Showing posts with label Design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Design. Show all posts

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Binary Thinking is Not For Garden Design

Anatomy of designing a garden first for winter, below.
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Through the year, let Nature take its course or play with seasonal plantings in the urns on plinths, below.
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Perhaps lighting in the pond/pool, below, shining in a direction you wish to see wavy watery shadows in the evening.  A fountain for sound?
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Maybe flowers/candles floating in the water for a party.
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Get the point?  More than a garden, below, it's a proscenium for your life.

FAMOUS FOLK AT HOME: India Hicks and her mother Lady Pamela at the Hicks family home in Oxfordshire, England:
Pic, above, here
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Binary thinking does not lend itself to Garden Design.  
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"No truly great thinker is siloed in a small territory."  And, that is the mind, a truly great thinker, creating the garden, above.
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"Quantitative thinking is knowing the dose makes the poison."  Just enough, above, any more, and the Garden Design is poisoned.  Had a super talented assistant manager when I worked at a nursery for several years.  Alas, he always poisoned his talent, Garden Design, in the last 5 minutes.  He put in too much.  We would wait for him to leave, and take away the poison, leaving the true beauty of his work.  Never, did he get angry with us.  Instead it was always a great smile, after his initial questioning gaze.
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Binary thinking is a fixed mindset.  Garden Design is a growth mindset.  "Blame is a big part of the fixed mindset."  Garden Design receives the blame, too often, and erroneously, of "I can't afford it.".
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No time to go there at the moment.  Another day.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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Quotes pulled from, Creating A Growth Mindset, by Carol Dweck.
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I didn't save her quotes for Garden Design, though they fit.  Instead, been taken to my last nerve dealing with binary thinking from....  And, happy to get this lens of thinking to up my own game, when my game is stalled.  A growth mindset, for sure.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mid-Century Ranch: A New 'After' Pic

Most mid-century USA ranch homes still wear their 1st landscape installation.  A landscape predicated by banks for builders to close their construction loan, and get the certificate of occupancy issued.
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Starting from that point, for improvement, using existing plants, moving a few, getting rid of some, adding 1-5.  Copying the aesthetic, below, "With a little imagination.", (Anne of Green Gables), a landscape suffering the uglies for over half a century, enters the new century, with beauty, simplicity, and a setting for the home instead of a detractor to the home.
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Truly, this landscape design, below, is art.
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Great for a non-gardener, and even better for Aging-In-Place.  Within a subdivision, if those original ranch landscapes decided to reform into, below, the entire subdivision would experience a bump up in value.  No small feat to transition from ugly to pretty.  Happy, is the result.  Home value bump, lovely, but happy is the hunt, priceless.          

Gardening:
Pic, above, here.
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Casting bread upon the water here.
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Good bread.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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This garden, above, is the fine line of green meatballs/bad vs. green mounds/good.  Yes, love the piquant success of this landscape, above.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Oddly: Design For Winter

Winter.  Design your garden for winter, and it will be pretty all year.
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Terra cotta pot, below, stopped my eyes/heart/head.  Hmm.  Never seen this particular Garden Design effect.  In this particular moment, below, the terra cotta looks like a movie effect, not real, injected artificially.
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These are the moments, exactly this.  Design, plant, time passes, wait for the exact right weather event, poof voila, you have, below.
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These are my moments of choice.  Dancing with Nature.  And knowing it, while in the dance.  In the moment of awareness, feet are not tethered to Earth, time no longer a force, only the oneness of pure atonement.  Joseph Campbell writes of it much better, "If you don't get it here, you won't get it anywhere."

Design laid bare:
Pic, above, here.

Image result for joseph campbell quotes "if you don't get it here
Pic, above, here.

 Image result for joseph campbell quotes "if you don't get it here
Pic, above, here.

 Image result for joseph campbell quotes "if you don't get it here
Pic, above, here.

Image result for joseph campbell quotes "if you don't get it here
Pic, above, here.

 Image result for joseph campbell quotes "if you don't get it here
Pic, above, here.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT  


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Play a Bigger Game: Focal Points

Well placed urn focal point, below, at the end of the path.  The Garden Design for the urn is playing a Bigger Game.  Do you already see?
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The more directions a focal point is a focal point from, the better the focal point.  It's playing the Bigger Game.

