Showing posts with label American Farmhouse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label American Farmhouse. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Accidental Garden

Moving into our ca. 1900 home 2 years ago this month, I remember vividly a moving truck backed into the drive, below, unloading these potted plants, near midnight, temp hi 80's, humidity hi 90's, and it was the 3rd trip unloaded that day.
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I dug no plants to move, the only plants moved are in these pots, below.  Pots not moved since arrival.  Have not gardened yet.  Beloved has spent 2 years removing invasives, clearing for roads, reconditioning pond/dam, grading, renovating sheds, house, painting, irrigation,  etc.
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Late spring/early summer Beloved was beyond himself wanting tomatoes.  No potager yet, we walked the garden picking a spot, temporary, for his tomatoes.  On his own, he decided the chosen spot was too far away, and he brought a dozen large black plastic pots to the drive, below.

Image may contain: plant and outdoor

Yes, this was a drive, above/below.  What had been a single-car-garage in the real estate ad began life as a single carriage barn, a 2-seat sport model carriage at most, with a long rotted away wood floor by the time we 1st looked at the property.  Seller, realtor, inspector, us, were quite mum's-the-word-on-that-'garage'. Beloved put in the stone wall, stopping the flow of water into the 'garage', which is now a shed.  

Image may contain: people sitting, plant, tree, outdoor and nature

Tree & pots, below, are on the property line.  Typically historic, house near the road, facing east, at a property line, allowing space for an orchard on the other side of the house.

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Chairs, above, still painted the same green from my previous garden.

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From the deck, Beloved's tomatoes, below.  Close to the house, they've earned a permanent spot.  Will prepare potager beds before fall planting, below, trimmed with bricks from our chimneys, alas, removed for safety.  Granite gravel, #89, best with the color of our house, quarry no more than a mile away.

Image may contain: plant, tree, house, outdoor and nature

See the chairs in front of the shed, above?  Nice trick, and an even better place to have lunch or sit late evening with my cats.
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Having the potager this close to the house, pure accident.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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Pics shot yesterday/today.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

What's Missing from this Front Porch?

Sitting on the front porch swing, below, yesterday before dinner.
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Furnishings are functional, still not 'permanent' after moving here 2 years ago.  Awaiting back deck staining & building a conservatory, both may pull furniture from front porch.  Until then, no worries, I like using the front porch.    Floor, below, still needs staining.
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Chair, at front door, below, leverages me coming/going from my car for work and grocery, always something to set down.  Better, that chair has the best packages delivered upon it.  Moving in, a friend told me, because I was now in middle of nowhere, You've got to get amazon prime.  Never considered that a need.  Now rural, it's a need.
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3 ceiling fans are a need.  Rural insects dine upon livestock patties, growing to impressive sizes, while having a higher IQ than their city counterparts.  They're born knowing my name, where I live, and adoring my hide.  Worse, they love going for car rides.  
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Notice what is missing below?
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Huge.
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Ironic for a Garden Designer, yet a point of particular pride.

Image may contain: outdoor and indoor

Posted this pic, above, on my facebook yesterday.  Asking same question, What's Missing?  Got a quick answer from hilarious source.
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Surprisingly got answers that I wasn't looking for, but were true answers.  People are rarely a component of my Garden Design photos.  During my formative era, Garden Design photos rarely had people in them.  But there was a stronger reason for having no people.  Money.  With a roll of slide film, I could only afford usable pics that would last decades.  People & cars date a garden pic.
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Still life pulls me greatly.  Interior/exterior.  An invitation to enter.  Someone noticed that too.  A+ to him, he left me a bit stunned, as if he'd found a 'secret' !
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That friend knowing immediately what's missing, above, was the daughter-in-law of my former boss.  Her father-in-law owned the nursery/florist I worked for doing propagation work for 2.5 years.  Learned much from her father-in-law, and always enjoyed seeing him at industry events for decades.  A good man, gone many years.  Now, she & her husband own that nursery.  It's obvious what's missing right?  Plants.
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Not to that layer yet, excitedly anticipating growing small topiaries in terra cotta pots, a Bunny Mellon layer, and in a funny twist, interesting begonias.  A particular begonia from a friend's grandmother's plant, and here's the twist, that nursery I worked at as a propagator has an outstanding variety of old fashioned begonias.
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Until the plant layer arrives, I'm enjoying the anticipation.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Controlling an Unsightly View in the Garden

Almost 2 years in our ca. 1900 farmhouse, the pantry still has issues.  Two rotting shelf boards were replaced and the entire pantry painted, but beyond that point of necessity, work remains.
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Another issue, is the pantry window & its view.  Living historically, includes being close to the road & hugging a property line.  Next door is our neighbor in his ca. 1890 home.  

