Garden Color Inspiration: Green

It might seem counterintuitive to add more green to a garden, but lately to my landscape designer’s eyes, green looks like it should, fresh and new.  (Go ahead, groan at that word use!) Two years ago, a version of green was the color of the year, but it was largely ignored by outdoor designers–perhaps we think we have the corner on green with our plant palettes.

estates greystone great house 55 0309 MD Garden Color Inspiration: Green

Via Veranda

These greens aren’t the citrus based hues that have been screaming at us for several seasons as both accents and plants, but the deeper and more complex matte greens of the forest floor and canopy.

A%2526A+green+barn Garden Color Inspiration: Green

via Acanthus and Acorn

Green has been showing up in interior magazines and blogs and on the runway for a while now.

523741d8dbfa3f7f5800718f. w.540 s.fit  Garden Color Inspiration: Green

Via Apartment Therapy

 Garden Color Inspiration: Green

Via Andrea Pompilo

Green has long been used on fence panels and trelliage, but it can also color furniture and accessories.

Green box planter Garden Color Inspiration: Green

Via Jardins du Roi Soleil

It can be new looking and  surprising choice in a landscape adding a layer of complexity to the already existing organic greens that are there.

Some greens to play with… Green palette Garden Color Inspiration: Green Left to right Farrow and Ball/Calke Green, Ralph Lauren/Campbell Green, Benjamin Moore/Amazon Moss and Sherwin-Williams/Shamrock.  All of these can be mixed as an exterior stain or paint.

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LABELS: color, Garden Design, Gardens 5 Comments

Travel Inspiration for gardens in The Designer

The summer issue of The Designer, APLD’s quarterly design magazine is out.  In the editorial is a piece I wrote about my trip to Morocco last winter and how the patterned surfaces found everywhere there have continued to influence my landscape design work.


What isn’t included there are some of the detail images of that still come to mind when I start to design a garden or, specifically a planting plan, so I decided to share them here. I take dozens of detail images for future reference where ever I go, but seldom share them. They’re my reference material and often don’t make much sense to anyone else out of context–these do I think.

Brick wall with windows Fes 682x1024 Travel Inspiration for gardens in The Designer

Window detail 682x1024 Travel Inspiration for gardens in The Designer

tile fountain museum of fes 682x1024 Travel Inspiration for gardens in The Designer

La Mamoumia Hotel tile detail 682x1024 Travel Inspiration for gardens in The Designer

 

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LABELS: Garden Design, Gardens, inspiration, landscape designer, Morocco, Travel Leave a comment

The Revived Garden Design Magazine

Sometimes I almost get what I wish for.

When it folded two years ago, I lamented the demise of Garden Design magazine. In that piece, I also made a wish of sorts – If we, as a design discipline and community, want to be taken seriously, then we need to support publications at all levels of the marketplace, not just those that cater to the weekend warriors who relegate us to the DIY sector. Landscape design and landscape architecture are serious, complex disciplines that can inspire within and without. 

Well, Garden Design is back in a new version, as a quarterly book-a-zine.  In the interest of full disclosure, I have been working with them behind the scenes as an advisor and contributing editor since the new publisher bought the title and all of its archives. I felt that if I was going to wish for it, I had better be a part of the change I believe in.  It might seem odd to write a review of something that I’ve had a hand in making, but that’s what designers do..view things with a hyper critical eye to how to make those things even better.

CoverLightBlue FrontBack SideSide SMALL The Revived Garden Design Magazine

Although it’s not perfect, Garden Design does live up to its title and celebrates American landscape and garden design in a way no other publication on this side of the Atlantic even attempts. Overall, the first issue is a wow. It has a new cover design, a larger size and is bound like a book.  With 132 ad free pages, I can’t argue with the content, it’s rich and varied and there’s plenty to read and look at. It is wide ranging geographically and many of the images are drop dead gorgeous. Inspiration for all types of gardens and outdoor spaces are included and there is a fantastic regional section at the back of the book. Best of all, it focuses on design as an entity that is important to the ultimate success of any outdoor environment.

As it evolves, the magazine’s editorial voice and art direction needs to be clearer.  The details it presents both in photo editing and  typographic/layout design need to be tighter and much more consistent.  It also needs to focus on the flow of stories from one to another.  The desire to show everything needs to be tempered by a clear and sharp editorial knife that supports the publication’s ‘voice’. I learned these lessons first hand (and the hard way) working on other publications. Sometimes, less is more, sometimes not. The trick in editing and laying out a magazine is to make sure that every little bit ads to the reader’s new found or rediscovery of the content and that each story stands on its own yet leads logically to the next. Consistency in design is as true in magazines as it is in gardens. Knowing what to leave out is as important as what is included – sometimes more so.

So with all of that said, the revitalized and revived Garden Design is worth the cover price and needs the support of American design enthusiasts and I’m certain that it will only get better from the high bar it already set for itself over time. When that happens will I will have gotten exactly what I wished for.

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LABELS: Garden Design, Gardens, Landscape Design, magazines 3 Comments

Garden Design Details: Retro Patio Umbrellas

I’m tired of market umbrellas. Patterned or plain, they all look the same.  Outdoor umbrellas used to glamorous. My shady inspiration today came from Coastal Living’s cover story a few years ago and a garden designed by A Blade of Grass near Boston that was a 2013 APLD Landscape Design Award Winner .

coastal living cover Garden Design Details:  Retro Patio Umbrellas

13 136 R Pete Cadieux Brookline Residence 3 685x1024 Garden Design Details:  Retro Patio Umbrellas

There are a few companies that are making beautiful retro style umbrellas – the kind you would have found in mid-century Palm Springs or Palm Beach.

 

black and white umbrella Garden Design Details:  Retro Patio Umbrellas

 

 

 

 

 

Santa Barbara Umbrella Company‘s square Regatta umbrella in black and white.

blue retro umbrella Garden Design Details:  Retro Patio Umbrellas

 

California Umbrella‘s classic round patio umbrella comes in dozens of color options.

purple umbrella with fringe Garden Design Details:  Retro Patio Umbrellas

Santa Barbara Umbrella’s fringed round umbrella in violet and white and has all kinds of color options.

red and white striped umbrella Garden Design Details:  Retro Patio UmbrellasCalifornia Umbrella’s peaked umbrella in red and white stripes is also available in dozens of colors.

Images via Coastal Living, Association of Professional Landscape Designers, Santa Barbara Umbrella Company, California Umbrella Company.
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LABELS: Garden Design, Garden Design Details, Gardens, Patio Umbrellas Leave a comment

Spring Frenzy!

