Friday, July 25, 2014

Garden Design Rule for Eyesores & Terrible Garden Gifts


This client was not home at the start of my work.
.
I lasted an hour before I HAD to Move-The-Duck.
.

Wish they had hired me before the new concrete walkway, and electrical outlet.
.
Not much to do, if the dressed duck must stay.  Did you know there is a Garden Design Rule for this situation?  If you have an eyesore, place a focal point nearby.
.
Doubt my professor imagined this dressed duck as a focal point.
.
However, when children, grandchildren, or the toughest, a bit too prickly daughter-in-law are involved, the fill-in-the-blank must be 'displayed'.


Now, the dressed duck is drawing the eye away from the electrical box and providing welcome at the steps.
.
A mentor said, "It's what we do with what we have."
.
This garden has a child.  The duck will happily stay as long as the dressed duck magic is needed for her.
.
The prickly daughter-in-law?  Easy, use her gift prominently in the garden for a few months then it has an 'accident'.  Tree limb, wind, ice, when it is safely taken to the thrift store.  In one garden the offensive item, a resin dollar store birdbath, could not be easily 'lost', that daughter-in-law had prickles of toxic steel.  The birdbath was horrendous.  Epiphany !  I designed a creeping fig at the base to engulf the offensive birdbath turning it into something lovely.
.
Knocking at a friend's door for a lunch date I locked eyes on her new wind chime, melted glass beer bottles hanging from fishing line on a bit of tree root, then her.  She merely said, "My step-daughter."  I replied, "It fell and broke into shards."  Now you know the story of that thrift store item.
.
Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
.
Pics taken at a jobsite this spring.  In the South terrible garden gifts are received with a smiling exclamation, "You shouldn't have, bless your heart."

For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
.
Award winning speaker, hire me for your group, local/out-of-state.
                                                                                 .
Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
.
Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
.
Construction by Award Winning
Shaefer Heard Construction, licensed home-builder, renovation - new construction.  Heard's Landscaping a unit of SHC.  3 decades of service.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Elements of Simplicity in Garden Design


Plain?  No, totally designed.
.
 Embellishment?  Why?  What is that about?  Lack of confidence, knowledge of the wrong sort, arrogance against Providence?

 Tara Turf.  Gravel from the local river.
.
Century old bricks made in Milledgeville, GA, an hour's drive.
.
I designed the buttress copying an antebellum cotton warehouse seen near Atlanta.
.
The walled garden was the client's idea.  
.
It was my good fortune to design & site it.
.
Oddly, with total confidence.
.
Whence does that come?  Truly, a subdivision child ca. 1960, living in a subdivision still.
.
Degreed in USA horticulture, not taught how to  design a good garden to save anyone's soul.  Much less my own.
.
Off I went, $20 bills stuffed singly & slowly, somehow paying for 2+ decades of studying the best historic gardens across Europe.
.
With this project, 300 acres, I learned what the real focus of those decades had been. 


Garden design working with land & home.
.
More, mind/body/spirit.
.
Land & home, team members with the garden design.  Literally, the best performers with the most talent.
.
That college degree in horticulture?  Training to work against the land, ignore every gift of Providence.


Doubt any of my college professors could give a concise sentence about the style of Henry Repton.  In, "Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, Repton wrote:
“The perfection of landscape gardening consists in the four following requisites. First, it must display the natural beauties and hide the defects of every situation. Secondly, it should give the appearance of extent and freedom by carefully disguising or hiding the boundary. Thirdly, it must studiously conceal every interference of art. However expensive by which the natural scenery is improved; making the whole appear the production of nature only; and fourthly, all objects of mere convenience or comfort, if incapable of being made ornamental, or of becoming proper parts of the general scenery, must be removed or concealed”.
The garden views, above/below, totally designed.  Providence reigns, human arrogance replaced with a pride in unveiling Nature's gifts.


Henry would know this garden.
.
Beyond the Tara Turf, above, is my best design work.  Views across a Natural pasture into woodland.  .
Curiously, this type of gardening is perfect for the starter home on a postage stamp with little budget.  Instead, that type of home is built with an expensive landscape.  Lawn with mowing/chemicals/fertilizers, bushes needing regular pruning & mulching, nothing to shade the house reducing hvac, nor fruit trees to feed the household, certainly not any focal points on axis with the house to feed the spirit.
.
Truth, with your full intellect, if you demand more from your landscape you will have it.
.
By the time anyone hires me, that choice has been made.  Incredible to work for people who have engaged with their own lives.  Same, when I lecture.  Every chair filled with people who have engaged with their life.  They aren't there for me, nor am I, we are there for the same reason as Henry.
.
Garden & Be Well,  XO Tara
.
Pics taken at a jobsite earlier this year.
.
The capitalized words? Used in the vintage sense.  Underlined sentence at the top?  Describing myself on the front end.  This has not been a boring ride !
.
For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
.
Award winning speaker, hire me for your group, local/out-of-state.
                                                                                 .
Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
.
Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
.
Construction by Award Winning
Shaefer Heard Construction, licensed home-builder, renovation - new construction.  Heard's Landscaping a unit of SHC.  3 decades of service.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How to Site the Perfect Backyard Fire Ring

