Showing posts with label Design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Design. Show all posts

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Layers of Nuance in a Stone Wall

Perhaps for a party, below, the pair of potted hydrangeas?  Love of hydrangeas, past president of the American Hydrangea Society, here, the beauty of meadow, woodland, and sloping hills are too great, to me, to stop the eye with potted hydrangeas.
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Well before these thoughts, there was conversation, deeper, about how to cap the stone wall at entry to meadow-woodland-sloping hills.  Did you already notice that delightful, well constructed, expert nuance?  More, the strong choice made.  Beyond subtle, yet their minds didn't stop with the cap on the wall.
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Did you see that too?  I'll go slow.  Wanting your eyes/brain/heart to see, on its own.

Content in a Cottage
Pic, above, here.
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Hope it sails a thousand ships.
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Quite a sure hand with stone capping, all at the same height.  Yet the crescendo accelerates.  Imperceptibly, the pair of hydrangeas rest upon stone 'columns'.  Notice their slight corners blending into the wall?
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Well done.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
  

Monday, August 14, 2017

Side Yard Real Estate

Commonly, side yard real estate is ignored.  Perhaps a nod to creating a 'nice' pass-through, at most.
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They got the memo, below.  An entire garden room in their 'side yard'.
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More, they completed every layer of the memo.  Gravel to the house, no foundation planting, and a wall, evergreen shrubs, for privacy.  Pure architecture.  

southwood4.jpg
Pic, above, here.
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Off topic, a sign of the current era of nursery plants, above.  Since the debacle of 2008, commercial nursery contraction, retail nursery contraction, wholesale grower contraction, decent plants are rare.  Plantings at the edge of the graveled garden room, above, are the new normal.  Prior to 2008, my team would have returned those plants as culls.  Worse, guessing from the photo, in addition to fertilized spindly growth, they're probably loosely rooted, perhaps a season or 2 from being bumped up into larger containers.  In the era prior to 2008 it was considered unethical to sell plants newly bumped up/not rooted in.  Now, normal.  It gets worse.  The new normal costs much more.  Labor a huge cost burden to growers, then, again, labor a huge cost burden to crews planting.  Patented plants add another layer of cost.
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A new generation of labor crew leaders has arrived since 2008, how are they to know the new plants at the edge of the gravel garden room, above, are culls?
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For decades, new plantings had to be turned for their best 'front' at planting.  Humorous concept, now, when plants have no 'front' at all. See the gravel, above, thru the foliage of plantings along the concrete?  In the past, plants were so full of vigorous lush foliage, zero gravel would be visible thru them.
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A recent job, we indeed received gorgeous thick lush plants, heavy in their pots & well rooted.  Good timing.  The wholesaler is probably weeks from bumping up plants that haven't sold, into larger pots.  
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Of course Home Depot, Lowe's, and Wal-Mart each forced consolidation of the retail nursery sector prior to 2008.  Most of their current plant purchases are on contract, with the plant wholesaler agreeing to unload/stock shelves with their employees, and take back plants that die or look poorly.  Another layer of cost to you, the retail plant buyer.
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Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore.  Could not have imagined these industry changes when I began working it ca. 1985.  Of course back in those days, it gave me my Garden Design career.  The family nursery I worked for did not offer Garden Design, nor keep any employees who did Garden Design.  Why?  Their attitude was an employee doing Garden Design, on their own time, would steal plants.  Why didn't they think an employee doing Garden Design would be buying plants from them?  A customer, not thief.  Their thinking proved detrimental, they bankrupted & had to sell.  Our nursery team mentioned more than once, 'wish they would give us a pay/purchase option in company stock'.  Ironically, the company owning that nursery now, is employee owned.  Go team !  
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Garden & Be Well,    XOT

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Serendipitous Focal Point

Approach, below.

Weeks of endless Summer - Ben Pentreath Inspiration

Obvious, below, pair of urns as back drop to the bench.  But wait. there is more.

Weeks of endless Summer - Ben Pentreath Inspiration

Look what happens, below, with one of those urns from above.

Weeks of endless Summer - Ben Pentreath Inspiration

When I'm designing gardens on site or in my office, this 'game' always happens.  Designing historically, and receiving serendipities, above.
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Makes me laugh out loud, every time.
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The serendipities are sign posts, "You're doing this right."  More, knowing my Muse is in league with the same Providence as, above.  They're all having a party while I'm working.  This 'work' my party ticket.
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Work a poor word for my livelihood.  One meaning includes, "...the absence of pleasure."
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Anyway.  All of the above merely letting you know when you get it right, you'll receive party tickets too.  Along with a gorgeous garden.
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Garden & Be Well,  XO T
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Pics from Ben Pentreath.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Double Axis: Focal Point Technique

Double Axis.  A focal point must have a focal point at both ends of its axis..
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Amazing, the things they do not teach you in school.
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Focal point bench, below.  Sitting in the bench, you must create a focal point in the opposite direction, bottom.

