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Tuesday, 13 September 2016 13:27

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.
Sunday, 25 September 2016 14:08

Contrast Makes Your Garden Pop

Contrast is the basic ingredient of Garden design. Both pics, below, use the same type of contrast. Can you label it?
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I grew up, as most Americans, without a vocabulary for gardens. Worse, after receiving a horticulture degree, I still had no proper, historic, of the ages, vocabulary for Garden Design. Garden Design and horticulture are 2 different professions. Toss in Agriculture, and you have 3 professions.
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That's another rabbit hole of conversation, so, back to labeling the contrast technique used in the pics, below.
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I've taught horticulture and Garden Design for over 20 years at a local college, and the Atlanta Botanical Garden. One of my favorite teaching tools is adding proper vocabulary to Garden Design photos. Name it to claim it. Never more be moved by beautiful garden photos, yet unaware how to describe them in detail.
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Of course there is an entire TV industry of garden shows thriving on viewers lack of knowledge. Most often the ambush garden show, with fast before/after, are comedies of the wrong sort, dark comedy. If you know horticulture, aka plant care/culture/habit, you know how quickly the 'after' garden will fail. Discussing merit of those Garden Designs, mostly what I learned in college, incurves and outcurves, planting beds, drifts, accent plants, landscaping, all well represented.
Monday, 26 September 2016 14:33

Still Life: Put it in Your Mission Statement

Lecturing in Greensboro, NC many years ago, I had the privilege of touring a private garden. In the audience, after the lecture, a woman chatted with me and I knew, I must see her garden. Don't know if she invited me to her garden, or I invited myself. With facts this bare, we know, I invited myself.
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High summer in Greensboro, NC is not for the faint of heart, heat/humidity rule. Walking our small group into her home, she casually asked if we'd like lemonade. You know we did, pure drama and story line, We- had- a- tart- glass- of- lemonade- before- walking- her- garden.
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Blessedly we wanted the drama of the lemonade. After bringing out her pitcher/glasses, and pouring a round, she set the pitcher onto a small table in her kitchen.
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Poof. A new element to my personal Garden Mission Statement. Can you guess what it is? Alas, this garden visit was well before cell phones or even the desk top large computers. No photo of this fateful moment.
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My life, inside my home, and in my garden, must look like a still life, not fake, but a life lived, and in the living, the calm of still life views, reign.
Tuesday, 27 September 2016 14:07

Be Like The Fox

"Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction." Wendell Berry
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Fourteen mos. in our ca. 1900 American farmhouse, my library is still boxed. If you know anything about anyone with a library, as a necessity to living/breathing, you know books in my office were packed separately and on their shelves. Nor have I stopped ordering new books. Cell phones/computers have changed lives greatly, but nothing has changed the thrill of a new book arrived in the mail, awaiting on the doorstep. Back to the cell phone, my bad, should be labeled a drug-of-choice when it comes to ordering books.
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Who knew my library made me like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction?


John Saladino Restored Barn | via House Beautiful:
Pic, above, here.
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Lived in my previous garden 30 years, built the house/garden from bare land, it was in magazines, books, and on TV. Often, gardening there, my mind would wander to time. Knowing if I lived actively on the same spot, 500 years might get me somewhere with it. Without ever becoming bored. Ever.
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Who knew my garden made me like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction?

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 14:12

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.
Thursday, 29 September 2016 18:22

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.
Sunday, 02 October 2016 12:47

Design: Changing Narrative

A 'simple' Garden Design, below, all the layers dramatically in place. Starting at the top of the picture, now, in your mind, label each layer of the Garden Design, below.
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If you've come to Garden Design, age 50 up, this type of Garden Design holds significant charms vs. coming to Garden Design in your 20's.
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But I'm getting ahead of my story, most of us come to gardening, if we do come to gardening, as the song noted, 'In a heated rush'. And, 'Seeing what you wanted to see'.
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Until Seth Godin a few days ago I taught garden design for beginners at the Atlanta Botanical Garden and local college, knowing my students needed to unlearn most of what they already knew about Garden Design, as beginners.
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Garden Design appears easy, we try it, and the results prove Garden Design has a lot of elements not readily apparent, though beautifully designed gardens hide nothing. Excepting. how can you 'see' the process of designing a good garden, how can you 'see' what was left out of the beautiful Garden Design? Time to switch the narrative from what you thought you knew about Garden Design, as rank novice, to learning the nuts/bolts of real Garden Design.
Monday, 08 December 2014 05:45

Christmas Giveaway

 

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Seattle Rockeries creates hardscapes and landscapes using stones, boulders and concrete structures.

Hardscaping creates structures that can be used on slopes and hills to prevent erosion and create water barriers or drainage.