Garden Designer’s Roundtable | How Did I Get Here?

You may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”
–Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime

Indulge me please. I have enough years behind me to be able to view the paths and detours I’ve taken. Some things have been long held and constant, a love of the landscape for one, but more than that, a love of great design in all of its forms has allowed me to crisscross visual boundaries and to work in several disciplines along the way.

When connected, these visual stops on the road–and many more, create a snapshot of my design sensibilities.  It’s not the total story of how I got from here to there…but it’s a big part of it.

It started in the 60s.  Mod London, pop art, the counterculture were at the beginning of my travels.

The logo for Mary Quant...note the floral motif...

Then I discovered Art Noveau and Modernism almost simultaneously.

Paris Metro Station

Paley Park in New York

I could post 1000s of visuals, but as I said, indulge me.  Flash forward through travel to other places, personal journeys and interests in Punk, Postmodernism, Grafitti, Anime, Wabi Sabi, Neo Geo, Adams architecture, fashion (always that) and too many more combined with a deeper interest in those who created the designed outdoor environment at the same time.  I written about many of them here…Halprin, Rose, and Shipman to name a few.

If I look at this partial plan of Versailles, I see elements of all of the above.

Flash forward again.  While I carry those experiences and many others with me there are too many for a simple blog post and this isn’t a memoir or autobiography.  What intrigues me now is rooted in pop culture, history and technology.  My work, I think, reflects those interests with strong lines, nods to tradition and a genuine respect for the land I’ve been working on.  Lately though, this isn’t enough to contain my diverse interests and I’ve taken on a new project.  One that I hope will help people to understand that great design extends past our doorways.  You didn’t think you’d be able to read a post without me having a shameless plug for Leaf in it did you?

For other designers’ interpretation of getting from here to there,Simply click on the links below and enjoy the journey.

Debra Prinzing  &  David Perry:  A Fresh Bouquet

Pam Penick : Digging : Austin, TX

Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In The Garden : Los Altos, CA

Jenny Peterson : J Peterson Garden Design : Austin TX

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Tuesday’s Find…bargain hunting

While it’s fun to dream about expensive antiques for the garden, my wallet doesn’t always agree with the result so I decided to do a specialized search 1st Dibs for garden objects that were $500 and less.  Sometimes I don’t have the time to hunt, so I’m willing to pay for something great…even if I have to save for a few months.

I did’t really think I’d find much since the antiques market is hot right now, but I was surprised at the results.  There were a few gems–all under $350 instead of my original goal of $500.  Here  are 3 of them with their prices–click on the photo to investigate further.

These were a bit pricey, but I love the patina…

Vintage French Watering cans - $150 each

These were a steal though.  I’ve seen them for much more in much worse shape.

Russell Woodward side chairs -$350

The steal of the day…1970’s vintage chairs in an awesome cobalt blue.

1970s Chairs $275 for the pair



Tuesday’s Find…Swan seating

So this isn’t a swan song…it’s a swan seat.  Sometimes I like things just because they are totally ridiculous and this is one of them.   I am so not surprised that it comes from a garden antiques dealer in Palm Beach where I expect it would probably be just another swan in the flock. Available at F.S. Henemader Antiques.

I will admit to being busy, distracted and generally running around like a madwoman trying to get everything done. I’m apologizing in advance for missed posts during the next month as I do my part to ready the launch of Leaf Magazine on October 15th.




Tuesday’s Find…an iron planter

Every week I convince myself that I won’t be able to ‘find’ anything garden worthy…and every week there’s something wonderful to share.

This iron jardinere would be worth having for its graphic quality alone.  Bold lines and clean details make it special.  It can work in a contemporary or traditional setting.  It’s available from Epoca in San Francisco.


Storm Lighting…as in no power

Last weekend tropical storm Irene wrecked havoc with my life.  I was one of the lucky ones…a flooded basement, spoiled food and several days without power and water were the worst of it for me–others had it far worse.

In the thick of it I had the presence to bring in my garden lanterns for emergency lighting.  A pleasant diversion from the storm was several games of mancala played under their gentle light, so today I’m sharing some garden lanterns.  Candle powered, in or out, they can make our evenings last long into the darkness.

Camping lantern


Hanging lantern with bird


Copper and bronze lantern


Morrocan inspiration



Contemporary stainless lanternvia