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

Friday, January 13, 2017

Brain Pickings: Rachel Carson & Dorothy Freeman

Most of the historic gardens I've studied across Europe for 2+ decades are farms.  Never anticipating I would be designing a single farm garden.  Majority of my work, to date, has been in subdivisions attached to large cities.  Learning at the historic farms, best ever choice.
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Farm, below, quite typical of gardens I've studied.  Great dividing line of farm & formal at the ha-ha.
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ha-ha Wall alternative to fencing when trying to keep cattle out of house yard but not destroy view:
Pic, above, here.

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, published when I was a small girl, made the tv news.  That black/white screen bearing witness to MLK's murder, Vietnam, a President shot, the Texas Tower Shooting, and race riots.  Well before the age of 10, all this stuff plastered tv news.  Nope, in the wisdom of a 6'ish year old, Rachel Carson, was just another bitter story.      

 Looking back, and forward - Ben Pentreath Inspiration:
Pic, above, here.

Time passes.  Of course I learn she's done something quite wonderful.  And I had to study at those historic farms, learning how to insert Nature into subdivison landscapes.  Nature, my great love.

 Giant Tortoise And Baby Cow Who Lost Its Leg Become Best Friends, Do Everything Together:
Pic, above, here.

Until this year, Rachel Carson remained a 'persona'.

Monarch butterflies on tree tru.  Michoacan, Mexico:
Pic, above, here.
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Following a short rabbit hole of diversion, I discovered Rachel Carson the person, today.  A dear friend, at lunch yesterday, Brio on Peachtree, shared with me something wondrous that had happened to her.  Before the sharing I knew something was different, she was luminous in her beauty, radiating peace.  A terrible bitterness she had carried, over 2 decades, lifted.  Gone.  Whew.  What a lunch we had and I don't mean the food (wedge salad &lobster bisque).  
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I don't see my friend often enough, at least once a year we try to spend the nite, sharing the same bed, not wanting to miss a moment of time with each other, talking till way too late.  This friendship quite important to both of us.  And it has had its moments of angst, nevah you doubt, but never an option to part.
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Brain Pickings had an intriguing link about a friendship, a deep friendship between a pair of grown women.  With memories of yesterday's lunch still glowing today, you know I took the click bait.
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Rachel Carson is one of the women.  This article about deep friendship, turned Rachel Carson the persona, into Rachel-the-person.  A nice read of depth, as only Brain Pickings does, I finished the article with moist eyes.  And, clicked afterward to buy her books.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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If you don't take my click bait, above, here's an excerpt:

"In September of 1963, shortly after her testimony before President John F. Kennedy’s Science Advisory Committee became instrumental in the first regulatory policies on pesticides, Carson wrote a stunning letter to Freeman. It contained a contemplation of her own mortality so profound, so poignant, so tenderhearted and transcendent that it could only be articulated to the person who knew her heart most intimately. She writes:
Dear One,
This is a postscript to our morning at Newagen, something I think I can write better than say. For me it was one of the loveliest of the summer’s hours, and all the details will remain in my memory: that blue September sky, the sounds of the wind in the spruces and surf on the rocks, the gulls busy with their foraging, alighting with deliberate grace, the distant views of Griffiths Head and Todd Point, today so clearly etched, though once half seen in swirling fog. But most of all I shall remember the monarchs, that unhurried westward drift of one small winged form after another, each drawn by some invisible force. We talked a little about their migration, their life history. Did they return? We thought not; for most, at least, this was the closing journey of their lives.
But it occurred to me this afternoon, remembering, that it had been a happy spectacle, that we had felt no sadness when we spoke of the fact that there would be no return. And rightly — for when any living thing has come to the end of its life cycle we accept that end as natural.
For the Monarch, that cycle is measured in a known span of months. For ourselves, the measure is something else, the span of which we cannot know. But the thought is the same: when that intangible cycle has run its course it is a natural and not unhappy thing that a life comes to an end.
That is what those brightly fluttering bits of life taught me this morning. I found a deep happiness in it — so I hope, may you. Thank you for this morning.
Rachel  "

