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

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Zen of Formal

"...the ability to start out upon your own impulse is fundamental to the gift of keeping going upon your own terms, not to mention the further and more fulfilling gift of getting started all over again --- never resting upon the oars of success or in the doldrums of disappointment....Getting started, keeping going, getting started again --- in art and in life, it seems to me this is the essential rhythm..."
--- Seamus Heaney
.
Most common phrase customers say when we meet, "Oh, I don't want anything formal."  Then proceed to describe what they want and show photos.  You know what's coming next.
.
Every description, every photo of their dream garden, FORMAL.
.

Pic, above, here.
.
Classically formal dining room, above.  Graveled rectangle, focal point on axis, canopy/understory bushes/trees, walls, floor, flow, function, contrast, texture, seasons, sound. 
.
Easily decorated for mid-century modern, or any style, zone, theme you desire.
.
"Small change, small wonders --- these are the currency of my endurance and ultimately of my life." --- Barbara Kingsolver
.
Show me your outdoor dining room.  Better, invite your friends to a meal.  Not there yet?  Want to be?  There lies your small change, small wonders. 
.
No budget for outdoor furnishings for a bit?   Pair of saw horses with planks, as Martha Washington served myriad guests in their garden at Mount Vernon.  Better, improvise, rescue 'saw horses', and 'planks'.  With this mission, your outdoor dining room will be unique, though the garden design technique has been in use long BCE. 
.
What is an outdoor dining room to you, if you don't have one now?  "The opportunity to experience yourself differently..." --- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
 Greensmart Decor Artificial Ivy Panel Set of 4 - Green
Pic, above, here.
.
"All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection.  So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible." --- William Faulkner
.
Yes, you can do the impossible.  In the garden of your heart.  Sure it's impossible.  That's why it's there for you to do.  "We go on.  Because it is the hard thing to do.  And we owe ourselves the difficulty." --- Nikki Giovanni
.
Touring a beautiful garden, with our British historic gardens expert and guide, after he had described a garden compost area feature we were standing in, a woman said, "That's inconvenient."  Quickly he responded, "Making love is work, but we do it."
.
It is the difficulty of creating our garden, bringing its blessing.  Most often your 'difficulty' will be mental.  Seeing.  Seeing rightly, is the work.  And gift.
.
 .
Pic, above, here.
.
"Clear your mind of 'can't." --- Samuel Johnson.
.
 Reception Court: walled garden
Pic, above, here.
.
Thrilling.  Beyond thrilling, above.  So little there, yet it's a garden.  Living in a ca. 1938 starter home or 1990 cluster home?  Garden Design, above, is for you too.
.
 snowy garden- really illustrates the importance of structure in the garden
Pic, above, here.
.
Trees as total Garden Design, above.  You cannot go wrong choosing this path.  More, choose a tough native pollinator tree.  Choose to pollard, prune them to shape. 
.
"And so we turn the page over/To think of starting.  This is all there is." --- John Ashbery
.
 .
Pic, above, here.
.
How many times has this Garden Design been done across centuries.  This one leaves no gardener or garden or home behind.
.
Works every time. 
.
In a typical USA subdivision, this is a good Garden Design, above, to copy, and site a hedge of evergreens at the front of your lawn.  Tall enough to hide the road & cars, for sure, maybe tall enough to hide your first story.  Depends on your location, views, noise.
.
 An English country garden, - Cornwall, UK - Clive Nichols, photographer,  #Clive #Cornwall #C...#clive #cornwall #country #english #garden #nichols #photographer
Pic, above, here.
.
The Well Placed Chair, above.  You know you've designed a good garden, when, in season, Nature takes over all your efforts.  Laughing at you.  And you like it. 