Image may contain: people sitting, indoor and food

Meet our neighbor, below.  An evergreen tapestry hedge has been planted, drip irrigation, and we've already pruned hard last summer, will do a last hard prune, making them flush full and fast this spring.  A mix of tea olive, holly, azalea, hydrangea, anise.  Not chosen or designed, left over from a mix of jobs.  A friendship path for neighborly walk thru was put in, and used often.

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Three years ago, never imagining I would move from my 30 year Cottage Garden, I found a toile linen curtain panel.  Custom made.  Junking, $5.

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Now, still adoring my neighbor, above, I only see magnificent aspects of his garden.  Once the hedge is grown, it's evergreen, the toile curtain will probably be taken away.  What's not to love about a tapestry hedge blooming throughout the year along a gravel drive, capped with century old trees & sky?
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Every bit of this mundane story, a truth, currently, for all my garden views.  Looking up, until renovations higher on the priority list are completed.  Patience.  Learning too, more specifically what I moved away from.  Simple, potent, joy of walking thru my home and feeling the love of a garden pouring into the windows.  A friend, a loving friend.   I don't stay there, I stay in my new chapter, it's exciting, joy is different, but no less, joy.
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The pantry is large enough to put a cot in for an emergency guest room, has its own window, door, lighting, with 11' ceiling.  From 1st seeing the pantry, I've wanted to lay on the floor with a comfy pillow and read.  Undisturbed.  Nap a bit, wake, read some more.  While waiting for the garden I must really give myself at least 1 pantry afternoon.
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At this juncture, Beloved would point out a huge gap, no fantasy for stocking the pantry & cooking a great meal.  His point larger than mentioned so far.  Our house has a 2nd kitchen.  My gardening never lessens, merely increases in scope.  That 2nd kitchen will make a fabulous floral arranging stage.
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Books I would bring into the pantry?  GARDEN books.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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We were probably the 1st owner in over 50 years to remove every layer of contact paper lining the pantry shelves.  Two of the boards, once exposed, disintegrated into tiny pulp fibers.  Never seen anything like it.  How had they been holding the previous owner's provisions !  Need to source a wood step ladder, put rarely used things on the top 2 tiers of shelving.  Perhaps the better choice is to leave those shelves empty, take more stuff to thrift store.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Right Green Man

Another Green Man, below.  If you don't know Green Man, take the link, centuries of lore, multiple continents & cultures.
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This Green Man, wrapping a corner, owning the garden & house, yet subtle, below, perfect for my previous garden, 30 years in a red brick cottage garden.
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Now, our ca. 1900 American farmhouse?  No.  Wouldn't look of-the-whole.  One possibility for my house, have Picasso customize a Green Man for me.  Matisse may be the better choice.  Yes, dear Henri.  His Cut Outs steal my heart.
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Ahead of moving into pure history, I had a quaint cluelessness, in totality, how Garden Design focal point choices would change.  

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Pic, above, here.
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No exaggeration to say TRUCKLOADS of garden items were taken to Goodwill once we moved in.  Hard action step, Beloved's big work truck, his team of men dispatched decades of hunting/gathering.  Zero time for yard sale, or to take to consignment.  Out, gone.
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Nothing like a TRUTH, when we do it to ourselves.
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If that makes you laugh, it should, you understand my entire premise of Garden Design.  Layers of truths.  Each simple.  Yet each layer a black hole to previous thinking.  Blessedly so.  Good riddance.  .
Garden & Be Well,    XOT
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Matisse.  Definitely Matisse.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Garden Design Course: In a Photo

