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

Monday, June 26, 2017

Color: Use as A Tool

Color, as a magical force, below.
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Fence, below, extends architecture of the house.
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Don't know any of their constraints, below.  Simply a charming garden.
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If the garden, below, is tiny, staining the fence a green/black, instantly enlarges the space.  Pop.  And, makes the fence disappear.
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Merely using color as a tool.
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If the house has shutters, below, often that is the color for the fence.

Clôtures, Maisons de campagne and Piquets de clôtures blanches on ...
Pic, above, here .
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Leave no layer of your Garden Design without thoughts/consequences.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ryan Gainey: Father's Day Thanks

Last year Ryan Gainey died.  International Garden Design star, many in Atlanta, GA had the good fortune to know him from the 80's before well-deserved fame arrived.
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Before fame Ryan was merely eccentric. Before fame he was already Atlanta's Garden Design star.  Our good fortune was Ryan taking us along for his ride of knowledge.  He merely increased his Garden Design mentoring as time passed.  Sharing his garden for all, at every opportunity.
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A recent article, below, packs an epiphany, for me,

A famous Decatur gardener died last year. What happened to his house and garden?

Reading the article, above, gave me a fuller picture of Ryan.  Ryan the man without children, Ryan a gay man, had been patriarchal towards all of us loving gardens, all the while we knew of his name.


Pic, above, here.

It's what Ryan did with his own garden, in his will, any father would do.  Love his child.  And what a child.  A child of beauty, strength, and great depths of historical knowledge, embracing all who enter, bestowing the pact Ryan had with Providence.
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This is too small but I'll go there anyway.  Thank you Ryan.  Happy Father's Day.


Ryan Gainey
Pic, above, here.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Friday, June 9, 2017

It's Your Peculiarities That Matter

Brunching a few years ago with Beloved and mom, at her club, glancing around I noticed something peculiar, inside the dining room, with its views overlooking the golf course, lake, and ubiquitous Texas mansions ringing the far side.  I asked Beloved to, "Look around, I'm the only one of my tribe here."  Poor man, he gave me that 'look', what-oddity-now?  He surveyed the room, looked at me, "You ARE the only one of your tribe."    I wasn't polished.  No botox, little make-up, natural hair, flowing linen dress, comfortable shoes, gardening fingernails & hands, real boobs, not fake, zero concern in showing their form or miles of cleavage.  In that room, that moment, I was peculiar.  I reeked of it.  It emanated in a cloud around me.  Peculiar.  Well done.


Basic Crone Attitude: "...I no longer put things in my stomach to please other people..." "By the time one reaches a certain age, one should be able, as Marianne Moore said, 'to have the courage of one's peculiarities'." in "Against Wind and Tide" - Anne Morrow Lindbergh:
Pic, above, here.
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Hope you've already discovered Anne Morrow Lindbergh, ca. 1982 wasband's grandmother, Miss Louise, slipped me a volume when we met in the garden.  We were living in her garage apartment.  A 3 car garage overlooking 50 acres of woodland built in the teens of the last century.  A newlywed, somehow she sensed I was sinking.  She died soon after, and to this day, amongst many life gifts, hers remains top of the list.
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A bit more about Miss Louise here.  But this isn't about her, it's about you, and your peculiarities.  And, why historic garden design rules are meant to be followed.  Following the rules, liberates your peculiarities.  Counterintuitive, but a truth.
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It's inherent within historic garden design rules, this gift, of showcasing your peculiarities.
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The more you go inward, the more you outwardly connect.

 Oscar de la Renta's Connecticut garden, a copy of the Florentine Boar sits center stage within a horseshoe-shaped double hedge of juniper.:
Pic, above, here.

In the simplicity of following historic garden design rules, the depths of your peculiarities are in the spotlight.

 Afbeeldingsresultaat voor tuin met grind en buxus:
Pic, above, here.
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Trust it.
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You know where to trust it from.  Your gut not your head.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Goldilocks Method for Your Porch

Goldilocks memos.  Just when I think I've grown beyond new ones arriving.  Pow !  Some old ones, below.
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First spring in Georgia, 35 years ago, I remember well cleaning the yellow pollen off the porch.  More than a little effort involved.  The next morning, this Galveston Bay, Texas girl learned yellow pollen is a season, not a day.  Got the memo.
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A few years later, moved into my starter home, an arbor, much anticipated, was finally built over the back patio.  This was the era of 10" hanging baskets lush with flowers, $3.88.  Bought more than a few.  Thrilled, hammering nails into the arbor, and hanging all those colorful baskets.  Watering.  Didn't anticipate that inconvenience.  Got the memo.
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Had the good fortune. from my 20's, to tour a lot of gardens with pretty porches, and give Garden Club lectures at homes with gorgeous porches.  A quick study, learning to copy beautiful ideas aligning with my amount of time/money.  If the porch was gorgeous because their maid & landscape crew were keeping it clean, fertilized, seasonal flowers replanted, watered, trimmed, blown, cushions washed, that would not transfer to my lifestyle.  Got the memo.