Fabulous begins here, below.  Alas, merely a few minutes old.  Mulch, literally a dead brown color, is prominent while evergreen groundcover, dots of green below, grow into a mass sheet of lush green.
.
Slope is nice, not long.  Did you notice the trick creating greater drama & depth?
.
Steps lead from wider to narrower.  
.
Steps are pre-cut, cheaper to install than natural fieldstones.
.
Fire ring with circle of Adirondack chairs.  A no-brainer siting the fire ring on axis with the steps.  
.
Chairs are new, curing, and will be stained  to flow with color choices from the home's colors.
.
More, this is a double axis.


Looking back at the house, below, the steps & fire ring are sited on axis with the gable's peak.

.
Landscape design is not voodoo or what feels 'fun' or includes 'stuff' just-because-you-can-afford/rescue-it, but a true science, with sprinkles of art.
.
From your home's architecture most landscape design flows.
.
The house dictates, then land, then distance from the house aka 'use', then sun/shade.
.
When this garden, above, is ready for entertaining how many guests will realize the myriad layers of thought about the steps or siting the fire ring or choosing color for the Adirondack chairs?  Doesn't matter, they will know it 'feels' right.
.
Often enough, true geometry for axis siting cannot be done due to 'blah-blah'.  Surprise, faux geometry works.
.
Notice where the Adirondack chairs are sited, in addition to circling the fire ring?
.
Perfect distance for resting the feet on the fire ring stones.
.
Yes, made the clients sit with me & my general contractor and we adjusted the chairs.  Of course the rest of the team was working/digging/installing irrigation and see us sitting with our feet propped up !  
.
Love my job.
.
Another design element, fire ring stones are unmortared fieldstones.  Wanted the contrast of rustic, at this distance, to the formality of the home.
.
This rustic-ness an element of the 'poverty cycle'.  Studying the best historic gardens across the globe for decades it is obvious which elements are consistent in each.  And, the poverty cycle is one of those elements.
.
Neo-similar to Temple Grandin, I pay attention deeply to patterns in visuals of good gardens.
.
If you haven't seen the movie about Temple put it in your queue.  Amazing, and humbling, learning from another so different from oneself.

Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
.
Took the pics at a job site this spring.  When is siting a fire ring not about merely siting a fire ring?  Always.   
.
For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
.
Award winning speaker, hire me for your group, local/out-of-state.
                                                                                 .
Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
.
Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
.
Construction by Award Winning
Shaefer Heard Construction, licensed home-builder, renovation - new construction.  Heard's Landscaping a unit of SHC.  3 decades of service.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Best Table to Choose for Landscapes

Martha Washington never knew how many to expect for dinner.  
.
Often she placed planks on sawhorses with a cloth on top.
.
Still a good choice.
.
Buying a table for your porch, deck, garden?
.
Choose simplicity & function.
.
Square or rectangular tables are both.
.
They can be used singly, placed end-to-end, placed next to a rail or wall.



Round tables don't have that diversity.


Buy 5 of the table, below, and you have choices.

.
Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
.
.
Bottom pics shot stopping for apples at Target.  Left without the apples.  Small bag of measly looking apples was over $7.   Stopped, on the way home, no-extra-gas, at an IGA & bought 5 gorgeous huge gala apples at over a $1 each.  Still crazy but at least worth eating.  
.
For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
.
Award winning speaker, hire me for your group, local/out-of-state.
                                                                                 .
Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
.
Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
.
Construction by Award Winning
Shaefer Heard Construction, licensed home-builder, renovation - new construction.  Heard's Landscaping a unit of SHC.  3 decades of service.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Repurposed from a Slave Cabin


Decades ago she was at the slave cabin and knew, "This will be a bench in my garden."
.
Hearthstone of the fireplace, below, in the disintegrating slave cabin she had the epiphany.
.
In her late 90's, I've know this story for 2 decades.  


Her birthday soiree was a large affair a few weeks ago.  A man was near the bench & I asked if he knew its story, "No."  A speechless event, the body bows backward, eyes lock on stone & there is silence while the mind absorbs the horror.  Taking in the beauty & grace of the present moment.




