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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Long Island House & Garden

Habitually Chic, Heather Clawson, shares a garden every few weeks, sometimes longer, many new & wildly wonderful to me.  Recently, below, Heather hit it out of the ball park.  Again.
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Showing interiors first, it was obvious, this home, all pics here,  must have a garden.  Interior pics flowed, each with an incredible floral arrangement.  Anticipation mounted with myriad interiors, then an aside about finding a previous article about the house and it had garden photos, which she included.  Who is this woman?  Feels like she's working for me, bird dogging good gardens.
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The house/garden, is in Architectural Digest, here.

Habitually Chic® » Out East:

Wish the photo shoot had a video of staging, and arranging all the flowers, followed with a tour of the garden.  A garden designer, I'm fascinated with the skills of floral arrangers, these, below, seem 'not arranged'.  The highest accolade in my lexicon.

Habitually Chic® » Out East:


Habitually Chic® » Out East:

Habitually Chic® » Out East:


Habitually Chic® » Out East:


Habitually Chic® » Out East:

More pics of this home/garden, and charming article, here.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Heather Clawson's new book, Creativity at Work.

Monday, June 12, 2017

What's Their Next Layer?

This one makes me smile, below, it's so real, it's true.
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Go team, the enfilade, color, function, vanishing threshold, a house/porch/landscape on its way.
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What's your first thing to do as Garden Designer?
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Seems a pot of money has already been spent.  What is the next pot of money for?  A pool, fence, arbor, stone terrace, plantings, conservatory, potager, fire ring, irrigation?
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I love screened in porches (and porches in general). Ironically, I live in the Pacific Northwest where the need for a screened in porch is nil :(:
Pic, above, here.
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Wish there was an immediate pot of money for an evergreen planting, a tapestry hedge, blocking views of the neighbor.  A game changer for this wonderful space.  Aside from privacy, the space will grow 'larger'.  Counterintuitive, and true.
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This porch too wonderful to miss a moment of gown time.
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Here's hoping the pots of money fill fast for this landscape.
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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, June 7, 2017

Andy Warhol: Creating Atmosphere

Worthwhile or a fail.  For better, for worse.  Better than nothing.  Ok, accepted, it is what it is.
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Patio furniture is sold by patio furniture companies.  They arrange, style, stage, shoot, sell.  All good, and normal.
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How is it, patio furniture is purchased, and arranged in lockstep to the advertising?  Rooms To Go, exterior version.
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Buy me, we've done the thinking for you.  I buy a lot of things for that reason alone.
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Patio furniture much better than when I began my career in the 80's when every price point subdivision had the requisite white plastic table/chairs, Weber grill, and a mop on the patio.
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Comfort & function & aesthetics are sold in unison now, below, if you don't have the time to figure out your personal version.  Andy Warhol has a nice quote about atmosphere in NYC restaurants, and that's why people are happy to pay the prices, to get away from their lives, for a little while.   ("New York restaurants now have a new thing — they don’t sell their food, they sell their atmosphere. They say, “How dare you say we don’t have good food, when we never said we had good food. We have good atmosphere.” They caught on that what people really care about is changing their atmosphere for a couple of hours. That’s why they can get away with just selling their atmosphere with a minimum of actual food. Pretty soon when food prices go really up, they’ll be selling only atmosphere. If people are really all that hungry, they can bring food with them when they go out to dinner, but otherwise, instead of “going out to dinner” they’ll just be “going out to atmosphere.”)


 Now, buy atmosphere, plop it on your patio, voila, get away from your life, without leaving home.
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Want the look, below, but can't afford it?  Field gather, with a critical eye, chairs, tables, sofas, paint them all the same color.            


Garden at Restoration Hardware LA:
Pic, above, here.
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Am field gathering yard furnishings now for our ca. 1900 home.  Its atmosphere a delight to work with, quite controlling.
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Choose the aesthetic you want, keep a sure eye, have fun.  Buy classics, you won't have to buy again.  Once & done.
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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.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Southern Living Magazine: A Garden