More a Garden Design course, below, than simply another garden.  What can you label, below, as the Garden Design 'rules' followed?  Decades I've taught at the local college and Atlanta Botanical Garden.  Never, ever, tire of this phase of Garden Design.  Name it to claim it.  If you know what you are looking at, and can name it.  YOU can do it.
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Color, contrast, flow, layers, mystery, expanse, minutia, shapes.
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Color, did you know green gardens are the 'fastest' to look like something?  Green gardens are also calm, less drama, perhaps best said, more of the right drama.  Then, within the green are myriad greens.
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Contrast, big leaves next to small leaves, rounded shapes next to cone shapes, woody plants next to herbaceous.
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Flow, the pathway has me, feet want to travel, finding what's around the curve, mystery.
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Layers, all checked, pocket of open sky, canopy trees, understory trees, walls of tall bushes, wainscoting of medium bushes, low bushes/groundcovers are flooring & carpet.
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Space too large, 100's of acres, a garden room similar, below, nearish your house will warm & own the expanse.  Space to small, neighbors homes jutting into your face, a garden room similar, below, around your home, creates a huge landscape, eyes drawn to the expanse of canopy trees and sky, which is infinite.
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Minutia of hair like foliage, velvet like moss on the trees, chartreus with dark greens and etc.  Drama change for winter, the garden, below, holds together in all seasons.

Cynthia Woodyard Landscape Design & Horticultural Photography | projects > Love the Italian trees in a cluster instead of a row = very different:
Pic, above, here.

Understanding the Garden Design 'rules' and principles, above, please tell me this makes you laugh, below, in the 'knowing' what they've done, below.  Well done, dramatic pairing, fun drama with Garden Design 'rules'.

 Cornerstone, Sonoma, The Garden of Contrasts by James Van Sweden:
Pic, above, here.

 
Pic, above, I shot yesterday in our garden.
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Yesterday, my harvest table was finally unloaded from the truck.  Temporary location while 'macro' garden construction is completed, you know, drilling a well, graveling drives, renovating sheds, adding a porch, and too much other garden infrastructure keeping me away from my beloved 'micro' gardening.
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Laskett immediately on top of harvest table, owning it.  Behind him, the materials yard awaiting its new barn.  Yes, chaos of materials yard getting on my last nerve.  Alas, at least another full year before it's cleared.
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Harvest table denotes 1st move into my shed, Beloved using my shed until his barn built.  "Where is the Gator going if you put your harvest table there?", Beloved asks.  "No, they both won't fit there.", he responds to my answer.  I smile in return, thinking, "Go away, I've got this."  Poof Beloved's gone, I arrange table, Laskett & I do what we do so well together, bask in each other's adoring presence, Laskett affirms every thought in my head.  Sitting a moment to shoot table/Laskett/setting sun, I glance at the open space for the Gator, with a smile.
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With great pleasure, I walk to the gravel drive where the Gator is parked, crank it up, pull it into it's new space, 2' to spare, turn the Gator off, pull the brake lever up enjoying its sound, surveying the Gator's new domain.  Beloved still working in back at the pond, Laskett & I walk to the house, gardening day done.
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Best irony about my shed, it's a century old, Beloved moved it last year, renovated it, new walls, new window, new door, new floor, added a tin roof to two sides, and it's my shed.  We knew up front he had to use my shed for many of his things, many, until his barn is built.  Has been a great chapter getting here, I'm not in that chapter anymore.    You've already noticed this new chapter title, My Shed.
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Thought you would appreciate a little raw reality gardening.
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Garden & Be Well,  XO T

  
    