Peter Fudge:
Pic, above, here.
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Looking at the urns, above, from the side direction, they are placed as an asymmetrical pair leading into the covered porch.
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Very nice.  No thought of the ubiquitous pairing each side of the opening.  More, the wider asymmetrical placement creates the illusion of a wider entry into the covered porch.
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Wish I could see the entire garden, I'm sure there's more to these urns we're not seeing here.
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Adore being in gardens playing the Bigger Game.  Even better, designing a garden on paper, putting in a focal point on main axis, then immediately seeing were 2 or more axis belong with it too.  Muse has quite the humor.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Monday, November 28, 2016

Enlarging Territory

Another Garden Design tool, below.  Does it pop to you too?  I'll be starting a new project in a couple of weeks, have already been to the site, and know it will have a variation of this Garden Design tool, below.  At present the new client has a horrid little sign tacked to a post, Private Road.  Their home not visible from the road.
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What to call this tool?
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It's always a good day when your Garden Design quiver gains a new arrow.
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Columns, below, Enlarge the Footprint of the home.
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Often, I use this tool, Enlarge the Footprint of the home, in subdivisions too, where the road is not a concern in the least, but scaling the home properly is.
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Back to the columns, below.  Four columns seems a lot.  Amazingly, this Garden Design arrow-in-your-quiver will also work if there were only a single column, below.
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Two mental models, below.  Place a single column, below, at the right of the lane.  The lane becomes 'public property'.  Next, place a single column, below, to the left of the lane.  The lane is 'private property'.

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Pic, above, here.
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Yes, am curious why there are 4 columns, above.  Pure ego, drama queen stuff?  Oversold by the landscape architect, getting that commission check?  Entry to a compound of several homes on acreage?  Perhaps those 4 columns are much older than the house, above, and owner of the house decided to keep them all?
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What do the 4 columns, above, say to you?
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Lastly, imagine the home, above, without any columns.  Hmm, not so good.  Needs at least one column to enlarge its footprint.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Friday, November 25, 2016

Paired Down Richness

Minimal embellishment, below, yet, I want what they are selling !  Whatever it may be.  At the front door, they have me.
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Color, potted plant, and font.
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Oddly, there's a great example too of Garden Design and downspout color.  At right, below, downspout color is the wise choice.  At left, below, must be neighbor's downspout.
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Best proof, ever, white jumps forward, and tries to act like a 'column' with a downspout.

p1070229:
Pic, above, here.
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A richness, above, having nothing to do with filthy lucre, and everything to do with warmth, confidence, come-inside, you won't regret it, for there is joy within.  And, you'll be back.
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My favorite Garden Designs are the ones with the fewest ingredients & richest living.
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Notice how they handled the slope, above?    Becomes a non-issue.
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I'd like to keep these in my phone to empower myself from time to time.:
Pic, above, here.

 christian dior:
Pic, above, here.
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Intuitively I sense, owner/s of Brassica live/breath, quotes, above.
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Garden & Be Well,    XOT

Friday, November 18, 2016

Hedging Properly

Almost on the edge of 'too busy', below, for me, the landscaping calms the interior.  I think the windows slide up far enough for ease of walking inside/outside.  Vanishing threshold of interior/garden, perfect.
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But that's a rabbit hole, and not where I'm going with this garden, below.
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Millions of mid-century to ca. 1990 ranch homes across USA, have the same landscape, below.  Except they don't know it.  Those millions of ranch homes were sold with a ribbon of green meatballs spanning the front foundation, and since then, those plantings have been pruned into a gruesome story.
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Plant abuse, millions of those green meatballs want to be tall & wide bushes or trees.  Faithfully, decades of hacking, keeping them in line.  Literally.
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Won't go any further, too gruesome, you know the game, seen it your entire life.  In defense of that ribbon of green meatballs, they are required by law to close on new construction.  However, they did not have to be in their particular configuration.
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Using those same gruesome hacked green meatballs, dig them up, in winter, planting them in a tapestry hedge away from the house, exactly as, below.  See it?  Millions of those ranch homes with foundation green meatballs face the street, and worse, are not too far from the street.  Poof, cars gone.  Double poof, toxic fumes/particulates dramatically decreased.  Triple poof, noise reduced.  Quadruple poof, privacy added.  Quintuple poof, aesthetics added, property value increased, no more looking at neighbor's homes.  Sextuple poof, lifestyle enhanced.  Septuple poof, many will have reduced HVAC expenses blocking summer sun-winter winds.  Octuple poof, pollinator habitat increased by a logarithmic factor.  N-tuple poof, maintenance reduced.  Let me know what I've missed.
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Odd to imagine so many millions of people choose to live with a gruesome green ribbon of meatballs, instead of using what they have, differently.  I hear Anne of Green Gables, "With a little imagination."