SUCH A STUNNING PLACE TO SIT, READ A BOOK, OR SIMPLY RELAX & ENJOY THE GLORIOUS SURROUNDINGS!! :
Pic, above, here.
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Gorgeous, above, but not for me.  Too much work.  And then the wind blows and the candles fall to the ground shattering, or the neighbor's dog wags his tail into them.  The curtains mildew.  Perfect for another's life, and an example of being fierce with your Goldilocks choices.
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Pretty/classic, below, and maybe for me.  Cushions an issue.  I don't want to 'have to have' cushions.  Much easier without cushions, been there/done that.  And, keeping the wicker 'clean'.  Probably easy enough to keep the patio/furniture blown weekly, hosing it down 1x-2x/year.  Goldilocks interested, below.


Would prefer more of this feel in the back of our lake house.:
Pic, above, here.

Not much work for Goldilocks, below.  Maximum function, little caretaking.  Rockers have cushions, but they don't have-to-have-cushions.  Porch, below, a good ending point, or good starting point, depending upon your Goldilocks story.

Beautiful.... this is one of my happy places I go to when I close my eyes only it's in the middle of about 100 acres. :-):
Pic, above, here.
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Perhaps that's the best point about using the Goldilocks method, it's a lifehack moving you toward your own fabulous choices, working the best for you.  Not taking other's beautiful patio choices, without consideration for consequences.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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In an earlier version of Goldilocks it's an old woman, not a young girl, and she runs away at the end of the story, only to be caught, and impaled on the steeple of St. Paul's Cathedral for her trespass.
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Ironically, working with a client now, her daughter, not a real gardener, but adores cooking, wanting an herb garden.  Mom, said, "I'll give you an herb garden, and have it planted for you."  Daughter said, "No, that's too much work, I want it in pots on the patio."  Daughter choosing the greater maintenance choice, least sustainable, and productive.  Her mom & I, very much considering daughter's age.  Those headstrong, know so much, 20's.  We lived them too!  What did we decide?  Not wanting to discourage a possible new gardener, daughter is getting her herb garden in large pots.  .  It's how we learned, making the wrong choices, while surely knowing they were the right choices.  Gardening is wildly counterintuitive.
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Truly, it is all my wrong garden choices making me an 'expert', not the college degree in horticulture.  More than wrong choices, bold & sure while making them.  Late last year, took my tribe to Susanne Hudson's garden, none had seen it or met her before.  Before leaving, we sat on the front porch, and then the garden stories began.  Laughter, unbelievable laughter.  We were sharing the 'smart' things we had done in our gardens leading up to finally having the garden's of our dreams.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Outdoor Dining Table

Storms blew yesterday evening.  Six miles north/east 1" hail pounded.  Clouds circled tightly in a counter-clockwise direction.  Temps fell quickly,  Winds dropped branches from the ca. 1900 pecan trees,  Of course, dinner on the front porch.  
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Sited at its deepest point, the front porch table never gets wet, storms included.  Drama swirls, dinner progresses.  Just the 2 of us, vintage garden boy with 2 baskets, delectably white washed ca. 1941, remained as center piece.  With guests I make more of an effort.  The table holds 8 dear friends in a rectangle of love, 6 with people we don't know as well.  One length of the table seated with a church pew, older than our house.
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The ca. 1900 house remains its original white, much of the porch furniture is white, knowing vintage garden boy was remaining old white ironstone dinner plates were used.  All was good, until remembering recently seeing a table setting, below, by Carolyne Roehm.  Note to self, copy Carolyne.  
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Perfect table quickie, below, a fern.  Kimberley Queen, my choice.  She's not messy, doesn't drop bits/pieces of her fronds easily, and, she takes full baking sun or shade.
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A pair of vintage flower stands are already on the front porch, awaiting their Bunny Mellon green topiaries, and now, a few Kimberely Queens.  Further, Carolyne's centerpiece, below, said to keep a variety of 'urns' for the ferns/topiaries to quickly bring to table, in the antique chest just outside the front door.  Finally, things coming together after living in our home 2 years next month.

