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

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.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Picture: Garden Design Course

Pulling the gate/columns forward, below, welcomes you from the wide world into their private world, elongates the entry, and adds a foyer to the front door.  Painting the columns same as the house adds them to the footprint of the home, enlarging the home's territory.
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Painting the columns a different color, or if they were stone, still adds good features, excepting they become part of the garden, not the house.
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Great wisdom leaving the tops of the columns empty.
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Front door & light fixtures chosen well, they make the house seem taller.
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Note the gutters, below.  Copper color, not the brick color.  Well done.
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Roof, below, is like jewelry for the house.
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Repetition of square shapes, below, highlights the fabulousity of the tall round urns at the windows.  Super contrast.
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This garden design has been done for centuries.  Have seen it on several continents, and at all price points.  Done it myself, more than once.  Looks fresh & new with each reincarnation.
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Even the front door handle was chosen with care.  Drapes vs. blinds, again, well done.

/\ /\ . D. Keeley:

Pic, above, here.
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Copy, enfilade, axis, cross-axis, color, contrast, repetition, flow, welcome, focal points, ceiling, walls, floor, simplicity, has all the right Garden Design rules checked.
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I have a weakness for Garden- Design- Course in a single picture.
Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Designing the Impromptu

Multiple layers of form & function, below.
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Aside from  pure magic, painting the walls with vines, going a step further, adorning the ceiling in vines too.
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There's even a touch of Camelot, the round table.

Axel Vervoordt-garden room-Another garden room at Axel Vervoordt's s'Gravenswesel compound in Belgium. From Vogue Living. Photography by Michael Paul:

Pic, above, here.
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It's rare when designed impromptu, upon completion, looks/feels impromptu.
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Many layers in the room, above, enough to be considered a Garden Design class.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Had the good fortune to work for an interior decorator, Mary Kistner, a master of impromptu, who later became friend/mentor.  She passed several years ago, aside from missing her & actively using so much learned from her, I still tell stories about her.  Then, I come across Penelope Bianchi on the internet.  Penelope's work, the work of my beloved Mary.  Of course I felt obligated to tell Penelope about Mary too, aka, fan letter.  Who knew I would discover Penelope to be twin sister to my Mary.  A joy to follow Penelope's work, blog, and have her friendship.  Two close friends locally are aware of something quite personal happening in my life recently, yet, from my blog, without mention of personal issues, and thousands of miles distance, Penelope intuited the situation correctly.  And, sent a couple of quite detailed notes to me.  Perhaps that's why I adore creating gardens & rooms, like, above, because there is an alchemy in sharing  'life' situations with friends, kindred spirits, in the rooms, above, churning situations into calm, removing stress, clarifying solutions, and adding the binding glue of laughter.        

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

How Color Choice Affects the Size of Your Home

Calm, rustique, classic, nestled, below.  What plays the major role in this Exterior Design?  Color.
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Imagine home, below, with white trim.  Pop.  The house just moved forward, got smaller, the roof lowered, the garden shrunk.  Merely, painting the trim white.  Ironically, this home previously had a teal blue trim.  Same effect, to lesser degree, than white.
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Everything is thriving, but we do need some rain - it's been very dry here in the Northeast. From my driveway, my house looks beautiful with the tan colored woodwork - it is such a change from the teal blue. Do you remember the old trim?:

Pic, above, Martha Stewart.

In an area that is small, or with disparate components, here's the color trick, below.  Did you already intuit the trick?  Everything should be the same color, or color family.

 My longtime housekeeper, Laura Acuna, set up some refreshments on the lower terrace parterre outside my kitchen. Some cool pomegranate iced-tea and some cheese wafers.:

Pic, above, Martha Stewart.
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Exterior color, if you haven't given it much thought, does potent work to every exterior.  Make sure your exterior colors are doing the right potent work.  Potent for good vs. potent for bad.  It's your choice.  Make every layer of narrative with color choices exterior/interior and you've just raised property value, and made every day in your home happier.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Monday, June 27, 2016

Need Somewhere to Think?

