Showing posts with label Focal Point. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Focal Point. Show all posts

Thursday, April 26, 2018

18 Garden Design Rules You Need to Use: All in This Seemingly Simple Garden

Get 'the' Garden Design memo, below?  Aside from 'the' memo, what are the bullet points for the memo in macro, not merely micro?
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Garden Design course in a single photo, below.  Not the entire curriculum, but enough for major memo about Garden Design.
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Seriously, if you were teaching this Garden Design course today, what bullet points are in this photo, below?
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Wish I had you in a real classroom, no more than 20 of you.
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I was a fully fledged adult arriving to Garden Design, the engineering degree not-so-much help.  Aside from intuitively knowing Garden Design was a process, its machinations were so magic in effect, layers remained indecipherable.  No words, no language to process a good Garden Design.
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Worse, went to get another degree, this time horticulture, and the same thing happened, zero language or understanding of historic Garden Design principles were taught.  But , baby I had 'credentials'.  Junk in the trunk.  Monster junk, harmful to Earth, body, spirit.  That's another book/article/lecture/post.
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Off to Europe, late 80's, studying historic Garden Design 20+ years.
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This garden, below, made me smile at first site.
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Why do you think it made me smile?

Rachamankha Hôtel in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I didnt know about architect Khun Ongard Satrabhandhu until today when I saw the very cool…
Pic, above, here.
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Pair of stone animals, (are they cows or horses?), at the entry, above.  At a distance, even, performing their duties.  Sentinels announcing, "Yes, come this way, enter, you're welcome, we want you to walk this way."  In their wordlessness of welcome, and direction, a benediction, grace.  Remember, if you need words in your garden, it's a fail.
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Already, you're getting a Garden Design bullet point from the garden, above.
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Imagine the same pic, above, yet a small sign placed at the front of the steps, Entry.  Oh dear, that would be banal, gauche, worse, lacking in grace.
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Walking a garden with a kindred spirit, seeing such a sign, 'entry', in an otherwise beautiful setting, we'd merely make eye contact, make a face, move on.  Pure understanding.  However, walking in this garden with a kindred spirit, our feet would not be touching the ground.  Looks between us, total joy & grace, move on, hungry to see more, time & reality have ceased to exist, life is only the garden at hand, and perhaps a good cup of tea with a scone, or such, when we alight on a chair.  Perhaps a glass of wine, cheese/crackers, freshly quartered blood oranges?  Exactly what happened with friends while visiting a private garden in Alabama last week.  Another post, promise.
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Notice the world's most historic Garden Design Color Trinity?  Green-Brown-White.
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Contrasting foliage, above, large leaves next to small leaves.
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Foliage at the far right column following the Garden Design Rule: Just Let It Touch.  Especially love that rule, made it up myself, one of many, noticed across Europe yet never put into words anywhere I've read, or heard in conversation, lectures.
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Garden Design Layers: Canopy, Walls, Floors, each designed & executed.  Better, purest simplicity.
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Crunch of gravel underfoot, Sound in the garden, in addition to wind thru foliage, and hopefully the sound of water is in this garden, above, too.
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Subsidiary color to the main Color Trinity?  Noticed already?  Lead color for pots, bench, windows/doors, railing.
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Pruning shape, rounded, for plants in pots, contrasting formal with the informal of canopy tree foliage at far right.  Furthermore, choosing to prune potted plants rounded, in contrast to the square columns.
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White chosen is creamy.  Bright white would jump forward, making the space feel smaller, especially the terrace.
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Repetition of pots and their plantings.  Repetition of Green.  All Green gardens are the fastest to achieve their goal, and the most serene.  A simple plant selection, not too much diversity, calm, and tough plants too, less maintenance/disease/watering/bugs.
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What did I miss for this Garden Design course in a single photo?  What shouts to you?  What makes you smile?
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Garden Design Rules Executed in the Garden Above:

