Showing posts with label Design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Design. Show all posts

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Design: Creating Flow

How will you get from point A to point B ?
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Flow.
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Flow is at the front end of my Garden Design Equation.
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When I was in college, SMU, someone mentioned the sidewalks in front of Dallas Hall were poured, AFTER, they saw where students tread dirt paths thru low meadow.
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(Privately, off topic, in person, you may wish to ask me about the tunnels under those sidewalks.  That was a crazy fun date.)
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Architecture, interior design, color, materials, scale, below, are sublime.  In addition, flow is the unseen subliminal element.  So good it's taken for granted.



At our ca. 1900 American Farmhouse architecture home, below.  We haven't lived here a week, how can we possibly know where to put paths, parking courts, drives, terraces, pole barn, and links throughout all?
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Overflow parking, below, from my office view.  My little van, Tess, is in front of the house, and another truck with long open bed trailer are in the drive along the opposite side of the house.
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The golf cart has yet to be brought from the house we sold, nor 2 tractors and 2 more work trucks.
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None of the above traffic/parking issues includes guest vehicles.
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I adore this.
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Creating flow/parking in our own garden.


Foot traffic, below.  Tractor Supply had a single boot choice for my new home, below.  Work shoes from my former cottage garden, not sufficient in the least.
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Drive, front parking court, overflow parking, a path, hugging the house are speaking.  Good news.
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Further from the house, the flow has no voice.


At the back of the house, 2 out buildings, at left & at right, must be moved, due to flow.
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Building at left is impeding vehicles, and building at right is blocking the deck we're building around the back of the house.


Both buildings a century old, clad in metal more recently.  We'll reuse the wood in our new shed I want built in the orchard, to be planted.
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Hope you sense the best element in creating flow.  Anticipation.
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Every layer of a garden is exciting.  Never tiresome.
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More than anything I want several dump trucks arriving with our gravel.  Too soon, don't know exactly where to place it.  Patience.  This is where G*d taught me patience, in a garden.  We all get life lessons, yet they arrive in their own time and have different teachers.  If we don't 'get' the bigger life lessons, they keep arriving until we do.
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Patience.  Your impatience is why I have a career.  Every client, just like I was at the front end of gardening, thinking they can put in a garden, do, and it's horrendous.  After my first garden making, vile of course, it was off to years of Extension Service courses, symposiums, then another college degree, in horticulture, finally touring historic gardens across Europe for 2+ decades.  Now, I know a few things about gardening, and thrill at the new lessons still arriving, every day.
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Moving into this new home/garden it is clear, I am an experienced gardener but a new farmer.  Adoring a new learning curve.  And living Thomas Jefferson's, " but tho' an old man, I am but a young gardener.   ", backwards.  G*d has a sense of humor in this new lesson, which feels like a gift, not a lesson.  Great segue into Joseph Campbell's, "
When you follow your bliss... doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn't be a door for anyone else.
When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.
You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don't know what was in the newspapers that morning... a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be."
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Top pic, Wendy Posard, bottom pics taken yesterday in our new home/garden.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Designing to Solve Problems: Maintenance & Snakes

From the 1st visit with the realtor to our new home, I KNEW the garden around the house would be gravel with meandering paths & terraces of gravel further from the house.  And, siting of large pots with HYDRANGEA, drip irrigation of course, were paramount.



Leaving a cottage garden of 3 decades, our new garden is American Farmhouse, ca. 1900.  More importantly, its design will be for our 80 year old selves.  I must be 80 years old, have a gorgeous garden with zero worries about maintaining it.  A garden must leverage life, not the reverse.
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This garden, above/below, I shot late last summer.  Limelight hydrangeas in the same situation as my new garden.  Loving, to the center of my DNA, this garden, I had zero clue I would soon be owning similar.  Alas, it's owned by a man, greatly talented, and strong.  My garden must be smarter, my strength not as great.  Game on.



Fearless, gravel will go to the house, similarly, below.

Interesting block +clapboard

Not wanting formality, gravel will lap at our century old pecan trees, Tara Turf will lap at some pecan trees too.

French garden design - gravel courtyard

As time passes, stone will be added to the gravel as needed.  Stone, below, added for rain issues.  And, I will site wisteria 'Amethyst Falls' at my front porch.  Vines or espaliered trees/shrubs add lush without space.

gravel bordered by pavers / french courtyard draped in wisteria

Knowing gravel terraces will be included, below, great anticipation in wondering 'exactly' where.
Screen-Shot-2013-06-10-at-2.49.40-PM.png 666×482 pixels

Transitioning to meadow, I will add checkerboard squares, below.

