Showing posts with label Copy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Copy. Show all posts

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Garden Design: Design in the Silence

Garden Room, below, designed around the Grace of silence, speaking volumes.

clean slate sawyer berson2
Pic, above, here.

 "As a writer you try to listen to what others aren't saying...and write about the silence." --N.R.Hart:
Pic, above, here.
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Image result for themistocles quotes
Pic, above, here.

 Image result for themistocles quotes
Pic, above, here.
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Many compulstions to have in a garden.  The best compulsion?  Simplicity.
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Garden & Be Well,     XOT

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Garden Design Course: In a Photo

More a Garden Design course, below, than simply another garden.  What can you label, below, as the Garden Design 'rules' followed?  Decades I've taught at the local college and Atlanta Botanical Garden.  Never, ever, tire of this phase of Garden Design.  Name it to claim it.  If you know what you are looking at, and can name it.  YOU can do it.
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Color, contrast, flow, layers, mystery, expanse, minutia, shapes.
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Color, did you know green gardens are the 'fastest' to look like something?  Green gardens are also calm, less drama, perhaps best said, more of the right drama.  Then, within the green are myriad greens.
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Contrast, big leaves next to small leaves, rounded shapes next to cone shapes, woody plants next to herbaceous.
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Flow, the pathway has me, feet want to travel, finding what's around the curve, mystery.
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Layers, all checked, pocket of open sky, canopy trees, understory trees, walls of tall bushes, wainscoting of medium bushes, low bushes/groundcovers are flooring & carpet.
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Space too large, 100's of acres, a garden room similar, below, nearish your house will warm & own the expanse.  Space to small, neighbors homes jutting into your face, a garden room similar, below, around your home, creates a huge landscape, eyes drawn to the expanse of canopy trees and sky, which is infinite.
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Minutia of hair like foliage, velvet like moss on the trees, chartreus with dark greens and etc.  Drama change for winter, the garden, below, holds together in all seasons.

Cynthia Woodyard Landscape Design & Horticultural Photography | projects > Love the Italian trees in a cluster instead of a row = very different:
Pic, above, here.

Understanding the Garden Design 'rules' and principles, above, please tell me this makes you laugh, below, in the 'knowing' what they've done, below.  Well done, dramatic pairing, fun drama with Garden Design 'rules'.

 Cornerstone, Sonoma, The Garden of Contrasts by James Van Sweden:
Pic, above, here.

 
Pic, above, I shot yesterday in our garden.
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Yesterday, my harvest table was finally unloaded from the truck.  Temporary location while 'macro' garden construction is completed, you know, drilling a well, graveling drives, renovating sheds, adding a porch, and too much other garden infrastructure keeping me away from my beloved 'micro' gardening.
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Laskett immediately on top of harvest table, owning it.  Behind him, the materials yard awaiting its new barn.  Yes, chaos of materials yard getting on my last nerve.  Alas, at least another full year before it's cleared.
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Harvest table denotes 1st move into my shed, Beloved using my shed until his barn built.  "Where is the Gator going if you put your harvest table there?", Beloved asks.  "No, they both won't fit there.", he responds to my answer.  I smile in return, thinking, "Go away, I've got this."  Poof Beloved's gone, I arrange table, Laskett & I do what we do so well together, bask in each other's adoring presence, Laskett affirms every thought in my head.  Sitting a moment to shoot table/Laskett/setting sun, I glance at the open space for the Gator, with a smile.
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With great pleasure, I walk to the gravel drive where the Gator is parked, crank it up, pull it into it's new space, 2' to spare, turn the Gator off, pull the brake lever up enjoying its sound, surveying the Gator's new domain.  Beloved still working in back at the pond, Laskett & I walk to the house, gardening day done.
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Best irony about my shed, it's a century old, Beloved moved it last year, renovated it, new walls, new window, new door, new floor, added a tin roof to two sides, and it's my shed.  We knew up front he had to use my shed for many of his things, many, until his barn is built.  Has been a great chapter getting here, I'm not in that chapter anymore.    You've already noticed this new chapter title, My Shed.
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Thought you would appreciate a little raw reality gardening.
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Garden & Be Well,  XO T

  
    

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Simplicity of Narrative

Last question, finishing a Garden Design, What can I take out and it holds together?
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There is so little here, below.  Yet overwhelmed in layers of narrative.  I see a story/stories, below, you must, too.
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Not, simple-gardens-are-the-best, it is simple gardens including narratives of classic aesthetics across the ages, tied to the life of their home's interior, and owner, with an ease of maintenance, those are the gardens lasting centuries.

