Personal Garden Coach

The Motivational Gardener at Large

Garden Designers Roundtable – Celebrating Trees May 28, 2013

The definition of Dendrolatry: Tree worship, refers to the tendency of many societies throughout history to worship or otherwise mythologize trees.

If that is true, then yes, I am hopelessly guilty. I admit it, I have had a close relationship with trees from a very young age. Trees have had a significant place in my life spiritually as well. But, then again, so has most of man for as long as we’ve been around. Here is a great link to learn more.

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Whether it is because of their inherent elegance, grace and majestic beauty…

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Or their winter interest….

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Or Autumn color against a blue sky…

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Or magnificent flower…..

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Foliage that can’t be denied…..

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A conifer of striking color and dimension…..

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Or simply a sacred place to rest and contemplate the world…

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Trees are magical, mystical and ever present beauties that we dare not take for granted. They are the life blood of this amazing planet that give us the oxygen to fill our lungs, paint our hearts with color and shade and heat our homes.

Planting a tree is the ultimate act of positivity about the future.

Tattoo 2013

To see more fabulous blog posts from the other Lords and Ladies of the Roundtable please follow these links below:

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

David Cristiani : The Desert Edge : Albuquerque, NM

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT

Douglas Owens-Pike: EnergyScapes Inc. : Minneapolis. MN.

 

Garden Designers Roundtable- SHOW of Inspiration January 22, 2013

Inspiration for garden design ideas for the New Year can obviously come from any number of sources. You can fall down the internet rabbit hole of Social Media and lose hours of your life to just Pinterest alone for ideas on anything you can find inspiring, that’s the whole POINT!March 2012 Philly Flower and Garden Show 1122 copy

People can be an inspiration; a winter walk can bring inspiration, great garden books, and meditating on philosophic ideas, food and cooking, architecture, animals, interior design, all of those and more can be the spark of inspiration. I am not going to list here ALL of the innumerable ways that you can find inspiration in your design life. I am only going to focus on one way here. But, do be sure to check out those phenomenal links above too. ;-)

January 2013 Office Inspiration

My bookshelf of inspiration!

Last June I wrote this post that struck a chord with a number of you, titled “Looking To the Landscape for Mental Healing”. In it, I referred to one of my most favorite “bits” with regard to “inspiration”, if you have a moment, I think you would find it a great companion to this post.

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My inspiration is so seasonally predictable, so like clockwork, so springtastically motivating- its the Garden Shows that get me revved up! I have only missed one of my local show- the Northwest Flower and Garden Show since its inception 25 years ago. Beginning in January, I start getting the garden itch for new plants, seeds, design ideas, garden art. By the time the show rolls around in the third week of February, I’m positively apoplectic for my fix!

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I spend the entire week of the show blogging, photographing and networking with my compadres in the world of Horticulture, Garden Writing, and Design. Getting inspired by the immensity of imagination and effort that goes into one of the largest garden shows in the country is positively exhilarating.

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Leaf Magazine, Riz Reyes, Nancy Claire Guth

Before the Northwest Flower and Garden Show I will be heading south to the Yard, Garden and Patio Show in Portland as a Show Judge! Plus taking a couple of days to visit with friends at places like Viscaya to get my plant groove on and take some fun bits home.

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A couple of years ago, at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, I presented a Container Garden display with Janit Calvo of Two Green Thumbs Miniature GardensEat, Pray, Love, Garden.

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This year is uber special because I will be speaking at the show with my co-author of Fine Foliage Karen Chapman of Le Jardinet Designs. 

Christina and Karen Portrait

Do I have reasons to be extra special inspired THIS year of all years?? – YOU BET I DO! Look at all of the magnificent friends I have, with whom I get the privilege to share my passion for landscape design and horticulture!

