Showing posts with label England. Show all posts
Showing posts with label England. Show all posts

Monday, February 2, 2015

Clive Nichols: Shooting Gardens at the Edge



Clive Nichols, below.  He shoots a garden, and it is his garden, yet given away as shutter snaps.

Wollerton Old Hall  A formal plantsman's garden with garden 'rooms' each with their own defining style



Of course you want your feet to crunch on the gravel, above, and walk thru that door. I have walked thru dozens of these graveled doorways across continents & countries, Clive Nichols shoots them exactly as they are in the memory of sparking brain cells.  His shots capture the owner's fantasy & caretakers hands, and my moments being there.

Clematis 'Shimmer' by Clive Nichols

Repeatedly, Clive Nichols shows the beauty of the present, above, yet greater enticements soon to arrive, in the bud.  Perhaps this is his talent, capturing the frisson of life's potent edge, the margins of change.  Providence.  Atonement in the cusp of change, abiding in the moment caught.
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Clive does not bring his equipment into any garden for amusement.  His skills are used in stewardship.

Lavender and olive trees near Grasse, France. Photo: Clive Nichols

These are not olive trees, above, with breeze blown lavender.  No.  You are walking thru lavender and touching olive branches as you pass.

clive nichols  I want to name this photo " wakie wakie, rise and shine!"  Julie

More than 'how' to shoot, Clive Nichols, knows 'what' to shoot.  He owns the rose, above, yet gives it away, both, in the same moment.  A truth about  gardens.  No matter the 'owner', a garden is given to all who see.


The coral garden Clive Nichols Photograhy

Clive, you unmask me, in a quick snap, above.  The snows of early summer have begun, above, with petals falling to the ground.  Tara Turf, winding past temporary focal points with the roses in bloom, and the subsidiary focal point with a watering can on the chair, Tara's Garden Design Rule: Just Let It Touch, a chair leg just-brushing the taller Tara Turf, rose foliage caressing a chair's shoulder, a petal fallen on the watering can, color theme chosen, scent of a mown path's new growth, scent of the taller Tara Turf, musky, redolent of native bees honey still being skewered into their pollen basket with nectar, and the gift of letting us have hints of roses on the wind, as you do.  (Wowza, that turned into a free, Garden Design Class - All About Subsidiary Focal Points.)


Clive Nichols - Library of contemporary fine art and botanical images of flowers and gardens


Nothing 'modern' in a garden is new.  Nothing.  New gardeners think there is a difference amongst styles of gardens across centuries, including our own moment.  Clive keeps shooting his own way, knowing the newest of gardens is as old as the earliest recorded.


Clive Nichols photo of Dominique LaFourcade's work 054586.jpg

Designer, owner, caretaker, time as it takes that trinity across occupants, above, Clive captures the earnestness of heart-on-your-sleeve gardening.

Clive-Nichols-Garden-&-Flower-Photographer. Wonderful lighting - wonder what it looks like at noon?

My garden study tours across the globe have been the most thrilling/exhausting work I've ever done.  Up at 4am for breakfast, riding the bus to another garden for a day's allotment of 2-3, rain/shine.  Clive Nichols captures exactly, above, the moment 4am-toil-expense-inconvenience, gone.  And, I can smell the freshly mown low Tara Turf, above, hear the water, feel the morning rays, understand dimensions, feel the proportions, intuit the age of focal points-trees-shrubs...turn toward axis, understand why they are there, showing off, or hinting at seduction.
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It isn't my interest to shoot like Clive Nichols.  My interest is designing gardens Clive wants to shoot.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Clive Nichols teaches photography classes, here.  Perhaps, in the fullness of time, I will take my own photography from the edge of being a Clive Nichols, to being a Clive Nichols.  Hunger still too strong to create those gardens Clive wants to shoot.  However, would love to attend a Clive Nichols seminar.  Perhaps one of my clients, with frequent flier miles, a barn with accommodations, a garden on site to shoot, and several nearby could sponsor something like this?  Acquiring Clive Nichols in their garden, shooting, as reward.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Topiary: Levens Hall & Arne Maynard