By Carolyne Roehm.....I always wondered if it was tacky to put a potted plant on the table, but if Carolyne says do it: then it must be ok.:
Pic, above, here.
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Have several white antique ironstone soup tureens, above.  None more than a few dollars, all with a crack or chip or missing handle of some sort.  With a Kimberely Queen fern, or forcing bulbs, who cares?
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Friday, May 26, 2017

Front Door: Color & Font

Rarely do I design commercial projects.  When I do commercial, it's most often for the owner of the business who has already hired me for their home, deciding later to strong arm me for their business.  Most of the commercial work has been small businesses, though I've done one the size of a college campus in a small town.  Never have I felt out of my element, curious that I don't seek commercial too.   Oddly, when first asked to do commercial I always say, No.  This type of 'No' is pure catnip to all who've made the request.  A rabbit hole for another day.
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Yesterday Pinterest got into my veins with several pics of commercial front doors.  Pinterest is my go-to quick time filler.  What's the harm of beauty, inspiration and a little sideways learning?
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Banner Pinterest day, yesterday, learned with a commercial storefront, a small business, all you need is Color & Font.  They draw the eye, then through the window/s, a focal point.  If you've read my blog any time at all, you know 'trinities' are magnetic sparkly pixie dust to me.
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Here's the golden nugget I can't translate.  Yet.
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If a small business only needs Color & Font to draw the eye, with delight, what is the equivalent pairing, for a residential front door?  And what is the residential focal point prong, creating a trinity, with the pairing of Color & Font.  At present I think the answer is fluid within a fixed realm.  Dynamic in a static setting.  Further, once deduced, I know there will be several templates within the residential front door design.
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Pure delight, a shiny new discovery to be made.
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About age 6, I remember vividly finding the old 'toy' clock Santa brought me 'years' earlier, in the back of my closet.  Surely, time to throw it away.  Before throwing it away, I HAD to know how the inner mechanism worked, to move the hands.  Went to the kitchen, got a steak knife, went back to my room, hacked into the back of the clock, and saw all its plastic moving parts, and figured out how it worked.  Which was a lot better than merely learning to tell time.  Fate wasn't kind, mom passed by my room, clock & steak knife in hand.  "What have you done?"    Yep, got in trouble.  Can you believe it?  I couldn't either, all I was doing was learning.
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Adore the phase of reaching toward discovery.  As much as discovery.  This time, you're in the mix.  Tell me, How does the pairing of Color & Font translate to you, for your residential front door?

coiffeur:
Pic, above, here.

 one cannot go to Laduree too often, n'est pas?:
Pic, above, here.

 .13 Rue d"Elzevir Paris 3eme:
Pic, above, here.

 Bayeux is a commune in the Calvados department in Normandy in northwestern France. Bayeux is the home of the Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England.:
Pic, above, here.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Yesterday also had another major quirk.  Two appointments attended required standing & saying the Pledge of Allegiance.  Voices & words rang strong & sure in both rooms.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Reactive vs. Proactive Gardening

In the macro, gardening is reactive.  Perhaps the genesis, in USA, is the bit of landscaping installed at new homes.  A lawn, and bushes, with a tree.  Lots of lawn to cut, bushes chosen typically grow 2 stories tall yet are sited at the home's foundation, serious pruning needed yearly once grown, and hopefully the tree wasn't sited where it will crack the drive or walkway.
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Reactive landscapes.
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Studying historic landscape across Europe for decades it only took the 1st tour to understand how deeply reactive USA landscaping is.  Gardens in Europe are proactive in the layers, described above, and often in layers unconsidered, in the macro, in USA.  More than proactive about plant choices, they're proactive almost as a civic duty to the community, their immediate neighbors, and in stewardship to whoever may live in their home next, also themselves.
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Personally, vegetable gardens nailed me as a reactive gardener in my 20's.  Still makes me smile at the thought of those-days.  What was I thinking?
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A few proactive choices for your potager & orchard.  No orchard?  No worries.  A single fruit tree, to my way of thinking, is an orchard.


Dome Roof Decorative Steel Fruit Cage
Pic, above, here.

Best to begin with the expensive proactive choices, above/below.  Once seen, but not afforded, it's a joy discovering how other gardeners take inspiration, often surpassing expensive choices in aesthetics & function.

