Showing posts with label Front Door. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Front Door. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

You Just Think You Don't Want: Stick Trees, Hedges, Balls

"The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.  Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it.  Action has magic, Power and grace."  Goethe
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"...which may possibly be my very favorite story of all time, is early and essential (Grace)Paley.  It is a story of love, and of mistakes and missteps that take years to correct themselves, and the story itself is, like the love affair, ardent, charming, wise, knowing.  The story requires that the reader bear heartbreak, without ever renouncing either love or the world.  I think that is what grace is, and I think that is what Grace means: Bear the world, without giving in, and love the people in it, without hesitation."  Amy Bloom
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This garden, above/below, made me laugh at its rich depth, using centuries old technique, and piling on simplicity.  Pure drama, with balls, sticks, hedges.  Who knew simplicity could do this?
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A Garden Design Trinity: Stick Trees, Hedges, Balls.
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Within the trinity, Stick Trees/Hedges/Balls, the agrarian ode to Providence, pollinators, & self are present.
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"One way to isolate a good design from fashion or fad is to evaluate an object as you would a person.  Is it interesting and exciting?  Is it honest and sincere?  Or is it banal, insipid, cute, stupid, or even silly?  Or just dull and boring, destined to be forgotten?"  Walter Hoving, Chairman Tiffany & Co., 1973
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February 2020 began my personal hunt for 'the' stick tree, need an allee.  Type of tree chosen must be deciduous, easily pollarded, fast growing, affordable at decent size wholesale, thrives in sun, preferably native, available.  Since 2008 wholesale landscape growers have little diversity.
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Phoned my Tree Man, in the business for decades.  Told him constraints, first thing he said, "You need a WEED tree."  Great answer.  Which ones are you thinking?, I asked.  Native Catalpa, he replied.
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Never had a Catalpa.  Interesting.  Something new to get to know, learn, love.  No matter, a different tree may be chosen do to size, cost, availability, and meeting other constraints.
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After talking with him, the first garden I saw online, below.  The pollarded trees?  Catalpa.  Wish photo had been taken later in the season when the Catalpa had grown a bit more, the silhouette, then, perfect.
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Image may contain Plant Hedge Fence and Outdoors
Pic, above, here.

