Showing posts with label Front Door. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Front Door. Show all posts

Monday, October 23, 2017

Edward Slingerland: Wu-Wei in the Garden

Most requested by clients/students?  "I don't want to spend a lot of money, it must have little maintenance."  This is what I know for sure.  Replying in detailed response to that pair of demands, via Gardenese language, no one accepts, no one.  From those who have asked, of course.
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"Wonder, and its expression in poetry and the arts, are among the most important things which seem to distinguish men from other animals, and intelligent and sensitive people from morons."  Alan Watts, The Way of Zen.
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"Things become complicated only when we think about them."  Alan Watts.


Shanks House in Cucklington - Somerset, England
Pic, above, here.
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"Trying to force a lock bends the key.  For which reason a truly intelligent man never forces an issue."  Alan Watts.  (I must try harder to prevent bent-key-thinking.  Better, when bent-key-thinking intrudes into my life, from another, "I'm not listening to your bent-key-thinking.")
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"To have faith is to trust yourself to the water.  When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown.  Instead you relax and float."  Alan Watts.
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Wielding this style Garden Design, above, rich, humorous, humbling.  Further along the Garden Design archetype than whence begun.  Few immune to the Garden Design archetypes path.  Nothing new, existed well before cuneiform records.
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Humorous?  Simplicity, above, gives you, you.  Richest construct in your life, you.
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"We have allowed brain thinking to develop and dominate our lives.  As a consequence, we are at war within ourselves.  The brain desiring things which the body does not want, and the body desiring things which the brain does not allow; the brain giving directions which the body will not follow, and the body giving impulses which the brain cannot "  Alan Watts.
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Funny?  In my garden, there is no 'me'.  In my garden, my body hears what my brain cannot.  In my garden, I am gone, with the body remaining present.  Follow your bliss, find where you experience eternity here, Joseph Campbell truths.  In my garden there is no me, no time, no hunger, no tiredness, no awareness of bruising/bleeding, no sense of want, no fear, expansive joy.  Deeper, at the conclusion of being in my garden, answers arrived to questions known, and unknown, ahead of being in my garden.  Epiphanies from spirit, without fear.
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Seek presence over productivity.  Gaining maximum productivity, though not sought.  .
"All to easily, we confuse the world as we symbolize it with the world as it is."  Alan Watts. 
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Before I had a language describing being in my garden I labeled it, "The best selfishness ever."  After a few years realized it is grace.  How could it not be grace?  Epiphanies too many, too potent, life changing.  Bounty of resources, from garden epiphanies, beyond measure.  Into the realm of E.M.Forster describing a multi-millionaire woman, one of his characters, as having no 'resources'.  Interesting.  Letting go, giving up control, is a resource. 
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"The brainy modern loves not matter but measures, no solids but surfaces."  Alan Watts. 
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There are places to "Transcend our futile strategies for controlling life and surrender to its living essence."  In the garden, merely one. 
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"We have been taught to believe that the best way to achieve our goals is to reason about them carefully and strive consciously to reach them. Unfortunately, in many areas of life this is terrible advice. Many desirable states — happiness, attractiveness, spontaneity — are best pursued indirectly, and conscious thought and effortful striving can actually interfere with their attainment."  Edward Slingerland
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Your act of choice, is my Garden Design writing.  Write an article about how to dig a hole?  No longer do I confuse the map for the territory, noise for signal.  Though I'm wicked good about digging a hole with a shovel or auger attached to a Caterpillar.  Pure noise, how to dig a hole if you're wanting a good garden, you in your Garden is signal territory.
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For the early Chinese thinkers … the culmination of knowledge is understood, not in terms of grasping a set of abstract principles, but rather as entering a state of wu-wei. The goal is to acquire the ability to move through the physical and social world in a manner that is completely spontaneous and yet fully in harmony with the proper order of the natural and human worlds (the Dao or “Way”). Because of this focus on knowing how rather than knowing this or that, the Chinese tradition has spent a great deal of energy over the past two thousand years exploring the interior, psychological feel of wu-wei, worrying about the paradox at the heart of it, and developing a variety of behavioral techniques to get around it. The ideal person in early China is more like a well-trained athlete or cultivated artist than a dispassionate cost-benefit analyzer."  Edward Slinglerland     
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"Our excessive focus in the modern world on the power of conscious thought and the benefits of willpower and self-control causes us to overlook the pervasive importance of what might be called “body thinking”: tacit, fast, and semiautomatic behavior that flows from the unconscious with little or no conscious interference. The result is that we too often devote ourselves to pushing harder or moving faster in areas of our life where effort and striving are, in fact, profoundly counterproductive."  Edward Slingerland. 
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Clients with gardens getting-there the fastest?  All women, ages 40+, and a gay couple who travel the globe for their work, and are 30+/50+. 
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"Some of the most elusive objects of our incessant pursuits are happiness and spontaneity, both of which are strikingly resistant to conscious pursuit."  Maria Popova
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Wu-wei literally translates as “no trying” or “no doing,” but it’s not at all about dull inaction. In fact, it refers to the dynamic, effortless, and unselfconscious state of mind of a person who is optimally active and effective. People in wu-wei feel as if they are doing nothing, while at the same time they might be creating a brilliant work of art, smoothly negotiating a complex social situation, or even bringing the entire world into harmonious order. For a person in wu-wei, proper and effective conduct follows as automatically as the body gives in to the seductive rhythm of a song. This state of harmony is both complex and holistic, involving as it does the integration of the body, the emotions, and the mind. If we have to translate it, wu-wei is probably best rendered as something like “effortless action” or “spontaneous action.” Being in wu-wei is relaxing and enjoyable, but in a deeply rewarding way that distinguishes it from cruder or more mundane pleasures."  Edward Slingerland.
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"We’re drawn to people with wu-wei, Slingerland argues, because we inherently trust the automatic, unconscious mind due to a simple fact from the psychology of trust — because spontaneity is hard to fake, we intuit that spontaneous people are authentic and thus trustworthy. But Western thought has suffered from centuries of oppressive dualism, treating intuition and the intellect as separate and often conflicting faculties — a toxic myth that limits us as a culture and as individuals. Fortunately, Slingerland points out, recent decades have brought a more embodied view of cognition acknowledging the inextricable link between thought and feeling and debunking, as Ray Bradbury so eloquently did, the false divide between emotion and rationality. (We’ve seen, too, that metaphorical thinking is central to our cognitive development, and metaphor is itself rooted in emotion.) The Chinese tradition, on the other hand, has a millennia-long history of cultivating a more integrated model of the human experience...Maria Popova .
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If you haven't discovered Maria Popova yet, you're going to be glad you have now.
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Letting go, and finding eternity, in the garden, has made my life.  Those in my tribe, share this joy.  This is your garden.  Not me writing about when to deadhead your peonies. 
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Within each Garden Design, from a historic template, wu-wei/grace/abiding, is the bonus.  Guaranteed. 
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Friday, October 13, 2017