 Each Ogee Arch Fruit Cage is supplied complete with 16mm mesh heavy duty side netting, shaped 19mm knotted mesh roof netting, a door kit and all the pegs, clipsd and ties required for assembly.:
Pic, above, here.


 Fruit cage - Protects against some kinds of pests that might steal the fruit.:
Pic, above, here.

20140609_192816:
Pic, above, here.

 My customer was tired of feeding her blueberries to the birds. If the birds achieve access to the blueberries now, they are either very smart or very large! Everything is bolted & screwed...:
Pic, above, here.

DIY Trellis ideas using willow and bamboo.:
Pic, above, here.



 chicken wire "greenhouse" to keep out birds, deer and rabbits Projects X 2: The Berry Barn:
Pic, above, here.



 chicken wire cloches - maybe then I could grow peas and beans without the rabbits eating them down to nubs!:
Pic, above, here.

 How to Build Raised Bed Covers:
Pic,above, here.


 cloche:
Pic, above, here.

 12 Great DIY Greenhouse Projects • Lots of Ideas and Tutorials! Including these creative mini greenhouses made from 2-liter soda bottles.:
Pic, above, here.
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Before the accoutrements, above, get your garden soil properly amended.  Earlier this month, went to a client's on a Tuesday, and they could not wait for one of our team to get to their small potager that Saturday.  I had taken pics and made a list for our man.  Priority soil.  Theirs was chunky red clay, and needs tilling with granite grit, or river sand.  Saw that potager yesterday.  Planted with vegetables and herbs, chunky red clay threaded with potting soil churned by her local garden center.  No good.  I'll be proactive before fall vegetables are planted, making sure their soil is amended properly.

Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Southern Living Magazine: A Garden

For 20 years of my career, Southern Living magazine was 'the' resource for clients.  Most had pages dog-eared or torn out ready to show the garden of their dreams.  In return, equally, it was gratifying to reproduce those beautiful images.  Aside from reading Southern Living myself, for pleasure, I 'had' to read it because it was an expectation of clients.  
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Then came John Floyd's retirement in 2008, the editor for those glory years my clients adored.
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After John Floyd, Southern Living became a magazine for Southerners written through the prism of those outside the South.  Dropped my subscription after an article that can only be described as snarky & demeaning, lacking in inspiration, choosing the trite & hackneyed, without intellect or stewardship, time enriched became time wasted.  How could they.  Get John back.
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Oddly, another magazine had just been founded a year prior to John Floyd's retirement, Garden & Gun.  What a title.  It sputtered, as all businesses did during the debacle of 2008.  Time passed, about 5 years ago clients would start a sentence, "Did you see the latest Garden & Gun"?  Never was it about a garden, but someplace to eat, travel, or an article richly configured splaying open an epiphany, or two.  Three years ago, after buying a few copies on news stands, knew I had to get a subscription.  Zero disappointment.  However, the 'garden' part of Garden & Gun seems shallowly formulated, still in its infancy.  Don't care.  The rest of the magazine gives more than enough.
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Saw a garden picture, below, recently and love it.  Enough love, had to discover its source.  Well, go team, Southern Living magazine.  Hope this spark turns into a fire and I get 2-3 clients saying, "I saw this in Southern Living...."


Front Porch with Green Rocking Chairs

Just wow, above/below, simple, comfortable, easy to maintain, leveraging life, not sucking the life out of you trying to keep it up, and historically accurate.
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Monteagle, Tennessee Cottage

The story gets better with this garden, above.  The Southern Living article includes the interior.  This is a second home for the owners, and part of their joy in this home is sharing it with others, whether they are there, or not.
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Yeah, Southern Living magazine is back on the radar.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Oh irony.  Garden & Gun hired a lot of staff from NYCity, relocating them to the South at its founding.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Anticipation vs. Attainment

One of the things we bought with our ca. 1900 home?  The Milky Way.
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Sunsets, waxing/waning moons, storm clouds, puffy white clouds dotted & dashing across blue skies.
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At our backdoor a stoop is now a deck stretching full, left to right.  Grand conversations of roofing a portion and screening it in.  All was easy, at the front end.  Then came enjoying the deck, and Milky Way.
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Yet, we'd truly like a portion saved from rains.  And sun.  How our home came to be 117 years old without a shade tree at back.  Really?

Tangier, revisited - Ben Pentreath Inspiration:
Pic, above, here.

