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

Friday, April 29, 2016

Color. Color ? Color !

Remember, designing your landscape, I must know you from the street.
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Parse the words.  To know you from the street, you must design your garden from interior views, and the same brain waves of style, color, flow, texture, individuality from inside to outside.
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A trinity of pics, below, you should all be able to shoot, of your home.  This trinity, below, is a Garden Design, of the ages, quiz question.  
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Today, now, your home/garden, mentally shoot these 3 pics.  Can you produce?
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Every garden needs a color trinity, green-brown-white, is the classic for centuries.  No worries if it's not your flavor, choose your own color trinity.  Produce these 3 pics.  Quiz question remains the same.  Shoot & produce.
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Color.  Color?  Color!  Which will it be?  This is your singular precious life.  Stretch your intelligence, comfort zone, think without your wallet.  Perhaps you need my personal question, epiphanized after too many decades people pleasing, "What would I do tomorrow if I were not afraid?"  When it comes to doing your garden, your best garden, I'm not the person you want to start a sentence, "I can't do that."  Those are 4 failure words.  Best 4 words I was ever told, "Be who you are."
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Studying historic gardens across Europe for 2 decades, this lesson about color, above, and within the pics, below, was intuitively learned.  This stuff, above/below, is not in garden design books.  It's merely in the best historic gardens across history.  Want to recreate the wheel?  Knock yourself out.  Everyone loves the outliers who do, with success.
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Since the start of designing gardens, color was easy to choose, I pull from interiors, what will work with the exteriors.
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Furlow Gatewood's home/garden is over the top with the color trinity.  He makes me see it fresh, as if he invented it.  Better, he owns it.
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Cuthbert House, on Furlow Gatewood's Compound, in Americus, Georgia, Photo by Max Kim-Bee~❥:

Pic, above, here.

rod-collins-furlow-gatewood:

Pic, above, here.
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Fern, viewed from the garden, pulls me in.  Then the brilliant audacity of double axis to the mirror with the fern.  Swoon.

 One Man's Folly: The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood: Julia Reed, Paul Costello, Rodney Collins, Bunny Williams: 9780847842520: Amazon...:

Pic, above, here.
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Nothing more to be said about your color trinity excepting, shoot it.  Picture worth 1,000 words.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Monday, April 4, 2016

Simplicity vs. Cliche

From forever I've learned best from completed problems, pictures & places.  Copy the best, copy what works, saves time/money.
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Simplicity, below, at top form.
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Easy, you think, they've got the money for 'simple'.
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Not so fast.  More than money, below, their landscape is rich in wisdom.  Garden Design of the ages.
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When you have a natural focal point, frame it don't compete.
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Had the good fortune of learning this while studying historic landscapes in northern Italy, Lake Maggiore, to be precise.


William Burgin:

Pic, above, here.

Garden design cliche, below, when there isn't as much money, space, nor existing natural focal point, as, above.
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Yet.  Life's riches are no less precious, below, than, above.
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Good garden design is not about money, it's about using your full intellect.
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How would you garden design a richer life, below?  Seriously, what would you do to the garden, below?

  Search results for: farmhouse - Fresh Farmhouse:

Pic, above, here.
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What would I do, above ?
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I would remove all porch railings, add a stone step between porch columns, take out foundation plantings, placing those foundation plantings along the sidewalk at front, and add more along the sides of the home, about same distance as those at the front.  For starters.
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As is, this home is already pulling me inside, imagine if the landscaping were good too.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Take it Easy, Mon

What is your landscape to you?  What role does it play in your life?  How does your landscape leverage your life?  Is your landscape a monthly check to someone else?  Is your landscape full of chores?  Your landscape informs the world of your views, what information is your landscape telling me?  Have you ever thought to ask yourself, "What does my garden say about me?"  Are you to be patted on the head for keeping the HOA happy with your landscape, and no more?  
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This spring, for your landscape, choose your own perspective.
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This perspective, below, is my favorite idea of a landscape.
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In a word, do you know what that perspective is?

SHELTER:

BACKDROP
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I want my garden to be the backdrop to my life.
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Who wants a garden, typically installed by the builder, to be endured?
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A garden backdrop to your life is leverage, joy, and grace.
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Green meatballs are usually a negative, yet look how many green meatballs are behind Tory Burch, above.  How smart her urns, never need planting or watering.  Ever.
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Green, brown, white is the most successful garden color trinity for centuries.
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If you maintain lawn/bushes, why not choose them as beautiful backdrop?  Delight in thinking, how to go beyond builder installed plantings, how to make magic from HOA rules.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Obviously this post is about certain ages of life.  Have had several clients this year, moving from their many decades family home, into retirement communities.  All of them, landscaping is provided & maintained as part of the 'package'.  All are in their 70's.  Each of the phone calls quite hard for both of us.  Life must be faced, and they are doing it in grace & elegance.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Don't Design Bifurcate: Interior & Exterior

For years I would write the editor of a specific interior design magazine asking why they would show beautiful interiors with terrible views out the windows.  No reply, ever.
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However, the month arrived when that magazine had every interior photograph edited/photoshopped to its exterior views with a brightness as if a glare of a beautiful garden, all the ugly views, poof/gone.  And, the magazine has continued editing exterior views for years.  Nice story, yes?
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This, below, is not that magazine.
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Great interior, yet a bifurcation of decorating styles, life choices, from inside to outside.
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What to do?