Landscape Choices

Choices from the heart, below.  Why so rare?

tumblr_oecx21isqj1s7lffto1_500
Pic, above, here.
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"Honesty has a power that very few people can handle."  Anon.
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 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

Don't Wish Me Happiness. I Don't Expect to be Happy All The Time... It's Gotten Beyond That Somehow. Wish Me Courage and Strength and a Good Sense of Humor. I Will Need Them All

Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Truth--I always feel like I need to apologize or make up some fiction to cover the fact that I'm not actually doing anything they might consider "important", but which is actually crucially important for my sanity.

#INTJ #Capricorn #Female                                                                                                                                                                                 More
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Make the choices for the garden in your heart.  Manifest.  Live.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Color: Counterintuitive Paint Trim

Happy charmer, below.  Makes me want to go inside. 
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See a change, an easy change too, making the roof higher and house taller?
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Once I tell you the change, you won't believe me.
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But, true nonetheless.
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Know?

Front door paint colour in green. Curb appeal with blue siding #colorhunters #curbappeal
Pic, above, here.
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Paint the trim at roof line, a tone darker than the siding or a darker tone from the roofing material.  Seems counterintuitive.
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White jumps forward, and pulls down, at roof line.  Darker tones heighten a home by a 1', or more.  Promise.
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Can't finish without mentioning the 'Welcome' sign.  Banal.  Dinky is Stinky.
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Especially here.  The front door is screaming 'Welcome !' with incredible class & elegance.  Why diminish that impact?
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Be wary putting words into your garden.  Can be done well, but with care.
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Favorite sign in a garden?  Tea Room & Toilets .
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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More rabbit holes in this photo.  Those delicious lights, too perfect.  But, that is gardening.  Layers of delight here.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Front Door

Arriving to the open front door, below, I knew we had chosen well.  The screen door view, marvelous.   

Image may contain: indoor

With the screen door open, below. 

