Showing posts with label Feng Shui. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Feng Shui. Show all posts

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Minimalist Guide to Building Your own Conservatory

Better Homes & Gardens magazine recently put a Conservatory I built with Susanne Hudson for the Penny McHenry Hydrangea Festival in their magazine again.  Haven't read it yet but am curious.
My garden is 8500sf total, including house.  This is for tiny gardens too.
Conservatory in my garden, below,  best investment in 'me' ever.
Salient facts: 12' x 18' is the minimum size, doors must be on 2 walls minimum, electrical outlets on every wall, chandelier, ceiling fans, wood stove.  Site parallel or perpendicular to your home.  
 A 'moveable' structure meets most zoning laws allowing you to site properly.
90% rescued materials, below.  Most, a century old.
A decade of search/rescue + filling the piggy bank to pay for labor/materials/electrical.  Voila.

Choose a good carpenter, let their talent shine on your team.

Never tire of these French doors, they began life a century ago, 1 each side of a fireplace, in my grandmother's Federal style house.

Ground was not level.  Stone steps were rescued, and gravel chosen for the floor.  No worries getting finished interior grade level.

Conservatory, above, Susanne & I built, in the new BHG magazine.  Styling, above, is ours, the magazine has theirs.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
Top 3 pics in my backyard.  Wanted a larger Conservatory but space did not allow.  Squeaked by with the minimum, 12' x 18'.  The day my Conservatory was completed and the men helped bring in all the antiques from the garage, then left, I sat in the finished Conservatory for the 1st time alone, IT BEGAN.  Life's tipping point.  Who knew?  Beware of getting what you ask for.  It WILL change your life.  What was seen thru a glass darkly will shine clear.  In that moment you will let go of every thing holding you back.  Fear that crippled will fall away as if you knew nothing of its existence.
Lunch Ministry is often held in my Conservatory.  Amazing the amount of laughter, and tears, this blessed Conservatory has already harbored with friends.  Beloved, when he realizes I'm in the Conservatory, most often, will leave me alone until 'I' decide to come in.  Grace pulsating.
Minimalist?  Mentored, as a little girl, by Miss Katherine Scott, "I can live without the necessities but must have the luxuries."  From age 7, wisdom understood.  An understanding never appreciated by my dad, a little more by Beloved.  Kindred spirits totally 'get it'.
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, November 26, 2013

Art on the Walls in Interior Design

Have you had this epiphany, Your garden views are art on the wall.

Once you do your garden, and life, will change.
Beautiful garden, beautiful life.  Vanishing threshold.
More, the beautiful life awaiting is beyond the limitations of filthy lucre.
These are the gardens I design.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
Pic via Cote de Texas.  Why waste a moment on this earth designing green meatballs, a lawn, and annual beds for testosterone-on-wheels-mow-blow-go-commodify-all-I-touch?  The post-WWII-industrial landscape Monsanto & Ortho & Scotts sell to?  My landscapes are agrarian, historically based to enrich the soil, watershed, pollinator habitat & soul.    

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Choose a Theme then Overdose

 Choose a theme, Overdose on your Theme.
Orchard House, (aka my starter home in a working class neighborhood of cluster homes ca. 1986, today.)

Feng shui has it right about gardens, better than any garden class, 'you must be able to flow easily around your property.'  Like Mrs. Wilcox I adore walking round my garden.  E. M. Forster knew women.  Coop, below,  is mostly rescued materials.  Why not boxwood, roses, itea, hydrangea, camellia, daphne?  The coop is worthy.

View across the drive, below, with front loading garage.  Some jurisdictions have outlawed my type of home.  Too unfriendly.  Garagecentric.  No worries, it is my starter home, here 5 years & off to something more worthy of my magnificence.

It's obvious I had to do more growing than the garden.

I'm particularly pleased with this bit at the side of my garage, above.  Though the white roses lost their graft and only the root stock is left.  Reminds me of an old vicarage wall .
Did you see the neighbor's houses?  Why would you?  You've entered my world.  An old cottage......  and become lost in my theme.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
Pics taken in my garden last week.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Let Simplicity Serve Your Needs

There isn't a lot here yet the magic is intense.

Narrative.  Simplicity.  Choices.
"What plant should I put here?", I'm asked often.  It's not the right question, in return I ask, "How do you want to live?"
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
Pic The Vintaquarian.  Remember this trinity: Narrative.  Simplicity.  Choices.  What is your garden, today, answering?

Friday, March 22, 2013



 "...eternals as applicable in the smallest of spaces as in the vast acres of a country house garden." Sir Roy Strong.  Above, vast as a mountain range.