Make the best of both worlds using green grass paired with square pavers

Furlow Gatewood has smashed a bottle of champagne upon thousands of ships, below, with his allee of hydrangeas in pots.  Copy, it's the 1st rule of garden design.



Wildly, without knowing the deeper truths of our new garden, my initial thoughts for design are more than suitable at age 80.  Even life saving, for any age.  Snakes, the indigenous timber rattler.  Luckily have already interrupted a long king snake under the house.  Lucky, yet totally scared when I saw him.
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Gravel is the best solution, trying to be safe, in defense of snakes near the house.  I got the memo, go me.
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Sourcing pots now, I think I've found them !
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T
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Top 2 pics mine, the rest from my Pinterest Board, Stone.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Creating Flow: Garden Design Equation

With an engineering degree, and horticulture, you know I've invented a Garden Design Equation, moons ago.  Yes, good gardens are math.
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Will do a long post about the Garden Design Equation, but not today.  Promise, you will love the Garden Design Equation, and totally 'get' it.  Have taught it in my college classes and seminars losing no one yet.
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Living in our new American Farmhouse Architecture home, ca. 1900, for a total of 3 nites, the Garden Design Equation beckons.
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Blessedly no gardening has been done here for decades, Poverty is a Great Preserver, indeed.  Why is this good?  Not a lot to 'undo'.
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Focal point on axis, below.  Vanishing Threshold.

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Focal points must be sited as focal points from more than a single direction.  This type of focal point, urn above, is one of the best.  Do you know why?  Needs no planting.  Low maintenance.  Let your garden leverage your life.  Your garden works for you, not the reverse.
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From the outside, below, first impression, your garden must tell me who you are, this garden does.
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But my narrative, above, has skipped some of the 1st elements of the Garden Design Formula.
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Focal point siting is often 'obvious' but must wait until 'flow' around the property is managed.  Flow for cars, and walking, maintenance, and larger spaces, a gator/golf cart.
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Do you see what else is obvious when creating flow?  Turf is included in 'flow' equal to a gravel path-drive-terrace.
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This garden, below, is designed for low maintenance too.  Did you already spot that?  The tractor can easily do its job, and the evergreens need once/year attention, no irrigation needed, no chemicals, no fertilizers.
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Had to laugh when I saw this pic, it's exactly where my Garden Design Equation is percolating at our new home.  Flow.
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Drive & Parking Court, below.
 
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Had already told Beloved I will design a gravel drive, gravel parking court, gravel paths, with boxwoods and Tara Turf.
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The Garden Design Equation formula at work.  Historic too.  In the greatest of ironies, I studied historic gardens across Europe for 2+ decades learning how to design a garden with 'plants'.   What was truly learned is flow, repetition, rooms, axis, max pollinator habitat......etc.

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Oddly, too, I've had this idea, below, in mind for the area with my above ground propane tank.  Cannot wait for the before/after shots of my propane tank.  Who knew such delights could be had?  Adore taking the worst a garden offers and turning it into use and beauty.

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Big effect, below, little input.  Been done thousands of times across the centuries, and will be done again at our new home.  Copy.  NEVER worry about copying.  Each site is unique, making each iteration new/fresh.  Again, the Garden Design Equation, and why it works.  Your garden is unique, and the brain cells you apply enhance every effect.

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Gratuitous, below, if you know anything about Historic Garden Design.
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And, of course, I will copy it too.  Daffodils
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Notice something else about all these pics?  Deer proof.

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Luckily my new bathroom needs a 'tweak'.  And, there is a window overlooking the new orchard/rose arbor.  This is exactly how my tub will site, at its window.