"The success of a room depends largely on what it does not contain."  House Beautiful, 1905.
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If your elevation is the same, pic below, no worries your home is a 3 bedroom lapboard on small lot, or a mid-century brick ranch on an acre, this style garden design, meant for all architecture, and price ranges.
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Taller grasses in the distance, pic below, canopy trees beyond, balls and stick trees in low meadow.  Easy to maintain, and, maximum pollinator habitat.
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God's Word is written in the Bible.  In the Garden you "feel that you have overheard it rather than read it."
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Once the Stick Trees, Balls, Hedges are decided, and planted, it's time for your life to take over.  Roux of Design: Stick Trees, Hedges, Balls are your stage.  Your life, becomes the magic, joy, grace of home & garden, flowing into each other.
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Your dog, children, friends, seasons, and etc, are the focal point.
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"John Ruskin, the elegant writer on art & ethics told the teachers of humanity -- "all other efforts in education are futile till you have taught your people to love fields, birds, and flowers."  George West, Hereford Rocks.
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Great table placement, color, shape, pic above.  Depending on life, the table is for lunch, staging a potted plant, a place to bring a letter from the mailbox, a glass of wine before dinner, a place to set basket and clippings when gathering for the house.
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"Mr. Head awakened to discover that the room was full of moonlight.  He sat up and stared at the floor boards -- the color of silver -- and then at the ticking on his pillow; which might have been brocade, and after a second, he saw half of the moon five feet away in his shaving mirror, paused as if it were waiting for his permission to enter.  It rolled forward and cast a dignifying light on everything.  The straight chair against the wall looked still and attentive as if it were awaiting an order and Mr. Head's trousers, hanging to the back of it, had an almost noble air, like the garment some great man had just flung to his servant..."  Flannery O'Connor
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"The above opening to a short story, by Flannery O'Connor is, to readers content with grasping information, straight forward enough.  It introduces a character, Mr. Head, waking up at night and noticing moonlight.  To readers who enjoy the practice of reading, the opening is much, much more.
     Two approaches seem to me the difference between reading as a skill and reading as an art.  The first is quite enough.  From knowing what STOP means through understanding a scholarly essay or a legal brief, the necessary skill varies greatly, can always be refined, and lets us negotiate life with some measure of control.  Reading as art, not ART (Once depressingly called "critical" reading) is another matter.  Like the avid devotion to other arts, it develops over time in any number of ways takes all sorts of routes, and has many origins."  Toni Morrison.
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'The plants in your garden are only half the story.  The rest is what you bring to the party.' , paraphrasing Toni Morrison.
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Live in a subdivision?  Little changes using Stick Trees, Hedges, Balls.  Past the balls, pic above, site an evergreen hedge, 4'-5', street views and neighbor's homes hidden, excepting their roofs.
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Inside your home, is where your Garden Design begins.  You'll live both directions with your garden, and home.
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The harder I garden, literally or metaphorically, the more comfort I receive.
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Low meadow, pic below, and pair of old trees, with woodland in distance.  Age.  Time.  More than content, time of year, time of day, weather, geography, are age and time.
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You may live to a nice 87 years old, the conifer tree, pic below, will live hundreds of years.  Eating, drinking, growing, communicating thru its roots with the same electrical current we have in our bodies, to other trees, and plants, photosynthesizing, taking light from the sun, turning it into food, growing, exhaling oxygen.  More than a bit humbling.
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Wish Walt Whitman could read about the science of trees now.  He knew their lives, without the science, in the 19th century.
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Gardens are sacred mandalas, beauty & impermanence.
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Gate in the hedge, above.  Flow, as needed.
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It is your life, and loves, putting perspective to garden & home.  Suddenly, pic above, precious arrives, and owns the entire home/garden.  As she should.
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"When viewed in deep time, things come alive that seemed inert....  The world becomes eerily various and vibrant again.  Ice breaths.  Rock has tides.  Mountains ebb and flow.  Stone pulses.  We live on a restless Earth."  Underland, Robert Macfarlane.
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The calm you design into your garden.  Is not truly calm.  It's a manner of choosing how you will live.
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At first, my mind knew to take charge in the garden, I did, that's when the garden spoke back and told me what it wanted.  Once that dance finally began, I understood what the garden had been doing all along, feeding my soul.
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From the garden we're taught how to feed our soul.  Meadows parched, then rains, growth, gracious & grateful.  Trees, such courage, yet joy & purpose are their life force.  Nurturing a spiritual life, gardens nurture ours.
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"How do you teach your soul?  How do you put experiences of the sacred in your life?  What are the layers you choose to be wrapped in the sacred?"  Sandy Sasso, Rabbi
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We are descendant & ancestor to the garden.  Have you learned responsibilities of ancestors?  Are you legacy making now, to be an ancestor?  Descendant & ancestor are a loop, nurturing their connection is grace.
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Wine & cell phone on the table, above.  One should not be ubiquitous.  I'm guilty.
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Instead of using several gardens with the simplicity of Stick Trees, Balls, Hedges, I chose one.  Moving this garden thru seasons and their life.  Metaphor for yours.
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This is Lesley Cooke's garden, pics above, on Instagram, here.  When you can, take time to peruse her home/garden in depth.  She's able to travel a bit, entertain a bit, have a family, friends, cook, enjoy her dog, yet no stress over the garden, keeping it fabulous.  Simple has rewards.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Off Topic.  Have been away for a bit.  Had the flu flu, 2 weeks, hi fever, evil cough.  My doctor, Beloved's doctor, hospital nurse, each said, Not Corona, at the front end.  Reading a journalists story last Saturday, testing positive for Corona, symptoms were a blueprint for mine.  What to think?  Been a slow recovery.  Will get tested for antibodies later this year at physical.
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I'm healthy, no underlying health conditions, take no medications.  Biggest concern has been Beloved getting Corona, with his major health issues.  He's fine, still working, Georgia considers landscaping to be Essential Services.  But, there's a strategy if Beloved becomes ill, knowing I cannot visit/stay in hospital with him.  Only mention this, in case it helps someone else.
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If Beloved does get Corona, he will go into hospital with Sharpie Marker written on his upper chest, 4 printed rows, with each major health issue, and the name/number of his primary care doctor, my name/number too.
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Thru the years I've spent many nites in hospitals with Beloved.  Every time things do go wrong.  No one specifically at fault.  Wonderful staff at each layer, the mistakes are of the 'system'.  Hence, the Sharpie Marker.
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Told Beloved my plan.  He hates it.  Told him if he gives me any trouble I'll Sharpie Marker his forehead too.  He knew to choose his battle, done.
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So many friends are prevented from seeing their parent/s in the hospital or skilled nursing.  Cannot imagine this life changing hardship, along with worries about survival.
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More sorrows, stresses, greater than this across continents.  Hoping you find moments of transcendence every day, to take care of yourself, as you steward those around you.
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Oddly, it is my chicken coop, giving transcendence every time I walk in.  Walking out, every time, it's, Oh....back to reality.  My chickens turned 8 years old last week. 
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Thank you to everyone on the front lines of any layer of Corona, reading.  Hope my little stories of gardening, and how to get the garden in your head, into your life, take you away for a few minutes.  Better, help you create your own action plan.