Weeks of endless Summer - Ben Pentreath Inspiration

Weeks of endless Summer - Ben Pentreath Inspiration
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Got it?
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Do it.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Pics from Ben Bentreath.
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And most think Garden Design is some sort of voodoo, its practitioners thinking up la-ti-da maybe this/maybe that a bit here a bit there.  Nope.  Garden Design is pure templated known geography zero recreating the wheel its mechanics laid bare for all the world to see.  See.  Therein lies the problem.  Pure seeing.  My best epiphanies about garden design came years after looking, not seeing.  The map is not the territory.  Gardens that do not satisfy are exactly drawn from the known map.  Beautiful gardens expose the territory here, and other realms.  Want that?  Get you some.  Bemused I am about how befuddled I was before seeing the territory, trying to follow the map.
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Best compliment ever, recently.  A Canadian client said I was PECULIAR.  Ok, thank you.  In truth it's peculiar to me, trying to live by the map.  Been there done that.  Once you hop off the map, into the territory of your life, there is no going back.  Why would you?  Got it?  Do it.  Want it?  Get it.
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Warning.  Not for the faint of heart.  Leaving the map, for your territory, is exactly where the ancient mapmakers, before knowing the world was round, foretold at map's edge, Beyond this point there be dragons.  Remember the dragon, breathing fire at all who would take his virgin girl.  Every scale of his hide a 'Thou shalt not'.  That fact is living according to your life's map.  Killing that dragon is living in your life's territory.  Got that?
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From, In the Field,

"The privelege of a lifetime is being who you are.

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What you have to do, you do with play.

Life is without meaning.
You bring the meaning to it.

The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be.

Being alive is the meaning.

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The warrior's approach is to say "yes" to life: "yea" to it all.

Participate joyfully is the sorrows of the world.

We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.

When we talk about settling the world's problems, we're barking up the wrong tree.
The world is perfect. It's a mess. It has always been a mess.
We are not going to change it.
Our job is to straighten out our own lives.

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We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.
If we fix on the old, we get stuck. When we hang onto any form, we are in danger of putrefaction.
Hell is life drying up.
The Hoarder, the one in us that wants to keep, to hold on, must be killed.
If we are hanging onto the form now, we're not going to have the form next.
You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs.

Destruction before creation.

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Out of perfection nothing can be made.
Every process involves breaking something up.
The earth must be broken to bring forth life.
If the seed does not die, there is no plant.
Bread results from the death of wheat.

Life lives on lives.

Our own life lives on the acts of other people.
If you are lifeworthy, you can take it.
What we are really living for is the experience of life, both the pain and the pleasure.
The world is a match for us.
We are a match for the world.

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Opportunities to find deeper powers with ourselves come when life seems most challenging.
Negativism to the pain and ferocity of life is negativism to life.
We are not there until we can say "yea" to it all.
To take a righteous attitude toward anything is to denigrate it.
Awe is what moves us forward.
As you proceed through life, following your own path, birds will shit on you. Don't bother to brush it off.
Getting a comedic view of your situation gives you spiritual distance. Having a sense of humor saves you.

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Eternity is a dimension of here and now.
The divine lives within you.

Live from your own center.

Your real duty is to go away from the community to find your bliss.

The society is the enemy when it imposes its structures on the individual.
On the dragon there are many scales. Every one of them says "Thou Shalt."
Kill the dragon "Thou Shalt."
When one has killed that dragon, one has become The Child.

Breaking out is following your bliss pattern, quitting the old place, starting your hero journey, following your bliss.
You throw off yesterday as the snake sheds its skin.

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Follow your bliss.
The heroic life is living the individual adventure.

There is no security in following the call to adventure.

Nothing is exciting if you know what the outcome is going to be.

To refuse the call means stagnation.
What you don't experience positively you will experience negatively.

You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path.
Where there is a way or path, it is someone else's path. You are not on your own path.
If you follow someone else's way, you are not going to realize your potential.
(note: this is what the Holy Grail is all about... not some cup --dv)
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The goal of the hero trip down to the jewel point is to find those levels in the psyche that open, open, open, and finally open to the mystery of your Self being Buddha consciousness or the Christ.
That's the journey.

It is all about finding that still point in your mind where commitment drops away.

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It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life.
Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.
THe very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for. The damned thing in the cave that was so dreaded has become the center.

You find the jewel, and it draws you off.

In loving the spiritual, you cannot despise the earthly.

The purpose of the journey is compassion.
When you have come past the pairs of opposites, you have reached compassion.

The goal is to bring the jewel back to the world, to join the two things together.

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The seperateness apparent in the world is secondary.
Beyond that world of opposites is an unseen, but experienced, unity and identity in us all.

Today, the planet is the only proper "in group."

You must return with the bliss and integrate it.

THe return is seeing the radiance everywhere.

Sri Ramakrishna said: "Do not seek illumination unless you seek it as a man whose hair is on fire seeks a pond."

If you want the whole thing, the gods will give it to you. But you must be ready for it.

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The goal is to live with godlike composure on the full rush of energy, like Dionysus riding the leopard, without being torn to pieces.


