Showing posts with label Feng Shui. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Feng Shui. Show all posts

Monday, January 26, 2015

Community Activists Who WANT to Stay off the Radar

When my father ran for city council, 1970's, he had Coffee's in friends houses.  He lost.  Ran again, won.
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When I go home I still walk the park at the marsh along Clear Creek, where fresh water meets salt water, created/saved/maintained with my dad on the zoning team.  Further along my walk, towards the end, saved as I did during bike rides as a child, Galveston Bay on Upper Bay Road,  Deep salt water, boats, my little island, the land of G*d.  Too bad land views beyond the water were not in the jurisdiction of my dad's zoning team back-in-the-day.  Now, it's all construction.   
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Toward the end of dad's tenure in city government a parcel of land, salt water frontage, was considered for a new nursing home.  Dad went ballistic.  Zoning team worked hard, had many scares, yet prevailed.  Nursing home never built, and the land preserved as a public park.  Before reaching the boardwalk on Upper Bay Road, my feet are on the gravel trails of that park.  Grace given from one generation to another.  Dad & his team with zero concern for recognition.  
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Today, the park 'just is' for most who pass it and use it.  Exactly what the zoning team wished.  
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Across USA are dozens of teams doing the same.  However, they are not city government nor legal zoning groups.  Few are recognized, nor want to be.  Easier to work under the radar, these people are not stupid.  Yet they perform major & minor tasks for communities, for you, for me.  
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These groups made my career.  Time has brought success, in gratitude I continue meeting with these groups at rates reflecting the early/hungry years.  


3 decades of lecturing to Garden Clubs across Georgia, and USA.
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Decades of sitting thru their business meetings.  They never cease to interest me.  The Garden Club is the tapestry of a community, and a last bastion of civility.  
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Information.  Often the type you will not find elsewhere.   Crimes occurring, who has died, who is gravely ill, who has moved away/in, arranging for community decor at the entry ways for the holidays.  
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Nor is it uncommon for Garden Clubs to step into local government issues affecting their 'subdivision'.  Yes, Garden Clubs have stopped major big box construction on small rural roads unable to handle the 'services' required.  Most Garden Clubs have charities they raise money for, with long track records.
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A few Garden Clubs host Flower/Garden Shows bringing major convention traffic to their leading American cities.
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Every layer of activity with a Garden Club increases/touches social connection, property values, safety, civility.
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Unpaid public servants.


Garden Clubs have meetings about plants, but they are not plant meetings.



 Holding office in a Garden Club is easy.  There is a mentored path to president, if you wish.  However, this is the realm of matriarchs.  Beware, mean girls.  If you're serious about going to 'president' position, those matriarchs will turn you into one of them, or you'll drop out because you-want-to.  Once your name is off the Garden Club list, bless-your-heart, those matriarchs will still invite you in.  Knowing the power of a Mean Girl turned Matriarch.
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As decades pass, and women retire from amazing careers, they join Garden Club for the first time.  A broad array of skill sets are within Garden Club.  Almost every time amongst them I'm wishing I knew everything every woman in the room knew.  They humble me.  There is so much to learn.


Most amazing fact about Garden Club?  Virtually ignored by their cities & businesses.
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Unless the mayor has decided to become jealous of their successes.  Yes, I know of that true story too.  A delicious tale, but I have to head off to jobsites.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Pics from a Garden Club talk I gave earlier this month.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Of Chickens & Caretakers of Charlie Hebdo Victims


Last Wednesday, a massacre in my chicken coop.  Neighbor's dogs already drawing blood, and death, by the time I arrived.
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DNA takes over when you come upon a bear while walking in the woods, and during a chicken massacre.  In my experience.
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Screaming.  8 days later my voice still not good.
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Blessedly the dogs owner heard, ran, helped.  With character & integrity.  


He helped gather the dead.  And wounded.

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Wednesday was the Paris massacre too.  Gathering coop debris Thursday evening, still seeing where dead chickens lay, feathers now in hand, how could this be dead people with families, friends, lives?
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This chore, a fragment of the gift of stewardship, made me aware of and pray for those caretaking the dead and wounded in the Charlie Hebdo office.
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A headline arrived about those caretakers.  A police commissioner, after meeting with family of a Charlie Hebdo victim, committed suicide.