Friday, September 9, 2016

Conservatory & Coop House

Working as a professional propagator for 2.5 years, moons ago, left its mark, deep & rich.  More than knowing how to propagate, I miss the work.  Literally, the physical work of propagation, and its 'time', its progression thru the seasons, from seed/cutting/plug, to plant for sale.  Early mornings, first arriving to the myriad greenhouses, end of the day, closing the myriad greenhouses for the nite.  Thru all weathers, the daily life of it.  Fragrance of the various soils, each green house with its unique smells thru the year, differing temperatures catering to myriad greenhouse crops.  And, of course, Kelvin, who taught me all he knew, by doing.  Working with him, side-by-side.  Hands/bodies laboring, conversation & laughter flowing.  He remains one of those friends never seen for years, then spying each other at a garden event, the big run to hug, and I feel tears of pure happiness, merely seeing Kelvin again.  
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Seeing this pic, below, recently, and realizing how badly I miss seeing our poinsettia crops growing from plugs to maturity.  Didn't know I missed that specific life experience until seeing the pic.  There must be a word for this, probably in French or Italian, American too paltry for such a word.
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Instantly this bit of color thru the Conservatory, below, got put onto my list.  Fourteen months in our ca. 1900 American farmhouse, we're getting a lot done on the 'list', but we're not to my Conservatory or Chicken Coop yet.  And, what a fabulous blessing.  Their architecture improves by the month, free of charge.  Smartly, I'm staying quiet about this private architectural joy with Beloved.  If he knew, he would have already built my Coop & Conservatory, square, historic, plain, good, done.  Poor thing, he said to me, not too long ago, "You get your mind set on something and nothing stops you."  It was in the tone of exasperation, my reply was quick and happy, "It's my best trait.  Your next point?"  Nope, he doesn't need to know about the architectural renderings, yet, for the Coop & Conservatory.

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Pic, above, here.

We have a similar bank of windows, above, brought home from a house we renovated for a client recently.  Here's the odd fact, I like being near my chickens, hearing/seeing them, aside from calming I think they are hilarious, they make me laugh.  My chicken coop must have a bit of 'Conservatory/Shed' for me.  A place to be in all weathers/seasons, to read, have lunch with a friend, a glass of wine late on a Saturday afternoon with a new book that just arrived on the doorstep, happy rich solitude.

 Garden shed.:
Pic, above, here.

From the house I want to see my chickens in their coop during winter, this wall of windows, below, perfect.

 love the windows in this garden cottage studio "The Conservatory" Includes 6…:
Pic, above, here.
Great garden potting shed:
Pic, above, here.

Nice roof, above, for my personal section of the Coop, especially in winter, all other roofing will be metal.

 Feeding the Chickens, Antonina Dolinina. Russian, born in 1925:
Pic, above, here.

More than the roosting rack, above, and stone steps, below, I get it about these painters.  Aside from major talent, they love chickens too.  Caring for my chickens is not work or a chore, instead, a delightful part of my days.

 Hubert Shuptrine (1936-2006) WATERCOLOR:
Pic, above, here.

She, below, is one of us, a Chicken Whisperer.  Have no clue why Providence put chickens into my life past age 50, but I'll take it, say thank you, and keep chickening on.

Never get between a girl and her chicken.:
Pic, above, here.

Patina Farm new chicken coop:
Pic, above, here.

Best chicken run, above, ever.  Instantaneously with seeing it, onto the list it went.
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My Conservatory shed, with large lean-to metal roof at front, and at back, is already built and awaiting Beloved's barn to be built, his stuff is in my Conservatory shed.  Not far away is the temporary Chicken coop/run Beloved built in the shade of 2 century old pecan trees, it's chain link with a flat metal roof.  For months I've been having breakfast or lunch under the back lean-to roof at my shed, overlooking the coop, lake, woodland, meadow.  Poor Beloved, all that scope-for-the-imagination of Anne of Green Gables in action.  I hear Marilla Cuthbert, "Finest property on the north shore."
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Have no interest creating the finest Conservatory or Coop, only the finest Conservatory and a Coop, for me.  Now, this phase, vision questing, quite fine in its own merit.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Design Solution: Deer & No time

Last week I completed a Garden Design for a local family.  Their home is new construction on 35 acres of beautiful farm land, open, wooded, pastures, broad slight slopes.
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The pool is near completion, the pole barn completed, the house has its exterior, now awaiting wall board and layers that follow.
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The home is huge.  They have young children.  Deer thrive on their acreage.
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Plantings, aside from deer proof, must be no care, they have no time for landscape maintenance.  None.
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What to do?  Farmesque is the theme I chose.  With pool at the back, the front yard is open, mostly flat, short meadow.  I sense the front yard will be THE play yard.  Still, what to do with the Garden Design?
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At the far side of their front yard meadow, I designed a small pecan orchard, 8 trees, 2 rows of 4, with harvest table and strands of lights, for trunks and canopy.  Trunks to be lit nightly.
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More than meals, a gathering spot for projects, or lounging with a book.
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Dinner in the backyard ...:

