In my Reader…Perspectives from an Italian Garden

Just when spring was warming up–it snowed this week on gardens in the  NY/NJ metropolitan area…twice.  I started dreaming about being someplace else…anywhere really.   I let Gervais de Bedee take me to his corner of Italy and on his travels throughout Europe via his beautiful blog Perspectives from an Italian Garden.  Always elegant and classic in its point of view, Bedee’s blog also reflects the broad range of his interests from gardens to food to art to interiors.  Here’s a quick tour of some European (plus one from Morocco) gardens…

Villa d'Este, Lake Cuomo


Private garden, Taroudant, Morocco


Potager at Arabella Lenox-Boyd's garden 'Gresgarth'


Townhouse Entry, London


Small garden, El Escorial, Spain


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 inspiration for anyone who believes that plants and gardens of all kinds make our world a more livable place.

Founded by Jared Braterman and Chris Berthelsen the site consists of images of real and imagined green spaces and has interactive maps, participant uploads, photos of private and public gardens and articles about urban greening and gardening.


In my Reader…my book!

This was ‘leaked’ yesterday by a friend on Facebook…it was supposed to be a surprise…

Over the winter I created a look book of built work.  It’s a hybrid between a coffee table book of garden eye candy and more serious text.  I want to do more collaborative design work with architects and interior designers, so the content and pictures are designed to peak their interest.   A soft cover version will be used as a portfolio piece for potential clients.  I’ve always had a ‘leave behind’ portfolio, but my secondary hope is that a book will hang around either office or home when brochures get recycled or filed and cd’s get lost in the shuffle.

Here’s a preview–it’s a little slow to load, but you’ll get the idea.  Let me know what you think!  I haven’t seen the finished product yet…the test print will arrive on Thursday.

In my Reader…Madagascar Trailer

I am often blown away by the way landscapes are rendered in animation.  Madagascar, carnet de voyage by Bastien Dubois took four years to make and is one of five short animated films nominated for an Oscar this year.  In the following excerpt (the entire running time is only about 12 minutes) the landscape is, in my opinion, a star.

You can watch the entire film here.

In my Reader…Nowness

Just reading this uber-chic blog makes me feel cool.  Impossibly hip, Nowness is the daily blog from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.  Well written and beautifully documented, its exclusive content comes from a wide range of contributors and is definitely luxury based.  Covering fashion, food, art, film, music, design, travel and sport it is surprising in it depth. Nowness aims to be an interactive hub for all things luxury NOW.  It’s totally unlike any other blog I’ve ever read and that’s hard to do since I read a lot of them–the images alone are worth a look.

All of the images below have are from Nowness in the past month.  How’s that for being current?

Sophisticated color outdoors
Winter Polo in St. Moritz
Fairy Tale Illustration by fashion designer Christian LaCroix

Tents and sky

The makings of mescal

In my Reader…Planterworx

Brooklyn based Planterworx fabricates steel planters and features for landscapes.  A friend sent me a photo via a Tweet from the New York Gift Show earlier in the week.  When they deviate from the ‘box’ planters, their work is interesting and their capabilities for custom work is a happy discovery for me as a landscape designer.


A stainless water feature in New York…

Stainless water feature

I was particularly intrigued by this installation at Boothby Square in Portland, Maine…I can think of other applications and silhouettes to use in my own work.

Stainless steel waves
Waves of grass and steel

In my Reader…Design Seeds

Just about now, in the middle of a very snowy and grey January I need a jolt of color.  For color trends and inspiration, Design Seeds is like no other.

Fast, furious and beautifully curated, Jessica Colaluca creates ranges of hues from a single source of inspiration and there are hundreds them.   These are not random pretty pictures with some matched colors–they reflect a keen eye for current design trends.   A forecasting veteran, Jessica has been keeping inspiration notebooks for years.  Her ideas are fluid and her influences are far ranging.  There’s also a companion FB page.  Love it…and I’ll let the inspiration speak for itself…all images courtesy of  Design Seeds.

Color inspiration can come from anywhere or anything…

A full range of hues is there for the discerning eye…most would only see the radish.