A bit of advice given to a young Native American at the time of his initiation:
"As you go the way of life, you will see a great chasm.
Jump.
It is not as wide as you think."
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Joseph Campbell & Bill Moyers, "JOSEPH CAMPBELL AND THE POWER OF MYTH

Ep. 4: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth — ‘Sacrifice and Bliss’

In the fourth episode of The Power of Myth, Bill Moyers and mythologist Joseph Campbell discuss the role of sacrifice in myth — including a mother’s sacrifice for her child — and the need for all of us to find our sacred places in the midst of today’s fast-paced world. In this clip, the two discuss where heroism can be witnessed in modern society.
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Watch, or read the transcript, here.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Landscape Design: Squares & Rectangles

Plain, below, functional, cubist, calm.  Oddly, playful.  More than a style for gardeners, a style for anyone not 'wanting' a garden too, content with the foundation plantings/lawn/annuals miasma.


Concrete stepping stones in a contemporary setting                                                                                                                                                                                 More
Pic, above, here .

0b3fe010b6c3f5f8c9412714e234b5e8.jpg (736×736)
Pic, above, here.
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Gardens of squares & rectangles. Myriad materials, stone, gravel, lawn, bushes, trees, decks.
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Peter Fudge created the garden at top, at their website, enjoy clicking thru the playfulness of squares & rectangles.
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Fudge owns Squares & Rectangles.  So much so, he gives it away to all.  Sign of a master.  Copy, first rule of Historic Garden Design.  No confidence for that?  No worries.  Copy Fudge exactly, each site is unique upon this Earth, creating each garden one-of-a-kind.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Miasma.  Nice day being able to write miasma, I must be sure to use it in conversation today too.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What Simplicity Provides

Extreme simplicity in a garden creates the best focal point.
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jardim natural
Pic, above, here.
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YOUR LIFE.
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Myriad layers of simplicity allow for the depths & heights of your life.
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Oh my the well fought battle, above, for simplicity.
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"A woman with a closet full of clothes, and nothing to wear, doesn't know herself very well." , Bill Blass.
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What you choose to have, keep, allow in your garden, says so much about you.  Whether you think so, or not.
Garden & Be Well,  XOT

Monday, July 17, 2017

Binding House to Site: Focal Point & Enfilade

A current client, 14 acres, and well tucked into their property, built a new home to look like a historic home.  At the first visit I fell for the ruse, thought they had renovated an antebellum home.
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The lane leading to their gravel drive is a single lane gravel road along an active train track.  Open & wooded their land has all the right drama including level and a few slopes.
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First salvo with their property is the approach at the train track, flow for cars & feet from entry to house, barn, dependencies, orchard & potager.  More importantly, currently past age 50, no detailing care with maintenance, ever.  Not a consideration & won't be tolerated.  Staring down age 80 makes simplicity, simple.
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All of the above is 'easy'.  They're all necessities, and historic templates are well trod as guides.  What bothered me most is the house not being tied to its site, well sited, it has no strings attached to the garden.
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Walking the grounds about the house, with their pack of older rescue dogs, her specialty, the tie that binds house to garden appeared.  Better, it's within an enfilade, travels past the entrance court, past the entry lane, up a slope, lands upon a pasture flat, and continues up another slope finally ending at the orchard+meadow.  What are the chances of this great gift?  Woo-woo.
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The focal point within this perfect enfilade, at present, has a single florescent pink flag staking it.  More, it can be a stone slab on a tree trunk table, a statue or urn on plinth or etc.  Whatever, the focal point must be within a dias, level with the ground, of stone or brick.  Hope you already know why.  Answer is above.  
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The tractor must be able to easily whiz around the focal point.  At speed.

Petersham nurseries another love of mine, garden fresh food, mixed with antique finds and gardening delights
Pic, above, here.

 COTE DE TEXAS
Pic, above, here.
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She will love getting the focal point right.  He will love whatever she does, eventually.
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He will be the one installing dias and topper.  You know there will be some grumbling.  Her at the front door of their home, one terminus of the enfilade, yards away, cell phone in hand, "Move it 6 inches to the right, get it level."
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His grumbling will include me, sad for the day he ever heard my name.  This phase doesn't last long.  Glad I know that ahead of time.  Men are predictable.  It takes that first party, after the garden is installed and suddenly they knew how to do their garden from the beginning.  Fine with me, I get to be the Mary Poppins Gardener, arriving when the wind changes, leaving as the wind changes again.  In my carpet bag, knowing where to site focal points & enfilades, hedges, etc....
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Sighting A Hedge for Screening

Hiding a view, the closer your plantings the faster the hiding.
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Neighbor's house, below, is quite close already, the design/placement of planting close, an automatic.
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If the neighbor's house were 100' away, still site the evergreen hedge where it is.  Not near the property line.  Especially if you want to have early morning coffee on the terrace, in your gown.

Habitually Chic® » Sag Harbor Secret Revealed
Pic, above, here.
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The closer the hedge, the faster the screening.
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Put that in your memory bank.
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You may not need it, but a friend might.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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Placing large evergreens for screening recently, 'husband' wanted them in a certain spot, near the property line.  I mentioned a spot closer to his home, providing much faster privacy for his screened/roofed porch. Which was his focus.  He paused long, "That's where my wife said to put them."  Sweet moment, she loved it when I told her.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tiny Garden Respite


Probably slapdash, below.  Yet fine tuned, inherent.  Barrel & half barrel collateral from their Vins & Liqueurs.  Even the colors echo from building to barrel.  Sited in equal asymmetry as the architecture, and function.  Finally, the trinity of pots/plants on the table, each a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, yet matched disparateness.

