Showing posts with label Furniture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Furniture. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Mastering: The Well-Placed Table

When enthusiasm invades, it will, and it must be brought home to the garden, below.

52 FLEA: Antique French Bee Skep For Sale
Pic, above, here.
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The Well-Placed Table, and its appointments.
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 Gardening- a creative journey
Pic, above, here.
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All yours, best when you've delved deeply into what gives you joy.
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Tell me who you are, with your Well-Placed Table and appointments.
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Hope you're already planning changes thru the year in appointments.
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No worries details, excepting the most singularly important detail.  Joy.
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Buy the table because looking at it makes you happy.
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Choose your table color because it makes you happy.
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Site your table because looking at it, exactly in that spot, makes you happy.
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Place appointment/s on your table because they make you happy.
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Remember, the more you go inward, the more you outwardly connect.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

How to Arrange Furniture in Large Garden Spaces

How to section a large terrace or deck into cozy areas? 
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Learn from the best, below.  Why are they the best?  Their livelihood depends upon layers of good design, ease of maintenance, simplicity for staff to serve, and, enriching comfort for guests.
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Habitually Chic® » Mezzatore Hotel and Thermal Spa
Pic, above, here.
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Large pots, multiple seating areas, repetitious furniture, color theme flowing throughout & accouterments. 
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Beautiful pots, furnishings not in the budget?  Field gather, junking/garbage day curb side/thrift stores/garage sales, paint all the furnishing the same color.  Paint all the pots the same color.
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Become a fan of square and rectangular shaped tables.  Square/rectangular tables can be pulled together or set against walls, multi-use. 
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How easy this terrace is to blow.  Few obstructions.  Simple pot plantings.  No major replanting needed at change of seasons.
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At the end of an Open Garden a lone woman remained, sitting on my 6' Teak bench.  Tired, I went straight to her and sat down.  She began to cry.  Heaving breaths, big round tears.
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Divorce finalizing, she was losing her large sacred landscape.  How could she live without it?  Looking around that garden room of mine, she said she had to, ".....HAVE THIS."  The beauty of a garden in its full context.  More tears.
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So, we held hands, she cried a bit more, and I waited, knowing exactly what to say to her.
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"You can have this, my garden is less than 1/4 acre, 8500 SF, and that includes house & driveway."
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Not the first time bearing witness to a woman's life change.
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Never think beautiful garden photographs merely represent what can be done in a garden with $$$, pic above.  Beautiful gardens are about beautiful relationships.  Gardener to Nature. 
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Never saw that woman again.  Yet, I know she's thriving.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

How to Choose Simpler to Have More

"Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment."  Will Rogers.
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I could fill this garden spot, below, with friends at lunch, or a soiree in the evening, enjoying both.  Mostly, I would fill it up alone.  A spot to work with laptop, or paper, properly provisioned with journals at the ready, and book/s, a glass of water.  At weekend, gardening is added, various tools/baskets set atop the table, a few vases brought for clippings made into arrangements for the week.  The best clippings bushes, those arrangements sometimes last months.  Birds above, cats milling, water fountain on lowest pressure, scents wafting across the meadow.  Alone, at table, or in the garden, "...one's inner voices become audible (and) in consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives."  Wendell Berry.  And what lives, especially E.M. Forster, often Joseph Campbell, the Stoics, Beverly Nichols, Christopher Lloyd, Sir Roy Strong, Helen Dillon, etc...
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All for the privilege of making a choice.  At the front end, I named these choices 'selfish', blessedly, in epiphany, I know these choices are purest grace. 
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Putting the trinity of intelligence, diligence, wisdom against letting-it-be.  Letting-it-be upfront, day one, too small, worse, a cage.  'Fertile solitude....the basic unit of a full & contented life.'
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In the garden, a place to be at peace with "The part of us that's smart & funny but also lost & broken."  Bathing away life out of the garden, people not making choices for beauty, elegance, wisdom.  Not that I succeed at wisdom greatly or often, knowing the effort is more than half way there.  'It's not what happens to you, it's what you do when it does', a favorite cliche.  The blame game has no elegance, instead I ask questions that don't know there is blame.   
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You've read this far, you're a garden whisperer.
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Yet, are you new to this?  What?  This garden world, this garden life, this garden portal of your own?  With, 'conviction, commitment & conscience', plan your landscape, each will return greater in forms you've never known, but always knew.