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Single story, our American Farmhouse, is quite long.  3 days here, I know for sure, both front/back doors will have their own set of work shoes/shovels/pruners/wheelbarrow/hats.
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A garden must leverage your time.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Pics via Cote De Texas, from Elle Decor




Monday, June 8, 2015

Removing Foundation Plantings


A few times across the decades I've designed a garden with existing foundation plantings so wrong from inception, by the builder of course, they had to be removed.  Hollies were the culprit, and damaging to foundation, sidewalk, driveway, and monetary damage to the home's value.
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Each time all foundation plantings were removed there was a husband squawking.
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Each time I said, "Trust me."
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Each time, once the plantings were gone, the husbands said, "Why didn't I do this sooner?"  They liked seeing how pretty their home was, finally, after living in it for years.
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Huge lesson in this.  Removing ugly improves a garden.  Ironic, human intuition says, "I'll keep the ugly, better than nothing."
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This, below, is sublime.  A delightful narrative in all sorts of directions via the pic.

Old Farm House

What the home looked like, below, before foundation plantings were removed.  Narrative is rather narrow.



More about this home, the Enos Kellogg Homestead, ca. 1784, here.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara

Friday, June 5, 2015

French Toile: Anna Belle Hydrangeas, Tool Bouquets, Garden Shed

A good French toile, below, come to life.
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Shot this week, I'm greedy and would like daily access.
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Shoot when the rose is cascading blossoms.



Shoot on a snowy day in the dead of winter.


 Shoot on a bleached out hot humid Southern afternoon.


Shoot from inside the kitchen, two big windows view this French toile.
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Fall shots, with rain, a refined camera allowing you to smell the petrichor from foliage, and rusty tools, or corrugated metal.  Divining the distinctions of each.
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A great year for Anna Belle hydrangeas.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Pics from Susanne Hudson's garden this week.  Come see her garden, it's on tour this Sat/Sun, Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Elements of a Famous Garden: Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival

Shade encroached lawn, below, so it was removed & a gravel path was added with a row of boxwoods.
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Then, unexpectedly, a gift of huge pots with boxwoods, and an entryway was created, below.
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This is a new portion of Susanne Hudson's famous Douglasville, GA garden.  Her garden is on the Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival tour this Saturday/Sunday.
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Aside from being in magazines, on TV and tours, Susanne's garden should also be famous for how easy it is to maintain.
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And, deer proof.
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Susanne's garden reads like a Garden Design Manual.
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Garden Design Elements:


  Complete architecture above, ceiling, walls, floors, doorways, rooms.

Hallway (gravel path)
Foyer (zone between arbor/boxwood in pots/end of gravel path)
Walls ( fence, side of house, hedges)
Color  (house/fence white theme)
Color ( layers of green, dark green, light green)
Color (granite gravel chosen to flow with white theme vs. brown river pebbles)
Ceiling (sky is designed by framing with canopy & understory trees)
Entryways (the more entryways a garden has the better a garden is)
Ballroom (invitation to the ballroom via the arbor, implied mystery, the garden beckons you)
Parlor (invitation to the parlor thru the large boxwood pots)
Art on the Wall (house is backdrop to the garden)
Art on the Wall (one focal point/area is the macro rule, here it's the arbor)
Flooring (gravel, low meadow)

Garden Design is Interior Design with different arrows in the quiver.  When you see a garden you like, there is a language to describe every element.  Learn the language, in this lone pic, above, and your quiver will be full for any garden you see moving forward.

When I give this lecture, I move to a new pic, use the laser pointer, and let the audience shout out what it is.  By the 3rd picture all are fluent.  Even those that were skeptical.  Name it to claim it is true for garden design.  Once you can name it, you can put it in your own garden.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Pic taken by Susanne Hudson.  Spent the night with Susanne earlier this week, preparing for my lecture at the Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival this Saturday, 2pm, in the new courthouse.

Monday, June 1, 2015

When it's Simple, You're Dancing

For years I've known the best question to ask after 'completing' a Garden Design, "What can I take out, and it still holds together?"
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For decades I've had the privilege of being hired by women in their 70's-80's.  Most widowed, or divorced.  Why privilege?  Aside from demanding beauty with ease of maintenance, that's easy, the known quantity, yet unspoken, is staying in the house, till the end.  We're playing at winning the end game, without stress.  The end game is not for sissies.  Roofs with major winds, plumbing issues within a slab, a toilet leaking from upstairs while away on a trip flooding the entire home, a cancer diagnosis, perhaps a stroke, living for months with a grown child needing grandma's help with their little ones during a job transition.
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When I'm hired by these women, I understand unspoken reasons.
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Now, moving into a new home, I'm designing my new garden for my 80 year old self.