It’s been one of the most jam packed and crazy springs in recent memory.  Perhaps it is because winter seemed never ending in New Jersey and it still hasn’t really warmed up! As happens every April, I get so busy my days are a roundabout where one seems to blend into the next and somehow, it all gets done.  This spring, in addition to working with some existing and incredible new design clients,  there have been several other major things going on.

backyard garden plan 1024x1024 Spring Frenzy!

I had the opportunity to visit Washington DC (so many blooms…so many people!) during its famed cherry blossom season to work on a piece for Garden Design magazine which is publishing again in 10 days! Hurry up and subscribe to that!

DSC0055 1024x682 Spring Frenzy!

I finished up and sent out plans for a landscape designers buying trip to Paris and Brussels next January.  Ongoing info and updates for that trip can be found here.

I designed and helped install a show house garden for the Mansion in May with my New Jersey Chapter of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) of which I’m national president…

Blairsden garden 682x1024 Spring Frenzy!

And I managed to get some sleep…even though it doesn’t seem like there would be time for that!  What I didn’t have much time for is Miss R, so I hope you understand if I pop in and out this spring without my usual regularity!

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LABELS: American Architecture, Gardens Leave a comment

A Tale of Two Garden Sphinxes

Imagine my surprise, while visiting Hillwood Museum and Gardens, when I saw this sphinx at the entrance to the formal gardens.  There are four of them.  I’ve seen them before, in bronze at Blairsden–the house that is also the location for a garden I’ve designed for APLDNJ for this year’s Mansion in May.

The sphinx at Hillwood…

Sphinx at Hillwood 682x1024 A Tale of Two Garden Sphinxes

The slightly different but not all that much sphinx at Blairsden.

Sphinx at Blairsden 682x1024 A Tale of Two Garden Sphinxes

I don’t know a lot about these types of sphinxes, but the similarities are remarkable don’t you think?

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LABELS: Antiques, Art, Garden Art and Antiques, Gardens, Travel, Washington DC Leave a comment

Garden Trends: Rattan Seating

I first noticed this emerging trend in Paris at Maison et Objet in January. Rattan furniture is back. As a material, it’s been out of favor for a while, but in the 1940s and 50s it was popular and chic. The new rattan is lyrical and colorful and doesn’t include the large scale banana leaf prints that gave it the feeling that it belonged on a porch in Malaysia somewhere.
Rattan chaise and chair Maison et Objet 1024x682 Garden Trends:  Rattan Seating

Rattan chair Maison et Objet 682x1024 Garden Trends:  Rattan Seating

These pieces will be at home with a wide variety of contemporary, transitional and traditional styles. The best part is that rattan pieces are available at all price points and a wide variety of colors making them a stylish option for many, many gardens, patios and decks.  Here’s a small selection.  Top to bottom:  Crate and Barrel’s Kruger Dining chair, David Francis’ Aura chair, David Francis’ Stockholm chair, Ikea’s Holmsel chair, and Safavieh’s Shenandoah Blue chair.

Crate and Barrrel Rattan Garden Trends:  Rattan Seating David Francis furniture Garden Trends:  Rattan Seating David Francis Stockholm Chair Garden Trends:  Rattan Seating

Ikea Holmsel chair1 Garden Trends:  Rattan Seating safavieh blue rattan Garden Trends:  Rattan Seating

 We’ll be trendspotting at Maison et Objet 2015 on next January’s Antiques and Ornaments Tour for landscape designers.  If you want info on that trip, please email me susan at susan cohan gardens dot com.

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LABELS: Gardens, Outdoor Furniture and Accessories Leave a comment

Garden Trends in the Mall

Mall stores like Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel have made major investments in outdoor furniture and accessories, so I went to the mall to see what was new. Catalogs just don’t do it for me, I can’t see and touch the quality.

The only one of the three that had anything interesting was Crate & Barrel.  On trend as far as lifestyle and color, their selection made the neutrals at Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn seem dreary and tired. The pieces are very fairly priced for the level of quality. Here’s what I liked.

Vertical Pots copy 682x1024 Garden Trends in the Mall

Colorful ceramic pots with iron hangers. Brightly hued ceramic bird houses.

Ceramic Birdhouses 1024x682 Garden Trends in the Mall

From more of a merchandising perspective, bold pops of color combined with black and white.

Pops of color 682x1024 Garden Trends in the MallAn entire gardening section with well designed tools and accessories.   I was disturbed though to find plant labels very similar to ones I had seen on Etsy. Not sure if the knock-off was intentional or not as it was a simple graphic idea.

Garden Tools and Potting Bench 1024x682 Garden Trends in the Mall

My favorite piece of furniture this season is the classically inspired cast aluminum Union dining chair that comes in a matte charcoal finish or red!

Neutral color palette 682x1024 Garden Trends in the Mall

union red dining arm chair with sunbrella red ribbon cushion Garden Trends in the MallI can’t wait for things to warm up and get some pops of color outside!

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LABELS: Containers, Gardens, Outdoor Furniture and Accessories, Trends Leave a comment

The New Garden Design

The new Garden Design magazine promises to be full of inspiration and ideas for all of us.  I lamented when the previous one stopped publishing so I’m happy about this. Their primary focus is now American gardens and designers–not just the ones on both coasts either.  How do I know this for sure?  I’m a Contributing Editor.  That doesn’t mean I’m giving up my landscape design practice, it just means I have another outlet to express my love of  great design.

Garden Design Cover The New Garden Design

It is going to be a beautiful book like publication without any advertising and printed on beautiful paper.  It will be sold in garden shops and individual issue or annual subscriptions are available.

No, I’m not going to leak any stories!  You’ll have to wait until May and read it.  Until then, my latest piece is up on their website.

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LABELS: Garden Design, Gardens, Landscape Design, Planting Design, plants 8 Comments

Spring Bulb: Asphodelus fistulosus

I don’t usually write about plants I haven’t grown, but I’m so starved for spring I started looking through some images thinking to do a post about early spring bloomers.

Asphodelus aestivus Vobulis 682x1024 Spring Bulb:  Asphodelus fistulosus

Instead I found some lovely images of  Asphodelus fistulosus (Hollow stemmed asphodel) from my trip to Morocco in January.  It took a bit of sleuthing to figure out what this plant was…I hope I’m correct!  It was blooming everywhere in Volubilis, a Roman ruin, in the northeast near Fes and made me so happy to see it thinking that spring wouldn’t be far away at home.  Boy was I wrong!

