Showing posts with label vanishing threshold. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vanishing threshold. Show all posts

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Tara Template: The Table

Following historic Garden Design rules, creates wildly unique gardens from the same templates. Every time.
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Sure, ignore historic Garden Design rules, go commando, walk off the reservation, reinvent the wheel, hello ubiquity.  Worse, aside from frittering money.  Time.  Life's precious commodity.
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Who have I become?  What happened to that young woman?  The one who needed perennial borders, shocking amounts of hydrangeas & gee gaws galore, first?  No longer a young woman, joyful victory, fully bloomed woman, humbly remaining a young gardener.  My life, To Sir With Love, lived into, Thomas Jefferson.  Hungering for more.  More, than the young woman who merely thought she hungered.
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Tara Template: The Table

intiem terras tuinontwerp Nijmegen


pleached trees around seating:

tuinontwerp Midden-Limburg Roermond


tuinontwerp Midden-Limburg Melick


tuinontwerp Maastricht Limburg


achtertuin ontwerp Zuid-Limburg
All pics, above, here.
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On August 20, 1811 Thomas Jefferson wrote to Charles Willson Peale, “I have often thought that if heaven had given me choice of my position & calling, it should have been on a rich spot of earth, well watered, and near a good market for the productions of the garden.  “no occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, & no culture comparable to that of the garden. such a variety of subjects, some one always coming to perfection, the failure of one thing repaired by the success of another, & instead of one harvest a continued one thro’ the year. under a total want of demand except for our family table I am still devoted to the garden. but tho’ an old man, I am but a young gardener.”  Monticello Blog.  
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To Sir with Love
Those schoolgirl days of telling tales and biting nails are gone
But in my mind
I know they will still live on and on
But how do you thank someone, who has taken you from crayons to perfume?
It isn't easy, but I'll try
If you wanted the sky I would write across the sky in letters,
That would soar a thousand feet high,
To Sir, with Love
The time has come
For closing books and long last looks must end
And as I leave
I know that I am leaving my best friend
A friend who taught me right from wrong
And weak from strong
That's a lot to learn
What, what can I give you in return?
If you wanted the moon I would try to make a start
But I, would rather you let me give my heart
To Sir, with Love
Songwriters: Don Black / Mark London
To Sir with Love lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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To Sir With Love, the movie, made quite an impression watching the first time as a teen.  More amazing is the source my life was given, as mentor, my Garden.  To Garden, with Love.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Garden Design Class in a Single Pic

Hello gorgeous, below.
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You got me with your almost brutally modern architecture, smashed into historic Garden Design.
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Then you dropped those orbs with a glint of art nouveau reverie taking a ride with Tinkerbell.
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Your furniture borders on cliche excepting it's an ode to cubism.
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Well do I appreciate the hands & intent pruning, a cocky marvel, to those who know.
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Finally, ending with how lush can you be with the smallest amount of input.
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You're darn tooting I want to see the rest of the garden.
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 :
Pic, above, here.
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Adore garden pics telling a story, and teaching a Garden Design class.
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What do you see, above?
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Red Queen Thinking: Get Where You're Going

Extreme example, below, designing views into your windows.
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Where to begin your Garden Design?  Why, of course your Garden Design begins in the middle, of your house.  Looking out into the garden from every window.  Yes, this is Red Queen, Alice in Wonderland truth.  Naturally, will finish with the Red Queen, you must create a double axis and design views into your windows, from the garden.  Story gets better these are 'my' garden design rules.  You know, all those decades of empirical data points gathered traipsing across Europe studying historic gardens.  Now, you're in the story, and it makes me laugh, you're understanding my Red Queen dictums.  And doing them too.  Beautiful garden, beautiful life.

Je Veux Ton Amour:
Pic, above, here.

In my house, below, Garden Designed from inside to outside.  Bay window, pot on plinth sited directly upon middle row of glass panes.


Another 1st Rule of Garden Design:
Pic, above, shot by me in my garden.
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TARA DILLARD: Focal Points in the Landscape:
Pic, above, shot by me in my garden, same bay window.

TARA DILLARD: Garden Design Begins Inside Your Home:
Pic, above, shot by me, same window.