Image may contain: people standing

Ca. 1880 home on the shore of Bar Harbor, Maine. 
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With good weather the front door and French doors were left open all day.  Bedroom windows were open too, upstairs/downstairs.  Air off the Atlantic ocean a few yards away, a drug swirling throughout the house.
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This space, at your front door, a work horse.  Thru the years I've had a few clients with the perfect foyer, excepting natural light.  Into my Garden Design goes their glass door, matching the existing front door, with glass panels, below.  We source the door, and our carpenter puts in the glass.
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Content in a Cottage
Pic, above, here.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Staying at Shore Path Cottage, top pics, discovered, leaving, it is next door to the home Beatrix Farrand lived in.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Garden Narrative: 20's vs 50's

Layers of narrative, below.  At the front end of learning Garden Design professionally, mid-20's,  this type of garden, below, equaled the type of home it fronted.    At that front end, this garden was also too simple, too rigid, too formal, too boring, too lacking.  Oh my what 3 decades have wrought.

French. Gravel courtyard. Symmetry. Exterior.
Pic, above, here.
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Now I see the narrative of this garden as pure joy, wisdom and a proscenium for your life.  Infinite scope for the imagination.  Importantly, easy to maintain.  No drama, your life, fully, enough. 
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More, a Garden Design for any era, any architecture.   
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"The best of life is life lived quietly where nothing happens but our calm journey thru' the day, where change is imperceptible and the precious life is everything.
-John McGahern".
Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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We are back from 10 days in Maine with a bit of Boston.  Portland, Freeport, Kennebunkport, Bar Harbor and more.
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One particular morning, staying at a B&B, still a private home built ca. 1880, on the shore in Bar Harbor, I arose early in excitement, knowing the coffee was awaiting, and exactly where I was going to sit and fully live.  The owner was awake and about, and as I carried my coffee to the porch, an older gentleman, already sitting and fully living, with a great deep voice said, "Good morning."  I replied in kind.  We two continued our full living in the greatest of silence, that symphony of Nature and ocean.
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An hour passed, the owner came outside to ask if we were ok.  The gentleman replied, "We are sharing a deep companionable silence."  She left.  We continued that deep companionable silence.  A few minutes later Beloved arrived, soon breakfast would be served and the day had begun its new threads.  "Take joy", Tasha Tudor signed off with.  Yes, indeed.
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   Image may contain: sky, tree, ocean, outdoor, nature and water
Early morning view, Bar Harbor, Shore Path Cottage.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Relandscape vs. Delandscape

Ok, I get the house statement, below.  Well done.
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Landscape?  As my dear friend Susanne Hudson will say, dinky-is-stinky.
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Two approaches, below.  First approach, quite common, decades of experience with this 'issue'.  Build a fine home, there goes the landscape budget.  This home, below, can handle a lower landscape budget.  I would go much lower with this landscape budget.
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How?

mid-century modern house renovation by Cuppett Architects - exterior
Pic, above, here.
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Remove every foundation shrub, above, tuck lawn all-the-way to the house.  Done.
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If I had the chance to live in this home, very nice, lawn to the house, and a dense evergreen hedge at the curb.  More, slant the hedge higher at the right to lower at the left, copying the roof pitch in reverse.
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At present I 'see', "No budget for landscape."
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Merely removing the foundation plantings says, "Architectural choice, bold.  Nothing dinky-is-stinky here."
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This home a good example, removing-ugly frees the house to breath and show its beauty.  TV garden shows are always about adding landscape to make the house better.  It's not uncommon, with older homes especially, removing landscape makes the house better.  Perhaps this should be a named genre, Delandscaping.
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Take it away.
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Hope Delandscaping is a new arrow for your quiver.  Another way to 'see' landscape.
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Garden & Be Well,    XOT
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Lovely tree pruning, above.  
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It's not often I take out an entire foundation planting, perhaps 5-6 times in 3 decades.  Yet, 100% of those 'husbands' said, "I would have ripped it out first day we moved in if I knew my house looked this good."  And they all had waited years.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Plantswoman Into Garden Designer

After acquiring an  American degree in horticulture, educated to be a guy in a truck mowing grass, blowing clippings, siting plants in outcurves/incurves to grow oversized for extra monetizing pruning, needful of fertilizer, chemicals to kill Nature, and a real nice irrigation system, let's not forget the yearly replenishment of mulch, and twice yearly exchange of colorful annuals, all bundled into a tidy yearly contract, $$$.  Hey, who needs more?  Me.
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Late 20's when I began decades of European travel, studying historic gardens, I didn't have words to describe what I was seeking, only words describing what I didn't want about gardens, a few above.  In lieu of words, I was listening to my heart.  Traipsing off, sure of discovery, unaware a pupil of E.M.Forster for sure.
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Blessedly, the first study tour, England & mostly Scotland, I got the memo.  More, the memo arrived, narrated by General Patton, aka George C. Scott.