To see more fabulous blog posts from the other Lords and Ladies of the Roundtable please follow these links below:

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Jenny Peterson : J Petersen Garden Design : Austin, TX

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

Deborah Silver : Dirt Simple : Detroit, MI

 

Garden Designers Roundtable – Finer Points of Details in the Garden September 25, 2012

As the sign of the Virgo, my detail-oriented nature is ruled by the mind. Virgos are always analyzing everything, with a penchant for working with very precise and detailed designs on a more focused scale than many signs. I notice everything- when it comes to the garden. In that way, I’m the classic definition of a Virgo, the love of fine points, minutiae, particulars, specifics and technicalities.

I think that’s one reason why I love photographing the garden so much. To me it’s really all about the details. It allows another type of focus that you don’t get when you’re purely experiencing the garden with touch, smell, taste and sounds.

Today, I’ve rounded up a group of fabulous recent pictures that help you understand how I see the details at this late summer/early autumn season. ENJOY!

The angle of the evening light coming through this Hydrangea Paniculata ‘Quickfire’ is exquisite.

A singular Coreopsis ‘Big Bang Solar Cluster’ nestled in this ‘Cirrus’ Artemisia with a bit of ‘Rainbow’ Leucothoe is magical.

Blink and you would miss them!

Tree jewelry? Now THAT’S detailed!!

Taking advantage of the reflection!

The almost clockwise swirrel of the petals on this Echinacea are mesmerizing!

Such architecture in a seed head!

Magnificent view, and magnificent rose right under my nose!

Rhythm in the grasses……

An unexpected giggle that catches you by surprise is always a treat.

This container design shows it’s jaunty nature with it’s offset beret of Acorus grass planted askew and Mexican Feather Grass below that mimics the fun.
Also notice how the Poppy seed pods imitate the bumps on the container at the same level too.

A true detail after my own heart. I’m dying to make one of these someday.

Not only a monochromatic color combination, one of my favorite things, but a textural contrast too- BONUS!

This picture represents the realization that this color combination illustrates ALL of the favorite colors of my living room decor. Now THAT is detailed. :-)

Be sure to visit the other Lords and Ladies of the Garden Designers Roundtable for September to see how they interpret the details. :-)

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Deborah Silver : Dirt Simple : Detroit, MI

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In The Garden : Los Altos, CA

 

Garden Designers Roundtable: Designers Home Landscapes May 22, 2012

At the Garden Designer’s Roundtable this month we will show you our own gardens. This is no small thing for us, because most of us designers are busy at YOUR house making it look beautiful. And then we get home and experiment in our own gardens so you don’t have to. Truly, I don’t have a plant hoarding issue. Am I selling that well? :-) Actually it is true. I buy plants and trial and error them at home fairly frequently, strictly for testing purposes. Still buyin it?

OK, actually we do try out design ideas and test some plants from Growers and Breeders. We try to figure out the million dollar Bunny and Deer deterrent fixes. We use our gardens for our own blogs to show our successes and sad seasonal distresses, but it’s really just our own place to play just like yours, the good the bad and the really really bad. We just don’t usually bare our collective souls like this to the general public.

So, ready or not here is a snap shot of where my back yard landscape has begun and where it is today thanks to my friends at May Creek Landscape.

We downsized from our giant, custom-built dream home in 2007  just before the crash in 2008 to what I lovingly refer to as our “Barbie Doll House”. We bought our current home in the middle of the block in an almost brand new neighborhood about 30 seconds from our former home so that our teenager would be able to finish school and stay near friends until she went off to college.

As a former Real Estate Agent who worked for one of the 5 builders in this planned community I knew the neighborhood well and the small, contemporary San Fransisco lot styles with the alley in the back were just the right amount of maintenance for me to handle. Our side yard property line is right up to the neighbors foundation.

When we bought the home it had already had two owners, most recently 5 Bachelors with a motorcycle hobby. Yup, they were beloved by ALL the neighbors for sure. Not to mention that yard maintenance was not exactly a priority. So, it was a typical example of a NEW fixer upper these days. But, also a VERY blank canvas from the stand point of the garden.

I failed to get shots in 2007 of the gardens, I was too busy cleaning and planting! This pic shows the back yard in 2008, one year after we moved in. This gravel path and the beds on either side as well as all of the plants you see here did not exist at that time.