Asphodelus aestivus close up 682x1024 Spring Bulb:  Asphodelus fistulosusAsphodelus aestivus with ruins Vobulis 682x1024 Spring Bulb:  Asphodelus fistulosus

It is a weed there, so beware here, several states list it as a noxious weed and it is prohibited! There were piles of it pulled out from unwanted spots. A member of the lily family, it has a long bloom season and is shorter than Eremurus and much less showy, but pretty nonetheless.  I don’t think it will be hardy in most of NJ since it’s listed as hardy to -0 and this winter we had a few days below that!

 

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LABELS: Gardens, Morocco, plants 2 Comments

The Designer’s New Look…no not Dior!

The Association of Professional Landscape Designers‘ quarterly magazine has just re-launched. It has been re-designed and re-imagined and I think it looks really, really great.

Read it here and subscribe for free.  If you are a landscape designer then you should really consider becoming a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) if you aren’t already.  Here are a few reasons why I’m happy I did. For the next two weeks (March 15th-April 1st) you will get three months additional membership at no extra cost if you join by April 1.  Tell ‘em I sent you!

Here’s the reference to Dior if you’re interested…

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LABELS: APLD, Gardens, Landscape Design 2 Comments

Garden Antiques Shopping…next winter!

Anyone who has hung around here for a while knows that I love antique and vintage garden ornament and furniture.  I buy things for my landscape design clients and often, what I’m buying has been found in Europe.  Since this never ending winter has been excellent for real and armchair travel, I’m planning an introductory buying trip for a small group of landscape designers next winter.  Not the most glamourous of seasons, but that’s when we have the time to go.

The trip will be short, between seven and ten days, and will take us to the antiques and vintage markets in Brussels, Antwerp and Paris. We will be working with local specialists and shipping will be coordinated for all purchases.  It will be less expensive to ship as a group than individually and we will be able to make shipping container minimums. There will be some garden related side events and free time to explore the cities with each other or solo.

Paris Flea Market vignette 682x1024 Garden Antiques Shopping...next winter!

I did a simple day scouting expedition (on Friday when the markets were mostly closed since that’s when I had the time) while I was in Paris to see what I could find easily. Even  partially open, there were treasures to be found.

There were plenty of mid-century pieces to be had also but they weren’t my focus that day.  I saw Willy Guhl planters and chairs, wire furnitur, signage and ornaments as well as all sorts of cool small items that could be re-used in a garden such as the boules Lyonnaise balls that I bought to use as container ornaments.

So if you think you might be interested in a trip like this, let me know via email susan at susancohangardens dot com and I’ll keep you in the loop as the plans progress.

 

 

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LABELS: Antiques, architectural salvage, folk art, Garden Art and Antiques, Gardens, Paris, vintage Leave a comment

The Problem with Outdoor Designers

There’s a villain in this tale.  It’s Target.  Yes, that big box store, who actively promotes its designer relationships and products is the bad guy of this story.  What’s worse though, and it still doesn’t absolve them, is that they’ve been unconsciously aided by us.

Take a look at this.

Target%20Rip%20off The Problem with Outdoor Designers

image via ActiveRain

It’s an old story.  A relatively unknown designer outside of design circles with a beautiful and considered product gets ripped off by a corporate giant.  It happens all the time.  Why? Because many designers- especially those who design products for outside and the landscape designers who use those products don’t have the cache that other disciplines do. We’re generally not well known outside of our own design communities.  We don’t have big media profiles. In other words, we are invisible to the public who won’t recognize the complete and total ripoff by Target of ModFire’s fireplace.

The core of the problem is that those of us who actually design for outside are outsiders. We don’t think about establishing ourselves in the media as a goal that will ultimately raise our profiles and expand our businesses.  Designers in other related (and some unrelated) disciplines have product lines (think fabric, furniture, and other garden ornaments) for outside, but few of us do. Fashion designers like Oscar de la Renta and Trina Turk have lines of outdoor furniture and fabric. Interior designers and architects do as well. Why? Because they recognize how much these products can add to their bottom lines and  they brand themselves from the get go as lifestyle tastemakers and we don’t. Why don’t we? Few designed environments add to the quality of life like those outside do.

Very few landscape or garden designers have a goal to be high profile enough to matter to beyond the immediate neighborhoods they work in. They assume that focusing locally is what will make them money and they’re right in the most immediate sense, but many are doing work that deserves wider acclaim, and don’t actively pursue it. We don’t reach out to national consumer media and pitch our best projects.  We don’t court the companies who produce the  products we use by going to events outside of our discipline. How many textile manufacturers or furniture would want to have a booth next to the much pile or tree spade at a landscape show? Not any.

We need to make our best work much more visible and recognizable to the public. Our names should be on products and we should be collecting the percentages paid from licensees instead those from other design fields.  We need to put ourselves out there– and not just as an offshoot of gardening.  We need to reach out to the larger design community and create relationships with other designers as well as with plants people and landscape specific suppliers. We need to be regarded as a design discipline in the same way as interior designers are. We need to foster relationships with the press and promote our work as design worthy–it’s not just about the garden and plants.  It’s about a beautiful and designed lifestyle that those elements are a part of.  We relegate ourselves to the backyard and miss out on so many opportunities with our own short shortsightedness. When we do step out in front there’s not enough recognition or marketing cache attached to our businesses or names because we haven’t set ourselves up that way.  We need to set our own bars higher in this regard.

Shame on Target for knocking off Brandon Williams who has worked and reached out to the larger design community.  They stole his ModFire product design, but even though it makes my blood boil, I’m not all that surprised.

As a side note…the subscribe button should be working now!–sc

 

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LABELS: business, Gardens 12 Comments

My Plant Picks in The New York Times

Of course I was absolutely thrilled to be in last Thursday’s Home section of the New York Times!  It was fun to think about what I would plant in a shady nook with deer.  It’s exactly what I have in my home garden.

NYTimes article 768x1024 My Plant Picks in The New York Times

I was also delighted to be in the great company of Janet Draper and Riz Reyes.

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LABELS: Garden Design, Gardens, Planting Design, plants 2 Comments

Art as Inspiration in Philadelphia

I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show last Friday.  It was a fragrant, blooming balm for my winter starved soul.  There was, as always, inspiration everywhere.  This year’s theme was ‘Articulture’ and display and garden makers interpreted the theme broadly.

As I’ve said before, there’s a big difference between flower shows and garden and landscape shows that call themselves flower shows.  Philadelphia is a FLOWER power show and this year, in my mind, the floral designers trumped everything and everyone else.

Not a review per se, these are just a few examples of what I was inspired by this year…and why.

Korean Letter Forms Philadlephia Flower Show 682x1024 Art as Inspiration in PhiladelphiaThe sheer size and bold graphic quality of this floral display just wowed me.  Floral designer, Michael O’Neil, AIFD was inspired by ancient Korean letter forms and created a contemporary mediation using bamboo and bloom.  I am inspired to be more fearless in my design choices just by seeing this.