new orleans by laura stefan.:
Pic, above, here.
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Front door, above, reminds me of a story I was told by a friend, decades ago, in Savannah, GA.  The story teller lived in the historic district.  The story told happened ca. 1950'ish.  An elderly widow lived in elegant deep decay in a large historic mansion.  Her handy-man, an African-American, took care of her, the house, garden, and it was well known he brought her food from one of the best restaurants, he waited tables there several nights a week.
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More, they lived outwardly their proscribed rolls. Yet, within her home they were lovers, in a committed relationship.  Further, the city knew, yet lived the lie.  Protecting both, beloved members of their community.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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The lady in the story, born 19th century, lived the story in 20th century, I'm telling you in the 21st century.  Her home still standing.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Modern Garden Design

Modern Garden Design, below.
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Where are you on the pendulum, liking/disliking, this modern style Garden Design, below?
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Garden Design has not changed since well before, oodles of centuries, Christ's era.
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In my 20's I abhorred this style of Garden Design, below.  Too smart for that boredom.  A brain full of horticultural knowledge.
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Fully living, without awareness, thereby proving yet again in a new era, "Men come to build stately, sooner than to garden finely as if gardening were the greater perfection."  (The works of Alexander Pope, esq., with notes and illustrations, by ...
https://books.google.com/books?id=shcrAQAAIAAJ
Alexander Pope, ‎William Roscoe - 1847 - ‎Literary Criticism
Alexander Pope, William Roscoe. becomes on the instant, from a ... For the honour of this art," Lord Bacon says, " a man shall ever see, that when ages grow to civility and elegancy, men come to buildstately, sooner than to garden finely ; as if gardening were the greater perfection." — Warton. The taste in gardening, like all ...)



Heijlo, 1789, Archief Alkmaar, flickr:
Pic, above, here.
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Heijlo, 1789, Archief Alkmaar, above.
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The simpler a Garden Design, the greater its Wisdom.  
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No ragrets the time nor money getting me to this simplicity, above.  Find it amusing, still, memories of strongly disliking Garden Designs, above.  
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Midnight on a too recent Saturday, sitting with a friend in a hospital emergency room, watching, We are the Millers, keeping reality at bay, while tests were being run, iv's inserted, shots given, pain endured.  Laughing yet again at everything, even laughing ahead of favorite scenes about to show.  News, not good, needed an ambulance to carry my friend to another hospital.  Greatly appreciative of that laughter, time in denial of reality.

We're the Millers Featurette - No Ragrets (2013) - Jennifer Aniston ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjkLKKgOMRY
Aug 9, 2013 - Uploaded by Movieclips Coming Soon
We're the Millers Featurette - No Ragrets (2013) - Jennifer Aniston Movie HD A veteran pot dealer creates a ...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Furniture in the Garden: Choosing to Make it Recede

A trinity of furniture-in-the-garden pics, below, chosen for style, and to recede.  Beyond melding into the backdrop, these choices make each of the garden spaces feel/live larger.

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Pic, above, here.

 Front porch envy:
Pic, above, here.

 .:
Pic, above, here.
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j.k. rowling:
Pic, above, here.

 In Oneness we are all there, we are the very essence of the One Great Mystery of the Universe. ♥ -Mary Long-
Pic, above, here.

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Pic, above, here.

Trust the process quote. goals. dreams. advice. wisdom. life lessons.:
Pic, above, here.

Putting together your garden is not the flippancy of oh-I-like-that, it's waking up, choosing to move forward, turning the page to a new chapter, accepting the historic layers of wiser minds, they're there to work with you, their Muse waiting for your epiphany, it's all for you too, sure, you'll have myriad headwinds, you aren't special in that, everyone does, some things will have to go materially/metaphorically, enjoy the light some bridges are best burned, warning you'll lose some people in your life, but you'll understand, in Truth, the deeper you go inward the more you outwardly connect to the people you've always needed in your life, perhaps deepest of all, if you are brave enough to truly create the garden in your heart the epiphany will arrive, you will understand, why G*d Almighty first created a garden.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pot Cluster Double Axis

Moving backward thru these blog pages you'll discover several posts dedicated to the Pot Cluster.  Studying historic gardens across Europe for decades, this American was smitten by the Pot Cluster.  Often at a front door, often at a back door, often sprinkled somewhere in the garden.  Pot Cluster, I got the memo.
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There is a common thread with Pot Clusters, they are classic or interesting pots, with a choice array of plantings.  Occasionally the Pot Cluster is on a plinth, aka table.
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Whether studying in a historic garden attached to a modest cottage or 2nd3rd5th10th... home/castle of a monarch, there you'll find the Pot Cluster.
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What else to call it?  What would you name it?  Me?  The Pot Cluster.
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Last weekend, Cote de Texas sent me a personalized post, seemed that way anyway.  Within, she posted a double axis with a Pot Cluster, and didn't even know it.
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I adore a Garden Design class in a single photo.  Pot Cluster Garden Design class, below.  More, the home, below, is huge-historic, and the garden space, minuscule.  More than a Pot Cluster Garden Design Class you are also taking a lesson in creating a lush garden in a small amount of space.  How many layers do you see, creating a lush garden in a tiny realm?  Name those layers, describe them in winter.
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If you take a garden tour in Europe always pay extra for the tea/scones.  Most often, served inside.  A Garden Design study is nothing without seeing inside the house, discovering the axis into the garden, site lines, usage for interior, and exterior.  Flow must be entirely around a garden, and from house to garden, and garden to house.  Effortless, beautiful, seamless, no matter the necessities of hvac, water/hoses, etc....
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Enough, let's go inside.