Back Yard in June of 2009.

I’m pretty sure I spent the better part of the first year simply adding soil to even make it diggable. Yes, that is the most correct Hort-term I could think of for this awful, hard-pan clay soil. Also, as you can see across the back side, privacy is an issue, so my baby Leyland Cypress trees that I started as 1 Gallons are 3 ft. tall in this picture. I also started creating English Laurel Standards from 1 Gallon babies too- wait until you see those now!

The drainage here is abominable. The lawn is just a bog all winter and most of spring until it dries out in summer and then it’s impossible to keep watered. Even the dog didn’t want to walk out there. Luckily all of those big tree roots have been helping to suck some of it up.

Now skip ahead to early spring of this year before any of the color and fluff came on and this was where we were in 2012. My MASTER Plan is about to unfold before your very eyes!

LAWN be gone!! No more mowing and edging- YUCK!

Construction day one, 7 years in the making…. no, waiting, yes, that’s it!

The Gravel base my patio and edging are down.The guys are getting the forms ready for the 3 concrete pedestals for my containers and building my water feature. The pedestals will be covered with slate tiles. Check out the size of my very pruned Leyland Cypress trees and Laurel Standards now!

Ta da! There are still a few tweaks and of course more plants needed. But, for the most part, it’s exactly as I had envisioned it. My landscape crew thought my idea was totally nuts, but now they see the light!

I adore my new veggie bins!!

A cool respite in the shade on a hot day.

More updates on the new back yard to come this summer as I finish planting and getting it just the way I want it, this is only 2 weeks old now! I’ve now bared my garden soul to all of you. I hope you enjoyed what took me a long time to get here.

Please be sure to take a look at what the other brilliant Lords and Ladies of the Round Table have to share as well!

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In The Garden : Los Altos, CA

Pam Penick : Digging : Austin, TX

Mary Gallagher Gray : Black Walnut Dispatch : Washington, D.C.

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Deborah Silver : Dirt Simple : Detroit, MI

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA

Andrew Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA

Rochelle Greayer : Studio G : Boston, MA

 

Garden Designer’s Roundtable – First Impressions February 28, 2012

Jane Austen began her second novel, Pride and Prejudice, before she was twenty-one. It was originally titled First Impression because the appearances of the characters created the plot of the novel. The two main characters formed immediate impressions of one another that set the entire story in motion.

"Pride and Prejudice" From Deviantart.com

Imagine the power that your front garden has on the first impression your guests might have about YOU or your HOME. Does it say anything about how the visitor might find the condition of your interior? What could your landscape be saying about your personal style? Does it say anything at all?

No matter what your landscape and climate might be, you have the opportunity to place your own personal stamp on what a passerby or first time visitor may think of you and your home. Small space or large, there are many ways to make it your own.

Even if you don’t have a landscape, some containers can create a big impressions.

Curb appeal or the first impression =  A homes CHARISMA

“Landscape your outside entrance–Add a few new flower pots, small shrubs or hanging plants to spruce up the outside. Spending just $400 to $500 on fresh landscaping, according to the survey,can boost your home’s value by $1,600 to $1,800.”
Home Gain Survey 2007

Here’s a list of Fourteen Ways To Make the Most of Your Homes Curb Appeal

As a former high end Real Estate Agent, I could go on and on about improving the first impression of your home. But, I thought some pictures of some landscapes that I’ve worked on changing over the years might be a good illustrator for you too. Unfortunately, I don’t have the original “BEFORE” shots on these homes, I was too eager to just jump right in and get started and forgot them. But, these are all taken over the course of a few years, all of them starting in the second or third year. Enjoy!

Originally, this front yard that blends into the main yard, had a very steep slope of lawn here that was impossible to mow and very little landscaping. The curving wall cured many ills here.

This is the third year, where we just wanted to add inexpensive but bold color until the larger plants
began to fill and mature.

By the fifth year, trees, shrubs and ground-covers began to mature and give a sense of scale.