Noguchi display Philadelphia Flower Show 682x1024 Art as Inspiration in PhiladelphiaAnother floral design company, Pure Design, inspired by Noguchi, made me think about the poetic quality of plants.  There was a FB discussion about how this chilled those who believe a plant has a soul, but I thought it spoke to simplicity and certain aspects of human’s harnessing of plants for their own desires.

Moda Botanica 1024x682 Art as Inspiration in Philadelphia

In past years, I have been really enthusiastic about Moda Botanica‘s displays.  Except for this soft and super romantic floral sculpture I didn’t love their ode to Storm King this year.  With that said I went back and looked at this twice. It distilled the essence of what I do as a landscape designer down to some very basic ideas. The combination of texture and color as well as natural and artificial was visually powerful for me.

Miniature floral display Philadelphia Flower Show 1024x682 Art as Inspiration in Philadelphia

The current trend for all things gardening in miniature was elevated to an art with this blue ribbon winning display inspired by Grounds for Sculpture by Margareta M. Warlick.  Less then one foot across, its geometric simplicity and attention to detail is a great reminder about how important editing is to the design process.

These are personal picks.  For a more general overview, Garden Design has started to post some images I took for them while at the show on their Facebook page.

 

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LABELS: Flower Shows, Gardens, inspiration, Philadelphia Flower Show 1 Comment

Andre le Notre: Four Hundred Years Strong

I’m taking sides with Andre le Notre.  Four hundred years ago he was practicing a type of landscape design that is still valid and revered today.  It’s handmade, skillfully practiced, and incredibly beautiful.  It is the antithesis of today’s trend towards natural gardens.  Many consider this type of garden to be unrealistic, unsustainable, and old-fashioned.  I disagree.

Versailles in January 1024x682 Andre le Notre:  Four Hundred Years Strong

I’m tired of the so called ‘new’ perennial gardens with all of their blowsy grasses and prairie leanings.  I’m all for pollinators and habitat, but understand that there is more than one way to achieve healthy garden environments for all inhabitants. I wonder why it took the Dutch, visiting our vast waving plains, to show the world that a miniaturized, hyped up version of the same could be had at home.

Lurie and Gehry 768x1024 Andre le Notre:  Four Hundred Years Strong

I have a profound reverence for the work of designers like Piet Ouldof and Gilles Clement, but as a designer, their naturalistic  ‘new’ style  old doesn’t make my heart sing.  I find that when I visit these gardens I love to look at them, but don’t really want to be ‘in’ them beyond a good ‘look’.  The style isn’t really all that new at all.  Ellen Biddle Shipman and Beatrice Farrand, as well as many others, were making intensive American perennial plantings throughout the last century–what’s different now is the mix of plants, the size and shape of the beds, and the tendency to want and believe it to be ‘maintenance’ free.  Is that because most of today’s gardeners don’t have the skill or time it takes for something else?  What will these gardens look like in 400 years?  Will they hold up like Le Notre’s?

Orangerie at Versailles in winter 1024x682 Andre le Notre:  Four Hundred Years Strong

Michael King argues in his recent post Never New Gardening that the so called ‘new’ has become not much more than a ‘look’.  To my eye, the ‘look’ of the turf parterres and the whimsical topiaries in the Orangerie at Versailles are contemporary…they’re just not wild.

Gardens are made things. It’s not outdated to include planted elements that require a gardener’s hand beyond cutting them down once a year, dividing drifts of plants and pulling some weeds to maintain a design. I don’t support the use of small backpack, gasoline powered trimmers of any variety, but wonder why with the current movement for all things handmade and artisinal that gardeners haven’t taken up the cause with more hand driven pruning?  Is it lack of skill or interest?

Did lopers and hedge pruners and rakes get forgotten?  Is it because it takes time to learn the methods and when to put those into practice? Or is it because any intervention is seen as an affront to the sustainability of a garden?  Andre le Notre’s gardens are 400 years old this year, what’s more sustainable than that?

There will be those who read this post who think that it takes an army of gardeners to maintain immense gardens like le Notre designed. Gardens with structure take skill and time to maintain–just like any other.   In fact, they are simpler and less labor intensive to maintain than some of the new perennial gardens.  Do the math.  Versailles has approximately 2100 acres and 80 gardeners. That’s roughly 26 acres of care per gardener.  The 6.73 acre High Line in New York has 9 gardeners and hundreds of seasonal volunteers to help with cutting back and cleaning up each year.  Just counting those on the staff roster that’s  approximately 3/4 acre per gardener.  So which is actually more labor intensive? The numbers speak for themselves.  Both can be organic.

Then there is the argument of scale and cost. Dial back Versailles to the average suburban lot and these gardens become do-able with less.  The new perennial gardens really need space to work well.  Not every town will allow an entire front yard to be taken over by a meadow, and in the eastern hardwood forest where I live and work, that meadow would soon become a forest without constant vigilance to eradicate self seeded volunteer trees.  I’m not saying that the selection of plants is what’s at issue here, it’s a design and maintenance issue.  I like the evergreen bones of structure in gardens like Le Notre’s- especially in the winter.  In truth, in high summer I love a meadow, newly mowed and or fields of wheat or wildflowers and many of the new perennial gardens have elements of evergreen structure.  In my own work I blend the two.  Create structure as a sculptural and architectural elements and and plant lushly.

Le Notre was born in the Tuileries where his father was a gardener.  He was surrounded by generations of skilled practitioners and learned by doing.  Imagine the gardens we could have if we get up from our screens, get outside and really learn our craft.  Imagine the gardens we could have if we really trained those who we hire to maintain them instead of just giving them a backpack blower and some power trimmers?  An apprenticeship program is not a bad idea.  Work and get paid to learn from a master and then work to become the master.  Le Notre, born to a gardener, learned his craft and became someone who worked for kings and whose work has survived for 400 years.  Who of us can say the same?

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LABELS: formal gardens, France, Garden Design, Gardens, Landscape Design 12 Comments

Garden Visit: Jardin Majorelle

I first read about Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh, Morocco in the early 1980s in a fashion magazine story about Yves St. Laurent.

Studio Jardin Majorelle 682x1024 Garden Visit:  Jardin Majorelle

YSL and his partner Pierre Berge had bought the property, saved it from demolition, and set about restoring it. From the first brilliant blue photo I saw, I knew I wanted to stand in and experience this garden, not just look at it in pictures.

studio terrace Jardin Majorelle 1024x682 Garden Visit:  Jardin Majorelle

Originally designed and built in the 1920s by artist Jacques Majorelle who painted its walls blue and its details brilliant shades of yellow, green, orange and red off set by chalky tones of turquoise and green.