For 20 years of my career, Southern Living magazine was 'the' resource for clients.  Most had pages dog-eared or torn out ready to show the garden of their dreams.  In return, equally, it was gratifying to reproduce those beautiful images.  Aside from reading Southern Living myself, for pleasure, I 'had' to read it because it was an expectation of clients.  
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Then came John Floyd's retirement in 2008, the editor for those glory years my clients adored.
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After John Floyd, Southern Living became a magazine for Southerners written through the prism of those outside the South.  Dropped my subscription after an article that can only be described as snarky & demeaning, lacking in inspiration, choosing the trite & hackneyed, without intellect or stewardship, time enriched became time wasted.  How could they.  Get John back.
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Oddly, another magazine had just been founded a year prior to John Floyd's retirement, Garden & Gun.  What a title.  It sputtered, as all businesses did during the debacle of 2008.  Time passed, about 5 years ago clients would start a sentence, "Did you see the latest Garden & Gun"?  Never was it about a garden, but someplace to eat, travel, or an article richly configured splaying open an epiphany, or two.  Three years ago, after buying a few copies on news stands, knew I had to get a subscription.  Zero disappointment.  However, the 'garden' part of Garden & Gun seems shallowly formulated, still in its infancy.  Don't care.  The rest of the magazine gives more than enough.
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Saw a garden picture, below, recently and love it.  Enough love, had to discover its source.  Well, go team, Southern Living magazine.  Hope this spark turns into a fire and I get 2-3 clients saying, "I saw this in Southern Living...."


Front Porch with Green Rocking Chairs

Just wow, above/below, simple, comfortable, easy to maintain, leveraging life, not sucking the life out of you trying to keep it up, and historically accurate.
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Monteagle, Tennessee Cottage

The story gets better with this garden, above.  The Southern Living article includes the interior.  This is a second home for the owners, and part of their joy in this home is sharing it with others, whether they are there, or not.
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Yeah, Southern Living magazine is back on the radar.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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Oh irony.  Garden & Gun hired a lot of staff from NYCity, relocating them to the South at its founding.

Monday, May 15, 2017

What Fuels Your Life?

"The problem with the world is that we draw our family circle too small."  Mother Teresa. 

At some point the layers of my gardening life, vocation & avocation, became my-life.  Collateral layers included.  For at least 2 decades I've known the joy of birthdays almost daily.  Akebia comes into bloom, its fragrance wafting?  My dear friend Akebia coming into bloom again, letting me know in the best dramatic performance ever, I've survived another year, happy birthday.  Oakleaf hydrangea blowing into full bloom as if snow has fallen in early summer, another birthday, Azalea 'George Tabor' opening his large pink gramophone horn shaped flowers, birthday greetings.  Trees dropping their leaves in fall, ahead of brutal winter, yet growing stronger from the humus of those leaves, what-they-let-go-of, a birthday epiphany each fall.  You get the idea.  Oddly, the date of my arrival on Earth?  Feels insignificant compared to all the other birthdays given.
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Books.  How many books have taught me more than 2 college degrees, and been kind/nurturing in the lessons? The learning & kindnesses alone, mark them as family.
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My dogs & cats.  Sure too many are already gone, but their loving memory still nurtures as family along with those still here.  Those in memory?  Sure, my grandma has been gone since early 1983, yet daily she's apart of my life.
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Nature, the one I work with, play with, even earn my living from.  Another member of my family.
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Finally, getting to my inner circle of friends.  Family.
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Unable to have children, tried-tried-tried, do I feel like I'm missing out on life, or even a full life?  No.  A well meaning 'friend' recently told me his children were his legacy.  My reaction was to feel sorry for him, yet he went on to say he felt sorry for me.  Seeing Mother Teresa's quote, gave me the spiritual science behind why I felt sorry for my friend.  His family circle is too small.
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Smiled seeing picture, below.  Nature wins, always.  Designing landscapes, I know who I am truly designing for, and where my 'work' will eventually be, with Nature.          
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“If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?”