This was into the second year of improving the “Builder Special” landscaping.

Third year and done up for a magazine here, not bad!

Second year on this side too. Still lots of inviting color and personality.

One year later. I’d say that’s a pretty WOW first impression!

Here is the number one piece of advice that I give my clients when we talk front yard landscape design- You should be able to pull up to the front of your home in the worst weather of the whole year and say WOW! If it looks great for the months that you are not out gardening actively and fully, then THAT is a great front yard!

For more on “First Impressions” from the Lords and Ladies of the Roundtable, please visit the links below. Enjoy!

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA

Shirley Bovshow : Eden Makers Blog : Los Angeles, Ca.

 

Garden Designer’s Roundtable – Winter Reality Check for the Landscape January 24, 2012

There seems to be a time cycle in gardens and landscapes of about 10 years. Whether you live in a new neighborhood or an established area of homes, where landscapes ebb and flow with changes and age. New people move into the neighborhood, older neighbors move out and the landscape still remains there growing and changing. But, we often forget to take the long view in the life of large plants like trees. Our Homeowner’s Association’s could stand to take note here.

While we move though our busy lives, trees and shrubs mature and we often don’t realize that they were either planted too close to the house, just planted improperly or are in need of some kind of attention. Either to prevent disease or damage from any number of things until a drastic change forces us to look at it straight on in the wallet.

Time and priorities often make us forgetful about taking the time to properly evaluate the potential damage that can happen to our gardens and properties in a dramatic winter storm of snow, wind or ice. Even a relatively mild climate like the Northwest can be hit by surprise events that cripple the city for days or sometimes weeks. These tend to be the times we look back and wish that we had taken steps to prevent the cost of what it will take to fix the damage.

For example, look at the place where this specimen Paperbark Maple broke. A good Certified Arborist could have helped in this situation. The homeowner here is absolutely heart-broken.

My thoughts in this post are focused not so much on a “How-to” fix the damage but on what money could have been saved and what damage could have been avoided by being even a little bit pro-active in the care and planting of large trees and shrubs before they are irrevocably damaged or hurt.  This is an expensive way to operate in home landscape costs and potentially in property insurance or just plain labor to have them removed or replaced.

Here in my area, we recently had a snow, ice and wind event all at the same time during the course of one week. The season had been very warm up to that point thanks to the La Nina winter. But, the experts had also warned us that this would also bring much more stormy conditions as well. When all was said and done, we got power back, everything thawed and when we took a good look around the damage was sad to say the least.

Such an incredible amount of damage could have been avoided by truly simple maintenance done by experienced professionals or a well-trained homeowner – easy!

If you look carefully note that almost every single branch broke where it had been subject to rot.

Thinning out heavy trees such as Maples can keep heavy ice and snow weight from breaking and snapping large branches. Also, making sure that the central leader is not competing with another can keep this kind of damage at bay.

This neighborhood had an entire boulevard of this type of maple tree planted 12 years ago when the builder designed it. I’m sure the landscapers got a terrific deal on 12 foot tall saplings at the time, planted them and that was it. Now there is not one tree on the entire street that is not badly damaged.

The “Maintenance” crew is not trained in taking proper care of trees other than cleaning up a broken branch here or there and raking fall leaves. If the neighborhood had taken the time to hire an Arborist even once every 3-4 years, much of the damage could have been prevented.

This is a great example of a tree planted without adding enough additional soil over the hard-pan clay for it to get anchored. In addition to being planted far too close to the house, this is why I call these situations “The Builder’s Special”. It is incredibly common for trees to begin having problems at about 10 years of age in a stressful period like a storm.

The moral of this story is that you can’t prevent ALL damage from a storm event, but you can be conscious about expensive (in labor, time, and money) and mostly preventable “Reality Checks” with the status of the larger, long-term plant residents in your garden. Give them the respect and care they deserve, for they will most likely be there long after you have moved.

Here is a link with excellent information and references for proper care for trees and plants, one of the Horticultural Heroines of our time; Cass Turnbull of Plant Amnesty.