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
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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.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Edward Slingerland: Wu-Wei in the Garden

Most requested by clients/students?  "I don't want to spend a lot of money, it must have little maintenance."  This is what I know for sure.  Replying in detailed response to that pair of demands, via Gardenese language, no one accepts, no one.  From those who have asked, of course.
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"Wonder, and its expression in poetry and the arts, are among the most important things which seem to distinguish men from other animals, and intelligent and sensitive people from morons."  Alan Watts, The Way of Zen.
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"Things become complicated only when we think about them."  Alan Watts.


Shanks House in Cucklington - Somerset, England
Pic, above, here.
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"Trying to force a lock bends the key.  For which reason a truly intelligent man never forces an issue."  Alan Watts.  (I must try harder to prevent bent-key-thinking.  Better, when bent-key-thinking intrudes into my life, from another, "I'm not listening to your bent-key-thinking.")
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"To have faith is to trust yourself to the water.  When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown.  Instead you relax and float."  Alan Watts.
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Wielding this style Garden Design, above, rich, humorous, humbling.  Further along the Garden Design archetype than whence begun.  Few immune to the Garden Design archetypes path.  Nothing new, existed well before cuneiform records.
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Humorous?  Simplicity, above, gives you, you.  Richest construct in your life, you.
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"We have allowed brain thinking to develop and dominate our lives.  As a consequence, we are at war within ourselves.  The brain desiring things which the body does not want, and the body desiring things which the brain does not allow; the brain giving directions which the body will not follow, and the body giving impulses which the brain cannot "  Alan Watts.
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Funny?  In my garden, there is no 'me'.  In my garden, my body hears what my brain cannot.  In my garden, I am gone, with the body remaining present.  Follow your bliss, find where you experience eternity here, Joseph Campbell truths.  In my garden there is no me, no time, no hunger, no tiredness, no awareness of bruising/bleeding, no sense of want, no fear, expansive joy.  Deeper, at the conclusion of being in my garden, answers arrived to questions known, and unknown, ahead of being in my garden.  Epiphanies from spirit, without fear.
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Seek presence over productivity.  Gaining maximum productivity, though not sought.  .
"All to easily, we confuse the world as we symbolize it with the world as it is."  Alan Watts. 
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Before I had a language describing being in my garden I labeled it, "The best selfishness ever."  After a few years realized it is grace.  How could it not be grace?  Epiphanies too many, too potent, life changing.  Bounty of resources, from garden epiphanies, beyond measure.  Into the realm of E.M.Forster describing a multi-millionaire woman, one of his characters, as having no 'resources'.  Interesting.  Letting go, giving up control, is a resource. 
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"The brainy modern loves not matter but measures, no solids but surfaces."  Alan Watts. 
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There are places to "Transcend our futile strategies for controlling life and surrender to its living essence."  In the garden, merely one. 
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"We have been taught to believe that the best way to achieve our goals is to reason about them carefully and strive consciously to reach them. Unfortunately, in many areas of life this is terrible advice. Many desirable states — happiness, attractiveness, spontaneity — are best pursued indirectly, and conscious thought and effortful striving can actually interfere with their attainment."  Edward Slingerland
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Your act of choice, is my Garden Design writing.  Write an article about how to dig a hole?  No longer do I confuse the map for the territory, noise for signal.  Though I'm wicked good about digging a hole with a shovel or auger attached to a Caterpillar.  Pure noise, how to dig a hole if you're wanting a good garden, you in your Garden is signal territory.