Notice the lamp inside, above?  Same lamp, below.



Different time of day, below, and the lamp staged differently.



Prepared for a dinner party, below, sofa removed and table on axis with French doors into garden.




Interior & exterior of this home are a Garden Design class of Vanishing Threshold.
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No matter your price point, this is your Garden Design class.
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A friend I met at church lived in a welfare apartment.  She is a gardener.  98% found plants/pots/furnishings on her 2nd story balcony.  I had a blast designing her balcony with what she had, using every Garden Design layer used in the home, above.  Rearranged a few things inside too.
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That's the thing with me, I don't except the excuse, 'I don't have the money......'.  My story is backwards in postings, if you know a bit you know I did it without money.
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Excuse the vulgarity, mentioning money.  Perhaps it's because I remember well, in the 80's after college when my gardening began, and the Smith/Hawken garden catalogs arrived in the mailbox, I assumed those beautiful gardens were not for the likes of me, they were shot in gorgeous estates blah-blah how ridiculous those thoughts.  They slowed me down, and I don't want anyone else to be slowed by that, I've proven the money thing to be wrong.
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There's another thing the garden does for the house, above.  Will show it in next post.  Do you already know what it is, and in shock I've been able to refrain from putting it in this post?
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T  
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Why are there so few good gardens?  Why is it so difficult to create our own beautiful garden, at the front end?  Several layers, at the beginning.  Ignorance, we don't have the knowledge.  After beginning with ignorance we enter the phase of ineptitude.  Knowledge gained but applied incorrectly, typically using a fragment to expound the whole, with a strong bias towards understanding the map but not the territory.  

Monday, September 12, 2016

On the Deck: Privacy, Wind, Rain

Our ca. 1900 farmhouse is true to its year.  The house sits near the road, and near the north property line.  Next door sits a ca. 1890 farmhouse, same arrangement.  Living rural, after leaving the big city, a great irony, needing to create privacy.
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There is no having breakfast on the back deck in my gown.  Views from the deck include a meadow, woods, lake, and amazing amounts of sky framed by a few century old pecan trees.  Shutters, below, are our solution.  Sourcing shutters in earnest this week.  Farmhouse is white, shutters will be white.

The owners used the house's original cypress shutters as architectural accents for their Metairie, Louisiana porch.:
Pic, above, here.

 The Most Beautiful Porches On Pinterest | Domino:
Pic, above, here.

In addition to privacy, I'm sourcing old windows this week to create a spot, above, for the cats to be out of the elements at the back door, a small roof already exists there.
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Beloved built us an incredible party deck, and it has gotten on my last nerve not having it operate with the basic functions of living, and aesthetics.  Too generous, that last nerve snapped over the weekend.
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Treated Beloved like a client, verbally described a choice of solutions, then showed him pinterest pics.  He bit.  Only add this last morsel of information, because it's something I do at a lot of jobsites with 'Wife', Husband Coaching.  Most common Husband Coaching I do is choosing the most correct garden thing Wife must allow Husband to do, that she has been adamantly 'NO' for ages.  Paced correctly this Husband Coaching allows Wife, in the end, everything she wanted.  He's happy, she's happy, both think they won.  Cheshire cat knows who won.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Yes, it's going in reverse too, Wife Coaching with Husband.  I'm in the catbird seat, wanting the garden to be their best garden, more intensely them, than they ever dared dream, and in the greatest of simplicity.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Conservatory & Coop House