For a much more humorous take on a “Reality Check” for our landscape, visit my friend and fellow writer Billy Goodnick at his Facebook Page: “Crimes Against Horticulture, When Bad Taste Meets Power Tools” .

For a VERY broad range of interpretations on this months theme for The Garden Designer’s Roundtable “Reality Check” please follow the links below for my fellow Knights and Ladies of the Roundtable below. They have been quite creative on this one!!

David Cristiani : The Desert Edge : Albuquerque, NM

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : Easy Bay, CA

Andrew Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In The Garden : Los Altos, CA

Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA

Shirley Bovshow : Eden Makers : Los Angeles, CA

Genevieve Schmidt : North Coast Gardening : Arcata, CA

 

Consider Your Gardens “Bones” in Winter January 16, 2012

Does your garden have eye-catching focal points during the long months of winter? I hope the answer is yes! But, if not, this is the best time of the year to spend taking inventory of your gardens weaker points when it comes to structure or what we Designer types refer to as the “Bones” of the garden.

'Crimson Queen' Japanese Maple

This Maple sits outside my dining room, framed perfectly by the window. It’s stunning year round. They are covered in snow here, but in the pot are some stainless steel balls that look so cool! One thing that I always take note of this time of the year when I look at the deciduous shrubs and trees is their form. Do they need to be pruned for shape, directing growth or opening them up for more light?

Blooms from Hydrangea Paniculata Standard 'Angel Blush'

One of the beautiful things I appreciate in the garden are the summer plants that I leave for winter interest. I purposely leave the dried blooms on this Hydrangea because I adore the way they look in winter. Then I trim then back just as they bud out in spring.

Zebra Grass plumes in the snow

Miscanthus 'Morning Light' with Leucothoe 'Rainbow'

Another key element to consider when you are analyzing your winter garden and planning for spring planting is to note how much balance you have between your evergreen plants versus your deciduous or perennial plants. Do you need more of one or the other?

Pinus 'Thunderhead' with Miscanthus Zebrinus

The dark green of this Pine and the tones of the grass together with all of the texture is yummy!

This shot really spoke to me about considering the “Bones” the most. The pure white snow just makes it so stark and easy to concentrate on the shapes, lines, proportion and textures without the distraction of color. I recommend frequently that my clients  stand back or go upstairs and take shots from a distance and print them in black and white for just THIS purpose. Without the distraction of color, you can really SEE the “Bones”.

Below, see my friend and Plantsman extraordinaire, Mitch Evans garden illustrating my point perfectly! From the entry arch to conifers, to PALMS? :-) to deciduous trees and shrubs, it’s easy to see the shapes and textures that are SO showy this time of the year!

Photo courtesy of Mitch Evans

Photo courtesy of Mitch Evans

Mitch uses these well pruned boxwood to expertly frame this Weeping ‘Camperdown’ Elm.

Even your Garden Art can get some attention for where it’s placed, how you view it, or what you have it paired with for it’s best showing.

Don’t miss your next opportunity to take a deeper look at your garden and evaluate the “Bones” this winter. Then when you’re hitting the ground running in your spring garden, you will know exactly where to start!

 

Garden Designer’s Roundtable – Deer vs. Gardener December 13, 2011

It’s common for many gardener’s to be plagued by the dreaded problem of the garden becoming a Deer Buffet. Imagine a blinking red neon sign over your gate that reads, “EAT here” that remains on until the plants are nubbins, or just tipped enough that they never bloom.

Sometimes you feel like you put out the WELCOME sign for Bambi. :-)

There are oodles of resources on the web for researching Deer “RESISTANT” plants on the web. Here’s one of the very best that I’ve seen. The Sunset western Garden Book has a Deer-Resistant list is a pretty darn good compilation too. So, I’m not going to go into it in any depth on the plant list end of things. Particularly since you need to check with your local nursery expert to see which are appropriate for your area anyway.

Notice I use the term “RESISTANT’ and not “DEER-PROOF”. There is a huge leap of Horticultural faith that needs to take place here when you learn the difference.