― Karen Blixen
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Karen Blixen's quote, above, beautiful.  Yet for so long, a beautiful enigma.  Now, answer to her question, obvious.  Africa was Karen Blixen's family.  She went further, drawing an even larger circle, writing a book about her family, sharing with anyone willing to accept her gift.
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"Science in its beginnings was due to men who were in love with the world. They perceived the beauty of the stars and the sea, of the winds and the mountains. Because they loved them their thoughts dwelt upon them, and they wished to understand them more intimately than a mere outward contemplation made possible. “The world,” said Heraclitus, “is an ever living fire, with measures kindling and measures going out.” Heraclitus and the other Ionian philosophers, from whom came the first impulse to scientific knowledge, felt the strange beauty of the world almost like a madness in the blood. They were men of Titanic passionate intellect, and from the intensity of their intellectual passion the whole movement of the modern world has sprung. But step by step, as science has developed, the impulse of love which gave it birth has been increasingly thwarted, while the impulse of power, which was at first a mere camp-follower, has gradually usurped command in virtue of its unforeseen success. The lover of nature has been baffled, the tyrant over nature has been rewarded."  Bertrand Russell
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"In the conscious desires of the man who seeks power for its own sake there is something dusty: when he has it he wants only more power, and does not find rest in contemplation of what he has. The lover, the poet and the mystic find a fuller satisfaction than the seeker after power can ever know, since they can rest in the object of their love, whereas the seeker after power must be perpetually engaged in some fresh manipulation if he is not to suffer from a sense of emptiness. I think therefore that the satisfactions of the lover, using the word in its broadest sense, exceed the satisfactions of the tyrant, and deserve a higher place among the ends of life." Bertrand Russell
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Old forgotten house taken over by a tree! Micoley's picks for #AbandonedProperties www.Micoley.com:
Pic, above, here.
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Gardening, gardening historically, understanding the myriad birthdays my garden gives, led to an epiphany about time.  It's all I have.  Time.
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At a meeting Lois started, a 12-step meeting, I remember well these sharings, "Yesterday is as old as the pyramids.", "Keep your head where your butt is.", and "What I say and do reflects on me, what another says/does reflects on them."  Of course, "Do the next right thing." stays at the top of the list.
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Much goes thru the funnel, and we are merely left with time, and how we wish to fill it.  Time, a day at a time.  It's obvious where I go for joy, love, meaning, answers.
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"The supply of time is truly a daily miracle. You wake up in the morning and lo! your purse is magically filled with 24 hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is yours.


....You cannot draw on the future. Impossible to get into debt! You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste tomorrow, it is kept from you.
....You have to live on this 24 hours of time. Out of it you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect and the evolution of your immortal soul. Its right use…is a matter of the highest urgency.  
....We shall never have more time. We have, and have always had, all the time there is."  Arnold Bennett, 1867-1931, How To Live On 24 Hours A Day.
Seeing the pic, above, now you know a few of the reasons it makes me smile.  And some of the types of fuel used in my work/life.  Almost daily, acquiring new fuel, just as Mother Teresa's quote was in a note arriving this morning.  Fuel.  
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Gardening, personally/professionally, never intuited as a few plants here/there.    
Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Vanishing Threshold: Bunny Mellon

From the garden, below, a view of the terrace.  Exactly the photographic style of the 80's.  Each piece, every layer, in alignment to the Narrative.  This story a trinity between owner, beauty, happiness.
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Vanishing Threshold, inside/outside have no boundary.
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How do I know this?  Before her, below, and a tiny contingent of other 'hers', I was writing the same story at my home/garden.
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Seeing this pic, below, the 1st time, I knew who it belonged to.  Linking backwards, discovering I was not wrong, Bunny Mellon.  Originating in the pages of Architectural Digest, its caption, "Antigua Residence: A terrace features an Henri Rousseau landscape."
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A great laugh, the painting.  My 1st urge, wanting to call my client/friend/mentor Mary Kistner, we needed one of our trademark meandering lunches for me to divulge this rich tidbit.  Mary was creating her Vanishing Threshold trinity decades before I was born.  This, merely another delight we will share once we are in the same place again.  Mary died over a decade ago.

Tour the Exquisite Homes and Gardens of Late Design Legend Bunny Mellon Photos | Architectural Digest:
Pic, above, here.
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Oil paintings I've put on terraces & porches, for decades, for myself/clients have all been from thrift/junk shops.
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Of course Bunny put a Rousseau painting on her terrace.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Mary Kistner was a collage artist in the style of Kurt Schwitters, she installed art shows for other artists at several museums across USA, her memorial service was in a museum, standing room only.  Perhaps you can see those layers in the pic, above.  A few weeks after Mary died I received a call from her estate attorney, Mary left me something & an appointment needed to be made for pick-up.
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In my office, just above my laptop, is her bequest, an already framed piece of her collage art.  Titled, "Feuillage IX", MKistner 2000.  Receiving her bequest, and a few times since, has brought happy & grieving tears.  Mary had, I know, a wicked glint in her eyes & trademark smile, putting "Feuillage IX" into her will to me.  At one of our lunches, it had to be in fall, I shared with her my epiphany about falling leaves, while I was driving along Hugh Howell Road in Tucker, GA.  Decades of seeing falling leaves, I finally got the biblical narrative.  Trees drop their leaves, and are fed by them, every year of their life.          
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More, trees drop their leaves ahead of the brutal season, winter.  Vigorously showing off their lacy branching beauty against the sky, richly taking in strength from what they let go of.  The bible, inspired word of G*d written by man.  Nature, inspired writing of G*d.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Are You a Picnic Person?

