What would Arthur think?

Tomorrow is  the last public day of the show house garden.  We will be harvesting vegetables for the next week and then poof! it will be gone.  Along one side of the fence I created a perennial cutting garden from plants that were already on site.  There was no way to know what the bloom color was, so it was largely created for foliage texture.

Rosa 'Guinevere'

Among the plants rescued was a polyantha rose…Rosa ‘Guinevere’.  It has been blooming its head off for about a week now.  The home’s owner was amazed that the scraggly rose that was in standing water in March could be so beautiful.  I agree–it’s a beauty.

Sexy Rex

This Rex Begonia is a mystery. I know it’s part of the boomanfloral series of begonias, because it had a label to that effect but not the specific variety.  It’s just so sexy.

Rex begonia foliage

I often shop at three annual wholesale growers whose plant labels are more often than not missing.   Each tray of 6-8 plants originally had one label, but unscrupulous shoppers before me have absconded with them.  I know my plants for the most part and will be taking the labels off them when I use them, so I really don’t mind–less plastic to recycle or end up in the landfill.  Are there biodegradable grower’s labels?

Modular Trellis

I’m working on a project that needs some narrow wall trellis and nothing that’s available locally fits the bill.   I regularly shop the market both–brick and mortar and virtual–as part of my job as a landscape designer.  Like a good architect or interior designer, I have to know what’s available JUST IN CASE…

This modular trellis system is a case it point–I’m glad I bookmarked it a while ago.  It’s so versatile that it would work in any style garden–except for maybe rustic… just by how the modules are hung.  Hang them in a vertical line (depending on which way you turn the squares) or in a geometric pattern.

FLORA 'Grow' modular wall trellis

The trellises squares are from FLORA and are one of a series of designs that are made of powder coated zinc plated steel. There are several other patterns.

Modular Trellis Units via FLORA

They’re meant to be able to stand on their own visually while the plants take their time.  Hmm…I might not even want to plant them at all…or I just might want to design my own.

Photo credits:  FLORA

Grill to Go

It’s time to cook outside and many of my clients call me for grills–built in and portable.  So many of the portables are just, well, boring style wise.  Here’s one that’s not.

If you are a fan of wood grills–and some are not because of the pollutants in wood smoke–this is a beauty.  I have mixed feelings about creating smoke pollutants,  but there’s no denying that good food cooked over wood from a campfire or wood fired oven is one of life’s pleasures.  This award winning wood burning grill from German company, Bambusmobel und Mobel is simple and elegant.  It marries the idea of an open campfire with the sophistication of the best grill design and portability.  I’d take it out into the garden for an impromptu weenie roast for sure!

End view

Photo credits:  Bambusmobel und Mobel

Self Contained

I’m not blogging with the Roundtable this month, but I thought I’d share some more of the containers I saw while shopping the market a few weeks ago at Terrain anyway.  I already posted one of a trio of shade pots on the Garden Designers Roundtable Facebook page.  If you want to read the Roundtable posts,  there’s a link just under the photos below…

Read the Garden Designers Roundtable posts by following the links from here at 1 pm EST.

Tender Ballerinas

A slightly damaged Styrax japonica ‘Emerald Pagoda’ has become mine.  I have always wanted one. The blooms remind me of the chorus in Swan Lake.  It’s supposedly only hardy to Z7 and I’m in Z6. If I plant it in a slightly sheltered position next to the house in my sunny side yard it might be just fine.


I won’t plant it for clients until I’m sure it will make it through the winter. That’s the main reason my garden is such a hodge podge…I have to see a plant growing before I’ll spec it for someone else–it’s part of the trust factor between designer and client.

Garden Glamour Puss

Yesterday images of two famous gardeners in their gardens came across my desk.  Both were remarkable in their unreality as well as their singular understanding of the importance of image.

The first image, from the blog How to be a Retronaut shows the Duke of Windsor in his sartorial gardening best in his gardens outside of Paris circa 1956.  These made me want to go out and buy some tweeds and wellies.  Perhaps these?

Waterproof boots from Dubarry (not in the budget)

Or one of these from Ralph Lauren’s 2010 Fall collection? (via style.com)…I’ll have to interpret that from the local vintage shop with a big belt already in my closet.

Ralph Lauren Tweed Jacket

The fashionista in me has to believe that there is a way to marry a genuine love of  fashion with the practical.  How to say ‘I’m a designer’ and also say ‘I’m a gardener’ within the boundaries of fashion?  I can’t believe the two are mutually exclusive.

The second image was of Michelle Obama in her White House veggie garden via the Huffington Post.  This is probably closer to reality and I can throw the tweed over it.