Pic, above, here.
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Whew, saved by an orchard.
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And, simplicity.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Versatility: French Rain Barrel

When Smith & Hawken had its going-out-of-business sale at its Atlanta store, I had the good fortune to be there shopping with a client.  Little realizing ahead of time, I'd be purchasing things too.
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Ahead of moving from my 30 year home/garden I took 18 van loads to the thrift store.  My house sold within 24 hrs of listing and there was zero time for another choice.  Once in our new home, ca. 1900 American farmhouse, it became apparent much of my cottage garden 'stuff', thought to be so worthy ahead of the move, would not 'work' in the new setting.  Yep, that was a 'moment'.
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A couple of months in the new house, Beloved had his largest work truck, large bed/tall sides, and team of men on site.  Unexpectedly he said I could have the men/truck for a couple of hours.  Code language, get rid of your stuff.  Now.
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Six work ready men, felt like I had just stepped into a fire ant pile, and could not point to stuff fast enough as they were scurrying and pulling things for the truck.  2 rounded loads taken to the thrift store.  I did manage to think quickly enough for one of my clients, and saved some things for her.
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Everything purchased that day at Smith & Hawken remained.  Not a conscious choice, the clearing of stuff was too fast for proper editing.  One of the Smith & Hawken items, a galvanized French rain barrel.
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In my cottage garden I used it as a rain barrel, and later, turned upside down, a table.
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In our farmhouse, currently, the French rain barrel is on it side, wedged not to roll in the seat of a teak bench, used as a Cat House at the back door.  With a cushion inside they love it in winter, and it's a shelter against the rain the rest of the year.   Not a use anticipated when purchased.
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Amazed at the versatility of the French rain barrel, have yet to use it as a planter, below.  More, it made the aesthetic transition from Cottage Garden to Historic Farmhouse garden.
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Why didn't I buy more than one ?

My French Country Home, French Living - Page 8 of 311 - Sharon SANTONI:

Pic, above, here.
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Great enfilade, above.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Smith & Hawken currently sells online via Target.  Hardly a hint of their 1st incarnation yet they may have that perfect xyz for you too.  No, this is not a paid endorsement.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mix Matched Outdoor Furnishings?

Layers of narrative, below.  Color echoes a home run, for starters.  White to silvers, very nice.
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Curiosity too.  Hydrangeas, below, at left in foreground, then further back, to the right.  A photographer's styling?  Perhaps a stylist guiding a photographer?
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Did your mind go there at all?  The white hydrangeas merely props?
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Hardly the 1st thing I saw in this delightful pic.
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First thing?  Field gathered furniture, all painted same color.  Voila !
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Studying historic gardens across Europe for decades it was France teaching me that trick.  No worries about field gathering garden furnishings.  Paint them all the same color.
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Huge arrow in your quiver.

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Pic, above, here.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Almost a complete garden design course in this pic.  Canopy/understory trees, high/low density, scale, flow, focal point, simplicity, color, contrasts, repetition, ceiling/walls/floors, seasonal interest, winter structure, invitation, comfort, myriad uses, no chemicals, low maintenance.

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.  

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Garden Design Cheat Sheet: Design Shapes Before Plants

Upon the land, below, do you see garden rooms?  Parlors. dining room, foyer, hallways, mudroom, doorways and more.  And, with the garden rooms, do you see what is dealt with?  Flow.
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Site the first garden room, using the world's most used template, see previous post, from inside your home.  Once your 1st garden room is sited, repeat, repeat, repeat.  Play with rectangles, squares, ovals, circles & more, adding enfilades.
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Need a lawn?  That is your Lawn Room or Meadow or Playing Field or Pasture whichever endeavor best suits your 'lawn' needs.
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With this drawing, below, everyone is an expert garden designer.  Intuitively knowing what is a tree/shrub/groundcover/stone/gravel/focal point on axis/double axis/flow.
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Most important, this is the order of designing your garden, shapes.  No worries about specific plants at this phase.  Shape, then specific plants.
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USA has the Extension Service for best plant choices/zone.  Outside of USA visit nearby old good gardens, and botanical gardens.

