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

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Topiary: Levens Hall & Arne Maynard


Levens Hall, The Lake District, Cumbria, was the first European study garden I visited.  I was on my way to Scotland to study historic gardens.
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Levens Hall is known for many things, especially topiary, below.
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Topiary was not off my radar, entirely, for decades.  I didn't like it. 
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Now, I get topiary.  Better late than 'nevah'.  Proof, my mistakes are never small.
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Large properties, especially, find topiary useful.  Small properties too.
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Accent, focal point, all year effect, easy to maintain, design uses are many.
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Across USA millions of homes retain their PSO's planted by the builder to satisfy mortgage loan requirements with new construction.
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PSO?  Plant Shape Only.
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Plenty of mature USA hollies are ready for topiary.
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From Levens Hall, below, a chart of some of their topiary.  What's not to like?  You get to put your mark on topiary.


Discovered the work of Arne Maynard via the internet.  Have never been to his garden, nor those he has designed.  Soon, soon...
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Knew immediately he was already where I was headed.  Deep simplicity, Nature, house architecture, wit, intelligence, deeper simplicity.  Of course, Levens Hall runs thru the fragrance of Maynard's work.


Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Top pic Levens Hall, bottom pic Arne Maynard.
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The famous topiary garden at Levens Hall was laid out on axis from a bank of windows inside the home, the middle lead.   Not written anywhere, discovered during my tour.  Levens Hall has had a head gardener entering in the garden journal for almost 4 centuries.
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Life is good, have been to Levens Hall 3 times, and Arne Maynard's gardens await.  Oddly, have zero inclination to travel to international gardens at present.  Too important to design gardens and get them in the ground.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rental Success: FlipKey, AirBnB, HomeAway, VRBO, Craigslist

After dinner she said, "....Craigslist too."
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They rented their cabin successfully with several vacation rental sites.
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Living a good retirement, aka good judgement involved, I paid attention.  Perhaps their rental success could be copied?
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For sale 6 years, and listed with a local vacation rental company (with little/no success) my friend's cabin was ripe for a little fun, "I'll stage your cabin & list it."
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Staging was approached with a full quiver of collateral career tools.  A week later I presented a staging plan, and he was not-on-board. 
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Without proper staging why waste time uploading?  Finally, "You let me do 100%  or I walk."  Got my 100%.
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What do vacation renters want?  Easy.  Vacation rental sites guide you through listing necessities of bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, dining tables & how many they seat, eat in kitchen, separate dining room, amenities of your home, and nearby activities.
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Pictures.  The more pictures you include the better your rental chances.
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Choose your lead picture, below, with seduction.  

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Study listings and see which pictures most reflect what you are trying to offer.
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This cabin had the good fortune of being near the Appalachian Trail, Tallulah River, Lake Burton, a marina, wineries, golfing, antiquing, several good restaurants, wedding venues, camping & camps.
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Narrative.
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Staging DIY?  Look clinically at what you have, no ego.  Remember, this is about making money.  Real, serious, money.  List  negatives, confront each with positives and write a list.
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I studied the local 'professional' rental listing.  Why wasn't it renting?  Crime scene photos, zero narrative,  Told the owner my thoughts, he said there wasn't a market for rentals near his cabin.  He was not making enough rental income to pay a single month's mortgage. 
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For decades I enjoyed a family lake house, below, aside from innate beauty of setting & architecture & garden the house welcomed/nurtured all who entered.  Every age group.  The kitchen, a great gathering place while chef/s performed magic.  The audience content with cocktails & conversation.  Labradors in/out, wet from the lake.  Books in every room, chairs arranged for views & conversation throughout the house.  No TV.  Always a new person to meet/enjoy invited by someone else.  

  

Staging the cabin meant adding a place in the kitchen for chef/audience, it had no table/seating.  Creating a library, there were no books.  Creating a 'grandchild' zone, there was zero for children.  Giving Nature its proper role by taking away the power of the TV's in every seating arrangement.  Placing garden chairs outside facing the myriad mountain views, there were none. Honoring the architecture of the cabin, local craftsman, moving furniture that was hiding it, and lifting valences that hid entire mountain views. 