Less than 1/4 acre, in a subdivision of tightly packed houses, these pics are my home.  Where my garden begins.
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Garden views reign at every window.  Imperative, and non-negotiable.  Thirty years building, garden paths, terraces, conservatory, potager, ponds, chicken coop, plantings blooming every day of the year, and etc.
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Three years ago, chickens arrived.  The goal was to enjoy their calm sounds & movements, marvel at their beauty, then, processing.  Instead, they taught me how smart chickens are, and human-like in their behaviors of hierarchy.  Who knew they would make me laugh, daily?    Plus, egg ministry.  Ridiculous, it's fun giving eggs away.  How wonderful my garden soil would be if it had had chicken poop for 3 decades instead of 3 years.
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Without effort, these chicks humbled me in arenas I did not know existed.  They gave something no garden, no garden writer, no garden speaker, no garden classes, no horticulture degree, no garden book, no PBS garden show, no garden center, no garden website, no garden blog, no garden Youtube, no garden Facebook wall, even hinted toward,  Stewardship.
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Until chickens, as enriching as my garden was, it was merely amusement compared to stewardship.
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Amusement with my garden felt like going to church, tacking onto its religion, reading the bible, making strong efforts to become spiritually filled.  Stewardship, gives hints at hearing the author of the bible, knowing Nature as the 'written' structure of Providence.   And the spiritual well?  Filled beyond measure, without effort.
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Wendell Berry has written of stewardship in essays, poetry, fiction, for decades.
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Stewardship cannot be given.  But, like Tasha Tudor chose for her motto, she read in a poem, Take Joy,  Stewardship is there to be taken.  Whenever you are ready.  Stewardship is far more than caretaking chickens or a garden.  It is metaphor.


What does stewardship mean to you?

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I settled for amusement with my garden, not knowing there was more.
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Stewardship.  You have it for your own life, whether you think so, or not.
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Great amusement in knowing my chickens gave me stewardship.  Greater thanks in the depth of the gift.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Do you know what processing a chicken means?  Killing & eating.  Never named my chicks, knowing I was a tough girl and would process them.  Of course those thoughts were toast long ago.  
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Alpha Girl has major physical trauma but is eating, pooping, alert, and I'm hand feeding.  Yesterday she pushed away, in her total alpha girl 'attitude', another chick.  Of course I had to tell Beloved how noble Alpha Girl is and I could only wish to be as noble in a tough situation.
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Beloved tried to remain speechless at this new fact about chickens.  

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Design: Defining Space with Paths


Garden paths are ahead of plantings in the garden design process.
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Lawns & Tara Turf are paths too.
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Paths are dictated by the house, function, patio, driveway, shade, trees, existing plantings, new features, etc.
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Shot yesterday, below, this new path follows a well trod dirt path my client created during 2+ decades in his home.
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Stepping stones, and edging stones were chosen to copy the type of stone put in by the builder originally.
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Gray cobblestone edging is more common, but not for this site.  I needed to flow with the history already created, aka keep it simple sweetie.
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This project should be completed by the end of the week.  Can't wait to do the walk thru with the owners.


Foot path location, below, used to create new formal stone path.  Many garden paths would be complete, with just stones in dirt, below.  This home is formal French architecture, the garden is not large, the entire garden is treated as a courtyard.


His original dirt path, below.


Stone edging piled, below, are called rubles.  By us !   I think they are correctly named stone rubble.
Brown/beige/white gravel was chosen, too, to copy the existing stone color on site.
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Owner enlarged the scope of the project once we began.  Always happens.  Always.  I think it's because owners 'see', once the paper design becomes 3-D.  Of course there is great humor in knowing a few days earlier only a certain amount of money was available.  Then, poof, voila, money landed from space to enlarge their garden project.


Paths are instant in a garden.  Compare top/bottom pics.  This project is incomplete but the changes are 180.
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Human nature, aka untrained garden design brain, thinks plants will create an instant landscape.  I think of this as job security.  
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Garden & Be Well,     XO T

For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
.
Award winning speaker, hire me for your group, local/out-of-state.
                                                                                 .
Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
.
Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
.
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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A.S. Byatt: Le Jardin Rustique

 "You must learn now, that the important lesson – as long as you have your health – is that the divide is not between the servants and the served, between the leisured and the workers, but between those who are interested in the world and its multiplicity of forms and forces, and those who merely subsist,  ......."  A.S. Byatt