Pic, above, via Jala Gardens.

Worst garden design question to ask at the beginning?  What plant goes here?
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Our ca. 1900 American farmhouse is at the start of the Garden Design phase.  Garden rooms & flow.  We must flow via foot/car/tractor/gator, and I must have an orchard, potager, shrubbery, vistas, pleasure walks, garden house, chicken coop, vined arbor for harvest table.  The garden must have something coming into bloom every 2 weeks, ease of maintenance, and make me think, 'Oh WOW', each time I look outside any window of our home, zero watering, chemicals, fertilizing, deer proof, provide a tasty tidbit for the table throughout the year, more than Earth friendly, wildlife friendly, a garden of stewardship, enriching in waves beyond my soul.
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Topics inherent within this mission statement?  Increased property value, decreased HVAC expense, happier days, stewardship.
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Read all of the above, again, with laser precision about property value, decreased HVAC expense, and ease of maintenance.  I went after all of the above, for the love of gardens, instead found many of the truths in a simple phrase, G*d almighty first created a garden.  Won't go into that rabbit hole now, instead, money.  2015 was my year for several real estate sales, for myself & others, fast and at market value, with several perks added.  No, I'm not a realtor.  The homes were staged inside/outside.  All of the above skills put money in my pocket, and my friends pockets too.
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I was gardening to follow my bliss, in addition, much later, a great deal later, discovered I was following the money too.  Thinking of selling your home in the next 3 years?  Stage it now, live in the joy/beauty, reap a larger sales price.  Have your cake, eat it too.
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Not selling your home?  Create a beautiful garden, for you, Earth, friends/family.  Beautiful easier living.
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Garden & Be Well,    XOT  

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Day in Stewardship

A year before buying our American Farmhouse, ca. 1900, we put an offer on another farm.
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Tiny house, small barn, a bit of woodland, and pastures.  Pastures were dominate, strong enough to make me look up the derivation.  Depth of description was surprising to she-who-had-always-lived-in-subdivisions.  Pasture, in the archaic form, Food & Nourishment.
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Epiphany taken, that moment, in the 7" thick Websters Dictionary.
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Pastures are not empty land.
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Pastures are the gift of sustenance from Providence.
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Empty?
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Crops, livestock, and more.
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As local bumper stickers proclaim, No Farms No Food.
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This could go in a lot of directions.
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Delicious, yes?
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Direction on this Thanksgiving Day, turkey ironstone, below.




How did I miss the heart-on-their-sleeve message?  Turkey plates, platters, bowls, kitsch, right?
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Before almost purchasing Pasture Farm, I had named it, I had the good fortune to work amongst heirloom turkeys, below.  From virgin pasture, below, I had been asked to design/build a 'historic' walled orchard.  It was my orchard to site, size, integrate into 100's of acres, with historic home & barns.  Game on.
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Back to the heirloom turkeys.  While designing the new 'historic' orchard on site, sitting in my folding chair, drawing on the folding table, heirloom turkeys looked me straight in the eye and meandered all around.  First takeaway from heirloom turkeys is their stunning color package.  As if Monet had spring time fun after lunch with good wine, and new tubes of bright paints.  Next, were their feathers.  Rather, what they did with every feather upon their bodies.  Their feathers would ruffle outward concavely, almost 1/2" space between each, and vibrate.  Vibrations intense, creating a sound amongst their feathers.  Of course I was charmed.  By heirloom turkeys!  I also knew those turkeys were meant for several Thanksgiving Day tables.  


As much as I enjoy seeing the historic orchard, now built, above, I enjoyed those hours, working amongst the heirloom turkeys in a pasture, as a life delight.
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I got the memo, Providence sustains us, gives us all we need, but we must take it.
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Taking it, our gift from Providence, isn't work, it's pleasure.
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The turkey dishes are not kitsch.
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Turkey dishes are a prayer of thanksgiving.