1.  Pair of focal points announcing an entryway.
2.  Color Trinity chosen: green-brown-white.
3.  Canopy-Walls-Floor designed, executed.
4.  Contrasting foliage sizes, large leaves next to small leaves.
5.  Contrasting foliage pruning, formal & informal.
6.  Sound designed, wind thru foliage, crunch of gravel underfoot.
7.  Subsidiary Color chosen, lead, for pots, furniture, windows/doors, rails.
8.  Creamy white chosen instead of bright white, creating a large space for a smallish front porch.
9.  Small variety of plants chosen, simplicity, greater visual impact.
10. Tough plantings chosen for ease of maintenance, no bugs/fungus/watering.
11.  Repetition of pots chosen, and their scale, color, shape.
12. Repetition of green.  All green gardens are the fastest to achieve their goal, and serene.
13. Last column, foliage barely touching, Just Let It Touch.
14. Needing words in your garden a 'fail'.
15. Hospitality a layer of expectation good Garden Design provides.
16. Using grace as a design layer.
17. Big impact Garden Design visually, yet simple ingredients, few ingredients, easy to maintain.
18. Keep it simple sweetie.  This garden's simplicity is its super power.  Intellect oozes from this
      Garden Design.
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Up front, I bristled at Garden Design Rules.  What would I tell that girl now?  Get over it, waste of time, you won't reinvent the wheel, better, your originality lies within every Garden Design rule.  Promise.  Most importantly, learn how to break any Garden Design rule, that's a bit tougher, yet necessary.  Pay attention.  Pay more attention.  Pay closer attention.  See all.  See what's not there.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

How to Take Charge of Your Ugly Landscape

Heads-up, every garden, below, uses the same 'Garden Design'.  Centuries old yet new in each incarnation.
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If you've found your way here, you've at a minimum considered what a real Garden Design is vs. mow-blow-go-commodify-all-I-touch landscapes. 
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More, you've tried Garden Design, your way.  Literally, the famous, Frank Sinatra, My way.  It didn't work. 
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How do I know?  Me too.  Excepting more stubborn, more original, too much more of the full-monty.  Zorba the Greek said it best, The full catastrophe.   

390a4222bca125474cf620398da2627a.jpg 640×960 pixels
Pic, above, here.
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With Garden Design, intuitive isn't the best path.  Garden Design is counterintuitive.
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After finally getting your Garden Design correct, you've got more layers.  Installing your Garden, plants, hardscape, focal points, just a few layers.  Hope I mentioned, how your Garden Design interacts with your home's architecture, paramount. 
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Garden Design does not begin in the Garden.  Garden Design begins inside your home.
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Look, awhile, at pics above/below.  They are the same Garden Design.
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Draw all these gardens, pencil on paper. 
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List why they are the same garden, in words.
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Most don't have a vocabulary to describe any Garden.
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I certainly didn't, at the front end. 
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 Miranda Brooks Portfolio
Pic, above, here.

 The wide open spaces of Summer - Ben Pentreath Inspiration
Pic, above, here.
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I still purchase Garden Design history books.  Adore reading about the same gardens across history via different authors.  Layers of elucidation, daily.  Three decades after beginning my Garden Design Journey.
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Garden Design doesn't limit itself to era, location, size, budget.  Nor plane of thought.  Intriguingly, plane of thought.  Anthropomorphic, literal, metaphorical, spiritual.  Casting about history and Garden Design, spiritual is bound tightly to Garden Design.  Being a USA citizen, too, there is something given, inherent, from birth, from our Declaration of Independence.  Pursuit of Happiness.
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"Among the many surprises this country (USA) holds in store for its new citizens… there is the amazing discovery that the “pursuit of happiness,” which the Declaration of Independence asserted to be one of the inalienable human rights, has remained to this day considerably more than a meaningless phrase in the public and private life of the American Republic. To the extent that there is such a thing as the American frame of mind, it certainly has been deeply influenced, for better or worse, by this most elusive of human rights, which apparently entitles men, in the words of Howard Mumford Jones, to “the ghastly privilege of pursuing a phantom and embracing a delusion.”  Hannah Arrendt.
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"The grandeur of the Declaration of Independence… consists… in its being the perfect way of an action to appear in words. And since we deal here with the written and not with the spoken word, we are confronted by one of the rare moments when the power of action is great enough to erect its own monument.
What is true for the Declaration of Independence is even truer for the writings of the men who made the revolution. It was when he ceased to speak in generalities, when he spoke or wrote in terms of either past or future actions that Jefferson came closest to appreciating at its true worth the peculiar relationship between action and happiness."  Hannah Arendt.
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"Like Whitman, who believed that literature is the seedbed of democracy, the Founding Fathers were greatly inspired by the literature and philosophy of the Renaissance — particularly by the “men of letters” of eighteenth-century France. Arendt traces the chain of ideological influence across time, space, and culture to the French Revolution and its ideal of “public happiness,” which Jefferson appropriated. In a paper penned two years before The Declaration of Independence, he argued that the ancestors who had left Europe for America had enacted “a right which nature has given all men… of establishing new societies, under such laws and regulations as to them shall seem most likely to promote public happiness.” He then incorporated this insistence on happiness into his blatantly obvious yet somehow stealthy revision of The Declaration of Independence, changing the formulation of inalienable rights from “life, liberty and property” to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
That such a subtle one-word revision of language can effect so profound a revolution in ideology may be strange, but not nearly as strange, Arendt points out, as the fact that it was undebated in Jefferson’s day and went practically unnoticed as it reoriented the entire national ethos for the centuries that followed."  Maria Popova
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"Tyranny, according to ancient, pre-theoretical understanding, was the form of government in which the ruler had monopolized for himself the right of action and banished the citizens from the public realm into the privacy of the household where they were supposed to mind their own, private business. Tyranny, in other words, deprived men of public happiness and public freedom without necessarily encroaching upon the pursuit of personal interests and the enjoyment of private rights. Tyranny, according to traditional theory, is the form of government in which the ruler rules out of his own will and in pursuit of his own interests, thus offending the private welfare and the personal liberties of his own subjects. The eighteenth century, when it spoke of tyranny and despotism, did not distinguish between these two possibilities, and it learned of the sharpness of the distinction between the private and the public, between the unhindered pursuit of private interests and the enjoyment of public freedom or of public happiness, only when, during the course of the revolutions, these two principles came into conflict with each other."  Hannah Arendt
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"Every modern theory of politics will have to square itself with the facts brought to light in the revolutionary upheavals of the last two hundred years, and these facts are, of course, vastly different from what the revolutionary ideologies would like us to believe.
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The rediscovery of action and the reemergence of a secular, public realm of life may well be the most precious inheritance the modern age has bequeathed upon us who are about to enter an entirely new world."  Hannah Arendt.