Before computers & cell phones, handouts at my lectures had the quote, above, at their top or bottom.   USA landscaping is broken, knew this decades ago.  My big discovery, above, Le Jardin Rustique.  Blessedly discovered, in Europe, decades ago.  Created from thousands of years of refinements.  Le jardin rustique's have created, & refined me.
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Never tire of experiencing another's awakening to le jardin rustique.
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High, medium & low meadows, above.  Came home with Tara Turf at first siting.  A well known blogger, saw similar and said, "they even have daisies in the grass."  He saw, without comprehension.  And, he's a degreed residential architect, USA of course.
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What is this enfilade, above, to le jardin rustique?  Survival of mind-body-spirit.  Literally, and metaphorically.  
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Aside from beauty, unskilled labor to maintain, no chemicals or n-p-k poisoning groundwater/killing pollinators, no irrigation system, canopy-understory-walls-groundcover plantings to increase pollinator habitat & shade/sun the house as needed thru the years/seasons, increased property value/decreased HVAC, increase of crop yields by 80%, scientifically proven need of our bodies to harbor beneficial bacteria given to us from these habitats reducing auto-immune diseases, ADD, depression & more, there is a simplicity of relationship with Earth, as we intellectually engage, Earth provides & sustains beyond what we know we need.  
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We all need a-room-of-our-own, Virginia Woolf, “When a subject is highly controversial, one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opinion one does hold.” 
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If you have read this far, and have a mow-blow-go-testosterone-on-wheels-commodify-all-I-touch-landscape, why?  Rejection with those landscapes was upfront with me, without knowledge of their replacement.  Decades have been spent finding the answer.  More than resonate, hope your inner core, from your gut, feels the words, above.
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Jung knew, "Our lives are about getting the outside to match the inside."  The time this takes & riches to be found are, indeed, our life.
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Links to scientific studies meander in previous posts, no time to look them up today.
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Pic via Pinterest
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" ‘Like life,’ said the painter. ‘We eat and are eaten, and we are very lucky if we reach our three score years and ten, which is less than a flash in the eyes of an angel. The understanding persists, for a time. In your craft and mine.'” – from “Christ in the House of Martha and Mary”, by A.S. Byatt
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For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
.
Award winning speaker, hire me for your group, local/out-of-state.
                                                                                 .
Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
.
Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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
.
Changes will be slow, plodding is my adored method.  Pulling triggers here/there is spice in the mix.
.
What do YOU want?
.
Nothing is too small, too big, or too ego crushing to mention.
.
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.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Garden Design: Aging in Place

Keep- it- Simple- Sweetie works, every time.
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Perhaps my Garden Design rule breaker, Overdose- on- a- Theme, is how you want to garden design, in spots, instead.


If this were the only garden space, above, I had until age 89 it would be my life's goal/mission to be the sole soul maintaining this sweet garden.
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Why?  Means I would be climbing a ladder to clip the espalier fruit tree or gather fruit, in season.  Oh my, the joy of clipping the low hedge and spiral.  Puttering about with the pots, bulbs, mentally deciding thru the years how to out-perform the previous year/s in fabulosity.
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If this little garden design did need a hired helper it merely needs unskilled labor twice a year.
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 Beautiful, low maintenance, mentally stimulating through the years, no chemicals or watering needed, fruit to eat, turn into jam or give away.
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These little doorway gardens are quite common in historic gardens across Europe.  History is the best teacher.
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Lawn with foundation plantings, fertilizer, insecticides, pre-emergents, and a plop of colorful annuals twice each year?  Mr. Mow-Blow-Go-Commodify-All-I-Touch on contract to arrive weekly?
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Not for me.  Mentally & spiritually soul crushing along with being bad for my physical well being.
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Aging in Place.  Make the choice in your garden for type of garden design, the beauty, mental paths and joy in the maintenance whether you do it, or a helper.  Take the joy.  Joy, it's always there, whether you think so or not.  Take joy, Tasha Tudor's favorite saying.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
.
Award winning speaker, hire me for your group, local/out-of-state.
                                                                                 .
Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
.
Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
.
Construction by Award Winning
Shaefer Heard Construction, licensed home-builder, renovation - new construction.  Heard's Landscaping a unit of SHC.  3 decades of service.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Free Garden Design Class: Flow

 “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”

John Muir, 1838-1914, American naturalist, author, and wilderness advocate

Arriving at jobsite yesterday morning, below.  Already knew: 3 generations, 80 - 7 mos., gather here, 400+ acres, cattle, 3 acre lake, view a mile deep from the back porch.
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Matriarch wants a new gate, below, patriarch a stone column.  Will match stones to the house, field gathered from the property, smaller stones as plinth with fieldstone topper as done a century ago.  Sourcing historic farm gates from England making every effort to keep this gate's frame & let an iron monger copy our new (old) idea.  



Do you know what an Alice In Wonderland house is?  They get bigger the closer you walk.  That's this house.
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Go slow reading this, v e r y s  l  o  w.
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What is missing, below?
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Flow.
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Cole Porter wrote about this house, don't- fence- me- in.
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Coming off the right side of the porch, I've put steps.  
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This door, below, leads to the kitchen.  What do you think I designed here?
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Seriously, design this, right now, in your head.
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From the corner of the front porch, and along the entire side of the house I've put in local gravel, 26' wide, straight to the foundation of the house.  A priority making things simple for the matriarch & matriarchs she's raised.  Aside from being historic they must unload groceries easily from their car.  