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Saul Zaik: Integrated Indoor & Outdoor Spaces

Zipping with speed thru pics, this deck, below, stopped me.
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A hearty bravo to the brainwave.  Then, overdose-on-a-theme, the roof !
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Another bravo to whoever designed the interior of this home, from my favorite vantage point, the garden.  Landscaping along the windows is a bit odd, glass rectangle edged with ferns, creating a terrarium'ish style.  What to do instead?  (First, replace sofa with a pair of similar styled chairs, that turn 360.  Why the fortification of sofa only looking in?)  Remove ferns & existing path, replace with bluestone rectangles, sized in width from outer edge of deck, fully to the house, scaled in length to each window, spaced the same distance apart as the window frames.

Speaking to his original design, architect Saul Zaik says, “We were really just building boxes with a bunch of windows but experimenting with how you integrated indoor and outdoor spaces.” The house has seven different openings to the exterior, allowing different courtyard or patio settings for a range of outdoor activities, including seating for a gathering on the street-facing side. The Milfords hired Lilyvilla Gardens for the landscaping around the house, including variegated bluestone st...:
Pic, above, here.
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Color of patio chair, echoed inside with the bowl, and dark gray from chimney top to foundation.
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Next.  Axis looking into the home is marvelous.  What is its opposite axis?  Double axis.  If you have a focal point in one direction you must have another in the opposite.  Has me curious.
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Lawn & large shrub at corner are thriving, sculptural.
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Almost a Garden Design course in a single pic.
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Garden & Be Well,    XOT
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Notice the gutters at the roof line?  Great example of darkish color rising up into the roof.  Too often, gutters are painted much lighter than a roof, pulling the height of the roof lower.  Another counterintuitive Garden Design layer.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Furniture in the Garden

In the garden.  That's my magnet.  If you've read for any time, you've noticed there is no 'working' in the garden, of the macro-world's vernacular entrenched meaning of working-in-the-garden.
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This I know for sure.  If you're working in your garden, and it's easy, you're doing it wrong.  If you're working in your garden, and it's hard, you're doing it wrong.
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So.  Which is more true?  Both are deeply true.
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Truth?  True work in the garden is an intellectual delight.  Best game invented.  Toughest competitor ever, yourself.  Rules change each second, weather is friend and foe, no one will ever have the pocket book for what they want to do in their garden, raising the bar, do it anyway, you are compelled, use cunning and smarts, get the garden you want. along the way realize to your core, G*d almighty first created a garden, and 'men come to build stately sooner than to garden finely, as if gardening were the greater perfection', and in the best metaphor, the game of creating your garden is realizing it is truly the gift of washing the servant's feet, Nature, or perhaps you have a notion, still, you're above the pollinating desires of a mere lady bug, or honey bee?
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Here's the deal, bottom line, it's important to be in your garden.  Comfortably.  Must begin somewhere.
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My clients know I'm far more interested in how their garden furniture is used during a soiree, where it's placed the morning after, than being at the soiree.  If it was a large soiree with myriad age groups I want to know how the various groups interacted with the garden.  But this is jumping ahead of the story.  About you.  And being in your garden.
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Furniture In The Garden, is my Pinterest board, over 800 pics.
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Bottom line, below, these folding chairs at a minimum.  Whatever it takes.  Most recent pic saved, below, yet one of the richest.

“Residents of an older home,* built in the 1850’s, take advantage of the summer weather to sit on their front porch off Route #800.” Barnesville, Ohio, July 1974. Below, the back …:
Pic, above, here.

Have written about preferring square/rectangular garden tables over round, on deck/patio.  They are more useful, can be pushed together or against a rail or the house.  Round table, below, is perfect.  Each seat, a lush view.  Great Garden Design too.

 Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick selling Manhattan townhouse:
Pic, above, here.