Gardens began, enclosed.  There was much to keep out.  Animals, and worse, other people.  Centuries of walled gardens.  The world was not a safe place.  Locked walled gardens prevail over the majority of Historic Garden Design. 
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Only recently, barely 4-5 centuries of process, have gardens been designed, open facing & welcoming to the outer world.  For most of those centuries, only the wealthy had access to creating a designed garden.  The entire world was a poor place, few with means beyond subsistence.   
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Growing up USA post WWII is the aberration, not the norm for historical Garden Design.  Ego about Garden Design, in the macro people population, private & commercial, is killing bees, other wildlife, poisoning groundwater, and ourselves.  Historic Garden Design, still reigns. 
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Intuitively, I glommed onto historical Garden Design.  Alas, getting into true historic Garden Design has meant having neighbors call the police, 3 times in 30 years, about my garden.  Why?  Too many flowers, no lawn.  My garden was different from their green meatball foundation plantings and lawn. 
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A life satisfaction about those police visits, 2 men, 1 woman, was receiving an apology from each. 
Each adored my garden.  Go me.  Indeed !

 Bunny Mellon’s Cape Cod Estate
Pic, above, here.
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Go me, without any victory is the more appropriate truth.  Why do the majority of homes with landscapes have fear about Historic Garden Design?  Why fear being 'different' from their neighbors? 
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Seems the choice is clear, but I'm weird-other-strange-eccentric (a few recent adjectives thrown my way).  Each time I'm given an adjective about my personality, my reply a heartfelt, Thank you. 
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Trust the path of being faithful over being effective.  I didn't always trust my heart over head.  Was raised to use my head.  Upon reaching the dark wood Dante wrote so well about, I knew, life moving forward would be with my heart.  A fork reached in the dark wood now?  Two questions.  Does this path enlarge me?  Does this path diminish me?  And a knowing, Don't force a solution.

 Green and white landscaping
Pic, above, here.