French houses, French charm and Roses. The stonework has rustic wonder!
Pic, above, here.
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When I hosted my own garden show on CBS-TV their mantra was, don't-tell-me-SHOW-me.
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Exactly how I learned across Europe.  Their historic gardens full of show, and loaded with delightfully intuitive conversation, 'tell', from all the gardeners & owners the sites had the privilege of working with across centuries.
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Quite the example, SHOW, above.  About lost all my knee strength seeing this, decades ago.  Understanding ALL.  Immediately, understanding all.  Where that comes from, intuitive understanding, aka epiphany or koan, I metaphor to my Muse.  Like it was said toward the end of Dr. Zhivago, 'A gift'.
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In hindsight I went to Europe a horticulturist/plantswoman, returned a Garden Designer.  If I was told this would happen, zero chance I would have believed it.  None.
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What did I hear General Patton say from all those years ago?  "Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!"  Quite the proper image popping into mind.  Bombs exploding, Patton winning, he spoke like a warrior, the type I knew.  Age 10, seeing the film when it came out at the theater with my family.  Dad the NASA engineer made it obvious Patton had nothing on him with language or results.  Though, sister/me were deeply impressed at the dinner table one evening, while Chris Craft was director at JSC, dad said, "Chris Craft has the foulest mouth of any man I've met."  We silently made knowing eye contact, "We must hear this Chris Craft."   Ha, never did.  But the awe remains.  Amusing, now, when Beloved says, "You can dog cuss."  A skill I don't use often, perhaps when the little toe on the right foot is broken standing on the bow of a boat trying to hitch the hook from the hoist inside the boathouse.
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Patton's bombs exploding, from the clip, are pure Joseph Campbell, Power of Myth, slaying the dragon, every scale of its hide a metaphor of "Thou Shalt."
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Why tell these stories, above?  These stories are the people hiring me, for decades.  People who've intuited their rabbit hole, gone in a little, maybe a great distance, yet for the Thou Shalt's of their lives, not the full distance.  Job, children, health, many Thou Shalt's, yet intuiting all, without words, just able to still hear a bit of their distant heart.  My life, needing to work for filthy lucre yet a heart unable to stay in the dire depths of Thou Shalt, instead, creating my own job, and taking it.  Collateral with infertility, a great wealth of time granted, honoring that gift, jumping into the rabbit hole, seeking & finding what the heart spoke without words.
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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JOSEPH CAMPBELL (words of Chief Seattle, 1852): “The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky, the land? The idea is strange to us. Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, all are holy in the memory and experience of my people. We’re part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. Each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father; the rivers are our brothers. They carry our canoes and feed our children.
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If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh. This we know: the earth does not belong to man. Man belongs to the earth. All things are connected, like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
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“Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? What will happen when the secret comers of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills is blotted by talking wires? The end of living and the beginning of survival. When the last red man has vanished with his wilderness and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forests still be here? Will there be any spirit of my people left? We love this earth as the newborn loves its mother’s heartbeat. So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it; care for it as we’ve cared for it, hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. 
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Preserve the land for all children and love it, as God loves us all. One thing we know, there is only one God; no man be he red man or white man can be apart. We are brothers, after all.” 
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Bold letters mine.  The 'dire' I had to run from, choosing to live, not merely survive.  Beware of choosing to live, it rocks the boat for others in your life.  Bigly.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Color: Minimal Use Maximum Impact

Small gesture, grand statement, below.

Scottish sojourn - Ben Pentreath Inspiration
Pic, above, here.
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Gardens, above, templated since BCE.  Long before.  Tapping into the templates quite a simple recipe.  Exposed for years, here.  Nothing difficult, merely a choice to see.
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Love yourself...it intimidates people...
Pic, above, here.

A thread amongst those who have figured out how to have a garden, above.
 ♡Pinterest♡ @lalalalizax
Pic, above, here.

A competitive tennis player from ages 11-17, won tournaments & titles, never played again.  Why?  Found a bigger game.  Gardening has no opponent, instead a partner, Nature.  Decades gardening, still learning, huge gulps.  Humbling.  At most my gardening is smiled upon, Nature allows it within her domain, for a time.  Nature, in honesty, CEO not partner.  I cleave to that fact, in all my gardening.  Had thought of this as a 'good selfishness' for decades, until realizing, it is grace.