Valences, above/below, tucked atop blinds, showing off mountain views instead of hiding them.
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A basket with coffee filters, and coffee saved from a zillion vacation hotels, was in a basket on the counter by the coffee pot.  Shampoo/soap from those hotels was put into the bathrooms.  New'ish magazines/catalogs were regularly refreshed in the family room.
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Another basket had plenty of mustard, ketchup, mayo, packages, not used from too many lunches eaten out.




Every kitchen counter item had been plastic.  Added cookbooks, wood cutting boards, ironstone canister for wooden cooking spoons, local pottery tea pot & antique Italian tea canister filled with array of teas.  Table is a drop leaf and the chairs are local Appalachian vernacular.  Basket on the table is full of brochures for local activities & restaurants.  Lighting was limited to overhead, small lamp added.
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Owner provided dishwashing liquid, dishwasher powder, clothes washing soap, and garbage bags.


Show off the charm of your rental.  Most renters did ask about a fireplace, did it work, wood available, etc.  Again, only overhead lighting, small lamp added.  Wood not provided, but matches were always on the mantel.


Every piece of furniture faced the TV.  Now all the views can be seen too, and the local craftsman made mountain laurel rails, below.
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TV and internet are expected by most renters.  No internet at the cabin, but cell phone internet is not a problem.  No renter has backed out after discovering no internet.  


A choice was made, no dogs or smoking.  Rental sites make it obvious/easy to list what is not allowed.





A potential renter asked about a fire ring.  There was not one.  The owner told her he would have it by her rental date, and he did.  My bad, not thinking about it first.



Renters want to know bed specifics.  Tell them AND show them, below.  Listing sites are generous in number of pics you can post, and it's easy to add captions.
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Master bedroom, below, was simple to stage.  It had no art on the walls, and the brass lamps were ca. 1982, they went downstairs to a guest room.  Lead bedroom pics with the showiest.



French doors from every bedroom to a deck with fabulous views.  Again, show AND tell.



Those brass lamps, below.  Bedspread, below, exchanged later for a 'lighter' version that will dry faster.  A request from the housekeeper.
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The owner was fortunate to have someone honest, hardworking, cheerful, helpful, and pro-active as housekeeper.  Housekeeping with the local rental company, finally, had to be denied services.  A drama, yes, but easily resolved.
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C.S. Lewis, below, on the bed table.


Another guest room, below, was chosen as a grandchild's room.  Again, there was no art on the walls, all the staged pieces related to childhood, in joy, nothing cute.
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Almost half of the renters have had children.




Once sterile of children, the cabin now has little child's toys left behind here/there, Better, a sweetness in seeing where an adult has set a children's book they had been reading aloud to their little one/s.



  Intuition for accepting rentals is needed.  New Year's Eve, over 30 requests came in from groups of 7, (maximum allowed) that reeked of alcohol, debauchery, sex, broken furniture, ruined rugs, in the request.  
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A damage deposit is on the rental sites for you to include.
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In a year's time, nothing has been stolen or damaged at the cabin.
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The majority of the cabin rentals have been due to love.  With the rental requests, a little story is commonly given from the renter.  Did not expect this, and have quite enjoyed them.  (Somehow I became stager & screener.)
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Not my cabin, every 'off' request, I let the owner know, for approval/disapproval.  On a Tuesday, someone offered to rent the cabin, at a discount, because they noticed it was not rented yet for the weekend.  Owner approved, bad move.  Renter never showed, and another renter offered full price on Thursday.  True story.
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Rental requests can be sent automatically to your cell phone.  And replied to via your phone.


Be aware, most counties do have a bed tax for vacation rentals.


One renter, coming for a car rally, had a high performance sports car.  He needed a pic of the driveway.  My bad, it was added soon after.


Renters want to get away, the entry gate is a perfect sign, without words, welcome/relax/enjoy, put your tires on our gravel.