 West garden | Tom Stuart-Smith
Pic, above, here.
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Historic Garden Design, all pics above/below, time tested upon continents, eras, regimes, cultures, ages, sexes, people, livestock, wildlife.  Results?  Aside from beauty and happiness.  People & Planet thrive.
 David Hicks' garden at The Grove, Oxfordshire UK
Pic, above, here.
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Had to include David Hicks garden, above/below.  His deeply copied homage to Historical Garden Design.  More, he chose a change of seasons within his simplicity.  In leaf, above, deciduous, below.
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 darn good looking pool: David Hicks
Pic, above, here.
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A last pic, below, of David Hicks garden, above.
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  Bellis Vintage
Pic, above, here.
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Every Historic Garden Design, above, is a trinity of  Hedge-Meadow-Woodland. 
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My garden, 3 police in 30 years?  I broke no HOA rules, all was abided by.  Excepting the county chicken clause requiring an acre of land.  With my home and a recently purchased house as a rental, indeed I owned an acre of land in the county.  The law did not stipulate someone must own a contiguous acre. 
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Still, most landscapes meet minimum for HOA & certificate of occupancy when their house was built.  I wonder why people desire "the ghastly privilege of pursuing a phantom and embracing a delusion."  Howard Mumford Jones.  This is too narrow, too harsh, most churches follow the same type of HOA garden design.  Spirit is allowed inside the walls, not outside.
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Why all this kerfuffle?  What a lot of 'stuff ' written above.   Few Garden Whisperers are born each century.  Few to keep the candle lit.  That candle leading to great inner joys, and manifest happiness in action, the meeting of body to Earth as Providence intended. 
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Pace of life, deep intuitive epiphanies, joys of change thru the seasons, days, hours.  Living territory not map.  Living signal not noise.  Living one with Earth. 
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Of course higher property values are nice, teamed with lower utility bills, having a Historic Garden Design.  Perhaps scientific studies about improved microbiome health and historic gardens should be inserted here.
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Humor of Providence, all I wanted was a pretty garden.  I got that, and a life.
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All the gardens above are quite formal, low maintenance, yet rustic.  Balanced with Nature.  Gardens to live in, Gardens giving back to your life more than you put into them.
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How to take charge of your ugly landscape?  Use Historic Garden Design principles.  Unique in each permutation, promise.  More, the world will adore seeing what you add to the canon of Historic Garden Design.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Pot Narratives

Choosing pots for your garden, choose pots fabulous empty.  Another aid in choosing a pot, ask yourself, "Is this pot so wonderful it will be fought over at my estate sale?"
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Within threads of choosing pots choose for color too.
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This pot, doesn't need to be planted, will look marvelous empty.
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Perhaps the pot planting, below, is a 10" plastic pot sold as a hanging basket, with the hanger clipped off.

wishespleasures​  ♔  Natures Beauty on We Heart Ithttp://weheartit.com/entry/113128392/via/kendra_day_crockett
Pic, above, here.
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Get your pots at the right height.  Use a plinth, above. 
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This pot is doing heavy lifting in the Garden Design realm.  Did you notice already?  More than merely a focal point for this photograph.  This pot, above, is a focal point from more than a single direction. 
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The more axis a focal point has, the better the focal point.
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See it, do it.
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Funny how much narrative the Garden Design realm performs.  Seems so easy at the front end.  Until someone points out your focal point needs a plinth, and multiple axis.  In addition to that estate sale question.
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See it, do it?  Easy?  Requires that Johnny Cash bit, Meditate-on-it.
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Garden & Be Well,  XOT
 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Garden Narrative: 20's vs 50's

Layers of narrative, below.  At the front end of learning Garden Design professionally, mid-20's,  this type of garden, below, equaled the type of home it fronted.    At that front end, this garden was also too simple, too rigid, too formal, too boring, too lacking.  Oh my what 3 decades have wrought.

French. Gravel courtyard. Symmetry. Exterior.
Pic, above, here.
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Now I see the narrative of this garden as pure joy, wisdom and a proscenium for your life.  Infinite scope for the imagination.  Importantly, easy to maintain.  No drama, your life, fully, enough. 
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More, a Garden Design for any era, any architecture.   
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"The best of life is life lived quietly where nothing happens but our calm journey thru' the day, where change is imperceptible and the precious life is everything.
-John McGahern".
Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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We are back from 10 days in Maine with a bit of Boston.  Portland, Freeport, Kennebunkport, Bar Harbor and more.
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One particular morning, staying at a B&B, still a private home built ca. 1880, on the shore in Bar Harbor, I arose early in excitement, knowing the coffee was awaiting, and exactly where I was going to sit and fully live.  The owner was awake and about, and as I carried my coffee to the porch, an older gentleman, already sitting and fully living, with a great deep voice said, "Good morning."  I replied in kind.  We two continued our full living in the greatest of silence, that symphony of Nature and ocean.
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An hour passed, the owner came outside to ask if we were ok.  The gentleman replied, "We are sharing a deep companionable silence."  She left.  We continued that deep companionable silence.  A few minutes later Beloved arrived, soon breakfast would be served and the day had begun its new threads.  "Take joy", Tasha Tudor signed off with.  Yes, indeed.
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   Image may contain: sky, tree, ocean, outdoor, nature and water
Early morning view, Bar Harbor, Shore Path Cottage.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Serendipitous Focal Point

Approach, below.

