Showing posts with label vanishing threshold. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vanishing threshold. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ted Talk & Paid to Farm: Weight of Our Brain vs. Microbiome

“The three pounds of microbes that you carry around with you might be more important than every single gene you carry around in your genome...”  Rob Knight

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 "And we've just over the last few years found out that the microbes in different parts of the body are amazingly different from one another. So if I look at just one person's microbes in the mouth and in the gut, it turns out that the difference between those two microbial communities is enormous. It's bigger than the difference between the microbes in this reef and the microbes in this prairie. So this is incredible when you think about it. What it means is that a few feet of difference in the human body makes more of a difference to your microbial ecology than hundreds of miles on Earth."

You're 99.99 percent identical in terms of your human DNA to the person sitting next to you. But that's not true of your gut microbes: you might only share 10 percent similarity with the person sitting next to you in terms of your gut microbes. So that's as different as the bacteria on this prairie and the bacteria in this forest."


At Home with Bill and Giuliana Rancic. Furniture from Restoration Hardware. The long covered patio is divided into a dining area and a sitting area. | Traditional Home. http://www.consumeraffairs.com/homeowners/restoration.html

"It turns out that our first microbial communities depend a lot on how we're born. So babies that come out the regular way, all of their microbes are basically like the vaginal community, whereas babies that are delivered by C-section, all of their microbes instead look like skin. And this might be associated with some of the differences in health associated with Cesarean birth, such as more asthma, more allergies, even more obesity, all of which have been linked to microbes now, and when you think about it, until recently, every surviving mammal had been delivered by the birth canal, and so the lack of those protective microbes that we've co-evolved with might be really important for a lot of these different conditions that we now know involve the microbiome."

Ted Talk, full transcript, above quotes, here.  Ted Talk, video, for talk, above.

pavers

More about children raised on farms healthier than those not, here.
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"The Government is Spending More to Train New Farmers Than Ever Before

Both veterans and under-resourced communities are top priorities."
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Did you know the age of the average USA farmer is... 58.3 years old?
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 “The USDA is very concerned about the continued aging of the American farmer,” Auburn says. “This program is part of a department-wide push to … keep the land under stewardship by people who care about it. It’s to have people interacting with their communities and to keep rural communities and economies healthy. It’s to have people out there interacting with consumers, who are increasingly interested in who it is who’s growing their food and how it’s grown.” 
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Education includes, "...raising poultry, sheep, and goats.
Annie Donoghue helps run the program along with her husband and project director, Dan Donoghue, and seven other partner organizations, which include USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the Farmer Veteran Coalition, the University of Missouri, and the National Center for Appropriate Technology.
Arkansas’ program offers free online courses in both English and Spanish, as well as hands-on, in-person public trainings and Armed to Farm boot camps for veterans, where participants learn the basics of poultry production, skills such as poultry-house building and even how to find appropriate markets for their businesses.
The program has been popular, as veteran-targeted education about this segment of agriculture was scarce. “There really wasn’t a lot of information for this group interested in poultry or small-ruminant production,” says Donoghue. “This program provides an opportunity for these veterans to consider careers in agriculture.”
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Wendell Berry has been writing about the loss of farmers, farm habitat, farm communities, and collateral loss of human health & knowledge gained from agricultural living since the 1960's.  He says,  "Works of pride, by self-called creators, with their premium on originality, reduce the Creation to novelty — the faint surprises of minds incapable of wonder.
Pursuing originality, the would-be creator works alone. In loneliness one assumes a responsibility for oneself that one cannot fulfill.
Novelty is a new kind of loneliness.

Wendell Berry (Photograph: Guy Mendes)
There is the bad work of pride. There is also the bad work of despair — done poorly out of the failure of hope or vision.
Despair is the too-little of responsibility, as pride is the too-much.
The shoddy work of despair, the pointless work of pride, equally betray Creation. They are wastes of life.
For despair there is no forgiveness, and for pride none. Who in loneliness can forgive?
Good work finds the way between pride and despair.
It graces with health. It heals with grace.
It preserves the given so that it remains a gift.
By it, we lose loneliness:
we clasp the hands of those who go before us, and the hands of those who come after us;
we enter the little circle of each other’s arms,
and the larger circle of lovers whose hands are joined in a dance,
and the larger circle of all creatures, passing in and out of life, who move also in a dance, to a music so subtle and vast that no ear hears it except in fragments."
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Finally, the work of Andrea Wulf, Washington Post, review of, 

Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation

           " In this lively and deeply researched history, Andrea Wulf (best known for her prize-winning chronicle of 18th-century English gardening, “The Brother Gardeners”) examines the botanical pursuits of America’s first four presidents. Those men were, it turns out, obsessive gardeners, but gardening was much more than a preoccupying hobby. It was central to their vision of the American republic. Jefferson and Co. believed that the agrarian life would safeguard the new republic’s virtue and that the future of America lay with the independent farmer. As Washington summed up, “Our welfare and prosperity depend upon the cultivation of our lands.”
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More about connecting the dots of agriculture & health, here.
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Connection of agriculture & horticulture?  It is our generation, post WWII, separating them.  Prior civilizations knew they were inherent to survival, no separation.  What does this mean?  Agriculture crops can yield 80% more with proper pollinator habitat.  That, is money in the bank.  More, Berry lovingly narrates the decimation of land, family farms, rural communities across USA as industrial agriculture with its machines & chemicals have waged war against an unwitting opponent, us.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Pics via my Pinterest: Changes Board .    Need to get the Farming article, top of this post, further afield.  Anyone needing a grant, the article has great links.  Changes Board?  Collecting pics of good gardens needing a slight tweak.  Will use them in my Garden Design classes.  

Friday, February 27, 2015

Front Door: Before & After


Lovely home, below, builder-special landscaping.


Page Duke: Before the landscape design

What, below, happened?

Page Duke: A Strong Landscape Focal Point

Adjusting eyeballs back into sockets, the before/after leave only questions.  Did new owners move in?  How much property for the site, for the front yard?  What does the backyard look like, too small, slope, etc?  Who's brilliant idea to treat the front yard as a back yard?  Painting the brick, yes.
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Every penny of this hardscape goes into house value.  Wooooowzzzzzza.
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Views from inside the home changed.  Lifestyle of the home changed.
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Historic garden design, nothing new.  However, totally new here.
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Pics Page/Duke.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Vision Quest: Landscape for a Barn

Vision questing a barn this month.  Construction was completed recently, and without intervention it is already perfect.  Anything done must appear not-done.
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Large, it will be used for family events, and professional.  Cars, people, caterers, ease of use for all, without hindrance to views..
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Maintenance must be insignificant.
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Knowns include, hiding hvac/septic/trash, gravel, stone, meadow, ease of flow for cars/walking, large groups/small groups, social events/educational events, exterior lighting, meals en plein air, an impromptu lair for the owners,

House in Blacksod Bay by  Tierney Haines Architects, Three sandstone wings protect an inner courtyard from fierce coastal winds at this seaside house in Ireland by Tierney Haines Architects.

An Irish landscape, above.  Stark, beautiful.

Historic Old Barn | Historic Barns

Simplicity, above, to the bone.  A bit of slope, perhaps add 'jewelry' with a stone wall, similar to the above using stones found on site.

Oxfordshire Barn Conversion by John Minshaw photo© Lucas Allen

At the doors, stone terraces, above, will keep most of the gravel off shoes, and interior vintage wood floors.
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Ina Garten uses hedges, below, at her barn.  I need to site the hedges to obscure the necessities, and allow 'flow'.  Must be deer proof & evergreen.



Need shade at the barn for outdoor meals.  Martha Stewart, used pin oaks at her barn, below.  Perhaps 2-4 oaks sited, just right, for a harvest table, and the tractor.


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Once the necessities are sited, gravel, stone, trees, hedge, flow, the barn is 'done'.  However, at that point, I'm open to adding a flourish, maybe a single espalier heirloom fruit tree, in the vein of Arne Maynard, below,
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 Image result for arne maynard
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Along with knowing lavender will be planted, and several types of self-seeding flowers into the meadows at the barn.
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This is the 1st salvo vision questing, next will be on site, alone for a couple of hours, then on site with the owner.  After that, we set it aside, let the left/right brain magic play.  Decisions made, then taken to the 'men' creating the literal landscape.  Their input, from a base of decades experience, filling out the full breadth of the team.  More changes.  Finally, a garden beyond measure, exceeding expectations.  Yes, exactly why I like working with a team.
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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All pics from my Pinterest board, here.    