This story, below, is rich.  Wish I knew what it was.

 Paris est une Fête! — Une terrasse à Paris. Paris terrace.:
Pic, above, here.

Hope this table, below, sails a thousand ships.  Repurposed everything.  And a mix of seating.

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Pic, above, here.
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Very nice, below, go buy it.  If it's not in your budget, easy too.  Do what the French do.  One of the best things I learned while studying historic gardens across France is about furniture in the garden.  If garden chairs are field gathered, paint them all the same color.

#balcony #garden #city:
Pic, above, here.
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Am field gathering garden chairs now for my harvest table.  A crush of hodge-podge-lodge at present.  Some chairs I had, I know will go away, once field gathering anew is successful.
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Once 10 chairs are bagged, I know exactly what color they will be painted.  If you've read for any length of time, you know every garden must have an exterior color trinity.  A centuries old concept.  For our ca. 1900 American farmhouse I chose the classic, green-brown-white.  The white & green have already been specified, still working on the brown.  The chairs will be green.
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Field gathering targeted items is one of my favorite things to do.  Mostly, they are sourced at thrift stores, yard sales, Goodwill, or Habitat Restore.  The hunt is like cocaine, if I knew what that was like, but imagine the garden hunt to be far superior.  Oddly, garden hunts of my pack of garden gals, equally rich to enjoy, as much as my own.
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There is a proper way to share garden hunt finds.  Text a pic or call and describe, then the most wicked part, something to the tune of, It Was Three Dollars.
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Garden & Be Well,    XOT
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Something happened with the cheap folding chairs.  I've kept too many.  On purpose.  Beloved wants to toss over half of what we have.  Nope.  When we go to a pool party, picnic, concert, fireworks, etc. I always bring extra chairs.  They always get used.  My personal Garden Chair Ministry.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Right Green Man

Another Green Man, below.  If you don't know Green Man, take the link, centuries of lore, multiple continents & cultures.
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This Green Man, wrapping a corner, owning the garden & house, yet subtle, below, perfect for my previous garden, 30 years in a red brick cottage garden.
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Now, our ca. 1900 American farmhouse?  No.  Wouldn't look of-the-whole.  One possibility for my house, have Picasso customize a Green Man for me.  Matisse may be the better choice.  Yes, dear Henri.  His Cut Outs steal my heart.
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Ahead of moving into pure history, I had a quaint cluelessness, in totality, how Garden Design focal point choices would change.  

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Pic, above, here.
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No exaggeration to say TRUCKLOADS of garden items were taken to Goodwill once we moved in.  Hard action step, Beloved's big work truck, his team of men dispatched decades of hunting/gathering.  Zero time for yard sale, or to take to consignment.  Out, gone.
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Nothing like a TRUTH, when we do it to ourselves.
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If that makes you laugh, it should, you understand my entire premise of Garden Design.  Layers of truths.  Each simple.  Yet each layer a black hole to previous thinking.  Blessedly so.  Good riddance.  .
Garden & Be Well,    XOT
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Matisse.  Definitely Matisse.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Keep it Small Sweetie

I wake before dawn a few days ago, thinking how the potager beds can be made larger.
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Planned since moving in 1.5 years ago, the potager has its location, and mission statement, easy to maintain, gorgeous to look at when I'm 80+.    Nothing drawn.  Nothing flagged.  Aka, the cheapest form of gardening or a highway to hell.  Me, the expert, still fighting Garden Ego.
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Wisdom thinks, How will I cover the ground during down time, pull weeds during the high season.  Keep deer, armadillo, possum, birds, away from my harvest?  Shrink, the potager went, properly sized.  Keep it small sweetie.  Already knew, Keep it simple sweetie.  How many more of those are there to learn?

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Pic, above, here.
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No wood edging for us.  Cobblestone.  I don't want to replace the wood.  Once & done, cobblestone.

 ...vegetable garden with walls...former owner of Ballard Designs:
Pic, above, here.
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Single layer of cobblestone, not my budget, above.