Sfeervolle stadstuin met veranda  www.buytengewoon.nl Bart Bolier - Tuinarchitect ontwerp@buytengewoon.nl tuinontwerp | tuinrealisatie

Looks 'modern', above, yet follows every classic Garden Design rule since before Christ's era.

Planete Deco

Without awareness, or training, I know something, in metaphor, about Garden Design, Herbert Muschamp wrote in describing Venice, "The function of the City was to translate the religion into a visual & spacial code."

John Rocha. Provence

Beloved has asked me, more than once, always in exasperation, "Are you always a Garden?"  Yes, thank you.  More than believe, active choices are made throughout the day, every day, to 'Take Joy' as Tasha Tudor did, by knowing into my DNA, "Our energy flows where our attention goes."

From Bunny Williams' gorgeous home and inspiring garden, the subject of "An Affair with a House" - lovely stone patio!

"How can we know the dancer from the dance?", W.B. Yeats.  If you have a landscape, your answer is public, every picture in this post, the owner knows the dance, and dances.  

Garden of Axel Vervoordt in Belgium

Above, plain?  Hardly.  You're seeing the dance.
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Riet verveelt nooit. Deze prachtige stoelen in combinatie met een tafel met een gietijzeren onderstel.. http://www.royaldesign.nl/tuinmeubels/tuinstoelen/vergrijsde-rieten-stoel-nina/0600-100/C/38

Why aren't more gardens, above, like this one?  Aside from easy to maintain, interiors flowing outside, do you notice the major force?  This garden reeks of invitation, alone or a pair, and quickly available to expand for a group enjoying dinner/wine.

Landscaping by Stijn Cornilly

This garden, above, combines the previous 2 pics.  Scroll upward and look again.  This is the dance.
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Haven't moved into my new home/garden yet, but I'm already dancing its dance.
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Isn't it time you dance yours?
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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All pics Pinterest: Vanishing Threshold.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Micro & Macro Mission Statements


What's the mission statement for your garden?
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Mine?
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I want to look out every window of my home, and unprompted, exclaim, 'OH WOW'.  Everyday, many times each day, and night.  
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Of course that is too small, micro.  Macro, I must have something coming into bloom every 2 weeks, all year.  Little maintenance, no irrigation, fragrance, pollinators, and views I choose, the sky framed to my amusement, etc...
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Before the internet, cell phone, digital camera, I demanded of my garden a roll of 36 slides, taken any day of the year, each slide worthy of a magazine/catalogue/book cover.  The brain wave, for taking any garden picture.


Yesterday, above.  Shooting my front garden, in the Bay Terrace, Laura.  Days of sorrow & tears, in moving, I refuse to allow to take away a single moment of the many joys, grace, & life victories pouring forth, in moving.  


Tears were not dry on my cheeks, from shooting the pics top/bottom, before time to celebrate, above, milestones for the move.
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Beloved/I had quite the day, zooming in 2 cars follow the leader, sometimes 1, against 'major' deadlines, downtowns/parking meters/back roads/storms/lawyers/judges/morons/saints/banks etc, like a Doris Day/Rock Hudson film.  
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After my vinegar/water spilled in his car, already frustrated he was beyond perturbed, then I discovered his huge commercial project blue prints were more than wet with 'my' vinegar/water, holes were eaten thru his blueprints.  The more perturbed Beloved got the harder I laughed.
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(Really 'my' vinegar/water only spilled because of his driving.), Beloved had to head out-of-state to that huge commercial job, now full of vinegar/water holes, good to give a man something to remember you by.  Called him on the phone to stay.  No.  Then came the weather.  No.  Weather came bigger.  No.  Roads closed, and it was already rush hour in Atlanta.  
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Guess who was toasting with champagne?
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Of course he was.
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Need to let you know about the vinegar/water, you'll probably be drinking it soon.


In my new garden, I know, epiphanies/metaphors will arrive, specifically, to place my loved garden properly.  
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Faith.  Trust.  Grace.
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Trinity of strength. 
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Top/bottom pics are separate photos, I doubt I'll ever get over the luxury of taking as many pics as desired.  During the days of slides, sometimes, I had to wait for developing because I had no money.  Importance of each slide being fabulous was imperative.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO T

Friday, May 15, 2015

Howard Slatkin: Tete-a-tete

My new house, 115 year old American farmhouse architecture, has a large formal dining room with a corner of windows.  Not a large arena within the room, but I knew from the 1st walk thru the corner would be a favorite spot.  Less than 24 hours later I made an offer on the house.
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Howard Slatkin, below, nailed it for my dining room corner, below.
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The daily 'look', below.

howard slatkin dining room

And, arranged, below, for my favorite, a tete-a-tete.