Friday, February 20, 2015

Garden Design: How to Handle the Car/Driveway

Beloved accuses me of being too wildly appreciative of the simplest elements of life.  Therein lies my wealth, is my response.
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Since the chicken coop massacre, a month ago, the pair of profoundly wounded hens are healing well. But, cannot get to their roost at dark.  Every evening I lift my girls to their roost.  This task enriches my soul beyond measure.  Merely thinking, 'I need to go lift my girls', as the chiaroscuro of dusk goes entirely black, makes my day.
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I keep a journal of pairs of words, and have begun noticing pictures insert themselves as pairs.  The latter due to Pinterest, for sure.  Favorite Pinteresting spot?  Claw foot tub, glass of wine, Pinteresting on my large galaxy note, cat sleeping nearby.  Ridiculous, my bad, told myself when the tub was put in a few years ago, 'no technology - only books.'  Lost the battle, joined the winner.


image

New landscape, above, with an old soul.  Adored, immediately, eyes locked/loaded, the car entry.  A lot of challenges in this landscape, myriad.  Each solution, a winner.  Why the car entry, so much?  Its location, scale, needs, necessities are each diminished, in abeyance to greater drama/importance, the front door.  Owner/designer got every layer right, including the 1st layer, William Morris's, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."   "The true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life."
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I must know who you are at the curb.  Want to see, above, their interiors, art, books on the shelves, colors....  Garden design, above, is as beautiful in winter as summer/spring/fall.  Low maintenance & eco.

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This garden, above, honors the car gods, and slab-of-concrete-god.  Parking court reigns supreme.  Front door?  Welcome, ye car.  Welcome, people?  When the annuals die, shrubs stop blooming, what's left?  
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There is power in awakening to,  "...genuine interest in all the details of daily life."  Aside from increasing property value, decreasing HVAC costs, above, this homeowner will have less stress/frustration with caretaking their landscape and increased pleasure/calm/peace/atonement once the epiphany arrives, my garden needs to be ME.
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An afternoon Garden Design class, using only these two pics, is enough.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Top pic, Cote de Texas.  Bottom pic, here.
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Bottom pic is common USA landscape story.  House built, builder landscape, keep for decades, done.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Wallpaper Choices Designed for Winter

Drapes closed, below, Garden Design.


Was this my intention?  Design my garden to interior design my home with the drapes closed?
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No.
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Another garden invention is born.
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Another proclamation from Providence, "You're doing it right."
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Later today, the sun will move upstairs, and fill the guest room walls with wallpaper, 'crape myrtle trees'.


Of course I want more.  A bird to fly across the drapes, land on a branch, and sing.
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Atonement is the unbidden word arriving as innate necessity.  Begun in my garden, enlarged by Nature, filling my home.  Nurturing, in ways unknown to be needed, when this began 3 decades ago.
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Vanishing threshold, home & garden in atonement, enlarged to a trinity, home-garden-spirit.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Pics taken a few minutes ago.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Free Garden Design

Modern 2,000+ years ago.  Modern today.
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No need to be an expert, to understand why garden centers are not 'on board'.



Calm.  Facade, bench, pots, gravel, fade their colors into each other.  I see the silhouette of branches in winter striking the house, and gravel.  I hear the leaves, wind rustled, see their fall colors.  Gravel crunching underfoot.
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This house doesn't make the Garden Design special, instead, the choice to have this Garden Design is special.
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Free Garden Design.  Equally at home with a brick ranchburger ca. 1963, pioneer cabin, starter home, $2 million home in a gated community.
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Myriad choices made with this Garden Design.  Especially adore all of the 'no' choices.
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Why is this Garden Design harder to choose than keeping foundation plantings, installed by the builder, and a pocked lawn needing mow/blow/go, fertilizers poisoning groundwater, zero aesthetics to increase property value, no choices for plantings to reduce hvac expenses, no thought for color, or pulling the foot outside to enjoy Nature?
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Picture from here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Best Question for Work Success: Is it FUN ?