Fireplace mantel, above, had fake Canadian spruce for decor with no art.  Local, dried hydrangea blossoms were staged with art/books.  The fake spruce was used on a chest in the downstairs hall.
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Staging is not about remaking a home, but making it more intensely its best self.
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One renter offered to not pay for the maid, and have a deep discount.  I thanked him for the opportunity & wished him the best in his search for a weekend home.  Saw in him, my college girl self, and laughed.  We've all been there. 
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98% of 2014 renters left the cabin showing their character/integrity and thoughtfulness towards others by leaving leftover firewood, charcoal & etc.
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That 2% renter?  They liked sex.  Loved that phone call from the housekeeper.
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Sites used for the cabin: FlipKey, HomeAway, AirBnB, VRBO, Craigslist.
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I set up a gmail address for the cabin.  And, keep a paper 'master' calendar of dates rented, with me at all times.
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Craigslist brought in renters, they were sent to HomeAway to rent instead of owner handling the transactions, easier.  None of the Craigslist renters balked at this method.  
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The various rental sites have various methods of paying for their services.  The cabin owner decided to do the 10% fee/rental.  After a year of experience, he knows the flat fee of $300/year is a cheaper deal for him.
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What did vacation rentals bring the owner?  Almost enough to pay for a year of his mortgage.  Considerable leap in success, over the local rental company.
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What did I get out of this?  Knew I could do it, successfully, now have proved it.  That little genie of 'competitiveness' got out of her bottle.  Love that genie but know she can take over, best to trust Providence, with action steps of course.
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Lecturing in Chicago last year I met an incredible woman.  We locked eyes, and bonded completely.  During our time she mentioned, without knowing of the cabin, her bucket list.  Walking the Appalachian Trail was on her list.  She flew to Atlanta, she wanted to see my house/garden, then off to the cabin.  The owner gave me time at his cabin.  Walking the Appalachian Trail, with her, well, I have no words for the richness.  It is a good story, the emotion still too raw, later it will be told.
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  Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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This is not a solicitation to rent the cabin, merely the how-to I used in staging & setting up the cabin on rental sites.  
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I spent $300 on staging accouterments, in addition to loaning much from my attic/garden/garage.  Hunting gathering staging materials was done over a month's time during my normal work days, stopping at nearby antique/junk shops.  Once at the cabin, to stage, I was alone, it took 4 hours to move furniture and accessorize.  Wish I could tell you what this 'service' should cost.  If you are a stager, and have a good guess, let me know.  Also, if you see staging mistakes/omissions, let me know.  Good money was made, but always willing to make more.  Oops, genie out of her bottle, it's not my money.  Favorite, not-my-money?  Laying in bed, checking email, answering rental request, getting $800 contract.....  
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The local vacation rental company offered the cabin owner, recently, for $300  & 35% rental fee, to upload his cabin to HomeAway.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Brave Enough to be this Simple?

Glen Ella, below, New Year's Eve.
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Still in use, their barn, more than a century later, its current garden design pulls deep admiration.
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Simplicity.
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Mostly, these barns are rotting/caving-in/gone across USA.
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Go off the grid?  These barns are original off the grid support.



Field gathered stones, below, still functioning.


Perhaps my favorite view of the barn, below.  Simplicity of garden design, and views into the guts of its architecture.  What is the narrative?  Was it added on to?  More than once?