.
.
Pic, above, here.
.
Use pots that won't break, trees tolerating your zone, and drip irrigation, above.
.
Adore how little is in the garden, above.  It's Tara Turf, green ball, hedge, canopy tree, house as backdrop, color theme, textures, flow.  Did you already see all those things, above, and name them to yourself?
.
 blue
Pic, above, here.
.
Hiding the pool.  Especially good, if you must put in a fence, yet have acreage.  Make your pool the surprise in a Faberge Egg.
.
"You have neat tight expectations of what life ought to give you, but you won't get it.  That isn't what life does.  Life does not accommodate you, it shatters you.  Every seed destroys its container or else there would be no fruition." --- Florida Pier Scott-Maxwell, Playwright, Jungian analyst.
.
 The Noble Home
Pic, above, here.
.
This garden, above, uses the same Formal Garden Design as the top photo: rectangle, focal point, flow, canopy, understory, floor, texture, color, shapes.
.
Just because epiphanies arrive doesn't mean changes will arrive effortlessly or soon.
.
Choosing to have a garden, the one in your head, is as simple as Dorothy learning how to go home.
.
Choose.
.
Garden & Be Well,   XOT
.
A few  more from Florida Pier Scott-Maxwell.
.
"You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours.  When you truly possess all you have been and done ... you are fierce with reality."
.
"Making those we love happy sounds innocent as a dove, but it can be as destructive as a lion."
.
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
.
"If we begin with certainties we shall end in doubts; but if we begin with doubts, and are patient with them, we shall end with certainties." --- Francis Bacon
.
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
.
You realize this is a complete Garden Design course?  The important parts anyway.
.
It's all important.  The Zen of Formal?  Easy to maintain, beautiful in all seasons, pollinators, lowers HVAC, raises property value. 
.
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
5 years, this summer, in our ca. 1900 home.  Began gardening this month, finally.  No clue gardening would not begin for 5 years.  Repairing the pond, drilling a well, renovating sheds, moving sheds, building sheds, creating roads, clearing invasives, and clearing more invasives.  Life, my mom, caretaking, death, then major illnesses with Beloved.
.
Starting wasn't something chosen or thought about or anticipated.  Apparently I had been at the bottom of the ocean, and shot up for air about 5am three weeks ago.  Could not breath, live, another day, without starting my garden.
.
Quick phone call to Susanne Hudson, sourcing Conservatory parts, windows/French doors, Conservatory seating, somehow buying a honking huge antique library case too,  Honker.   Honk-er.
.
Hedges, Conservatories, Tara Turf, Potting Table, Trees, and my library.  Leaving my 30 year garden, missed most, my built-in Library, and Conservatory.  Can't make this stuff up, the soul speaks.
.
Did you notice, 'Conservatories', plural?  Life is good.  One of our tiny historic sheds, has a pair of shed roofs, each side, Beloved already built.  Soon, the East Conservatory will be completed, and hopefully, this year, we'll also build the West Conservatory.
.
Their views wildly different.  The new potting table was sited at this shed, already I'm potting up and crazy happy.  Thankful of my years as a professional propagator at a nursery with 7 hoop houses, each with a different type of use; forcing, cuttings, plugs, annuals, perennials, herbs.
.
Found living without a garden & library......untenable a moment more.  Getting a potting table, 3rd potting table across my adult life, previous 2 were wood.  This potting table, ca. 1940, is custom made, 2 shelves, backsplash, and stainless steel, from a sorority house at University of Georgia. 
.
Have never felt so at home here.  Literally.  I'm home.  Garden, Conservatories, Potting Table, Library.  Every bit of air I shot upward for.  Whole again.
.