sky full of stars ✨😍Beautiful wedding reception by @italian_eye_events @italian_eye
Pic, above, here.
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So.  People who will never read this far, never achieve a garden/landscape beyond builder grade?  "Good guy, bad guy narratives might not possess any moral sophistication, but they do promote social stability...."  Catherine Nichols.
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Builder grade landscapes survived/thrived for decades.  Now their toxicity to soil, water, wildlife, insects has reached proportions affecting our own health, individually & collectively.  The garden, above, has stepped away from builder grade.  Its plinth is agrarian/pastoral, not industrialized.
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Martha Washington used these tables, above, merely planks atop saw horses.  Chairs?  Start resourcing at garage sales & thrift stores, field gathered.  Paint them all the same color.  A color from your exterior color trinity, of course.
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Wish I could say I chose gardening.  No, wasn't that smart.  Instead, one of the few born into it.  Literally.
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 Image result for celia thaxter he who is born with a silver spoon quote
Pic, above, here.
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Hope you already own, An Island Garden, by Celia Thaxter.  She's one of those audible inner voices heard clearly, in my garden.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Interesting New Garden Design for Mid-Century Ranch Homes

Furniture in the garden has always intrigued me, since becoming aware of furniture in the garden as 'a thing' watching an episode of Miss Marple on PBS in my early 20's.  Furniture set upon the lawn for tea?  Really?  Move it there?  Move it away? Never meant to stay in place......  Are you stupid?  It's obvious I was raised in a once-and-done family landscape culture. 
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This isn't technically about specifics of garden furniture, instead, Garden Designing with garden furniture. 
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Perhaps this garden, below, is in France.  Perhaps it's quite 'fine', aka expensive.  No worries, Garden Design isn't about expensive, can be, but it's not. 
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Garden, below, makes me see mid-century USA brick ranch homes in a new way.  Do you see it now too?

It's Only Natural.
Pic, above, here.
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Imagine this home, above, as a USA mid-century ranch burger, take away some of its original foundation plantings, leave 1-3, and espalier them flat against the house.  Add gravel, furniture, almost done.  What's left?  Do you see it clearly too? 
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Exterior color trinity, above.  Historic gardens are designed with an exterior color trinity.  Green/gray/black, above. 
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More.  Add a hedge, 3.5'-4', evergreen, toward the street.  Why sit in your garden, above, and look at traffic, worse, breath in traffic's toxic particulates?
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For the mid-century ranch I would also get the next size larger, of the pots, above, and place them on a subtle plinth.  Do you know the importance of this?  Huge.  May seem a bit 'off' yet it's brilliant.  With a bit larger pot, they can be left empty all year, or planted at whim.  Your life, you decide.  No wrong answer.
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Do consider, strongly, drip irrigation if you plan on having containers planted.   
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Too much lawn/space for all gravel?  Keep the lawn, Tara Turf, hopefully you already have some trees, if not.....you'll want an interesting tree, or more....  More than the simplicity of this new Garden Design it's also less maintenance, zero chemicals/fertilizers, and maximum pollinator habitat, greater use of a new garden room, higher property value, lower HVAC  expenses if HVAC considered with plant placement. 
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It's humbling how many mid-century ranch USA homes still have their original builder installed landscapes.  Pruning of hollies wanting to be trees, kept for over half a century at green meatball size.  Humbling?  Deeply.
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Seeing the inertia of human foible, keeping something because it's already there.  Harmful, but there.  Easier to keep, than change.  As if I see all life layers this easy !

Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Monday, July 2, 2018

3 Ways to Stage Your Table

Garden where you're at.  Be who you are.  Fake it till you make it.  Good enough, will stop at that trinity.  Already know not to force a solution. 
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Three years after moving into our ca. 1900 home on 5 acres we're still doing Daniel Boone gardening.  What does that mean?  Ornamental gardening is something for another day, probably another year, or two.
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ET-phone-home, exactly how I've felt.  And that little potted plant, wilting throughout the movie, until the end, when ET does go home, the plant returns to lush vigor. 
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Two years into no-ornamental-garden I began to sense something larger, Life.  The Life memo this time, Your field is being enriched, trust.  A stinker, feels like sinking, trusting this particular fallow field.  Excepting the creeping in of major new garden passions. 
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Go past many decades of US government intervention with farmers and their definition for fallow fields, you'll arrive at my fallow field, laying fallow to gather strength.  Trusting this 'gathering strength' feels woozy, the frenetic desire to phone-home-my-plant-is-wilting has been strong & enduring.  Thrust by Providence into a new life chapter.  Great sense of humor, dear Providence, considering who freely & with intention made the move from their beloved 30 year garden. 
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Another take on Dante's Inferno, finding myself lost in the woods, trying to get out, can't find my way out of the woods, yet it was me, taking the fullness of my days, years, walking into woods.  Not my first Rodeo.  Two questions to ask when you're stuck in the woods, looking at paths out, "Does this path enrich me, or diminish me?"     
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Odd new garden passion, staging garden tables in the florist style, below. 
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Staging this harvest table, below, is a twofer.  Aesthetics, and function.  Smart/witty siting huge pots/vases with greenery at zones unable to seat anyone due to chunky table legs.  More, the vignette of plants highlights those chunky legs as desirable, instead of a hindrance. 