Levens Hall, The Lake District, Cumbria, was the first European study garden I visited.  I was on my way to Scotland to study historic gardens.
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Levens Hall is known for many things, especially topiary, below.
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Topiary was not off my radar, entirely, for decades.  I didn't like it. 
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Now, I get topiary.  Better late than 'nevah'.  Proof, my mistakes are never small.
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Large properties, especially, find topiary useful.  Small properties too.
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Accent, focal point, all year effect, easy to maintain, design uses are many.
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Across USA millions of homes retain their PSO's planted by the builder to satisfy mortgage loan requirements with new construction.
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PSO?  Plant Shape Only.
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Plenty of mature USA hollies are ready for topiary.
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From Levens Hall, below, a chart of some of their topiary.  What's not to like?  You get to put your mark on topiary.


Discovered the work of Arne Maynard via the internet.  Have never been to his garden, nor those he has designed.  Soon, soon...
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Knew immediately he was already where I was headed.  Deep simplicity, Nature, house architecture, wit, intelligence, deeper simplicity.  Of course, Levens Hall runs thru the fragrance of Maynard's work.


Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Top pic Levens Hall, bottom pic Arne Maynard.
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The famous topiary garden at Levens Hall was laid out on axis from a bank of windows inside the home, the middle lead.   Not written anywhere, discovered during my tour.  Levens Hall has had a head gardener entering in the garden journal for almost 4 centuries.
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Life is good, have been to Levens Hall 3 times, and Arne Maynard's gardens await.  Oddly, have zero inclination to travel to international gardens at present.  Too important to design gardens and get them in the ground.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

How to Keep Chickens Out of the Cutting Garden


Cloudy, cold, one of the coldest days, so far, this year, yesterday, and at a jobsite in the windiest county of the state.
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A thousand daffodil bulbs needed sighting, and design ideas for directing guests to the front door instead of their preferred choice, the back door.


In the cutting garden, above/below.  Last year we realized the chickens won, and we had to consider how to keep them out.
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Ironically, the solution was not a first thought.
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And, the solution made us laugh out loud.
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The solution is the evergreen hedging you see, above/below.
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Laughter at ourselves, thinking for decades, low evergreen hedging was an 'aesthetic' design choice from Williamsburg, VA,  England, and etc....
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Wrongo buckaroos.  And not merely a 'little' wrong either !


For centuries the low evergreen hedging has been used to keep chickens out.  Aka, survival.
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Daffodil foliage is coming up, above, however patches of several thousand daffodils in the front garden are not showing a single daffodil spear tip.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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From childhood, this client & I shared something beyond our control.  Something this quote, below, captures perfectly.  Yes, I sent it to her when I found it.
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We had to create our own way.  Parenting during formative years forced it.
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Stay determined, my friends.
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Instead of anger, Providence gave us hearts wanting accomplishment.  And the accomplishment of our friends.  Benevolence.
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Knowing to be part of the pack, for our friends.
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Being thrown to the wolves, more than once, has been the best thing ever.
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With my girlfriends, who have survived, to thrive, being thrown to the wolves, whatever table we sit at, is the cool chicks table. WE like us !

Friday, December 6, 2013

Want Elegance? Espalier

No room for 'lawn'?  Little space to landscape?