Barn still in use, above, totally garden designed.  Yet, to most, it will seem derelict, dangerous, and they will think, "Why don't they do something, or tear it down?"  Without realizing the brain power creating this current narrative with form/function.  More than brain power, a relationship with Providence.
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Would you be this bold, above, as a garden designer?
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Simplicity is a hard/impossible task.
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Simplicity requires the ego to mask itself.
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No worries about that, once you realize your ego can shine via the simplicity.
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Arrived with friends, for dinner, at Glen Ella near dusk, the later seating was booked.  Cold, little light, and everyone walked toward the entry, and warmth.  Not me.  I forgot they existed.  My behavior, whence a good garden appears, targeted on the hunt.  The garden, camera, me, a trinity & zone flying beyond time, social acceptance, whatever.  Poor unfortunate souls needing drugs to arrive in this zone.  
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Have met 1 other soul with this trinity to Nirvana, in Italy, a Delta pilot.  He/I were constantly in each other's way and beyond irritated, beyond the moon irritated.  A few days of this hell we knew some sort of 'arrangement' had to be discovered, some sort of 'friendship'.  Finally, we spoke.  Of course he had to let me know he was a Captain, and a bit about his lovely large home etc.  Woo-woo, let him know a friend's dad had been a Flying Tiger, and original pilot hire by Delta, and he lived around the corner from me growing up.  Told you we didn't like each other up front.  And by the way, someone had to train the astronauts how to fly their rockets, uh, that would be my dad in the simulator with them, former Air Force test pilot.  Isn't it rare the events bringing out our best 7 year old selves, in a snit?  Oh that archaic lizard brain.  You know exactly what happened next.   Talked our way to what is best for both of us, have been true friends since.   He's a wonderful pilot, and person, the best.  Adore his wife, she's a junker for antiques too.
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Grew up knowing the neighbor was a Flying Tiger.  Thought it was euphemism.  During college saw a movie with John Wayne, Flying Tigers.  Consistently, when I'm wrong, it's never a little.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Why Boring-is-Good is Your Best Design


"Build your own prison", he said at the start.
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She laughed.
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3 years later, pieces of the start have already been undone.
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She laughed then too, remembering his words.

Boring is Good
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I design gardens for a living, he of build-your-own-prison, installs gardens commercial/residential, for a living.
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We have 60+ years in our livelihoods.
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Take our words at the front end.
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If you don't, the epitaph is not propitious.
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Worse than money lost, you will have frittered time.
Money can be earned.
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No one can earn time.
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Build your own prison.  Boring is good.
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Keep it simple sweetie.
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Outside a client's hedge, below.
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It's packing a punch.


Inside the same corner of hedge, below.


Several cars park here, on view from every back window of the house.
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Boring is good, but includes intellect, wit, function, delight to the eye in every season, attractiveness to pollinators, easy to maintain, raises property value, lowers HVAC, & etc....
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Counterintuitively, wickedly boring gardens showcase your inner joy, laughter, intellect, and are more unique than any garden you could conjure with your lizard brain.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara

This client now sees into the soul of person as they walk/talk with her in her garden.  What they see, or don't see, and spontaneously respond/react to informs reams about their heart.  

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Ralph Lauren Garden ca. 1988

Do you like this garden?
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For many years I could not abide these types of gardens.
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Clipped, formal, severe.
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Already laughing, because you know what is coming?
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I love adore honor & am humbled by this garden.
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Design them for clients.
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Evergreen, simple, easy to maintain, inexpensive, functional for games-parties-tents.
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Of course there is a garden room next to it with 'flowers', maybe a fruit tree orchard, or a 'shrubbery', perhaps a 'wild wood', a meadow with mown paths. 
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For many years I was clueless about the narrative of these gardens.
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Thought gardening was all about ME, what I liked, wanted, narrated.
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Garden Design, in USA, is too young, too righteous in proving, Tocqueville, without effort, correct.
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Slow down, did you smirk at the dry humor, above?
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It was ME, in the early years, "..too righteous in proving, Tocqueville, without effort, correct."
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What happened?
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Hungry to learn, I went back to college and got another degree, horticulture.  Knew at the conclusion, it was rotten.  Off to Europe to study historic gardens.
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A rule for Garden Design, pictures of your garden must not place its era or continent.
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 Don't think your garden has a narrative?  Wrong, every garden has a narrative.  Best to make sure it's a narrative enriching to your soul.
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That's enough to keep anyone happily occupied for life.
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Photo, above, 1988 Ralph Lauren.
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Saw the pic on Pinterest this week.  Had to know more about it.  Once I saw, Ralph Lauren ca 1988, I smelled the garden. 


Freshmen year of college, ca 1977, this was the fragrance.  Dorm rooms, dorm halls, dorm lobbies, dorm elevators, dorm cafeterias, freshman mixers, classrooms, campus sidewalks, ALL, smelled of this.  Memory !
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Like the fragrance, it was just on too many girls.
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Perhaps, I should seek the fragrance, now.  Let it tell me more about myself.  Just as Ralph Lauren's garden, above, tells me, in great narrative, about a my life trajectory in  gardens.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara

Friday, January 9, 2015

Complete Garden Design Includes Lunch Inside?