my living room, baby grand, double sofas, card table, chairs, chinoiserie screen door, bay window, wood floors:
Pic, above, shot by me, same window.
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Exactly where your Garden Design should begin, above, the middle of your home, looking out the windows.  "I don't know where to start.", is the refrain.  Common, common, alas, common, and Red Queen of Alice in Wonderland has the answer.
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TARA DILLARD: Looking into my living room from the garden, chinese snow ball, lamps on, blue + white:
Pic, above, shot by me in my garden, same window.
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Lamp, above, now in the dining room, blue/white, above, now in the central hall, lamp at back right, above, now in the laundry room kitchen, and the beat goes on, as Sonny Bono sang so well.  Less than 6 mos after moving from my cottage, above, had to have a heart-to-heart talk with myself.  Self, you cannot 'remember' where everything used to be, everything is now in its right place.  Twenty four hours later, after much focus, those memories let go of me.  Too exhausting.  Loved my cottage, and now, love my farmhouse, though not Tara'ized yet.
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Moving from my home of 30 years, pics above, has been wildly beyond expectation.  From cottage I built ca. 1986, to historic ca. 1900 farmhouse.  Zero clue this lone fact would be a 180.  What was I thinking?  Data still arriving, and Red Queen of Alice in Wonderland, having great sway, at present.  No worries, a plodder, no fear to pull a trigger.  Beloved doesn't get this process, asked me while riding in the Gator to the pond last month, "This blah-blah has to get done, it is a mess, looks terrible, you need to get rid of xyz and etc."  Red Queen, slowly turned her head toward him, "I'm not to that layer yet."  No, you don't want to know the look on Red Queen's face, or her tone, nor what she was thinking. "Can't you SEE the layers? "
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Garden & Be Well,     XOT
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Want more crazy?  Inhale the Red Queen of Alice in Wonderland, you'll begin the garden design of your dreams.  Promise.  Why else would I expose crazy thinking?  It's to give away the best story ever told.

Monday, January 16, 2017

MLK: Mission Statement for Living

"If you want to understand how a lion hunts you don't go to the zoo, you go to the jungle." David Sable

Going into the internet, first time, zero clue to anything about it excepting what I had read in newspapers or magazines or heard on tv.
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Lovely afternoon.  Hooked.  Two memories of that 1st voyage, discovered in-depth writings of Martin Luther King, and, bought an airline ticket.
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Yesterday, serendipitously, found a well defined description of those thoughts written by Dr. King, yet never written into a journal, saved, or printed.
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 His (King's) enduring ethos, at its core, is nonreligious — rather, it champions a set of moral, spiritual, and civic responsibilities that fortify our humanity, individually and collectively. "   Here.
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Broughton Grange, Oxfordshire: Designer Tom Stuart - Smith Wall Art & Canvas Prints by Clive Nichols:
Pic, above, here.

My first study tour of historic European gardens 2+ decades ago, tossed me directly into a new world, hitherto unknown, in relation to landscapes.  People cared about the landscapes they created for themselves, not merely for themselves, or even first for themselves, but as a civic duty to community and neighbor.  Going deeper, even a duty to who will own the home/garden after them.

 In the orchard at Chisenbury Priory, the grass has been allowed to grow and then neat paths have been mown through the long grass.:
Pic, above, here.

Continued studies abroad with historic gardens, intuitively realized their landscapes went beyond a duty to self and community.  Their landscapes included duty to Nature.  Spirituality.
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"His (King's) enduring ethos, at its core, is nonreligious — rather, it champions a set of moral, spiritual, and civic responsibilities that fortify our humanity, individually and collectively. " "
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"Nonviolence … does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding. The nonviolent resister must often express his protest through noncooperation or boycotts, but he realizes that these are not ends themselves; they are merely means to awaken a sense of moral shame in the opponent. The end is redemption and reconciliation. The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness."  Dr. Martin Luther King.
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Too often, stories of HOA's, shared with me are not under the heading of redemption, reconciliation & beloved community, but tragic bitterness. Incredible mission statement for living, above.
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Was excited to come across these beautiful words again, as Dr. King wrote them, and wanted to share.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Top pic, amuses no end.  Did not like, could not abide, too stupid for me, topiary forms in the garden.  Now, I understand their iconic use, and why.  Love, when appropriate, topiary in the garden.  Looking at the picture, admire the garden, and smirk kindly at the person I used to be.  Isn't it amazing how fast we see quirks we used to have, within others !!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Brain Pickings: Rachel Carson & Dorothy Freeman

Most of the historic gardens I've studied across Europe for 2+ decades are farms.  Never anticipating I would be designing a single farm garden.  Majority of my work, to date, has been in subdivisions attached to large cities.  Learning at the historic farms, best ever choice.
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Farm, below, quite typical of gardens I've studied.  Great dividing line of farm & formal at the ha-ha.
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ha-ha Wall alternative to fencing when trying to keep cattle out of house yard but not destroy view:
Pic, above, here.

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, published when I was a small girl, made the tv news.  That black/white screen bearing witness to MLK's murder, Vietnam, a President shot, the Texas Tower Shooting, and race riots.  Well before the age of 10, all this stuff plastered tv news.  Nope, in the wisdom of a 6'ish year old, Rachel Carson, was just another bitter story.      

 Looking back, and forward - Ben Pentreath Inspiration:
Pic, above, here.

Time passes.  Of course I learn she's done something quite wonderful.  And I had to study at those historic farms, learning how to insert Nature into subdivison landscapes.  Nature, my great love.

 Giant Tortoise And Baby Cow Who Lost Its Leg Become Best Friends, Do Everything Together:
Pic, above, here.

Until this year, Rachel Carson remained a 'persona'.