lady-wakefield-twickenham-london-uk-habituallychic-001:
Pic, above, here.
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More than secular, all of the above, the Divine.  G*d Almighty first created a garden.  Garden, above, is biblical.  Quickly with gardens, Sacred vs. profane, surfaces.  Amazing, keeping green meatballs, yet moving them, transitions profane, to Sacred.
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What began planted by the rules of filthy lucre, hacked & ignored for decades, can become Sacred.  Power of intention, indeed.
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In metaphor to moving those gruesome green meatballs I hear Charlton Heston, "Let my people go."
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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(Paradise | Define Paradise at Dictionary.com
www.dictionary.com/browse/paradise
heaven, as the final abode of the righteous. ... late 12c., "Garden of Eden," from Old French paradis "paradise, Garden of Eden" (11c.), from Late Latin paradisus, from Greek paradeisos "park, paradise, Garden of Eden," from an Iranian source, cf. Avestan pairidaeza "enclosure, park ...)
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(Daily Bible Study - What Is Filthy Lucre?
www.keyway.ca/htm2010/20101022.htm
Oct 22, 2010 - The English word "lucre" originated from a French word, lucre, which itself originated from a Latin word, lucrum, which meant to gain, or to profit ...)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Control Amongst Chaos

A scintilla of control, below, amongst the rusticities.  Perfect.
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Does the scintilla jump out at you too?

Discover the beautiful Twickenham home of Lady Wakefield – the carefully collected artworks, fascinating stories and the rich history on HOUSE by House & Garden.
Pic, above, here.
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Formally clipped boxwood, above, without ego, no fear, total matriarchs, framing perennials, climbers, flowering shrubs for their turn owning the stage.
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Take this vignette into winter, and a dusting of snow.  Oh my, those matriarchs know what they are doing.
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Gardens must be designed for winter, before the ease of late spring/early summer.
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More good design in this garden, above, but won't take that path at present.  Photographer perfectly captured the scintilla of control over chaos so brilliantly.
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Have you already figured out the percentage of control to chaos, above?  No?  Hmm.  Get to it.
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These matriarchs, above, teaching a pertinent tale.  Wild chaos can reign, in beauty, with a hint of control.
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Adore the temporality of this particular moment.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Easy Garden Furniture

Furniture in the garden has intrigued me from childhood.  Thankfully, my parents had a cool iron chair, I adored.  Bought new in the 60's, it had arms, tall back, detachable iron 'bonnet', separate foot rest, it turned 360, rocked, and had nice cushions.  I rocked, whirled, read books, and even napped, with my orange marmalade cat, Tigger, in that chair on the screened porch with deep overhangs, Galveston Bay always hot/humid.  Most memorable moment in the chair, awakened from a nap by a loud chorus of tree frogs.  Looking around, none visible.  Still, the chorus.  Found them, by the 100's, rimming the underside of the chair cushion.  Managed to hop out faster than an Olympian, without harming a single tree frog.  50 years later, I cannot see a tree frog without thinking of that chair.
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Time passed, mom gave the chair away.  I see those chairs occasionally in advertising, or at antique shop.  None, complete with bonnet & foot rest.  A good thing, I would probably buy the chair, if it were complete.
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Dad had the worst end of the deal with that iron chair.  Cleaning the patio, hosing it off, he had to move the chair at least once a month.  Maybe it was him, glad to give the chair away.
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Now, easily moved garden furniture is the hunt.  Aside from lightweight, it must have arms, a back tall enough to rest the head back, and nap.  More than the personal, garden furniture must leverage having friends in the garden.  Create a setting for conversation, laughter, lingering.  Especially after meals.

sigmund freud with chow chows 1933:
Pic, above, here.
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Have the good fortune of sourcing 3 of the wicker chairs, above.  Each for a song.
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Amusing to see Freud in a photo new to me, attracted by the outdoor furniture, round circle of iron in the railing contrasting so well with squares of the French doors, and those chows.  Freud.  Not my cup of tea, more Jungian.  Thankful for both.
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That balcony.  So much narrative, without a word, wisely playing backdrop.  Yet, take away the man/dogs, the backdrop narrative immediately jumps forward, owning the stage.
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These are the things I design in gardens.  Some, too rich, think it's all about a few bushes and a little garden furniture.  Those, are not my tribe.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cluttered and Sparse