Hired to design the garden, I was headed here, below, too.
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Aside from Garden Design beginning inside your home, every window of your home, looking into the garden, must be art on the wall.
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As those layers arrive, the best Garden Design layer appears.  
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Lunch Ministry.  


My job, Garden Design, includes creating so many incredible places to have lunch, inside your home, it's hard to choose.
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True in the garden too.  But that's obvious, and easy.  My game is bigger than that.
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Change your garden, change your life.
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With a client this week, we had lunch too.  Cold & wind outside, she chose lunch for us, in the sunbeams.
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Work came first, then we sat for lunch, the table already set with care, aka joy.  Deer chili, hot on the stove.  Both chairs had vistas of 3 different garden rooms.
 

I chose the chair with views of the courtyard, porch, potager.  That was my job.  Those views need more work than the others.
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I trust my job, talents, skills, experience, and livelihood, operating beyond left/right brain, in this arena.  What is this arena called?  Don't know.  I label it Lunch & Sparking for the 'work', Lunch Ministry from Providence in what it brings in layers of epiphany.
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Once here, this Lunch Ministry layer, I ask my clients to have non-gardening friends, or new friends, to lunch.  And, if they don't belong to a Garden Club, I ask them to join the closest, and host a yearly meeting.
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Why?  Expose more people to a garden lifestyle.
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More, if their life/time allow, I encourage terra cotta pots with topiaries, or whatever is easy, on a vintage ironstone plate, on the lunch table.  As the friend leaves, pass the plate/plant to them.
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Pass along gardening, from lunch ministry.


Big news at this lunch.  Their daughter was engaged new year's eve.  The daughter is an old soul and she/mom have a relationship closest to that of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, & her mom, that I've come across.
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Infertility has given me a strange wonderful gift.   I adore hearing/knowing the stories of success with friends/clients children.  I'm on the inner loop for many, getting emails about awards, promotions, etc..  You know, all the stuff considered bragging in the outer world.  But great pride, joy, relief, to their parents.  
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Pics shot this week at jobsite.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

How to Keep Chickens Out of the Cutting Garden


Cloudy, cold, one of the coldest days, so far, this year, yesterday, and at a jobsite in the windiest county of the state.
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A thousand daffodil bulbs needed sighting, and design ideas for directing guests to the front door instead of their preferred choice, the back door.


In the cutting garden, above/below.  Last year we realized the chickens won, and we had to consider how to keep them out.
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Ironically, the solution was not a first thought.
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And, the solution made us laugh out loud.
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The solution is the evergreen hedging you see, above/below.
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Laughter at ourselves, thinking for decades, low evergreen hedging was an 'aesthetic' design choice from Williamsburg, VA,  England, and etc....
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Wrongo buckaroos.  And not merely a 'little' wrong either !


For centuries the low evergreen hedging has been used to keep chickens out.  Aka, survival.
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Daffodil foliage is coming up, above, however patches of several thousand daffodils in the front garden are not showing a single daffodil spear tip.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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From childhood, this client & I shared something beyond our control.  Something this quote, below, captures perfectly.  Yes, I sent it to her when I found it.
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We had to create our own way.  Parenting during formative years forced it.
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Stay determined, my friends.
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Instead of anger, Providence gave us hearts wanting accomplishment.  And the accomplishment of our friends.  Benevolence.
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Knowing to be part of the pack, for our friends.
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Being thrown to the wolves, more than once, has been the best thing ever.
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With my girlfriends, who have survived, to thrive, being thrown to the wolves, whatever table we sit at, is the cool chicks table. WE like us !

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Color: Banish Hodge Podge Lodge

Viewing the Great Smoky Mountains, below.
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The century old Glen Ella Inn would be inappropriate to its era if it were 'fancy'.
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Coming up from the garden, below, the owner's heart & intellect spoke, and made me smile.
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For many centuries the best gardens across the globe have shared an oddly piquant quality, and much needed.  The poverty cycle.
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My smile, below?  The air-conditioning units painted the wall color, and rocking chairs painted the door color.