The strategy that I use and teach my clients for keeping deer at bay in the garden is this:

1) Deer are hungry.

2) Adult Deer have defined palates.

3) Young Deer eat whatever Mom eats.

4) It’s the Teenagers that do all the damage and eat EVERYTHING at least once.

This explains why there is no such thing as any Deer PROOF plant. Plant choices can vary from Region to Region and Zone by Zone. The best we can do is be thoughtful about the strategies we use about planting in areas where Deer have access to our gardens.

Here is the full extent of my strategy:

1) Plant pokey and annoying plants.

2) Anything that will make it difficult or annoying to reach the food they want is fair game.

3) Think ankle biting plants like Barberry or Juniper that they might have to step through to get to the good stuff.

4) For annoying plants, think about anything that smells great to us, like Rosemary or Lavender. Deer have such a highly attuned sense of smell that to them, these lovely things smell horrifying.

5) In general, just make it too much work to get to your tender and tasty buffet.

Here’s a shot of my front yard this Fall. Not bad huh? No Deer damage this year at all!

The above picture shows my Red Barberry ‘Crimson Pygmy’ alternated with Spanish Lavender, Eunoymous Fortunei ‘Emerald-n-Gold’ and Nandina ‘Gulf Stream’. Plus ‘Tri-Color’ Sage for an extra dose of smelliness with Hebe ‘Quicksilver’ and a beautiful Heather that’s turned bright red for Fall and Winter. I can’t remember which one it is though, I’ve been collecting red Heathers and have not been good at record keeping.

Here’s is one of the best plants for shade and Deer-Resistance from Great Plant Picks, Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’, one of my favorites!

Photo Credit - Chris Hansen, http://www.GreatPlantPicks.org

Go forth and plant in your Deer grazing area, just do it thoughtfully. Deer munching WILL happen. Go with the flow, change plants out if need be. But mostly, don’t let the Bambi’s get you down!

Please visit the blogs of other Lords and Ladies of The Garden Designer’s Roundtable and read what valuable advice they have on Deer too!

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Genevieve Schmidt : North Coast Gardening : Arcata, CA

Pam Penick : Digging : Austin, TX

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

 

Garden Designer’s Roundtable – Getting From Here to There September 27, 2011

Path: Definition – Course or Way. Synonyms: aisle, artery, avenue, beat, beaten path, boulevard, byway, cross-cut, direction, drag, footpath, groove, highway, lane, line, pass, passage, pathway, procedure, rail, road, roadway, route, rut, shortcut, street, stroll, terrace, thoroughfare, track, trail, walk, walkway.

You can certainly look at getting from here to there from the broad perspective OR in close detail. Enjoy the collages of pictures that I gathered for you to look at getting from here to there from a few different vantage points. :-) 

Sometimes getting from here to there means focusing on the short ends of coming and goings like entrances and exits. 

More home landscapes are trending toward emphasizing the street view of the front garden with very unique and interesting entry paths and gardens. 

Creativity and artistry are shown with different materials for gates and railings that help to define the personality of the garden or homeowner’s style. 

The wide variety of path and walkway selections for materials are as vast as your imagination can envision. From decomposed granite, ground covers, brick, wood, lawn, mulch, cork, slate tiles or log rounds, you can create a path that defines your personal style and suits your environment. 

Adding beautiful places to pause and appreciate craftsmanship and artistic expression make the walk even more enjoyable! 

Repetition by using design cues and long visual lines carry the viewer along the path.

Details can make or break the design and stick in the memory of those enjoying the garden. Decorative, dramatic and unique elements make a garden memorable. 

A viewpoint at the end of a path is a dramatic and memorable component of getting from here to there. 

Grand paths create vista points in large gardens. Pull over and take a picture! 

Exits and entry’s can be unforgettable even for a casual garden. 

Sometimes a hidden garden is on the other end of the path!

Getting to this quaint seating area is a lovely experience with this well-groomed informal pathway. 