Notice the straw basket, below?  Used as accent inside, and in the garden.  Dropped a load at the thrift store last weekend, ending with the obligatory slow aisle walk.  Two incredible baskets, with eye dropping low prices, brought home.
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Cozy garden room, below, draws me in.  Makes me realize my garden materials yard should be merchandised a bit.  While our garden is undergoing macro work, I wander into the materials yard, about 2x/month, knowing it fills me with joy, and strength.  Surveying what remains of my 30 year garden, anticipating how it will all be used in our ca. 1900 American farmhouse garden.

Magic garden :). manufacture-mrn.pl can help you create such a nice place. Need tables the small ones or the big ones - inside or outside, doesn't matter we will do this for you! Call/write to us any time :).:
Pic, above, here.

thomas alexandre architecte paysagiste / les jardins agapanthe, grigneuseville:
Pic, above, here.
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At the same time this garden room, above, has my heart.  Spare, all year interest, little maintenance.
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Will create both garden rooms, cluttered & sparse, yeah, providing joy to 2 parts of my brain.  Only dozens more to go, life is good.
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Garden & Be Well,    XOT

Friday, November 11, 2016

Vernacular Design

Ralph Lauren, below, more vernacular than the locals.
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Vernacular, single biggest surprise moving into our ca. 1900 American farmhouse.  Moving from a Cottage garden, 30 years there, knew it would be different.  Though correct, missed 'how' different by leagues.
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What does that mean?  Most of what I brought from my Cottage Garden to our ca. 1900 American Farmhouse garden, looked s-t-u-p-i-d.  Two truckloads of Cottage Garden went to the local thrift store.
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Did you see Leonard Cohen's obit in NYTimes today?  His song lyrics vernacular to the human condition.  He gives to his readers/listeners more of their own DNA.  What he gives to other singers of his songs?  Too wild.  It IS their song.  And, that is art.  Leonard's special art, beyond his writing.
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No, your garden doesn't have to solely choose the vernacular of your home's architecture, if you have a deep vernacular within yourself.  What does that mean?  You like all things French, overdose on your French theme.  Overdose.  Timidity shows.  Better to wear your heart on your sleeve than expose a lack of resolve.
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So, Garden Design rules.  Most, simply excuse them into oblivion.  Drive thru any neighborhood, no matter the price point, proof, rest my case there.  Using historic Garden Design rules, liberates you into your own vernacular.
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Is this easy?  No.  You must be broken to bits, and put back together, before you understand, it's easy.  Only then, has the vernacular of your DNA been allowed to surface.  

The saloon’s porch is furnished with 19th-century Mexican sabino-wood pieces, including a table made from a salvaged door and ox yokes | archdigest.com:
Pic, above, here.
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Garden & Be Well,  XOT

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

Monday, November 7, 2016

Reducing Electric Bill Summer/Winter: Trees

"The loss of trees in the planet's water cycle is critical to the advancement of climate change.  their removal exposes land to the drying effects of the sun.  Trees also play an important role in absorbing greenhouse gases."  NASA
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Trees are pollinator hosts, and feeders.  How much of our beneficial gut biome is dependent upon bacterias dependent upon trees further up their life stream?  Watershed management from trees in incalculable.  
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This isn't about climate change, here, trees are about money.  
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Early in Obama's tenure, he said in a speach I saw, not something I read, Americans should be paying more, a lot more, for energy.  Almost double.  He got my attention.  That fall, I planted 2 more deciduous trees, deftly targeted, and not small, they arrived in their 35 gallon pots, about 8' tall.  Years earlier trees were planted to shade my home from the afternoon thru setting sun, deciduous, once leaves fall bright sunshine helped heating.     
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Once the threshold of 'affordable' energy was threatened, I was more than willing to shade my beloved mid-morning sun.  
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In our new house, ca. 1900 American farmhouse, it is a classic of energy use for its era. Coal.  We have 4 coal fireplaces, none working.  More, it's a central hall design, 9' wide X 50' long, 11' ceilings.  Rooms along each side 'had' a door leading into another room.  Odd, yes?  Each door into the central hall has its original thick, tight fitting door threshold at bottom.  Not something I wondered about, until living through our first winter.  Flash, epiphany.  Our home was designed for all the central hall doors to remain closed in winter, the central hall was not heated.  Passing from room to room, via their interior doors.
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In summer, the central hall, aka dogtrot, pulled the breeze, cooling the house.  Several century old pecan trees remain, none properly sited for cooling in summer.  An evergreen magnolia was planted at a western flank within the past 2 decades.  Oh no.  Plenty of blocking against summer sun, alas, blocking the winter sun too.  How we wish that magnolia were an oak.  Money in the bank if it was.  
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Trees.  It's really all about trees.  How trees aid water in the forest vs. suburbs, here.  Including how trees remove toxins & metals too.  I know you're busy, save to read the link later, it's that interesting.

