Category Archives: sustainability

Garden Designers Roundtable: Maintaining a Grand Plan

I had the privilege last week of free and unfettered access to one of America’s great country estates, Nemours. Happy for a working day out in a grand garden I had only heard about, I went.  Nemours, in Delaware, was … Read more

LABELS: American Architecture, Gardens, Landscape Preservation, romantic ideal, sustainable landscapes 18 Comments

The Abandoned and Contaminated Lot Up the Street

I live in a densely populated fairly urban-suburban area.  Houses, most built in the 1920s, are close together on 50′ x 100′ lots.  New York City is 25 miles east.  My street starts on our town’s Main Street.  There used … Read more

LABELS: Gardens, New Jersey, sustainability 6 Comments

Field Trip: Native Plant Garden at NYBG

When a new garden destination opens, I always like to wait a bit and let the crowds simmer down so I can explore it in peace. I need that space to process my ideas and to really see a place. … Read more

LABELS: Design, Gardens, Landscape Design, native plants, Planting Design, sustainability 2 Comments

Garden Trends: Dumpster Style

If you haven’t figured it out from previous posts, I’m having a visceral and negative reaction to quaint upcycling. Please do not show me something else made out of pallets.  Yuck. A good dumpster dive involves a deep understanding of … Read more

LABELS: architectural salvage, Garden Styles, Gardens, inspiration, recycling 8 Comments

Vista and View Preservation

An article yesterday in the New York Times about a proposed and (yes) sustainably built and ‘green’ corporate headquarters that will rise above the Palisades along the Hudson River galvanized my thinking about view preservation as part of the whole save the … Read more

LABELS: Gardens, Landscape Preservation, sustainability, sustainable landscapes 2 Comments

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 … Read more

LABELS: California, Gardens, green, Outdoor Furniture and Accessories, San Francisco, sustainability 2 Comments

The New Southern Romantic – P. Allen Smith

I had the pleasure of being invited to visit P. Allen Smith in Little Rock last week.  I was included in an event designed to not only promote Smith’s ideas, but also those companies who sponsor and support Smith’s lifestyle brand.  As … Read more

LABELS: Gardens, Landscape Design, sustainability 7 Comments

Field Trip: Urban Jungle

When I went to Philadlephia last weekend, I made a side trip to Urban Jungle with fellow garden bloggers Robin Horton and Laura Matthews. Located in the Passyunk section of South Philly, the three year old organic garden center has embraced … Read more

LABELS: Garden Centers, Gardens, organic, Philadelphia Leave a comment

Solar Panel Sense

I have been struggling with the visual impact that alternative energy sources have on the landscape.  I’m conflicted.  I know we need to seriously decrease our dependence on fossil fuels, but often the windmill and solar farms that are increasingly … Read more

LABELS: environment, Gardens, green, solar power, sustainability 3 Comments

Desert Dreams

There’s a fantastic article in today’s New York Times about Arcosanti.  What’s that you ask?  In my mind, it is/was the first eco-concious city of the future.  In other’s it’s the mad idea of architectural genius Paolo Soleri.  Before there … Read more

LABELS: American Architecture, sustainability 2 Comments

Tuesday’s Find…lawn chairs

Today my garden designer/blogger peers over at Garden Designers Roundtable along with the Lawn Reform Coalition will be discussing lawn alternatives.  Lawns are a hot button topic with many on both sides of the garden fence, so I thought I’d … Read more

LABELS: Art, environment, Gardens, student work, sustainability 2 Comments

In my Reader…Tokyo DIY Gardening

You know I’m not a huge DIY person.  If everyone did that, I’d be out of business.  BUT, I love Tokyo DIY Gardening.  An open source site for anyone who gardens in overcrowded Tokyo. It is also chock full of … Read more

LABELS: Garden Styles, inspiration, Japan, sustainability, sustainable landscapes Leave a comment

A Crying Shame

Despite my swagger, I’m a softy.  I well up in tears when I am moved by something–not usually landscapes or gardens.  In most professional situations, I am able to contain myself.  At Lawrence Halprin’s Heritiage Plaza in Fort Worth I … Read more

LABELS: Landscape Design, Landscape Preservation 8 Comments

Dallas, Part 2a – Cool and Modern

My trip to Dallas last week with APLD included five days of garden visits to 35 gardens both public and private.  This marathon of visual input and inspiration was exhilarating and surprising.  The traditional and the contemporary exist side by … Read more

LABELS: Dallas, drought tolerant, Garden Design, garden visits, inspiration, Landscape Design 1 Comment

Sustainability and the ‘M’ word

Over the past weekend there has been much discussion in the garden and landscape community about sustainability, healthy environments and organic practices.  Both the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Garden Writers Association had their annual conferences and saving … Read more

LABELS: business, economy, Gardens, green, green washing, sustainability, sustainable landscapes 16 Comments

