No pictures for this one…
Do you know anyone who is willing to work for a 25% of the week for free? Many in the landscape design industry do. Here’s how: they do not charge for the initial consultation or other visits to existing clients. During the busiest months, April-May-June, when the phone is ringing with new clients, designers often meet with new potential project key holders 3, 5, sometimes even 10 times in a week. Let’s do the math…
Assume a 30 minute trip each way (this will also for the sake of argument include the time spent on the phone, emailing and prepping for the initial meeting and following up with a design proposal). Let’s also assume a 1 hour meeting – very few I’ve ever done have been less than 1 hour.
Here’s the math for 5 consults a week:
5 meetings = 5 hours + 5 hours travel/prep = 10 hours per week
Now consider that most of those meetings will be after hours or on a weekend which puts them into the overtime category and takes away from the designer’s family and necessary ‘off’ time.
What other professional do you know who would work for 10 hours or 25% of their standard 40 hour work week for free? Why do we?
Last Saturday, after talking about garden design at White Flower Farm, I met up with an old friend and we spent the afternoon in Litchfield, CT touring about and catching up. Our final stop of the day was Laurel Ridge.
There were tens of thousands of narcissus in bloom on fifteen acres of hillside deemed too rocky for farming.
The pasture was first planted in 1941 and is now supported by the Laurel Ridge Foundation. It was a lovely spring afternoon ramble!
I’ve been a member of Pinterest almost since its inception. I use it as place to store ideas both useful and random. I also explore other designer’s boards to see what inspires them and maybe understand a little bit about their creative process. Garden designer, Luciano Giubblei‘s, ideas for parterres blew me away.
The possibilities for these parterres skew the traditional idea and point towards a contemporary evolution of the form.Herringbone patterns, color field painting, Bauhaus textiles, rolling hills of vineyards and traditional parterres all exist as ideas and jumping off points. What’s more, to my eye they make perfect sense and I can visualize every last bit of it.
I’m switching out Tuesday’s Find to Garden Shop. I scout objects and products of all types for my landscape design clients from small accessories to large sculpture. I also love the hunt. So my inaugural post for this semi-regular theme starts where Tuesday’s Find lived…a vintage folk art sculpture found at 1st Dibs.
How much fun would this found object piece of folk art be in a garden? A clever DIYer with the ability to weld (or by taking the pieces to a local welder) could create something similar–but without the patina. This piece is available via Linda and Howard Stein on 1st Dibs or at their shop in Pennsylvania, Bridgehampton Antiques (open by appointment)
This year they got it right. The 2013 installment of Art in the Garden at Reeves-Reed Arboretum features the work of sculptor Tom Holmes. The dozen or so works are placed throughout the gardens and to see them all is to also see the garden in a new way.
An early morning walk revealed thoughtful placement of sometimes monumental work that had a direct relationship to nature. Mr. Holmes’ work and the individual placement throughout the arboretum challenges the viewer to think not only about the power of art in the landscape, but how relationships between art and nature can be formed.
The Reeves-Reed Arboretum is located on Hobart Avenue in Summit, NJ and is open dawn till dusk. A post on a previous year’s installation can be found here.
Tens of thousands of years ago, a glacial lake drained leaving behind basalt outcroppings now known as Moggy Hollow in its wake. Flash forward to the 1930s, when Leonard Buck planted them and established what would become a world class rock garden in a wooded glade on his estate in Far Hills.
Inch forward a few seconds in the earth’s history and you have the sunny and cool 21st century spring afternoon when I visited what is now a county park.
I am not a rock or alpine garden officiando, but the Leonard J. Buck Garden does something else very well. It seamlessly (for the most part) blends the gardeners hand within the broader context of the natural world. Even with the contemporary interest in natural planting schemes, this garden stands out.
There are large swaths of woodland, but they are augmented with pathways, viewing ledges, plants and rustic structures. There is evidence of slope conservation and reintroduction of native plants, and there also are the eccentric plants, such as the dwarf boxwoods (Buxus ’Kingsville Dwarf’) that mound up hillsides and on rock formations here and there.