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For the early Chinese thinkers … the culmination of knowledge is understood, not in terms of grasping a set of abstract principles, but rather as entering a state of wu-wei. The goal is to acquire the ability to move through the physical and social world in a manner that is completely spontaneous and yet fully in harmony with the proper order of the natural and human worlds (the Dao or “Way”). Because of this focus on knowing how rather than knowing this or that, the Chinese tradition has spent a great deal of energy over the past two thousand years exploring the interior, psychological feel of wu-wei, worrying about the paradox at the heart of it, and developing a variety of behavioral techniques to get around it. The ideal person in early China is more like a well-trained athlete or cultivated artist than a dispassionate cost-benefit analyzer."  Edward Slinglerland     
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"Our excessive focus in the modern world on the power of conscious thought and the benefits of willpower and self-control causes us to overlook the pervasive importance of what might be called “body thinking”: tacit, fast, and semiautomatic behavior that flows from the unconscious with little or no conscious interference. The result is that we too often devote ourselves to pushing harder or moving faster in areas of our life where effort and striving are, in fact, profoundly counterproductive."  Edward Slingerland. 
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Clients with gardens getting-there the fastest?  All women, ages 40+, and a gay couple who travel the globe for their work, and are 30+/50+. 
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"Some of the most elusive objects of our incessant pursuits are happiness and spontaneity, both of which are strikingly resistant to conscious pursuit."  Maria Popova
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Wu-wei literally translates as “no trying” or “no doing,” but it’s not at all about dull inaction. In fact, it refers to the dynamic, effortless, and unselfconscious state of mind of a person who is optimally active and effective. People in wu-wei feel as if they are doing nothing, while at the same time they might be creating a brilliant work of art, smoothly negotiating a complex social situation, or even bringing the entire world into harmonious order. For a person in wu-wei, proper and effective conduct follows as automatically as the body gives in to the seductive rhythm of a song. This state of harmony is both complex and holistic, involving as it does the integration of the body, the emotions, and the mind. If we have to translate it, wu-wei is probably best rendered as something like “effortless action” or “spontaneous action.” Being in wu-wei is relaxing and enjoyable, but in a deeply rewarding way that distinguishes it from cruder or more mundane pleasures."  Edward Slingerland.
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"We’re drawn to people with wu-wei, Slingerland argues, because we inherently trust the automatic, unconscious mind due to a simple fact from the psychology of trust — because spontaneity is hard to fake, we intuit that spontaneous people are authentic and thus trustworthy. But Western thought has suffered from centuries of oppressive dualism, treating intuition and the intellect as separate and often conflicting faculties — a toxic myth that limits us as a culture and as individuals. Fortunately, Slingerland points out, recent decades have brought a more embodied view of cognition acknowledging the inextricable link between thought and feeling and debunking, as Ray Bradbury so eloquently did, the false divide between emotion and rationality. (We’ve seen, too, that metaphorical thinking is central to our cognitive development, and metaphor is itself rooted in emotion.) The Chinese tradition, on the other hand, has a millennia-long history of cultivating a more integrated model of the human experience...Maria Popova .
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If you haven't discovered Maria Popova yet, you're going to be glad you have now.
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Letting go, and finding eternity, in the garden, has made my life.  Those in my tribe, share this joy.  This is your garden.  Not me writing about when to deadhead your peonies. 
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Within each Garden Design, from a historic template, wu-wei/grace/abiding, is the bonus.  Guaranteed. 
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Friday, October 13, 2017

Landscape Choices

Choices from the heart, below.  Why so rare?

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Pic, above, here.
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"Honesty has a power that very few people can handle."  Anon.
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 Basic Crone Attitude: "...I no longer put things in my stomach to please other people..." "By the time one reaches a certain age, one should be able, as Marianne Moore said, 'to have the courage of one's peculiarities'." in "Against Wind and Tide" - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Don't Wish Me Happiness. I Don't Expect to be Happy All The Time... It's Gotten Beyond That Somehow. Wish Me Courage and Strength and a Good Sense of Humor. I Will Need Them All

Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Truth--I always feel like I need to apologize or make up some fiction to cover the fact that I'm not actually doing anything they might consider "important", but which is actually crucially important for my sanity.

#INTJ #Capricorn #Female                                                                                                                                                                                 More
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Make the choices for the garden in your heart.  Manifest.  Live.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Color: Counterintuitive Paint Trim

Happy charmer, below.  Makes me want to go inside. 
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See a change, an easy change too, making the roof higher and house taller?
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Once I tell you the change, you won't believe me.
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But, true nonetheless.
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Know?

Front door paint colour in green. Curb appeal with blue siding #colorhunters #curbappeal
Pic, above, here.
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Paint the trim at roof line, a tone darker than the siding or a darker tone from the roofing material.  Seems counterintuitive.
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White jumps forward, and pulls down, at roof line.  Darker tones heighten a home by a 1', or more.  Promise.
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Can't finish without mentioning the 'Welcome' sign.  Banal.  Dinky is Stinky.
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Especially here.  The front door is screaming 'Welcome !' with incredible class & elegance.  Why diminish that impact?
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Be wary putting words into your garden.  Can be done well, but with care.
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Favorite sign in a garden?  Tea Room & Toilets .
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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More rabbit holes in this photo.  Those delicious lights, too perfect.  But, that is gardening.  Layers of delight here.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Front Door

Arriving to the open front door, below, I knew we had chosen well.  The screen door view, marvelous.   

Image may contain: indoor

With the screen door open, below. 

Image may contain: people standing

Ca. 1880 home on the shore of Bar Harbor, Maine. 
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With good weather the front door and French doors were left open all day.  Bedroom windows were open too, upstairs/downstairs.  Air off the Atlantic ocean a few yards away, a drug swirling throughout the house.
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This space, at your front door, a work horse.  Thru the years I've had a few clients with the perfect foyer, excepting natural light.  Into my Garden Design goes their glass door, matching the existing front door, with glass panels, below.  We source the door, and our carpenter puts in the glass.
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Content in a Cottage
Pic, above, here.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Staying at Shore Path Cottage, top pics, discovered, leaving, it is next door to the home Beatrix Farrand lived in.

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, September 19, 2017

Relandscape vs. Delandscape

Ok, I get the house statement, below.  Well done.
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Landscape?  As my dear friend Susanne Hudson will say, dinky-is-stinky.
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Two approaches, below.  First approach, quite common, decades of experience with this 'issue'.  Build a fine home, there goes the landscape budget.  This home, below, can handle a lower landscape budget.  I would go much lower with this landscape budget.
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How?

mid-century modern house renovation by Cuppett Architects - exterior
Pic, above, here.
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Remove every foundation shrub, above, tuck lawn all-the-way to the house.  Done.
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If I had the chance to live in this home, very nice, lawn to the house, and a dense evergreen hedge at the curb.  More, slant the hedge higher at the right to lower at the left, copying the roof pitch in reverse.
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At present I 'see', "No budget for landscape."
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Merely removing the foundation plantings says, "Architectural choice, bold.  Nothing dinky-is-stinky here."
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This home a good example, removing-ugly frees the house to breath and show its beauty.  TV garden shows are always about adding landscape to make the house better.  It's not uncommon, with older homes especially, removing landscape makes the house better.  Perhaps this should be a named genre, Delandscaping.
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Take it away.
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Hope Delandscaping is a new arrow for your quiver.  Another way to 'see' landscape.
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Garden & Be Well,    XOT
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Lovely tree pruning, above.  
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It's not often I take out an entire foundation planting, perhaps 5-6 times in 3 decades.  Yet, 100% of those 'husbands' said, "I would have ripped it out first day we moved in if I knew my house looked this good."  And they all had waited years.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Plantswoman Into Garden Designer

After acquiring an  American degree in horticulture, educated to be a guy in a truck mowing grass, blowing clippings, siting plants in outcurves/incurves to grow oversized for extra monetizing pruning, needful of fertilizer, chemicals to kill Nature, and a real nice irrigation system, let's not forget the yearly replenishment of mulch, and twice yearly exchange of colorful annuals, all bundled into a tidy yearly contract, $$$.  Hey, who needs more?  Me.
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Late 20's when I began decades of European travel, studying historic gardens, I didn't have words to describe what I was seeking, only words describing what I didn't want about gardens, a few above.  In lieu of words, I was listening to my heart.  Traipsing off, sure of discovery, unaware a pupil of E.M.Forster for sure.
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Blessedly, the first study tour, England & mostly Scotland, I got the memo.  More, the memo arrived, narrated by General Patton, aka George C. Scott.