 Mother nature.....
Pic, above, here.
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Doesn't matter, above, if photo shopped.  Its sentiment true.  Serendipities a Garden gifts arrive upon the wind, without ceasing.
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If you've read this far you are aware this is about gardens, not landscape-mow-blow-go-commodify-all-touched with monthly contract.
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My clients are of 2 stripes.  Already whole & thriving or recently spit out by life into their new chapter/book of living whole.  I know you're smiling.  Becoming whole is the story of the Velveteen Rabbit.  A lot of roughing up, it takes, becoming real, living whole.
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Two spots of red, top pic, for those who see the whole picture.
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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

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.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Garden Design: Double Axis

"The Complete Book of Garden Magic", by Roy Biles is quite dear to my heart.  Discovered before internet cell phones it was a book I would hunt/gather from used book stores wherever I traveled.  Gifting them to the 'right' new owners.  Take the link, above, it can be at your front door in a few days.  Font, line drawings, earnestness, pacing, a man's soul, love it all.
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No other word for it Roy, Magic.
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Double axis, below, in 2 pics.
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Walking along the path, below.

By pastures green - Ben Pentreath Inspiration:

Walking along the same path, below, in the opposite direction.

By pastures green - Ben Pentreath Inspiration:

Same path, 2 different gardens, double axis.  Magic.
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How else to explain walking a path, yet it becomes a new path, merely walking it in the opposite direction?
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Came upon this double axis path, above, last week.  Think it thrilled me?
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How many of you notice these things?  More, how many of you does it excite?
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT
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Pics, above, from Ben Pentreath's blog.
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Double Axis, another of my garden design 'inventions'.  Name it to claim it.  Once I had the garden path epiphany, it had to have a name.  Have not heard/read about this particular Garden Design technique in a class, symposium, book.  Why?
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A lot going on in the Garden Design, above.  My life doesn't lend itself to so much 'tending' nor do I want so much down time as the garden, above.  Deer are also an issue in my garden.  Would definitely keep the gravel and hedging, perennials would be swapped for flowering shrubs.  Done.  Maybe 2-5 easy perennials kept.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Front Door: Well Placed Pots

Well placed pots, below.  Aaaah, the front door, and landing, have space to breath.
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And a well fought battle, for simplicity.
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There's more, below.  Did you see it immediately too?  Ok, huge hint.  Goes under the heading of Cultural Anthropology.
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No?  Another hint?  Subhead, under Cultural Anthropology, Socioeconomics.  Got it now?
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Garden Design, below, blares its socioeconomics & cultural anthropology of this fine tuned realm within Garden Design layers.
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What does this Garden Design and maintenance tell you about the socioeconomics & cultural anthropology for this tribe of people, living in the home, below?


magnoliamerryweather: twentythreefour:
Pic, above, here.
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Beautiful display, above, of the socioeconomics & cultural anthropology of hedge pruning.  Here, above, the 'hedge' is Vertical Lawn, and a vine.  Am using 'hedge' flagrantly.
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Men, with ladders required, above.  Perhaps there's more to this home, higher hedge covered walls at the back elevation, and a cherry picker is required for pruning.
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In most gardens the socioeconomics & cultural anthropology of Garden Design pruning is pruning at chest height.  No ladder, no hired labor, do-it-yourself.
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Yes, an exquisite delight seeing the pruning, above.  For its rarity.
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Garden & Be Well,    XOT
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A friend moved from suburbia Atlanta to rural Georgia 2 decades ago, into an antebellum home.  At the time, thought she was crazy.  She said something memorable about the antebellum home purchase, "It comes with a cherry picker."  Recently, they've sold that home, cherry picker included !

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Front Door: Choosing Color

Thirty years I lived in this architecture, below.  Looming driveway/garage, wall with large windows, finally, a teeny tiny sliver, and voila, the front door.
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Garden Design's focus, at the front of the home, is the front door.  More than knowing you by your front door, I should know you from the curb.
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Fun opportunities ahead for this home, below.
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A few changes to make in the coming years, below.
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Move the flag holder from the column to a corner of the house.  No need to crowd the front door more, and zero design sense having 2 focal points side/side.  Garden Design rule, one focal point per area.
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Add stone, left/right of the sidewalk at the front door.  Take out the shrub, below, to the right of the front door, place stone, and to the left of the front door, remove the shrub, add stone.  Finally, breathing space.  And the front door 'stoop' opens to the left, and to the front.  Place a classic iron urn on plinth on the stone, to the right of the front door, at the brick wall.  Plant it seasonally, never more put a wreath on the front door.  Nor, have a cluster of pots at the base of the column.  They're crowding the space, shortening the column, and hiding a portion of the zone's best feature, a proper round column.
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Shutters, at right, below, need to be replaced with properly scaled shutters, with an arc at top.  Yes, very nice.
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Let's spend more money.  In addition to the stone already added, stone the front walk, and the front porch step.  Replace the light fixture.  Theirs is nice and more than acceptable.  Light fixtures are jewelry for the house, go for it.  More money?  Replace shutters at left with custom shutters too.
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Brick exterior with black shutters, greige trim and Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue front door. Kylie M Interiors E-design, Edecor and online color consulting