Studying historic gardens across France taught me the connection of paint color and field gathered furniture.
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Been doing it in client gardens for decades.  I'm not one to ignore the brilliance of earlier garden designers.


Another smile, with color.  Have designed umbrellas into a client's barns/acreage.  Using any color amongst her exterior color trinity.  (Remember, every garden must have a color trinity.)
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Ironically, the chairs on the front porch of Glen Ella, yesterday's post, were created during a true poverty cycle, and now, are quite expensive.  Hence, the style change with the back porch rocking chairs.
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara

Monday, January 5, 2015

Best Place to Copy Front Porch Design?

Bed & Breakfasts speak to myriad layers of design.
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Their needs, specific.  They must be inviting, tidy, comfortable, safe, feed all your senses, and perform through all seasons.
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B&B's are on a budget of money & time.  
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Perfect, just like home.
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Glen Ella, below, has been welcoming guests for a century.  
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History, color, repetition, comfort, and welcome at Glen Ella's front porch, below.


One of the first rules of Garden Design, copy.
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Not your style, above?  Doesn't matter, the design rules apply.
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For 30+ years I've had the good fortune of having a family place nearby.  Better fortune, I've not been the one to buy the family place & pay upkeep !  Glen Ella is still beside a dirt road and its Smoky Mountain views not harmed by gentrification.  Throughout the years I've never had a bad meal here and know to make reservations.
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Now, whenever I go to Glen Ella a walk alone in the garden & meadows is deeply anticipated.  Enjoying the present, yet remembering other days/evenings/meals here with deeply loved friends, already gone.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sacred or Profane in Design

Since last week, when I first saw this garden, below, I've been thinking about how simply designed,  within a framework of total design, by someone with a wisdom of Nature, time across historical perspective, aesthetics, grief, continents, the sky, tilt of the Earth, seasons, meals, human foot, cars, tractors, laughter, guests, owner/s, caretaker/s, solitude, children, galas, scent, sound, wheelbarrows, terra cotta, gravel, Tara Turf, human hands, mending of spirit, abiding, atonement.  For starters.  


Nothing major has been done, above, or every element is minutely chosen.
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Which camp are you in?
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My camp is organic design.  Everything minutely chosen to look like nothing major has been done.
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Design to feed Nature, and Spirit.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Can you guess which country this garden is in?  Era?  More signs of a good garden.
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We can visit this garden, and spend the night, it's in Provence, a B&B, Chateau Talaud.  
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This, and more, on my Pinterest board.
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Organic design has no personal ego, yet total ego in belief.  More than designing a place of abiding & atonement, it is a sacrament.
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Read a title, years ago, creating simplicity in organic design, "The Sacred and The Profane."

Monday, December 22, 2014

Take Two Hikes and Call me in the Morning: Nature Deficit Disorder

A client, late 40's, lived in a gated community of very-nice-homes, had a lake house too, and traveled the globe for pleasure.
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Her husband thriving in his job, her children matriculating successfully through education & life.
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All in good health.
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Yet, something in her spirit was not fed.  A major narrative not written, and she knew it.  Worse, she felt it.
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Unhappiness, one of life's greatest teachers, gave her intuitive listening and action skills.  Lake house needed to be sold and the gated community had to be left.
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Farm house, acreage, woodlands, meadows, barns, spoke, and bought.  Immediately, heirloom livestock, and pre-industrial methods of land management emanated from spirals deep within her DNA.
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They were there, abiding, always.  Contemporaneously, her intuitive sense of abiding became a tidal wave of choice,    
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From childhood, Nature, spoke to my spirit, of course I thought it spoke to everyone.  Wrong.  Unhappiness came earlier to me, than my client, above, infertility, loss of family, alcoholic spouse, youthful expectations that I needed to please those close to me, yet hearing/feeling the need for atonement.     
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I began to create a garden.
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Atonement found.
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Miss Abiding & Miss Atonement have learned more together, than ever they could individually.  Detect the Jane Austen quality of this particular section of narrative?
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Strong matriarchal women, we find laughter in this ironic gift from Providence.
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Where is this going?  Where are you in this?
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Your DNA was formed in combination with Nature too.
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Science is catching up to what too few have found due to unhappiness.  
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How the mind processes information in Nature vs. man made culture is profound.  
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Regions of the brain working on your life/work issues in silent thought while you think of other things are different depending upon if you are walking in Nature or a city.  Science.
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Light, for an easy, and odd, example.  Did you know reading a book by Nature's light is processed in one brain region, and reading a computer screen without Nature's light is processed in a different region of the brain?  Which region do you trust most with your memories?  Not hypothetical, pure science.
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Real estate costs more at the shore of lakes, rivers, oceans.  Why?  Chemistry.  Your body is mostly water and when it is near large bodies of water the ions in the water molecules start pulling pleasantly towards each other.  Science.
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Children raised on farms acquire gut bacteria preventing them  having more health issues than those raised in suburbs or cities.  If children live on farms to about age 10 those good health effects are life long.  Science.
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A science study put a control group of people to walk in a city, another, to walk in the woods.  White blood cell counts, which help fight infection, were statistically higher for those waking in the woods.  Scientific conclusion?  Plants must be emitting a wavelength we absorb thru the skin.  



Take Two Hikes and Call me in the Morning, recently in Digg, mentions Nature Deficit Disorder, 


Learned Helplessness, is a horrible inheritance from one generation to another.  Worse, you don't know you have it.  Until epiphany.  Betty Friedan wrote of what she 'saw', The Feminine Mystique, but I'm a child of one those women and living the results.  My strangest epiphany came with having chickens.  Never been around chickens, until I had clients with chickens.  Decades of gardening, personally/professionally, did not prepare me for what my chickens taught.
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Until the chickens my gardening was for pleasure.  My chickens arrived less than a week old, it didn't take long for them to be old enough for their chinoiserie style coop/run.  Once in their coop, my gardening was forever changed, from amusement, to stewardship.
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How could I know settling for amusement was paltry?  Stewardship, rich.
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My grandmother could run a farm, raise livestock, harvest, kill, preserve, cook, sew.  While being active in her church and civic duties.  She received a 4 year nursing degree, did graduate work in New York and settled into Augusta, GA for her full time job at a hospital as head nurse.  She was the last of USA's agrarian culture.  Without which learned helplessness creeps.
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Washington Post, review of,

Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation

           " In this lively and deeply researched history, Andrea Wulf (best known for her prize-winning chronicle of 18th-century English gardening, “The Brother Gardeners”) examines the botanical pursuits of America’s first four presidents. Those men were, it turns out, obsessive gardeners, but gardening was much more than a preoccupying hobby. It was central to their vision of the American republic. Jefferson and Co. believed that the agrarian life would safeguard the new republic’s virtue and that the future of America lay with the independent farmer. As Washington summed up, “Our welfare and prosperity depend upon the cultivation of our lands.”
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Selfishly, I wish Andrea Wulf would write about Abigail Adams.  She, and her husband had no slaves.  She was alone much of her marriage and farmed the land, successfully, while raising a family, many years as a single woman, and political adviser to her husband.


Notice the scale, below.  Often I design this intimacy in landscapes.


From, Take Two Hikes and Call Me in the Morning, "Natural spaces, on the other hand, engage our “involuntary attention.” On a hiking trail your attention flits to different spots like the birds flying by—to the tree bark, the blue sky, the leaves on the ground. Paying attention to these sights requires little effort on our part, making it less demanding, and providing a break for our minds. The respite seems to be part of why we find nature relaxing. Indulging our involuntary attention is in fact one of the best ways to treat attention fatigue."  
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 Working with Nature, for decades, I know to trust Providence.  Need to find a solution to work, family, life, health choices/issues?  I form the question, in detail, within my mind, go into my garden or walk around Stone Mountain, for an hour, totally letting go of the question.  At the end of my time with Nature, there is an answer to the question.  Most often, it's an action step answer.  Sometimes, the answer is, take-more-time-in-Nature.  
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The last fact is scary to some.  When I don't take time for the right choices, it becomes lizard brain thinking.  Years of support group therapy for those with family/friends who are alcoholic, gave me valuable insights.  First, 'Don't force a solution.'  Aka, don't make choices based on fear.