Working as a professional propagator for 2.5 years, moons ago, left its mark, deep & rich.  More than knowing how to propagate, I miss the work.  Literally, the physical work of propagation, and its 'time', its progression thru the seasons, from seed/cutting/plug, to plant for sale.  Early mornings, first arriving to the myriad greenhouses, end of the day, closing the myriad greenhouses for the nite.  Thru all weathers, the daily life of it.  Fragrance of the various soils, each green house with its unique smells thru the year, differing temperatures catering to myriad greenhouse crops.  And, of course, Kelvin, who taught me all he knew, by doing.  Working with him, side-by-side.  Hands/bodies laboring, conversation & laughter flowing.  He remains one of those friends never seen for years, then spying each other at a garden event, the big run to hug, and I feel tears of pure happiness, merely seeing Kelvin again.  
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Seeing this pic, below, recently, and realizing how badly I miss seeing our poinsettia crops growing from plugs to maturity.  Didn't know I missed that specific life experience until seeing the pic.  There must be a word for this, probably in French or Italian, American too paltry for such a word.
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Instantly this bit of color thru the Conservatory, below, got put onto my list.  Fourteen months in our ca. 1900 American farmhouse, we're getting a lot done on the 'list', but we're not to my Conservatory or Chicken Coop yet.  And, what a fabulous blessing.  Their architecture improves by the month, free of charge.  Smartly, I'm staying quiet about this private architectural joy with Beloved.  If he knew, he would have already built my Coop & Conservatory, square, historic, plain, good, done.  Poor thing, he said to me, not too long ago, "You get your mind set on something and nothing stops you."  It was in the tone of exasperation, my reply was quick and happy, "It's my best trait.  Your next point?"  Nope, he doesn't need to know about the architectural renderings, yet, for the Coop & Conservatory.

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Pic, above, here.

We have a similar bank of windows, above, brought home from a house we renovated for a client recently.  Here's the odd fact, I like being near my chickens, hearing/seeing them, aside from calming I think they are hilarious, they make me laugh.  My chicken coop must have a bit of 'Conservatory/Shed' for me.  A place to be in all weathers/seasons, to read, have lunch with a friend, a glass of wine late on a Saturday afternoon with a new book that just arrived on the doorstep, happy rich solitude.

 Garden shed.:
Pic, above, here.

From the house I want to see my chickens in their coop during winter, this wall of windows, below, perfect.

 love the windows in this garden cottage studio "The Conservatory" Includes 6…:
Pic, above, here.
Great garden potting shed:
Pic, above, here.

Nice roof, above, for my personal section of the Coop, especially in winter, all other roofing will be metal.

 Feeding the Chickens, Antonina Dolinina. Russian, born in 1925:
Pic, above, here.

More than the roosting rack, above, and stone steps, below, I get it about these painters.  Aside from major talent, they love chickens too.  Caring for my chickens is not work or a chore, instead, a delightful part of my days.

 Hubert Shuptrine (1936-2006) WATERCOLOR:
Pic, above, here.

She, below, is one of us, a Chicken Whisperer.  Have no clue why Providence put chickens into my life past age 50, but I'll take it, say thank you, and keep chickening on.

Never get between a girl and her chicken.:
Pic, above, here.

Patina Farm new chicken coop:
Pic, above, here.

Best chicken run, above, ever.  Instantaneously with seeing it, onto the list it went.
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My Conservatory shed, with large lean-to metal roof at front, and at back, is already built and awaiting Beloved's barn to be built, his stuff is in my Conservatory shed.  Not far away is the temporary Chicken coop/run Beloved built in the shade of 2 century old pecan trees, it's chain link with a flat metal roof.  For months I've been having breakfast or lunch under the back lean-to roof at my shed, overlooking the coop, lake, woodland, meadow.  Poor Beloved, all that scope-for-the-imagination of Anne of Green Gables in action.  I hear Marilla Cuthbert, "Finest property on the north shore."
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Have no interest creating the finest Conservatory or Coop, only the finest Conservatory and a Coop, for me.  Now, this phase, vision questing, quite fine in its own merit.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Woodland Path

Totally designed, below.  Obvious pruning is at front left near'ish the top.  A mini-cathedral design.  Not so obvious are layers chosen NOT to be in the design.  Just as much thought goes into Le Jardin Rustique design as a more obvious potager.
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No, this is not a woodland walk that just 'happened'.  But you knew that.
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Tapestry hedge, below, not a mono hedge.
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If you have the good fortune for a tree such as this, magnificent tree, and can create a path, copying this, in a brand new USA subdivision, about 98% of your neighbors will complain.  Knowing you need to clear the brush away.  More, none of those neighbors will be inclined to speak to you.  Nope, the HOA nasty gram will land in your maibox.  They aren't bad people, but they are people who cannot 'see'.  By extension, not liking this patch of your landscape, they won't like you.
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Personally, I think it's wonderful how a garden can push people away, or draw them in.
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If you've been reading for awhile, you know what's next in the design for this garden room, below.  Correct, a garden room with more formality.  Preferably with a meadow too.  Gardens are all about contrasts.
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Often, thru history, homes/gardens that are left as a museum, lose the Le Jardin Rustique portion rather fast, about a decade.  Why?  As wise as the new stewards are, they don't 'get' the Le Garden Rustique, at all, in the least.  It goes back to Nature.  Finally, someone steps in, the teacher, in reality a garden shaman.  The 'Foundation' sees what the benefactor created, and now must be created anew.  .
Winterthur is a good example of this phenomenon.  Hmm.  Seems a new naming opportunity has arisen.
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Are you here yet, in your garden passion?  Hungering for Le Jardin Rustique?
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Ironically, it is the Le Jardin Rustique maximizing pollinator habitat and increasing crop yields nearby.  Only 'Man' would educate, in 2 different schools, agriculture/horticulture.  In America the schooling dividing agriculture/horticulture begins early, if there is schooling at all.  Someone decides to volunteer a school vegetable garden.  Go team.  Alas, that school vegetable garden disregards, completely, ornamental horticulture increasing crop yields by 80%.  When you know this, you are a garden shaman, indeed.
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Thomasina, has this character, a 'nature' shaman, she's the character of the witch, 'Mad Lori', in the woods.
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Same story line, in metaphor, of Babette's Feast.  The majority wanting what they know, not accepting something different from what they know, aka HOA nasty gram.  Yet, when the abstainers, through happenstance, gain entry into the unknown, they are changed, they understand what the shaman knew all along, and want it too.
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When is a little woodland garden path, more than a little woodland garden path?  Today.  Here.  And, always.