Moody and neutral palettes don’t have to be just grey or tan…

Classic blue and white with a twist…

Sun washed and bleached brights.  An exciting and unexpected garden design color scheme could grow from any of these palettes…that’s why they’re seeds.

In my Reader…Myburgh Designs

It’s midwinter and I’m lusting for spring.  I yearn for a sun kissed lazy afternoon in a swing.  Steven Myburgh of Myburgh Designs makes artful, handcrafted swings for garden dreams.   They are totally original and appeal to my love of all things metal.   I can’t think of  a better way to enjoy the fruits of garden labors than in a beautiful handmade swing with a good book and a gentle breeze.

Jasmin Swing

Traditional or contemporary, these swings aren’t for the faint of heart.  They make a BIG statement.

Bubble Swing

So as it snows more and I procrastinate going out to shovel, I’ll dream of swings and warmer days ahead.

In my Reader…Suzanne Cummings

I’m not a houseplant kind of girl and it’s the middle of January.  The only chance I have at bloom color at home is cut  flowers.   Enter designer Suzanne Cummings.  I ‘met’ Suzanne via Twitter and we’ve been chatting back and forth.

When I visited her website I was totally impressed by her incredible handcrafted flowers.  Suzanne carries out each piece with a keen designer’s eye and ability to edit.  Bouquets are hand held gardens.

A hand tied bouquet

If there is such a thing as artisnal flower arranging then this is it.

Texture, color, scale, rhythm and repetition

Arrangements are designed with the same attention to detail that I would put into a garden design.  Color, texture, repetition, rhythm and scale…all elements of good design are all there.

Table top simplicity

If I lived in Chicago where she works I would be a regular customer at her store.  In winter, since I always have a vase of flowers on my worktable, I would take one of the classes she offers at her studio/shop to learn how and to dream of the coming spring.

Suzanne's Chicago Atelier

All photographs courtesy of Suzanne Cummings.

In my Reader…a winter list

As a landscape designer in the northeast United States, winter is a relief.  I can read for pleasure without feeling the nagging sense that I should be doing something else.  Here are some of the books I want to read this winter–some work related, some not.  Unlike other lists at this time of year, I haven’t read these yet…I just want to.

Patrick Dougherty’s new book Stickwork.


Andrew Moore‘s photo essay of Detroit.  Readers here know of my interest in abandoned landscapes and industrial sites as well as what becomes of them.

Detroit Disassembled

Wendy Goodman’s book on Tony Duquette was a book to lust after, so I’m putting her latest on Gloria Vanderbilt on my list as well.

Gloria Vanderbilt

Of the many garden books offered this season, I am intrigued by two.  (That doesn’t mean I won’t take the rest out of the library and give them a gander.)

Paula Deitz’s essays and books on gardens have always been high on my list.

On Gardens

And last…since I’m a self avowed tree lover and hugger, Hugh Johnson’s The World of Trees.

The World of Trees

In my Reader…Fernando Caruncho

I was reminded of  Spanish landscape architect Fernando Caruncho‘s work late last spring while on a garden crawl with fellow designer Jane Derickson.  Several years ago I had read and article about Caruncho’s work in New Jersey by Anne Raver in the New York Times.  Before that time I hadn’t been aware of his work.  I have since bought Mirrors of Paradise:  The Gardens of Fernando Caruncho.

So, if you don’t know his work, here’s a short introduction.  Please click the images to view the source.

In My Reader…The Style Saloniste

In my reader this week is The Style Saloniste by well known interior design and architecture author Diane Dorrans Saeks.  As you’ve probably figured out by now, I read a wide range of things.  This week is all about passion.  Passion for ideas.  Passion for design.  Passion for a life well lived on many levels.  My choice this week may seem from a landscape and garden designer–but it’s really not.    Saeks is a well respected author of more than 20 eclectic design books  as well a contributing editor to several magazines, her blog is  a beautiful, sumptuous feast of images and high style journalism.  There are long and in-depth pieces on personalities and places that influence lifestyle and design.  It is a as good a read as the Sunday newspaper…and demands the same amount of time!