Water Mirror, miroir d'eau, above.

Water breaks the footprint of the Tea House, above.  Small touch, huge impact.

Looking outward, above, from the bamboo window seen coming in the entry, top pic.

Framing the view, above, for centuries this has been done.  Is a brick ca. 1960 ranch less worthy?

Hidden, then meandering, above, then spilling into the pond, below.

Why, above, do we like walking on water?

 At the minimum, 2 stones.  Male & female.  Earth & sky.  Ying & yang.  Even the shadows are benevolent.

Leaving the Japanese garden from its other side, above, into a pecan orchard.
Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
Pics taken Massee Lane Garden last weekend.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Table Top Design

Mantles, tables, chests, dressers, bookshelves, and their flotsam/jetsom, tell me how to arrange clients gardens.
Do they like simplicity, focal points, pairs, drifts, matchy/watchy, shiny, bright colors, rustic, fru-fru, farm, castle, muted hues, eclectic, showy & etc.

Junking recently I found this dresser for the foyer of my new office.  Once sited I went to the kitchen & started grabbing blue/white.  Free is good.

On its way home, above/below.

What is the Garden Design indicated by the top of this chest with the blue/white?  Girlfriend obviously likes pairs & focal points.  Biggest platter is a gorgeous antique iron gate. Tulipiers are brick/stone columns with pair old urns and the smaller plates a flagstone path. Surface of the chest is groundcover Asiatic jasmine.
THIS is how I see interiors.  Source material for the garden.
Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
Never anticipated my new office being this fun, 'camp chic' style.  Nor psycho-analyzing my own table top style.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sanctuary Gardens: Terry Hershey

Last year a client forwarded Sabbath Moment from Terry Hershey.

Every week, I take the time to read all of it.  Often passing it forward.
He gardens too, above.
Garden & Be Well,  XO Tara

Terry Hershey

Uncle George

December 10, 2012

What is honored will be cultivated there. Plato   

If I have told you these details about the asteroid, and made a note of its number for you, it is on account of the grown-ups and their ways. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, "What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?" Instead, they demand: "How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?" Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him. The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Jesus     

Do you have any relatives that make you wonder
about the gene pool in your family tree?  Well, Uncle George was demanding and difficult. Looking after him was stressful, taxing and thankless.  Driving to the funeral of Uncle George, the young man let loose with pent-up emotion.

"Thank God," he says to his wife. "I suppose I'm sorry he died, but I've got to tell you, I don't think I could have stood one more day with that annoying man. I've had enough. And I'm telling you that the only reason I gave so much time and energy to your Uncle George was because of my love for you!"

"My Uncle George," she says flabbergasted. "My Uncle George? I thought he was your Uncle George!"

We collect Uncle Georges. It is the perfect metaphor for any anxiety, worry, fret, disquiet, apprehension or fear that is elevated to the level of urgent consternation. Uncle George consumes us. And he's not even our uncle. 

"Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things."
Jesus, The Gospel of Luke 

Which means there is a shift: I am now worrying about stuff I can do nothing about. And I give the better part of my attention, energy and time to non-essential matters.

And yet. For all our objections to the contrary, we collect worries like we collect all our STUFF... there's always room for one more. It seems to take care of something. I know I like to use Uncle George to let you know how important, or busy, or indispensable I am. It's still about control.

But worry and fuss is a pickle, because it gums up the system. Stops the flow. Worry, from an Anglo-Saxon word "to strangle" or "to choke." As if literally cutting off the air supply that allows us to breathe emotionally and spiritually.  

It's not just the accumulation of Uncle George(s), it is that we have become untethered and susceptible. So we feel at the mercy of--whether it be exhaustion, public opinion, the need to pacify or please, the need to impress, or fear or embarrassment or potential failure.

Here's the deal: preoccupied with Uncle George, I am quite literally, not myself. I am of two minds. I am exhausted, busy, pulled in many directions... and numb, not really available for people I love. And I am not really available to any wholehearted fire or gladness or desire or intention.  This is not to say that we can't engage in activities, or service, or work. However, work that is fueled by a need to be needed, or need to prove value is too consuming, leaving no time for rejuvenation, or prayer, or delight, or the quiet work of the Spirit.

So. What to do? As if we don't feel bad enough, some opt for the willpower-on-steroids approach, "Just cut it out!" That lasts for a half hour or so, about the same amount of time I can give up serious dark chocolate.