Gardening is truly like putting this room together, below, by Miles Redd.  Intentions for this room, and a garden are the same.  Beauty, calm, introspection, learning, amusement, stewardship of our interior thoughts, connection to larger realms, focus, and oh my the anticipation of being at this table and knowing that whether 15 minutes or 2 hours, each will pass as the same, it would be easy to forget lunch hasn't been eaten, yes, a room like this is a proscenium, just as a garden is.
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"Every garden needs a desk.", said Susanne Hudson.
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Quick assignment.  Say Susanne's 5 words, above, aloud.  Next, do the Johnny Cash thing, 'Meditate on it. Then you'll understand.'

miles redd.:

Pic, above, here.

Reading an education article almost 2 years ago, one of the experts said reading/learning from a source backlit by light from a computer screen/cell phone goes to a different brain region than reading/learning from a paper page lit by natural light.  Fascinating.

 walls Benjamin Moore Healing Aloe trim Benjamin Moore Bavarian Cream.  As I go along here, pinning, I realize another reason I've always liked Benjamin Moore paint.:

Pic, above, here.
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Epiphanies.  Moments of intuitive enlightenment.  Are the hunt in my garden, and they arrive, unbidden.  Do you partake?  Have you already been this intuitive about your garden?  Perhaps it's better to ask, "Have you been this intuitive about a garden?"
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Oh dear the nattering palaver about a garden's sun/shade, how to dig a hole, mowing properly, and worse, chemicals & etc.
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Nope, a garden is not about any of those things in the previous sentence.  None.
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Focus.  Mental focus.  From playful realms to partaking its energy, & love, to assuaging even the deepest loss.  Need to make a major life choice?  Major.  How will you go about it?  I know to go into my garden, phrase the question mentally, set it aside, in faith to G*d, trust the freedom of letting go-letting G*d for at least an hour, then poof voila, seemingly without thinking, an answer.  Heads-up on the life choices that have fear as a component, I've learned to beat fear by asking, "What would I do tomorrow if I were not afraid?"
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A friend, we were in a circle of like minds in a group Lois put together, casually said, "I do my best thinking while sweating."  Wow, a floodgate opened, 'Me too, me too, so harness it girlfriend', I said to myself.
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Gardens aren't what garden centers sell.  Look at the top pic again, and know it is exactly what gardens are.  Yet more.
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Redemptive beauty.  Abiding.  Places of joy, grace, not a place to work digging holes, shearing lawn, though if those things are done they are the gift of washing-the-servants-feet.  Stewardship.  Focus, mindset, choices.  A garden is long threads of time.  Opposite to tv, internet, cell phone, cacophonies.
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Focus, comes to you in a garden, you don't have to go to it.  More, you get the trinity of focus,
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"Focus matters enormously for success in life and yet we seem to give it little attention.
Daniel Goleman‘s book, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, explores the power of attention. “Attention works much like a muscle,” he writes, “use it poorly and it can wither; work it well and it grows.”
To get the results we want in life, Goleman argues we need three kinds of focus: inner, other, and outer.
Inner focus attunes us to our intuitions, guiding values, and better decisions. Other focus smooths our connections to the people in our lives. And outer focus lets us navigate in the larger world. A (person) tuned out of his internal world will be rudderless; one blind to the world of others will be clueless; those indifferent to the larger systems within which they operate will be blindsided.
How we deploy attention shapes what we see. Or as Yoda says, “Your focus is your reality.” , from Farnum Street, here.
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I'm fortunate my gardening began before cell phone/internet.  I know what a garden harnesses.  I know how diminished my garden is with my cell phone/internet.  About 2 years ago, I had a more fabulous than normal afternoon, beyond 4 hrs, they felt like a vacation, in my garden.  Coming inside, discovery why.  Cell phone on the kitchen counter.  Whoa, or woe, that epiphany.  Disclosure, I do carry cell phone into garden.  Self-employed is a great excuse, perhaps Beloved needs me, or my ankle goes, or nefarious mr. timber rattler or, or, or.
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Way back in the 1950s the philosopher Martin Heidegger warned against a looming “tide of technological revolution” that might “so captivate, bewitch, dazzle, and beguile man that calculative thinking may someday come to be … the only way of thinking.” That would come at the loss of “meditative thinking,” a mode of reflection he saw as the essence of our humanity.
I hear Heidegger’s warning in terms of the erosion of an ability at the core of reflection, the capacity to sustain attention to an ongoing narrative. Deep thinking demands sustaining a focused mind. The more distracted we are, the more shallow our reflections; likewise, the shorter our reflections, the more trivial they are likely to be. Heidegger, were he alive today, would be horrified if asked to tweet. ", wrote Goleman.