My mother-in-law introduced me to 'The Picnic'.  Moth to a flame.  My mom let it be known putting peanut butter/jelly on bread for a small child at home was stupid, odious and a ridiculous waste of time.  A picnic?  Not happening.  So.  The concept of spending days hunting/gathering for a picnic, taking place at an exotic location, the more inconvenient the better, and finding the exact right recipe for vichyssoise soup as a picnic 1st course, which china to pack, the best wines to pair with the food, cloth napkins, and so much more.  Yes, yes, yes, I bought the farm, love a picnic.
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My last proper picnic was too long ago.  Went with 2 lady friends to the Kentucky Derby.  We packed an incredible picnic.  Enjoying ourselves immensely the oddest thing kept happening.  Passerby taking our picture, some even asked if it was ok to get our picture.
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Last year we had plans for a holiday lunch that fell through.  Beloved asked me, What do you want to do now?  I said let's go get some things, pack it up, and have a picnic by the pond, at the back of the property.
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Whoa.  That took the air out of him.  He got that look, Is she crazy !  We had no picnic.  In fact, that's all I remember about it, no picnic.  What we did instead, zero memory.
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Saw this pic, below, a few days ago, and all I could think was the picnic I didn't have at the pond vs. the many picnics taken with my mother-in-law through the decades.
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If you've read, To The Lighthouse, by Virginia Wolfe, know that I refuse to let a picnic by my pond become that trip to the lighthouse.  Too much fun to be had, inviting my local core of lady friends for a picnic by the pond this fall.


Having a picnic near the tulip bulb fields of Aalsmeer, the Netherlands, 1960, via Collectie SPAARNESTAD, Nationaal Archief Commons on flickr. The largest flower auction in the world is in Aalsmeer…:
Pic, above, here.
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Are you a picnic person?
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Cure for the Green Meatball

Truly curious.  Did green waves, below, start life as green meatballs?  Hope these green waves sail a thousand ships.
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Fence color.  Perfect, enlarges the space, and the potted tree, again, color enlarges its space too.
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Both artworks sited on axis from the house, with pure museum backdrop.
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Gas grill is pruned into its niche, hiding from view.
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Little maintenance, merely blowing, pruning.  Would like to see same shot with the green waves at their peak of scruffy, before a pruning day.

love the green backdrop to the pieces:
Pic, above, here.
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Bravo to the pruner, foliage to the gravel.  Amazing perfection.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mercy: Man & Dog

A lot of reasons to smile, below.
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If this man does/could have a garden, I know it would be wonderful.  He's got the attitude.  Garden Design is over 11,000 years old, and has a lot of  'rules', each one meant to be intelligently broken with love, simplicity, wit.  Proving, afresh, why the ancient Garden Design rules, rule.
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Laura, it's a small bag! Too bad it can't be a large bag and hold 8 items.:
Pic, above, here.
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"Mercy is the conscious choice to be kind when one can be cruel."  Mercy...."seeded in scripture yet almost biologically encoded into human nature."
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There is an ineffable secularized mercy, above, from man to dog.  Yet that mercy travels in both directions, in giving mercy to his dog, it pours back onto him.  And why the pic reeks of love.
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In my garden, without intention or knowledge aforethought  I found this secularized mercy, mercy profane.  Continuing to garden, decades, hallelujah, epiphany finally arrived and I got the memo, sacred mercy.

"Practicing mercy can be redemptive and rebellious."  Mercy can be used as a shield, toward ourselves, above, and others.  For years I labeled this the-good-selfishness, until realizing it as grace.
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"Mercy only exists because of and as a counterpoint to our capacity for cruelty."  In a garden is the harvest, mercy, against life's cruelty.  Ironic the story of man/woman 1st placed on Earth in a garden, sin entered, poof they were sent into the cruel world.  It's no wonder I love a garden.
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Before moving away from my 30 year garden, 2 years ago, I knew it would be hard.  Deeply hard.  There were no words, trying to articulate to Beloved what I was leaving.  Now, 2 years later, I have the words.  Leaving my 30 year garden I left its unconditional love, and mercy.  Beyond reason, beyond doubt, I know unconditional love & mercy need not come from a person.  G*d has given myriad resources for those gifts.  
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"In denying others mercy, we deny ourselves."  Pure Joseph Campbell territory of follow your bliss.  Within it you will find mercy profane, and sacred.  And, of course the Earth wisdom of Wendell Berry.
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All quotes, above, Anne Lamott.  Wendell Berry & Joseph Campbell, below.
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The old and honorable idea of 'vocation' is simply that we each are called, by God, or by our gifts, or by our preference, to a kind of good work for which we are particularly fitted. Wendell Berry
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/wendellber596505.html
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There are no sacred and unsacred places; there are only sacred and desecrated places. My belief is that the world and our life in it are conditional gifts. Wendell Berry
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/wendellber596494.html
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Urban conservationists may feel entitled to be unconcerned about food production because they are not farmers. But they can't be let off so easily, for they are all farming by proxy. Wendell Berry
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/wendellber461112.html
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The primary motive for good care and good use of the land-community is always going to be affection, which is too often lacking. Wendell Berry
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/wendellber461100.html
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Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy. Joseph Campbell
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/josephcamp390717.html
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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.
Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.
The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.
The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.
Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.
The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.
A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.
It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure."    Joseph Campbell
Love is a friendship set to music."  Joseph Campbell.
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Love is a friendship set to music.  "  Joseph Campbell.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Friday, March 31, 2017