She & I have sat many times thru many years on this stone.
.
No stone should have its history.
.
Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
.
You must understand the South.  Without her intervention this stone's history would have been lost long ago.   Probably scooped out of the way with a Bobcat for some new house in a subdivision.
 .
For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
.
Award winning speaker, hire me for your group, local/out-of-state.
                                                                                 .
Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
.
Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
.
Construction by Award Winning
Shaefer Heard Construction, licensed home-builder, renovation - new construction.  Heard's Landscaping a unit of SHC.  3 decades of service.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

New Science: Farms Help Prevent Allergies from Birth

Science Daily amalgamates headlines.  
.
Recently....children raised on dairy farms have fewer allergies, even in the womb, than other children. 
 "A study by researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, monitored children until the age of three to examine maturation of the immune system in relation to allergic disease. All of the children lived in rural areas of the Västra Götaland Region, half of them on farms that produced milk."
Lower risk of allergy
The study found that children on dairy farms ran a much lower risk of developing allergies than the other children.
"Our study also demonstrated for the first time that delayed maturation of the immune system, specifically B-cells, is a risk factor for development of allergies," says Anna-Carin Lundell, one of the researchers.
.
And.
.
Children raised on farms with livestock are healthier, "It is extremely exciting that we can now see that not only allergic diseases, but also more classic inflammatory diseases appear to depend on the environment we are exposed to early in our lives," relates Vivi Schlünssen, Associate Professor in Public Health at Aarhus University.
.
NYT article, so long ago I cut/pasted it into a file with real tape/paper, reported a study indicating plants emit wavelengths we absorb thru our skin and can increase white blood cell counts in those with cancer.  No ridiculous Nature blah-blah- is so pretty it makes me happy and healthy stuff.  Science, proving plants affect our health.




 LISTEN

Solitude

Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
              In his own ground.

Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire;
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
              In winter, fire.

Blest, who can unconcernedly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away
In health of body, peace of mind;
              Quiet by day.

Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mixed, sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please
              With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die,
Steal from the world, and not a stone
              Tell where I lie.
"Solitude" by Alexander Pope. Public Domain. (buy now)
The Poetry Foundation
National broadcasts of The Writer's Almanac are supported by The Poetry Foundation

.
Native American Indian quote from a Joseph Campbell interview with Bill Moyers said the White man, once he strings his telephone lines across the lands will cease to live and merely survive.
.
Headlines, with true science, backing up my ancestor, I have two great-great grandmothers who were 100% Cherokee.
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
.
Pics taken in Jamaica.  
.
For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
.
Award winning speaker, hire me for your group, local/out-of-state.
                                                                                 .
Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
.
Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
.
Construction by Award Winning
Shaefer Heard Construction, licensed home-builder, renovation - new construction.  Heard's Landscaping a unit of SHC.  3 decades of service.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Gardeners: Tools to Keep in Your Car

Most days of my adult life are spent in beautiful gardens across the globe, designing gardens for future beauty, or in my own sweet garden.
.
My friend Susanne Hudson's garden, below.  Girlfriend is all about her green-brown-white.
.
So.  I am too.
.
Susanne & I are scheduling a field trip to 3 gardens.  Negotiations are tricky.  Busy lives.
.
Each garden abides in all Providence & intellect & will & a clinical passion creates.
.
If you understand a 'clinical passion' for gardening (antiques, art, pets, a potager, music, books, you are my friend. )
.


My newest best garden tool, below.  Stetson.  Shades without blocking peripheral vision.  


Parked in a magnolia tree at Stone Mountain Park, above/below.

.
Raspberry red vintage table cloth is for emergency picnics or eating dinner out unexpectedly & needing something for the chill.  I'm a step ahead of E.M.Forster in A Room With a View.

  " I never venture forth without my mackintosh squares."  "With many a smile she produced two of those mackintosh squares that protect the frame of the tourist from damp grass or cold marble steps."  "Miss Bartlett had lost a mackintosh square. Phaethon had lost the game. That last fact was undeniable. He climbed on to the box shivering, with his collar up, ..."  
.
For your clinical passion, I offer, mackintosh squares & a Stetson.
.
Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
.
For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
.
Award winning speaker, hire me for your group, local/out-of-state.
                                                                                 .
Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
.
Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
.
Construction by Award Winning
Shaefer Heard Construction, licensed home-builder, renovation - new construction.  Heard's Landscaping a unit of SHC.  3 decades of service.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Friendship is to Bare Witness


No time for cooking she finessed a curried chicken salad over arugula, added fresh fruit and a poppy seed vinaigrette.
.
Beautifully served & delicious it's in her DNA along with interiors & gardens.
.
She's the friend you don't speak with for months then conversation picks up mid-sentence.
.
The friend warping time, hours are minutes.
.
The friend knowing every terrible thing about you & loves you more.


In her new home for a year, I hadn't seen it yet.


Her grown child has a life-threatening illness.  Her choices, hard.  She never chooses the easy road.


For a decade I have watched, listened.  Of course we've done a lot of laughing.  How else to get thru?