Jardin Majorelle shade structure 682x1024 Garden Visit:  Jardin Majorelle

He collected plants in his travels and opened his garden to the public.  By the end of his life, however, he had to sell it and it deteriorated to the point that it was going to be leveled for a new Marrakesh hotel.

fountain and garden Jardin Majorelle 682x1024 Garden Visit:  Jardin Majorelle

For me, Majorelle is about the interplay of color, water and light. It is less about its collection of 300 plants.  Their grey Mediterranean tones are counterpoints for bursts of bold, sun kissed color.

Cacti and succulents Jardin Majorelle 1024x682 Garden Visit:  Jardin Majorelle

St. Laurent was born and raised in North Africa. He didn’t move to Paris until he was 18.  The light, color and texture of this place was as much a part of who he was as the rarefied world of the couture in Paris.  He often lived and worked at here until his death in 2008.  There is a simple memorial dedicated to his memory.

YSL memorial Jardin Majorelle 682x1024 Garden Visit:  Jardin Majorelle

Having been warned, I went very early, before the tour buses arrived, and the garden got crowded.  I stayed for several hours watching the light and shadows.  I was transported by Majorelle’s joyful interplay of art, gardens, and fashion. Go if you can.

Pergola Jardin Majorelle 682x1024 Garden Visit:  Jardin Majorelle Colored pots and reflecting pool Jardin Majorelle 682x1024 Garden Visit:  Jardin Majorelle yellow pot and majorelle blue wall Jardin Majorelle 682x1024 Garden Visit:  Jardin Majorelle

 

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LABELS: Design, fashion, Gardens, inspiration, Morocco 5 Comments

Garden Travel: Patrick Blanc’s Wall at Musee du quai Branly, Paris

How many green walls can boast about looking this good at nine years old…in January?  Easily found about two blocks from the Eiffel Tower, Patrick Blanc’s green wall, completed in 2005, on a Jean Nouvel designed museum, has held up beautifully.  I’ve seen so many crappy green walls that I was totally delighted when I turned the corner and saw it.

Musee du quai Branly 682x1024 Garden Travel: Patrick Blancs Wall at Musee du quai Branly, Paris

pedestrian with green wall 682x1024 Garden Travel: Patrick Blancs Wall at Musee du quai Branly, Paris

wall detail Musee du quai Branly 682x1024 Garden Travel: Patrick Blancs Wall at Musee du quai Branly, Paris

blanc green wall detail 682x1024 Garden Travel: Patrick Blancs Wall at Musee du quai Branly, Paris

Mahonia on green wall Musee du quai Branly 682x1024 Garden Travel: Patrick Blancs Wall at Musee du quai Branly, Paris

 

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LABELS: Gardens 7 Comments

More Garden Travel–Sort of.

In a few days I’ll be travelling for a couple of weeks.  This time, it’s not a garden/landscape related event, but one of my own invention.  My first stop will be Paris (as in France, not Texas).

56e88929c63fb4b1c696300da462df5b More Garden Travel  Sort of.

I lived in France years ago and have returned since, so I plan to visit with friends, eat spectacular food that’s not on my diet, drink good wines, wander the streets and shop.  I’m also going to Maison et Objet and hope to report back on what’s exciting for outdoor there.

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I expect to visit some green spaces that will be stark in their winter structure, see the Cartier retrospective at the Grand Palais, and some other events and places that will, for now be a surprise.

After that, I’m on to Fez and Marrakesh for adventure and exploration.

162c16b31512f5ac8c6f89010684899c More Garden Travel  Sort of.

I’m going to try and visit three UNESCO World Heritage sites – the old city of Fez, Voubolis (a ruined Roman city, pictured below) and the Medina in Marrakesh.  There will be more shopping and of course a visit to Majorelle.  We will be traveling entirely by train in Morocco so that should be really fun.

Volubilis Morocco More Garden Travel  Sort of.

If I have time to post while on the road, I will.  If not it will be when I return.

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LABELS: France, Gardens, Morocco 3 Comments

Garden Travel: Nebraska

I spent last week in Nebraska. I was invited there to teach a design workshop to other designers. Not one to turn down any travel opportunity, I went a few days early and visited with Marti Neely, a super talented designer and one of my APLD peeps.

As someone who grew up in the middle of what was once eastern hardwood forest, I was surpised by Nebraska’s neutral  winter landscape. Instead of feeling dull and lifeless the prairie shimmers as the unhindered winter winds whip through it.

rolling prairie in Nebraska 1024x682 Garden Travel:  Nebraska

In Omaha, we walked through a series of sculptures that make up the Spirit and Courage of Pioneers park and celebrated those who ultimately settled and farmed there.  Created by two artists, Blair Buswell and Ed Fraughton, there are geese and bison flying through and barging through buildings as well as a full sized wagon train trudging up a hill.  It really made me think about the 19th century push west and what it meant to those who lived there and those who colonized it.  There wasn’t a Native American to be found in the series.

sculpture covered wagon Omaha 1024x682 Garden Travel:  Nebraska

We then moved on to see one of Marti’s lakeside projects. Even in the 45 mile an hour winds with shallow snow cover the elegance of her design’s structure was apparent.  The sweeping curves of one section of the project echoed the shoreline uphill from the lakefront.  I never occurred to me that there might be lakes in Nebraska.

Marti Neely Lakeside landscape 1024x682 Garden Travel:  Nebraska

The next day we drove to Lincoln to visit with plantsman, Benjamin Vogt in his garden in which was lovely despite being winter and surprising in it’s tract home development location.

Benjamin Vogts garden path Lincoln NE 682x1024 Garden Travel:  Nebraska

Benjamin Vogts garden graasses 682x1024 Garden Travel:  Nebraska

My favorite part of the day was a visit to Gretna, midway between Omaha and Lincoln, to see the Shrine of The Holy Family.  Inspired by E. Fay Jones’ Thornecrown chapel (1980) in Arkansas, the shrine’s proportions and curved lines are different.  The local architecture team at BCDM acknowledged the inspiration from the beginning and went on to make a statement that is more prairie than forest.

Entrance shrine of the Holy Family NE 682x1024 Garden Travel:  Nebraska

Its curved lines, blond wood concrete and windswept location work in context.  A limestone and turf entryway, a restored bluestem prairie, and a rill that runs from the chapel alter to the a pool and sculpture in the main building builds a powerful message.

Facade Holy Family Shrine 682x1024 Garden Travel:  Nebraska

Holy Family Shrine in prairie 682x1024 Garden Travel:  NebraskaI was happy to be there in winter when the changing light, the tans and ochres of the wood and grasses, and the buff hue of limestone paths and boulders worked in concert with each other to create a stark and arresting beauty that I expect would be difficult to find elsewhere.

I’ll be travelling again next week and hope to blog from the road.  Where to this time?  Paris, Fez and Marrakesh. Stay tuned.

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LABELS: American Architecture, Garden Design, Gardens, Travel 1 Comment

Looking Forward by Looking Back

I spent the first grey working day of 2014 tromping through an old house and garden. Later this year, for the month of May, Blairsden, in Peapack, NJ will become a sparkling designer show house and gardens.  I was there to preview the latter. I love old houses, especially ones that have new lovers after years of neglect.  I find both the neglect and the restoration fascinating.

The place is a wreck.  Almost every aspect inside and out needs something.  Outside there are courtyards, formal terraces, sculpture, a loggia, a totally ruined cascade, a tumbled down orangerie and a grotto of sorts.  There were gardens here at one point, but all that’s left are ghosts. Very few of the landscape/garden spaces were available for re-design and I’m not at all sure that I will participate this year.  Still, it was a fantastic way to spend the morning despite a looming storm and frigid temperatures.

Blairsden front door Peapack NJ 819x1024 Looking Forward by Looking BackThe imposing oak front door with limestone steps and details.  Obviously there’s construction going on!  Turn around and you will see…

Empty reflecting pool at Blairsden Peapack NJ 819x1024 Looking Forward by Looking Back

The reflecting pool will be completely restored.  The driveway flanks it on either side.

Interior courtyard Blairsden Peapack NJ 1024x819 Looking Forward by Looking Back

Loggia at Blairsden Peapack NJ 1024x819 Looking Forward by Looking BackAn interior courtyard with a loggia on its south side.  The house is built high on a  hillside with  sweeping views of the Far Hills.  Terraced lawns are just below.  A cascade starts at the lowest terrace.

Stonework and Fountainhead Blairsden Peapack NJ 819x1024 Looking Forward by Looking Back

Rill at Blairsden Peapack NJ 819x1024 Looking Forward by Looking Back

The water cascade going down to the home’s original entry driveway.  That was at some point re-routed and is up the hill by the reflecting pool. Above the fountainhead is what used to be an orangerie.  It is abandoned with its arching glass windows long gone.

Orangerie Blairsden Peapack NJ 819x1024 Looking Forward by Looking BackAt the base of the cascade is a remarkable view up to the house.

Blairsden lookin up from the rill Peapack NJ 1024x819 Looking Forward by Looking BackWith all of this desolate and forlorn beauty there was a Sphinx (one of four actually) who I’d like to think is wondering what all the hubbub is about and what spring will bring after such a long and lonely stretch of indifference.

Sphinx at Blairsden Peapck NJ 819x1024 Looking Forward by Looking Back

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LABELS: Garden Art and Antiques, Gardens, Mansion in May 3 Comments

Ice in the Garden

We had our first significant snow of the season yesterday.  It turned into rain last night and covered everything with a thin coat of ice.  I’m torn between the beauty of it and the knowledge that some of my boxwoods may not survive or will, at the very least, need a severe pruning in early spring.

For now I’ll focus on the morning’s transient beauty in my New Jersey home garden before it melts.

Hydrangea paniculata Tokyo Delight ice 768x1024 Ice in the GardenHydrangea paniculata ‘Tokyo Delight’

Malus 768x1024 Ice in the Garden

Malus ‘Coralburst’

Fothergilla gardenii 768x1024 Ice in the Garden

Fothergilla gardenii

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Spirea thunbergii

Spirea thunbergii MtFuji 768x1024 Ice in the GardenSpirea thunbergii ‘Mt. Fuji’

Cornus alba Elegantisima 768x1024 Ice in the GardenCornus alba ‘Elegantisima’

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LABELS: Gardens, winter 3 Comments

Leaving Las Vegas

I spent almost a week in Las Vegas representing APLD at a board meeting as well as at an industry trade show. I had never been there before and it is the first place I’ve ever been where I would be happy not to go back to. There is no romance there unless you like, as one of my fellow designers dubbed it, ‘trailer park glamour’.

For the garden minded, there are pockets of innovation and interest, particularly in the Wynn Hotel.

Wynn display 2 768x1024 Leaving Las Vegas

Wynn display 1 768x1024 Leaving Las Vegas

At The Shops at Crystals I saw a light installation by James Turrell, the mall combines site specific art and commerce, there was a totally original use of mums…yes, mums.

Mums at Shops at Crystal 768x1024 Leaving Las Vegas

Despite the artificial perfumed air, the bad fashion and the incredible, unsustainable environment which couldn’t exist without pumped in water, electricity and a boat (caravan?) load of other things that are not in anyway part of the natural environment in the Mojave desert, I did find two places intriguing.

The first, The Neon Museum, is uniquely Las Vegas.  The museum tells the history of the city’s upswing through its neon signs.  These ghost signs have been collected, preserved (thanks to little or no rust), cataloged and organized.  They are beautiful and also tell the history of 20th century design from quaint to futuristic.

Contrasting design styles at Neon Museum Las Vegas 768x1024 Leaving Las Vegas Mid century modern Neon Museum 1024x768 Leaving Las Vegas Neon Museum genies lamp 768x1024 Leaving Las Vegas

For the second, after two days inside, I went with five other designers to Red Rock Canyon, which is less than an hour away from the Vegas strip by car.  My eastern eyes, used to green forested landscapes with glimpses of the sky, loved the unfiltered light – we were there at sunset, the scale of the sky, the neutral colors, and the rocks themselves.

sunset red rock canyon 768x1024 Leaving Las Vegas Grey and brown plants which would look dead in the east were thriving here, blooming yellow and salmon and red.

Red Rock canyon plants 768x1024 Leaving Las Vegas

When I returned home, I woke with a start to the bright red fall foliage outside my bedroom window.  Almost a week in the desert had made me unused to natural color…Las Vegas was either neutral or neon.

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LABELS: American Architecture, Gardens, Las Vegas 10 Comments

Garden Visit: Greenwood Gardens

Greenwood Gardens, a Garden Conservancy preservation project, is also a public garden that has recently re-opened after several years of adaptive renovations.

In Short Hills, NJ, it’s about ten minutes from my home office, so I have visited it often since its first open day about 10 years ago.  I was lucky recently to be part of a private tour for APLD’s NJ chapter led by Louis Bauer, Greenwood’s Director of Horticulture.  It has been fascinating to watch the transformation of this garden.