In my Reader…Recycle UK

Every now and again someone will email me and ask me to post something on my blog. I never have…before today. I’m usually fiercely independent and don’t want to have to return the favor.  This was originally sent to me … Read more

LABELS: environment, Garden Styles, green, recycling Leave a comment

Bardessono’s Compelling Courtyards

In the pouring rain, two garden design and writing friends and I made Bardessono our final stop on a whirlwind tour of Napa and Sonoma. I first wrote about this LEED Platinum certified resort/spa earlier this year in a post … Read more

LABELS: Garden Styles, green, Landscape Design, rock work, stone work 4 Comments

Garden Designer’s Bloglink: 5 Regional Ideas

Grab a snack…this might take a while… In December, as a guest on Garden Gossip, I extolled listeners to ‘celebrate their regions’  instead of trying to emulate a garden design style that is at odds with their specific location. That … Read more

LABELS: architectural salvage, green, Landscape Design, landscape designer, native plants, New Jersey, Planting Design, recycling, sustainability, sustainable landscapes 23 Comments

A possible Win-Win…

I have my hand out here. Once again I’ve been asked to create a garden for ‘Mansions in May’,  a local designer show house that will benefit Morristown Memorial Hospital, specifically the Emergency Services Unit. I want to give back … Read more

LABELS: Designer Showhouses, Landscape Design, Mansion in May, organic, organic vegetable gardens, volunteerism 1 Comment

Inspiration and Influence: Craftsman Farms

As the brilliant fall foliage fades, I find myself thinking more and more about larger themes in the natural world and how they directly inform my own landscape design work.  Response to concerns about the health of our planet and … Read more

LABELS: environment, inspiration, Landscape Design, New Jersey, sustainability 6 Comments

Shift in Perception

I had occasion this past weekend to visit the center of the country–no not New York or Los Angeles, but Iowa.  Being a hardcore, jaded metropolitan New York area resident, I had preconceived ideas of what I would see and … Read more

LABELS: Creative Process, environment, inspiration, Travel 7 Comments

Climate Change | Plan, Plant + Protect | Trees

I am not a scientist. I am a landscape designer.  I thought I wasn’t an active environmentalist until I started to think about participating in this year’s Blog Action Day on Climate Change.  Sure I talk about it, but if  … Read more

LABELS: sustainability 14 Comments

My Garden State|The Meadowlands and the Hackensack River

This is a tale of human alteration of the natural world that is leaning towards having a happy ending.  Anyone who grew up, as I did, near the Hackensack River and the adjacent Meadowlands knows that even in our lifetimes, … Read more

LABELS: green, native plants, New Jersey, sustainable landscapes 6 Comments

Portland | Distilled

New and unknown destinations of all kinds always fuel my creative process, but I need time to put all of what I experience in perspective. When something is new it swirls around in my head and is exciting–like a new … Read more

LABELS: environment, garden visits, inspiration, Landscape Design, Travel 8 Comments

The New Luxury

A few words stenciled on a shop window got me thinking about this…the very last lure after organic spa treatments were the enticing words  ‘eco-luxury‘.  I would think that eco-luxury would be one ‘green’ term that garden and landscape designers … Read more

LABELS: Creative Process, environment, Garden Design, Landscape Design, sustainability 14 Comments

My Garden State: Jersey Fresh

Other than a few herbs tucked into containers I don’t grow food.  Many of my gardening peers probably consider me a vegetable gardening heretic.  I  lament that the small family farms and roadside vegetable stands of my childhood have given … Read more

LABELS: farmland preservation, neighborhoods, New Jersey 5 Comments

Inspiration and Influence: Hayao Miyazaki

For some it was reading Cradle to Cradle, for others it was seeing Al Gore’s charts and hearing the eloquence of his environmental message in an Inconvenient Truth.  Others still, can trace their actions to reading Rachael Carson’s Silent Spring … Read more

LABELS: Creative Process, environment, Film, inspiration, Japan 2 Comments

Plant Torture? Not Necessarily.

A couple of years ago a client told me she wanted to drive into her driveway to a beautiful garden and asked me to design one for her. Easy enough request. She also wanted to screen off the back yard … Read more

LABELS: drought tolerant, Garden Design, Landscape Design, Planting Design, sustainability 5 Comments

The Garden State–It’s Not What You Think

I have lived on both sides of this continent as well as on a completely different one. I have lived in New York and Los Angeles. There are still other places I dream of living–Italy for one. The fact is … Read more

LABELS: farmland preservation, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia 3 Comments

Big Garbage Day–A Backyard Observation

Big garbage day comes on the first Thursday of the month in my neighborhood. Regardless of my own history of incredible finds in other people’s cast offs, I have become more and more mystified by the paradox of some what … Read more

LABELS: New Jersey, recycling, sustainability 3 Comments