Dining room in NY apartment of Howard Slatkin. Habitually Chic®

Though I haven't moved in I know where my guest will sit.  1 window has a fabulous view, the other 'needs work'.  Alone, it's obvious where I will sit.  Ok, both views 'need work', at least one is completely vernacular.

Lunch on a Russian table, New York dining room of Howard Slatkin, from his forthcoming book "Fifth Avenue Style" from Vendome Press. Photo by Tria Giovan.
Solitary luncheon is the most common, but I had excellent mentoring in dining alone.  Miss Louise, my beloved grandmother-in-law, long a widow, always chose a beautiful setting for herself, alone, and for our many dinners together, tete-a-tete, of course.

"Casual" window-side dining in Howard Slatkin’s fantasy of a Fifth Avenue home.

Another mentor, Mary Kistner, along with her beautiful table settings, taught me her favorite tea recipe, Earl Gray mixed with fresh mint from the potager.  She always had a 2nd teapot too, filled solely with a mix of her many types of mint, with just finished boiling water poured over.  Discussing the merits of the 2nd teapot was a delight, everytime.
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My corner will have mostly vintage wicker.  An excuse has arrived to allow, yet another, dropleaf gateleg antique table into my stable.  The hunt has begun.
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More Pins from Howard Slatkin on my Edwardian pin board created for my new house.  Howard has a focus with his interior design, too many decorators do not have.  People.  Howard Slatkin focuses his interiors and gardens for people to have conversations, laughter, share stories, gossip, create lives well lived, beyond material goods.  His gardens are fascinating, they put a tete-a-tete above all, always.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Pics Howard Slatkin.  Closing on the new house soon, choosing interior colors next week.  Movers are hired but many trips with antique ironstone/china, lamps, art, a few chairs for 'scope of the imagination' to be had, 3 dropleaf tables to site front-middle-back of the house, will be toted in my little van, alone.  Put together a box for the kitchen, enough to get me thru this 'camping' phase of 3 weeks before movers arrive.  My favorite vintage ivory linen tea towels, 3 types of tea, oversized Spode 'gardeners' tea cup, and oversized Spode mug, coffee, you get the idea, enough for a tete-a-tete right away in that dining room corner.
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Of course I'm bringing 3 wicker waste baskets, a bucket with brush/comet, garbage bags, paper towels, cleaning rags, broom/dust pan, a little radio to listen to classical music on NPR, things for the charwoman.  Me.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

What the French Gave: Monocoloring


Credentials I have, yet my true Garden Design education spanned 2+ decades and several continents.
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Smiled when I saw this, below.
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France gave me 2 huge arenas of learning, 1 is below.  
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MonoColoring.
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Language is no barrier to studying the best historic gardens across the globe.  Gardens speak Gardenese.
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Applying a French Garden Design lesson, below.
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If you field gather garden chairs, no worries about style, beyond comfort of course, paint them all the same color. 
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This lesson holds true at every price point home, castle, gated community, farm, villa, pied a terre, section 8 apartment balcony, townhome, even in my little working class cluster home neighborhood.
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Chairs, below, have a choice of colors for monocoloring.  Use trim color from the house, or an interior color that is prominent in the best artwork owned or from the carpet, perhaps a wall color.

Mismatched woven chairs and a teak table set the scene for meals in the outdoor entertaining area of this California cottage.   - CountryLiving.com