Porch Ceiling Blue

Front porch today.  Still life.  Calm.  Gardenesque.  Faces east.
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Bench hasn't been there long, yet already seen lots of use.  Bench & plant stand moved with me from my previous garden, surviving the great purge of Cottage Garden to historic ca. 1900 farmhouse.
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Ceiling has only been blue since Christmas'ish.  Huge surprise once painted.  It's gorgeous from inside the house, looking into the garden.  A good transition.  No, too small, a happy transition.  I had a narrow consideration ahead of painting, from the street inward, or in photos.  Pea brain.  Adore a good surprise in Garden Design.  This qualifies, big.
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Don't paint a porch ceiling blue for how it looks, paint it blue for how it lives.
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Looks vs. Lives.  A new pair.  Balances a favorite pair, Sacred vs. Profane.

Image may contain: people sitting, table and indoor

Stain, Cabot, Driftwood Gray, solid cover, has already been bought for the floor.
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Time & money getting to simple is a grown-up dry humor.  Friend texted me pic yesterday of her lovely new gravel path, she shoveled into place with her young daughters, signing off with, hvac $12,000.00 just put in.  
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Who sells those T-shirts?  Owner: New Roof $.......   New Insulation $.......     New Car Tires $.........    New Washer/Dryer $.........  New HVAC $.......  New Windows $......  etc.  And, all of that is the normal good stuff in life.  Yep, quite the dry humor.
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More is the victory of a new gravel garden path, or simple still life.
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Filthy lucre.
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A woman said to our historic garden design tour director, in France, what a bother it was to get xyz done in the garden.  Without pausing he said, "Sex is a bother and we don't mind."  She had no follow up comment.
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Garden & Be Well,    XOT

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Deep Future Planting

Yesterday, walking the sidewalks in our tiny historic district, I was stopped in my tracks.  Curiosity at first, then, seeing it was 'real', a remembered line came to mind, "Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot."   And, I did see, hands long gone from Earth, giving me, and anyone who sees, a gift.  The gift?  Beauty.  Joy.  Camelot in the present tense.  Not least, a memory of those particular hands once toiling in soil.  In return, I gave thanks, to all of that.
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Made me realize, I must hop on it, in our garden.  Planting for the future, the future I won't see.
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Daffodils are my choice, the historic daffodils of Wordsworth.  And, after yesterday's gift, white iris.
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Both are deer proof, drought tolerant and live for decades and decades more.

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

Faint but enough of a hint, above, I didn't see it either until walking close.

Image may contain: tree, plant, sky, grass, outdoor and nature


First thought, above, a wind blown tissue.  Closer view, a white iris.  Through time and Nature, that iris gave its message.  The original house is gone from this property.  Judging its trees, the home was late 19th century.  Contemporaneous with several other homes in our historic district.
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Visiting mom on Galveston Bay, where I was raised, during my morning walks I always wend by the many Georgia loblolly pine trees my father planted as seedlings in the early 60's through out the neighborhood.  They are too large for me to get my arms around.  Amazingly, they've survived several hurricanes and floods.  Salt water flooding.
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Dad would stop the white wall tires of our 4 door white Buick Electra 225, with blue brocade interior, loaded with 2 kids, Puppet our toy poodle, and Argyle our standard poodle, along an empty Georgia 2 lane road, gather pine tree seedlings, wrapping them in any type of paper on hand in the car.  Back home I would tag along as he planted them, topping out at maybe, 2" - 3" tall.  How could I know then he was planting such a gift for me now?  The now that includes him not here.
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Ironically, I had already thought white iris must go into this garden, so many thrive throughout our county.  Grand proof, deer won't bother them.
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Next time I go to Galveston Bay I'll offer my Camelot quote in thanks at each of those pine 'seedlings'.  Yeah, I got this life memo !  Gratitude for those moments with dad, still alive.
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 Image result for quotes camelot
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Curious, what's good in your zone, to plant into the deep future?
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Garden & Be Well,   XOT

Monday, March 20, 2017

Tasha Tudor & Robert E. Smith: Ahead of Their Time, Living in the Past

Tiny historic cottage, in Louisiana, was moved to a new site and given its historic interiors, exterior & garden, below.
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Immediately, moth to flame, I noticed the historic exterior color trinity, green-brown-white, below.
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And, its subsidiary color, golden harvested wheat. 