Weeks of endless Summer - Ben Pentreath Inspiration

Obvious, below, pair of urns as back drop to the bench.  But wait. there is more.

Weeks of endless Summer - Ben Pentreath Inspiration

Look what happens, below, with one of those urns from above.

Weeks of endless Summer - Ben Pentreath Inspiration

When I'm designing gardens on site or in my office, this 'game' always happens.  Designing historically, and receiving serendipities, above.
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Makes me laugh out loud, every time.
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The serendipities are sign posts, "You're doing this right."  More, knowing my Muse is in league with the same Providence as, above.  They're all having a party while I'm working.  This 'work' my party ticket.
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Work a poor word for my livelihood.  One meaning includes, "...the absence of pleasure."
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Anyway.  All of the above merely letting you know when you get it right, you'll receive party tickets too.  Along with a gorgeous garden.
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Garden & Be Well,  XO T
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Pics from Ben Pentreath.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Binding House to Site: Focal Point & Enfilade

A current client, 14 acres, and well tucked into their property, built a new home to look like a historic home.  At the first visit I fell for the ruse, thought they had renovated an antebellum home.
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The lane leading to their gravel drive is a single lane gravel road along an active train track.  Open & wooded their land has all the right drama including level and a few slopes.
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First salvo with their property is the approach at the train track, flow for cars & feet from entry to house, barn, dependencies, orchard & potager.  More importantly, currently past age 50, no detailing care with maintenance, ever.  Not a consideration & won't be tolerated.  Staring down age 80 makes simplicity, simple.
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All of the above is 'easy'.  They're all necessities, and historic templates are well trod as guides.  What bothered me most is the house not being tied to its site, well sited, it has no strings attached to the garden.
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Walking the grounds about the house, with their pack of older rescue dogs, her specialty, the tie that binds house to garden appeared.  Better, it's within an enfilade, travels past the entrance court, past the entry lane, up a slope, lands upon a pasture flat, and continues up another slope finally ending at the orchard+meadow.  What are the chances of this great gift?  Woo-woo.
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The focal point within this perfect enfilade, at present, has a single florescent pink flag staking it.  More, it can be a stone slab on a tree trunk table, a statue or urn on plinth or etc.  Whatever, the focal point must be within a dias, level with the ground, of stone or brick.  Hope you already know why.  Answer is above.  
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The tractor must be able to easily whiz around the focal point.  At speed.

Petersham nurseries another love of mine, garden fresh food, mixed with antique finds and gardening delights
Pic, above, here.

 COTE DE TEXAS
Pic, above, here.
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She will love getting the focal point right.  He will love whatever she does, eventually.
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He will be the one installing dias and topper.  You know there will be some grumbling.  Her at the front door of their home, one terminus of the enfilade, yards away, cell phone in hand, "Move it 6 inches to the right, get it level."
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His grumbling will include me, sad for the day he ever heard my name.  This phase doesn't last long.  Glad I know that ahead of time.  Men are predictable.  It takes that first party, after the garden is installed and suddenly they knew how to do their garden from the beginning.  Fine with me, I get to be the Mary Poppins Gardener, arriving when the wind changes, leaving as the wind changes again.  In my carpet bag, knowing where to site focal points & enfilades, hedges, etc....
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Monday, May 1, 2017

When the Shovels Speak


Through the decades how many discarded shovels have I seen?  Never did I see this, below, in them.

amazing giant fir cone sculpture made from old shovels, by artist Floyd Elzinga... would be beautiful in the garden:
Pic, above, here.
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"...expression is not revelation...Art reveals something beyond the message."
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"A poem of the right shape will hold a thousand truths.  But it doesn't say any of them."
Ursula  K. Le Guin
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I saw shovels and took them for noise, he, above, saw shovels and took them for signal.  Where else am I confusing the map for the compass?
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"Learning is something you pursue for yourself, after all, whereas education is something that is done to you."  Farnum Street
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"The notion that you can look at a work of art as pure form strikes me as idiocy.  If the work comes at you, it comes with everything it's got, all at once."  William Rubin, MOMA curator
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"...A lot of people in our industry haven't had very diverse experiences.  So they don't have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem."  Steve Jobs.
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"Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought." Einstein.
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"Take an object.  Do something with it.  Do something else with it."  Jasper Johns.
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Garden & Be Well,  XOT

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Cure for the Green Meatball

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

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

Friday, March 24, 2017

Tabled Pot Cluster: Simple Beauty

Always a good day, learning something new.  Pot cluster in terra cotta drew my eye, then saw the scalloped metal trays to catch water.  They seem to be from the kitchen, a tart tin?
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Where I would like to place a table top pot cluster, front porch or back deck, both have same issue.  Living rural, winds across pastures are a 'thing'.