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Pic, above, here.
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Wise.  Incredibly wise, above.  Every inch easy to work.

 Portfolio garden 2 - Arne Maynard Garden Design:
Pic, above, here.
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Have seen my price point version of cages, above, lovely.  A delight seeing these, fully broughamed.

 cloches:
Pic, above, here.
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Cloches have been waiting since moving in.  A few are atop a bookcase in my office.  Their sound, fingertips trilling atop a table.

 chicken wire "greenhouse" to keep out birds, deer and rabbits Projects X 2: The Berry Barn:
Pic, above, here.
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Hope I don't have to resort to this, above.  A friend has 2, both made by her son, they're gorgeous,  shaped like a traditional single room school house/church.  And, made of rebar.  Love it when girlfriend don't play !
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Who was that person thinking of a large potager?  Keep it small sweetie.  A first, thinking that.  Won't be the last.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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"To bear trials with a calm mind robs misfortune of its strength and burden."  Seneca, Hercules Oetaeus, 231-232.
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Bless that wiser voice.  When a client goes big, Beloved is not afraid to say, Build your own prison.  They don't get it at first.  Time passes, they all mention it to him later.  They understand.
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Designing landscapes, my job is more about what to say 'No' to.  Realized that decades ago.
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Most homes have a builder installed landscape, with rare exception, that misfortune is kept for decades thru myriad owners.    

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Garden Design Template: Gravel & Green

A trade article I read earlier this year, European sourced, blamed the lack of young'ish people gardening upon 'older' people being poor examples of gardeners.  More than missing the boat, greater than missing it by a galaxy, they shot past our universe, to be wrong.
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Whatever !  Not going there now.
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Isolating Garden Design templates, you know, the ones that keep cropping up.  (Sorry, too amusing, that horrible pun, it wasn't intended.)
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Garden Design templates, all are centuries old, most are BCE.
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What, oh what, to name them?
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Continually, I'm doing Garden Design work, with no name.  Tara Turf, for example.
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I came to Garden Design, same as most of the herd.  It's a pack animal belief system, especially in USA.  "What do I want to do?  I want this & this & that & etc.  Oh, I love that, it will be wonderful in the front yard."  Wilderness years.  Money & effort, no results, aside from visual proof, arrogance, with zero use of intellect.  Most, alas, never set foot into the wilderness years.  No desire, I get that.  Those getting into the wilderness, never quite pull themselves out.
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A tiny few, decide to leave the wilderness and hire a Garden Designer.  When I decided to leave the wilderness, zero funding.  Off to college for a 2nd degree, this time, horticulture.  Total bamboooozzzzzle was that USA horticulture degree.  Next, off to study historic gardens across Europe for decades.  Finally.  True beginning, learning Garden Design.
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Back to those Garden Design templates.
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You're looking at one, below.  Every element of a garden room is here, sky, ceiling, walls, chair rail, flooring, focal point, flow, function.
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Gravel & Green.


Pic, above, here.
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Wonder lies in each template.  Intuitively, you know, "I can do this."  Better, your mind/heart, understands and morphs the Gravel & Green into shapes, plantings, focal point, perfect, and original to you and your site's needs.
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Now, this moment, whether you like the Gravel & Green template or not, mentally eradicate your existing Garden Design, replace it with Gravel & Green.
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Fun, yes?
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Garden & Be Well,     XO T
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BCE?   Never saw, BCE, until I went to Israel and did the Foot Steps of Jesus tour.  Two weeks of wonder & joy.  Love Israel.  Shock of seeing Jerusalem, from Mount of Olives, and realizing the West Bank is merely a Landscape Architecture construct.  Going to a new settlement and realizing it is literally, Guns and Roses.  Building new homes upon rock, bringing everything it takes to grow plants.  Building settlements is Horticulture.  Landscape Architecture & Horticulture in this humbling biblical place, from its earliest settling.  Ironic, exactly where G*d first placed people, in a garden.  Earth.  BCE, Before Christ's Era.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Garden Design Course in a Single Photo

In many others, and my own, there is a demanding Muse for Garden Photography.
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Every layer, below, Muse's demand, decadently satisfied.
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A Garden Design course can be taught from this pic, below, alone.
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Muse's demand?  Speaking to Jean Cocteau, Sergei Diaghilev said it best, "Astonish me.".