focus-damnit: “http://www.mennokroon.nl/locatie-cothen ”
Pic, above, here.
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Why not have a table, below, in the garden 'always' staged in Florist style?  Florist style, beauty with huge impact, little input. 

 My Indoor Garden | from  This Ivy House
Pic, above, here.
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Finally, a table in the garden, below, staged as your life needs.  Not a fixed Florist vignette, above, nor the fixed tableau in the top photo,

 Picturesque Outdoor Dining
Pic, above, here.
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Harvest tables, above, staged 3 ways.  Which staging is yours?
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Me?  All 3.  At 5 acres there is room.  One of the tables is merely laying about, at present, in pieces.  A large old wood gate from a shed we renovated, and old galvanized garbage cans, for legs, awaiting in the materials yard. 
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Garden & Be Well,  XO T
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Edgar Allan Poe (American author, poet, editor, and literary critic)
Pic, above, here.

 Bukowski (@bukowski_lives) | Twitter
Pic, above, here.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Backward Method of Design for Your Backyard Dining Table

Nothing in your backyard?  Want a pretty backyard?  Begin backwards.  Install function first, do not consider overall form, nor a single plant.  Seriously, this is a zero plant Garden Design first round.
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Consider this your backward backyard Garden Design Mini Course.  Free.
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Site first your table/chairs/umbrella & brick pad, similar to, below.   Siting near house, sited near a door of the home.  Ease of use.  Rectangular or square tables are best, they have multiple uses beyond dining, and for dining, can be placed end-to-end for larger groups.
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Choose table/chairs/umbrella hardy to life, and aesthetics to your interior.  Aesthetics includes style & color.  Little funding?  No excuse.  To me.  At a minimum copy Martha Washington's strategy at Mount Vernon.  It was expected she would host/entertain whoever showed up at her doorstep.  Many did.  Martha Washington used saw horses with planks atop, and a tablecloth.  Done.  More than economical, functional, pretty, easy to set up, easy to remove.
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If you are field gathering table/chairs for your backyard, aka thrifting, garage sales, curbside garbage collection days, & online no worries about their scavenged appearance.  None.
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Choose your exterior color trinity, Green-Brown-White, is the historic exterior color trinity, and paint/stain table/chairs, all, one of the colors from your trinity.  Poof, scavenged becomes curated. 



Pic, above, here.
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Once your table/chairs/umbrella/pad are in place, at least a year, you're ready to think about phase 2.
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Phase 2 considers shapes, not plants.

 Linear hedge rows and lines of trees in lawn space create elegant and simple modern landscape with a lot of interest.
Pic, above, here.
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Perhaps, above, a hedge of evergreens and an allee of trees for shade?  Scaled to your site/needs.  Considerations are mature tree height, speed of growth, how you will prune your trees (pleached/natural/etc.), how tall do you need your hedge, how many openings do you need in your hedge, and etc.

  A new build with old charm. Like the look of the exterior of this house.
Pic, above, here.
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Maybe you don't want a rectangle of hardscape for your table/chairs/umbrella.  All gravel, above, hardscape connected to other backyard hardscape, below.

 Klinkers
Pic, above, here.
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Plants in containers, below, create super fast plant scale.  Add drip irrigation to your pots, easy caretaking.  Skip planters with drama, go classic with evergreen button tops, below.