La rue des Ursins à l'angle de la rue des Chantres, Paris (IVe arr.), France, juillet 1914, (Autochrome, 9 x 12 cm), Stéphane Passet, Département des Hauts-de-Seine, musée Albert-Kahn, Archives de la Planète, A 13 657
Pic, above, here.

Adore how little the 'garden', how great its statement.
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Furniture in-the-garden maximized to function, yet warm invitation to comfort & hospitality.  Table/chairs echoed just inside the door, repetition.  And those fonts.
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A sliver between building and road, yet a respite from those worlds.
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An odd affliction, adoring  little-giving-much.  Especially potent when it's woven into a livelihood.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Before-After: Grave Site Garden Design

Hardest job I've done.  He hired me, the 1st time, about 4 years ago.  Now, he's under the black frames, below.
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He & his wife became the fun couple on Facebook.  Always together, mostly in the Caribbean during winter, home a few days, perhaps a quick trip to France, perhaps etc.  The clothes, the food, the conveyances, myriad events, their precious dogs, smiles, fun times, fun bearing witness.  Glad someone is 'living the life'.  More to it of course.  His hard work at a company he built over decades, and his earnest stewardship of more than 200 employees.  His funeral at the largest church in town, standing room only.  Graveside service, below, filled the cemetery curbs with cars.
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For too many weeks after the funeral, she's had to come to this barren patch.  Alone.  Nothing.
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She asked for their cemetery plot, 6 spaces total, rectangular shaped, to look like their backyard.  I designed/installed it, but hadn't been back recently.  Made an appointment to see her, at home.  Terrible appointment, both crying throughout.  Thru the tears, I got what I needed to exactly design their grave site.  On the upper deck, from their kitchen/family room, she said, "This was his favorite spot in the world to be."  In addition, "We love the Caribbean and want it to look like that."      

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Leaving a lot of the story out, he was murdered, by his grown son.  She was home when it happened.

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More than wanting to design their cemetery plot to remind her of their backyard & Caribbean, I know she has the murder trial ahead of her.  His grave site must step up to the plate & nurture her during darker days to come.
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Designing their backyard, they had asked for a Caribbean theme too.  And we put in a pool.  A portion, from the outdoor shower to the pool, thru a patch of lawn, has a checkerboard square.  Travertine surrounds the pool.  In addition I spent several sessions vision questing Caribbean cemeteries online.  She wanted the same travertine at the grave.

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Our mason poured concrete, above, for the travertine.  I knew the grave site must have her palm trees, and his beloved red Japanese maples.  Turf for the checkerboard, and the small amount of groundcover, Big Blue liriope.  His eyes were the color of the Caribbean, stunning.  Sourcing  plants, below.

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Studying Caribbean cemeteries it's obvious the pair of colors to use, green-white.

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Ok, next, the seriousness of designing a garden for a nationally owned cemetery.  Layers of rules, and constraints.  I was given the name/number for the manager of the cemetery.   In addition, I wanted the garden design for the grave site to be malleable to input from her sister & brother.  No children, she's being supported emotionally by her siblings.
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A few days after giving her the garden design, she called & said it was good.  That's when I called and introduced myself to the manager of the cemetery.  Told him the constraints she had given me for the garden design, and more importantly, I was a team player.  Whatever the cemetery needed, I could abide by.  Happy to make changes.
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Sent the plan to him as an attachment, and a couple of weeks later, received approval.  Total approval.   Amazing, the plan went to their national headquarters, and passed, zero changes.
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During construction, met with the cemetery manager on site.  Graveyards are not what they used to be.  The section we worked in has irrigation for each grave.  You want, you pay.
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More, he said the room with casket display was being remodeled as a party room, with space for caterers.  And, more people are choosing cremation, causing his industry to change.

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Cemetery allowed us to make a cut into the curb for entry, above.  Pair of red Japanese maples will be pruned into a bower arching over the entry.  Boxwood edging will be pruned to knee height.  A bench is on order, and soon, annuals will be planted at the entry.
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She will augment cemetery maintenance for the grave site with private.
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As hard as this grave site remains for her, cannot imagine the days she has yet to unfold, in the court room with his murderer.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Friday, July 7, 2017

Muse Answers the Right Questions Not Only those Asked

An interesting project is on my vintage portable wallpapering 'desk'.  Hired for their swimming pool, it has entirely too many plants.  The pool is rocking an outdoor kitchen, dining room, living room, huge Las Vegas style fire ring table, waterfalls, and other such things money can stuff into a small space.  My clients are the 2nd owners of the home.
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Knowing what to do with plantings directly at the pool didn't matter, Muse put the brakes on.  Client, a bonafide plant freak, has been pestering me, politely, about pool planting plan now-now-now.   Muse did not budge.  Finally, a few days ago, not thinking in the least about this pool/garden, Muse spoke and poured visuals into my realm.  Oh gosh.
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I sourced pics to print, and too wildly, discovered a couple of quotes directly related to this job.  Muse, for sure.  Made me laugh out loud in my office.
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Above the pool, built into a slope, is a lovely meadowed pasture rimmed with trees of our Piedmont.  Muse decided upon an orchard with summer house, exactly there.  I rather knew this at the 1st visit, but kept my mouth shut, I was hired for plantings at the pool.
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Muse decided upon simple Dutch styled gardens with heavy influences of Sir Edwin Lutyens & Frank Lloyd Wright.  If you know anything about both men, you know Frank baby stole shamelessly from Lutyens.  Bless his greedy heart, and his Muse for paying attention.  