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Pic, above, here.
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Farnum Street selections, above, from, The Impoverishment of Attention, here.
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I'm impatient to take notes, put upon paper with hand/pen, on the new desk in my garden, from yesterday's Sunday edition of Farnum Street.  Ironically, my new garden desk is currently in Susanne Hudson's garden.  Bought for a harvest table, custom made by a craftsman in Susanne's town, too long for my small van, Susanne will bring it next time she has a client near me.  I know she's smiling each time she sees 'my' desk, knowing how excited I am to get it.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Monday, June 20, 2016

Design: House Meets Patio

Commercial, mostly interiors shop, March, below, better at garden design than most garden centers.
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Not a lot here, excepting there is a lot.  Each layer, perfect.
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Color, flow, plants, staging, texture, contrast, plants, still life, heights, focal points, axis, seasonal, lighting, vanishing threshold, multi-functional, over-dose-theme, easy maintenance.
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At this phase, below, personally.  Have purchased a harvest table made from wood of a century old tobacco barn.  What's the phase?  Choosing chairs.  Looking at galvanized metal.  Time is a luxury, the table won't fit in my van, Beloved's trucks are at a jobsite for another few weeks.  Need 10 chairs.  Don't want all of them to match, perhaps they will.  That is the fun of the hunt.
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march-1

Pic, above, here.
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Color trinity, above, great for my zone, tail end of Piedmont swallowed by Coastal Plain, in depths of summer's miseries heat-humidity-bugs, gives the illusion of 'cool' viewed from interiors.
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Alone, this pic is a, Design: House Meets Patio, course.
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Ironically, my horticulture degree included zero about this zone.  Zero
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Notice the stone at the open door?  Very nice.

Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Go into the typical box store garden center, and be greeted by zillions of colorful greenhouse annuals, chemicals to annihilate bees-butterflies-man, finish off with fertilizers to poison groundwater, and kill earthworms and mycorrhizal fungi in the soil.  With zero irony the same garden centers sell annual flowers to attract butterflies, planted in soil with systemic insecticides, all with banner marketing.  Aka, killing the same butterflies you're trying to attract.
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Made a mistake at the seed store early this month, bought a small bag of 'organic' fertilizer for our lone tomato plant.  Reading the label at home, after opening, it's N-P-K, ugh, kills earthworms/fungi.  At least the tomato is in a pot.    

Monday, June 13, 2016

Garden Design: How Little Can You Have?