Monarch butterflies on tree tru.  Michoacan, Mexico:
Pic, above, here.
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Following a short rabbit hole of diversion, I discovered Rachel Carson the person, today.  A dear friend, at lunch yesterday, Brio on Peachtree, shared with me something wondrous that had happened to her.  Before the sharing I knew something was different, she was luminous in her beauty, radiating peace.  A terrible bitterness she had carried, over 2 decades, lifted.  Gone.  Whew.  What a lunch we had and I don't mean the food (wedge salad &lobster bisque).  
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I don't see my friend often enough, at least once a year we try to spend the nite, sharing the same bed, not wanting to miss a moment of time with each other, talking till way too late.  This friendship quite important to both of us.  And it has had its moments of angst, nevah you doubt, but never an option to part.
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Brain Pickings had an intriguing link about a friendship, a deep friendship between a pair of grown women.  With memories of yesterday's lunch still glowing today, you know I took the click bait.
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Rachel Carson is one of the women.  This article about deep friendship, turned Rachel Carson the persona, into Rachel-the-person.  A nice read of depth, as only Brain Pickings does, I finished the article with moist eyes.  And, clicked afterward to buy her books.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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If you don't take my click bait, above, here's an excerpt:

"In September of 1963, shortly after her testimony before President John F. Kennedy’s Science Advisory Committee became instrumental in the first regulatory policies on pesticides, Carson wrote a stunning letter to Freeman. It contained a contemplation of her own mortality so profound, so poignant, so tenderhearted and transcendent that it could only be articulated to the person who knew her heart most intimately. She writes:
Dear One,
This is a postscript to our morning at Newagen, something I think I can write better than say. For me it was one of the loveliest of the summer’s hours, and all the details will remain in my memory: that blue September sky, the sounds of the wind in the spruces and surf on the rocks, the gulls busy with their foraging, alighting with deliberate grace, the distant views of Griffiths Head and Todd Point, today so clearly etched, though once half seen in swirling fog. But most of all I shall remember the monarchs, that unhurried westward drift of one small winged form after another, each drawn by some invisible force. We talked a little about their migration, their life history. Did they return? We thought not; for most, at least, this was the closing journey of their lives.
But it occurred to me this afternoon, remembering, that it had been a happy spectacle, that we had felt no sadness when we spoke of the fact that there would be no return. And rightly — for when any living thing has come to the end of its life cycle we accept that end as natural.
For the Monarch, that cycle is measured in a known span of months. For ourselves, the measure is something else, the span of which we cannot know. But the thought is the same: when that intangible cycle has run its course it is a natural and not unhappy thing that a life comes to an end.
That is what those brightly fluttering bits of life taught me this morning. I found a deep happiness in it — so I hope, may you. Thank you for this morning.
Rachel  "

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Garden Design Course in a Single Photo

In many others, and my own, there is a demanding Muse for Garden Photography.
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Every layer, below, Muse's demand, decadently satisfied.
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A Garden Design course can be taught from this pic, below, alone.
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Muse's demand?  Speaking to Jean Cocteau, Sergei Diaghilev said it best, "Astonish me.".

1. Boxed hedge of ivy for outdoor seating area 2. Grass borders:
Pic, above, here.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Want bonus points?  Label every layer, above.
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Love pairs of words, ASTONISH ME, double lovely !  Had to use this new pair after discovery in an article about Andre Leon Talley in NYTimes yesterday.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Binary Thinking is Not For Garden Design

Anatomy of designing a garden first for winter, below.
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Through the year, let Nature take its course or play with seasonal plantings in the urns on plinths, below.
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Perhaps lighting in the pond/pool, below, shining in a direction you wish to see wavy watery shadows in the evening.  A fountain for sound?
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Maybe flowers/candles floating in the water for a party.
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Get the point?  More than a garden, below, it's a proscenium for your life.

FAMOUS FOLK AT HOME: India Hicks and her mother Lady Pamela at the Hicks family home in Oxfordshire, England:
Pic, above, here
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Binary thinking does not lend itself to Garden Design.  
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"No truly great thinker is siloed in a small territory."  And, that is the mind, a truly great thinker, creating the garden, above.
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"Quantitative thinking is knowing the dose makes the poison."  Just enough, above, any more, and the Garden Design is poisoned.  Had a super talented assistant manager when I worked at a nursery for several years.  Alas, he always poisoned his talent, Garden Design, in the last 5 minutes.  He put in too much.  We would wait for him to leave, and take away the poison, leaving the true beauty of his work.  Never, did he get angry with us.  Instead it was always a great smile, after his initial questioning gaze.
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Binary thinking is a fixed mindset.  Garden Design is a growth mindset.  "Blame is a big part of the fixed mindset."  Garden Design receives the blame, too often, and erroneously, of "I can't afford it.".
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No time to go there at the moment.  Another day.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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Quotes pulled from, Creating A Growth Mindset, by Carol Dweck.
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I didn't save her quotes for Garden Design, though they fit.  Instead, been taken to my last nerve dealing with binary thinking from....  And, happy to get this lens of thinking to up my own game, when my game is stalled.  A growth mindset, for sure.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Paired Down Richness

Minimal embellishment, below, yet, I want what they are selling !  Whatever it may be.  At the front door, they have me.
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Color, potted plant, and font.
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Oddly, there's a great example too of Garden Design and downspout color.  At right, below, downspout color is the wise choice.  At left, below, must be neighbor's downspout.
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Best proof, ever, white jumps forward, and tries to act like a 'column' with a downspout.

p1070229:
Pic, above, here.
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A richness, above, having nothing to do with filthy lucre, and everything to do with warmth, confidence, come-inside, you won't regret it, for there is joy within.  And, you'll be back.
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My favorite Garden Designs are the ones with the fewest ingredients & richest living.
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Notice how they handled the slope, above?    Becomes a non-issue.
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I'd like to keep these in my phone to empower myself from time to time.:
Pic, above, here.

 christian dior:
Pic, above, here.
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Intuitively I sense, owner/s of Brassica live/breath, quotes, above.
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Garden & Be Well,    XOT

Monday, November 21, 2016

Design: Binary Thinking vs. Jungle Thinking

At the front end of having a garden, finally, after college graduation, not counting the garden whispering decades prior, from birth to 22 years old, I knew if I loved a plant, it was the right plant to acquire and put into my garden.
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I was so happy, get plant, put into garden, next please !  Worse than a Labrador chasing a stick.  Much worse.  Growing up with a Texas'tude, making it my own, Tara'tude, works in many/most situations, total fail in tiny amount of others.  But that tiny amount, a mushroom cloud, Fail.
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Binary thinking did not create a beautiful garden.  How could Tara'tude know it had approached a multi-layered nuance of perfection, eons old?
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Binary thinking?  If I think a plant is fabulous, it will make my garden fabulous.  Binary thinking, closed loop, fiasco in the making.  "If you want to understand how a lion hunts you don't go to the zoo, you go to the jungle."  David Sable.  Binary thinking, about creating the garden of your dreams, literally what you've saved to Pinterest, keeps you at the zoo.  So long as you are in the zoo, those who've marched on, to the jungle, see.  Your mushroom cloud isn't the elephant in the room to us.
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No worries, the jungle also taught us to be matriarchs.  We benevolently await, nurture, and enjoy anyone leaving the zoo, walking into the jungle.  If you've read this far, welcome to the jungle.  "No truly great thinker is siloed in a small territory."  
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Here's what I know, too, about gardens & binary thinking.  Remember, these thought processes were my mushroom cloud, until I saw exactly where to enter the jungle.
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Taken from, Creating a Growth Mindset, by Carol Dweck, "You don't believe in growth, you believe in right and wrong and any suggestion of change or adaptation is considered a criticism.  Challenges or obstacles tend to make you angry and defensive."  "Blame is a big part of the fixed mindset."  And, oh my, didn't all those pretty gardens cost a lot to create?  That was my excuse, my blame, not enough $$$.
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Blessedly I wanted a beautiful garden more than I wanted to be right.  Providence entered, 1985, when I bought myself a birthday present.  A garden book.  Little knowing , English Cottage Gardens, by Ethne Clarke, was my portal into the jungle.  Pics and writing devoured in a long afternoon, the epiphany arrived before sunset.  Gardens are not about plants, Gardens are about backdrop.  The house, the country side, your neighbor's air-conditioner.  At those points you enter the jungle.
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Great Dixter, below, is great backdrop.  Same garden, below, would not be so wonderful at a mid-century brick ranchburger, worse, in winter.  In winter, below, historical oast houses take the stage, a ranchburger, no.  Enter the jungle.  What do you need to do to create your mid-century brick ranchburger into a stunning backdrop?  Color, light fixtures, window treatments & views into them from the garden, where to place proper evergreens for beauty in February, create flow with paths and lawn, solve every slope issue, put focal points on axis from inside the house, perhaps a new front door, moving the foundation hedge out from the base of the house, create 3-D elements on the flat walls, for starters.  Jungle thinking !    

oast houses at Great Dixter, Northiam, East Sussex:
Pic, above, here.


Gardener Fergus Garrett shares his top tulip tips from Great Dixter - Telegraph:
Pic, above, here.

Both Great Dixter garden rooms, above/below, would be a mushroom cloud fail at most USA subdivision homes, in a front yard.  All those pretty flowers, above/below, are beautiful 2-4 weeks/year, many months of the year they are herbaceous, disappearing.  Worse, these garden rooms are high maintenance, needing, dead-heading, dividing, weeding, all for a measly 2 weeks of glory?  Not a viable option for most.  Except for me during my days living/thinking in the zoo.  Sure, I was the perennials queen, planted them with exuberance, got on the board of the Georgia Perennial Plant Association, yet seeing my garden, it was not fabulous.  Every perennial above/below you can be sure I've had.
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Once in the jungle I knew, for me & my time/money, no more perennials, only flowering shrubs, trees, groundcovers, bulbs and my house as backdrop.

Great Dixter and Christopher Lloyd's Gardens:
Pic, above, here.
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My journey from binary thinking in a silo, to fully fledged member of the jungle, is never dull, nor stops.  More, it has brought an authenticity, an ability to traverse worlds within worlds.  An abiding joy, a grace and atonement.  "We're not particularly well integrated.  One of the curiosities can be the differences, rather than the similarities, between people walking down the street--differences in expectation and privilege, in wealth and opportunity.  It's not tension or aggression, but a kind of guarded indifference.  We coexist rather than create communities."  Anthony Minghella.  'The more we go inward the more we outwardly connect', don't be afraid of the jungle.  You'll discover it to be the most incredible community.  Scare yourself, what it gives in return is beyond measure.  The pearl of great price.  Selfishly, when you do, I want to see your garden, and know your journey.  Your mushroom cloud fails too.  
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Adore the laughter with others in the jungle, sharing their fails !
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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Ok, I'll give you 1 particular sentence from a friend's journey in the jungle. "I had no car after the divorce so worked at the dry cleaners nearby, I could walk to work, one morning opening the drive through window, there were 3 cars already waiting, each with a man, I was dating all 3.   Yep, the story gets better.  In addition to money issues, she has cronic health issues.  But, oh my, you should see her garden.  Through it all, you should see her garden.  

Friday, November 18, 2016

Hedging Properly

Almost on the edge of 'too busy', below, for me, the landscaping calms the interior.  I think the windows slide up far enough for ease of walking inside/outside.  Vanishing threshold of interior/garden, perfect.
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But that's a rabbit hole, and not where I'm going with this garden, below.
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Millions of mid-century to ca. 1990 ranch homes across USA, have the same landscape, below.  Except they don't know it.  Those millions of ranch homes were sold with a ribbon of green meatballs spanning the front foundation, and since then, those plantings have been pruned into a gruesome story.
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Plant abuse, millions of those green meatballs want to be tall & wide bushes or trees.  Faithfully, decades of hacking, keeping them in line.  Literally.
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Won't go any further, too gruesome, you know the game, seen it your entire life.  In defense of that ribbon of green meatballs, they are required by law to close on new construction.  However, they did not have to be in their particular configuration.
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Using those same gruesome hacked green meatballs, dig them up, in winter, planting them in a tapestry hedge away from the house, exactly as, below.  See it?  Millions of those ranch homes with foundation green meatballs face the street, and worse, are not too far from the street.  Poof, cars gone.  Double poof, toxic fumes/particulates dramatically decreased.  Triple poof, noise reduced.  Quadruple poof, privacy added.  Quintuple poof, aesthetics added, property value increased, no more looking at neighbor's homes.  Sextuple poof, lifestyle enhanced.  Septuple poof, many will have reduced HVAC expenses blocking summer sun-winter winds.  Octuple poof, pollinator habitat increased by a logarithmic factor.  N-tuple poof, maintenance reduced.  Let me know what I've missed.
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Odd to imagine so many millions of people choose to live with a gruesome green ribbon of meatballs, instead of using what they have, differently.  I hear Anne of Green Gables, "With a little imagination."

lady-wakefield-twickenham-london-uk-habituallychic-001:
Pic, above, here.
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More than secular, all of the above, the Divine.  G*d Almighty first created a garden.  Garden, above, is biblical.  Quickly with gardens, Sacred vs. profane, surfaces.  Amazing, keeping green meatballs, yet moving them, transitions profane, to Sacred.
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What began planted by the rules of filthy lucre, hacked & ignored for decades, can become Sacred.  Power of intention, indeed.
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In metaphor to moving those gruesome green meatballs I hear Charlton Heston, "Let my people go."
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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(Paradise | Define Paradise at Dictionary.com
www.dictionary.com/browse/paradise
heaven, as the final abode of the righteous. ... late 12c., "Garden of Eden," from Old French paradis "paradise, Garden of Eden" (11c.), from Late Latin paradisus, from Greek paradeisos "park, paradise, Garden of Eden," from an Iranian source, cf. Avestan pairidaeza "enclosure, park ...)
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(Daily Bible Study - What Is Filthy Lucre?
www.keyway.ca/htm2010/20101022.htm
Oct 22, 2010 - The English word "lucre" originated from a French word, lucre, which itself originated from a Latin word, lucrum, which meant to gain, or to profit ...)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Easy Garden Furniture

Furniture in the garden has intrigued me from childhood.  Thankfully, my parents had a cool iron chair, I adored.  Bought new in the 60's, it had arms, tall back, detachable iron 'bonnet', separate foot rest, it turned 360, rocked, and had nice cushions.  I rocked, whirled, read books, and even napped, with my orange marmalade cat, Tigger, in that chair on the screened porch with deep overhangs, Galveston Bay always hot/humid.  Most memorable moment in the chair, awakened from a nap by a loud chorus of tree frogs.  Looking around, none visible.  Still, the chorus.  Found them, by the 100's, rimming the underside of the chair cushion.  Managed to hop out faster than an Olympian, without harming a single tree frog.  50 years later, I cannot see a tree frog without thinking of that chair.
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Time passed, mom gave the chair away.  I see those chairs occasionally in advertising, or at antique shop.  None, complete with bonnet & foot rest.  A good thing, I would probably buy the chair, if it were complete.
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Dad had the worst end of the deal with that iron chair.  Cleaning the patio, hosing it off, he had to move the chair at least once a month.  Maybe it was him, glad to give the chair away.
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Now, easily moved garden furniture is the hunt.  Aside from lightweight, it must have arms, a back tall enough to rest the head back, and nap.  More than the personal, garden furniture must leverage having friends in the garden.  Create a setting for conversation, laughter, lingering.  Especially after meals.

sigmund freud with chow chows 1933:
Pic, above, here.
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Have the good fortune of sourcing 3 of the wicker chairs, above.  Each for a song.
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Amusing to see Freud in a photo new to me, attracted by the outdoor furniture, round circle of iron in the railing contrasting so well with squares of the French doors, and those chows.  Freud.  Not my cup of tea, more Jungian.  Thankful for both.
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That balcony.  So much narrative, without a word, wisely playing backdrop.  Yet, take away the man/dogs, the backdrop narrative immediately jumps forward, owning the stage.
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These are the things I design in gardens.  Some, too rich, think it's all about a few bushes and a little garden furniture.  Those, are not my tribe.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Monday, November 14, 2016

Front Door Garden Design

One reason, below, I must see your home interior before being able to design its garden.
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Was it obvious, at first glance, below, the problem?
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A dark foyer.
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Many houses I've designed the 'matching' glass door.  We source the door to match the existing front door, and our carpenter cuts away the panels, replacing with glass.
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Have never tabulated a list, but so much about Garden Design does not involve plants.

Love a wood/glass storm door painted same color as front door:
Pic, above, here.
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Have had the opportunity to walk into several big box stores this fall, always going in via the Garden Center.  Vulgarians at the gate have won.  Literally.  Greetings via shelves, rows of shelves, dedicated to chemicals, and seemingly innocuous fertilizer.  Beware, n-p-k fertilizer is toxic to ground water, kills earthworms, kills mycorrhizal fungi on roots.
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Had a knowing laugh reading Schopenhauer yesterday, "When we read, another person thinks for us; we merely repeat his mental process.........read themselves stupid."  Yep.  Me.  At the front end of gardening I read myself stupid.  Realized popular garden writing wasn't for me, went back to college for horticulture degree, more stupid.  To the core of my DNA, knew it was stupid.  Thus began decades of studying historic gardens across Europe.  No more books, foot on Earth.
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Then to Machiavelli, "A wise man ought always to follow the paths beaten by great men and to imitate those who have been supreme, so that if his ability does not equal theirs, at least it will savour of it."
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On to Seneca, "Men who have made these discoveries before us are not our masters but our guides."
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Further with Farnum Street, "We need to digest, synthesize & organize the thoughts of others if we are to understand....It's how we acquire wisdom.  How we acquire foundational knowledge.....Without this foundational knowledge we are unable to separate the signal from the noise."
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Furniture in the Garden: Choosing to Make it Recede

A trinity of furniture-in-the-garden pics, below, chosen for style, and to recede.  Beyond melding into the backdrop, these choices make each of the garden spaces feel/live larger.

 :
Pic, above, here.

 Front porch envy:
Pic, above, here.

 .:
Pic, above, here.
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j.k. rowling:
Pic, above, here.

 In Oneness we are all there, we are the very essence of the One Great Mystery of the Universe. ♥ -Mary Long-
Pic, above, here.

  :
Pic, above, here.

Trust the process quote. goals. dreams. advice. wisdom. life lessons.:
Pic, above, here.

Putting together your garden is not the flippancy of oh-I-like-that, it's waking up, choosing to move forward, turning the page to a new chapter, accepting the historic layers of wiser minds, they're there to work with you, their Muse waiting for your epiphany, it's all for you too, sure, you'll have myriad headwinds, you aren't special in that, everyone does, some things will have to go materially/metaphorically, enjoy the light some bridges are best burned, warning you'll lose some people in your life, but you'll understand, in Truth, the deeper you go inward the more you outwardly connect to the people you've always needed in your life, perhaps deepest of all, if you are brave enough to truly create the garden in your heart the epiphany will arrive, you will understand, why G*d Almighty first created a garden.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hidden Layer of Design in Plain View

In plain view all pics, below, the Garden Design affecting each photo.  A layer I've never read about in a Garden Design book nor heard spoken of in a Garden Design lecture, not mentioned in a garden show on TV.  I have written of it in past postings maybe 1-2 times.
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Designing my previous garden I had no awareness I was creating this 'unknown' layer of Garden Design seen in all of the pics, below.
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Living in my previous garden 30 years, beginning with bare Earth, this 'unknown' layer had to grow, perhaps 20 years worth.  Once arrived, I knew immediately it had been there much longer than my date of awareness.
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Do you see this unspoken layer of Garden Design, below?  Do you have it in your home?
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Enjoy the pics, below.  I'm a firm believer in epiphanies.  If you don't know this layer of Garden Design I'm focusing upon, below, hopefully you will see it with your eyes/heart and be able to give it a name.






























All pics, above, via Cote de Texas.
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The garden, above pics, paints the light inside the home.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Garden Design Class in a Pair of Pics

Attracted to the marvelous sliding doors, below, the wood stoop and small planters had me send this fabulous home & garden to my Pinterest Changes board.  Lastly, a 3rd issue from garden to kitchen for the Changes board.  Especially a home with young'ish children and these gorgeous interior wood floors.  
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A mini Garden Design course in 2 photos.
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Do you see all 3 changes immediately?
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I'll give you a moment to look at both pics carefully.  There is an easy inexpensive solution for the stoop, and a better, not inexpensive solution for the stoop.  At the open sliding door threshold is a minor 4th issue.  See the easy fix for issue 4?
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Classic mistakes, below.  Human nature !  At the front end, before getting a Horticulture degree, then traipsing Europe for 2+ decades studying historic gardens I made the same mistakes too.  Once you know what the Garden Design mistakes are, your eye is trained to see them, correct them, easily, every time.
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Of course there may be zero mistakes, below, solutions could already be designed, just not installed.  A likely scenario if you take a tour of the interior, here.
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Look at the pair of pics, below, again.  Got your Garden Design solutions?

Custom double sliding doors


Beautiful 1920s House Tour 00004
Pics, above, here.
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Change #4, the door mats inside & outside should match.  The tight space will enlarge, flow, and become more of a 'foyer' between inside/outside instead of the current abrupt divide.  My choice would be a pair of door mats, large, similar in looks to the existing mat inside the home already.
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Change #3, transition from beautiful stone terrace to gravel to wood stoop to interior of home.  This change makes me smile, I made the same mistake as a garden designer in my 20's.  Matching stone from the terrace should be installed into the gravel transitioning to the wood stoop.  Why?  Significantly reduces amount of gravel stuck in shoes, or paws, to be tracked inside, and gouging/scratching that beautiful wood floor.
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Change #2, Dinky is Stinky, need much larger pots at those sliding doors, and wider apart, setting them left/right off the wood stoop.  Remove 2 bushes at right of wood stoop, replace their planting bed with more gravel.
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Change #1, will start with cheap/easy do it today.  Stain the wood stoop same color as sliding doors.  The house is much too elegant for this wood stoop left over from the set of F Troop.  A more expensive change to the wood stoop, replace it with a single slab of stone, custom cut the same or a bit deeper.  Wood stoop vs. stone landing.  Already the verbage is a nicer story.
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Again, seeing the interior of this home, I think the 'Change' layers I've mentioned are already on their to-do list.  Their attention to detail quite wonderful.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Put that green extension cord under the gravel.  I know you already thought that.  A funny thing about gardening, the small victories.  Just getting the cord buried is a big deal, having the door mats match.....

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Dining Room: Garden Pop-Up Shop

How often do you use your dining room table?  Not much?  Perhaps it can be, below, a pop-up garden room.

Potting Bench..
Pic, above, here.

More commonly, dining rooms are libraries, below.


Pic, above, here.

I spy something, above, never thought I would need.  Ever.  Do you see it?  Hint, armadillos.
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We've not put in a lot of garden yet, but apparently enough.  They're here, in abundance.
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All my pack of local gardeners seem to dispatch about 30+/year.  At a spring Garden Festival this year I met up with a friend while she was buying several choice plants.  A few days ago, she asked if I remembered the large dwarf cut leaf Japanese maple, several hundred dollars.  Yes.  Armadillo lifted it out of ground, beautiful tree is dead.
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Don't know what they're shooting, above, but it must be a lot.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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Why did I never think to do a pop-up dining room garden?  When I was the 1/week Garden Expert on NBC-TV, I brought various props for the shoots, little pop-up shops for the season/topic.  Only today with, top pic, am I realizing to do it for everyday life?  All these many years later?  Quite rich.
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Garden & Gun, indeed.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Detail & Restraint

Vanishing threshold, below.  Amazing detail and restraint.
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Detail and restraint, something to ponder.  More, once achieved, it must clearly be who you are.

love this, perfect for an herb garden or growing tomatoes wothout all the pests…:
Pic, above, here.
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Home, above, is in Carmel by the Sea, complete house tour, here.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Blue Hill Farm