Addressing the sun issue are brainwaves of a vine, above/below.

 rebar and wire mesh instead of plastic lattice or wood. Will look wonderful once it's covered in vines!!:
Pic, above, here.
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Enjoying playing with my friend, Vision Questing.  Found the iron vine supports, top, this morning.  Knowing the iron monger on our team could do them exactly.  Better, the arches easily removed from the posts.  Rendering them temporary if desired, and other choices made later.  Yet perfect if that's as far as we go.
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This phase of gardening, anticipation, I adore.
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Saves money/time down the road.  More, I don't want to pull the trigger too fast, only to think, "Wish we had....."
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Deck still needs staining, to protect from all the sun, furniture is bare bones.  Eating dinner on the deck feels a bit like camping.  Especially when we linger, and the Milky Way appears.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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Would obviously need a deciduous vine.  Wisteria 'Amethyst Falls' a leading contender.  Shady in summer, warm in winter.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Choosing Color: Garden Furniture

Take from the best, leave the rest.  One of the best small gardens I've seen in awhile.  Formal & rustic, pretty all year, layers of interest atop layers of interest, functional, welcoming.  Myriad ways to copy this garden, at every price point.
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Yet one layer leaves me with a question mark.  Furniture color?  White is a hard color in small spaces, white jumps forward.  Without knowing the owners, seeing their interiors, I have to trust this 'white' furniture.  For you, take-the-best to translate into your own space, perhaps 'gray' furniture would be the better choice.  Copying the stone color, blending into its space, enlarging the space.
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Want furniture on the stone?  White.  But you knew that, right?


Pic, above, here.

Wanting to know more about the garden I found it on Lucy Sommers website.  Had to smile, seeing more photos, below.  Gray pots, gray fence.  White house trim, large swath of white flowers.



Pic, above,

Seems the white furniture is carefully considered, above.  Minutely, considered.


Pic, above, here.
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More than a garden to 'be in', it's a garden to be viewed from several heights.  Wins at each level.
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Instead of the classic exterior color trinity, green-brown-white, here it's, green-white-yellow.  The most common subsidiary color I've seen with the classic green-brown-white?  Yellow.
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Minute considerations cost nothing, yet live rich, wisely chosen.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Friday, May 5, 2017

Aerin Lauder: Old Soul

Many times thru the years I'll see a pretty garden photo, below, not knowing who the garden belongs to, and it is Aerin Lauder's.  Instead of thinking, 'Of course she has the money.....', I know something different about her garden/s.  Studying historic gardens across Europe it is not uncommon for gardeners to inherit their parents/grandparents home/garden.
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What I see with Aerin Lauder's gardening is someone who's a smart cookie, and an old soul.  She's not recreating the wheel, she's making the wheel better.  Her ego isn't about tossing the baby out with the bath water, to create her own 'original' garden.  No, she's wise.  Trusting what's been given, and adding her unique stewardship with every fiber of her talents.
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Refreshing furniture arrangement, below.  Myriad historic garden design rules followed in the pic, below.  Canopy & understory trees, ceiling/floor, hi/low density, focal point on axis, choosing a color theme & overdosing it, contrasting textures, use-what-you-have, flow, mystery, scale, maximum pollinator habitat and more.   This lone pic, below, could be used for a Garden Design course.


Pic, above, here.


Pic, above, here.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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So, do you know why the top pic is a garden space creating maximum pollinator habitat?  Majority of How-To-Attract-Butterfly seminars never mention this singular facet, merely plant-these-plants.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Show Me Your Garden Tools

Only one arena, during my formal Garden Design education included the 'work area' for a garden.  A shed, barn or garage, most with an outdoor space for compost, wheelbarrows, ladders, etc.
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Gardens I studied across Europe, had work areas.  Got the memo.
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Low maintenance gardens, aside from their design, include work areas.  Further, I've added, 2 sets of your go-to tools.  One at the front of your home, another at the back.  Get an odd gift of 30 minutes ?  Go into the garden, get a few easy things done.  Won't happen if you have to hunt for your pruners &tc.  "Show me where you keep your garden tools.", I ask for my garden design work.  
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Almost 2 years moved from my 30 year home/garden I'm still missing my organized garage.  Our ca. 1900 home has no garage, a couple of sheds, both utilized with Beloved's 'stuff', and a graveled basement.  He's sourcing the perfect pole barn now, once built, and a bay enclosed, the sheds become 'mine'.
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Ironically, I tease Beloved he did not fall in love with me, but my garage.  In all sincerity, about every 2 weeks Beloved asks me for some 'tool', Where is, Get me, I need, Can you find, blahblahblah.  You know I want him to have his pole barn.  Knew my garage was important, now I know too well its outsized importance.  
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Jokes collected by Bear … Hope you had a laugh. https://beartales.me/2017/05/03/great-jokes-3-may-2017/:
Pic, above, here.
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Yard work is a breeze when your garage is organized! Get this wall unit from #MarthaStewartLiving and more ideas to store your homekeeping essentials.:
Pic, above, here.
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Nice start, above, but a lot of wasted space.  Condense tools, add a table, staged to hold pruners, nails, screws, twine, wire, &tc
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A pretty table, a lamp, you know the drill.
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Garden & Be Well,    XOT