 First is was her house she surrendered, then a series of other abodes.  Each smaller.  Every time more antiques sold.



Never has she lived without beauty, love, or laughter.  Nor tightly bound to them, tears, frustration, fear.


This is her smallest home yet.  A masters class in which pieces of furniture, art, books to keep.  What is needed, useful, beautiful.
.
We have no less fun, or love, than in that huge 1st home.
.
Instead, more.


This time she's landed with a roof top garden.  
.
Not a garden of her own.
.
She's not had a garden of her own for a long time.
.
She's never complained
.
Hard choices, hard truths, rich living.
.
We grieve together, some.  Mostly, we are enriched & grow love in our friendship.  
.
As friend, it has been my job to bare witness.
.
In return, she's watched my hard choices, ugly truths.
.
We speak plain to each other.  True grit.
.
Mostly, we laugh.  And love one another.  No matter what.
.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
.
Pics at my friend's home.  Sun was hot on my legs/toes and felt like the best hot steam sauna ever.
.
For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
.
Award winning speaker, hire me for your group, local/out-of-state.
                                                                                 .
Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
.
Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
.
Construction by Award Winning
Shaefer Heard Construction, licensed home-builder, renovation - new construction.  Heard's Landscaping a unit of SHC.  3 decades of service.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pinterest: Honey Holes vs Contrived



Filling  Outdoor Living & Exterior Design, and, Vanishing Threshold: House + Garden, on Pinterest is interesting.  Contrived pictures, most often, come from (USA) magazines.
.
About 2 months, so far, into Pinterest, for landscapes & gardenesque homes, I know where the honey holes are.
.
With so much honey why see contrived?
.
Pinterest is wildly successful, and I know why.  Whenever I must wait, Pinterest is my new best friend.  Pretty, fast, always learn something, happy, wide range of delightful topics, new ideas, classics, and at least 1 koan/week.
.
Beloved is forever busy, when we finally order dinner he has time to check emails etc.  Me?  Instead of 'waiting' for him to finish I'm zipping around Pinterest.  Guess who has the 'wait' now?  Priceless.
.
Honey holes?  Europe.  Australia
.
You?  Are you a Pinterest honey hole and don't know it yet?  Stay with me.  Are you not doing Pinterest?  With total selfishness I want you to consider Pinterest.  It is your eye, mind, experiences, wisdom, a life well lived, foods tasted, pets loved, children laughed with, museum hours logged, books read, that will choose topics for boards and then your CURATED choices.  Yes, in selfishness, that's what I want.
.
Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
.
Pic via Pinterest.
.
For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
.
Award winning speaker, hire me for your group, local/out-of-state.
                                                                                 .
Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
.
Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
.
Construction by Award Winning
Shaefer Heard Construction, licensed home-builder, renovation - new construction.  Heard's Landscaping a unit of SHC.  3 decades of service.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Handling Tulips & Dog 'Business' in the South.

She doesn't ask for much.  Her backyard is tiny, she has a beloved large dog, mostly shade, a bit of sun.
.
She wants a pretty little garden to look upon from her new screened porch, convenience for her dog's 'business', a few vegetables-herbs, and TULIPS.
.
She's awaiting several surgeries: hips, knees.
.
No mobility to be in her tiny garden.
.
Full-time job.





5 shiny new galvanized garbage cans will hold her veggies-herbs-TULIPS, aka potager.
.
Lined up in the sun.
.
Everything in her garden designed for unskilled labor, at most 1/month.
.
Drip irrigation to her galvanized garbage cans and newly planted shrubs.
.
Old House Gardens, and, Brent and Becky's Bulbs are the sources I've given for her TULIP order.


Horticultural humor using the garbage can lids as plant saucers.
.
Sign-up for the newsletters, above.
.
“A little studied negligence is becoming to a garden.”
— Eleanor Perenyi, 1918-2009, American author of the modern classic Green Thoughts
.
Old House Gardens, always begins their newsletters with a quote, above.
.
Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
.
I took the pics last year at James Farmer's store in Perry , GA.
.
For Heidi, her dog, a wide gravel path curves thru the entire garden.  Fat gravel, is unable to lodge in a large dog's paws.  Easy to pick up Heidi's 'business' with a pet scooper.  Tulips are mostly annuals in the South, they perform best from containers.  Cannot wait to see which tulips she orders, I know she has a purple fetish.
.
My design included the new screened porch and my team completed it earlier this year.  We are sourcing furnishings now.  Yes, we are having fun !
.
For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
.
Award winning speaker, hire me for your group, local/out-of-state.
                                                                                 .
Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
.
Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
.
Construction by Award Winning
Shaefer Heard Construction, licensed home-builder, renovation - new construction.  Heard's Landscaping a unit of SHC.  3 decades of service.