Before any epiphanies about pastures & turkey dishes, I had purchased this platter, below, for a song.
Thought it was amusing, and would be fun on the Thanksgiving Day table.
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Life is rich, it is I, now, in thanksgiving to Providence, for all provided, and what the turkey dishes have been saying since their own inception.  Whether I understood or not.  The old patterns of turkey dishes are the bible, in pictorial form.  Taking from pastures we can build a home from strong woods lasting centuries, put food on the table, weave cloth to wear, understand the stories about people in the bible, and absorb onto our skin biome/intestinal biome, organisms separate from us, but without which, we die.
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God almighty first created a garden.  Indeed.


Before the bible was written, it was planted, on the Pasture of Earth.
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Today's turkey & dressing will be served on my platter.  
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Living generations off farm land, it is normal to grow up thinking industrialized farming is normal and those who do the farming, menial.  Grocery stores are expected to be overstuffed with delights from across the globe, all seasons, rain/shine.
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Getting heirloom chickens, first livestock of my life, almost 4 years ago, I went from amusement in my garden and gardening, into stewardship.
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Stewardship, depth/breadth beyond measure, compared to amusement. 


Eating out recently, this painting, above, was in the foyer.
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Not just a goat.
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A goat looking at me, saying, "Be a good steward to livestock & Earth, it is the only way you will survive."
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Amusement vs. Stewardship
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Top pic, Martha Stewart, from here slideshow, here.  2nd pic from jobsite, 3rd/4th pics from my pantry.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Fencing: Contrast Formal + Rustic

Garden Design uses contrast as a potent tool.  If I could only have 5 arrows in my quiver, contrast is one of the 5.
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Contrast, everything.
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Fine country estate?  Rustic fence, below.
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Why?  More layers of narrative.  More metaphor.  A deeper story.  Intellect playing in grace.

From Berkshire to Buckingham:

Rustic fences, below, with fine manor houses?  Centuries of examples.

P1040209:

Charming, below, welcoming.  Formal fence, below, instead?  Fine.  But you've just created a 'walk-thru', get where you are going don't stop statement.

Tara Dillard: path, axis, enfilade, roses, trellis, potager, gate, focal points, lighting:

Elegant roses, rustic fence, below, is wicked.  I smell the fragrance.

Magic Garden <3:

Rustic, yet looks formal, below.

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Rustic, reading formal, below, with the black stain.

Rustic 4-board fence stained black, with black vinyl welded wire:

Formal, reading rustic, below, with hog panel wire.

hog panel fence:


A little privacy, below, historic lattice.  

TARA DILLARD: Front Porch: A Way to Test Design, furniture, lattice, drapes, color, green, brown, white, susanne hudson's front porch: I

Beloved & I are building a deck at the back of our American Farmhouse.  We chose the formal reading rustic with hog panels.  We didn't want to block views of  softly rolling hills/open-wooded/lake/sunsets, yet needed a hint of elegance to bind to the house, while honoring the simple livestock barbed wire fence along a property line with dairy cows.  Contrast.  Need 1 panel of the lattice, above, with our railing.
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All day yesterday we were building the new deck, just the 2 of us.  At our age.  Go us.  Late in the daylight, a ribbon of black birds flew over, the ribbon must have been a mile long, and they were all talking.  Haven't seen/heard anything like it since childhood.  Sunset was a stunner.  Having lived in subdivisions my entire life, without seeing sunrises/sunsets I'm easily distracted by a good sunset.  Hints of the Milky Way too.  More days ahead, working on the deck around the day job.  Soon we must decide roofing for portions of the deck and screened room.  Hard choices, not wanting to block sky views, yet getting protection from summer sun, and mosquitoes.
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All pics linked from my Fences Pinterest Board.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Made the choice to build ourselves, and save $5,000+.  Beloved already had the know-how & tools.  Huge.

Monday, August 31, 2015

In the Landscape: What Type of Backdrop is Your Home?