These pics are from a color consultation by Kylie M. Interiors.  I've done exterior color choices for 30 years with my Garden Designs.  Along with patio/deck furnishings, views into windows with window treatments/furniture arrangement, lighting, urns, all in an effort to get clients OUTSIDE.  Never as an extra profit center, what a quaint world my career began in.
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Black front doors are hard to get right, when they are, wow, shazaaaam.  Mostly, black front doors look like a void, as if the door is open, not there.
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In addition to choosing a front door color to coordinate with house siding, roof, trim it must also, for me, pop from the interior art & textiles.
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Blue, below, is excellent.  However, I would need to go inside this home, see their art, and other color choices, before a final 'blue' choice.
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Choosing color this way is too fun, "Oh I love that color."  Well, I know, you've chosen it in your art.  A zone that makes you HAPPY.

Brick exterior with black shutters, greige trim, Wythe Blue painted front door. Kylie M Interiors Edesign and E-decor color consulting online
Pic, above, here.
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Garden Design choices for, above, I see 'instantly'.  Having a brain 'fixing everything' is tiresome while driving thru neighborhoods.  How many times has Beloved heard, "Gosh I want this whole neighborhood." ?
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A past client posted a pic on Facebook yesterday, she's bought a new home out of state.  Many comments congratulating her.  Me?  It's obvious my comment to her, "You need me !!!!!"
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Garden & Be Well, XO T
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Client needing me, above, a lot like me, no kids, doesn't cook.  I designed/maintained her townhome garden for several years, decades ago, every Friday.  Chose that day wickedly.  Her townhome was in the hi-rent zip code of Atlanta, and Fridays were the best estate sales.  And I drive a truck,  A nice match, still living with many of those pickings.  One Friday, she was cleaning out her fridge.  She had left a large tin of lasagna in her fridge so long it had eaten thru the tin.  More stories with her but they cannot be written in this forum.  So, what kind of forum?  A lunch with me in the Conservatory, just a few of us gals, wine, laughter, everyone's stories.  There is my gold, for writing.  Wish I had been taking notes all these decades.  There is a safety in women's sharing.  All share, none will tell or they'll be exposed too.  Yes.  Total safety.  You men should be worried what is shared.
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No worries, I know the reverse is true with men !

Monday, November 14, 2016

Front Door Garden Design

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

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

Thursday, October 6, 2016

When Front Door & Back Door are Aligned

This morning I'm expecting a couple of pics to arrive by text.  An out-of-state client sent pics of her interior & exterior via Dropbox.
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An axis of interior views wasn't directly shot, but it seems her front door is on axis with her back door.  Of course I called her, wanting to know if it's true.  'Mostly', she said.  Good enough for me !
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Cannot wait for those pics.  Drawing focal points on axis, at back door and front door, each to be seen from along that central axis, inside, of front door to back door.  From several windows too.

Roger Vivier, Toulouse France:
Pic, above, here.

I don't know what the 'power' is behind creating a double axis of focal points off a front door and a back door, but it's palpable.

tumblr_na42334fee1rvnhllo1_1280:
Pic, above, here.
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Her land is suitable at front door & back door for creating a double axis, more, beyond the front yard is a road, and beyond the back yard is a neighbor's home.  I get to make them disappear.  In beauty, no less.  Not hide them, but, they will be gone.
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When cellulose = protein                                                       …:
Pic, above, here.
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This is so fun.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Friday, September 30, 2016