French houses, French charm and Roses. The stonework has rustic wonder!
Pic, above, here.
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When I hosted my own garden show on CBS-TV their mantra was, don't-tell-me-SHOW-me.
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Exactly how I learned across Europe.  Their historic gardens full of show, and loaded with delightfully intuitive conversation, 'tell', from all the gardeners & owners the sites had the privilege of working with across centuries.
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Quite the example, SHOW, above.  About lost all my knee strength seeing this, decades ago.  Understanding ALL.  Immediately, understanding all.  Where that comes from, intuitive understanding, aka epiphany or koan, I metaphor to my Muse.  Like it was said toward the end of Dr. Zhivago, 'A gift'.
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In hindsight I went to Europe a horticulturist/plantswoman, returned a Garden Designer.  If I was told this would happen, zero chance I would have believed it.  None.
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What did I hear General Patton say from all those years ago?  "Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!"  Quite the proper image popping into mind.  Bombs exploding, Patton winning, he spoke like a warrior, the type I knew.  Age 10, seeing the film when it came out at the theater with my family.  Dad the NASA engineer made it obvious Patton had nothing on him with language or results.  Though, sister/me were deeply impressed at the dinner table one evening, while Chris Craft was director at JSC, dad said, "Chris Craft has the foulest mouth of any man I've met."  We silently made knowing eye contact, "We must hear this Chris Craft."   Ha, never did.  But the awe remains.  Amusing, now, when Beloved says, "You can dog cuss."  A skill I don't use often, perhaps when the little toe on the right foot is broken standing on the bow of a boat trying to hitch the hook from the hoist inside the boathouse.
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Patton's bombs exploding, from the clip, are pure Joseph Campbell, Power of Myth, slaying the dragon, every scale of its hide a metaphor of "Thou Shalt."
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Why tell these stories, above?  These stories are the people hiring me, for decades.  People who've intuited their rabbit hole, gone in a little, maybe a great distance, yet for the Thou Shalt's of their lives, not the full distance.  Job, children, health, many Thou Shalt's, yet intuiting all, without words, just able to still hear a bit of their distant heart.  My life, needing to work for filthy lucre yet a heart unable to stay in the dire depths of Thou Shalt, instead, creating my own job, and taking it.  Collateral with infertility, a great wealth of time granted, honoring that gift, jumping into the rabbit hole, seeking & finding what the heart spoke without words.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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JOSEPH CAMPBELL (words of Chief Seattle, 1852): “The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky, the land? The idea is strange to us. Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, all are holy in the memory and experience of my people. We’re part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. Each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father; the rivers are our brothers. They carry our canoes and feed our children.
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If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh. This we know: the earth does not belong to man. Man belongs to the earth. All things are connected, like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
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“Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? What will happen when the secret comers of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills is blotted by talking wires? The end of living and the beginning of survival. When the last red man has vanished with his wilderness and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forests still be here? Will there be any spirit of my people left? We love this earth as the newborn loves its mother’s heartbeat. So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it; care for it as we’ve cared for it, hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. 
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Preserve the land for all children and love it, as God loves us all. One thing we know, there is only one God; no man be he red man or white man can be apart. We are brothers, after all.” 
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Bold letters mine.  The 'dire' I had to run from, choosing to live, not merely survive.  Beware of choosing to live, it rocks the boat for others in your life.  Bigly.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Color: Minimal Use Maximum Impact

Small gesture, grand statement, below.

Scottish sojourn - Ben Pentreath Inspiration
Pic, above, here.
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Gardens, above, templated since BCE.  Long before.  Tapping into the templates quite a simple recipe.  Exposed for years, here.  Nothing difficult, merely a choice to see.
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Love yourself...it intimidates people...
Pic, above, here.

A thread amongst those who have figured out how to have a garden, above.
 ♡Pinterest♡ @lalalalizax
Pic, above, here.

A competitive tennis player from ages 11-17, won tournaments & titles, never played again.  Why?  Found a bigger game.  Gardening has no opponent, instead a partner, Nature.  Decades gardening, still learning, huge gulps.  Humbling.  At most my gardening is smiled upon, Nature allows it within her domain, for a time.  Nature, in honesty, CEO not partner.  I cleave to that fact, in all my gardening.  Had thought of this as a 'good selfishness' for decades, until realizing, it is grace.