1. Boxed hedge of ivy for outdoor seating area 2. Grass borders:
Pic, above, here.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Want bonus points?  Label every layer, above.
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Love pairs of words, ASTONISH ME, double lovely !  Had to use this new pair after discovery in an article about Andre Leon Talley in NYTimes yesterday.

Monday, December 19, 2016

How To: Break Garden Design Rules

Made me laugh, below.  Know why?
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Think back to a Garden Design Rule.  Broke it here, in triplicate.  Backhand down the line winner.
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Shooting this Garden Room, many angles can be shot, proving this particular Garden Design Rule reigns.  Pull the shot back, Garden Design Rule broken.
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Know the Garden Design Rules into your DNA, break a Garden Design Rule when it makes your soul smile, a wicked smile.  That's what made me laugh, below.
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Garden Design is a language.  In the beginning, Garden Design was what I wanted it to be.  Rules?  Not for me.  In time, a koan arrived.  In bed last nite, zero desire to read on my phone, instead, wildly strong urge to read from a book, though the lamp would have to be turned off.  Oh my, the bother, yes?
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Two books, grabbed, Daily Strength For Daily Needs, by Mary W. Tileston.  Recommended by Celestine Sibley, a well known columnist for the AJC when I moved to Atlanta over 3 decades ago, and used in many of her columns thru the years.
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Thomas (1795-1880) Carlyle, puts it clearly about why you must break Garden Design Rules, "Know that 'impossible', where truth and mercy and the everlasting voice of nature order, has no place in the brave man's dictionary.  That when all men have said 'Impossible', and tumbled noisily else whither, and thou alone art left, then first thy time and possibility have come.  It is for thee now: do thou that, and ask no man's counsel, but thy own only and G*d's.  Brother, thou hast possibility in thee for much: the possibility of writing on the eternal skies the record of a heroic life."
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With this quote, above, Tileston chose, Matt. xvii. 20, Nothing shall be impossible unto you.
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Along with,

So nigh is grandeur to our dust,
So near is God to man,
When Duty whispers low. Thou must,
The youth replies, I can.
R.W. Emerson

Looking back, and forward - Ben Pentreath Inspiration:
Pic, above, here.
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Garden Design Rules, now I trust them, knowing how to break them.  More, they are the tools to break them with.
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Garden Design Rule broken, above?  Garden Design Rule: One Focal Point per Area.
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Garden & Be Well,  XO T

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Front Door: Choosing Color

Thirty years I lived in this architecture, below.  Looming driveway/garage, wall with large windows, finally, a teeny tiny sliver, and voila, the front door.
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Garden Design's focus, at the front of the home, is the front door.  More than knowing you by your front door, I should know you from the curb.
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Fun opportunities ahead for this home, below.
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A few changes to make in the coming years, below.
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Move the flag holder from the column to a corner of the house.  No need to crowd the front door more, and zero design sense having 2 focal points side/side.  Garden Design rule, one focal point per area.
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Add stone, left/right of the sidewalk at the front door.  Take out the shrub, below, to the right of the front door, place stone, and to the left of the front door, remove the shrub, add stone.  Finally, breathing space.  And the front door 'stoop' opens to the left, and to the front.  Place a classic iron urn on plinth on the stone, to the right of the front door, at the brick wall.  Plant it seasonally, never more put a wreath on the front door.  Nor, have a cluster of pots at the base of the column.  They're crowding the space, shortening the column, and hiding a portion of the zone's best feature, a proper round column.
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Shutters, at right, below, need to be replaced with properly scaled shutters, with an arc at top.  Yes, very nice.
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Let's spend more money.  In addition to the stone already added, stone the front walk, and the front porch step.  Replace the light fixture.  Theirs is nice and more than acceptable.  Light fixtures are jewelry for the house, go for it.  More money?  Replace shutters at left with custom shutters too.
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Brick exterior with black shutters, greige trim and Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue front door. Kylie M Interiors E-design, Edecor and online color consulting