How little can you have in your garden, and it still holds together?
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Garden Design, below, would hold together at a mid-century Ranchburger.  (Perhaps a new title, Garden Design for Bad Architecture, split-levels need extra thought too.  Of course I spent 30 years in my cluster home, I named a Guppy House because garage/drive predominate at front of house.)   In addition to how little you can have in your garden, how to  have a Garden Design, raising property value while raising pleasure/use.  Never to leave a penny on the table, Garden Design to reduce HVAC & maintenance expense.  Ironic, I find the more demanding you are from a Garden Design, it's easier to create, and a better Garden Design.
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Pic, above, here.
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Just back from a week working in mom's garden on Galveston Bay, TX .  Dad had asked for a hedge planting at the back fence over 2 decades ago.  Fence is straggly naked with 2 remaining misshapen hideous RED TIPS.  What was my suggestion he brazenly ignored?  Camellia sasanqua.  Yes, I still look at that fence imagining sasanquas.  Plant choices matter, in addition to Garden Design choices.
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Garden & Be Well,  XOT

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Designing a Dark Dank Backyard Corner

Hydrangeas, below, were already planted.  I was hired to design the dark, dank, space behind them.  That was all they said, every choice was mine.  Hope you realize constraints/restrictions make Garden Design easier.  Putting in the defined path between the hydrangeas was easy....the rest was for Muse.
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Meeting the clients,  they lived outside Atlanta this was an overnite job,  walking their entire garden, seeing their interiors, and how they flowed to outside views/paths, took about an hour.
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Brought my folding table/chair & drawing board to this back corner, below.  Alone, finally, with Muse.

The Complete Guide to Growing French Hydrangeas | SouthernLiving.com:

Pic, above, Southern Living.
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Zero clue, once I was set up, what Muse would suggest.
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A few minutes of walking nearby garden rooms, then back to my mobile office.
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Muse doesn't speak, Muse does place perfect visuals into mind/heart.  
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Muse sent mental pictures of this small corner having an 'L' shaped conservatory, gravel flooring, and a chandelier hanging from the tree with a table underneath.  Yes, poof, voila, Muse was enchanted with this corner.
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Have no clue what my clients were expecting.  Probably a 'planting' plan.  I must remember to ask.
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Told of ideas for their dark, dank, corner, their faces got that really good look.  The one saying Muse did a great job, and they were fully on board.  Beyond imagination, they had access to a historic home recently condemned, for reason, and could haul away as much as they wanted.
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Muse certainly knew more than me about this couple and their soon to be built conservatory.  As if pre-ordained.
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Within a year the conservatory was built, garden planted, gravel poured, and they were on a garden tour.  Somehow, Southern Living magazine heard about their conservatory & sent a photographer, above.
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Later, This Old House magazine discovered their conservatory & put it on their cover.
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This is the best kind of work.  Each layer f-u-n.  Every layer a win-win-win.
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Doing your own Garden Design?  It's the hardest to do.  Every idea directly links to your bank account, which hinders your Muse.  How to get around that?  Write a mission statement for your garden.  How you want it to look, how you want it to make you feel, how it connects with your home, what you want to do in your garden for pleasure, and don't forget to choose a color trinity.  It may take a week, or 2, to write your mission statement.  Then, make a date with yourself to design in your garden.  Nothing rushed.  Suspend every thought about filthy lucre.  Follow your mission statement.  You will draw a nice garden.  I find most everyone is an intuitive garden designer, excepting most everyone gets caught in the trap of not knowing Garden Design is counterintuitive.  Nor trusting simplicity.
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When finished drawing your garden, ask yourself, "What can I take out and the garden still holds together?"
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Often I am a 2nd or 3rd designer on site.  What went wrong, why hire me after others were hired?  Two reasons, first, ideas were not coalesced into a mission statement to give the 1st designer, second, the designer was all about sales plants-plants-plants with drifts, incurves, outcurves, foundation plantings, no thought given to garden rooms, focal points on axis, making the garden part of the house, nor flow throughout the entire property, and a color trinity never applied.
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Hope this helps, if you are DIY, or considering hiring a Garden Designer.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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Do you think, in a zillion years, I wanted to design a conservatory so I could get it in a magazine, 2 magazines, onto the cover of a magazine, it would happen?  Nevah.  Why did this conservatory go viral?  I had fun, Muse had fun, clients had fun, client's Muse had fun.  F-U-N    Once client's had their plan, it was obvious, pack your mobile office and get out of the way !!