 Donvale project
Pic, above, here.
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All gravel, below, for your backyard table/chairs/umbrella and allee of trees with square green boxes at base.  Scaled appropriately for your site.
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Lighting.  If you have spotlights, put them on dimmer switches, first making sure light bulbs used can be used with dimmer switches.  Strands of LED lights needed.
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 French. Gravel courtyard. Symmetry. Exterior.
Pic, above, here.
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If you've been in your home awhile and still don't have a pretty & functional backyard, no excuses now.  None.
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Almost off topic, plants.  Consider only plants that are drought tolerant, deer proof, disease/insect resistant, and speed of growth for ease of maintenance.  Consider your age, and the size of plants you purchase.
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Hope you already have meal ideas swirling in mind for serving al fresco.  And the fun of assembling plates/glasses/silver/napkins/candles...
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Backyard is public-speak for the garden behind your home.  A sacred space.  If it's not, to you, why not?  If you've read this far, it's obviously in your heart to 'do' something to make it so.  Life is short, daylight's burning. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

How to Leverage a Table into Your Best Employee

What do you 'see', below?  For myself, I see a leveraged table.  I place well leveraged tables/chairs throughout my garden.  Each at a tipping point.  Bottom of the steps leading into the garden from the house?  A chair.  Why? 

cecil beaton conservatory - Google Search
Pic, above, here.
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The chair at the bottom of those steps, one of my best employees.  Always ready to take away some of what I'm carrying, or to hand me something I must carry up the stairs. 

 915/ French Provincial Carved Oak Table
Pic, above, here.
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Quite a knowing smile, seeing Bunny Mellon's leveraged table, above/below.
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 Sotheby's - an enchanted world
Pic, above, here.
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More than function.  Form.  Not in use?  Ridiculous question, a leveraged table is always in use.  Merely supporting a beautiful topiary, use enough in my realm.

 Mrs. Mellon working in her greenhouse in Virginia.
Pic, above, here.
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Interesting, above, looking through various doors of Bunny Mellon's painted garden house.  A conservatory, above, other doors leading into an allee.....
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Looking at the first pic, above, what do you see now?  Hopefully a leveraged table, and if you don't have one/several, they're now on your list.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Friday, September 15, 2017

Penelope Bianchi: Garden Template

Concise architecture, verdant vining vertical lawn, primitive shutters, hi Victorian crenelated benches, potted plantings, no foundation plantings, gravel to the house, diminutive light above the door, the pair of poodles in welcome, no lions here, rich restraint, you have me at first glance.
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At a jobsite yesterday, this garden, below, in my head.  A more formal vernacular French, yet it will be lapping gravel to the house, potted plants, benches against the home, and vine on the home.  

TG interiors: A Day with Penelope Bianchi....
Pic, above, here.
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Client hired me in an emergency.  Angst in her voice at the first phone call.  She had purchased a new smokehouse made to historic templates, and it was arriving in 2 weeks.  Where to place it?  Going full French, by request, I knew exactly where to place it.  Bless & grace in historic Garden Design 'rules'.  Zero fear siting her new 'toy'.  More, she wanted it sited at the edge of their new potager and orchard.  Delightful, the more constraints a garden has, the easier to design.
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Her husband is a garden zealot also, but the poor dear man travels like the wind across the globe for his career.  He had to trust what we were doing with the smokehouse.  Cannot imagine what that felt like for him.  We knew to get the smokehouse right, it must also make him beyond happy when he returned.
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Better than siting the smokehouse correctly, we got something larger.  A garden will inform you when it's pleased.  Their garden said something quite nice, a huge double check.  Approaching their home, from the main approach to the front door, and from a slight angle, as above, it's a Money Shot.
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Wildly excited at this discovery, I told the client right away.  When she saw it, she called her husband right away.  Once he got home, it was obvious to him too.  Three garden nerds in a pod.  High-fiving our Money Shot.
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Meeting with the grading contractor at their site today.  They've got grading, and oodles of other necessities ahead of photography.  You can be sure, their before/after, will include this photo, above.
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Why?  Once you get the memo about Historic Garden Design Rules, you'll be using them too, they're for every site.  Promise.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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I love Penelope Bianchi's garden.  Heart-on-my-sleeve, LOVE.  More pics of her garden here.  Penelope Bianchi's website, here.  Somehow, before internet, social media, love for Penelope Bianchi's garden arrived in a magazine article.  Years pass, blogging etc arrives, and now I love Penelope too, the person, and her garden.  Penelope's interior design and gardens must be imprinted onto your skillset templates.  Consider this your best homework assignment ever.    

Friday, September 8, 2017

Faux Bois: Diane Husson

How is it chair & table, below, appear grown from the trees?
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Never have I seen faux bois this beautiful.  Nor so well mated to its site.
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The impression deep, I pinned it to my own pinterest garden board.  Perhaps, one of my century old pecan trees could handle this type of faux bois.  Two years in our ca. 1900 house and 99.8% of what I see for gardens does not pass go for our garden.
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If the grass, below, were grown as Tara Turf, and the table/chair set at angles more appropriately, below, the scene becomes, timeless.  Appropriate angles?  Chair/table must appear in relationship to the person who just left after reading a long letter from a dear friend while drinking hot tea.  Demand much?  Yes.
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My tribe understands, 2-3 for lunch in the Conservatory, and ask their thoughts for exact table/chair placement.  Probably a good 15 minute discussion.  With added time for going into the vignette, adjusting, walking away for perspective, going in to adjust again.