When I first visited, the bones were there and the plantings, particularly the boxwood and yew hedging, were overgrown and blowzy.

untrimmed boxwood at Greenwood Gardens 1024x768 Garden Visit:  Greenwood Gardens

 Much of the boxwood and yew hedging has been tamed.

greenwood gardens tamed hedges 1024x768 Garden Visit:  Greenwood Gardens

The areas around the Georgian Revival home have been restored and are used for lectures, fund raising events and private parties.  Peter P. Blanchard, III, a descendant of the estate’s second owner, has been instrumental in saving and preserving the property in a region that is rapidly being subdivided, with old wonderful homes replaced by newer ones.  It’s a wonderful testament to loving the land we live on.

Facade of Greenwood Garden House with planters 1024x768 Garden Visit:  Greenwood Gardens

Formal axis and monumental water features were in disarray, some still are, others, like the fountain like the fountain below, with Rookwood ornamentation,  have been restored.  Rookwood and the locally based (now defunct) Fulper tiles and charming repetition of a rooster motif can be found throughout the gardens.

Fountain before and after 1024x676 Garden Visit:  Greenwood Gardens

Other areas aren’t restored yet and Bauer has used plants to allude to what was once there.  The large water feature at one end of the long formal axis has a crumbling colonnade was once topped by a pergola.

large ruined water feature Greenwood Gardens 1024x768 Garden Visit:  Greenwood Gardens

The garden has always appealed to the decay porn lover in me and I found it have its own  visual poetry.

greenwood gardens sculpture 768x1024 Garden Visit:  Greenwood Gardens

Greenwood Gardens still has aspects of that tumbled down romance, but now parts of it are side by side with renovated details, pumped up and pruned plantings as well as new ADA required accessibility necessary for a public garden.  I miss some of what was left to my imagination but also admire the restoration.  There are many details that I have yet to photograph…this last visit was at dusk and two of the wonderful architectural features were cloaked in darkness–the folly and the summerhouse.

glasshouse foundations Greenwood Gardens 1024x768 Garden Visit:  Greenwood Gardens

The foundations of the estate’s former glasshouses are lovely in their ruined state although they will be much more useful once restored.

stone wall and steps greenwood gardens 768x1024 Garden Visit:  Greenwood Gardens

 The lower gardens at Greenwood have an incredible cascade that once culminated into a swimming pool, a folly with sculptural dwarf chess pieces, and a beautifully proportioned summerhouse as well as a natural pond and Sycamore allee.

Cascade water feature Greenwood Gardens 768x1024 Garden Visit:  Greenwood Gardens sycamore allee Greenwood Gardens 768x1024 Garden Visit:  Greenwood Gardens

Greenwood is a garden in transition and to me, as a designer, that’s the most interesting and intriguing part of visiting.  I love gardens that allow my imagination to soar, that have stories to tell and mysteries to reveal.  Plants in some cases to echo what used to be architectural features and new naturalistic plantings in the front of the house are particularly beautiful.  I look forward to following the rest of the renovation, but will miss the romance of the ruin.

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LABELS: Garden Conservancy, garden visits, Gardens, New Jersey 3 Comments

Planting Design: Late Fall Texture and Color

Now that we’ve begun the season of darkness and it looks like midnight at 5 pm, bursts of golden color during the day is important. I love the last of the riot of color and texture that is in my front home garden.  The details become very important.

Veronia and maple 768x1024 Planting Design:  Late Fall Texture and Color

Vernonia noveboracensis (New York Ironweed) seed heads and browned leaves and stems against a background of Acer rubrum ’Autumn Blaze’ (Red maple) foliage.

I look for plants that at minimum do three seasons of heavy lifting even if it’s in a period of decay.  They have to be tough and deer resistant.  They also have to play well with others and offer opportunities for textural combinations since most of their bloom times are fairly short lived.  Here are some of the stars in my New Jersey home garden in late fall.  None are difficult to grow or find and all are suitable for a small space–some take up airspace like the narrow yet 7′ tall Veronia rather than having a big footprint others like the Amsonia need a wide birth and frequent division to keep them where they are.

daisy seed heads 768x1024 Planting Design:  Late Fall Texture and Color

Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Becky’ (Shasta Daisy) 

cotinus 768x1024 Planting Design:  Late Fall Texture and Color

Cotinus coggygria ‘Ancot’ (Golden Spirit Smokebush)

Amsonia and sedum 768x1024 Planting Design:  Late Fall Texture and Color

Amsonia hubrichtii (Threadleaf  bluestar) and Sedum x ‘Autum Joy’

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Fothergilla gardenii foliage and Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ (Red Twigged Dogwood) twigs.

Crabapple 768x1024 Planting Design:  Late Fall Texture and Color

Malus x ‘Coralburst’ (dwarf crabapple) fruits.

Veronia seed heads 768x1024 Planting Design:  Late Fall Texture and Color

 Vernonia noveboracensis (New York Ironweed) seed heads.

 

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LABELS: deer resistant, Gardens, Planting Design, plants 2 Comments

Garden Designers Roundtable: Design on the Diagonal

Anyone who has tried to learn the art of garden and landscape design has had the unifying principles of rhythm, and repetition branded in their brains along with texture, form and color.  I always found this to be confusing and way too much to think about in the fluid process that is my creative workflow.

What is less discussed and a too often missed is a simple tool I call ‘Love the Diagonal.’ My landscape design students get this drilled into their brains before any of the others because it can unify a design and create an emotive design experience without any of the others. The rule is simple: Use the other principles, but place the same or similar elements (plants especially) diagonally through a design.

Simple diagonal repitition Garden Designers Roundtable: Design on the Diagonal

It may seem counter intuitive, the geometry, that is, but in the design process, the act of placing and layering elements in diagonal sequences can lead to a complex solution that is both fluid and natural. Several examples below illustrate this process.

Diagonal repeition feature plants Garden Designers Roundtable: Design on the Diagonal

These elements will be visual guideposts as well as unifying features.  It really doesn’t matter what they are.

diagonal textural plant repetition Garden Designers Roundtable: Design on the Diagonal

Always imagine a human experience.  What will the eye see and how will the senses work in concert with the act of moving through a space?  How can sight beckon and be the first  of the garden’s experiential moments beyond a ‘Wow’?  Not a singular focal point, but a siren’s song of visual clues.  Changes in color and plant choices can be made without even knowing what they will be until the very end.  It’s then easy to go back and edit, identify, and apply the other design principles to the planting design.

multiple design layers diagonals Garden Designers Roundtable: Design on the Diagonal

 

Diagonal design in practice is an opportunity to create visual experiences while moving through a garden or landscape.  Gardens and landscapes, after all are about human experience.  Geranium x Rozanne repeated diagonally on the path in the example below forms visual guideposts to the patio beyond.  Color repetition between the yellow Hemerocallis spp. and the Rudebeckia spp. across the path lift the garden experience upward.  The fine textural and color repetition of the burgundy Berberis and Acer disectum pull that visual experience through the space to it’s conclusion.

simple and complex use of the diagonal Garden Designers Roundtable: Design on the DiagonalOnce mastered, every planting scheme will look good.  Try the diagonal, next time you’re planning a design and ignore the rule of odd numbers too…

To learn more about design principles today, visit other landscape designer’s posts from the Garden Designer’s Roundtable series.