She called recently, "....help I'm in a new home.  A decade +/- has passed, since I was at her river front home, with tennis court, terraces, gardens, a place her husband loved to whip up 50 close friends for a Saturday dinner, often.  Perhaps the occasional movie star was feted at luncheon.  Not uncommon were the fundraising events, significant funds, successfully secured for their various beloved non-profits.
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Do you know what happens to women like this?  With age, their powers grow.  Do you know the key component of these women?  Aside from being matriarchs in every historic fiber, they are fun.
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(Bunny Mellon, below, is one of these women.)




Yesterday, we met at her new home, and began with a house tour, then lunch.
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Much to talk about, before the garden.  Of course the garden threaded thru all.
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She's in a chapter not of her choosing, her husband died 3 years ago.  Hope he heard her talking about him yesterday !
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Real estate could have been bought anywhere, and she chose the best.  Near children/grandchildren.  Plenty of mousetraps.  (Don't know what a mousetrap is?  Allurements, enticements, enjoy my homemade soups/cookies/grilling, play in the entertainment center stuffed with pool table/pingpong/tv/xbox/card table/stereo/sofas a veritable college fraternity house ca. 1980 at SMU but better...)
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The new arts center was mentioned for her city.  Asked who was doing it, she said, "The city."  Not that naive, I asked again.  The group was mentioned, and I said, "They are all women aren't they?", "Yes."
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Told her what I knew of a similar effort, created decade+ ago, she wanted the woman's name who started it, and details about how the $$$ came in.
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Done.  Then to the topic of romance & love.  Books, movies, careers of others, cooking, decorating, gardening.....
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Pets.  



We were in the sun room, 3 long walls of windows overlooking the garden.  Her desk, in the living room, faces the garden, exactly as Noel Coward would have placed it.
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Before the appointment she invited me to an upcoming lecture given by, Andrea Wulf,   The brilliant woman connecting the agrarian life of America's founding fathers to the content of their new form of government.


Childless, I had no playmates my own age since marriage.  Oh my, the gift of infertility.  Age 22, my friends were in their 70's.  My grandmother's era.  Tail end of that era, now passing.  Matriarchal, philanthropic, cooks, decorators, readers, gardeners, spiritual, humorous, self-esteem, modest, stewardship, and every undefinable good thing.
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Asked if she saw, Selma.  "No."  Told her she should, it's another tale of agrarian lifestyle helping to form America.  Martin Luther King created more than a non-violent protest, he used stewardship of livestock to protect his flock, literally.  Pastor-guiding-a-flock was not cliche for March'in Luther, blessedly it was real,  Selma was poorly done, hope someone truly does MLK properly soon.
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Then, her team.  Girlfriend, has 'Thomas'.  He gardens, cooks, decorates, irons, does laundry, opens boxes from moving & puts them away.  In addition, she has Mr. Construction, Mr. Architect, and me.  Noticed, years ago, smart chicks, age 50+, all have a team.  Yes, I have a team.  And their names are only passed along in the manner of stewardship of their time/talents.
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Ok, we finally made it into the garden.
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More fun.  When I go back to draw en plein air, I will get pics for you.  Yesterday was too full with work/laughter.
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One thing I know for sure, if it's not fun with a client, it is not a good match or we are doing something wrong.  Truly, that is my barometer for work.  Is it Fun?
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Poorly describing sublime attitudes, above, someone with 'credentials' describes them worse than poorly, below, he is wrong on a logarithmic scale.  More terribly, it's in description of Bunny Mellon.

The NYT article quotes John Wilmerding, an American art scholar and trustee of the National Gallery of Art in Washington:
Bunny was part of a generation that no longer exists today: an amateur collector with a sure eye, great taste and upper-class refinement, who bought across the board, from expensive jewelry and paintings to trinkets.

Upper-class refinement?  Not only a small lens, cracked.  Bunny's generation is still here, at the tail, but still here.  Performing their magic with all Providence has passed to them.  Bunny was Bunny in spite of her 'upper-class refinement'.  I know several of these women, money is not in great sums for most, but their attitudes/actions trump money.  
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Bottom pics, La Contessa .  Top pic, via Lunch & Lattte.
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Dear John Wilmerding, Bless your heart.  Most don't 'see' the template of personality in women similar to Bunny.  When you see these women, without a cracked lens, you will see them many places.  Ironically, I'm sure at least one of them, if not more, have you in their flock.


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 28, 2015

Bunny Mellon: Garden & Gun

Topiaries & terra cotta.  All sizes.  25 a good start.
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Enough to set about, and, trade out.  Trade weekly, prevent spider mites.  The off-exhibit, outside.
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Enough topiary & terra cotta to pass forward with Lunch Ministry.