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Diane Husson, sculptor, designs & creates by hand the faux bois, above.  Each piece unique, no molds.  Glad her name was on the pic, above.
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From her website, " My latest quest is to make sculpted concrete faux bois furniture that appears to be formed from live branches and still growing curious vines. These benches, chairs and tables are created to look like artifacts from an ancient civilization where the boundaries between nature and the spirit world were paper thin, and some secret wisdom is waiting patiently to be rediscovered. "
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She's succeeding in her quest.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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This is not a sponsored post.  Wildly impressed with Diane Husson's work.  She also creates large scale art pieces for commercial clients.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Stone & Flow Garden Design

Macro: Islands in the gravel, no edges.  Meandering flow, as if the gravel were water.
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Micro: Small space, high function, drifts of plantings make the space 'larger' axis views into beauty from the home.
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Crazy: Using green-meatballs and I like them.

Australian Landscape Conference 2013  -  (Honestly, I detest topiary balls....but for some reason, I like this space.  Well done!)
Pic, above, here.
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Garden Design Class, above, in a single pic.  Color echoes a delight, furniture choices/materials perfect.
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Garden & Be Well,    XOT
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Thank you for continued calls, texts, emails about Harvey in Houston.  Mom is dry, kept her power, worst damage are fronds from her palm trees fell.  She said they needed pruning anyway.  Many homes in her neighborhood flooded.  Sister still evacuated, home is dry, and a scare this morning with new mandatory evacuations placed on her neighborhood.  Put her address into the interactive map, she's 4 blocks away.  Hundreds of homes already flooded in her neighborhood, ahead of this new mandatory evacuation.  Keeping hope, she too stays dry.  Prayers for all, people/pets/wildlife/livestock, affected by Harvey.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hunting Gathering Garden Chairs

Two years in our ca. 1900 house I've almost completed hunting/gathering chairs for the harvest table.  .
Matching chairs?  No.  Oddly, matching chairs are a stress I don't want.  As if they must be arrayed properly.
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Found a honey hole junk shop for oddball outdoor chairs.  A distressed shed behind a distressed gas station.  Mostly, chairs sourced are in pairs.
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Once home, all the chairs are painted the same color.  Placement for the harvest table was decided recently.  With a load of gravel delivered/spread, table & chairs finally enter daily life here.  At the front end, I thought this layer would take, at most, 6 months.

Hamptons
Pic, above, here.
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Amusing, above, seems simple.  2 years later, still not 100% complete.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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FYI, been paying $5-$15/chair.  Heavy duty vintage iron, with arms & tall'ish backs for comfort.
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(Thank you for the notes/thoughts with my family threatened by floods in Houston.  Mom, who refused evacuation, still dry & with power, houses near her flooded, her neighborhood placed on curfew.  Sister still dry, but lives near the Barker Reservoir in Katy which began releasing at 2am this morning to help relieve further flooding in downtown Houston.  100's of homes will flood on purpose, some will stay flooded 2 months.  Hope to find out today if her home will be spared.  Nice chat last Friday with mom's local Police dept., bless their work, mom's put on their watch list, and they put me on their text list of warnings/updates. )  

Monday, August 21, 2017

Managing Ugly

For decades, at the front end of a design, a singular object has stood ready to go to the thrift store.  Yet remains, a scene stealing debacle of ugly.
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Most often the quick maneuver is to place it beside a seating group, as a large end table.
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You know what I'm talking about now, yes?