COTE DE TEXAS:

A complete historic (rare to see overdose-on-a-theme) front porch, below.  Furnishings, lighting, colors, footings are brick piers, probably not a lot of stone in Louisiana delta.  
  
COTE DE TEXAS:

Pigeonnier, below.  

 

Add a run to the pigeonnier, and it's a perfect chicken coop, above/below.




Before/after, above/below.





 The garden, above, Smith copied from another historic site.


Axis view, above.  
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Copying the historic template, Robert E. Smith, Antiquaire, created a world.   More, within the world a manner of making a living.
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Before Robert E. Smith there was Tasha Tudor, Jill Adams-Vancimalano said of Tasha Tudor, "She was ahead of her time, but she lived in the past."  Tudor also copied historic templates of home & garden, then moved in to stay, finding a manner of making a living.
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More amazing they did it without internet.
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More than once I've been told, "Quit living in the past."  I just smile.  Really, someone thinks they can judge another person's relationship to G*d and how they choose to live on this Earth?  That smile?  It's a Cheshire cat smile.  You know the one, it says, Bless your heart, without uttering a word.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Thank you Joni Webb, Cote de Texas for writing about Robert E. Smith.  If you like this tidbit about Smith's garden, the full article, here.     
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We're still living with a temporary Chicken Coop, focusing on other renovations.  Glad of it.  Pigeonaire, above, gives more scope for the imagination.  Brick piers, above, make me think the vernacular historic brick piers under front porches in rural middle-Georgia, where I live, were chosen as an 'upgrade'.  Why?  The homes are set upon stone piers.  Sadly, our stone piers were painted at some point.  Our stone mason said sandblasting the paint off the stone piers will probably harm the mortar.  

Monday, March 13, 2017

Classic Garden Furniture

Deep narrative.  Over a period of years shrub/tree, below, lovingly pruned into a thing of beauty & function.  How do I know?  Aside from the obvious, had a witch hazel tree in my 30 year cottage garden, I pruned the same.
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Layers of this story, below, timeless.  Stone, furnishings, vanishing threshold, invitation, function, colors, etc.
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With classics, each iteration, unique.  Go deep into classic garden simplicities, results more deeply you.  Another counterintuitivity of Garden Design.
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Pic, above, here.
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Buy the classics, above, new, table/chairs, all from Ikea.   (Not a promotion nor receiving paid endorsement.)

LÄCKÖ Table, outdoor IKEA Easy to keep clean – just wipe with a damp cloth. The materials in this outdoor furniture require no maintenance.

ÄLMSTA Chair IKEA Each piece of furniture is unique as it is handmade. Furniture made of natural fiber is lightweight but also sturdy and durable.

STORSELE Armchair IKEA The furniture is handmade and therefore unique, with rounded shapes and nicely detailed patterns.
This little table, below, perfect in the garage.  Perhaps you need a larger table.  Life in my Cottage, I would place the next day's 'take' for jobs, on a table at the back door in the garage.  No garage at our ca. 1900 farmhouse, the 'take' is set on a buffet in the foyer the nite before.
ASKHOLMEN Table for wall, outdoor IKEA Space saving as the table can be folded down when not in use.
Life throws a curve ball, below.
IKEA PS VÅGÖ Chair, outdoor IKEA
These chairs remind me of a Hercule Poirot episode set during the 30's at a centuries old English estate.  Oddly, they're perfect for the shed at the Potager.
SKARPÖ Armchair, outdoor IKEA The drain hole in the seat lets water drain out. Can be stacked, which helps you save space.
Six pics, above, Ikea
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Image result for hercule poirot
Pic, above, here.