In Vanity Fair, below, ca. August, 2010. Bunny Mellon hit my radar.  Rare, the person intentionally gardening just-like-me.  Oh my, yes.  This, below, stopped me.  A kindred spirit.  Who exactly is Bunny Mellon?  In the fullness of time, may she keep returning to your radar, as she does mine.





“Nothing should stand out. It all should give the feeling of calm. When you go away, you should remember only the peace.”  Bunny Mellon, of her beloved, Oak Spring  Farm.



Delightful YouTube about Bunny Mellon, here.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Design that isn't Designed

Using what you have Garden Design, below.
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With delectable additions.
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Without fail, after a designed garden has aged, the best pictures are never the intended best pictures.
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I study these.  Ponder them.  Time passes.
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Most often, without answer.
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Yet.  No matter the scenario, I create a garden.
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Garden whisperer.
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At a jobsite, working in the mode of what exists, what is available, permutations in rivulets top-down in the brain, nothing else exists, nothing.  Moments of eternity.  No time, no hunger, no sense of breathing or heart beat, at one with, atonement.
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Then the general contractor, yelling across a meadow, hurry up these guys can't stand here all day.
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Ripped from atonement.
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Rivulets gone.  Into the present, only a distant memory of eternity.
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Guys coming in, plantings placed, me adjusting, adjusting, adjusting, what I can.  Just damn the aging body, plants heavier than me, must be moved a foot.  The men 'know', I am desperate.  Intuitive.  Their boss, the general contractor who they must satisfy, yet all of them, like a waltz, dipping in to my panic, helping, one human to another.
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Was on a panel judging garden entries for our state's largest trade group yesterday.  A particular home, a vacation home, magnificent in setting/architecture/landscape, we gave it the top award.  Rare the individual in any era acquiring a gettaway home like this one.  Yet, my heart doesn't want to own/enjoy that home.   Rather, dozens of those homes, I want to design/install the gardens.  The wealth of my soul.  Atonement.
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 " He who is born with a silver spoon in his mouth is generally considered a fortunate person, but his good fortune is small compared to that of the happy mortal who enters the world with a passion for flowers in his soul."  Celia Thaxter, An Island Garden, page 4.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Pic Nest Pretty Things

Was given, An Island Garden, by my mother-in-law, Jenny, decades ago.  Have read it several times, and will read it many times more.

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.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Of Chickens & Caretakers of Charlie Hebdo Victims


Last Wednesday, a massacre in my chicken coop.  Neighbor's dogs already drawing blood, and death, by the time I arrived.
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DNA takes over when you come upon a bear while walking in the woods, and during a chicken massacre.  In my experience.
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Screaming.  8 days later my voice still not good.
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Blessedly the dogs owner heard, ran, helped.  With character & integrity.  


He helped gather the dead.  And wounded.

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Wednesday was the Paris massacre too.  Gathering coop debris Thursday evening, still seeing where dead chickens lay, feathers now in hand, how could this be dead people with families, friends, lives?
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This chore, a fragment of the gift of stewardship, made me aware of and pray for those caretaking the dead and wounded in the Charlie Hebdo office.
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A headline arrived about those caretakers.  A police commissioner, after meeting with family of a Charlie Hebdo victim, committed suicide.


Less than 1/4 acre, in a subdivision of tightly packed houses, these pics are my home.  Where my garden begins.
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Garden views reign at every window.  Imperative, and non-negotiable.  Thirty years building, garden paths, terraces, conservatory, potager, ponds, chicken coop, plantings blooming every day of the year, and etc.
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Three years ago, chickens arrived.  The goal was to enjoy their calm sounds & movements, marvel at their beauty, then, processing.  Instead, they taught me how smart chickens are, and human-like in their behaviors of hierarchy.  Who knew they would make me laugh, daily?    Plus, egg ministry.  Ridiculous, it's fun giving eggs away.  How wonderful my garden soil would be if it had had chicken poop for 3 decades instead of 3 years.
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Without effort, these chicks humbled me in arenas I did not know existed.  They gave something no garden, no garden writer, no garden speaker, no garden classes, no horticulture degree, no garden book, no PBS garden show, no garden center, no garden website, no garden blog, no garden Youtube, no garden Facebook wall, even hinted toward,  Stewardship.
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Until chickens, as enriching as my garden was, it was merely amusement compared to stewardship.
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Amusement with my garden felt like going to church, tacking onto its religion, reading the bible, making strong efforts to become spiritually filled.  Stewardship, gives hints at hearing the author of the bible, knowing Nature as the 'written' structure of Providence.   And the spiritual well?  Filled beyond measure, without effort.
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Wendell Berry has written of stewardship in essays, poetry, fiction, for decades.
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Stewardship cannot be given.  But, like Tasha Tudor chose for her motto, she read in a poem, Take Joy,  Stewardship is there to be taken.  Whenever you are ready.  Stewardship is far more than caretaking chickens or a garden.  It is metaphor.