Have you already 'seen' my joy at playing with the words, 'Nature', and, 'Science'?


Don't care about the science or Nature?
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Easy answer, in Nature's favor.
Money.
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Created properly your landscape can shade your home in summer, reduce cold winter winds, and let the sun help heat your home in winter.  Maintenance issues can be reduced from weekly to monthly, even bi-monthly.  A proper landscape, and soil preparation, needs no fertilizer or chemicals, and little to no watering once established.  Instead of ornamental trees, fruit trees add to grocery savings, and health.  Well landscaped homes sell faster, and for more money.  
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I use Nature as George Washington, John Adams......  What other choice?  The Big Box garden center?  The neighborhood Home Owner's Assoc?  Monsanto?  Even the Extension Service is agriculturally complicit with industrial farming.  Accepting success by the ton & dollars made.  Not  families making a livelihood and their communities built and thriving upon them.  Wendell Berry, (“True solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation. One’s inner voices become audible… In consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives.”),writes about farming for the success of your soul, the land, people, cities, & country, in great wisdom, for decades.  
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Wendell Berry,   "Works of pride, by self-called creators, with their premium on originality, reduce the Creation to novelty — the faint surprises of minds incapable of wonder.
Pursuing originality, the would-be creator works alone. In loneliness one assumes a responsibility for oneself that one cannot fulfill.
Novelty is a new kind of loneliness.

Wendell Berry (Photograph: Guy Mendes)
There is the bad work of pride. There is also the bad work of despair — done poorly out of the failure of hope or vision.
Despair is the too-little of responsibility, as pride is the too-much.
The shoddy work of despair, the pointless work of pride, equally betray Creation. They are wastes of life.
For despair there is no forgiveness, and for pride none. Who in loneliness can forgive?
Good work finds the way between pride and despair.
It graces with health. It heals with grace.
It preserves the given so that it remains a gift.
By it, we lose loneliness:
we clasp the hands of those who go before us, and the hands of those who come after us;
we enter the little circle of each other’s arms,
and the larger circle of lovers whose hands are joined in a dance,
and the larger circle of all creatures, passing in and out of life, who move also in a dance, to a music so subtle and vast that no ear hears it except in fragments."
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 To attain knowledge add things every day.
To attain wisdom subtract things every day.
— Lau Tzo.
All pics, Pinterest.  If you aren't doing Pinterest, please consider it.  If you are reading this I KNOW what you curate on Pinterest boards will teach & inspire me greatly.

 For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
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Award winning speaker, hire me for your group, local/out-of-state.
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Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
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Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
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Construction by Award Winning
Shaefer Heard Construction, licensed home-builder, renovation - new construction.  Heard's Landscaping a unit of SHC.  3 decades of service.


NOTE to my gardening friends... look for changes to come. 
Knew before computers/cell phones, sitting in Atlanta traffic on way to a client, 'I must reach a larger audience with the same amount of effort.'   Soon after that epiphany I signed my CBS-TV, and, books contracts on the same day.
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Then I read an article in the NYTimes about something called 'blogging'.  Saved the article for a year before reading it.  Studied all the blogs they mentioned, hired a computer expert they quoted, and attended a blogging seminar.
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Blogging 2.0 has arrived, my knowledge is 1.0.  A believer in copying the best historic gardens across the globe it flows into every arena of life.  Watching Maria Killam grow her career/blog/life over the past 3 years made its impact.  Signed up  for a year's course with her blogging expert, Jon Morrow
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Changes will be slow, plodding is my adored method.  Pulling triggers here/there is spice in the mix.
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What do YOU want?
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Nothing is too small, too big, or too ego crushing to mention.
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Passion lies in sharing what has filled me to the depths of grace, joy & atonement, the best landscapes created over the last 2,000+ years.

Just so you know... 

 I  welcome your input.