 Pin by ARACH Trilogy on Pictures that we love! | Book quotes ...
Pic, above, here.

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
.

.
"...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
.
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?
.
A Garden Design Trinity: Stick Trees, Hedges, Balls.
.

.
Within the trinity, Stick Trees/Hedges/Balls, the agrarian ode to Providence, pollinators, & self are present.
.

.
"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
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.

.
Taller grasses in the distance, pic below, canopy trees beyond, balls and stick trees in low meadow.  Easy to maintain, and, maximum pollinator habitat.
.

.
God's Word is written in the Bible.  In the Garden you "feel that you have overheard it rather than read it."
.
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.
.

.
Your dog, children, friends, seasons, and etc, are the focal point.
.





.
"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.
.
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.
.

.
"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
.
"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.
.
'The plants in your garden are only half the story.  The rest is what you bring to the party.' , paraphrasing Toni Morrison.
.
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.
.

.
Inside your home, is where your Garden Design begins.  You'll live both directions with your garden, and home.
.

.
The harder I garden, literally or metaphorically, the more comfort I receive.
.
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.
.
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.
.
Wish Walt Whitman could read about the science of trees now.  He knew their lives, without the science, in the 19th century.
.

.
Gardens are sacred mandalas, beauty & impermanence.
.

.
Gate in the hedge, above.  Flow, as needed.
.

.
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.
.

.
"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.
.
The calm you design into your garden.  Is not truly calm.  It's a manner of choosing how you will live.
.

.
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.
.

.
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.
.
"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
.

.
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.
.







.
Wine & cell phone on the table, above.  One should not be ubiquitous.  I'm guilty.
.





.
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.
.
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.
.
Garden & Be Well,   XO T
.
==================================================================
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
===================================================================
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.
.
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.
.
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. 
.
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.

Friday, January 17, 2020

12 Steps to Create a Patio You'll Want to Use

Garden Design in a single photo, below.
.

Pic, above, here.
.
Don't be fooled by the beautiful home, stone terrace, vintage table/chairs, classic urn on a low brick column.  This isn't a high-end Garden Design course.  It's Garden Design for all.  Every price point.
.
Do pay attention to form, function, simplicity, color.
.
Ease of maintenance.
.
Access to house for easy transport of tableware/meals.
.
The urn, at front, so fabulous, it remains a beauty, empty.
.
They chose a color trinity, green/black/white.
.
Does it answer the question, "Is the garden so amazing I want to see inside the house?"  Yes.
.
This Garden Design is for any starter home, no matter its era.  Found/rescued brick/stone for the terrace, laid in soil with groundcover.  Perhaps gravel, with a few stones set at main path into house.  Don't want to track gravel inside.
.
Choose your Color Trinity.  Green/Brown/White the historic classic.  For a reason.  But, choose whatever you want, it's your garden, your life.  You love it, results will be great.
.
No vintage table/chairs?  Field gathered is fabulous.  Table, chairs, none match, all painted the same color.  What color?  One of your chosen Color Trinity.   
.
No classic urn?  Old galvanized pot.  Horrid plastic pot, fine, if painted from your Color Trinity.
.
Be simple.  At the end of a Garden Design, ask yourself, "What can I take out, and it still holds together?"  Simplicity is good Garden Design.  Never, do I want to look out a window, and think, "Oh, I must go do....."  I must look out my windows and think, "Oh WOW."
.
Make sure your choices flow from inside your home.  Same brain waves creating your interior, are the same to use outside. 
.
Garden Design begins inside the house.  This patio flows from inside the house. 
.
Bugs?  Outdoor ceiling fans.  Not happening?  Paint a box fan, aim it toward table at proper distance, spray it a color from your trinity.  Once my arbor with ceiling fans rotted, at my 30 year garden, I went the box fan route nestled in the foliage of a large potted plant.  Not too inconvenient, it was mostly off exhibit, in the garage.   
.
Garden & Be Well,  XOT 
.
Front porch at our ca. 1900 home is amazing, it faces east, usually has a slight breeze from the pastures surrounding us.  It's deep, we can eat meals during storms, without getting wet.  Often, when bad weather blows in I go to the front porch to sit and enjoy the drama.  During the few weeks a year it's not too hot, or too cold, when friends come to dinner, we eat on the front porch. 
.
Last nite, heading out to dinner, it was the last of oddly warm temperatures the past week.  Told Beloved to stop, lets sit on the front porch a few minutes before leaving.  "Why?", he asked, "So we can talk." I said.  "We can talk in the truck.", he said.  "I want to enjoy the last of this warm weather in January with you.", I said.  We sat.  Talked.  Quite a bit.  Sweet.
.
Doubt Beloved would convey this story similarly.  Men.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Garden Furniture: Garage Table

Self explanatory, below, excepting the delight in discovery.  Why did I never think of this?  Ever. 
.
Light weight, multi-functional, 2 pieces particle board.  End to end, side by side, only one, whatever, as job requires.  Maybe you're hosting an afternoon of gathering greenery for garland making with friends.  Poof, huge table, 4-6 boards.
.
Lightly, but seriously, designing garage interiors, for decades, this, below, is amazing.  Most everyone needs an empty table in the garage.  Here it is.  Upright, the garbage cans are permanent storage, easily accessed, lifting the particle board for access. 