What does stewardship mean to you?

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I settled for amusement with my garden, not knowing there was more.
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Stewardship.  You have it for your own life, whether you think so, or not.
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Great amusement in knowing my chickens gave me stewardship.  Greater thanks in the depth of the gift.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Do you know what processing a chicken means?  Killing & eating.  Never named my chicks, knowing I was a tough girl and would process them.  Of course those thoughts were toast long ago.  
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Alpha Girl has major physical trauma but is eating, pooping, alert, and I'm hand feeding.  Yesterday she pushed away, in her total alpha girl 'attitude', another chick.  Of course I had to tell Beloved how noble Alpha Girl is and I could only wish to be as noble in a tough situation.
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Beloved tried to remain speechless at this new fact about chickens.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Color: Banish Hodge Podge Lodge

Viewing the Great Smoky Mountains, below.
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The century old Glen Ella Inn would be inappropriate to its era if it were 'fancy'.
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Coming up from the garden, below, the owner's heart & intellect spoke, and made me smile.
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For many centuries the best gardens across the globe have shared an oddly piquant quality, and much needed.  The poverty cycle.
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My smile, below?  The air-conditioning units painted the wall color, and rocking chairs painted the door color.


Studying historic gardens across France taught me the connection of paint color and field gathered furniture.
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Been doing it in client gardens for decades.  I'm not one to ignore the brilliance of earlier garden designers.


Another smile, with color.  Have designed umbrellas into a client's barns/acreage.  Using any color amongst her exterior color trinity.  (Remember, every garden must have a color trinity.)
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Ironically, the chairs on the front porch of Glen Ella, yesterday's post, were created during a true poverty cycle, and now, are quite expensive.  Hence, the style change with the back porch rocking chairs.
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sacred or Profane in Design

Since last week, when I first saw this garden, below, I've been thinking about how simply designed,  within a framework of total design, by someone with a wisdom of Nature, time across historical perspective, aesthetics, grief, continents, the sky, tilt of the Earth, seasons, meals, human foot, cars, tractors, laughter, guests, owner/s, caretaker/s, solitude, children, galas, scent, sound, wheelbarrows, terra cotta, gravel, Tara Turf, human hands, mending of spirit, abiding, atonement.  For starters.  


Nothing major has been done, above, or every element is minutely chosen.
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Which camp are you in?
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My camp is organic design.  Everything minutely chosen to look like nothing major has been done.
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Design to feed Nature, and Spirit.
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Garden & Be Well,    XO Tara
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Can you guess which country this garden is in?  Era?  More signs of a good garden.
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We can visit this garden, and spend the night, it's in Provence, a B&B, Chateau Talaud.  
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This, and more, on my Pinterest board.
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Organic design has no personal ego, yet total ego in belief.  More than designing a place of abiding & atonement, it is a sacrament.
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Read a title, years ago, creating simplicity in organic design, "The Sacred and The Profane."