TREE OF LIFE: Love the perfect reflection, could be treated similarly to SUNRISE TREE. If cut to square, either edges would need to be built, or we could lose the bottom half or 2/3rds of reflection, or lose equal parts tree and reflection. (Edge bushes could be cleaned up).:
Pic, above, here.

 ginkgo tree - Today, ginkgo is the most widely recommended herb in Germany, where it is considered to be as effective as any drug treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. It is used primarily to enhance memory and mental function by stimulating nerve cell activity and protecting damaged nerve cells from further injury.:
Pic, above, here.

Gingko tree, above, commonly lose their leaves in a day.  And that day has the fragrance of cooking sugar.

 Full moon At Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, GA.:
Pic, above, here.
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Jekyll Island, Driftwood Beach, above.  Have never been to Jekyll Island and not seen a bride/groom/photographer coming/going from Driftwood Beach.  Finally, walked Driftwood Beach this year, 1st time.  Only one word comes to mind, to describe being on Driftwood Beach, Sacred.
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Trees.

Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Monty Don: Innocence Has Been Sold

Garden tours in Atlanta became dicey about the 90's.  Not that gardens chosen were bad, inferior, worthy of complaint.  Yet, Garden Whisperers 'knew'.  Something new had arrived, alas, something of the old had disappeared.  

The gardens of Château Val Joanis

In the mid-90's touring an Atlanta, GA technically correct and considered lovely garden set in a street of McMansions I saw a friend who was on the Garden Tour committee.  Telling her of all the gardens already seen and my favorite parts, I looked around at the garden we were in and said, "These people are cold, I don't want to know them.", she said, "Oh, you've met them.".  Never met them, was sad to see their personalities writ large in their garden.  My friend said they were the most difficult homeowners to work with putting the garden tour together.  She said their garden would not be a 'repeat', ever.
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Why was their garden 'cold'?
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Reading Monty Don, A French Garden Journey: the Road to Le Tholonet, in bed last night, Don described my experience in the 'cold' garden many years before, and why, "They are still lovely and essentially unspoilt.  but there is a kind of self-knowing quality to them that was not there forty years ago.  The innocence has been sold....."
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Exactly, the 'cold' garden was totally paid for, not an ounce of 'magic', there was 'a sleekness and order that only money can buy'.  "It was like a fine-set face made puffy and bloated with years of ease."
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That last sentence had me laughing out loud, go Monty go.  Especially, 'years of ease'.  I have many clients with weekly lawn care and I always tell them they must take care of a certain area, by themselves, zero help.  How else to be connected to their garden?  Most things that I can do in my garden, I do.  Knowing, hiring out work I can do would become habit, and remove one of life's chief pleasures, and honor.  Working in my garden is, Washing of the servants feet.  Honoring, Nature.

The gardens of Château Val Joanis

Pics, above, The Gardens of Chateau Val Joanis.
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Garden, above, is not a 'cold' personal garden.  Yet, it had once been a richly warm residential garden, now, a commercial garden.  Don used this garden, above, in the chapters where I took his quotes, above, from.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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Kayaking, 1st time ever, this summer in the salt water marsh of Saint Simons Island, we reached a sand bar our guide wanted us to park at, and walk a bit.  Docking my kayak on the steeply sloped beach, the guide was quickly placing his hands on my arms, making sure I didn't fall awkwardly getting out of the kayak.  A very quick, "No, thank you."  He continued trying to help me, "No really, step away, thank you."  In the end, he did not step away, and kept both arms spread as if we were about to begin a ballroom waltz.  Ugh.  Nope.  Hope I'm well into my 90's still getting out of a kayak on a steep beach, by myself.  It has begun, I saw it with Rosemary Very during her 2 visits to Atlanta, many years apart, the transition from physical power to feminine power.  Great topic, Feminine Power, no time to go further now.