Of course more needs to be done, above, in this sweet garden room.
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Vine maintenance, above, is about a month overdue.  Bring a ladder to the French doors landing, with jackhammer drill, mortar screws, galvanized wire, install, finally, threading vine across top of French doors.
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Stay there, and hang the lantern, from the second step, centered above the French doors with the bottom of the lantern hanging 3 courses of bricks above the top of the French doors.
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Done with the ladder, put a level on the pot at the right of the French doors and get it level.
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Finally, use some spare bricks from home construction and raise the serving table, next to the house, 4 bricks high.
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All of these changes, are what my brain does, all of the time, driving or looking at Pinterest.  My brain 'fixes' gardens.  A well-honed skill.
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My brain can rest from this particular form of Garden Design OCD when camping at beach/mountains, and joyfully in my friends gardens.
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When a client garden is headed for Garden Tour it is amazing the to-do list we create for an already fabulous garden.  Pages long.
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If your garden is ready for a garden tour, but you've not done one yet, I strongly encourage you to do it.  Your garden will go to another level.
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You will never have been so driven in your life, promise.  Aside from weeks of exhaustion and hunting/gathering, your checkbook will provide, in a manner that feels like Zen but prior to the tour felt like fear.  It gets worse, you will begin new garden layers, to be finished prior to the tour, you never anticipated.  Providence, supplying epiphanies and inspirations, and you will be Peasant in Chief, happy to oblige. 
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Did you just smirk at this?
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Then YOU are the one that will do all described.  Promise.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
Pic from HERE.  






Monday, May 11, 2015

We Want What We Say We Don't Want

Few have a language to convey what they want for/from/within their landscape.  Doctors must think the same when a patient has symptoms, and no vocabulary to describe them.  My stomach hurts.
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I want those white flowers.
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I don't want to spend a lot of money, and don't want anything high maintenance, nothing formal.
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Nothing formal.
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Perhaps the most abused request, "Nothing formal."
Followed by pictures of gardens they like, 100% with formal lines, and high maintenance filler plantings, aka expensive.

Sandhill Farm House and garden, Sussex



All of this I thought of seeing the sweet garden, above.

Every element of good garden design for the last several centuries is in this garden. (Copied, repetition, contrasting foliage textures, evergreen structure all year, movement of eye/pollinators/foot, axis, cross axis, change thru the seasons, framing the sky, framing the home, hi density/low density attracting widest variety of pollinators.)
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This garden, above, could have a lovely 'modernist' overlay by removing all perennials/flowering shrubs and replacing solely with low evergreen groundcover.  Expense goes down, fun choices arrive.  Site hardscape focal points, or a line of pots, to be planted, or not.
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Another direction to take this garden, above, take away all perennials and replace with a variety of hydrangea, mophead/oakleaf/paniculata.
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Oddly, I know I've entered a new chapter.  Instead of wanting hydrangeas, for 2 decades, groundcovers have become the delight.  Perhaps 6 large pots of hydrangeas.  Line them up in 2 rows?  Perhaps anchor an enfilade with 3 pairs?  Where would a pair of benches go?  Where to place a double axis of vintage urns/plinths?   A proscenium is born.
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Delighting in this simplicity, a fun challenge, and exercise in continual refinements.  Hodge podge lodge was fun too, the years simplified into a new game.
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When a client has full time job, kids in elementary school, pets, and no means for maintenance beyond basic mow/blow/go, and asks for this garden, above, I sell it minus the perennials, adding groundcovers & focal points.  Describing the maintenance, and skilled labor/expense, sells the simplicity.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Pic by © Nicola Stocken Tomkins. Countryside April 2012, here.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Monet's Fruit Tree with Climbing Rose

After touring Monet's garden, hours, we went to the shops behind his home, at bottom of pic below, and bought sandwiches.  The day was too fine, experiencing his home/garden too intense,  we sat under an ancient fruit tree, it's in the watercolor below, in a stupor.
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More, the fruit tree was ancient, with an equally ancient climbing rose threading thru it, in peak bloom.



Boring enough tale, yet to anyone speaking the language of gardenese, tale of a lifetime.
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We travel the globe for these moments.  And plant them at home, the luckiest among us have hundreds of gardens to plant them in.  Client gardens.  My wealth lies not in the bank, but in my career.
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Walking my sweet garden, 30 years here, has me in tears daily now.  Especially the moments ahead of peak gloaming.  There is no word in English, probably in another language for this, pulling in with the eyes, nose, and skin trying to imprint more than they can take in onto my DNA.
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Selfishness, of a peculiar sort, fear, hunger for more, and the feeling of never being able to return, must learn, educate, retain, sort, deduce, elucidate, sense all of the ephemeral that has passed, translate, know that it will be the soul understanding the language, not my head, the muse, erudite, able to create what the gardenese clearly speaks.
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Yesterday, above, in my garden.  Climbing rose into the Crape Myrtle.
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Best part of this pic?  I'm standing in the street with a dozen working class houses intruding.  Yet for this ephemeral fragment, gardenese owns the space.  My house is behind this tapestry hedge.  In this moment you don't know the location, acreage, era or reality.  I am fluent in gardenese.  Looks a bit wild, yet totally designed, rustic.  And you see the role Monet played.  Hint of another story, in Italy, in the pic too.
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My soul would have withered, living here, without my garden.   Yet with my garden, though I've traveled the globe on the hunt for historic gardens, there is a bedrock epiphany, I travel farthest in my garden.
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Like the story from Dr. Zhivago, this talent for extravagant travel within my garden, 'It is a gift.'
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Soon, I'll be living an hour east of my garden.  Like Karen Blixen, after leaving, I will never return.  In my new garden, I know I can return any time.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Top pic via Trip Advisor.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Metal vs. Wood Arbor