SHELTER:

Quick thought, without seeing the rest of the home's interior, stain the deck a shade, or 2, darker than the walls, above.
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Poof, interior/exterior no longer bifurcated.
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Another solution, add a shutter to lower half of the window, leaving only vistas of sky, trees, birds...
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Money is no issue solution?  Enlarge the deck, choose a new rail, stain same color as walls, turn window, above, into French doors, fix a drink, put a new album on the turn table, enjoy.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Pic, above, here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Consider Views into Your Home from the Garden

In a garden your home is the quintessential focal point.  Not content to leave this design facet forsaken and alone, views into your home are subsidiary focal points.
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Today, this moment, think with your mind's eye, walk in your garden, around your home, all the while, looking at your home.  No window view, into your home, can remain undesigned.  An unfinished basement window?  I don't care about the reality of the situation.  That unfinished basement easily becomes the guest suite, or perhaps the multi-media party room, in theory, depending upon your window treatment.  Again, who cares about the reality?  Reality, don't go there with me.  This is the reality.
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And, looking into your windows from the garden, you must be interesting.  I must want to know who you are from those views.
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So.  Who are you?  Do views into your windows tell me who you are?
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"Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.", "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.", Carl Jung.

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

Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Pic, view into my home of 30 years.  Cannot wait to start working on views into our American farmhouse ca. 1900.  Not to that layer yet.  Have done the fake it till you make it views into windows at present.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Structure Your Life By Design

Structure Your Life By Design---Not by Default, at bottom, a headline guaranteed to get my attention.  Late to the game, I signed a CBS-TV contract the same day I signed a book contract, age 45.  Needing to keep my day job, designing landscapes, how to carve time for book & TV work too?  Without delay I hired a client who had recently become a certified Career Coach.  Best decision ever.  Together we came up with a template to get all the work done, while keeping a private life, and no stress.  She also recommended I hire an image consultant.  Another best-decision-ever.  Who knew image consulting is a complete science, much like landscape design?
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Myriad facets aligned.  A designed garden, designed career, designed personal image, each made life easier.  What else could I design?  Interior of my house, from attic to crawl space.  Again, more steps taken to add beauty/function.  Life became more simple.

Aerin Lauder
Picture Aerin Lauder via Eonline   

Then, I was given 8 heirloom chickens for a birthday.  Wanting them, it was a surprise what they gave me, a degreed landscape 'expert'.  My garden had already been on tours, in magazines and on tv, yet the chickens taught me more deeply about gardening, perhaps the most profound gift, beyond structure-your-life-by-design.  And the chicken lesson made me laugh out loud, in my garden.  Isn't that the way with koans?  Moments of intuitive enlightenment.  Stewardship.  With the chickens I knew gardening is about stewardship, in the macro, and micro.  Macro?  Micro?

Stewardship is a gift in any life.  Stewardship is everywhere, once you understand.  G*d almighty first created a garden.  Indeed.  More humor.  Until understanding 'stewardship' I had thought my gardening was entirely my brain/physical effort/monies/talent/desire/spirit, la-ti-da.  Without ceasing, until the epiphany, my garden had been in constant stewardship of me.  Constant.  Washing of the servants feet, cliche comes alive in stewardship.  So too, take- my- yoke- upon- you.  No worries, this is no altar call, but an understanding of historical metaphor abiding in stewardship.  A source of energy, and delight in doing, for things outside of yourself, bringing a depth of wealth to your spirit no amount of money can purchase.

E.M. Forster knew well the trap of money, for those living without stewardship, using layers of humorous narrative, for the observant.  In particular, Where Angels Fear to Tread, ca. 1905.  One character wonders about another, both wealthy, what will she do, she has no resources.  Interesting.  Wealthy character without resources?  She's rich, of course she has resources.  Quickly to my 6" Websters, and learning resource is also the capability or skill of meeting a situation.  Forster understood Jane Austen's method of writing, I already knew this character would not prosper, with his effortless, lighthearted disdain surrounding the word 'resources', though I originally had zero clue to its specific meaning.  Have you noticed when Jane Austen describes a character's garden, with defects, so too their character, but that's implied with the garden slam.  Go Jane.  

Back to, below, Structure Your Life by Design, and, "...    Mary Elizabeth knows how to create authentic designs for learning linked to full system change. Mary Elizabeth shares design thinking as a process clients can use to imagine new possibilities for personal and professional change. Mary Elizabeth helps dynamic, motivated change leaders structure their lives by design, not by default...super quickly. "   Without stewardship I cannot imagine tackling a single layer of Mary Elizabeth's structure your life by design.  None.  Too much effort.  With stewardship, I see what she is doing, and know it is doable.  Easily.                    

You are invited to attend:

Mary Elizabeth BongiovanniStructure Your Life By Design—Not By Default

with Mary Elizabeth Bongiovanni of Learning Through Design

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 from 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Whether you want to implement a new initiative at work, craft a high leverage concept, or rethink your brand, the Design Process powerfully moves you from inspiration to implementation. The process helps you:
  • Identify important design challenges for your personal and professional life
  • Frame your challenge as a design question
  • Declare the ultimate impact you want to have
  • Envision possible solutions to the problem
  • Understand the context and constraints you are facing

These are essential dynamics of the Design Thinking—a process that allows us to imagine a better future and take steps to make it happen.