Other groups of spring bulbs on a slope of hardwoods seem more natural. There are many varieties of ferns and Solomon’s Seal. There are Trilliums (thanks to the electrified perimeter deer fence) and Aquilegia and Epimediums and flowering trees. The thoughtful placement and planning of paths and bridges over the park’s meandering stream allows an easy ramble of discovery.
Directions to the garden can be found here.
There are about two perfect spring weeks every year and last week was one of those. Light was bright and unfiltered by the still bare deciduous canopy. Gardens burst into bloom, the sky was the bluest of blues, and the air was cool yet also warm after the winter chill.
Windows opened and children’s laughter filled the air inside and out. Birdsong started before dawn. Yet spring is also poignant. Last week is over and petals dance and drift to the ground feeding the roots below, beginning the cycle of renewal all over again. So it goes.
Shop Boxhill is a new online shopping site for all things outdoors. I would be remiss if I didn’t note that it was created by my friend and fellow landscape designer Elizabeth Pryzgoda-Montgomery. Shop Boxhill has a cool contemporary vibe with products in every price range from under $20 to over $3000.
I did a little virtual power shopping and here’s what I found–there are hundreds of other choices there, with more to come.
A super fun outdoor rug for $55.00.
Steel Life’s Matchstick Planter, $159.00 comes in great colors and there are other planters to choose from as well.
An insulated ‘cooler’ tote bag that is stylish and practical for $32.49. Warm water on the job and in the truck will be a thing of the past with this.
And just because I’m agave obsessed…this blue agave sculpture will allow me to have one that won’t wither and die in the winter. It’s $270.
I probably won’t buy these, but with the damage from super storm Sandy making so many chunks of trunks available for free, these Knotty Stools have given me inspiration. They’re $756.
And last but not least, because nobody in my traditional and conservative market carries these…a turqoise Concha chair for my newly renovated side garden when it’s done. It’s $450.
On-line shopping just got a whole lot better.
Here I go getting all plant-y again…
In January I offered to share a snippet of my favorite Heuchera ‘Molly Bush’ which I’ve grown for almost 20 years back to Allen Bush who bred it to begin with. He graciously sent me a care package in return. I’m excited to see how these gifts fare in my home garden after its makeover this year.
I’m giving them all spots in pots before I set them out into the garden since I’ve just started a major renovation and the clean-up is yet to be finished in my holding areas. I will also pay attention to them since they’re on a table right outside my back door.
What was in both packages:
Stachys ‘Silky Fleece’ (back right) – From Jelitto where Allen works now. I know the deer won’t like that and I have just the spot for it– in the front border opposite a big and hopefully divided super easy to grow Stachys byzantium that a client gave me years ago and thrives in all kinds of neglect.
Arum ‘Tiny’ (back left) – I’m super excited about this one –a dwarf variety that originally came from Monksilver in the UK. I’ve always wanted to grow Arums and just haven’t gotten around to it, so now I have no excuse. Let’s hope I don’t kill it.
Chrysogonum ‘Norman Singer’- (front right) The one you can’t see behind the tag…this is a totally new plant for me. I’ve never grown it. It’s a native shade lover and I have dry shade so we’ll see if it can duke it out! I’m thrilled to have it.
Erigeron pulchellus var. pulchelus ‘Lynnhaven Carpet’–(front left) Another eastern/mid-Atlantic native. I have a soft spot for Erigerons so I have to find a special partially shady place for it. (Why do I always think of swans and teddy bears when I type the workd Erigerons?)
Heuchera ‘Molly Bush’ -In the center of it all from the original plant I bought from Allen all those years ago. It’s been in both of my gardens since then. And no, the few available in the trade aren’t the same…they’re just not.
This isn’t an eye candy type of post…I have to wait for these babies to grow up a bit for their glamour shots!
Some of my favorite landscape design projects involve American Tudors. I love the romance of these houses, their quirky details, their materials and how often they survive the wrecking ball. Many of these homes were built in the 1920s and family needs change with the times. I am currently working on a design for a circa 1929 home and re-imagining the landscape for a young, 21st century family. This will be the first of several irregular posts on the project which won’t be completed until the fall.
The current landscape has outgrown its space and usefulness so much of it will be replaced. Things have been ignored for too long to be simply pruned. Entries and exits, steps and useful areas front and back will be part of an architectural and landscape renovation that will make this grand dame young again.