Muse strayed provacatively throughout my clients entire property.  Their sloped front yard, must have a dry stack stone wall, and existing plantings streamlined into a nice Dutch/Lutyens/FLW.



This sloped property, above/below, owned by Matt Lauer & for sale, was Garden Designed by Miranda Brooks, it has 25 acres.  Seems like a lot of property to design, yet once started upon farmesque property even 300 acres isn't so much.  Crazy but true.






What a hoot, Muse.  Met with my client yesterday, she thought I had the completed pool planting plan, I did.  But that was the least of it.  Spilled the beans with her about Muse and why the pool plantings, in the scheme of things, are minor, compared to where her garden wants to go.
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More, client is a bit past age 50, Muse has spoken for her 80 year old self.
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Simple hedging, above, exactly the Dutch/Lutyens/FLW inspired work Muse vision quested into my head.
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At this point in the game husbands are very afraid of me.  If they brave it out, most do, they begin in later years to ask their wives, "What does Tara's Muse say about.......?"
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Muse is shocking in the most delightful of ways.  Finished, finally, a plan in Canada several weeks ago.  Muse was obdurate with it too.  I know to trust Muse, but it does begin to feel like life on a banana peel, awaiting the magic.  Back to Canada, a tiny minuscule garden.  Knew what to do, but Muse wouldn't let loose.  Finally.  Muse fixed their problematic deck.  Levels and size were involved which meant zoning issues.  Whew, Muse pushed it but all was approved.  Needed a Facetime appointment with owner of their construction team.  Loved him.  Loved.  Like the men on my team, taking what is designed and adding their magic/Muse too.
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Built gardens are a team effort.
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Don't have a garden Muse?  Read the best garden books written from across centuries, and tour gardens that are the best in the world.  Garden Muse adores that type of sustenance most.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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All pics, here.  

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Foundation Planting vs. Eco/Sustainable/Nature

There is a broader horizon for foundations.
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Builders must receive a certificate of occupancy ahead of selling a new construction home.  Most USA jurisdictions have a minimal landscaping requirement for that certificate of occupancy: square footage of lawn, number of bushes, and number of trees.  Builders are doing their job, it's not on them to change standards.
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Beyond that outline the types/placement of bushes/trees is not defined further.  Decades pass, the builder's landscaping remains.  No concern for trees to shade in summer/warm in winter/block winter winds reducing HVAC expense and increasing property value, mature growth that won't break foundations/walks/drives/rot roofs or siding.
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Civic duty is met, a baseline standard, and keep it tidy.  Little relation to eco, sustainable, Nature.  That trinity is ours to define.  One of life's great gifts, if we take it.
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Centuries before American foundation plantings, there were gardens, below.
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A garden design course, below, in a single photo.
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Better, eco/sustainable/Nature.  Increasing lifestyle & property value.
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** Life in the Netherlands.
Pic, above, here.
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This garden, above, feels like it's been let out of the jail of foundation plantings.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Friday, June 30, 2017

Garden Design: What Change Would You Make?

Simple, but huge, change I want to make in the garden, below.  Any changes you want to make?
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With zero knowledge of site constraints, I'll sail ahead with this single Garden Design layer.
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If I knew the site, I may not make the change at all, or make the change bolder.
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A 1910 farmhouse with a loving family, this home exudes happiness & grace.  Our ca. 1900 white home is symmetrical inside, central hall 9' wide/50' long with 3 rooms off each side, excepting the exterior is asymmetrical.  I really want to open their front door, architectural curiosity.
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So.  Have you concluded with your Garden Design session, below?  

Modern Farmhouse 4th of July
Pic, above, here.
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This home, above, has a website, here.  They are homeschooling their children.  A huge & brave choice.  
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On their website it mentions 'he' likes DIY projects, and there's proof he's quite good at it.  He could install my changes, easily.  This home is classic with centuries of architectural roots across Europe.
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Before I tell you my changes, what are your changes?
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Again, I don't know their site, but if it is indeed a farmhouse, aka having a bit of property, my change will suit.
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Move the foundation plantings, add steps around entire front porch.  Yes, across entire front and at both sides.  Poof, form/function.  The house just grew in architecture, classically, and use.
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Notice their bunting is reflected in the windows?  Marvelous.
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Tag line for their website, above, Jesus, Life, Beauty, Simplicity.  Adore a mission statement.  A dear friend is homeschooling her 2 precious children.  Their home is living the same tag line.  Soon, before going to her home, I'll have to ask for the cliff notes of what they're studying, just to be up to speed !
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Separate from homeschooling, I'm noticing a huge difference in client's young children that began about 2-3 years ago.  They are calm & normal, not needy, similar to eras many decades ago.  Finally put my finger on the 'change'.  Little to zero 'baby sitting' with cell phone/ipad.  Ya'll know I'm a woman with infertility and if I notice a change, it's a whopper.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T  