Others opt for techno-cure. Our paper had an article promoting "Hot gadgets to chill on vacation." Who knew? To think I can't relax unless I have the proper equipment. (Although, maybe they have a devise to help me remember all the stuff I forgot to worry about.)

The bottom line? With Uncle George we lose focus. When this happened to Jesus' friends, ("because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat," The Gospel of Mark), Jesus--mercifully--didn't preach or lecture or lead a prayer or offer a gadget.  The story says, immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he sent the crowds away. "Come with me by yourselves," Jesus told them, "to a quiet place and get some rest."

It's not about creating a life absent of stress.
It's about being present, even in the hectic.
In other words, it is in the rest, the refueling, the "be-ing," the Sabbath that we refocus on essential matters, and allows us to let go, to be present, even in the busy, the noise, the demands, the lists.   

My friend tells the story about a Nativity play at his parish. Mary and Joseph show up at the inn, hoping for lodging. The little girl, playing the innkeeper, has only one line, "No room." But she apparently isn't beholden to the script. She opens the door (of the inn), looks at Mary and Joseph, and then looks out at the priest. She looks back at Mary and Joseph, and then looks out at her parents. She looks at Mary and Joseph and says, "Oh well, you might as well come on in for a drink."
Yes... I think that's great. We need the freedom (wisdom) of that little girl... the spontaneity and joy and compassion and gladness that comes from not being beholden. 

Today I am stressed. I have a rather intimidating pile on my desk (it could be two piles, but I'm afraid to try and separate them). I have obligations and travel commitments and speeches to make. I recognize that with the stress, I go through my days with a different point of view. It is predictable that I no longer see surprises, or splendor in the unexpected, because now I am too focused on what is missing, and I see only defects, imperfections and blemishes. This worry is gumming up the system. It is choking my sense of awe. Perhaps I've lost sight of essential matters.

There is more work to be done tonight, but it can wait. Sarah Mclachlan is singing Silent Night, there is a little Bordeaux left and a couple more ornaments for Zach to put on the tree. Right now, this is more important. It is the heart of Sabbath. The music washes over me. And, at least for the moment, I don't give any thought to Uncle George.
I want to know if joy, curiosity, struggle, and compassion bubble up in a person's life. I'm interested in being fully alive.  Alan Jones    

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Poems and Prayers          

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles,
but most of them never happened. Mark Twain
Why I am Happy
Now has come, an easy time. I let it
roll. There is a lake somewhere
so blue and far nobody owns it.
A wind comes by and a willow listens
I hear all this, every summer. I laugh
and cry for every turn of the world,
its terribly cold, innocent spin.
That lake stays blue and free; it goes
on and on.
And I know where it is.
William Stafford

Dear Lord,
Help us to do our very best this day
and be content with today's troubles
so that we shall not borrow the troubles of tomorrow.
Save us from the sin of worrying,
lest stomach ulcers be the badge of our lack of faith.
Peter Marshall 

Be Inspired

Misty River -- Heather's Song
Melissa Etheridge -- Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
Sarah Mclachlan -- Silent Night

Favorites from Last Week:    
Patty Griffin -- I don't ever give up  
Patty Griffin -- Forgiveness  
Final dance in the movie Strictly Ballroom   
The only response is gratefulness - Brother David Steindl-Rast
When it don't come easy - Patty Griffin 
Sarah Mclachlan -- Answer 
The Prayer --  Shy Boy and his Friend Shock the Audience on Britain's Got Talent
Sarah Mclachlan -- In the arms of an angel 
Pete Seeger -- Forever Young 

Notes from Terry
(1) Sabbath Moment is only possible because of the generous gifts of readers.  For those who have donated... THANK YOU.   If you wish to be a part of making this gift possible, I appreciate your gift.     

Sabbath Moment is available to everyone--with the invitation that people forward it, and share it with those around them.  Please forward Sabbath Moment... if you work at an organization--please consider forwarding Sabbath Moment to every member of your staff or team.   

(2) Enjoy a stroll in my garden...   

(3) Share Sabbath Moment --  Here are the recent issues. Please forward the link, or cut and paste.  For archived issues, go to ARCHIVE
December 3. 2012 -- The Imposter 
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November 19. 2012 -- Old Rabbit

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Color in the Garden

Which part of this doesn't speak?

A full narrative.
Great metaphor.  It's more important what we say 'no' to in the landscape.  And life.
Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
Pic via Slim Paley - A Classic Combo

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Quietly Good

New construction completed earlier this year, below.  House & garden stand sentry as old souls.

Shadows fall on their proscenium as atonement.