What else did I do, below?
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What would you do?
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Remember, Cole Porter.
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Have sited fieldstone steps, gathered on site, into hillside.
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More about 'exactly' where they go in another post.  Very easy, stay tuned.
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View, below, from the back porch.
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Have removed the 1st fence, not needed for cattle anymore, and put a gate, needs to be sourced, into the second, with a stile too.  A path of invitation to the lake, adding a flagstone terrace, fire ring, and Old Town canoe with tiny motor attached.


Do you see, below, Cole Porter again?  Where?
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Help, I can't get on/off the porch at the side of the house.
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At the open end of the porch, below, I have put in steps.


Fireplace, and 2 pair of French doors are inside this screened porch.
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Help, I can't get out.
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A pair of screen French doors have been designed into the far right panel, on axis with an interior pair of French doors, with stone steps.  You knew that, right?
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 You should be in the swing of this 'flow' thing.  Finish the song.
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1 thing left to do, below.
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What is it?
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A pair of steps off the left side of the front porch.
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Voila, FLOW.
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Garden design, for plants, must be vintage with no maintenance.  What do you think I did?
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Sleep on it.  Will post the plant design soon.
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Garden & Be Well,      XO Tara
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Pics shot at the jobsite yesterday morning.
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This patriarch is one of the closest copies to John Muir I've met, though he looks exactly like Deke Slayton, who lived around the corner and my dad designed booster rockets for, with Wernher von Braun, and trained at the controls .  The matriarch?  I bow low in praise of her.  Met one of the matriarchs she produced, close to my age, at a jobsite we shared, and how I came to the work.  Matriarchs are a special love of mine.  Yet many do not produce matriarchs themselves.  Odd, yes?  When women of a certain age have not crossed into the matriarch zone it is Joseph Campbell, 'if you don't get it here, you won't get it anywhere.'   Discovered Garden Design 'flow' at Lake Rabun, the family home I married into/out of.  Would marry that alcoholic again solely for what I learned about Garden Design at Lake Rabun.  Driven for Garden Design?  A bit.  Toss in decades of studying historic gardens across Europe.  Yes, I was anal enough to add a motor to the Old Town canoe !
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Flow is done in a Garden Design first.  Not plants.
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Please pass this post to any of your friends who are interested in Garden Design.  It's that important, aka it took me 30 years to be this simple, and sure.  And, my work for Hedgerow Farm.  

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Minimalist Guide to Building Your own Conservatory

Better Homes & Gardens magazine recently put a Conservatory I built with Susanne Hudson for the Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival in their magazine again.  Haven't read it yet but am curious.
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My garden is 8500sf total, including house.  This is for tiny gardens too.
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Conservatory in my garden, below,  best investment in 'me' ever.
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Salient facts: 12' x 18' is the minimum size, doors must be on 2 walls minimum, electrical outlets on every wall, chandelier, ceiling fans, wood stove.  Site parallel or perpendicular to your home.  
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 A 'moveable' structure meets most zoning laws allowing you to site properly.
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90% rescued materials, below.  Most, a century old.
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A decade of search/rescue + filling the piggy bank to pay for labor/materials/electrical.  Voila.


Choose a good carpenter, let their talent shine on your team.


Never tire of these French doors, they began life a century ago, 1 each side of a fireplace, in my grandmother's Federal style house.


Ground was not level.  Stone steps were rescued, and gravel chosen for the floor.  No worries getting finished interior grade level.


Conservatory, above, Susanne & I built, in the new BHG magazine.  Styling, above, is ours, the magazine has theirs.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Top 3 pics in my backyard.  Wanted a larger Conservatory but space did not allow.  Squeaked by with the minimum, 12' x 18'.  The day my Conservatory was completed and the men helped bring in all the antiques from the garage, then left, I sat in the finished Conservatory for the 1st time alone, IT BEGAN.  Life's tipping point.  Who knew?  Beware of getting what you ask for.  It WILL change your life.  What was seen thru a glass darkly will shine clear.  In that moment you will let go of every thing holding you back.  Fear that crippled will fall away as if you knew nothing of its existence.
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Lunch Ministry is often held in my Conservatory.  Amazing the amount of laughter, and tears, this blessed Conservatory has already harbored with friends.  Beloved, when he realizes I'm in the Conservatory, most often, will leave me alone until 'I' decide to come in.  Grace pulsating.
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Minimalist?  Mentored, as a little girl, by Miss Katherine Scott, "I can live without the necessities but must have the luxuries."  From age 7, wisdom understood.  An understanding never appreciated by my dad, a little more by Beloved.  Kindred spirits totally 'get it'.
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For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
.
Award winning speaker, hire me for your group, local/out-of-state.
                                                                                 .
Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
.
Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
.
Construction by Award Winning
Shaefer Heard Construction, licensed home-builder, renovation - new construction.  Heard's Landscaping a unit of SHC.  3 decades of service.