I know !  Liking those chairs reminds me of being a teenager, and knowing beyond a doubt mom had gone round the bend.  Whatever, I still like the chairs, if they pass the sit test, to the farm they come.
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Peculiarity is a layer of Garden Design.  If you love something enough, it will work.  Within parameters, but it will work.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Garden Design Assignment

Oddly, I feel most people hiring me are intuitive about creating a garden.  What they lack is a garden education, a garden vocabulary.  And are smart enough to ask for help.  Which is quite bold.
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This garden, below, perfection.  At the front end of my career, I would not have understood this garden.  Pure architecture.  More than a backhand down the line winner, it is taking the net for an overhead smash, and better than catching your opponent wrong footed, your ball hits them in the solar plexus, knocking the air out of them, they fall backward on their rear, struggling for breath.  You've won the point.  Yes, this garden, below, feels that good.

Quincy Hammond, Landscape Architect, Paris. I would like to add one focal point to this wonderful backdrop of clipped greens:
Pic, above, here.
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However, that's not where I'm going, how-wonderful-it-is, with this garden, above.  Instead, a practice garden design for you.  Mentally remove your entire landscape.  Next, with the garden design style, above, use only this style design to plan your new landscape.  Do not worry about specific plants, put in the shapes.
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Take it a step further, doodle it on paper, with your house & property line drawn.  Go.  Have fun.
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Garden & Be Well,    XOT
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Yes, I was a competitive tennis player, won district singles 4A twice, then skipped my senior year of high school to go to college.  Never played tennis again.  Oddly, I was never a good tennis player, merely competitive.  Yes, I made tennis a contact sport, story above is true.  Gladly, left behind 'competitive'.  Ironically, it's what I love greatly about gardens, there is already a winner, Nature.  She lets me play, by her rules, and happy for my winning, by her rules.  Teamwork.
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Beloved has commented more than once about how I walk.  It's plain, streamlined, calm, the exact walk perfected on tennis courts across Texas, the same walk I used to turn away from a gagging girl, before she got up,  'walking' to the baseline, as if zero had happened, I have a tournament to win, don't slow me down.
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Why not play tennis?  Could never do social tennis, only what I knew.  Love watching Serena Williams play tennis.  Whoa, curtsy to the queen !
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Garden, above, designed by Quincy Hammond.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Gertrude Jekyll: Rusticity & Formality

Rusticity with formality, below.  Gertrude Jekyll, Munstead Wood.  Her reign still informed many gardens I studied across Europe.  And, as a girl, a large garden/home visited ca. 1967, built decades previous, in Augusta, GA, owned by Edison Marshal.

Gertrude Jekyll and her garden at Munstead Wood (UK):
Pic, above, here.

Macro drawings of Jekyll's garden, above/below.  Clearly, rusticity & formality.

Image result for gertrude jekyll munstead wood
Pic, above, here.

Going into the micro garden, below.

 
Pic, above, here.

When I came back from my 1st study tour of historic British gardens, I had to create a manner of drawing them.  College merely taught incurves/outcurves blah-ti-awful-blah.  Amusing to find this drawing, below, today, it's exactly what I've done, drawing garden plans.  With embarrassment, assuming it was too simplistic.  No more.  How to draw this garden, below?  Easy.  Design the house and paths first, then fill in the leftover voids.

 
Pic, above, here.

Layers of a Jekyll garden design, below.  Macro-micro.

Image result for gertrude jekyll munstead wood
Pic, above, here.

Jekyll's garden, below, Munstead Wood.  She would have loved using a drone for her gardening.

Annotated aerial view of the garden at Munstead Wood
Pic, above, here.

Classic Gertrude Jekyll flower border, below.  Amusing.  Great reminder she had 15 acres and 14 experienced gardeners working for her.  Her garden easily copied in style, not content.  Flowers, below, easily switched to flowering shrubs.


Pic, above, here.

A bit of her woodland, below, at Munstead Wood.

 
Pic, above, here.
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During Jekyll's lifetime her home/property was entered on foot, no motor entry concession made to the modern era.  After WWI, she wrote of her altered means in gardening due to the expense of labor.  .
Since 2008 garden labor contracted again.  Plants, finally, caught up to their true value.  Labor expense plus growers/wholesalers going out of business, consolidation.  30 years putting gardens into the ground, last year began putting a 30 day guarantee of plant pricing.  When gas prices go volatile we put gas prices in the bid at a given set rate.  If gas goes up, so does the price, if the price goes down so does the price.  More, we only provide work given in the bid.  No more letting a client ask our men, "Need ya'll to get all the privet taken out behind the stream.", labor too expensive, instead, those requests are a Change Order.  Commercially, currently, each man is billed $40/hour, the going rate.  Multiply that by 5 men for an hour of pulling privet.  Not a price any business wants to absorb. .
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This isn't about money.  Yet, in the end, filthy lucre is involved.  My cottage garden of 30 years, a mix of formal & rustic, had a price.  A price never totaled into dollars.  Why would I?  My hunt wasn't the bill, it was my life.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T