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Go vertical.
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Woody shrubs with medium or slow growth are best.  No wires or trellis needed.
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Merely espalier.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Please add ESPALIER to your quiver of garden tools.
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If you want a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, and causes you to tap the brake pedal, as you look in the rear view mirror heading out, become my client, local or on-line.
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Award winning speaker, hire me to speak to your group, local or out-of-state.
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Garden books by Tara Dillard, Amazon.
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pic via Tumblr

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Abolish Your Foundation Plantings


What to do when your foundation has plastic coverings at the windows to your basement?  
 With this eyesore, abolish your foundation plantings.  1st, maximize the plastic coverings in function/aesthetics, 2nd, can they be glass?  If they can be glass, determine to find the glass for free.
When I received the question, yesterday morning, I immediately thought of this garden, above.  No foundation plantings but lots of  LUSH.
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And this garden has the charming table/chairs.
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Proof of the landscape design rule: place a focal point near an eyesore to draw the eye away.
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Garden & Be Well,             XO Tara
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Took the pics in England, admired it's beauty & economy of maintenance needed AND usage.  Not a garden only to be pretty, a garden to be enjoyed.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gertrude Jekyll: Munstead Wood

Christopher Lloyd said, "The garden dies when the gardener dies." Gertrude Jekyll's beloved home, Munstead Wood, above.
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Technically correct, but dead.
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I see a garden needing its mistress. Missing her. Aching for her.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pic above, Charlotte Wehychan.
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I also see maximum pollinator habitat: canopy/understory trees, walls, groundcovers, high density, low density. When Jekyll designed landscapes was she aware of her interface with pollinator habitat?

Monday, April 4, 2011

David Austin Roses Follows This Rule

Visiting David Austin Roses in England is more than roses. It's good Landscape Design. Fabulous focal points. And worth the effort.My rule for focal points, just-let-it-touch, above.

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Cheap focal points aka terrible-bad-disgusting look best at the dump, or at least engulfed in a vine.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Took the pic, 1 of 100's, at David Austin Roses in England. Was there at peak rose season.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

How To Place Beautiful Things

My beautiful pot on plinth, below, placed on axis with the middle window pane of my bay window at the drawing room. Thus sited, it's part of my drawing room. Not separate.How to place, below, a beautiful summer house?
On axis with a main pair of windows from the home, of course !
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Oops. No pic of the view seen while in the summerhouse above. Ha, must get back to the Cotswolds for it.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Top pic in my sweet garden, in the Bay Terrace, aka front yard. I took the bottom pic in the Cotswolds at Sir Hardy Amies garden.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Landscape Design Perfection: Sir Hardy Amies

I took this pic in the Cotswolds in Sir Hardy Amies garden.A complete landscape design course, in one picture.
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Looks easy, can you do it?
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Money is not a criteria. Rescued plants, rescued hardscape & etc..... Yes, you can do this.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Edwardian Simplicity

Pecan Orchard needs a gate. A simple gate.Visiting an English country house & garden I fell in love with this gate.
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Simple, but not.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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This gate starts a conversation, Pecan Orchard needs a taller/wider gate. The garden, above, typically English, a wildwood beyond a gate luring you away from the formal garden. Wondering, finally, if you'll find Sirens, Nyads, Dryads, Satyres.... The last 2 sentences summing up the best of Landscape Design !

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sir Hardy Amies, Constance Spry, David Hicks

Constance Spry, below, of floral fame. A nice article about her in yesterday's NYTimes.With her, ca. 1960, Sir Hardy Amies.
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A decade (longer?) ago I visited a fabulous (you know, like, cool, shazam, wow, the best EVER) teeny garden in the Cotswolds; its owner absent. Leaving, my guide said, "The owner is couturier to the Queen." Yeah, whatever, I'm an American & you think I'll fall for anything.
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I bought, David Hicks, My Kind Of Garden, Edited by Ashley Hicks, last year, it includes Sir Hardy Amies garden. Bingo, my beloved little garden.
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In the pic, above, it lists Sir Hardy Amies as, "...the clothing designer..."
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When I can sweet-talk my way into using a SLIDE PROJECTOR in this dreadful PowerPoint era it's pure selfishness to see my dear, darling, perfect gardens in rich, soul satisfying colors. Sir Hardy Amies garden tops the list, of course there is Helen Dillon's garden too, and.....
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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My dream PowerPoint presentation? 4 machines, facing the 4 compass points, in a huge auditorium. You'll be sitting amongst the garden: looking forward-backward-left-right. Poppets, how many gardens do you think can be shown this way? It's exactly how I design gardens, every direction beautiful. Those preaching: sustainable, eco, green, organic, pollinator & etc.... set a very low bar and harm PUPPET BARBUDA'S beloved Landscape Design profession. Gardens must be all of these things and a Vanishing Threshold with the interiors of your home, and, low maintenance. Anything less than epiphanical and the giver of grace, well, Puppet Barbuda is sad for those 'poor unfortunate souls' living with such a landscape.
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Indeed, I asked my lecture venue in St. Louis, MO next year for 4 PowerPoint projectors, he laughed!!!!
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Pic taken from the NYTimes article.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beatrix Potter's Beehive