Day's morn by Lancashire Lass Photo's, via Flickr:

Pic, above, here.

Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Duck Pond: Copy

At the back of our property is a pond with 2 damns.  Big in winter, small in summer.  Dug around the turn of the century, with oxen, the neighbor's dairy farm surrounding us, has an upper pond just beyond 1 damn, and a very nice lake just beyond the other damn.
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Beloved said he wanted a property with open, wooded and a lake.  I produced.  He should have been more specific, G*d not only laughs when we tell him our plans, he often provides exactly what we ask for, then laughs.  Beloved wanted to be on the lake, well, the lake belongs to our neighbor, but it's our view, they have no view of it.
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At most we plan a small dock, below, and recently Beloved mentioned a stone wall for our little pond.  
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Brooke & Steve Giannetti's pond, below.

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Pic, above, here.

Several times late this spring, and summer, I've walked to our pond and rustled a pair of ducks.  No normal ducks.  The pair is entirely deep cobalt blue.  Grew up with a pond & creek behind our house, never, did I see blue ducks.
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Before the dock, before the stone edge, a well must be dug, pole barn built, coop built, etc.  But there is something for 'now'.  The floating duck house.

DSC_0511_2

Pic, above, here.

Ponds, above, belong to a pair of California girls who met through their blogs.  Brooke Giannetti tells the story of meeting Penelope Bianchi, here.
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Penelope, I was drawn to, from her blog, with a style matching my dear mentor Mary Kistner.  Long after I had written Penelope a fan letter, and now we are friends because she wrote me back, and we still write each other, I came across one of my journals, several years old.  Penelope's house/garden had been in a magazine & I journaled it in the style of Mary Kistner who exposed me to the work of Kurt Schwitters.   Did not realize I had journaled Penelope's home/garden until years passed & I had moved, came across the journal, casually went through it, then pow.  Pow.  A Batman & Robin POW !!!
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Brooke was inspired by Penelope's pond.  And it shows.  Penelope & Brooke, below, at Penelope's home/garden.

 

Pic, above, here.
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You know what Garden Design rule this is?  It's the 1st Garden Design rule.  Copy.
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Garden & Be Well,    XOT
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Image result for batman & robin pow

Pic, above, here.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Walled Orchard

With an engineering degree backing my horticulture degree there is always an element of wishing I had been there at construction while studying historic gardens across Europe for decades.
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About 4 years ago a client said she wanted a walled orchard.
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Oddly, I knew where it should go, how it should look, how big it should be, how many gates it should have, and what each gate should look like.
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The Orchard is coming into its own this year, and will be ready for showtime pics next year.  I've taken pics starting with virgin pasture.
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Sideways learning.  Knowing, with confidence, how to design the orchard.  Century old bricks, each gate custom.  Yes, the expense matches its wonder.  Building a pool or walled orchard, without confidence, I would have to step away.  Too much money on the line, for mistakes.  More, it's building someone's dream, one they will have to live with.  No margin for error.
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image:

Pic, above, here.
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       "He started to worry though that he would get stuck in a job doing something he didn't believe in, so he quit and moved to Spain with his wife and he started to write poetry."            .

I come across sentences, above, humbly pausing.  Deciding to pin the safety of life's earnings upon a garden design career, with huge blow back & fear mongering from family.  Even years of pitiful earnings, never swayed my choice.  After 2008's debacle to the economy, and my career trajectory stronger/better, all the previous years mount into decades, it's obvious, best choice ever.
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Joseph Campbell is right, Follow your bliss.  When you get into the pure groove, all types of unseen hands, the universe itself, partakes in your bliss, along the way you get private acknowledgements that you're indeed in your groove, someone asks you to design/build an old orchard, oddly you know exactly what to do, and already have the experienced talented team to execute.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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There was a question about the orchard, one of the corners too close to the gravel lane.  One of my favorite aspects, the lane evolved around the orchard, not the reverse.    Corner & lane built as designed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Garden Design: Temporary Focal Points