These pics are from a color consultation by Kylie M. Interiors.  I've done exterior color choices for 30 years with my Garden Designs.  Along with patio/deck furnishings, views into windows with window treatments/furniture arrangement, lighting, urns, all in an effort to get clients OUTSIDE.  Never as an extra profit center, what a quaint world my career began in.
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Black front doors are hard to get right, when they are, wow, shazaaaam.  Mostly, black front doors look like a void, as if the door is open, not there.
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In addition to choosing a front door color to coordinate with house siding, roof, trim it must also, for me, pop from the interior art & textiles.
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Blue, below, is excellent.  However, I would need to go inside this home, see their art, and other color choices, before a final 'blue' choice.
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Choosing color this way is too fun, "Oh I love that color."  Well, I know, you've chosen it in your art.  A zone that makes you HAPPY.

Brick exterior with black shutters, greige trim, Wythe Blue painted front door. Kylie M Interiors Edesign and E-decor color consulting online
Pic, above, here.
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Garden Design choices for, above, I see 'instantly'.  Having a brain 'fixing everything' is tiresome while driving thru neighborhoods.  How many times has Beloved heard, "Gosh I want this whole neighborhood." ?
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A past client posted a pic on Facebook yesterday, she's bought a new home out of state.  Many comments congratulating her.  Me?  It's obvious my comment to her, "You need me !!!!!"
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Garden & Be Well, XO T
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Client needing me, above, a lot like me, no kids, doesn't cook.  I designed/maintained her townhome garden for several years, decades ago, every Friday.  Chose that day wickedly.  Her townhome was in the hi-rent zip code of Atlanta, and Fridays were the best estate sales.  And I drive a truck,  A nice match, still living with many of those pickings.  One Friday, she was cleaning out her fridge.  She had left a large tin of lasagna in her fridge so long it had eaten thru the tin.  More stories with her but they cannot be written in this forum.  So, what kind of forum?  A lunch with me in the Conservatory, just a few of us gals, wine, laughter, everyone's stories.  There is my gold, for writing.  Wish I had been taking notes all these decades.  There is a safety in women's sharing.  All share, none will tell or they'll be exposed too.  Yes.  Total safety.  You men should be worried what is shared.
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No worries, I know the reverse is true with men !

Monday, December 12, 2016

Historic Layered With Mid-Century Modern

Divine smash-up of mid-century modern AND historic Garden Design.
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My kind of maintenance too.  Rustic, refined.  Sharp mind, sure hand.  
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Ooooh, that color on the furniture.  I'm in.  Had me at hello.
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How little can you have in your garden, and it's useful, and it's beautiful, and it's easy to maintain ?
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Keep it simple sweetie, check.  Pushing all the right buttons.
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Both masculine, feminine.
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Can you label the parts?

creeping-fig-wall-matthew-williams
Pic, above, here.
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Canopy trees, understory trees, wall, floor, focal point, flow, axis.  Exterior architecture, a garden room.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Binary Thinking is Not For Garden Design

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

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

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mid-Century Ranch: A New 'After' Pic

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

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

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Oddly: Design For Winter

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

Design laid bare:
Pic, above, here.

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Play a Bigger Game: Focal Points

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

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

Monday, November 28, 2016

Enlarging Territory

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

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

Friday, November 25, 2016

Paired Down Richness

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

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

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

Hedging Properly

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

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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Control Amongst Chaos

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

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Easy Garden Furniture

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

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cluttered and Sparse

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

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

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