Sharon Lovejoy visited Beatrix Potter's home recently, below.Poppets, look at that darling BEEHIVE !!!!!!!!!!!
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Exactly what I need for my tiny property. Exactly. This feels good, already, in anticipation. If I can't find it to buy I'll use the pic & my carpenter will make it.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Never heard of Sharon Lovejoy? Gardener, writer, artist & more wondrous things.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Sacred & Profane of the Best Landscapes

The best landscapes have elements, below, of the Sacred
and elements, below, of the Profane.

Landscape design is about contrasts.
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The Sacred & the Profane. Got both?
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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(Big leaves with small leaves, blue foliage next to burgundy foliage, pyramid forms next to horizontal forms, blowsy hydrangeas bursting over neat green hedging, spikey flowers by round flowers, & etc.)
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Top pic taken last week at Stone Mountain Park, bottom pic England.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Landscape Design

Think this is unkempt? A landscape design, above, an illusion of country. Nature. Not one leaf is unconsidered. The dirt path? Part of the landscape design.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Took pic in England.
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Living with a manicured lawn yet love the garden above? Yes? Life is too short not to have a garden nurturing your spirit.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Foundation Plantings are Ridiculous

Why a stupid row of evergreen meatballs when you, below, can have this? Why give away your real estate? Foundation plantings are a tired concept.
One espaliered shrub adds a lushness legions of sheared green meatballs will never approach.
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In your mind, at this moment, take away your foundation plantings. Good, have fun destroying a landscape and creating your garden. One matching your interiors, architecture, intellect & spirit.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics taken when I was in England. Got rid of my foundation plantings over 15 years ago, la-ti-da.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

BOOKS by BEVERLEY NICHOLS

Beverley Nichols, Englishman, lover of gardening, junk, antiques, cats, history, books, domestic help, his friends, the stage, music, entertaining, reading, & an author. Do you know of him?
Mary Kistner, a mentor, gave me 1 of his books circa 1999. Bought 2 more at that time.

Have reread each several times. This year is a SIGNIFICANT birthday.

Bought myself, so far, stone cat for the Bay Terrace, 3 antique blue/white jardinier's while lecturing in Richmond, VA, and this morning, 12 books by Beverley Nichols. Dahlings, ya'll are expensive, had to buy them, getting the cheapest used versions, before telling you about them.
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Of his friend, Marius, "In the dusky glass of a rococo mirror he could see the shadow of ancient battles; he could trace the beginning of a nation's decadence in the scroll of a picture frame, and find the outlines of a philosophy in the border of an aubusson carpet." And on the next page he writes of George Washington & General Lafayette wallpapering together at Mount Vernon.
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Which, of course, reminded me about John Adams & Thomas Jefferson touring gardens in England for a fortnight, with only their manservants.
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Didn't know these important TRUE details about America's founding fathers?
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Oops, apologies, off topic. Buy any, or all, books by Beverley Nichols. Ha, remember, I snagged the cheapest copies off Amazon moments ago.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics from Amazon.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