Simple is the Most Complicated

Centuries of story, below, in this French home/garden, wars, plagues, art, architecture, transportation, taxes, riches, poverty, gain, desire, love, grief, loss.  What remains?  Formality with agrarian.  The former, easily located, can you outline the agrarian parameters, and label them, below?
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Two things, below, never mentioned in my measly USA horticulture degree.  If you're a Garden Whisperer, they don't whisper, below, they shout, in tears of joy or Wendell Berry poetry.
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First, below, is the magic of Tara Turf.  Meadow with a mix of what the wind blows, choices that are planted, herbs, bulbs, etc.  Mowed at 1-4 heights creating formality, paths, guilds.  Just meadow, it has no name.  It's literally biblical.  Earth as Provider.  Pastures & meadows, hallowed ground for pollinators, increasing crop yields by 80% with zero extra effort.  Tara Turf is unique to each site.  There should be myriad Tara Turf's for sale.  Tara Turf Gulf Coast, Tara Turf Mid-Tennessee, Tara Turf North Georgia you get the idea.
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Back to the agrarian parameters, below.  They are, expanse of meadow, feeding both pollinators & livestock.  Tallish meadow lapping the tightly controlled pruning of the topiaries?  Pure metaphor.  I adore this phase of maintaining a historic garden, rich in stories.  Tallish meadow lapping the topiaries cannot stay as a permanent feature, it would defoliate the base of the topiaries.
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Second, the Poverty Cycle.  The landscape below is not a conceit designed in, it's organically evolved.  A thread the worlds best historic gardens each has, eras of deep poverty, due to wars or disease.  Touring those gardens I learned to design using elements of the Poverty Cycle.  With zero Poverty Cycle, below, the garden would be entire shrub beds in various forms/shapes with intricate pruning, paths, bulbs, annuals, a morass of boredom, expensively maintained.


flore-de-brantes-french-chateau-ad-2016-habituallychic-001:
Pic, above, here.
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Before studying historic gardens across Europe, I thought the gardens, above, seen on TV or in books were a bore-bore-bore.  Amusing to look back at that 'me'.  Those days were the 80's and I certainly had every perennial and gee-gaw.  As Zorba the Greek so well said, The full catastrophe.
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Where are you on the pendulum of the garden, above?  What do you see?  Do you like it?  Does the house intrigue you more than the grounds?  What is the metaphor of this garden, above, to you?  Why is this agrarian landscape better than HOA rules/restrictions subdivision?  Oops, a little book club question section.
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Best part, and proof for this garden, above?  Looks good, above, and would look good at a 1959 3b/1b ranchburger.

Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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A few more from Zorba:

  • As I watched the seagulls, I thought: "That's the road to take; find the absolute rhythm and follow it with absolute trust."

  • Tell me what you do with the food you eat, and I'll tell you what you are. Some turn their food into fat and manure, some into work and good humor, and others, I'm told, intoGod.

  • Is it possible to talk by dancing? And yet I dare swear that's how the gods and devils must talk to one another.

  • How simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else. And all that is required to feelthat here and now is happiness is a simple, frugal heart.

  • You must sometimes rejoice that the dark forces of destruction are so numerous and invincible: for thus your aim to live almost without hope becomes more heroic and yoursoul acquires a more tragic greatness.

  • In religions which have lost their creative spark, the gods eventually become no more than poetic motifs or ornaments for decorating human solitude and walls.

  • Action, dear inactive master, action: there is no other salvation
    

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Front Door: Changing a Few Things

'There you go again', said during a much earlier debate.  Architecture, below, with a big fat garage, teensy front door, and a room at the end to finish the story.  I lived in one of these homes for 30 years, the entire neighborhood stuffed with them.  Built in the 80's a few newer neighborhoods outlawed the style in their deed restrictions.  Why?  Not street friendly, not conducive to neighbors knowing their neighbors, hulking garages with their landing strips dominate the entire neighborhood, front doors entered from their service court, not thru the 'garden'.  Very little, friendly.
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No worries, all easy fixes.  Remember, I had 30 years of this particular game.
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First, bravo the style, below, of front door.  Using a ubiquitous 6 panel door would lower the roof height. The long bottom panel, below, heightens the space, then the windows add a warm welcome with a bit more height, wonderful.  Have changed many front doors this way thru the years.
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Beyond this point there be dragons, early map makers wrote at the edges of their maps.
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First dragon I will completely ignore, it is so obvious, the huge conifer.  If you say it must be kept, ok.  Move it closer to the house, and keep it a bonsai espalier against the wall.  Learn how to do it properly, and it will be a pleasant few minutes each year.
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Next dragon, faux stone pavers are designed much too narrowly.  Total function, zero form.  Add more faux stone pavers.  Left of the front path, between drive/front walk, add stone pavers entirely where there is now mulch and those ornamental grass looking things, from house to front step.  Add more faux stone pavers to the right of the path, from the second front step, to the front door.  Why?  Creates a wider foyer, instead of this pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey front door & path.  In addition, instead of a narrow rigid walking path to the front door you've opened up a large landing.  Incredibly affordable too, most big box stores sell these faux stone pavers, and unskilled labor, aka you, can install them nicely.  Hint, if you are doing faux stone pavers yourself, always pull a string.  Always.
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Dragon- of- flat is next.  How to 3-D the walls at the front door?  Add a bell to the wall, preferably to the right of the door.  Either historic or artisan, and scaled properly.  Example, at bottom.
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Dragon downspout, another common issue.  But whoa, the white downspout at left corner.  This situation a bit of an exception.  Normally, paint downspouts copper color.  Here, the white house trim, tight space is all encompassing.  A lot going on with horizontal and vertical white trim, a mosh pit.  Boldly creating an exception, I would only paint the section of downspout, copper color, fronting the brick wall.  Why?  The rest of that downspout is blending with white eve and white vertical trim.  Will include the electrical socket with this dragon, at the left of the front door in the brick, paint it copper color too.
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Dragons on the wall to left of the front door, below.  I cannot see clearly what the 2 white rectangle squares are.  Paint them same color as shakes, they recede, instead of jump forward, look-at-me-look-at-me.
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Dragon, lighting.  Cannot see a light for the front door.  To keep the space feeling large, perhaps a simple recessed lite, in the eve, above the front door or a matching light on the wall, to the left of the front door, matching the light, below, to the right of the garage door.
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Dragon, dead brown mulch.  And it must be replenished yearly.  Plant an evergreen groundcover, done.  Warm & lush vs. dead & brown.
    