Recently finished a Garden Design adding a similar metal arbor, below.


New construction, the home is American Farmhouse, mostly, architecture.
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She wanted an arbor for harvest table & twinkle lites.
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Lapboard siding home, a wood arbor would have been 'too much' more wood.  And the scale 'clunky'.
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Original brick patio, quite pretty, is postage stamp in size, and common to its size, never used.  I enlarged the space with gravel.
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Done.
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Now, finding this particular construction specialist, custom metal arbor.
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Adore simple solutions with elegance & function.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Pic via here

Monday, April 27, 2015

Planning a New Garden

Learned decades ago I cannot design a garden without seeing interiors.  Moving into a new home?  Difficulties designing the garden?  Of course.
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Grieving leaving my garden, but oh my, the excitements of anticipating the new garden.  I'm in a new relationship.  House, garden, me, well trod territory, and favorite.  Slow down, did you notice the trinity?  Is this trinity, house-garden-you, yours?
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Ignore this trinity at your peril.  It is not in the least selfish, instead the opposite, giving.
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Counterintuitive.
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It's the airplane cliche, put the air mask on yourself before helping others.
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Once house & garden are leveraged fully, they are your ally in times of need, a spiritual base and retreat.  Beauty, ease, activity.  Another cliche, the more you go inward the more you outwardly connect.
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This isn't where I'm going with you, another day.
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Not in my new house/garden yet, I cannot design the garden.  How could I?  Don't know how I will live inside the house.
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I do know I'm designing for my 80 year old self, deer, drought, unskilled labor, and my own needs for beauty, simplicity, grace,   The property has no barn, garage, conservatory, chicken coop.  They are for me to choose, not a bad bargain.
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Built 1900, 4.5 acres, wooded/open, pond, American farmhouse architecture, 1 story, deep front porch across entire front, and a dogtrot 9' wide x 50 feet long.  A dairy farm next door, with beautiful views of meadow, lake, rolling hills, Piedmont forest, and cows.  Thorns in the roses, but those are another day too.
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Exterior colors?  White on white is the classic for 1900, below.  Along with basic gray porch flooring and blue beadboard ceilings.



Pic from here.
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Close to the street, I immediately thought of low fencing, friendly, with 'X' pattern, below.  Alas, my 2 chimneys, after inspectors report, had to be removed.  Repairing/replacing them not an option at this layer.  Asked the current owner if I could have the bricks, realtor texted after chimneys were down, the bricks are stacked and waiting for me.

 paint colors for 1900 farmhouse - Google Search

Pic via here.

30 years in my home/garden, a garden cat always in attendance.  Will take this, below, and style for my own architecture.

  

Pic via here.

For my dogtrot, below.  Door, table, door, the perfect enfilade.

 New southern Greek Revival residence with gas lanterns in GA - Historical Concepts

Pic via here.

 farmhouse porch | Farmhouse-porch-view

Exterior lights, above, are long gone, replacements chosen without regard to the home's age/architecture.  Finally, will get to purchase lighting from the man I refer to all my clients.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sotheby's. A game room in Bunny Mellon's Oak Spring Farm Estate

Pic via here.
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There is no library, above, in my new home, this cannot be.  Great joy in anticipating where it will be built.

 Rachel "Bunny" Mellon with a gathering of her topiaries, photographed at a window of her Virginia home (Vogue, 1965). Photo: Horst P. Horst/Condé Nast Archive. AD Remembers Design Icon Bunny Mellon

Pic via here.
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Terra cotta, above, and galvanized metal will predominate with my pots at the new house.