Years ago, before the advent of cell phones, driving, I passed a huge white wisteria, in full dripping bloom, engulfing a mature loblolly pine.  I made a mental note to get my camera, and drive by again.  Somewhere in the bowels of my slide boxes, is that picture.
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Someone else thought the combo, white wisteria/loblolly pine, was threatening.  Within the week, both cut to the ground, gone, poof.  As if they had never been.  
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Finding this, below, on Pinterest, recently, I'm able to relive those moments, a-thing-of-beauty-is-a-joy-forever.
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More particularly, the few days/moments of bloom, are Temporary Focal Points.  In designed gardens, there is great humor, to me, in the Temporary Focal Point.  Without effort Nature reigns, like electricity, all we can do is harness the magic.

//White wisteria in Japan. #gardenflowers:

Pic, above, here.

Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Within a week of photographing the white wisteria, and about a mile away, I discovered  dogwood tree in full creamy white blossom, dripping with long light purple blossoms of a wisteria.  Got pic of it too.  About 2 years later, dogwood/wisteria were cut to the ground.
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John Keats, 1795-1821, below, from here.

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever


A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old, and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.

Nor do we merely feel these essences
For one short hour; no, even as the trees
That whisper round a temple become soon
Dear as the temple's self, so does the moon,
The passion poesy, glories infinite,
Haunt us till they become a cheering light
Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast
That, whether there be shine or gloom o'ercast,
They always must be with us, or we die.

Therefore, 'tis with full happiness that I
Will trace the story of Endymion.
The very music of the name has gone
Into my being, and each pleasant scene
Is growing fresh before me as the green
Of our own valleys: so I will begin
Now while I cannot hear the city's din;
Now while the early budders are just new,
And run in mazes of the youngest hue
About old forests; while the willow trails
Its delicate amber; and the dairy pails
Bring home increase of milk. And, as the year
Grows lush in juicy stalks, I'll smoothly steer
My little boat, for many quiet hours,
With streams that deepen freshly into bowers.
Many and many a verse I hope to write,
Before the daisies, vermeil rimmed and white,
Hide in deep herbage; and ere yet the bees
Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas,
I must be near the middle of my story.
O may no wintry season, bare and hoary,
See it half finished: but let Autumn bold,
With universal tinge of sober gold,
Be all about me when I make an end!
And now at once, adventuresome, I send
My herald thought into a wilderness:
There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress
My uncertain path with green, that I may speed
Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed.

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'.
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Perhaps it was coming from a region of USA with ubiquitous patchy backyard 'turf' lawns.
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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.
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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. "

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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.
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Knowing the best plants for your specific location gives you liberty to copy good gardens world wide.
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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.

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Pic, above, here.
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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.
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If you're fighting a poor turf lawn in your backyard, consider gravel.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO
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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.
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Not a lot here, excepting there is a lot.  Each layer, perfect.
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Color, flow, plants, staging, texture, contrast, plants, still life, heights, focal points, axis, seasonal, lighting, vanishing threshold, multi-functional, over-dose-theme, easy maintenance.
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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.
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march-1

Pic, above, here.
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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.
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Alone, this pic is a, Design: House Meets Patio, course.
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Ironically, my horticulture degree included zero about this zone.  Zero
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Notice the stone at the open door?  Very nice.

Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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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.
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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.    

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Copying a Simple Historic Garden

Great minds, or, so much for original thinking?
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First, below, I noticed the rusticity, my oeuvre.
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Then searched the enfilade, how far can the eye travel?  Are there cross axis, below?
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Oddly, I sense the loss of canopy, below.  Seeing what isn't there, but had been there for many years.
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Do you see the missing trees too?
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Finally, oh my gosh, design plan, almost exactly, for my new home, a ca. 1900 American farmhouse.
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Ironic, at the front end of my career I was far too 'good/smart/unique' for a design like this, below. Me be ubiquitous, by choice?
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3 decades later, humble enough, and excited, to copy what has worked since before Christ's era, BCE.
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My iteration, George Lindsey Tabor azaleas, deer don't seem to bother Southern Indica azaleas so very much, and fruit trees, along with yet-to-be-determined trees.  Of course I could go ahead and choose all the trees, but what fun, contemplating choices.
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Instead of the water feature focal point, below, a harvest table/chairs, under an arbor, gobsmacked with white roses, 4 huge pots exploding with hydrangea, and 4 sentinels, camellias, at the far corners, beyond the Tabors.  Coming home to my first trinity, created 3 decades ago, Tara's Trinity of the Southern Garden: Azaleas, Hydrangeas, Camellias.
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Paths will be #89 granite gravel, the quarry a mile from home.
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Why so simple?  Age.  Preparing to be elderly in this home, wanting this garden to see-me-out.  Deer proof, drought proof, bug/fungal proof, unskilled labor proof, enjoyment vs. labor percentage totally in my favor, most importantly, beautiful.  A garden to be viewed from the house, and to be enjoyed within.
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More amazing, date of the garden, below, is the era of our farmhouse.
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Boxwood not included in my garden, alas the killing fungus.

Colonial Gardens full ,nypl.digitalcollections.510d47d9-a7ba-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99.001.w-3

Pic, above, here.
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Do not be afraid to copy.  Fact, copying is unique at each site.  Another fact, if it's pretty in another garden, it will be pretty in yours.  Last fact, gardening is recorded in written form for over 11,000 years, you will not recreate the wheel, roll with it.  Cheaper, faster, prettier to roll with it.  I got the memo, go me.  Younger, that memo was stupid & not meant for fabulous me.  How do you think I became a Garden Expert?  Made all the mistakes bigger & more thoroughly than you could ever imagine.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Make it Easy on Yourself: Garden Design Equation

Karen asked a great question about her backyard.  Once their old deck comes off the house, she wants to replace it with steps down to a stone terrace.
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After that, she doesn't know what to do.
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Garden Design is not voodoo, or, I-think-I'll-try-that.  It's a science thousands of years old.
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First, she needs to write a mission statement for what she wants from, and for, her backyard.  Nothing complicated, no more than 2-3 sentences.  If you aren't a mission statement type of person, describe the elements of your completed garden.
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Once seeing a pic of her space, reading her mission statement, and seeing the inside of her home, and how the window views, and doors interact with the backyard, it's time to use my Garden Design equation and draw her garden.
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Garden Design Equation?
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How could I not see an equation?  Studying historic gardens across Europe & USA for decades, there is a template to what lasts & what works.
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With my Garden Design Equation you'll never be 'stuck'.
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There is an order to designing a garden.
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Design your trees.  They are the ceiling of your garden, and will give shade in summer, sun in winter, adding more than pleasure to your garden, yearly HVAC savings.  Canopy trees, and understory trees.  At my last home, tiny garden, I 'stole' canopy trees from several neighbors, they were my view too, and designed in understory trees solely.  Many people are lucky, their trees already exist.
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Design your paths.  How will you get around your garden?  Lawns are paths.  Flagstone or gravel terraces, are paths.  Beware trying to have lawn if you are shady.  Shade wins, and groundcovers will have to suffice.  Have sunny areas and shady areas?  Nice to have paths of stone, or gravel in sunny/part sun areas, and wood chip paths/edged with tree limbs 3" diameter, in the shade.
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Focal points.  Place focal points on axis from main views of the house.  The best focal points are a focal point from several axis.  Often I have put a bench into a backyard, seen from every window at the back of the home upstairs/downstairs.  Often I've put a pair of benches into a backyard, opposite from each other, on axis with each other and window views at the back of the home.  Remember the Tara Rule for buying a focal point, "Is this focal point so wonderful it will be fought over at my estate sale?"
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Evergreen shrubs.  They are the walls of your garden, you'll want tall/medium/short.  Backdrop to focal points, and screens against the dreaded reality of eyesores, and perhaps a neighbor's view into all you do.  At this phase of designing your garden have zero concern for which evergreen shrubs.  Merely know their height, and that groupings of shrubs should contrast with each other, big leaves next to small leaves, dark green next to light green, you get the idea.  More, you want little diversity.  Simple gardens are potent gardens.
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Deciduous shrubs.  Design shrubs that go naked in winter, after you've put in evergreen shrubs.  Otherwise you will have a naked winter.  Muck better having naked sticks backed with evergreens.  Add daffodils to the base of your deciduous shrubs, once they leaf out the daffodil foliage will be going yellow, and hidden.
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Groundcovers.  Beware what you 'like'.  Choose, instead, what does the job with minimal care.  Often I've put in 'dreaded' groundcovers because they are tough & easy to take care of and my client turns their nose up until I describe how much caretaking their favored choices are or they go away entirely in winter.  Consider plant choices to be hiring choices.  Set the job requirements, and stick to them.  Be tough.  You'll enjoy your new employees, if they make life easier, make your world beautiful, make you money monthly with HVAC savings, and make property value increase with better curb appeal.
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Annuals & perennials.  If you must.  I use only self seeding annuals, and only tough low care perennials.
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Bottom line, I want to enjoy my life.  Anyone who knows my day-to-day life knows my garden is a place of filling the spiritual well, not a place to work.  A garden that needs working in more than enjoying in, 20% work to 80% pleasure should be about right, until the garden ages to maturity, and the work is 10% to 90% pleasure.  Yet, that 'work' is blessed in grace to me.  My relationship to Nature.  Living biblical metaphors.  Tending my garden is washing-the-servants-feet to my soul.  Work I'm honored to be given, and perform.  Gratitude.