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.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Deer & Armadillo Fencing

Two members of the Garden Design team, for my space at our ca. 1900 American farmhouse, control many choices at the front end.  Third member of the team is wildly controlling too.
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None of this overlooks a fourth controlling component, aging in place, me.
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For decades I've had the honor of older women, into their 70's plus, hiring me.  Their landscapes must be beautiful, and fully turn key.  Tough plants, easily maintained with minimal unskilled labor.  Check.
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Back to those original members helping design my new garden, deer, armadillo and the weather: brutal heat, humidity, drought, rains, occasional 0 f, strong winds throughout every season, and, the worst, a freeze in April after weeks of warm days.  Check.
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Oddly, with all the constraints, above, (after achieving acceptance) it's easier to create a Garden Design.  Fewer choices.
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Southern Indica azaleas will be many of my hedges.  Sun/shade, deer resistant, drought tolerant.  Better, their height & growth habit, below.

Image result for azalea hedge
Pic, above, here.

Deer don't bother much with what they cannot see, they keep on walking.  Outside my garden, deer will see this, below.  Delightfully, more than solving a deer issue the azalea hedging will block views of the street/cars, and create garden rooms, walls.

 Image result for azalea hedge
Pic, above, here.

If deer were the only problem, azalea hedging would be deterrent enough.  Armadillo dig for worms/insects with their clawed feet and tapered snout.  Around since the dinosaurs, armadillo are not smart in expected ways.  Simple wire fencing at ground level guides them away, they won't dig under.
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I fully expect to be the first human to experience the first self aware male armadillo, who tunnels under my wire fencing, releases his pheromones to Pluto, and his harem arrives, delivering their typical 4 identical offspring with each pregnancy.
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Wire fencing, below, will be built, azalea foliage to grow thru, and obfuscate its presence, and armadillo.

♕ sweet cottage garden gate <3:
Pic, above, here.

 Image result for azalea hedge
Pic, above, here.

Had to include this pic, above, the pruning is amazing.  Foliage/blossoms from top to bottom, achieved with pruning tapered, wider at bottom than top.  Then, the subtle change in height from left to right, as the Garden Design dictates need.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Friday, October 21, 2016

Hardest Question Asked

Designing the garden below, is it apparent at 1st glance once half the garden is designed, all the garden is designed?

Steps:
Pic, above, here.

Beginning a Garden Design  on paper, a typical subdivision home/lot, once a quarter of the drawing is done, the plantings design is essentially completed for 100% of the drawing,
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Great example, below.  Once an allee of rectangular evergreen meatloafs were chosen half the space is complete.  I especially like their existing canopy trees, below, left in place no matter their asymmetry.  Creating a park-like walking avenue, with great geometry, yet sprinkling of Nature.  Good fortune being able to keep existing mature plantings, they age a new Garden Design.
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Notice the gravel, below, lapping at the base of the canopy trees?  Perhaps the greatest of their design choices.  Why?  Allows the axis of the avenue, from the house, to flow.  Boxing the trees, at their base with a square of cobblestones is poor punctuation, no longer a flowing avenue.

 Gardendesign_AndrewvanEgmond__Photo_EmielvandenBerg_web5:
Pic, above, here.
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I don't think of plants first when beginning a Garden Design, I think of axis, flow, shapes, color, focal points, materials, finally, heights, layers and specific plants.
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Plants are the last thing I choose in a Garden Design.
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So.  When I find myself in a situation, socially, at someone's home I don't know, (which I try to avoid) they discover what I do for a living, they obviously truly don't care about Garden Design but wish to be polite making small talk about their landscape, and get a little free advice about a plant in the throes of death, arrives the DREADED question, after much build up, ta-da, they ask, "What plant should I put here?"
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I smile, nostrils flaired from earlobe to earlobe, feeling rather like a donkey with someone putting a heavy load on my back, and all I wanna do (thank you Sheryl Crowe) is buck their question to the moon (thank you Honeymooners).
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Honestly, "What plant goes here?", begins to cover what my eyes/mind/heart see?
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How do I say, "You'll need to move these, gesticulating gracefully with hand/arm upon half their realm, put in a flagstone path, 8' wide, on axis from that window, leading to a focal point at least 4' tall, on cross axis from........ another path beginning there.........leading to a roundabout........and there is your double axis to the subsidiary focal point....., after we decide your exterior color trinity......see into those windows upstairs and the 2 over there downstairs we need to change the interior design so it's gorgeous from the garden view and not showing.........the fence must be stained 2-3 tones darker than one of those trinity colors...........the windows there, & those too, must become French doors.....your deck is already old, great timing I'm here you would have probably rebuilt a similar deck, it needs to come off, with stone steps from the new French doors onto a new stone terrace extended beyond the end of where the deck was...........now it's obvious your patio furniture must all be replaced.......notice the myriad pots you have sprinkled about they need to be replaced with larger pots and a style/color chosen, I have 2 great resources at the merchandise mart you'll love them.....light fixtures on the house must be changed, you'll adore Laura Lee lighting they're online, flowing with the theme of your garden......oh, forgot to mention you must pick a theme for your garden and then overdose on your theme, of course all of this must flow from the front of your home........so, back to your question, we don't need a plant PUT HERE."
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Continuing my donkey grin, I typically say, Take the plant out when it dies, and let the other plantings grow to fill in.  And they are well confirmed that Garden Design is a ridiculous profession.
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Image result for bucking donkey
Pic, above, here.