As if they think, "Of course we abide here.  This is ours, the rent we pay is grace."
Garden & Be Well,         XO Tara
Pics taken at a jobsite last week.  Asked the client for a walk through with both of them.  Wanting to know, "How are the parts working?"  A lot of challenges with this site & no room for error.  Exactly my type of fun.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Garden View From Her Kitchen

Inimitably her own style, in all she does.  A bit of her kitchen, below.

Before she bought her, ca. 1940, home it had a garden, obviously lovely at one point, but tired.  She hired me to tweak it several years ago.  Axis & entries were boldened, paths redefined, focal points placed, hedges tightened & etc.
She, & her Man, have had time to do their own tweaking.  Adding layers to their garden, listening to their muse within.
This is their garden.  All theirs.
We talked of this magic, the garden transitioning from my input and the previous owners.  Their tweaking.  Yet, somehow, it's the garden doing the magic.
Lunch was served outside overlooking the garden.  Salmon salad over mixed greens, wine.  We would talk, but mostly were silent.  Looking at the garden.  Then ridiculously, like teenagers, laugh in joy. 
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara 
Told her I was stopping by the thrift store on the way home.  Ha, she came with me and we went to the antique mall too.  Love a good Saturday !!  Her garden is on tour in May.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Technology In Personal Space

Home is newly wireless.  Do I want personal space used, below, for work?

 Spring arrived quickly/unexpectedly, 5 windowed walls surround the harvest table,  below.
 Mornings in my gown making calls (clients, contractors, vendors), emailing, blogging, birdsong, blooms, beloved Laskett in the chair beside me.
 Hours pass.
Need to leave for jobsites, administrative errands.  Putting away every bit of technology/work.
Technology has changed but not how I take, for 26 years,  joy-grace-energy from being in this spot.
The moat of grace I've surrounded home & life with, the garden, supports me emotionally & creatively.  So far it's working, honoring this new spot, clearing it afterward & using the Conservatory & other areas for work when I return from jobsites.
Scoping new phones.  Make the switch from 3 ring binder, pics above, to connect calendars with my guys.
Wish all this were 'done', want to think about & work in gardens.
Garden & Be Well,             XO Tara   
Not a Luddite but if it weren't for gardening I would be slower updating technology.  Perhaps I'll have time to get pics from all 5 of those walls mentioned above.  Need to hurry, azaleas, camellias, kerria, hellebore, akebia, viburnum, rosemary.....all abloom. 
Notice the gorgeous English antique ironstone soup toureen?  Found at a shop in Augusta, GA when I lectured there several years ago.  Alas, no lid.  The chandelier is ca. 1950's Italian, 1/2 of a pair, bought at an estate sale in Nassau Bay, Texas a couple of years before hurricane Ike.  Oddly, I was shopping with my Dad.  He hated that kind of stuff.  Lots of good memories.....

Friday, March 16, 2012

Formalities & Rusticities

A woodland entry was added to their property, alleviating traffic issues at the family entry.  Formal aspects abound elsewhere.  Keeping RUSTICITIES balances the whole.  Don't know about Formalities & Rusticities?  Read your Jane Austen again, she certainly understood.  Her sanctimonious characters were certainly of the formalities-only-school.
 I used cedars, enlarging a natural drift.  Stone from the site & fallen tree debris, above.
 What you won't see along the lovely Woodland Entry, below,
is what I've hidden.  Modern necessities: satellite, power box & etc. 
Since we've created this entry & completed the Landscape Design, amplifying Rusticities, she told me it's now her favorite way to enter her property.  A new way of seeing her home.
Garden & Be Well,  XO Tara
pics taken last month.  This is a large area and I adore using the potency of Rusticities in a manner learned from my mentor Mary Kistner, who said, "It's what we do with what we have."  And thankful for a client trusting me with a few rocks, tree debris & her own wild cedar trees.  Rumpelstiltskin was conjuring the wrong form of gold.  This is the gold.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Historically Siting Bulbs

Hillary Clinton had 'intellectual exercise' conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt.  Remember those headlines? 
 Oddly, I got it.  Even then.
Last month I sited thousands of bulbs after "consulting the genius of the place."  I've spoken with landscapes for decades.  
This garden, above pics, has a historic home with little but its pecan orchard intact.
Next year anyone seeing the drifts of daffodils will think they've been there a century.
Garden & Be Well,      XO Tara
Many of you have this skill, "consulting the genius of the place", but don't trust it.  It's why I listen so hard to landscape questions.  The answers are already in the question. 
Yes, Alexander Pope...Consult the genius of the place......