blue door | Highland Custom Homes:
Pic, above, here.
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Your turn.  What dragons, above, did you see, that I missed?  How would you change the dragons I did mention?  Please note, I've used affordable changes.  Of course I have changes for a different price point.  This home is lovely, I would truly like to see a stone path/steps.  And, I would add another bonsai espalier conifer, a dwarf conifer, to the left of the front path too.  A tighter espalier than the conifer at right of the path.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Image result for bell at the front door
Pic, above, here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Most Common Mistake at a Front Door

Garden rooms, you must create garden rooms.  That's the mantra, across centuries of Garden Design, but what does it mean, below, in the present era ?
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Most common fail I see at front doors?  Below.
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Best part of this 'fail' ?  Easily remedied.
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What to do, below, to create a garden room?
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Rules abound, below, this neighorhood reeks of Home-Owners-Association.  Must stay within the rules, no one likes that Nasty Gram in their mailbox.
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Reaching the front door, below at left, there is no here, here.  Create a garden room, voila, you are in their world, plenty of scope for the imagination and an elegant welcome/departure.
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Your turn, Garden Design the fix, below, creating a garden room for the front door at left.
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Giving you more time, notice the white downspout, below, house at right.  Really?  Paint the downspout copper color, voila, downspout no longer behaves as a 'column' almost disappears.  Paint the gutters copper color and the house grows taller, copper gutters reach up into the roof.  But this gutter/downspout exercise is merely to give you more time, figuring out how to create a garden room, below, at the front door to the house at left.  While your designing that garden room, lets take out a few bushes at the base of the arched window, below, and place a custom stone step.  Very nice.  It's never a good thing when I'm hearing Cole Porter, Don't Fence Me In, at a garden.
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Done?  Designed your garden room?

Classical Garden Design:
Pic, above, here.

Grow the existing short hedge, at the far right property line, to 7'.  If budget allows, take out the existing hedge, plant a 7' evergreen hedge.  Done.
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You've created a garden room, and private world at the front door, no visible axis into the neighbor's world.
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Must mention, I love this garden design, above, house at left.  Lean, green, serene.  Easy to maintain with unskilled labor.  Green all year, no down time.  Well done.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Inspiration for Front Door Color

Yes, your front door matters.  Whether you think so, or not.  Your front door can tell me who you are, or tell me you don't care, or more likely, I care but it's on the to-do list.
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Had to smile at this front door, below.  It's the most often color choice I make for front doors, and I don't mean the blue.  I search interiors for a recurring color in the house, important but not boastful.  Typically, it's found in several pieces of art on the walls.  Clients will say, "I didn't realize I had that color in all my art."  Of course the door color must work with exterior colors already chosen, it's rare not to have it work.
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When clients have a dark foyer, I like to put in the glass door, below.  Literally.  We buy a panel door, and have our carpenter replace the panels with glass.
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Ironically, a year in our ca. 1900 American farmhouse, I've not painted the front door, it remains the seller's blood red color.  Up front, total arrogance, I thought it must be painted quickly, MY color.  It's on the list.  Oddly, the arrogance has disappeared.  The blood red is working for me, until the time arrives and its list number has been reached.

In Good Taste:  Sullen Gregory Design:
Pic, above, here.

Look around your home, what color is 'popping' from the art?
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Does it scare you a bit, and excite you too, wanting to put it on the front door?  It's probably your color.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara