Sunday, May 31, 2009
I have used it in my garden as well in those of several clients. The deer don't eat it and it starts its show right after the alliums--to which it's related. The leaves, like alliums, aren't terribly attractive and can easily be hidden by careful planting design that allows N. siculum to punctuate shorter plants with more interesting foliage. The first time I saw it in a garden, its companion was Hosta 'Sum and Substance' and the combination stopped me in my tracks.
A European native, this bulb is easy to grow in sun or partial--so easy in fact that these have been slowly multiplying in an abandoned garden near here for as many years as I can remember.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Even though the photographs evoke the grey that, for me, is unique to northwest France, imagine how thrilled I was to find the work of Frank Lefebvre and his company Blue Nature. Primarily interior, there are outdoor pieces as well. Some designs are modern and clean lined while others are traditional flights of fancy.
All photographs: BLEU NATURE – Sarl BN HOME Photographers : Didier Knoff and Gilles Piat
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Photo via Vanderbilt.edu
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Anyway, when I was out for my early morning walk today I noticed a young, low branched Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera) in bloom. An eastern native, it's not often I get to see these exotic flowers at eye level as the trees in my parts are tall, tall, tall and their blooms are usually 50-60-70 feet above my head.
Monday, May 25, 2009
I have in some way and in fits and starts kept a journal for years. There have been times when just the act of chronicling what ever was happening in my life has helped me sort it out. As a teenager they consisted of pages and pages of laments, descriptions of parental and personal drama, social slights and ad hoc adventures.
After graduating from art school I starting making illustrated journals in black bound sketchbooks and for years I kept them safely in a box to be looked at now and then. Ten years ago, all but one of these sketchbook journals were destroyed in a basement flood.
Studies for a series of landscape inspired brooches circa 1977
What wasn't destroyed were the two new types of journals I had been keeping. In dated composition books I kept a series of garden journals. My garden composition books were often carried with me to the nursery, library or bookstore. My first designed garden is in one. Although I have an extensive design education and years of experience, I am a self taught gardener. My garden journals contained sketches, ideas, bloom times, receipts, plant labels all types of information that I wanted to remember.
A page of one of my garden composition notebooks
In small sketchbooks I kept travel journals. Since I have always had to travel on the cheap, these journals became souvenirs of my adventures. I recorded descriptions of places and made collages of tickets, postcards and sketches. Ephemera was collected and the notebooks were created on the go. They were a record of where I had been in the world larger than my own backyard.
From a trip to London in 2001
In both of these new journals there were also tidbits of the old journals--personal notes and the occasional lament.
When I first started writing Miss R, I didn't realize that it would evolve into a new type of journal. The first year was stop and go, and I didn’t really pay much attention to the content or frequency. Now I realize that the content is really an extension of my years of writing about my life. No, I don't often write about personal drama, but I do definitely write about the way I feel about what I do. I also write about places I've been and plants I've seen and post drawings, designs and other tidbits of my creative life.
A recent page from my current notebook
I still carry a notebook with me to jot down ideas, plant names, or make a quick sketch of something--although digital pictures have replaced some of my sketches. I realize that recording my ideas and experiences has been part of my life long creative process.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Each May, when I was a teenager, my mother and I would go to a neighboring town during bloom time to visit Mr. Grey--an Iris expert who grew and sold hundreds of varieties in straight rows in his suburban yard. We would choose one or two to try in my mother's garden. I still have a yellowed and much cherished typewritten sheet that I follow from Mr. Grey explaining his best practices for dividing, cleaning and planting the tubers. I learned from Mr. Grey that the easiest way to keep track of when to divide iris is to do so every presidential election year.
Friday, May 22, 2009
I've used it in gardens as a shrub, but never as a tree--I will after this week. On a road I have driven down hundreds of times, there it was in full glorious bloom, at a bus stop on Mountain Avenue in Springfield.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I want to go some place exotic--full of color, odd sounds and history.
Don't get me wrong--I love what I do, but I need to recharge and my creative batteries sometimes need a jump start.
These are not the best photos I've taken and I usually don't photograph gardens in their first season --they need time to fill in. First year photos are like taking baby pictures--the gardens are going to morph and mature and come into their own as they grow--and really they're just another cute baby. I made an exception yesterday since really liked what I saw.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I find the gardens to be great sources of inspiration. Flower show gardens, regardless of size are places to experiment and often exciting ideas emerge. I know the Chelsea gardens have huge corporate budgets and I know they're theater, impossibly perfect and created to last a week instead of a lifetime. It doesn't matter...I have to have more, more, more.
Here's a video of this year's Best Show Garden designed by Ulf Nordfjell for The Daily Telegraph:
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
This area of New Jersey is known for its history and tradition. Homes dating from late 18th and 19th century sit side by side with those built in the last real estate bubble. The three gardens we visited were traditional, based in European traditions, and on properties with old homes. All three gardens were several acres, the result of years of vision, personal attention and financial commitment. Aliums were in bloom everywhere. Container plantings were significant players at both Hedgerows and Kennelston cottage forming their own small 'gardens' or creating focal points within larger plantings. I think I'd like to explore containers as a contributor and design element later.
With the morning's fog still creating an atmospheric haze, down Old Chester Road we drove, our first stop was Dan and Jeanne Will's garden, Hedgerows. For me, the most interesting part of this garden was the woodland. Meandering paths wove in and out of plantings that were in places highly edited and in others self seeded. The combination of intent and abandon was charming.
Gravel paths weaving in and out of plantings
A small rustic yet elegantly proportioned summerhouse
New Jersey Life magazine, Kennelston's gardens are a series of interrelated rooms and vignettes.