Dirt Simple | Gardening and Landscape Blog by Deborah Silver
Pic, above, here.

.
Nor does anything have to be bought if you're willing to hunt/gather with a keen, knowing eye.  Those are the tables I would adore seeing.  The one you put together from 'found' elements.
.
How is it I'm emancipated in my garden?  What is its alchemy?  How did I not know I needed emancipating?  What is this dispensation?  What power, what force is at work, doing this for me, and you?
.
Discovering this table, is discovering more good gardening.  Decades gardening, discoveries never fail to delight.  This table, above, pure alchemy.
.
Stack the garbage cans, store the particle board against the wall behind the garbage cans.  I know you're seeing more than I have.
.
Garden & Be Well,   XOT

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.
.
The Well-Placed Table, and its appointments.
.
 Gardening- a creative journey
Pic, above, here.
.
All yours, best when you've delved deeply into what gives you joy.
.
Tell me who you are, with your Well-Placed Table and appointments.
.
Hope you're already planning changes thru the year in appointments.
.
No worries details, excepting the most singularly important detail.  Joy.
.
Buy the table because looking at it makes you happy.
.
Choose your table color because it makes you happy.
.
Site your table because looking at it, exactly in that spot, makes you happy.
.
Place appointment/s on your table because they make you happy.
.
Remember, the more you go inward, the more you outwardly connect.
.
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? 
.
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.
.
Habitually Chic® » Mezzatore Hotel and Thermal Spa
Pic, above, here.
.
Large pots, multiple seating areas, repetitious furniture, color theme flowing throughout & accouterments. 
.
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.
.
Become a fan of square and rectangular shaped tables.  Square/rectangular tables can be pulled together or set against walls, multi-use. 
.
How easy this terrace is to blow.  Few obstructions.  Simple pot plantings.  No major replanting needed at change of seasons.
.
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.
.
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.
.
So, we held hands, she cried a bit more, and I waited, knowing exactly what to say to her.
.
"You can have this, my garden is less than 1/4 acre, 8500 SF, and that includes house & driveway."
.
Not the first time bearing witness to a woman's life change.
.
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. 
.
Never saw that woman again.  Yet, I know she's thriving.
.
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.
.
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...
.
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. 
.
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.'
.
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.   
.
You've read this far, you're a garden whisperer.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
Wish I could say I chose gardening.  No, wasn't that smart.  Instead, one of the few born into it.  Literally.
.
 Image result for celia thaxter he who is born with a silver spoon quote
Pic, above, here.
.
Hope you already own, An Island Garden, by Celia Thaxter.  She's one of those audible inner voices heard clearly, in my garden.
.
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. 
.
This isn't technically about specifics of garden furniture, instead, Garden Designing with garden furniture. 
.
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. 
.
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.
.
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? 
.
Exterior color trinity, above.  Historic gardens are designed with an exterior color trinity.  Green/gray/black, above. 
.
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?
.
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.
.
Do consider, strongly, drip irrigation if you plan on having containers planted.   
.
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. 
.
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.
.
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. 
.
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.
.
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. 
.
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. 
.
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. 
.
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?"     
.
Odd new garden passion, staging garden tables in the florist style, below. 
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
Harvest tables, above, staged 3 ways.  Which staging is yours?
.
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. 
.
Garden & Be Well,  XO T
.
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.
.
Consider this your backward backyard Garden Design Mini Course.  Free.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
Once your table/chairs/umbrella/pad are in place, at least a year, you're ready to think about phase 2.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
All gravel, below, for your backyard table/chairs/umbrella and allee of trees with square green boxes at base.  Scaled appropriately for your site.
.
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.
.
 French. Gravel courtyard. Symmetry. Exterior.
Pic, above, here.
.
If you've been in your home awhile and still don't have a pretty & functional backyard, no excuses now.  None.
.
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.
.
Hope you already have meal ideas swirling in mind for serving al fresco.  And the fun of assembling plates/glasses/silver/napkins/candles...
.
Garden & Be Well,   XO T
.
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.