Monday, June 26, 2017

Color: Use as A Tool

Color, as a magical force, below.
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Fence, below, extends architecture of the house.
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Don't know any of their constraints, below.  Simply a charming garden.
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If the garden, below, is tiny, staining the fence a green/black, instantly enlarges the space.  Pop.  And, makes the fence disappear.
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Merely using color as a tool.
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If the house has shutters, below, often that is the color for the fence.

Clôtures, Maisons de campagne and Piquets de clôtures blanches on ...
Pic, above, here .
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Leave no layer of your Garden Design without thoughts/consequences.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ryan Gainey: Father's Day Thanks

Last year Ryan Gainey died.  International Garden Design star, many in Atlanta, GA had the good fortune to know him from the 80's before well-deserved fame arrived.
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Before fame Ryan was merely eccentric. Before fame he was already Atlanta's Garden Design star.  Our good fortune was Ryan taking us along for his ride of knowledge.  He merely increased his Garden Design mentoring as time passed.  Sharing his garden for all, at every opportunity.
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A recent article, below, packs an epiphany, for me,

A famous Decatur gardener died last year. What happened to his house and garden?

Reading the article, above, gave me a fuller picture of Ryan.  Ryan the man without children, Ryan a gay man, had been patriarchal towards all of us loving gardens, all the while we knew of his name.


Pic, above, here.

It's what Ryan did with his own garden, in his will, any father would do.  Love his child.  And what a child.  A child of beauty, strength, and great depths of historical knowledge, embracing all who enter, bestowing the pact Ryan had with Providence.
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This is too small but I'll go there anyway.  Thank you Ryan.  Happy Father's Day.


Ryan Gainey
Pic, above, here.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Friday, June 9, 2017

It's Your Peculiarities That Matter

Brunching a few years ago with Beloved and mom, at her club, glancing around I noticed something peculiar, inside the dining room, with its views overlooking the golf course, lake, and ubiquitous Texas mansions ringing the far side.  I asked Beloved to, "Look around, I'm the only one of my tribe here."  Poor man, he gave me that 'look', what-oddity-now?  He surveyed the room, looked at me, "You ARE the only one of your tribe."    I wasn't polished.  No botox, little make-up, natural hair, flowing linen dress, comfortable shoes, gardening fingernails & hands, real boobs, not fake, zero concern in showing their form or miles of cleavage.  In that room, that moment, I was peculiar.  I reeked of it.  It emanated in a cloud around me.  Peculiar.  Well done.


Basic Crone Attitude: "...I no longer put things in my stomach to please other people..." "By the time one reaches a certain age, one should be able, as Marianne Moore said, 'to have the courage of one's peculiarities'." in "Against Wind and Tide" - Anne Morrow Lindbergh:
Pic, above, here.
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Hope you've already discovered Anne Morrow Lindbergh, ca. 1982 wasband's grandmother, Miss Louise, slipped me a volume when we met in the garden.  We were living in her garage apartment.  A 3 car garage overlooking 50 acres of woodland built in the teens of the last century.  A newlywed, somehow she sensed I was sinking.  She died soon after, and to this day, amongst many life gifts, hers remains top of the list.
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A bit more about Miss Louise here.  But this isn't about her, it's about you, and your peculiarities.  And, why historic garden design rules are meant to be followed.  Following the rules, liberates your peculiarities.  Counterintuitive, but a truth.
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It's inherent within historic garden design rules, this gift, of showcasing your peculiarities.
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The more you go inward, the more you outwardly connect.

 Oscar de la Renta's Connecticut garden, a copy of the Florentine Boar sits center stage within a horseshoe-shaped double hedge of juniper.:
Pic, above, here.

In the simplicity of following historic garden design rules, the depths of your peculiarities are in the spotlight.

 Afbeeldingsresultaat voor tuin met grind en buxus:
Pic, above, here.
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Trust it.
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You know where to trust it from.  Your gut not your head.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Goldilocks Method for Your Porch

Goldilocks memos.  Just when I think I've grown beyond new ones arriving.  Pow !  Some old ones, below.
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First spring in Georgia, 35 years ago, I remember well cleaning the yellow pollen off the porch.  More than a little effort involved.  The next morning, this Galveston Bay, Texas girl learned yellow pollen is a season, not a day.  Got the memo.
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A few years later, moved into my starter home, an arbor, much anticipated, was finally built over the back patio.  This was the era of 10" hanging baskets lush with flowers, $3.88.  Bought more than a few.  Thrilled, hammering nails into the arbor, and hanging all those colorful baskets.  Watering.  Didn't anticipate that inconvenience.  Got the memo.
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Had the good fortune. from my 20's, to tour a lot of gardens with pretty porches, and give Garden Club lectures at homes with gorgeous porches.  A quick study, learning to copy beautiful ideas aligning with my amount of time/money.  If the porch was gorgeous because their maid & landscape crew were keeping it clean, fertilized, seasonal flowers replanted, watered, trimmed, blown, cushions washed, that would not transfer to my lifestyle.  Got the memo.