Please take some time to read and invest a comment or two in blog posts (links below) written by other Lords and Ladies of the Garden Designer’s Roundtable and most especially our esteemed guest posters Debra Prinzing and David Perry

Debra Prinzing & David Perry:  A Fresh Bouquet

Pam Penick : Digging : Austin, TX

Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In The Garden : Los Altos, CA

Jenny Peterson : J Peterson Garden Design : Austin TX

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

 

Garden Designer’s Roundtable – Must Be The Water July 26, 2011

The topic of water inspires a million different variants of thoughts and ideas if we think about it long enough. We are mostly water, the planet is mostly water, without it we are…well, dry. Pun intended.

For those of us in the Horticultural realm, water is even more the stuff of life. Growing, irrigating, draining, and manipulating water in all of its various forms is not only big business, its where at least as much of our time and thought is spent other than directly handling a plant.

Too much water, too little water, frozen water, thawing water, directing water, capturing water, restricting water. These conversations are not just about the weather, but huge logistical and sometimes ethical issues that we deal with every day. Who’s water is this? Can I have some? Can I afford to share more? How can I conserve what I have? I need to get rid of mine.

How to water, when to water, what tools to use for watering – all of these questions and answers could take a lifetime to address adequately. I certainly won’t try here in this short post. Take a peek here for some easy answers. But, I would like to give you some perspective on the breadth of the topic and maybe a little visual candy for inspiration as well.

The beauty, necessity, tranquility, complexity and raw power of water have led us to the height of creation of some of the worlds greatest achievements in engineering as well as to the depths of devastation. Take a look here for some AMAZING new things happening with water right now.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the original Seven Wonders of the World

Hurricane Katrina

We crave water in our lives, for the obvious reasons of course. But, what about for the more esoteric reasons? It’s in our lives everywhere that isn’t damp! Take a quick look in your I-Tunes Library, and search for “water”, “rain” or “ocean”. See how much music has to do with water in one form or another. Check out “Must Be The Water” by Marc Broussard for a great New Orleans take on the mighty Mississippi. Even just the number of Holiday songs written about snow is mind bending!  How about your books or magazines? What about your favorite movies? Seen “Waterworld”? How about “Water For Elephants“?

These are the first few lines of the song by “Water” by Lauren Hill

Moving down the streams of my lifetime, pools of fascination in my sleep, cooling off the fire of my longing, warming up my cold within his heat,

Bouncing down the walls of inhibition, evaporating all of my fears, baptizing into complete submission, dissolving my condition with his tears, he’s just like water….

When I think about water features in the landscape, I like to imagine the feelings that they might conjure, not just the design aesthetic or the sound. Though those two things are high on my list of importance as well!

Even the vaguest ripple of water can create a peaceful harmonic resonance.

We are drawn to the water in all of it’s forms by a primeval pull like the tides and the moon. The feelings that range from a child’s sheer bliss at stomping in a puddle to soaking in a blue lagoon can last a lifetime.

The magnetic lure of quiet meditation here is unparalleled.

A water feature that is also a true work of art can also stir a depth of emotion that you may never have expected.

This pond in the garden is about communing with not only the peaceful feeling of the pond, but the surrounding nature of the garden as it interacts with the water.

How about a good laugh in the garden with a water feature? No need to take life too seriously ALL the time!

"Create-A-Scene"

I adore water in the garden in any form. I think I will always endeavor to have it no matter what shape it may take. Bringing emotion, movement and a captivating charm are pretty good side effects too! All I can say is “It Must Be The Water!”

Please take some time to read and invest a comment or two in blog posts (links below) written by other Lords and Ladies of the Garden Designer’s Roundtable and most especially our esteemed Guest Poster for this month Debra Baldwin- Empress of all things Succulent, Photographer, Author and Blogger. 

Debra Lee Baldwin : Gardening Gone Wild : Escondido, CA

Tara Dillard : Vanishing Threshold : Atlanta, GA

Rochelle Greayer : Studio G : Boston, MA

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Jenny Peterson : J Peterson Garden Design : Austin TX

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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