Ca. 1986, I gave myself, English Cottage Gardens, by Ethne Clarke & Clay Perry, below, for my birthday.  Hungry to learn 'everything' about designing gardens, I didn't learn 'more' about designing a garden.  Instead I learned what had the most impact in a garden.  Your house.
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Your home is the backdrop to your garden, and its main focal point.
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Until this epiphany, I gave house exteriors little to no consideration.
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Compare a common USA home to homes in English Cottage Gardens?  Not happening.
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Use a clear eye, aka honesty/integrity, not an easy lipstick-on-a-pig thought process.  Love your home into being a beautiful backdrop to your garden.  Because it is more, it is the backdrop to your life.
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Living in my starter home, ca. 1986, for less than a year, it was an incredible interior, to me, yet depressing exterior.  It gets worse.  Coming home after a weekend away, sometimes I would cry before walking inside my home.  Real tears.  Frustration at living in such an ugly house with a stupid landscape.  No money to change anything.  Poor me.  This is the exact situation teaching me there was much I could change.  As a little girl it was rather common to hear, Tara-the-Terror.  Delicious, she woke up.  My garden, and house, knew, 'game on'.
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Elements of the house, as backdrop to your garden, you must consider.  Views into your home, types of window treatments, interior lighting, no exposed views of the backside of a tv-sofa-pictures-etc, paint color, make the patio/deck a destination of comfort/beauty, need shutters, light fixtures outside, types of hardware on the front door, door mats, cable box/airconditioners, underside of a deck, views into the neighbors garage/RV, paths from the house into the garden, scale of plantings to scale of house, flow around the house, how does the house look from the curb, what do I see walking to your front door, what do I see walking out your front door, and any other tidbit, no matter how minute, fluff it up, regardless of your bank account.  You have a brain.  Use your IQ, figure it out.      
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I sourced exterior furniture, focal points, stone/brick, at garage sales, vacant lots (with permission), trash day gleanings, thrift stores, paint was from the returned paint section of the hardware store.  Plants came from sources in the Extension Service Market Bulletin, or the local nursery's plant-of-the-week, 97 cents, sometimes, $1.99. Mostly it was my own labor, and inner vision of what I had to have in my garden to breath to survive.  Patience, ick, had to be an element too.
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Years later, reading Karl Jung, "Our lives are about getting the outside to match the inside."  I did understand.
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Decades later this passion for a beautiful garden, and home, has not lessened, instead, increased, and still learning.  When garden epiphanies arrive now, they make me laugh.  Nothing is hard about creating a garden, instead it is the pealing away of ego.  Realizing the brain is obtuse to all a beautiful garden freely gives.
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Read, English Cottage Gardens, with your 'eye' analyzing house-as-backdrop.



Good backdrop, below, Sharon Santoni's home in France.

parterres-update-my-french-country-home

Copy, is a huge tool in garden design.  Sharon's garden is a good example of be-careful-what-you-copy.  If you live in a 60's ranch, or 80's cluster home, as I did, this is not a garden for you to copy.  Why?  You don't have her backdrop to carry the weight of down time in her potager.  Come winter, what will you have?  Bleak.
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This situation, winter's bleak garden, creates another garden design tool.  Design your garden for winter, not only the ease of spring.  A garden beautiful in winter, will be beautiful in spring.
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Still want to have Sharon's garden in your 80's cluster home?  I did.  I addressed all of the 'house' issues listed above, and added evergreens to structure my garden throughout winter's bleak.  Done.
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Simple fix to have this potager, below, in front of your 60's brick ranch.  Add evergreen structure within the potager

parterres-update-my-french-country-home.1jpg
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In comes that robber/foe/obtuseness of your labors/money/brain waves, you see the answers, you read the answers, yet don't execute.
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No worries, it's human nature, I did it at the front end too.
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In my new home/garden 2 months, it's the phase of patience.  Paying attention to sun/shade, drainage, flow, privacy, views, parking, destinations & etc.  Knowing, and letting, house renovations have their pace.  The urge to garden here is fierce, a foe at present, especially in the micro details.  Instead, Tara the Terror is vanquishing the foe with patience.  Stinks being mature about this.
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TtT is attacking another foe, having-too-much, and planning for a historic American farmhouse garden, deer proof, drought tolerant, little maintenance, productive in beauty/repose, and agriculturally with 'just-enough' fruit, berries, herbs, vegetables.  This doesn't mean, in the least, I don't want to work in my garden.  Working in a garden is a privilege of being on Earth.  Metaphor of washing-the-servants-feet, and with a free/happy heart.  The best parts of my life have come from this relationship.
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Garden & Be Well,  XO T
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Top pic from Amazon, order if you don't have it, bottom pics Sharon Santoni.