SUCH A STUNNING PLACE TO SIT, READ A BOOK, OR SIMPLY RELAX & ENJOY THE GLORIOUS SURROUNDINGS!! :
Pic, above, here.
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Gorgeous, above, but not for me.  Too much work.  And then the wind blows and the candles fall to the ground shattering, or the neighbor's dog wags his tail into them.  The curtains mildew.  Perfect for another's life, and an example of being fierce with your Goldilocks choices.
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Pretty/classic, below, and maybe for me.  Cushions an issue.  I don't want to 'have to have' cushions.  Much easier without cushions, been there/done that.  And, keeping the wicker 'clean'.  Probably easy enough to keep the patio/furniture blown weekly, hosing it down 1x-2x/year.  Goldilocks interested, below.


Would prefer more of this feel in the back of our lake house.:
Pic, above, here.

Not much work for Goldilocks, below.  Maximum function, little caretaking.  Rockers have cushions, but they don't have-to-have-cushions.  Porch, below, a good ending point, or good starting point, depending upon your Goldilocks story.

Beautiful.... this is one of my happy places I go to when I close my eyes only it's in the middle of about 100 acres. :-):
Pic, above, here.
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Perhaps that's the best point about using the Goldilocks method, it's a lifehack moving you toward your own fabulous choices, working the best for you.  Not taking other's beautiful patio choices, without consideration for consequences.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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In an earlier version of Goldilocks it's an old woman, not a young girl, and she runs away at the end of the story, only to be caught, and impaled on the steeple of St. Paul's Cathedral for her trespass.
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Ironically, working with a client now, her daughter, not a real gardener, but adores cooking, wanting an herb garden.  Mom, said, "I'll give you an herb garden, and have it planted for you."  Daughter said, "No, that's too much work, I want it in pots on the patio."  Daughter choosing the greater maintenance choice, least sustainable, and productive.  Her mom & I, very much considering daughter's age.  Those headstrong, know so much, 20's.  We lived them too!  What did we decide?  Not wanting to discourage a possible new gardener, daughter is getting her herb garden in large pots.  .  It's how we learned, making the wrong choices, while surely knowing they were the right choices.  Gardening is wildly counterintuitive.
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Truly, it is all my wrong garden choices making me an 'expert', not the college degree in horticulture.  More than wrong choices, bold & sure while making them.  Late last year, took my tribe to Susanne Hudson's garden, none had seen it or met her before.  Before leaving, we sat on the front porch, and then the garden stories began.  Laughter, unbelievable laughter.  We were sharing the 'smart' things we had done in our gardens leading up to finally having the garden's of our dreams.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Outdoor Dining Table

Storms blew yesterday evening.  Six miles north/east 1" hail pounded.  Clouds circled tightly in a counter-clockwise direction.  Temps fell quickly,  Winds dropped branches from the ca. 1900 pecan trees,  Of course, dinner on the front porch.  
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Sited at its deepest point, the front porch table never gets wet, storms included.  Drama swirls, dinner progresses.  Just the 2 of us, vintage garden boy with 2 baskets, delectably white washed ca. 1941, remained as center piece.  With guests I make more of an effort.  The table holds 8 dear friends in a rectangle of love, 6 with people we don't know as well.  One length of the table seated with a church pew, older than our house.
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The ca. 1900 house remains its original white, much of the porch furniture is white, knowing vintage garden boy was remaining old white ironstone dinner plates were used.  All was good, until remembering recently seeing a table setting, below, by Carolyne Roehm.  Note to self, copy Carolyne.  
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Perfect table quickie, below, a fern.  Kimberley Queen, my choice.  She's not messy, doesn't drop bits/pieces of her fronds easily, and, she takes full baking sun or shade.
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A pair of vintage flower stands are already on the front porch, awaiting their Bunny Mellon green topiaries, and now, a few Kimberely Queens.  Further, Carolyne's centerpiece, below, said to keep a variety of 'urns' for the ferns/topiaries to quickly bring to table, in the antique chest just outside the front door.  Finally, things coming together after living in our home 2 years next month.

By Carolyne Roehm.....I always wondered if it was tacky to put a potted plant on the table, but if Carolyne says do it: then it must be ok.:
Pic, above, here.
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Have several white antique ironstone soup tureens, above.  None more than a few dollars, all with a crack or chip or missing handle of some sort.  With a Kimberely Queen fern, or forcing bulbs, who cares?
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Friday, May 26, 2017