See this Instagram photo by @potagerblog • 1,239 likes:
Pic, above, here.

Great table for a pot cluster, below.  Learned long ago how to keep the wood from rotting.  Do you already know too?  Brush boiled linseed oil on it once a year.  Once Beloved has his pole barn built, I take ownership of a delightful shed with double, large lean-to tin roofs, one facing east, the other west.  Each side will have a pot cluster on a table, with a rolling barn door built of conservatory windows, blocking pasture winds.  Toad of Toad Hall was never more joyful in an adventure, or planning in his garden, than I, and this little shed.

 natural patina on clay pots | adamchristopherdesign.co.uk:
Pic, above, here.
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Hamptons:
Pic, above, here.
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One table in my garden, a harvest table made of historic tobacco barn wood, receiving fierce winds, I will use large pots, above.  And, in the category of living a simple life with a fabulous garden I know exactly what choice morsels to plant in them.
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Big impact, little input.  Every layer of my garden, its full narrative, has rent to pay.  Don't pay the rent, you're gone.  What's the rent?  It must make me happy.  Needy for attention, not beautiful, don't tell a story, too much down time, poof, voila, gone-gone.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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“Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.” 
― Kenneth GrahameThe Wind in the Willows

Monday, February 6, 2017

Tara Template: Entry Ways

Once I decided to create a beautiful garden, age 22, living in a garage apartment, no suffering it had 3 bays backing up to 50 acres of woodland & pasture a little like the movie Sabrina, I bought a few things from the nursery, planted them, nothing.
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Nothing.
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Add a decade, books, more planting, Extension Service courses, moved into my starter home, and acquired a 2nd college degree, this time horticulture, and still the great, nothing.
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Insert 2 decades of studying historic gardens across Europe, thankfully, at the front end of those study tours, 'nothing' turned into the mother load.
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Garden Design, aside from being mostly counterintuitive, is palpably honest.  Garden Design hides nothing,  Its secrets freely given.  It was I, seeing 'nothing'.  One of the oddest things I 'saw', when my eyes opened, entry ways.
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And once you get it about entry ways you are well on your way to Garden Design of the ages.
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What is so important about entry ways?
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First layer, answering, is ineffable.  Much as an epiphany, moment of intuitive enlightenment, or a koan.  But there are several layers definitely not ineffable.
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Odd fact about entry ways in a garden.  And, important.  The more entry ways a garden has, the better a garden is.
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Odder fact about entry ways in a garden.  Entry ways are a focal point, and you cannot have too many.  Yet, the rule about focal points, One-Focal Point-per-Area, absorbs and enriches the rule about entry ways.
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Yep.  Told you, counterintuitive.
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More, entry ways in a garden never create an exit.  From both directions an entry way is an entry way.  There are no exits in a garden, only entry ways.

Image result for bunny williams garden
Pic, above, from Bunny Williams garden.
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Entry way into the wildwood, above.  One of my favorite Garden Design arrows to use.
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Without the drama, above, of the entry way, specifically the spheres on plinths, you are not beckoned, Come this way, walk here, you will be enchanted, there is more.  A bit of the Scheherazade layer of Garden Design.
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Gardens are stories.  Gardens are narrative.
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Whether you think so or not.  Don't put your story into your garden.  Fine.  Your garden is telling a story about you.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Very nice, below.  Thought you would like it too.
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Friends of Old Bulbs Gazette
Old House Gardens, Ann Arbor, Michigan, (734) 995-1486

“If seeds in the black earth can turn into such beautiful roses, what might not the heart of man become in its long journey toward the stars?”

– G.K. Chesterton, 1874-1936, British writer, poet, and philosopher

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.

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.