 Mother nature.....
Pic, above, here.
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Doesn't matter, above, if photo shopped.  Its sentiment true.  Serendipities a Garden gifts arrive upon the wind, without ceasing.
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If you've read this far you are aware this is about gardens, not landscape-mow-blow-go-commodify-all-touched with monthly contract.
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My clients are of 2 stripes.  Already whole & thriving or recently spit out by life into their new chapter/book of living whole.  I know you're smiling.  Becoming whole is the story of the Velveteen Rabbit.  A lot of roughing up, it takes, becoming real, living whole.
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Two spots of red, top pic, for those who see the whole picture.
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Garden & Be Well,  XO T

Friday, June 30, 2017

Garden Design: What Change Would You Make?

Simple, but huge, change I want to make in the garden, below.  Any changes you want to make?
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With zero knowledge of site constraints, I'll sail ahead with this single Garden Design layer.
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If I knew the site, I may not make the change at all, or make the change bolder.
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A 1910 farmhouse with a loving family, this home exudes happiness & grace.  Our ca. 1900 white home is symmetrical inside, central hall 9' wide/50' long with 3 rooms off each side, excepting the exterior is asymmetrical.  I really want to open their front door, architectural curiosity.
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So.  Have you concluded with your Garden Design session, below?  

Modern Farmhouse 4th of July
Pic, above, here.
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This home, above, has a website, here.  They are homeschooling their children.  A huge & brave choice.  
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On their website it mentions 'he' likes DIY projects, and there's proof he's quite good at it.  He could install my changes, easily.  This home is classic with centuries of architectural roots across Europe.
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Before I tell you my changes, what are your changes?
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Again, I don't know their site, but if it is indeed a farmhouse, aka having a bit of property, my change will suit.
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Move the foundation plantings, add steps around entire front porch.  Yes, across entire front and at both sides.  Poof, form/function.  The house just grew in architecture, classically, and use.
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Notice their bunting is reflected in the windows?  Marvelous.
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Tag line for their website, above, Jesus, Life, Beauty, Simplicity.  Adore a mission statement.  A dear friend is homeschooling her 2 precious children.  Their home is living the same tag line.  Soon, before going to her home, I'll have to ask for the cliff notes of what they're studying, just to be up to speed !
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Separate from homeschooling, I'm noticing a huge difference in client's young children that began about 2-3 years ago.  They are calm & normal, not needy, similar to eras many decades ago.  Finally put my finger on the 'change'.  Little to zero 'baby sitting' with cell phone/ipad.  Ya'll know I'm a woman with infertility and if I notice a change, it's a whopper.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T  

Monday, June 26, 2017

Color: Use as A Tool

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

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

Friday, May 26, 2017

Front Door: Color & Font

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

coiffeur:
Pic, above, here.

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

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

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

Garden Design: Double Axis

"The Complete Book of Garden Magic", by Roy Biles is quite dear to my heart.  Discovered before internet cell phones it was a book I would hunt/gather from used book stores wherever I traveled.  Gifting them to the 'right' new owners.  Take the link, above, it can be at your front door in a few days.  Font, line drawings, earnestness, pacing, a man's soul, love it all.
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No other word for it Roy, Magic.
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Double axis, below, in 2 pics.
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Walking along the path, below.

By pastures green - Ben Pentreath Inspiration:

Walking along the same path, below, in the opposite direction.

By pastures green - Ben Pentreath Inspiration:

Same path, 2 different gardens, double axis.  Magic.
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How else to explain walking a path, yet it becomes a new path, merely walking it in the opposite direction?
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Came upon this double axis path, above, last week.  Think it thrilled me?
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How many of you notice these things?  More, how many of you does it excite?
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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Pics, above, from Ben Pentreath's blog.
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Double Axis, another of my garden design 'inventions'.  Name it to claim it.  Once I had the garden path epiphany, it had to have a name.  Have not heard/read about this particular Garden Design technique in a class, symposium, book.  Why?
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A lot going on in the Garden Design, above.  My life doesn't lend itself to so much 'tending' nor do I want so much down time as the garden, above.  Deer are also an issue in my garden.  Would definitely keep the gravel and hedging, perennials would be swapped for flowering shrubs.  Done.  Maybe 2-5 easy perennials kept.