FORMAL + PSO

Deep winter dormant, I still know what this garden looks like. And why it works.
Formal hardscape: hedges & lines contrasted with chaos of plantings + informal tree trunks.
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Italians have cone shaped shrubs, with scruffy PSO's, behind evergreen hedges. (My favorite!)
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French gardens are quite rigid with evergreen hedging enclosing, oh let's say, tulips.
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Ah, the English. Evergreen hedges exploding with herbaceous borders & flowering shrubs.
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Take this style, evergreen hedge +lines + backfill plantings. Make it your own.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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PSO? Plant Shape Only!! Yes, more pics I took recently at Wing Haven.
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My garden began as mostly English. Now, it's Italian + English.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

ROUNDABOUTS HERE & THERE

Roundabouts, below, get you around a garden.
Roundabouts are a fabulous landscape design tool. Use where 2, or more, paths intersect.


This woman, above, was beyond ready to take her frontyard in hand. Corner lot, too big, unattractive, way too much mowing, little property value, and most importantly, it did not make her happy. (Ha, beware the woman not happy with something.)



Grass was reduced, paths with roundabout designed, groundcovers, evergreen shrubs, & understory trees to survive drought/flood & aging in place. Aging in place? Want to be 88 with weekly garden chores? Ha, didn't think so. It's designing for unskilled labor, tough plants, and timeless beauty on axis from window views.

From the house, above, a stone roundabout anchors the view. Evergreen hollies anchor the entry path, variegated sweetflag (groundcover) surround the roundabout.
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Designed in the grand tradition with a low maintenance theme. Not completed, above, and already showing promise. And her? She's HAPPY.
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Small roundabout, above. Notice something important about the pot, above? It doesn't HAVE to be planted.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics of completed roundabouts I took last January in the botanical garden in Birmingham, England. My client sent the pics of her roundabout.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

THE SECRET OF FABULOUS LANDSCAPES

Entering Great Dixter, below, the household drive. Tires crunching along the gravel, scent of meadow.

Passing thru the yew hedge into this, above.

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See the landscape design secret?

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No?

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Back your car down the drive, park it on the road, get out, walk up the gravel drive, slowly, and thru the yew hedge.

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Notice the contrast of meadow to clipped lawn? Formal to informal?

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Ha, the secret tool of the worlds most famous landscapes is

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CONTRASTING FORMAL & INFORMAL GARDEN ROOMS.

Did you think this gravel drive & meadow were 'natural'? Ha, not one inch of this drive or meadow were unconsidered. TOTALLY DESIGNED.
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TARA TURF was born in this meadow over a decade ago. And the epiphany of what the best landscapes create, FORMAL GARDEN ROOMS NEXT TO INFORMAL GARDEN ROOMS.
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CONTRAST.
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Yes, contrast flower shapes/colors, tree forms, foliage colors/shapes & etc. Knowing, contrasting FORMAL/INFORMAL is the most important.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Lucky me, taking the pics at Great Dixter while Christopher Lloyd was alive. Note: In another area of Great Dixter meadow is designed up to, and touching, the house. Ha, remember the Tara Rule of Just Let It Touch?
Oh, meadows have been sustainable-organic-eco-low maintenance-beautiful since before language was invented.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

TRAILING DRESS, GARDEN, HOWARD'S END

"Why did we settle that their house would be all gables and wiggles, and their garden all gamboge-colored paths?" Won't tell you what 'gamboge' is. Why take away a pleasure? A great day when a dictionary is needed. "Trail, trail, went her long dress over the sopping grass, and she came back with her hands full of the hay that was cut yesterday..." Mrs. Wilcox walking in her garden peering into her house, Howard's End. This scene from Howard's End so enchanted me I had to buy the book. Not imagined by the movie director, I discovered, but written into the story.
You must understand, walking about my garden, and peering into my house, calms & fills me with energy. A private, sublime, pleasure. Why would I share it with anyone, these thoughts? Then discovering my private joy was written about by E.M.Forster in 1910.
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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Pics via Hooked on Houses from the movie, Howard's End