Monday, March 6, 2017

Rilke in the Garden: The Pollen Path

In my early 20's I shared a bit of good news with my mother-in-law.  In her brief reply I learned a life lesson, to share my joy is to diminish it.  Within her reply, realization, there had always been others  taking pleasure in diminishing joy.
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Worse than having an empty quiver, I had no quiver at all.  With that sharing I commenced, without awareness for years, building my quiver, and a delightful array of arrows.
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Entering into garden making, for myself, became freedom.  Gardening is the working of mind & body, while the heart works in grace seemingly untended, yet wildly abundant.  Decades passed before the simplest epiphany of all, Life began in a garden.
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One of the best arrows discovered?  To share my sorrow, with my garden, is to diminish it.  List of my best arrows could form a book, but that's not where I'm going today.  Found a bit of Rilke yesterday, "Sadness is life holding you in its hands and changing you."  More fully, "Loneliness is just space expanding around you.  Trust uncertainty.  Sadness is life holding you in its hands and changing you.  Make solitude your home."  

Ewa in the Garden: 10 Photos of Sissinghurst Castle Garden:
Pic, above, here.
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Ah, uncertainty.  Trust uncertainty?  Moving from my garden of 3 decades, my best friend, replaced with the 'feeling' of uncertainty, yet my bow cutting thru uncharted waters without fear, knowing this chapter, Not Gardening, is a gift, and I must be in thanks, pay attention to its lessons.  Perhaps this new garden, around our ca. 1900 home, is holding me tighter than I could possibly know.  I will trust that.  An arrow, as a gift, from my 30 year garden.
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Discovering more Rilke,
  "I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."
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Ironically, Beloved, frustrated, asked, "What are you doing?  Where are you headed?"  Told him. "I trust where I am going, and trusting how I get there."  Further detail, ineffable.  That went over well, pure confidence in my path with zero words.  Him thinking I'm cavalier, yet me beyond earnest, trusting G*d.  Perhaps a little Ovid, "Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop."  I am a resting field, knowing to veer, not trust, my beautiful crop will not ripen.  
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In early January, 2001, I put German artist Wolfgang Laib into my journal, his "Wolfgang Laib: A Retrospective" was touring USA.  He's well known for his beeswax corridors, and a photo of his 1997 beeswax corridor was included.  Ah, this must be the Pollen Path, Joseph Campbell spoke of with Bill Moyers.
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From the Navajo Pollen Path, "Oh beauty before me, beauty behind me, beauty to the right of me, beauty to the left of me, beauty above me, beauty below me, I am on the Pollen Path.  In the house of life I wander, On the pollen path."
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"Mr. Laib sees salvation in what is most fragile and fugitive.", NYTimes, Amei Wallach.  More, "A growing number of scholars, critics, museums and foundations have been focusing on the relationship between artists and immanence in part to understand why they so often come into confilict with politicians and established religious institutions."




 "Priona Gardens is a unique garden designed by the late Henk Gerritsen. He called it his own version of the Dutch style "dreamt nature". The Garden is a relaxed take on naturalistic planting with a whimsical enthusiasm for art and high horticulture, from outsized dahlias to topiary chickens".    _/////_:
Pic, above, here.
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Further, about doubt, from Rilke,
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 "Your doubt may become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become critical. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it perplexed and embarrassed perhaps, or perhaps rebellious. But don’t give in, insist on arguments and act this way, watchful and consistent, every single time, and the day will arrive when from a destroyer it will become one of your best workers — perhaps the cleverest of all that are building at your life."

 english cottage:
Pic, above. here.
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Whew.  That is a sharp pointed arrow for the quiver, feels like a dagger aimed inward, at times.  Don't be afraid, trust the Pollen Path.  An arrow well used, and greatly shared, since having its epiphany, "What would I do tomorrow if I were not afraid?"  Every solution before the question, fear based.  After asking the question, though fear remains, myriad answers arrive, none fear based.  Those answers are along the Pollen Path.  
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Had zero clue, Not Gardening, would be a rich zone, merely thought it would be something to grin/bear.  Instead, the tiny amount of garden already here, several century old pecan trees are sprinkled as nurturing baguas.  Old souls, understanding the Pollen Path.  Their yield as dependent upon it as mine.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO T
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House & land renovations ahead of planting the first fruit tree, potager, pleasure garden, woodland walk, shrubbery, etc.  Thought this spring would be planting, now it seems fall.  I will trust that, endure, and pay close attention along the Pollen Path.  How precise G*d takes care in lessons for me.  Not Gardening is a chapter.