Mary Elizabeth Bongiovanni is a professional leadership coach and Chief Engagement Officer of Learning Through Design. Having served diverse learning organizations for 23 years, Mary Elizabeth knows how to create authentic designs for learning linked to full system change. Mary Elizabeth shares design thinking as a process clients can use to imagine new possibilities for personal and professional change. Mary Elizabeth helps dynamic, motivated change leaders structure their lives by design, not by default...super quickly. "

Chose pic, above, of Aerin Lauder for every layer of its design, and stewardship.  The house, she inherited from her grandmother, without changing much she made it completely her own, using it for pleasure and work.  

In its deepest sense I know beautiful-garden-beautiful-life.  Seeing pics of Lauder's personal/professional life it seems she's projecting, subtly, beautiful-self-beautiful-life.  All roads lead back to Joseph Campbell's, "Follow your bliss."      

Fill in the blank for you, Beautiful- ______- Beautiful- Life.  What is yours?  
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Washington Post: Richard Arentz Home & Garden

My construction team laughs at my proclivity for garden designing French doors from windows, adding retractable screen doors too.
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From the French doors, below, site a focal point on axis, add a path to the focal point, plant an allee of understory trees with flying buttresses of canopy trees, underplant with an evergreen groundcover, finish this garden room with its walls, an evergreen hedge.  Put in a cross axis just behind the evergreen hedge.
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This garden design, written, above, pictured, below, is a classic 1,000's of years old.  It sites beautifully along the sides of a home too.


Running Cedar, landscape architect Richard Arentz’s home. Winter King hawthorn allee. The ground cover is lenten rose, an evergreen perennial.:

Notice, potted plants each side of the French doors, above, become interior floral arrangements.
Choosing a rounded bowl for the orchids was no accident, nor choosing the arching/caning habit in contrast to the exterior understory trees.
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Staging this shot, they've used both house/garden as 1 proscenium.
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In addition to describing how to design this house/garden, above, the verbage is correct.  Most often, clients know what they want, have a pinterest board, yet do not have a vocabulary for what's in their pictures.
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Garden, above, is also little maintenance, and with the right plants, deer proof/drought tolerant/no chemicals/pollinator habitat.  If the house, above, is facing western sun, the allee of trees is shading the house in summer, dropping its leaves allowing the winter sun to help heat the house, lowering HVAC costs.  And, raising property value, while increasing the joy of living here.
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Pic, above, from Richard Arentz's Washington Post article, by Adrian Higgins.
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Biggest take away?  House & garden are a single proscenium.  Site the garden from inside your home.

Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Monday, January 11, 2016

Willie Nelson & Wendell Berry: Save Farmers Save USA


Late to the party, realizing, first from Wendell Berry, then an English ironstone transferware platter, a century old framed print of a farm, studying landscapes across Europe for decades vs. abhorring my USA ornamental horticulture college education, and most recently Willy Nelson and his Farm Aid, the separation of agriculture from ornamental horticulture is not possible.  It is the industrial complex separating them, to their benefit, our loss.  Connecting the dots has been slow, not boring.  Ironic, forces of industrial farming,  commodities/labor, are now borderless, and have played a role across Europe since WWII, cracks in those borders are daily news, and huge in our current presidential election.
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With industrial farming, residential landscapes became industrial.  Mow-blow-go, chemicals to kill bugs, chemicals to kill fungus/disease, chemicals that create bombs are used to fertilize plants while killing beneficial mychorizal fungi/earth worms, aka killing soil, even poisonous used car tires are ground up/dyed & used as mulch, releasing toxic heavy metals into the soil, groundwater, and above a certain temperature become fumes absorbed thru your skin.  How did residential landscapes flip industrial?  After WWII chemical companies lost their buyers.  First buyers targeted by chemical companies in USA?  Mom's with small children playing in the yard.  Spray chemicals to get rid of bugs.  Voila, start of industrial residential landscapes.  Discovered this tidbit a few years ago when keynote speaking at the Perennially Yours Symposium & hearing Paul Tukey speak.
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Lose family farms, lose rural towns across USA, Wendell Berry has written for decades.  What?  Without family farmers, there is no community of shop owners/service providers/arts venues/car dealerships/medical providers/small banks etc, instead there is a WalMart/Family Dollar/Dollar General servicing several dying communities within driving range.
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The Extension Service, for decades, while providing help to farmers, has based success upon production of crops/livestock, solely, not success of farms & communities, even less, healthy soil, safe drinking water.    
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Depressing, above, yet liberating and joyful to 'see' and step away from the industrial complex, more, empowering.
Note, below, from Willie Nelson, he saw all the above, 3 decades ago, deciding to help & stay strong and positive.
Friend
Welcome to Farm Aid! Whether you're a farmer, a music lover, or someone who cares about good food and family farmers, Farm Aid has something for you.
Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and I serve on the Farm Aid board because we believe that when family farmers thrive, we all thrive. Family farmers are stewards of the land and grow the kind of good food that we all want. And successful farms strengthen their communities - they are the true economic engines of our country.
We've come so far since 1985. Over the last 30 years, Farm Aid has inspired more people to care about where their food comes from and the family farmers who grow it.
Stay strong and positive,

Willie Nelson
Farm Aid


english transferware...:

Pic, above, via here.

Plates, above/below, I had thought, for decades, 'boring'.  Then, 'saw'.  The patterns, prayers of thanks and method to daily honor what is so freely given, to us.  USA constitution had considered these prayers of thanks, inalienable rights, "
    Natural rights are those not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government, and therefore universal and inalienable (i.e., rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws).

    Natural and legal rights - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_and_legal_rights"                                                              .
Red Transferware Platter Travelers Horses Children Roses English China:

Pic, above, via here.

STANDING WITH FAMILY FARMERS

Farm Aid works year-round to build a system of agriculture that values family farmers, good food, soil and water, and strong communities. Our annual concert celebrates farmers, eaters and music coming together for change.

Landscape Transferware, I have actually collected several of these myself! I love brown and white dinnerware.:

Pic, above, via, here.
Found/bought a platter in the pattern, above, it is a scene of agriculture sustaining an entire community.

 

A friend recently bought a home and moved to Saint Simons Island and posted this picture, above, of a sunrise, including this line of poetry, "The holiest of all holidays are those kept by ourselves in silence and apart; The secret anniversaries of the heart..."   Without a garden I doubt I would have understood its meaning.  In my garden I celebrate secret anniversaries, by the hour.  My greatest root of 'strong & positive'.  
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“It’s mighty hard right now to think of anything that’s precious that isn’t endangered,” Wendell Berry told Bill Moyers. “There are no sacred and unsacred places; there are only sacred and desecrated places. My belief is that the world and our life in it are conditional gifts.”   “People who own the world outright for profit will have to be stopped; by influence, by power, by us.”            "  
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Amazing words from Berry.  They call poets, canaries in the coal mine.  Berry is a poet, and "fierce laureate of the natural world."  
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A current article, below, about industrial farming, including foreign refugee workers in a small USA town. Workers, brought in as refugees, needed as low paid workers for industrial farming with taxpayers subsidizing the rest of their needs. Ironic, USA family farms paid living wages, and created communities which were the backbone of USA, and without killing soil/poisoning water supply.  Until I read Michael Pollans's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, Cargill was not on my radar.  Not so now.  Cargill is all about corn, and Pollan manages to make corn sexy.
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In the Minneapolis Star-Tribune  recently:
"Cargill will change its hiring policy — allowing employees to be potentially rehired 30 days after termination, not 180 days — in response to a walkout by Somali workers in Colorado.
After a dispute over Muslim prayer time, about 150 employees at Cargill’s sprawling Fort Morgan, Colo., plant didn’t show up for work for three days — grounds for termination. They were fired. Some of those workers claimed they weren’t allowed to take prayer breaks, while Cargill claimed that it was still following its policy allowing the breaks.
Minnetonka-based Cargill said in a statement Friday that it will change the hiring policy at all of its North American beef plants, allowing former employees terminated for “attendance violation or job abandonment” to be considered for rehiring 30 days after being fired. The workers would have to reapply for their jobs.
“We believe the change in our beef business policy related to how quickly a former employee may be eligible to reapply for positions at our beef plants is a reasonable update to something that’s been in place for quite a few years,” Cargill Beef President John Keating said in a statement.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has been representing many terminated Somali workers, said it welcomed Cargill’s change in hiring policy, though it criticized Cargill’s prayer break policy as ambiguous."
Again, Cargill, and others in the industrial farming camp, need cheap refugee labor, salaries paid are not a living wage, the USA taxpayer fills out the rest in welfare payments.  Don't mean to paint Cargill as a 'bad company'', but it's been obvious to Willie Nelson & Wendell Berry, for at least 3 decades, this is exactly where leaving the family farm was headed, the path of unintended consequences.   
A book list, helping to move from industrial farms to family farms.
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Wendell Berry's books.
Tara Dillard's books, ornamental horticulture producing crops yielding up to 80% greater.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver.
The Omnivore's Dilemma, A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan.
The Garden in Winter, by Rosemary Verey.  Ornamental horticulture yielding crops up to 80% greater.
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What do ornamental horticulture gardens have in common with agriculture?  Pollination.  Pollination.  Pollination.  A factor increasing crop yields by 80%.  
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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With more time, this should include new scientific studies about Nature & our health.  Nature & our biomes.  Without which, of course, we die or live in disease.  But I have a residential garden needing a hot tub sited !  Need time & every brain cell to create the most usable yet elegant hot tub known to mankind.  

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Vanishing Threshold: Looking into Roger Hazard's Windows




Junior high through high school I was on my bike after doing dinner dishes.  Stay at the house with both parents home?  On my bike, gone.  We lived in a beautiful neighborhood surrounded by Galveston Bay, marsh, a salt water lake, Clear Creek, and plenty of palm trees.
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Instead of getting out of my parent's house the rides became a choice for their joy of solitude, learning I do my best thinking exercising & sweating.  College was 4 more years of biking, those years in Dallas, TX, a several mile radius from campus, SMU.  Had my own car in college but it was most common I would turn down social invites, saying I had plans, and head off on my bike, alone.
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Now, I design views into homes from gardens.  This zone I have no name for but call, Vanishing Threshold.
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It's rare to come across Vanishing Threshold in any article, much less 3 Oscar worthy shots.  Roger Hazard is the winner, and it seems his dog, & partner too.
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Enjoy, but enjoy with a purpose.  What can you do to create beautiful, warm, inviting views into your home, from the garden?

window boxes filled with pink flowers


 Pink door and pink flowers in windowbox


dog Buck in window

Garden photographers, too often, overlook this zone, Vanishing Threshold.
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More about this house/garden, HERE.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Pics via Hooked on Houses from Roger's website.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Front Porch Furniture Placement

Temps & humidity are at their extremes.
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Yesterday, after lunching with a friend in town, I had the good fortune of riding shotgun while my friend had to stop, below, for a few minutes.


Without words, tone poem, this front porch is a full class, How to Design Your Front Porch.


No incorrect note is played here.  Of course the Kimberly Queen ferns were showing off, but even the Christmas cactus was thriving.
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I don't know the owners, yet, but you know I will.  Their front porch looks/feels like a fine spring day.
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Will get the white they used for home/furniture, and sparkling gray on the floor.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Friday, July 10, 2015

What Makes a Good Guest Room ?


Quirkiest delight of my career has been lecturing out-of-state for Garden venues.  Mostly, they have little money to spend, and I'm given the choice of a hotel or some one's home.
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Is there a better way to know a place than staying in a private home, and help a non-profit save money?
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On this path I've learned what I want/need in a guest room, host, and activities offered.
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The room?  Plenty of cleared surfaces, a chair, lamp by the bed, books/magazines, something to set my glass of water on at nite, easy access to electrical outlet.
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Because it's work, I need quality time alone to run thru my powerpoint & handout, one last time, ahead of a presentation that may be some one's one-and-only Garden presentation, or even more difficult, some one's 42nd and I must delight/educate their inner spirit to see their own garden new again.
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Inherent to the visit there is a walk with my host, thru their garden.  Adore seeing plants in new soils & zones.  Garden groups help the host, and there is a tour of several other local gardens, usually 1/2 day with lunch at a delightful cafe. Pride in their location, I feel as if my garden ladies are chamber of commerce emissaries.
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Then, dinner.  Now we get the husbands, and open bar.  Dinner is most often at someone's home.  Cocktails before dinner never disappoint, ever.  If it's Make Way For Lucia, hightum-tightum-scrub, E.F. Benson, we are all tightum, by today's standards.
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And the husbands, why-did-I-let-her-drag-me-here-'tude, does a 180 after the first round.
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Beyond this point, I will leave laughter, conversations, stories, to your imagination, but I know it's not close to these evenings.  Something about strangers, kindred spirits, I'll be gone by morning, souls splayed, safety in sharing, they can't tell on you, because you could tell on them.  Basic kindergarten rules.


Still unpacking boxes for my new office, a dozen had engulfed the guest room, above, now the guest room is functional, though far from complete.  Office should be completed this afternoon.
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Hope I've hit every layer for my guest room.  Cannot wait to get the walls painted a creamy white, keeping the existing white trim.  Windows on 2 walls, am anticipating some power naps here too.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Why would I stop lecturing for Garden venues?  They are my original base, truly have little money, and I learn so much seeing the private gardens.  Fun does have a price, it is Joseph Campbell's, 'Follow your bliss.'  
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It has been a privilege fiercely learning about Gardens traveling the globe for 2+ decades.  Gaining a heart's desire carries obligation.  Lecturing outside Garden venues, bringing Gardens to the People.  Corporate venues, women's wellness, trade shows, etc.  Places not normally associated with a garden, yet there is a hunger, a need to be filled, only a Garden answers.
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Secondary venues, not garden venues, pay well, I added a clause in my speaker's bureau contract 'allowing' me to continue with the Garden venue lectures.  They are content with the arrangement.  Happy this is true, but sad it is a truth about garden venues.
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Why are they so lacking in funds?  Partially, attitudes about Nature Wendell Berry writes much of.  Attitudes killing towns, supporting atrocious behavior toward livestock, annihilating soil, ourselves.  Further, our government is passing laws making elements of Nature commodities we no longer own upon our own property.  Each of these nuggets gleaned because I like to Garden !  Liking to Garden is political?        

Monday, June 22, 2015

Creating Flow: Garden Design Equation

With an engineering degree, and horticulture, you know I've invented a Garden Design Equation, moons ago.  Yes, good gardens are math.
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Will do a long post about the Garden Design Equation, but not today.  Promise, you will love the Garden Design Equation, and totally 'get' it.  Have taught it in my college classes and seminars losing no one yet.
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Living in our new American Farmhouse Architecture home, ca. 1900, for a total of 3 nites, the Garden Design Equation beckons.
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Blessedly no gardening has been done here for decades, Poverty is a Great Preserver, indeed.  Why is this good?  Not a lot to 'undo'.
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Focal point on axis, below.  Vanishing Threshold.

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Focal points must be sited as focal points from more than a single direction.  This type of focal point, urn above, is one of the best.  Do you know why?  Needs no planting.  Low maintenance.  Let your garden leverage your life.  Your garden works for you, not the reverse.
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From the outside, below, first impression, your garden must tell me who you are, this garden does.
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But my narrative, above, has skipped some of the 1st elements of the Garden Design Formula.
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Focal point siting is often 'obvious' but must wait until 'flow' around the property is managed.  Flow for cars, and walking, maintenance, and larger spaces, a gator/golf cart.
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Do you see what else is obvious when creating flow?  Turf is included in 'flow' equal to a gravel path-drive-terrace.
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This garden, below, is designed for low maintenance too.  Did you already spot that?  The tractor can easily do its job, and the evergreens need once/year attention, no irrigation needed, no chemicals, no fertilizers.
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Had to laugh when I saw this pic, it's exactly where my Garden Design Equation is percolating at our new home.  Flow.
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Drive & Parking Court, below.
 
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Had already told Beloved I will design a gravel drive, gravel parking court, gravel paths, with boxwoods and Tara Turf.
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The Garden Design Equation formula at work.  Historic too.  In the greatest of ironies, I studied historic gardens across Europe for 2+ decades learning how to design a garden with 'plants'.   What was truly learned is flow, repetition, rooms, axis, max pollinator habitat......etc.

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Oddly, too, I've had this idea, below, in mind for the area with my above ground propane tank.  Cannot wait for the before/after shots of my propane tank.  Who knew such delights could be had?  Adore taking the worst a garden offers and turning it into use and beauty.

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Big effect, below, little input.  Been done thousands of times across the centuries, and will be done again at our new home.  Copy.  NEVER worry about copying.  Each site is unique, making each iteration new/fresh.  Again, the Garden Design Equation, and why it works.  Your garden is unique, and the brain cells you apply enhance every effect.

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Gratuitous, below, if you know anything about Historic Garden Design.
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And, of course, I will copy it too.  Daffodils
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Notice something else about all these pics?  Deer proof.

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Luckily my new bathroom needs a 'tweak'.  And, there is a window overlooking the new orchard/rose arbor.  This is exactly how my tub will site, at its window.

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Single story, our American Farmhouse, is quite long.  3 days here, I know for sure, both front/back doors will have their own set of work shoes/shovels/pruners/wheelbarrow/hats.
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A garden must leverage your time.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Pics via Cote De Texas, from Elle Decor




Friday, June 5, 2015

French Toile: Anna Belle Hydrangeas, Tool Bouquets, Garden Shed

A good French toile, below, come to life.
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Shot this week, I'm greedy and would like daily access.
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Shoot when the rose is cascading blossoms.



Shoot on a snowy day in the dead of winter.


 Shoot on a bleached out hot humid Southern afternoon.


Shoot from inside the kitchen, two big windows view this French toile.
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Fall shots, with rain, a refined camera allowing you to smell the petrichor from foliage, and rusty tools, or corrugated metal.  Divining the distinctions of each.
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A great year for Anna Belle hydrangeas.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Pics from Susanne Hudson's garden this week.  Come see her garden, it's on tour this Sat/Sun, Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival.

Monday, June 1, 2015

When it's Simple, You're Dancing

For years I've known the best question to ask after 'completing' a Garden Design, "What can I take out, and it still holds together?"
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For decades I've had the privilege of being hired by women in their 70's-80's.  Most widowed, or divorced.  Why privilege?  Aside from demanding beauty with ease of maintenance, that's easy, the known quantity, yet unspoken, is staying in the house, till the end.  We're playing at winning the end game, without stress.  The end game is not for sissies.  Roofs with major winds, plumbing issues within a slab, a toilet leaking from upstairs while away on a trip flooding the entire home, a cancer diagnosis, perhaps a stroke, living for months with a grown child needing grandma's help with their little ones during a job transition.
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When I'm hired by these women, I understand unspoken reasons.
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Now, moving into a new home, I'm designing my new garden for my 80 year old self.

Sfeervolle stadstuin met veranda  www.buytengewoon.nl Bart Bolier - Tuinarchitect ontwerp@buytengewoon.nl tuinontwerp | tuinrealisatie

Looks 'modern', above, yet follows every classic Garden Design rule since before Christ's era.

Planete Deco

Without awareness, or training, I know something, in metaphor, about Garden Design, Herbert Muschamp wrote in describing Venice, "The function of the City was to translate the religion into a visual & spacial code."

John Rocha. Provence

Beloved has asked me, more than once, always in exasperation, "Are you always a Garden?"  Yes, thank you.  More than believe, active choices are made throughout the day, every day, to 'Take Joy' as Tasha Tudor did, by knowing into my DNA, "Our energy flows where our attention goes."

From Bunny Williams' gorgeous home and inspiring garden, the subject of "An Affair with a House" - lovely stone patio!

"How can we know the dancer from the dance?", W.B. Yeats.  If you have a landscape, your answer is public, every picture in this post, the owner knows the dance, and dances.  

Garden of Axel Vervoordt in Belgium

Above, plain?  Hardly.  You're seeing the dance.
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Riet verveelt nooit. Deze prachtige stoelen in combinatie met een tafel met een gietijzeren onderstel.. http://www.royaldesign.nl/tuinmeubels/tuinstoelen/vergrijsde-rieten-stoel-nina/0600-100/C/38

Why aren't more gardens, above, like this one?  Aside from easy to maintain, interiors flowing outside, do you notice the major force?  This garden reeks of invitation, alone or a pair, and quickly available to expand for a group enjoying dinner/wine.

Landscaping by Stijn Cornilly

This garden, above, combines the previous 2 pics.  Scroll upward and look again.  This is the dance.
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Haven't moved into my new home/garden yet, but I'm already dancing its dance.
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Isn't it time you dance yours?
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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All pics Pinterest: Vanishing Threshold.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Micro & Macro Mission Statements


What's the mission statement for your garden?
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Mine?
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I want to look out every window of my home, and unprompted, exclaim, 'OH WOW'.  Everyday, many times each day, and night.  
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Of course that is too small, micro.  Macro, I must have something coming into bloom every 2 weeks, all year.  Little maintenance, no irrigation, fragrance, pollinators, and views I choose, the sky framed to my amusement, etc...
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Before the internet, cell phone, digital camera, I demanded of my garden a roll of 36 slides, taken any day of the year, each slide worthy of a magazine/catalogue/book cover.  The brain wave, for taking any garden picture.


Yesterday, above.  Shooting my front garden, in the Bay Terrace, Laura.  Days of sorrow & tears, in moving, I refuse to allow to take away a single moment of the many joys, grace, & life victories pouring forth, in moving.  


Tears were not dry on my cheeks, from shooting the pics top/bottom, before time to celebrate, above, milestones for the move.
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Beloved/I had quite the day, zooming in 2 cars follow the leader, sometimes 1, against 'major' deadlines, downtowns/parking meters/back roads/storms/lawyers/judges/morons/saints/banks etc, like a Doris Day/Rock Hudson film.  
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After my vinegar/water spilled in his car, already frustrated he was beyond perturbed, then I discovered his huge commercial project blue prints were more than wet with 'my' vinegar/water, holes were eaten thru his blueprints.  The more perturbed Beloved got the harder I laughed.
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(Really 'my' vinegar/water only spilled because of his driving.), Beloved had to head out-of-state to that huge commercial job, now full of vinegar/water holes, good to give a man something to remember you by.  Called him on the phone to stay.  No.  Then came the weather.  No.  Weather came bigger.  No.  Roads closed, and it was already rush hour in Atlanta.  
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Guess who was toasting with champagne?
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Of course he was.
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Need to let you know about the vinegar/water, you'll probably be drinking it soon.


In my new garden, I know, epiphanies/metaphors will arrive, specifically, to place my loved garden properly.  
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Faith.  Trust.  Grace.
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Trinity of strength. 
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Top/bottom pics are separate photos, I doubt I'll ever get over the luxury of taking as many pics as desired.  During the days of slides, sometimes, I had to wait for developing because I had no money.  Importance of each slide being fabulous was imperative.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Friday, May 15, 2015

Howard Slatkin: Tete-a-tete

My new house, 115 year old American farmhouse architecture, has a large formal dining room with a corner of windows.  Not a large arena within the room, but I knew from the 1st walk thru the corner would be a favorite spot.  Less than 24 hours later I made an offer on the house.
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Howard Slatkin, below, nailed it for my dining room corner, below.
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The daily 'look', below.

howard slatkin dining room

And, arranged, below, for my favorite, a tete-a-tete.

Dining room in NY apartment of Howard Slatkin. Habitually Chic®

Though I haven't moved in I know where my guest will sit.  1 window has a fabulous view, the other 'needs work'.  Alone, it's obvious where I will sit.  Ok, both views 'need work', at least one is completely vernacular.

Lunch on a Russian table, New York dining room of Howard Slatkin, from his forthcoming book "Fifth Avenue Style" from Vendome Press. Photo by Tria Giovan.
Solitary luncheon is the most common, but I had excellent mentoring in dining alone.  Miss Louise, my beloved grandmother-in-law, long a widow, always chose a beautiful setting for herself, alone, and for our many dinners together, tete-a-tete, of course.

"Casual" window-side dining in Howard Slatkin’s fantasy of a Fifth Avenue home.

Another mentor, Mary Kistner, along with her beautiful table settings, taught me her favorite tea recipe, Earl Gray mixed with fresh mint from the potager.  She always had a 2nd teapot too, filled solely with a mix of her many types of mint, with just finished boiling water poured over.  Discussing the merits of the 2nd teapot was a delight, everytime.
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My corner will have mostly vintage wicker.  An excuse has arrived to allow, yet another, dropleaf gateleg antique table into my stable.  The hunt has begun.
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More Pins from Howard Slatkin on my Edwardian pin board created for my new house.  Howard has a focus with his interior design, too many decorators do not have.  People.  Howard Slatkin focuses his interiors and gardens for people to have conversations, laughter, share stories, gossip, create lives well lived, beyond material goods.  His gardens are fascinating, they put a tete-a-tete above all, always.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Pics Howard Slatkin.  Closing on the new house soon, choosing interior colors next week.  Movers are hired but many trips with antique ironstone/china, lamps, art, a few chairs for 'scope of the imagination' to be had, 3 dropleaf tables to site front-middle-back of the house, will be toted in my little van, alone.  Put together a box for the kitchen, enough to get me thru this 'camping' phase of 3 weeks before movers arrive.  My favorite vintage ivory linen tea towels, 3 types of tea, oversized Spode 'gardeners' tea cup, and oversized Spode mug, coffee, you get the idea, enough for a tete-a-tete right away in that dining room corner.
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Of course I'm bringing 3 wicker waste baskets, a bucket with brush/comet, garbage bags, paper towels, cleaning rags, broom/dust pan, a little radio to listen to classical music on NPR, things for the charwoman.  Me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dots Connected: Agriculture, Water, Government, Gut Biome & Banking

Vintage ironstone, below, what do you see in the scene?  Decades, I saw, 'boring'.


Now, I see prayers of thanks, honoring the gift of Nature from Providence, its methods of provision, and more than simple survival, spiritual.  We are included in the cycle, as surely as the daffodil in spring.
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Spring's platter, honoring flowers of the guild, attracting widest variety of pollinators to the fruit trees, increasing yields by 80%.  Survival of man, pollinators, livestock, communities, nations.
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Commercial agriculture & livestock steps outside the circle of stewardship.  Water is poisoned, soil is killed, communities die, a nation's congress is bought.  ( Is 'sold' more correct?  Thank you to my dear readers sending missives elucidating where I am wildly wrong.  Why be a little bit wrong?)
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Fascinating science arriving about our gut bacteria, its role in our health.  From The Daily Mail, May 11, 2015, "

Everything you think you know about diets is WRONG: Counting calories is a total waste of time, it’s bacteria in your gut that make you fat and finally, cheese, alcohol and chocolate can all help"


"Professor Spector believes it’s down to the bacteria in our gut. He has found that the type and variety of our gut bugs have an astonishing influence on many aspects of our health.
‘Microbes are not only essential to how we digest food,’ he says. 
‘They also control the calories we absorb and provide vital enzymes and vitamins, as well as keeping our immune system healthy.’, full article.
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Following the money, a group of small farmers gathered almost a decade ago, brainstorming ways to keep money from leaving their county, discovering as time passed the idea had to grow from county to state to region.  This is hilarious, you already know where this is going, I'm sure of it.  
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The Atlantic,

Planning for Rural America's Economic Future

In Pottawattamie County, the agricultural sector is proving that innovative regional strategies can start anywhere.
"It has worked to train the next generation of farmers and to help existing farms with small-business coaching. Now, the county even collaborates with nearby Omaha, Nebraska, to help attract and keep corporations in the region instead of engaging in an economic border war across state lines, a development that too often plagues regional economic development.".
Continuing, "Part of the strategy to keep money in-state was to shift the type of farming that southwest Iowans engaged in from large industrialized farms to smaller operations that grew food that local people could eat. From this initial series of meetings was born the Southwest Iowa Food and Farm Initiative. The group has grown to a roster of more than 50 farmers, O'Brien says, with a smattering of local food-policy councils."  Full article.  
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From the 1960's Wendell Berry has written about the decimation of family farms, their way of life supporting more than a family, entire towns, conglomerated into states, and for most of USA's history, an entire country, agricultural.  More about USA's agricultural founders & its influence upon our form of government, read, Founding Gardeners, by Andrea Wulf.
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Back to the platter, 
Until post WWII people, world wide, knew Nature, its workings literally & metaphorically,  as survival to health of the body, spirit, and financial security.  
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Losing the connection, less than a century ago, science is proving Nature of more importance to our good health than our good actions with diet & anti-bacterial soap, working sedentary office lives, not in tandem with the seasons of the soil.
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Further, trying to financially stabilize & grow a dying rural USA, improves health for people, agriculture, livestock, water, soil.  A banking system as beneficial as local farming must be chosen.  
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Ellen Brown, takes banking the way I take agriculture, for the people, organic, honest, public banks.  She's a money farmer.  Without good banking matching good agriculture/livestock, the system is weak, money flowing away from communities.
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Ellen Brown, "Connecting the Dots – 05.06.15
At what point are you willing to challenge your own notions of what’s really going on? Can you even imagine that the mavens of the Money Power would threaten human survival to serve themselves for even bigger personal profits? Ellen’s guest, researcher Dane Wigington, has a trove of data to suggest that they would. And they do so in the form of geoengineering, a covert tool allegedly being used to control natural systems for private profit. We also hear commentary from Matt Stannard about the economics of the Baltimore uprising and from Marc Armstrong about America’s only publicly-owned depository bank, the Bank of North Dakota, which just issued its latest annual report — it’s another record-setting winner!
Listen here."
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California is currently turning water into a government resource/commodity, soon, your state will too.  A relief to discover there is new science, & engineering, about water.
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Ellen Brown, 

California Water Wars: Another Form of Asset Stripping?

"Tapping Underground Seas
Another untapped resource is California’s own “primary” water — water newly produced by chemical processes within the earth that has never been part of the surface hydrological cycle. Created when conditions are right to allow oxygen to combine with hydrogen, this water is continually being pushed up under great pressure from deep within the earth and finds its way toward the surface where there are fissures or faults. This water can be located everywhere on the planet. It is the water flowing in wells in oases in the desert, where there is neither rainfall nor mountain run-off to feed them.
study reported in Scientific American in March 2014 documented the presence of vast quantities of water locked far beneath the earth’s surface, generated not by surface rainfall but from pressures deep within. The study confirmed “that there is a very, very large amount of water that’s trapped in a really distinct layer in the deep Earth… approaching the sort of mass of water that’s present in all the world’s oceans.”
In December 2014, BBC News reported the results of a study presented at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, in which researchers estimate there is more water locked deep in the earth’s crust than in all its rivers, swamps and lakes together. Japanese researchers reported in Science in March 2002 that the earth’s lower mantle may store about five times more water than its surface oceans."  Full article here
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Back to the platter.
  
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A lot of writing in this post, more eloquently drawn, above, in my vintage ironstone platter.  Yet, I did not go into the realm of Providence, sure, all my words inadequate, the platter says it all.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Don't know what a guild is for fruit trees?  More, here.