Hudson Residence by John B. Murray Architect
Pic, above, here.
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The large round table.  I know why they stay well beyond their past due date.  Not easy to get a large round table into a vehicle to tote to thrift store, awkward to tote to end of drive for garbage day.  Hoping of course your trash is someone else's treasure before the garbage man arrives.
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A round ugly table, draped with cloth, a winner.  Go team.  Great contrast, above, draped table, and stone table.  Iron chairs with rattan/wicker.
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Completely outside?  I know the cloth will rot, it has a healthy couple of years before dying.  During the 80's a not-brilliant wholesale grower use a type of burlap infused with plastic.  Discovery only made years later, when plants began dying, unable to break thru their plasticized burlap root ball.  Quite sad.  However, that plasticized burlap would be perfect outside over any ugly table.  Oh, to find it now.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Garden Stewardship: Lunch Ministry

At the front end, a fat percentage of my clients are targeted for my own 'diabolical' ministry purposes.   Diabolical?  Early, they're not ready for the message.   Lasso set, patience, yank.  Never do I consider 'guilt' as a means, too embarrassing to consider, rather low IQ method.  Full frontal, heart on sleeve, throw it out there, Lunch Ministry.   Further, Lunch Ministry merely a tool of Garden Stewardship.
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For whatever reason, IMHO, Providence sprinkles those with a gardener's heart sparingly across every century.  Part of my mission is to get those hearts into larger/larger circles of impact.

Embedded
Pic, above, here.

Whether 1, 4 or 10, lunch ministry is easy, once your garden is leveraged for it & a bit of mentoring, aka, in my world, "Soon you'll be having lunches and showers in your garden."  Not a member of local Garden Club?  Join, put your name on the list for upcoming monthly meeting to host.  Friend's child getting married?  You must have a shower.


 gravel garden w/ umbrella pruned trees
Pic, above, here.

The metaphorical breaking of bread, when 2 or more are gathered, indeed, packs a wallop in a garden.  Oddly, the further away from being a gardener one of my guests is, the more likely they are to cry during some point at lunch.  Tales I've been told thru those tears, oh my.  What is it about hospitality in a garden pealing away at the myriad layers the-world wraps us in?

Majolica plates for salad. Love!! Definetly wouldn't let the kids use them though, lol
Pic, above, here.

This has been my year receiving phone calls with wild tales of showers.  A special shower for the bride, for everyone who will not be invited to the wedding.  Whew, thought I was 'diabolical'.  Other showers, switch boards lit up.  One person rescinded her offer to give a shower, the intended princess asked a bit too much.  Who knew Miss Manners still alive/kicking, at a minimum, to those being gouged?   Reddit should run this query !  What is your worst bridal/baby shower story?
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My oddest Lunch Ministry, a baby shower, it snowed hard the nite before and all morning.  No one could come, roads blocked.  Table/food were ready.  To enjoy the snow, I knocked on neighbor's doors inviting them to lunch.  We had a great time.  All wondering why none of us had ever had a neighbor's snow day luncheon.

 Carolyne Roehm
Pic, above, here.
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Martha Washington never knew how many she would be serving each evening.  Not uncommon for her to use long boards on saw-horses with a cloth.  I've had my harvest table since late spring, no Lunch Ministry yet using it.  Pic, above, informs me I do not have a table cloth long enough, a bolt of fabric must be sourced.  Linen napkins are easy, they've been acquired junking for pennies on the dollar, vintage, with monograms, for decades.
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The joy of Lunch Ministry is following thru with my Garden Stewardship.  Zero expectation of return hospitality, none.  Casting bread upon the water.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Oh that low IQ thing.  Dread when it pops up, just when you think you've passed the age for getting into pickles.
 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Table Tableau: In the Garden

When friend-client-mentor Mary Kistner invited me to lunch, most often it was the 2 of us.  Her table, whether inside or on her porch, always had a fresh tableau created along the span reaching our places.  Lovingly, a fresh arrangement from her garden, she had 50 acres, a perfectly chosen textile, a book, opened to exactly the right photo/s, color as important as form, other magic.
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Mary was the 1st female leading Rich's department store interior decorating department,  she created all the store windows & department vignettes during WWII.  Times were dire, there were no men for the job.
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Blessedly, I knew at the time how special every moment of our time together was.

Alors vous aimez ?
Pic, above, here.
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I would send this pic to Mary today, if she were still alive.  Instead, it is sent to you.
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"It's what we do with what we have.", Mary Kistner.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Furniture in the Garden

Delightful garden.  I want to walk the graveled courtyard investigating the plantings/cultivars, go beyond to the potager, of course go inside the cottage, perhaps wine/canapes with kindred spirits & owner of the garden at the table/seating, below.
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Furniture too hodge-podge-lodge for you?  Easy, paint it all the same color, poof, a bit more formal.

