for beauty, simplicity, grace,   The property has no barn, garage, conservatory, chicken coop.  They are for me to choose, not a bad bargain.
.
Built 1900, 4.5 acres, wooded/open, pond, American farmhouse architecture, 1 story, deep front porch across entire front, and a dogtrot 9' wide x 50 feet long.  A dairy farm next door, with beautiful views of meadow, lake, rolling hills, Piedmont forest, and cows.  Thorns in the roses, but those are another day too.
.
Exterior colors?  White on white is the classic for 1900, below.  Along with basic gray porch flooring and blue beadboard ceilings.



Pic from here.
.
Close to the street, I immediately thought of low fencing, friendly, with 'X' pattern, below.  Alas, my 2 chimneys, after inspectors report, had to be removed.  Repairing/replacing them not an option at this layer.  Asked the current owner if I could have the bricks, realtor texted after chimneys were down, the bricks are stacked and waiting for me.

 paint colors for 1900 farmhouse - Google Search

Pic via here.

30 years in my home/garden, a garden cat always in attendance.  Will take this, below, and style for my own architecture.

  

Pic via here.

For my dogtrot, below.  Door, table, door, the perfect enfilade.

 New southern Greek Revival residence with gas lanterns in GA - Historical Concepts

Pic via here.

 farmhouse porch | Farmhouse-porch-view

Exterior lights, above, are long gone, replacements chosen without regard to the home's age/architecture.  Finally, will get to purchase lighting from the man I refer to all my clients.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sotheby's. A game room in Bunny Mellon's Oak Spring Farm Estate

Pic via here.
.
There is no library, above, in my new home, this cannot be.  Great joy in anticipating where it will be built.

 Rachel "Bunny" Mellon with a gathering of her topiaries, photographed at a window of her Virginia home (Vogue, 1965). Photo: Horst P. Horst/Condé Nast Archive. AD Remembers Design Icon Bunny Mellon

Pic via here.
.
Terra cotta, above, and galvanized metal will predominate with my pots at the new house.

 The antique lantern and the brass stool in the master bedroom are Lebanese. The ebonized slipper chairs are Italian, and the club chair, by O. Henry House, is clad in a Robert Kime ticking stripe; the bedside tables are from John Rosselli Antique

Pic via here.
.
Ceilings are 11' tall, above, and I've spent too much time researching how high to put curtain rods.

This dining room of Bunny Williams has been one of my favorites since her book came out. I love the chinoiserie panel, she is married to John Rosselli, and the large gingham Slipcovers are fab.

Pic via here.
.
Will slipcover, above, some of my furniture, some in big check, the rest plain.

nancy lancaster

Pic via here.
.
The master bedroom is shaded and needs a bright Nancy Lancaster yellow, above.

Plates display and details on table

Pic via here.
.
Dishes, above, will go on the walls.  Which dishes and which walls, too fun, the anticipation.

Charles Faudree. This exuberant room from one of Faudree’s own homes lit up Traditional Home's April 1991 cover.

Pic via here.
.
Cloth on table, above, again, where, more than one?

 rambling path creates a sense of adventure . Bunny Williams' Litchfield Hills home

Pic via here.
.
Have done variations on this garden entry, above, for decades.  The joy of knowing they will be designed, but not knowing where, for now.

 Not very comfortable looking but oh so elegant!  Furlow- Gatewood ~ from the book /OneMansFolly

Pic via here.
.
My new home can lend itself formal, but I won't go there, wanting a blue striped rug, above, somewhere.

 beautiful vignette, love the demilune, the green table and chair, the botanicals and painted plank walls

Pic via here.
.
Have chosen the best room, very Enchanted April, for my office, above.  A fun day when I can set the stack of 5 books I've written in their new resting place.  Better days coming soon when I start writing my new books.  3 in the pipeline.  Which to choose 1st?  Adore these  sorts of 'problems' !

 Choose an elegant lean-to | conservatory | country | Country Homes & Interiors  For sheer elegance and simplicity, the lean-to conservatory wins hands down. Its single-pitched roof is ideal for a limited space such as a terraced house or to fill the side return at the back of many Victorian houses. Find similar aluminium conservatories at Alitex  Read more at http://www.housetohome.co.uk/room-idea/picture/country-conservatories-10-of-the-best-1#KCf3cUlvtJ5SoEX7.99

Pic via here.

No conservatory, I'm considering this type, above, placed backside a small barn in the orchard.  Neither barn/orchard existing anywhere but in my head.  Already, they are on perfect axis with each other, house, and garden views.
.
Amazing how little I know what to do in my new garden.  In the macro, yes.  Fine tuning exact placements, flow & scale, no.  Life is good.  My next job is to get moved in, and live.  Choose interior colors, place furniture, art, lamps, library.  And litter box.
.
This ride has already begun.
.
Blessedly my new home is not Victorian, it is Edwardian.  A favorite era.  A little later and it would have been Depression era Poverty Cycle.  It will be included for history, and necessity, yet the elegancies from the Edwardian will each be a joy.
.
Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
.
Getting my homes ready to sell has about done-me-in.  Fourteen trips to thrift store with stuff, packing boxes, and staging, all at the same time.  Gardens included, and alas both garages.  Made the choice to use a realtor because of my day job.  30 years in my home, only 3 years with office/guest cottage.  Have written about staging a friend's hard to sell vacation cabin, 6 years on the market with 3 realtors, I sold it on Zillow for-sale-by-owner, renting it on AirBnB while for sale.
.
Staging works.  Both of my homes have a signed contract, last week, with the first person who looked, then made an offer less than 24 hours later.  No, homes were not priced too cheap.  They were priced dictated by nearby comparables.  Quite a week, last week, still not believing the speed life is happening.
.
Grieving leaving is intense.  The outreach I'm receiving is helping immensely.  Humbled, and giving thanks, at this unexpected chapter of grace.
.
None of the above is 'afforded'.  I must write about the financial devastation of being married to an alcoholic, college sweetheart, for 3 decades, and losing every dime to my name.  Repairing the financial damage as a Garden Designer, on my own.  Alcoholic did not aim his misery at me, I was merely collateral damage.  Was a victim for 15 wasted minutes.  Was fortunate to pass thru survivor stage in fewer minutes, thankfully, to years of thriver.
.
At lectures, local/national, and in my open gardens I've had many opportunities with other women, hugging them, tears down their faces, smiles too.  Why are they crying?  They had the epiphany, If she can do it, I can too.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Recognizing 'Flow'

Built, in the Republic of Texas, from 1839-1841, below, this pic, 1934, stopped my eyes, at the dead-end. Knowing, 'The more entry ways a landscape has, the better a landscape is.',
.
How badly does this 'dead-end' bother you?  Did you see it immediately?

The Sunday porch-enclos*ure, French Legation HABS, LoC

Same home, below, pic taken, 1934.

The Sunday porch-enclos*ure, French Legation 1934, LoC

Much better.  Instead of 2 dead-ends, above, at the porch, 2 entry ways.  Function, form, and metaphor, yes, breathing better.
.
Came across these pics studying for a 1900 home I've begun working on.
.
Two take-aways from the pic, above.  White trim/siding, and lattice style/placement.  A good find, color & lattice style, chosen.  Whew, client is a tough cookie.  My favorite type.
.
Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
.
pics Enclosure Take Refuge.