Monday, December 22, 2014

Take Two Hikes and Call me in the Morning: Nature Deficit Disorder

A client, late 40's, lived in a gated community of very-nice-homes, had a lake house too, and traveled the globe for pleasure.
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Her husband thriving in his job, her children matriculating successfully through education & life.
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All in good health.
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Yet, something in her spirit was not fed.  A major narrative not written, and she knew it.  Worse, she felt it.
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Unhappiness, one of life's greatest teachers, gave her intuitive listening and action skills.  Lake house needed to be sold and the gated community had to be left.
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Farm house, acreage, woodlands, meadows, barns, spoke, and bought.  Immediately, heirloom livestock, and pre-industrial methods of land management emanated from spirals deep within her DNA.
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They were there, abiding, always.  Contemporaneously, her intuitive sense of abiding became a tidal wave of choice,    
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From childhood, Nature, spoke to my spirit, of course I thought it spoke to everyone.  Wrong.  Unhappiness came earlier to me, than my client, above, infertility, loss of family, alcoholic spouse, youthful expectations that I needed to please those close to me, yet hearing/feeling the need for atonement.     
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I began to create a garden.
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Atonement found.
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Miss Abiding & Miss Atonement have learned more together, than ever they could individually.  Detect the Jane Austen quality of this particular section of narrative?
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Strong matriarchal women, we find laughter in this ironic gift from Providence.
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Where is this going?  Where are you in this?
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Your DNA was formed in combination with Nature too.
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Science is catching up to what too few have found due to unhappiness.  
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How the mind processes information in Nature vs. man made culture is profound.  
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Regions of the brain working on your life/work issues in silent thought while you think of other things are different depending upon if you are walking in Nature or a city.  Science.
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Light, for an easy, and odd, example.  Did you know reading a book by Nature's light is processed in one brain region, and reading a computer screen without Nature's light is processed in a different region of the brain?  Which region do you trust most with your memories?  Not hypothetical, pure science.
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Real estate costs more at the shore of lakes, rivers, oceans.  Why?  Chemistry.  Your body is mostly water and when it is near large bodies of water the ions in the water molecules start pulling pleasantly towards each other.  Science.
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Children raised on farms acquire gut bacteria preventing them  having more health issues than those raised in suburbs or cities.  If children live on farms to about age 10 those good health effects are life long.  Science.
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A science study put a control group of people to walk in a city, another, to walk in the woods.  White blood cell counts, which help fight infection, were statistically higher for those waking in the woods.  Scientific conclusion?  Plants must be emitting a wavelength we absorb thru the skin.  



Take Two Hikes and Call me in the Morning, recently in Digg, mentions Nature Deficit Disorder, 


Learned Helplessness, is a horrible inheritance from one generation to another.  Worse, you don't know you have it.  Until epiphany.  Betty Friedan wrote of what she 'saw', The Feminine Mystique, but I'm a child of one those women and living the results.  My strangest epiphany came with having chickens.  Never been around chickens, until I had clients with chickens.  Decades of gardening, personally/professionally, did not prepare me for what my chickens taught.
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Until the chickens my gardening was for pleasure.  My chickens arrived less than a week old, it didn't take long for them to be old enough for their chinoiserie style coop/run.  Once in their coop, my gardening was forever changed, from amusement, to stewardship.
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How could I know settling for amusement was paltry?  Stewardship, rich.
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My grandmother could run a farm, raise livestock, harvest, kill, preserve, cook, sew.  While being active in her church and civic duties.  She received a 4 year nursing degree, did graduate work in New York and settled into Augusta, GA for her full time job at a hospital as head nurse.  She was the last of USA's agrarian culture.  Without which learned helplessness creeps.
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Washington Post, review of,

Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation

           " In this lively and deeply researched history, Andrea Wulf (best known for her prize-winning chronicle of 18th-century English gardening, “The Brother Gardeners”) examines the botanical pursuits of America’s first four presidents. Those men were, it turns out, obsessive gardeners, but gardening was much more than a preoccupying hobby. It was central to their vision of the American republic. Jefferson and Co. believed that the agrarian life would safeguard the new republic’s virtue and that the future of America lay with the independent farmer. As Washington summed up, “Our welfare and prosperity depend upon the cultivation of our lands.”
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Selfishly, I wish Andrea Wulf would write about Abigail Adams.  She, and her husband had no slaves.  She was alone much of her marriage and farmed the land, successfully, while raising a family, many years as a single woman, and political adviser to her husband.


Notice the scale, below.  Often I design this intimacy in landscapes.