lush climbing vines, white hydrangeas, potted hosta, little peak over door....cozy
Pic, above, here.
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Table with chopped off legs makes me smile.  Mom/dad used a round Sheraton'ish mahogany dining room table, with chopped off legs for a coffee table until I was just about thru college.  Flew home one weekend, and it was gone.  Given to the maid's nephew's, uncle's mom's youngest sister's 2nd best friend.  Catch my drift?  Given to the universe, NOT ME.  Speechless, then my best 2 year old self found her voice.  It was my parents turn to be speechless!  They had no clue I loved the table, nor thought it should be mine, all mine, some day.  Nor did they care, deed was done, get over it, buck-up Buttercup, and by the way your disgusting attitude is an embarrassment to us and yourself.  Got the memo.
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Last gasp of entitlement felt.  It was the era, graduate college, move out, get married, get a job, pay for husband's master's degree, save money, build a house, get a second degree, horticulture, by age 27.  This was the go-go mid/late 80's and I was the failure, so many my age already living in the big homes, blah-blah.  Parents always had stories to share, in detail, about childhood friends made CEO or selling their 2 day old company for millions (ha!).  My profession a misery to my parents.  Until he died, dad tried turning me away from horticulture, into my engineering degree.  No worries, at this distance, he did it from love.
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Knew at college graduation I would eat dirt off the sidewalk before asking parents for help, instead missed a lot of dinners.  My sister has a knack for sending articles about snowflake millennials that make me call her almost immediately just to laugh together, imagining if we had behaved similarly, we wouldn't be alive now.
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A sweet duality, seeing tables with chopped off legs.  A madeleine, a Proustian moment.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT

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.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tiny Garden Respite


Probably slapdash, below.  Yet fine tuned, inherent.  Barrel & half barrel collateral from their Vins & Liqueurs.  Even the colors echo from building to barrel.  Sited in equal asymmetry as the architecture, and function.  Finally, the trinity of pots/plants on the table, each a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, yet matched disparateness.

La rue des Ursins à l'angle de la rue des Chantres, Paris (IVe arr.), France, juillet 1914, (Autochrome, 9 x 12 cm), Stéphane Passet, Département des Hauts-de-Seine, musée Albert-Kahn, Archives de la Planète, A 13 657
Pic, above, here.

Adore how little the 'garden', how great its statement.
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Furniture in-the-garden maximized to function, yet warm invitation to comfort & hospitality.  Table/chairs echoed just inside the door, repetition.  And those fonts.
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A sliver between building and road, yet a respite from those worlds.
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An odd affliction, adoring  little-giving-much.  Especially potent when it's woven into a livelihood.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Foundation Planting vs. Eco/Sustainable/Nature

There is a broader horizon for foundations.
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Builders must receive a certificate of occupancy ahead of selling a new construction home.  Most USA jurisdictions have a minimal landscaping requirement for that certificate of occupancy: square footage of lawn, number of bushes, and number of trees.  Builders are doing their job, it's not on them to change standards.
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Beyond that outline the types/placement of bushes/trees is not defined further.  Decades pass, the builder's landscaping remains.  No concern for trees to shade in summer/warm in winter/block winter winds reducing HVAC expense and increasing property value, mature growth that won't break foundations/walks/drives/rot roofs or siding.
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Civic duty is met, a baseline standard, and keep it tidy.  Little relation to eco, sustainable, Nature.  That trinity is ours to define.  One of life's great gifts, if we take it.
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Centuries before American foundation plantings, there were gardens, below.
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A garden design course, below, in a single photo.
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Better, eco/sustainable/Nature.  Increasing lifestyle & property value.
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** Life in the Netherlands.
Pic, above, here.
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This garden, above, feels like it's been let out of the jail of foundation plantings.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Andy Warhol: Creating Atmosphere

Worthwhile or a fail.  For better, for worse.  Better than nothing.  Ok, accepted, it is what it is.
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Patio furniture is sold by patio furniture companies.  They arrange, style, stage, shoot, sell.  All good, and normal.
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How is it, patio furniture is purchased, and arranged in lockstep to the advertising?  Rooms To Go, exterior version.
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Buy me, we've done the thinking for you.  I buy a lot of things for that reason alone.
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Patio furniture much better than when I began my career in the 80's when every price point subdivision had the requisite white plastic table/chairs, Weber grill, and a mop on the patio.
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Comfort & function & aesthetics are sold in unison now, below, if you don't have the time to figure out your personal version.  Andy Warhol has a nice quote about atmosphere in NYC restaurants, and that's why people are happy to pay the prices, to get away from their lives, for a little while.   ("New York restaurants now have a new thing — they don’t sell their food, they sell their atmosphere. They say, “How dare you say we don’t have good food, when we never said we had good food. We have good atmosphere.” They caught on that what people really care about is changing their atmosphere for a couple of hours. That’s why they can get away with just selling their atmosphere with a minimum of actual food. Pretty soon when food prices go really up, they’ll be selling only atmosphere. If people are really all that hungry, they can bring food with them when they go out to dinner, but otherwise, instead of “going out to dinner” they’ll just be “going out to atmosphere.”)


