Garden in autumn

My Dirty, Little Garden Secret

Yes, I have a secret.  You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything about my own gardens this year.  That’s because I have a dirty, little secret about them.

Here it is.  For the past year I have done nothing in the garden besides cutting back my neighbor’s wisteria before it overtook my studio windows and pull one giant weed.  I really mean nothing.  No supplemental water, no mulch, no deadheading or cutting back, no planting, no weeding, no deer spray, no nothing other than what I mentioned above.

Garden in autumn
My front garden in the fog a few days ago

Why?  I wanted to see just how little maintenance the various gardens could takebefore they looked truly awful.  Why?  This is what happens to my installed gardens more often than not with unskilled labor taking care of them.  That and all of the shrubs are pruned within an inch of their lives.

Here’s what happened.  The two gardens that were largely perennials and grasses look like hell.  The two that are mixed-shrubs, trees, and perennials look fine–a little blowsy but fine.  I do (honking my own horn) attribute the success of these two gardens to good design.

I will have hell to pay later on and the Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and the wild onions will need a hard taskmaster next year.  My gardener friends are appalled, but my neighbors still stop when I’m outside and tell me how beautiful the gardens are.  So now my secret is out.

Garden Design Details: Wire Frame Chairs

I have a renewed interest in wire frame chairs on the patio, so I’ve created a round-up of some favorites. They can be funky, classic or wacky and whimsical.  They can sit by themselves as a conversation piece or they can be a part of a larger functional grouping.  Many, in my opinion, need a beautiful cushion to make the comfortable for any length of time.

Here are a few…some serious, some not.  Some you may have seen here before, some not.

Blue wire garden chair

Last year’s darling, the blue powder coated wire chair designed by Alessandra Baldereschi. Via Skitch.  It’s also available as a side chair.

Vintage wire frame garden chairs

 Vintage wire frame chairs from the 1950s via Drake.

Terrain Lily Pad Chair

The Lily Pad chair from Terrain.

John Risley vintage garden chair

A vintage 1960s chair inspired by John Risley.  via Glo.

The Farmhouse chair from Bend Seating.

Re-trouve chair designed by Patricia Urquiola

Emu’s Re-trouve chair designed by Patricia Urquiola.

Virtual Wanderlust…Le Pavillion de Galon

Every now and then I get sucked in.  I wander off my intended path and Voila! I find something wonderful, better yet when the possibility exists to stay there.  I love the gardens at Le Pavillon de Galon, a bed and breakfast in the south of France.  The balance between formal structure and wild plantings is something I try to achieve in my own designs.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

le pavillion de galon gardens
View through the garden to the chateau

The gardens have been recognized by the French Ministry of Culture and Environment as ‘remarkable’.  I agree.

Garden at Le Pavillion de Galon
Wild and clipped juxtaposed
the gardens at Le Pavillion de Galon
A planted spiral interspersed with olive trees
The long low light

Let’s go and have lunch!

Lunch in the garden

Graphic Recycled Garden Furniture

I am not a fan of the current trend that extols us to grab a shipping pallet or some cast off boards and use them to make something else.  Most of what results still looks like garbage.  Who cares if the materials are free?

These chairs by Old & Board satisfy my designer instincts and are made from recycled wood.

recycled wood garden furniture
Super graphics and high style

I saw them in person (and sat in them) at both Flora Grubb Gardens and The Gardener while I was in San Francisco last month.

Recycled garden furnture
Graphic additions make the simple design
Recycled garden furniture
More graphics
Holy Schist stone at Chanticleer

Carved in Stone

There’s a current and rather annoying trend to share words of wisdom in graphic form on Pinterest and Facebook.  I’ve been known to share said same on the former as the link proves. These are careless, superficial toss-offs pearls of wisdom or observation that resonate for a few seconds and then we move on. It’s the short attention span, instant gratification world we live in. But what if we believe in something enough to memorialize it in stone? Here are three who did.

If you decide you have something to say that deserves to be carved in stone, some stoneyards offer the service, but if not, then just visit your local headstone (aka gravestone) fabricator…they’ll do it for you.

Benzinger Winery Insectary Trellises

Barrel Stave Garden Trellis

Before I start dashing around this morning I wanted to share this with you.  While in California two weeks ago with APLD, I visited Benzinger Family Winery in Sonoma.  They have an incredible biodynamic operation that among many other things includes an insectary.

Benzinger Winery Insectary Trellises

I keep on thinking about these beautiful, sculptural trellis structures in the insectary that were in part made from re-purposed barrel staves and wondering how I can interpret the idea in a client’s design.