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Vanishing Threshold: Bunny Mellon

From the garden, below, a view of the terrace.  Exactly the photographic style of the 80's.  Each piece, every layer, in alignment to the Narrative.  This story a trinity between owner, beauty, happiness.
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Vanishing Threshold, inside/outside have no boundary.
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How do I know this?  Before her, below, and a tiny contingent of other 'hers', I was writing the same story at my home/garden.
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Seeing this pic, below, the 1st time, I knew who it belonged to.  Linking backwards, discovering I was not wrong, Bunny Mellon.  Originating in the pages of Architectural Digest, its caption, "Antigua Residence: A terrace features an Henri Rousseau landscape."
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A great laugh, the painting.  My 1st urge, wanting to call my client/friend/mentor Mary Kistner, we needed one of our trademark meandering lunches for me to divulge this rich tidbit.  Mary was creating her Vanishing Threshold trinity decades before I was born.  This, merely another delight we will share once we are in the same place again.  Mary died over a decade ago.

Tour the Exquisite Homes and Gardens of Late Design Legend Bunny Mellon Photos | Architectural Digest:
Pic, above, here.
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Oil paintings I've put on terraces & porches, for decades, for myself/clients have all been from thrift/junk shops.
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Of course Bunny put a Rousseau painting on her terrace.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Mary Kistner was a collage artist in the style of Kurt Schwitters, she installed art shows for other artists at several museums across USA, her memorial service was in a museum, standing room only.  Perhaps you can see those layers in the pic, above.  A few weeks after Mary died I received a call from her estate attorney, Mary left me something & an appointment needed to be made for pick-up.
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In my office, just above my laptop, is her bequest, an already framed piece of her collage art.  Titled, "Feuillage IX", MKistner 2000.  Receiving her bequest, and a few times since, has brought happy & grieving tears.  Mary had, I know, a wicked glint in her eyes & trademark smile, putting "Feuillage IX" into her will to me.  At one of our lunches, it had to be in fall, I shared with her my epiphany about falling leaves, while I was driving along Hugh Howell Road in Tucker, GA.  Decades of seeing falling leaves, I finally got the biblical narrative.  Trees drop their leaves, and are fed by them, every year of their life.          
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More, trees drop their leaves ahead of the brutal season, winter.  Vigorously showing off their lacy branching beauty against the sky, richly taking in strength from what they let go of.  The bible, inspired word of G*d written by man.  Nature, inspired writing of G*d.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Dry Stream Beds


Oh my, below.  A lot of stone, and effort.  Wish I could have our stone mason, using the same stones, do his magic.  Giving him total freedom, only saying, "Javier, this looks like a truck drove across the lawn pooping stone.  Fix it, however you wish."

Dry Creek River Bed Landscaping | Car Interior Design:
Pic, above, here.


Garden at Kannon - ni...:
Pic, above, here.

Paying attention to neighborhoods closing in on a century of age it's easily apparent which type of stone channel performs best over time.  I've seen variations on this stone water channel, below, for decades in the oldest of neighborhoods.  All, still safely channeling the water away.  Some used stone, some brick, some a mix of both.
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Called to work at a historic home, the stone water channels were a pretty wabi sabi rabbit warren of pattern in the garden and at the base of the home.  The new owner said they wanted to get rid of them.  I asked if their extensive daylight basement stayed dry after heavy storms, "Yes.", was water ponding elsewhere in the garden, "No."  They kept the stone channels.
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 Drainage - driveway landscaping ideas | Park Landscape Design Driveways:
Pic, above, here.
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With new neighborhoods I've noticed what the first houses do in their landscape, the rest of the neighborhood tends to copy.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Entry Ways: Flow & Focal Point

Studying garden pics on book/magazine covers since the 80's, it's not hard to realize the more entry ways a garden has, the better a garden is.  Enfilades rule.  And, the focal point is primo.
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Studying more deeply, it becomes obvious, entry ways in a garden are focal points, yet the rule for focal points is, One focal point per area.
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Breaking garden design rules, is inherent to historic garden design.  Modern too.
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Instantly, below, I wonder why the screened porch doesn't have a door at its left, and front.
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Adding the doors, a necessity, adds magic circles.  Flow.  As shown I hear Cole Porter, Don't Fence Me In.