Blue Hill Farm, below.
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What a pic.  Full monty, sustainable agriculture & ornamental horticulture.  Can you label what you're looking at, below?  Can you discuss, cocktail chatter, what it takes to put this garden together, how it lives as part of your life, how it is sustainable, what the ornamental horticulture does to the agriculture, why it has a civic duty component, how it can lower HVAC expenses, how it can raise residential property value?
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In USA, colleges have 2 degree tracks.  Horticulture vs. Agriculture.
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Enough, won't go full monty now.  Just enough for your cocktail chatter.
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Maximum pollinator habitat is high density next to low density, meadow beside woodland.  Another validation, as if needed, life happens most richly in the margins.
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But why?  What am I nattering about?
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When crops are grown with maximum pollinator habitat, production yields rise by 80%.  Do the math.  Instead of getting 1,000 pounds of produce, you're getting 1,800 pounds with the same amount of effort.
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There is more, but for now, a little cocktail chatter is fine.  Pic, below, is an entire class, about living within an agricultural landscape married to its ornamental horticulture.  


lincoln-blue-hill-stone-barns-habituallychic-008

Pic, above, here.
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This pic has a great story, it's not from a 'gardener', but a fashion/luxury branding personality, Habitually Chic.
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Think you can't have, above, don't own farmland?  Happily you're wrong.  My 30 year garden had every layer, above, and clocked in at less than 8,500sf, in a subdivision.
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If you have time, take the Blue Hill Farm link, scroll to the bottom, enjoy their month/month listing of their crops, livestock, cellar & more.  Exactly the type of stuff I'm wanting to know for my own ca. 1900 American farmhouse.  And that information does not exist yet.  Within the realm of how I'm wanting it.  Life is good, a well trod learning curve.  Personalized.  For me to discover.
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Garden & Be Well,    XOT

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Terra Cotta Inside

Bringing in a live plant in a terra cotta pot, is exactly that, bringing in life.  More, it's an interior design concept centuries old.
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Planted pots brought from my previous garden are not an option, they are gorgeous but several hundred pounds each with their soil/plant.
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For months I've been on the prowl for suitable plants for staging at least 20 terra cotta pots.  Of course the prowl has been one of convenience, already going into L, H, W, for other items.
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Aside from knowing it's time for Susanne Hudson & I to split another order of various ivy topiaries, I suppose it's my past, those 5 years at 2 nurseries with incredibly fascinating selection.  Nope, don't want anything less.  When I bring my terra cotta pots inside, a rotating selection, I want to have fun making the next round of choice, and once inside, the terra cotta pots must make me smile.
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One of the nurseries sold out, the other still hanging on, it has an FTD side too.
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I'm still in Atlanta most weeks with design work, or a job installation.  I must stop at my old nursery, and buy enough 'interesting' for me & Susanne.  She has a stunning, most unusual, angel wing begonia that belonged to her grandmother, I'll take cuttings this fall.
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Glad of my terra cotta pot collection in various sizes.  Have you noticed it's become more difficult to find a range of good terra cotta pots?  Whenever I see them at thrift stores, junk shops, Ace hardware, I buy.
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Ahead of having the terra cotta pots, ready to go inside, it's a joy perusing the house for which tables, desks, side tables, buffets, to set one.  Then there's the old ironstone plate to choose to set each terra cotta pot on.
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Most fun, is having enough, to give some away.
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image:

Pic, above, here.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Not having a garden yet, it's been a year in the new house, each day the imperative grows, bringing terra cotta inside.  Upfront it seemed a simple mission.  amusing the time & paths to success.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Taking Historic into the Modern Realm

Clearly a master's touch, below, playing with history, cunningly modern.
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Sint-Job-In't-Goor Sleutel-op-de-deur

Whimsy, below, in the metaphor of sanctity.  What?  Taking the choice, below, to walk into the garden, you must bow your head, at the shrine of espaliered trees.
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Soon, hedging will shield the house from the outer world, flying buttresses, arc-boutant, to the nave within.
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Is your life worth anything less?
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Stewardship of self.  In all its layers.

Sint-Job-In't-Goor Pastorij


Sint-Job-In't-Goor landelijke woning

For good measure, several ball rooms planted into the back yard, above.

Sint-Job-In't-Goor achtertuin

The long hallway, above at right, a promenade, lit in the manner of le jardin rustique.  With hedging at the backyard too, another nave, a double cathedral built,
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Someone, at the top of their game, above.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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We are still tending structural  outdoor necessities at our ca. 1900 American farmhouse garden.  Pouring more gravel, putting in paths, lighting, plantings, must wait.  One of those 'necessities' a well.  Beloved has worked with the well diggers many times during his construction career, he trusts them.  Good, fine.  My concern is flagrantly obvious.  Where will they find water?  How will it affect designing the garden?  
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We chose similar lights, above, for a renovated shed.  Once installed, I knew those lights would be perfect for the rest of the garden, on posts along pathways.  Imagine my surprise seeing the pic, above.
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What a day I had on the old Kubota tractor yesterday.  Wounded pride, newbie mistakes.  Hilarious being an 'expert' and embarking upon a new learning curve in the garden.  Details sketchy, pride still ruffled.
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Pics from here.