Front Door: Color & Font

Rarely do I design commercial projects.  When I do commercial, it's most often for the owner of the business who has already hired me for their home, deciding later to strong arm me for their business.  Most of the commercial work has been small businesses, though I've done one the size of a college campus in a small town.  Never have I felt out of my element, curious that I don't seek commercial too.   Oddly, when first asked to do commercial I always say, No.  This type of 'No' is pure catnip to all who've made the request.  A rabbit hole for another day.
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Yesterday Pinterest got into my veins with several pics of commercial front doors.  Pinterest is my go-to quick time filler.  What's the harm of beauty, inspiration and a little sideways learning?
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Banner Pinterest day, yesterday, learned with a commercial storefront, a small business, all you need is Color & Font.  They draw the eye, then through the window/s, a focal point.  If you've read my blog any time at all, you know 'trinities' are magnetic sparkly pixie dust to me.
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Here's the golden nugget I can't translate.  Yet.
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If a small business only needs Color & Font to draw the eye, with delight, what is the equivalent pairing, for a residential front door?  And what is the residential focal point prong, creating a trinity, with the pairing of Color & Font.  At present I think the answer is fluid within a fixed realm.  Dynamic in a static setting.  Further, once deduced, I know there will be several templates within the residential front door design.
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Pure delight, a shiny new discovery to be made.
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About age 6, I remember vividly finding the old 'toy' clock Santa brought me 'years' earlier, in the back of my closet.  Surely, time to throw it away.  Before throwing it away, I HAD to know how the inner mechanism worked, to move the hands.  Went to the kitchen, got a steak knife, went back to my room, hacked into the back of the clock, and saw all its plastic moving parts, and figured out how it worked.  Which was a lot better than merely learning to tell time.  Fate wasn't kind, mom passed by my room, clock & steak knife in hand.  "What have you done?"    Yep, got in trouble.  Can you believe it?  I couldn't either, all I was doing was learning.
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Adore the phase of reaching toward discovery.  As much as discovery.  This time, you're in the mix.  Tell me, How does the pairing of Color & Font translate to you, for your residential front door?

coiffeur:
Pic, above, here.

 one cannot go to Laduree too often, n'est pas?:
Pic, above, here.

 .13 Rue d"Elzevir Paris 3eme:
Pic, above, here.

 Bayeux is a commune in the Calvados department in Normandy in northwestern France. Bayeux is the home of the Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England.:
Pic, above, here.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Yesterday also had another major quirk.  Two appointments attended required standing & saying the Pledge of Allegiance.  Voices & words rang strong & sure in both rooms.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Reactive vs. Proactive Gardening

In the macro, gardening is reactive.  Perhaps the genesis, in USA, is the bit of landscaping installed at new homes.  A lawn, and bushes, with a tree.  Lots of lawn to cut, bushes chosen typically grow 2 stories tall yet are sited at the home's foundation, serious pruning needed yearly once grown, and hopefully the tree wasn't sited where it will crack the drive or walkway.
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Reactive landscapes.
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Studying historic landscape across Europe for decades it only took the 1st tour to understand how deeply reactive USA landscaping is.  Gardens in Europe are proactive in the layers, described above, and often in layers unconsidered, in the macro, in USA.  More than proactive about plant choices, they're proactive almost as a civic duty to the community, their immediate neighbors, and in stewardship to whoever may live in their home next, also themselves.
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Personally, vegetable gardens nailed me as a reactive gardener in my 20's.  Still makes me smile at the thought of those-days.  What was I thinking?
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A few proactive choices for your potager & orchard.  No orchard?  No worries.  A single fruit tree, to my way of thinking, is an orchard.


Dome Roof Decorative Steel Fruit Cage
Pic, above, here.

Best to begin with the expensive proactive choices, above/below.  Once seen, but not afforded, it's a joy discovering how other gardeners take inspiration, often surpassing expensive choices in aesthetics & function.

 Each Ogee Arch Fruit Cage is supplied complete with 16mm mesh heavy duty side netting, shaped 19mm knotted mesh roof netting, a door kit and all the pegs, clipsd and ties required for assembly.:
Pic, above, here.


 Fruit cage - Protects against some kinds of pests that might steal the fruit.:
Pic, above, here.

20140609_192816:
Pic, above, here.

 My customer was tired of feeding her blueberries to the birds. If the birds achieve access to the blueberries now, they are either very smart or very large! Everything is bolted & screwed...:
Pic, above, here.

DIY Trellis ideas using willow and bamboo.:
Pic, above, here.



 chicken wire "greenhouse" to keep out birds, deer and rabbits Projects X 2: The Berry Barn:
Pic, above, here.



 chicken wire cloches - maybe then I could grow peas and beans without the rabbits eating them down to nubs!:
Pic, above, here.

 How to Build Raised Bed Covers:
Pic,above, here.


 cloche:
Pic, above, here.

 12 Great DIY Greenhouse Projects • Lots of Ideas and Tutorials! Including these creative mini greenhouses made from 2-liter soda bottles.:
Pic, above, here.
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Before the accoutrements, above, get your garden soil properly amended.  Earlier this month, went to a client's on a Tuesday, and they could not wait for one of our team to get to their small potager that Saturday.  I had taken pics and made a list for our man.  Priority soil.  Theirs was chunky red clay, and needs tilling with granite grit, or river sand.  Saw that potager yesterday.  Planted with vegetables and herbs, chunky red clay threaded with potting soil churned by her local garden center.  No good.  I'll be proactive before fall vegetables are planted, making sure their soil is amended properly.

Garden & Be Well,   XO T