Modern Farmhouse just outside of downtown Austin, TX for a family of four and their dog Hank.:
Pic, above, here.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Cure for the Green Meatball

Truly curious.  Did green waves, below, start life as green meatballs?  Hope these green waves sail a thousand ships.
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Fence color.  Perfect, enlarges the space, and the potted tree, again, color enlarges its space too.
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Both artworks sited on axis from the house, with pure museum backdrop.
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Gas grill is pruned into its niche, hiding from view.
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Little maintenance, merely blowing, pruning.  Would like to see same shot with the green waves at their peak of scruffy, before a pruning day.

love the green backdrop to the pieces:
Pic, above, here.
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Bravo to the pruner, foliage to the gravel.  Amazing perfection.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Friday, April 14, 2017

Decadence at Garden Entry

The first time I arrived to Penny's drive, below, my car stopped as the hydrangeas lay heavy either side my hood.  Had to stop.  To take in what was happening.  More than greeting my arrival, I was being caressed.
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Garden Design's decadent greeting.
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Creating entryways in a garden, perhaps the most overlooked necessity.  Early into serious Garden Design study it was obvious, the more entry ways a garden has the better a garden is.
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Penny took it to new layers.

The country garden hydrangea gate.    Renae Moore Designs: Gardening with Tara Dillard:
Pic, above, here.


 TARA DILLARD: Focal Points in the Landscape:

If you've read my missives for a length of time, you know exactly what to do next.  Copy.
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Entry into my backyard, above, entry into my frontyard, below.  Hello.

TARA DILLARD: GARDEN DESIGNERS BLOGLINK: TARA'S TRINITY OF THE SOUTHERN GARDEN:

Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Pics of my garden, above, taken in my previous 30 year cottage garden.  Penny founded the American Hydrangea Society, and the Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival in Douglasville, GA is a huge annual success.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

What's Missing from this Front Porch?

Sitting on the front porch swing, below, yesterday before dinner.
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Furnishings are functional, still not 'permanent' after moving here 2 years ago.  Awaiting back deck staining & building a conservatory, both may pull furniture from front porch.  Until then, no worries, I like using the front porch.    Floor, below, still needs staining.
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Chair, at front door, below, leverages me coming/going from my car for work and grocery, always something to set down.  Better, that chair has the best packages delivered upon it.  Moving in, a friend told me, because I was now in middle of nowhere, You've got to get amazon prime.  Never considered that a need.  Now rural, it's a need.
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3 ceiling fans are a need.  Rural insects dine upon livestock patties, growing to impressive sizes, while having a higher IQ than their city counterparts.  They're born knowing my name, where I live, and adoring my hide.  Worse, they love going for car rides.  
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Notice what is missing below?
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Huge.
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Ironic for a Garden Designer, yet a point of particular pride.

Image may contain: outdoor and indoor

Posted this pic, above, on my facebook yesterday.  Asking same question, What's Missing?  Got a quick answer from hilarious source.
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Surprisingly got answers that I wasn't looking for, but were true answers.  People are rarely a component of my Garden Design photos.  During my formative era, Garden Design photos rarely had people in them.  But there was a stronger reason for having no people.  Money.  With a roll of slide film, I could only afford usable pics that would last decades.  People & cars date a garden pic.
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Still life pulls me greatly.  Interior/exterior.  An invitation to enter.  Someone noticed that too.  A+ to him, he left me a bit stunned, as if he'd found a 'secret' !
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That friend knowing immediately what's missing, above, was the daughter-in-law of my former boss.  Her father-in-law owned the nursery/florist I worked for doing propagation work for 2.5 years.  Learned much from her father-in-law, and always enjoyed seeing him at industry events for decades.  A good man, gone many years.  Now, she & her husband own that nursery.  It's obvious what's missing right?  Plants.
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Not to that layer yet, excitedly anticipating growing small topiaries in terra cotta pots, a Bunny Mellon layer, and in a funny twist, interesting begonias.  A particular begonia from a friend's grandmother's plant, and here's the twist, that nursery I worked at as a propagator has an outstanding variety of old fashioned begonias.
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Until the plant layer arrives, I'm enjoying the anticipation.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Fine Prospect

Last of the Piedmont, below, heading into the Coastal Plain.  Earlier this month Beloved helped me place my 6' teak bench.  She had been a garden focal point for years, later, placed in my Conservatory for a couple of years, then I moved.  Now, she's subtle, purposefully insignificant, a perch for this fine prospect, below.