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Masters Class: Adding Subsidiary Focal Points to a Focal Point

Focal points in your garden must be so wonderful they are fought over at your estate sale.
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One focal point per garden room, subsidiary focal points allowed.
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Pots in your garden must be so marvelous they never have to be planted.
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Tara's Trinity of focal points, above.
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The best focal points are placed on axis seen from myriad directions, and better, if each of those axis is not visible from the others.
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Focal points must have a focal point view in their opposite direction.
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No matter the slope of your land, focal points must be level.
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You must know these focal point tips within your DNA.
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A delight, below, seeing this pot recently.  Pretty all year, even when the herbacious plantings are dormant.
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What did you think, first seeing the pot, below?  Did the plantings, and their year-round essence enter into contemplation?

garden with pinks & purples:
Pic, above, here.

Moving on. More details about siting and living with a focal point.  Contemplating a single focal point's effect upon your life, a Providential gift, using my focal point, below.
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Up front, seeing the urn & plinth, below, at a wholesale nursery, I was there buying items for a job, not to get myself a pot/plinth.  After making the purchase for the client job, in a hurry, my feet moved me over to the pot/plinth, you knew they would.  My DNA knew more than my lizard brain which kept saying, You're in a hurry, no time for this, and certainly no money.
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Wholesale pot/plinth were expensive, and wildly heavy.  Had 4 men put it into my pick-up truck.
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Into my garden, below, direct axis from the large bay window fronting my home, my previous 30 year home.



With the urn/plinth at my back, below, this is the view into that bay window.  Now you're entering the realm of Living with your focal point.  Not merely having your focal point.  Huge difference.  Huge.

TARA DILLARD: Looking into my living room from the garden, chinese snow ball, lamps on, blue + white:

Inside the bay window, below.  Living more deeply with the pot/plinth, having meals at the table, bringing my laptop to the table and working, putting together more journal pages at this table.

my bay window, drop-leaf table, chairs with cane seats, drapes, garden views, vanishing threshold, heart of pine wood floors:

With the focal point urn/plinth at my back, below, turned to a different axis view, a subsidiary focal point.  Ironically a subsidiary focal point, within a subsidiary focal point.  Go me !  Know what I am talking about here?  Hope so.  The blooms of wisteria 'Amethyst Falls' are owning the day, once finished the dovecote recovers its dominance.

TARA DILLARD: A PEAK AT MY GARDEN:

Turning to another axis, below, with the urn/plinth at my back, is another subsidiary focal point.  A planting designed to greet me as I enter/leave my driveway.

TARA DILLARD: Driveway Planting:

Another axis view, below, with the urn/plinth at my back, Laura watching me, totally acting as if I'm not there.

Laura, backdrop to my garden today.:

Another axis view, below, with the urn/plinth at my back.  This view another subsidiary focal point within a subsidiary focal point.  Who can deny the Chinese snowball is dominant?  After flowering the pair of adirondack chairs take their rightful place as subsidiary focal point.  And, destination.  When the snows of spring are this pretty, not about to walk to the chairs, harming the petals on the ground, or sit in the chairs, harming the petals in the chair.  Instead, swimming for days in the intoxicating beauty of the petals.

My front yard today.  Lawn?:
Bottom 7 pictures, shot in my garden.
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More fabulousity with this urn/plinth, above, the house is at the street with 7 neighbor's homes crowding in.  Do you see them?  Do they exist?  Not in my realm.
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This is garden design as Garden Design, capitals for the same reason as using it with Providence.
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Creating a focal point with the Garden Design 'rules' above creates Sacred space.  A moat of grace around your home, and life.
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Today, and for the past 14 months, my urn/plinth have been lying in the materials yard, on their side on a pallet, awaiting placement in our ca. 1900 American farmhouse.  Clearing invasives, renovating garden sheds, building new outbuildings, grading, drilling a well, renovations to the house, have all come ahead of starting the Garden.  Before moving I tried to tell Beloved what my Garden meant to me.  No words existed.  I have those words now, having been without my Garden for so long.  My Garden was my best Friend, unconditional love.
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Missing my Friend.
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Today, I'll do something I've only done 3-4x's.  I discovered it by accident, at present it's the most potent feel good drug I know.  I will sit in my materials yard for lunch, with accoutrements from my previous garden, about 10 pallets, Friends awaiting placement in my new Garden.  Sacred made Palpable.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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At the opposite of creating a Sacred space, I was on the phone yesterday with a client who had to remove an odd/ugly covered porch addition the previous homeowner had added.  More than ugly, more than unusable, the space felt 'evil'.  Didn't want to be in it or walk thru it to get to the back yard, or even see it.  The owner felt it, and her friend, a client who referred me, felt it too.  The 'evil' room is  now gone, a new space built, with subsidiary gifts.  All the 'evil'?  Gone !