 The antique lantern and the brass stool in the master bedroom are Lebanese. The ebonized slipper chairs are Italian, and the club chair, by O. Henry House, is clad in a Robert Kime ticking stripe; the bedside tables are from John Rosselli Antique

Pic via here.
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Ceilings are 11' tall, above, and I've spent too much time researching how high to put curtain rods.

This dining room of Bunny Williams has been one of my favorites since her book came out. I love the chinoiserie panel, she is married to John Rosselli, and the large gingham Slipcovers are fab.

Pic via here.
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Will slipcover, above, some of my furniture, some in big check, the rest plain.

nancy lancaster

Pic via here.
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The master bedroom is shaded and needs a bright Nancy Lancaster yellow, above.

Plates display and details on table

Pic via here.
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Dishes, above, will go on the walls.  Which dishes and which walls, too fun, the anticipation.

Charles Faudree. This exuberant room from one of Faudree’s own homes lit up Traditional Home's April 1991 cover.

Pic via here.
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Cloth on table, above, again, where, more than one?

 rambling path creates a sense of adventure . Bunny Williams' Litchfield Hills home

Pic via here.
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Have done variations on this garden entry, above, for decades.  The joy of knowing they will be designed, but not knowing where, for now.

 Not very comfortable looking but oh so elegant!  Furlow- Gatewood ~ from the book /OneMansFolly

Pic via here.
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My new home can lend itself formal, but I won't go there, wanting a blue striped rug, above, somewhere.

 beautiful vignette, love the demilune, the green table and chair, the botanicals and painted plank walls

Pic via here.
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Have chosen the best room, very Enchanted April, for my office, above.  A fun day when I can set the stack of 5 books I've written in their new resting place.  Better days coming soon when I start writing my new books.  3 in the pipeline.  Which to choose 1st?  Adore these  sorts of 'problems' !

 Choose an elegant lean-to | conservatory | country | Country Homes & Interiors  For sheer elegance and simplicity, the lean-to conservatory wins hands down. Its single-pitched roof is ideal for a limited space such as a terraced house or to fill the side return at the back of many Victorian houses. Find similar aluminium conservatories at Alitex  Read more at http://www.housetohome.co.uk/room-idea/picture/country-conservatories-10-of-the-best-1#KCf3cUlvtJ5SoEX7.99

Pic via here.

No conservatory, I'm considering this type, above, placed backside a small barn in the orchard.  Neither barn/orchard existing anywhere but in my head.  Already, they are on perfect axis with each other, house, and garden views.
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Amazing how little I know what to do in my new garden.  In the macro, yes.  Fine tuning exact placements, flow & scale, no.  Life is good.  My next job is to get moved in, and live.  Choose interior colors, place furniture, art, lamps, library.  And litter box.
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This ride has already begun.
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Blessedly my new home is not Victorian, it is Edwardian.  A favorite era.  A little later and it would have been Depression era Poverty Cycle.  It will be included for history, and necessity, yet the elegancies from the Edwardian will each be a joy.
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Getting my homes ready to sell has about done-me-in.  Fourteen trips to thrift store with stuff, packing boxes, and staging, all at the same time.  Gardens included, and alas both garages.  Made the choice to use a realtor because of my day job.  30 years in my home, only 3 years with office/guest cottage.  Have written about staging a friend's hard to sell vacation cabin, 6 years on the market with 3 realtors, I sold it on Zillow for-sale-by-owner, renting it on AirBnB while for sale.
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Staging works.  Both of my homes have a signed contract, last week, with the first person who looked, then made an offer less than 24 hours later.  No, homes were not priced too cheap.  They were priced dictated by nearby comparables.  Quite a week, last week, still not believing the speed life is happening.
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Grieving leaving is intense.  The outreach I'm receiving is helping immensely.  Humbled, and giving thanks, at this unexpected chapter of grace.
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None of the above is 'afforded'.  I must write about the financial devastation of being married to an alcoholic, college sweetheart, for 3 decades, and losing every dime to my name.  Repairing the financial damage as a Garden Designer, on my own.  Alcoholic did not aim his misery at me, I was merely collateral damage.  Was a victim for 15 wasted minutes.  Was fortunate to pass thru survivor stage in fewer minutes, thankfully, to years of thriver.
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At lectures, local/national, and in my open gardens I've had many opportunities with other women, hugging them, tears down their faces, smiles too.  Why are they crying?  They had the epiphany, If she can do it, I can too.