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO
David Cristiani : It’s A Dry Heat : Albuquerque, NM
Mary Gallagher Gray : Black Walnut Dispatch : Washington, D.C.
Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK
Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

 

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LABELS: Gardens, Planting Design 11 Comments

Garden Color Inspiration: Violet, Plum, and Aubergine

I’ve been collecting images for this post for a while.  I wrote about pink a while ago and people either loved it or hated it.  There’s been quite a bit of chatter about what’s going to be the color of the year this year, and there are rumblings of pink or purple being the front runners.  Shades of purple and violet can be arresting in a garden. Unlike the pink post, this one includes plants.

purple container plants Garden Color Inspiration:  Violet, Plum, and AubergineFall container planting in shades of violet designed by Bruce Bailey from Heavy Petal Nursery.

32e5509b1a8dfddb00577c4ab74f1607 Garden Color Inspiration:  Violet, Plum, and Aubergine

image via Marie Claire

An aubergine stucco wall makes a dramatic backdrop for both brown and green.  This deep red-violet is probably the most restful of the purple family.

gate Garden Color Inspiration:  Violet, Plum, and Aubergine

image via Floradora

Although I’m not a fan of dyed mulch, this violet and pink path makes a bold statement, especially combined with apricots and oranges.  Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to this color family this time of year.  Violet, plum, aubergine and just about any shade of purple is a fantastic counterpoint to the oranges and yellows of fall foliage.  They are complimentary on the color wheel so they can also be quite garish.

purple knot garden Garden Color Inspiration:  Violet, Plum, and Aubergine

image via Pinterest via John Glover

An analogous color story of violet and red-violet spins the traditional knot garden idea into something completely different.  Violet, plum, aubergine or just plain old purple can be serene or quite nutty depending on the circumstance it’s used in.  Below are three examples.  The first is transitional and calming, the second contemporary and frenetic, the third eclectic and welcoming.  Whichever, it’s a bold color choice, not for everyone, but in the right place…well all things have a place, don’t they?

RX DK GDN04604 bright white s3x4 lg Garden Color Inspiration:  Violet, Plum, and Aubergine

image via HGTV

RX DK GDN18001 fusion garden s3x4 lg Garden Color Inspiration:  Violet, Plum, and Aubergine

image via HGTV

1963639116 Garden Color Inspiration:  Violet, Plum, and Aubergine

image via Marie Claire
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LABELS: Garden Design, Gardens, Landscape Design 4 Comments

Colorful Willow Fencing

This going to be filed under Duh. Why didn’t I think of that?  I even have the makings for it in my own Chatham, NJ home garden.  Every spring I copice my redtwig dogwood and only sometimes use the twigs.  No longer.

Stick fence 819x1024 Colorful Willow Fencing

 A plain, yet traditional and beautiful twig fence can be a thing of drama and add a pop of color.  I’ve seen dozens in person and hundreds of images of these fences and took the one above for reference. But, duh! but I never thought of using color beyond the basic grey and brown.  This would be incredible in the winter landscape!

f97f7874015dc2463c027173707f303a Colorful Willow Fencing

 Image via Gary John/Flickr and Pinterest

Need some instructions to build one yourself?

 

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LABELS: Fences, Gardens 2 Comments

Planting Design: Planting for Fall Drama

I never tire of visiting other people’s gardens. Good or bad they always have something to teach me.  This past weekend I visited two.  One in New Jersey and the other across the Delaware River in Pennsylvania.  They both showcased ornamental grasses and their power to transform an autumn garden.

James Golden writes about his garden on a wonderful blog, View from Federal Twist.  He describes himself as a ‘new American’ style gardener.  What he is really is a an engaged and talented plantsman with an eye for design.  I previously visited and wrote about his Brooklyn garden for  Leaf  but leaped at the opportunity to spend a day talking gardens and design at his country garden.  It will be open for Garden Conservancy Open Days on October 19th if you want to see it in person.

James Golden Pond at Federal Twist Planting Design:  Planting for Fall Drama Miscanthus and Sanguisorba Planting Design:  Planting for Fall Drama Wave Hill chairs and grasses Planting Design:  Planting for Fall Drama

After lunch and shopping for some hairspray (see the tale at the end of this post) we visited Paxon Hill Farm.  The display gardens there were glorious and interesting and full of fall ideas for planting.  It would be worth it to couple a visit here with the Open Days tour.

Paxon Hill Farm pond New Hope PA Planting Design:  Planting for Fall Drama

 

Paxon Hill Farm Display Garden Planting Design:  Planting for Fall Drama

Hairspray?  I suggested that James use it to keep some of the seed heads in tact that he wants to keep for winter interest without having to worry about self seeding.  Not the average garden tool, but it should work very well.  My preference is for unscented Aqua Net. Don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it.

 

 

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Garden Visit: Atlanta Botanical Garden

I’m in Atlanta for the inaugural Garden Bloggers Conference and I came two days early to explore.  Yesterday, visiting the Atlanta Botanical Garden with friends and fellow landscape designers Kathy and Tom Carmichael. we were beset by monsters!

Ogre Garden Visit:  Atlanta Botanical Garden

But seriously.  The garden’s blockbuster installation of creatures was produced by the same team, the International Mosaiculture of Montreal,  who have built fantastical creatures around the world since 1998.  There is another group of them on view until September 29th at the Montreal Botanic Garden.  These are huge.  Some are 20′ tall and made of thousands of plants.

Cobra Garden Visit:  Atlanta Botanical Garden

 

Unicorn Garden Visit:  Atlanta Botanical Garden

I suspect these creatures were the reason the garden was so crowded.  There were long lines at the ticket booth as well as streams of cars entering the garden all day long. This is a very good thing for a public garden.  Often they are quiet places with few visitors. My favorite creature was the Earth Goddess.  She was beautiful and built in a way that she appeared to spring forth from the surrounding woods and water.

Earth Godess Garden Visit:  Atlanta Botanical Garden

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LABELS: Atlanta, garden visits, Gardens, Planting Design, Travel 2 Comments