Monday, October 10, 2016

Dovecote or Catcote

Dovecote, below, with a few adjustments I see something different.
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Slightly larger, deeper, and sited at about 8', with a chicken coop ladder.  Voila.  A perch for cats.

Dovecote
Pic, above, here.
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I can see my youngest, Laura, loving this.  She was conceived/born in my previous garden.  Her parents left by neighbors who moved away.
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Until it's made, a long while from today, it's just another thing on the list, I get to decide if it goes onto the house, my conservatory or the coop.  Maybe by the time the carpenter is called, I'll have convinced myself I 'need' 3 !
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Monday, October 3, 2016

Design: Changing Narrative

A 'simple' Garden Design, below, all the layers dramatically in place.  Starting at the top of the picture, now, in your mind, label each layer of the Garden Design, below.
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If you've come to Garden Design, age 50 up, this type of Garden Design holds significant charms vs. coming to Garden Design in your 20's.
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But I'm getting ahead of my story, most of us come to gardening, if we do come to gardening, as the song noted, 'In a heated rush'.  And, 'Seeing what you wanted to see'.
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Until Seth Godin a few days ago I taught garden design for beginners at the Atlanta Botanical Garden and local college, knowing my students needed to unlearn most of what they already knew about Garden Design, as beginners.
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Garden Design appears easy, we try it, and the results prove Garden Design has a lot of elements not readily apparent, though beautifully designed gardens hide nothing.  Excepting. how can you 'see' the process of designing a good garden, how can you 'see' what was left out of the beautiful Garden Design?  Time to switch the narrative from what you thought you knew about Garden Design, as rank novice, to learning the nuts/bolts of real Garden Design.
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Garden Design is not voodoo or feelings about what will work, it is science and art, a historical process, unchanged, since well before the birth of Christ.
 

hedge
Pic, above, here.
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"Narrating our lives, the little play-by-play we can't help carrying around, that's a survival mechanism. But it also hotwires our feelings, changes our posture, limits our possibilities.

The narrative is useful as long as it's useful, helping you solve problems and move forward. But when it reinforces bad habits or makes things smaller, we can drop it and merely be present, right here, right now."  Seth Godin
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Exactly, the narrative we have as beginning gardeners, total novices, is our own narrative.  Limiting our possibilities, doesn't move us forward, literally makes our lives smaller.
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Every historic layer of Garden Design, thousands of years worth, is, above.  Though it appears quite modern.  Bless good Garden Design for that.  It allows playfulness with abandon.
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Thank you Seth Godin, now I know it's not the unlearning of our beginning Garden Design ideas we need to do, it's literally changing the narrative.  When we change the narrative, we change our lives.
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Live a smaller life, never move forward, limit possibilities?  What's not to like about changing the narrative?
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More than gaining a new narrative and ability to create an extraordinary Garden Design, the garden once built/planted will continually renew itself, with abandon.  What does that mean?  Once you've put the effort into building a beautiful Garden Design, the garden rewards you, no effort on your part, with a larger life, forward momentum, and limitless possibility.  And with some brownie points included, again without effort, raised property value, lower heating/cooling expense, easier maintenance & lifestyle.  Not bad, for changing your narrative about Garden Design.  
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So, have you named all the layers of the Garden Design, above?  Sky-ceiling, tall trees-canopy, small trees-understory, pruned hedge-walls, low meadow-floor, urn-focal point.  A garden room.  Plant it and you'll have a moat of grace around your home.  And life.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Subsidiary Focal Points

Exactly why gardens should be simple, below.  Let Nature speak, play, sing, work, be in companionship to your life.

A Fiddlehead and A Fledgling | Content in a Cottage:

Pic, above, here.

 Cat with a Georgia Gerber cat bronze statue:

Pic, above, here.

Did you know your garden is a proscenium for spectacle?  I love the small moments, the never imagined, unbidden.  Perfect.  Tear drops of laughter, amongst time & galaxies.  
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Creating these moments, name it to claim it.  Macro rule, 1 focal point per area.  Micro rule, subsidiary focal points allowed.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Will never forget the years of lunches in my previous garden, during summer, and hearing the hummingbirds zoom over my head.  Do you really think I knew to design my garden for that to happen?  My best Garden Design learning was finally understanding classical Garden Design rules, FINALLY copying them.  Once accomplished, Nature arrived.  Nature more like Tinker Bell than can be explained, excepting through letting Nature reign.