First Lady in the Garden

I wonder if those awfully clean jeans and brand spanking new Chuck Taylors ever got dirty…

A Twitterama

I had a wonderful day on Sunday in the company of people I’ve been Twittering with for almost two years.  Most of us had met before, but some of us had not.  We met at Margaret Roach’s beautiful garden for breakfast, a stroll and plenty of conversation.  After that we went in a caravan to Loomis Creek Nursery and then a few of us went to lunch.

I have gladfly syndrome in these situations–talking to this one and that one and the next one and then back again.  I also, as some found out first hand, I have a hard time concentrating on anything when there’s new eye candy…that’s the next shiny thing syndrome!

Here’s some pix from the day…mostly ideas for my own inspiration rather than a documentation of what happened.

Masterful foliage combination

Margaret writes eloquently and informatively about her garden and gardening on her blog A Way to Garden.  This was my favorite foliage combination–all simple and easy plants to find…just extraordinarily well used.

The Frog Pond
Tree spheres

After our garden stroll we caravaned over to Loomis Creek Nursery where there was more chatter and much shopping!  Even I bought something…

The Gang at Loomis Creek Nursery

At first I thought the serpentine wood wall below was stone…

A firewood wall

I’m a sucker for American 19th century architecture–this was the next shiny thing when a small group of us went to lunch in Hudson, NY.  I’d love to design a garden for this…wouldn’t you?

Hudson, NY Victorian

Monday 17 | A Year of Mondays

I thought I would take a lovely picture my only rose in the garden, but when I looked up I saw something completely different.  I manipulated the original photograph in PhotoShop because it’s the linear geometry in this image that I like.

No. 17

The rose (R. ‘Joseph’s Coat) attracted me to this corner but in the end it wasn’t what I was really looking at.  Interesting how, with a critical eye and no real plan, things got unstuck and went in a new direction.  More and more I’m hoping this project will beckon me down those unstuck paths.

Bloom Day | May 2010

I finally broke down and bought a new camera.  Of course my previous one had to break just as I was about to shoot a beauty shot for a garden I want to put in my portfolio…argh.  I opted for a super point and shoot rather than an SLR since I don’t have the patience right now to learn those nuances!  This one (Canon Powershot G11) is complicated enough.

I’m not being stingy with the pix, honest, I just have to dash out the door!  May is the toughest month to do anything but work, eat and sleep… I hope to see everyone’s beauty shots later when I’m not so rushed, rushed, rushed!

Hosta and fern

This hosta is enormous and has gone with me from garden to garden to garden.  The deer don’t eat it until late in the season…

Amsonia hubrichtii

This one also has a story.  It was given to me as a wispy little piece–now over 4′ across and screaming to be moved from its present spot.  Native and one of my favorite deer resistant perennial for big statements-incredible fall color.

Make sure to visit the other Bloom Day gardens–links are at May Dreams Gardens

Props and Ideas

I thought I’d share some great ideas from the designer show house…from other designers.  Within the context of an extremely traditional setting, there are some wonderful details.  Enjoy!

Wrought iron arbor w/bronze finish

A tour de force hand forged arbor by blacksmith Charlie Spademan from IronFireArt in Montclair (otherwise known as Spademan Fabrication, LLC).

Lamp hung from block and tackle
Lamps w/block and tackle suspension

An elegant entertaining area from Chris Stout at Back to Nature Landscape Associates.  Both of the oversized candle lamps are suspended under an amazing fern leaf beech with antique block and tackle detailing.  The table, carpet and accessories are a bit busy for my taste but everyone else loves them.  It was too early for the table settings to be out.

Funkadelic arbor

Although I would have taken more care to hide the concrete footings…this funky arbor complete with bowling ball finials and hay fork is delightful.  From Robert K. Watrous Landscape Architecture.

Faux pergola

From fellow APLD member Jane Derickson-Friar of Crescent Garden Design, this faux pergola adds so much detail to a small shaded patio.  It was kismet of sorts since nothing could be attached to the stone…I don’t think it matters here–in fact I think the posts add to the vignette.

Tromp l'oeil

This incredible trellis work effectively blocks the views nasty bits while framing the best–it also ends the space without creating a dead zone.  Designed by Helen Grundman (another APLD member).  The army of topiaries is pretty cool too!

Antique Arbor with original finish

Last…this antique arbor’s finish was left in tact instead of being painted over.  It’s the entrance to a secret garden tucked behind the vegetable garden’s outer fence.  Architectural artifacts are used throughout this garden designed by Susan Olinger, APLD of Sterling Horticultural Services.

All of the designers mentioned have links on the Mansion in May website if you’d care to explore further.