From, Take Two Hikes and Call Me in the Morning, "Natural spaces, on the other hand, engage our “involuntary attention.” On a hiking trail your attention flits to different spots like the birds flying by—to the tree bark, the blue sky, the leaves on the ground. Paying attention to these sights requires little effort on our part, making it less demanding, and providing a break for our minds. The respite seems to be part of why we find nature relaxing. Indulging our involuntary attention is in fact one of the best ways to treat attention fatigue."  
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 Working with Nature, for decades, I know to trust Providence.  Need to find a solution to work, family, life, health choices/issues?  I form the question, in detail, within my mind, go into my garden or walk around Stone Mountain, for an hour, totally letting go of the question.  At the end of my time with Nature, there is an answer to the question.  Most often, it's an action step answer.  Sometimes, the answer is, take-more-time-in-Nature.  
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The last fact is scary to some.  When I don't take time for the right choices, it becomes lizard brain thinking.  Years of support group therapy for those with family/friends who are alcoholic, gave me valuable insights.  First, 'Don't force a solution.'  Aka, don't make choices based on fear.


Have you already 'seen' my joy at playing with the words, 'Nature', and, 'Science'?


Don't care about the science or Nature?
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Easy answer, in Nature's favor.
Money.
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Created properly your landscape can shade your home in summer, reduce cold winter winds, and let the sun help heat your home in winter.  Maintenance issues can be reduced from weekly to monthly, even bi-monthly.  A proper landscape, and soil preparation, needs no fertilizer or chemicals, and little to no watering once established.  Instead of ornamental trees, fruit trees add to grocery savings, and health.  Well landscaped homes sell faster, and for more money.  
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I use Nature as George Washington, John Adams......  What other choice?  The Big Box garden center?  The neighborhood Home Owner's Assoc?  Monsanto?  Even the Extension Service is agriculturally complicit with industrial farming.  Accepting success by the ton & dollars made.  Not  families making a livelihood and their communities built and thriving upon them.  Wendell Berry, (“True solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation. One’s inner voices become audible… In consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives.”),writes about farming for the success of your soul, the land, people, cities, & country, in great wisdom, for decades.  
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Wendell Berry,   "Works of pride, by self-called creators, with their premium on originality, reduce the Creation to novelty — the faint surprises of minds incapable of wonder.
Pursuing originality, the would-be creator works alone. In loneliness one assumes a responsibility for oneself that one cannot fulfill.
Novelty is a new kind of loneliness.

Wendell Berry (Photograph: Guy Mendes)
There is the bad work of pride. There is also the bad work of despair — done poorly out of the failure of hope or vision.
Despair is the too-little of responsibility, as pride is the too-much.
The shoddy work of despair, the pointless work of pride, equally betray Creation. They are wastes of life.
For despair there is no forgiveness, and for pride none. Who in loneliness can forgive?
Good work finds the way between pride and despair.
It graces with health. It heals with grace.
It preserves the given so that it remains a gift.
By it, we lose loneliness:
we clasp the hands of those who go before us, and the hands of those who come after us;
we enter the little circle of each other’s arms,
and the larger circle of lovers whose hands are joined in a dance,
and the larger circle of all creatures, passing in and out of life, who move also in a dance, to a music so subtle and vast that no ear hears it except in fragments."
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 To attain knowledge add things every day.
To attain wisdom subtract things every day.
— Lau Tzo.
All pics, Pinterest.  If you aren't doing Pinterest, please consider it.  If you are reading this I KNOW what you curate on Pinterest boards will teach & inspire me greatly.

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


NOTE to my gardening friends... look for changes to come. 
Knew before computers/cell phones, sitting in Atlanta traffic on way to a client, 'I must reach a larger audience with the same amount of effort.'   Soon after that epiphany I signed my CBS-TV, and, books contracts on the same day.
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Then I read an article in the NYTimes about something called 'blogging'.  Saved the article for a year before reading it.  Studied all the blogs they mentioned, hired a computer expert they quoted, and attended a blogging seminar.
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Blogging 2.0 has arrived, my knowledge is 1.0.  A believer in copying the best historic gardens across the globe it flows into every arena of life.  Watching Maria Killam grow her career/blog/life over the past 3 years made its impact.  Signed up  for a year's course with her blogging expert, Jon Morrow
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Changes will be slow, plodding is my adored method.  Pulling triggers here/there is spice in the mix.
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What do YOU want?
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Nothing is too small, too big, or too ego crushing to mention.
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Passion lies in sharing what has filled me to the depths of grace, joy & atonement, the best landscapes created over the last 2,000+ years.

Just so you know... 

 I  welcome your input.