Image may contain: sky, tree, cloud, outdoor, nature and water

Look close, below, and you'll see her.

Image may contain: tree, sky, plant, outdoor and nature

Invasives were impenetrable when we bought the property.  Getting to the pond not an option.  Beloved hacked a trail immediately upon closing on the property.  For months we thought the far side of the pond was the end of our land.  We discussed offering to buy more land from that owner.  Then we got a survey.  Great news, we already owned a nice amount of land behind the pond.  A bottle of champagne had been in the fridge far too long.  We toasted our good news.
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Last weekend was full, by early Sunday evening I was craving solitude, wildly.  My DNA spoke, Get yourself back to the pond bench.  Six feet long, I sat in a corner of my bench, cradled by an arm & back.  Old friend, you came to me as a Christmas gift from a pair I loved, now gone, how was I to know it would be just you & me, and you would give an embrace of solace?
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Black Eagle
Pic, above, here.
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Beloved found me on the bench, he had ridden in on the Gator.  Sat next to me for a few very short minutes, said a few things about clearing the growing underbrush.  He finally became aware of my face, above, and drove away.
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Not an introvert, he will never understand my need for solitude, but he did understand my eyes, leaving me to harvest my riches.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Monday, March 27, 2017

Annuals: Easily Have Them or Not at All

Great lip service is given to the quote, "I want my garden to be low maintenance."  What follows that request, as a professional listening to a new client, is the full monty destroying their request for low maintenance.
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I want to look out the windows of my home and the garden views, each and every one, are, "Oh wow."  More,  I want to enjoy myself in my garden.  You know, "Come for lunch this Friday, we'll have lunch in the garden."  In a few days it will be Saturday.  Zero thoughts contemplating garden chores, instead, "Should be a good Saturday to sit in the Adirondack overlooking lake, woodland, chickens, and begin reading my new book that arrived last month."
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About garden chores.  The few I do have are not 'chores', instead they are the gift of stewardship in partnership with Nature.  Best metaphor-come-to-life, to me, for washing-of-the-servant's-feet.  'Gift' is too small in scope, an honor.
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Back to low maintenance gardening.  A garden to be enjoyed, below.

Landscape...:
Pic, above, here.

Colorful annuals have their place.  Somehow they've become the go-to-must-have landscape design ingredient.  Before epiphany, stewardship-not-chores, I knew if a residential landscape design 'needed' annuals, the design was a failure.  Commercial landscape design is another beast entirely.  Yet, thought thru, even they don't need annuals swapped 2x yearly.

 Post Hole Digging for Pot-in-Pot
Pic, above, here.

If you want annuals in your garden, above/below, fabulous method to make it easier.  Before eco/sustainable, having worked professional propagation for years, I knew how toxic the annual flower industry is to Earth.  Packaged soil, wooden pallets shrink wrapped with goods, plastic plug trays, plastic hoop houses, heating/cooling, fungicides, insecticides, pre-emergents, trucking/transportation, mulching.  Nope, nothing eco/sustainable there.  Instead, self-seeding annuals are my choice, if needed at all.
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 Dropping in Pot-in-Pot a
Pic, above, here.
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Annuals could go into the garden, below.  But they don't 'have' to.

 You know this house just has to wonderful
Pic, above, here.
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And the conceit of low maintenance, above, in this garden flows around the entire property, below.

 
Pic, above, here.
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Great use of colorful annuals, below.  You are in charge of adding the color, as needed, not the garden with a swath of dead annuals due to a change in season.

 Inside there is a dining area and fireplace lighting and music complete the scene
Pic, above, here.
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I'm giving a garden talk in April, they requested a certain title, Color in the Garden for Sun/Shade.  Sure I'll do some annuals, don't want to alienate any newbies.  Remember, stewardship.  In addition, I will include plenty of color used historically, green.  My hope is to widen horizons.
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Garden & Be Well,  XOT