Question?
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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Pic, above, here.
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How many dinners, during childhood, did we sit down to the table, and dad had the Honeymooners on?  He loved to hear, Jackie Gleason say, "How sweet it is."  If we were talking, he would hold up a hand for silence, once Jackie Gleason was about to say ....
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Beloved played golf in high school.  He attended a major pro-golf tournament sponsored by Jackie Gleason, and has all the golf greats, of that era, autographs in the playbook.  Finally, close enough to ask for Jackie Gleason's autograph, it was not happening.  Jackie Gleason was wildly, happily, drunk, being driven to the clubhouse in a golf cart..
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All of the, above, happening at someone's home, on a tight budget, they obviously are newly thrilled with gardening, what fun !!  They get the, use- mostly- what- you- have-, hunt/gather, DIY, Garden Design and the entire evening has flown by, and they've ignored all their other guests !  No donkey.
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Yes, I see gardens intact, completed.  Designing them is taking dictation from Muse.  More, the dictation is at myriad price points, from no budget restraints, to total budget restraints.  No budget, love the pun.  My peers do the same, how we love our time together.  Conversation in our own shorthand language.  Time ceases to exist.  We've dipped into that joyful realm of eternity- on- Earth Joseph Campbell mentions.

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 ...

Monday, October 17, 2016

3 Gardens: What Changes Would You Make?

Three Garden Design 'changes', below.  Each gorgeous home/garden, snagged the attention of Muse at first glance, below.
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Scroll thru, below, does your Garden Design 'eye' see instant changes to be made?  Never meant to bash a Garden Design, simply to make living better, or accentuate architecture with Garden Design as the tipping point.

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Pic, above, here.

 Hue and Eye Photography - Garden Gate, Charleston, SC © Doug Hickok All Rights Reserved:
Pic, above, here.

 2323 Albans Rd Houston, TX 77005: Photo Another view of the screened porch with Kitchen Aid gas grill, bar sink, antique Chateau Domingue stone countertop, custom distressed wood floor, Rolling hurricane shutters:
Pic, above, here.
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Top pic, above, beautiful home wildly close to the road.  Remove foundation plantings, add steps to open up front porch.  Plant an evergreen hedge at the sidewalk, growing to 4', and add a simple gate, matching the style of the home, at the front walk.  Greater privacy, a sense of greater space, better views from the house, and buffering from the toxins of passing cars.
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Middle pic, above, incredible quality, gate, pierced brick wall, plantings, urns.  Site urns a bit wider, their scale demands more space, once moved the gate/columns appear more generous, not so tight.
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Bottom pic, above, a tightly packed neighborhood, yet the porch is mostly private.  Go team.  To add the illusion of a larger garden, stain the fence 2 tones darker than the kaki from the porch floor.  I would also espalier sasanqua next to the fence.
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What did you see?  What changes did your eye want to make?
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Changes mentioned were merely the basics.  Making further changes I must know the owners, and see inside their homes.  Excepting the middle pic, it would be 'done'.  Did you notice the urns in the middle pic?  Reminds me of a recent client, her husband started pressure washing in their garden, and she caught him, and stopped him, before he removed the patina off every focal point.  Funny story now, only because everyone knows it was not funny in the moment, poor husband.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

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.

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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.

  :
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