 Now, buy atmosphere, plop it on your patio, voila, get away from your life, without leaving home.
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Want the look, below, but can't afford it?  Field gather, with a critical eye, chairs, tables, sofas, paint them all the same color.            


Garden at Restoration Hardware LA:
Pic, above, here.
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Am field gathering yard furnishings now for our ca. 1900 home.  Its atmosphere a delight to work with, quite controlling.
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Choose the aesthetic you want, keep a sure eye, have fun.  Buy classics, you won't have to buy again.  Once & done.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Goldilocks Method for Your Porch

Goldilocks memos.  Just when I think I've grown beyond new ones arriving.  Pow !  Some old ones, below.
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First spring in Georgia, 35 years ago, I remember well cleaning the yellow pollen off the porch.  More than a little effort involved.  The next morning, this Galveston Bay, Texas girl learned yellow pollen is a season, not a day.  Got the memo.
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A few years later, moved into my starter home, an arbor, much anticipated, was finally built over the back patio.  This was the era of 10" hanging baskets lush with flowers, $3.88.  Bought more than a few.  Thrilled, hammering nails into the arbor, and hanging all those colorful baskets.  Watering.  Didn't anticipate that inconvenience.  Got the memo.
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Had the good fortune. from my 20's, to tour a lot of gardens with pretty porches, and give Garden Club lectures at homes with gorgeous porches.  A quick study, learning to copy beautiful ideas aligning with my amount of time/money.  If the porch was gorgeous because their maid & landscape crew were keeping it clean, fertilized, seasonal flowers replanted, watered, trimmed, blown, cushions washed, that would not transfer to my lifestyle.  Got the memo.


SUCH A STUNNING PLACE TO SIT, READ A BOOK, OR SIMPLY RELAX & ENJOY THE GLORIOUS SURROUNDINGS!! :
Pic, above, here.
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Gorgeous, above, but not for me.  Too much work.  And then the wind blows and the candles fall to the ground shattering, or the neighbor's dog wags his tail into them.  The curtains mildew.  Perfect for another's life, and an example of being fierce with your Goldilocks choices.
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Pretty/classic, below, and maybe for me.  Cushions an issue.  I don't want to 'have to have' cushions.  Much easier without cushions, been there/done that.  And, keeping the wicker 'clean'.  Probably easy enough to keep the patio/furniture blown weekly, hosing it down 1x-2x/year.  Goldilocks interested, below.


Would prefer more of this feel in the back of our lake house.:
Pic, above, here.

Not much work for Goldilocks, below.  Maximum function, little caretaking.  Rockers have cushions, but they don't have-to-have-cushions.  Porch, below, a good ending point, or good starting point, depending upon your Goldilocks story.

Beautiful.... this is one of my happy places I go to when I close my eyes only it's in the middle of about 100 acres. :-):
Pic, above, here.
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Perhaps that's the best point about using the Goldilocks method, it's a lifehack moving you toward your own fabulous choices, working the best for you.  Not taking other's beautiful patio choices, without consideration for consequences.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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In an earlier version of Goldilocks it's an old woman, not a young girl, and she runs away at the end of the story, only to be caught, and impaled on the steeple of St. Paul's Cathedral for her trespass.
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Ironically, working with a client now, her daughter, not a real gardener, but adores cooking, wanting an herb garden.  Mom, said, "I'll give you an herb garden, and have it planted for you."  Daughter said, "No, that's too much work, I want it in pots on the patio."  Daughter choosing the greater maintenance choice, least sustainable, and productive.  Her mom & I, very much considering daughter's age.  Those headstrong, know so much, 20's.  We lived them too!  What did we decide?  Not wanting to discourage a possible new gardener, daughter is getting her herb garden in large pots.  .  It's how we learned, making the wrong choices, while surely knowing they were the right choices.  Gardening is wildly counterintuitive.
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Truly, it is all my wrong garden choices making me an 'expert', not the college degree in horticulture.  More than wrong choices, bold & sure while making them.  Late last year, took my tribe to Susanne Hudson's garden, none had seen it or met her before.  Before leaving, we sat on the front porch, and then the garden stories began.  Laughter, unbelievable laughter.  We were sharing the 'smart' things we had done in our gardens leading up to finally having the garden's of our dreams.