Collage of Life:

Story of a beloved garden, above, here.
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With my Garden Design Equation, it's impossible to get 'stuck'.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Each section of the Garden Design Equation has allied narrative, hence, why this blog is so easy to write, gardens are never dull.  At the front end of learning about gardens I rebelled against 'rules'.  Using the Garden Design Equation, or perhaps you're able to copy a beautiful garden entirely, you will always create a garden that is unique, and deeply your personality.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Garden Design: How Little Can You Have?

How little can you have in your garden, and it still holds together?
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Garden Design, below, would hold together at a mid-century Ranchburger.  (Perhaps a new title, Garden Design for Bad Architecture, split-levels need extra thought too.  Of course I spent 30 years in my cluster home, I named a Guppy House because garage/drive predominate at front of house.)   In addition to how little you can have in your garden, how to  have a Garden Design, raising property value while raising pleasure/use.  Never to leave a penny on the table, Garden Design to reduce HVAC & maintenance expense.  Ironic, I find the more demanding you are from a Garden Design, it's easier to create, and a better Garden Design.
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Pic, above, here.
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Just back from a week working in mom's garden on Galveston Bay, TX .  Dad had asked for a hedge planting at the back fence over 2 decades ago.  Fence is straggly naked with 2 remaining misshapen hideous RED TIPS.  What was my suggestion he brazenly ignored?  Camellia sasanqua.  Yes, I still look at that fence imagining sasanquas.  Plant choices matter, in addition to Garden Design choices.
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Garden & Be Well,  XOT

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Connecting Garden Rooms: Concave/Convex Stone Steps.

About 3 weeks ago I began working with amazing acreage.  The clients from out-of-state, could have afforded new fancy.  But it wasn't for 'her'.  She went beyond the patience of her family & realtor.  Why?  She had to have her home in the proper setting.  After renovating kitchen & other spaces, she's ready for the garden.  Their acres are stunning.  My job is to frame the views, and they are 360 !
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Lovely step detail:

Pic, above, here.
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Their home faces one of their lakes from a perfect distance, and, with a more perfect slope.
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At present there is no relationship between house & lake.  None.  How can this be?
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Oh my the delight, connecting house to lake with stone steps, concave & convex.
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Client's concave/convex stone steps won't be quite so formal, as above, more rustic, no mortar.
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Of course grading needed, and our stone mason to perfectly 'set' each stone.  Have worked with Javier for years, I think of him as a garden 'jeweler' !
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Alas, clients are building a carriage house, barn, paddock, pool, summer house, potager ahead of their concave/convex steps.  Excited about their other projects, but these steps make my heart sing.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Open, wooded, lakes, slight slopes, mature, oh my this acreage.  Poor Javier, he knows how excited I get about focal points of stone and what Muse sees.  Then, Javier makes my thoughts better.  His Muse speaks too.  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Garden Books for Readers with an IQ

Books for real gardeners.  That is a quest.
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Rosemary Verey wrote for real gardeners.  Her, The Garden In Winter, perhaps the best garden design book ever.  Never tire of reaching for it after 2+ decades.  Always see something new.
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Sir Roy Strong's use of space, Creating Small Gardens, is a favorite for garden design overall, not merely small spaces.  If you are starting out with your gardening, each garden in the book will mesmerize you for hours, the book will take years to absorb.
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Christopher Lloyd, of Great Dixter, lived in a Lutyen's designed garden, he transformed it into something unique, and world famous.  In recorded history, that has not been done often, with an already famous garden.  The Well-Tempered Garden, is more gardening than garden design, and blessedly written for adults with an IQ.

Gunillaberg, Småland:

Pic, above, here.
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Of course I have shelves of garden books, alas still in boxes a year after moving, but the trinity, above, is core.
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Not quite true, above, I did pack necessity garden books for use in my office, maybe 200, and they are shelved.  Rest of my library, feels like the loss of a dear friend, still boxed in a shed.
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Garden & Be Well, XO T
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Because, partially, of Sir Roy Strong's, Creating Small Gardens, I can design gardens like, below.
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A small front yard, above.  Created a couple of years ago, perhaps some of my best work.  This was the 2nd home designed for this couple.  A great selfish sadness, the couple divorced before implementing.

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.
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Wonderful salesman, rapport was easy.
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During the sales process in his cubicle, he mentioned building an outdoor kitchen soon.
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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.
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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.
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"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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The men continued getting mom a new car.
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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 $$$.
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"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.
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Beloved got a handshake, I got a handshake and a hug from the salesman, mom got a new car.
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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.
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Salesman said he couldn't wait to call his wife about their 'new' patio.

The Most Amazing Outdoor Kitchens// Hamptons:

Pic, above, here.
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The more I look at the pic, above, the better I like it.  And it already had me at 1st glance fabulosity.
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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