Here’s a look at The Style Saloniste.   Click each image to link back to the original post.

If I had chickens this is what I’d look like…

From a piece on The Duchess of Devonshire

If I was twenty and in Paris, this is how I’d feel…

Suzy Parker in Paris by Richard Avedon

If I needed to escape for a bit, I’d go here…

Amangiri Resort in Arizona

If I was in San Francisco, I’d shop here…

Shopping in San Francisco

If I went to India (and who doesn’t want to go) I’d stay here…even for a night.

In my Reader…Sparkling Ink

In America this week, it’s all about the thankful feast.  A feast of family, a feast of travel, and a feast of food.  In honor of that, I’ve decided to digress from my usual garden and design oriented entries and include my new favorite food/living blog…Sparkling Ink.  I found the blog while trying to track down a photograph credit for this past Wednesday’s Dining al Fresco post.   I never did find the picture, but got lost in this blog’s recipes and beautiful images for over an hour. That’s a long time in this busy season…


The photography (some the author’s, some not) emphasizes simply prepared food, home and travel presented in an uncomplicated format.  All photos here are from Sparkling Ink–click through to the blog post and/or recipe they illustrate.  The blog design is elegant and understated.  Each post is written in a conversational style and the recipes are accessible–with ingredients that are often on hand in most well stocked pantries or are easy to find.

Recipes, Food
Panna Cotta

Having just gone to see Alberto Alessi speak this week, I was particularly enamored with this tray…

Harri Kosinen tray/container for Alessi

Even though it’s a bit early for scenes of snow here, I thought this was stunning in its simplicity.

Snow, garden
Snowy Garden

I hope you enjoy Sparkling Ink as much as I do…

In my Reader…Brent Comber

I have to admit that I’m a serial saver to Delicious.  If I’m short on time, ‘Save a new Bookmark’ gets clicked.  Since I’m busy, it gets clicked often.  Sometimes I forget I’ve bookmarked something that I really, really meant to get back to.  Vancouver based artist,  Brent Comber is one of those.  Anyone who names a piece Fred and Ginger is okay in my book, but beyond that, I think his work for the outdoor spaces  is phenomenal–both the large scale work and the objects and furniture.

His furniture and objects can all be viewed on the website, but here are a few favorites…

China Grove
Solid Sphere


In my Reader…The Outdoor Stylist

There’s a new website dedicated to outdoor style.  The Outdoor Stylist is the brainchild of Anne Robert who has been reporting internationally on garden features, accessories and furniture via her My Urban Garden Deco Guide site for several years.  Covering the worldwide design market, the new website does what others don’t…it aggregates hundreds of outdoor design products into one easily searchable site.

Definitely geared to the high end client,  The Outdoor Stylist takes shopping for outdoor furniture and accessories a step further than everyone else and aims to be the ‘go to’ resource for designers and consumers.  I don’t mind spending money on great design, but some of what is featured is so out of reach for many people that it could be called an aspirational website–much like Vogue is for many of its readers.

A somewhat random search of the site yielded the following products, problems and observations …

From the Cook & Entertain area

This Metalaco Home kitchen island will require some ingenuity to be delivered to the States, but has distribution in 32 countries at a price of  6700 euros…a bit steep $9411 after conversion…the available link to Metalaco’s website went nowhere.

Hot color and contemporary styling

In the pots and planters area I found contemporary soft planters from Elho that I really liked.  There was no price on these, but there was an active link to the company website from the post.   It didn’t open in a new window which would be a plus…it does here.

Fire Feature

The Heat tab revealed some really well designed and cool fire options.  This one from Spark Fires was not super expensive for what it is, starting at $3300.  A built in gas fire pit would cost about the same after the cost of the permits, plumber, mason and materials.  The link worked and there were linkable PDF specification sheets available.

Smart and Green's light

On to the Budget section.  I’m always looking for a deal.    I was attracted to this light from Smart and Green.  This vessel lamp is priced at $199 – not what most would consider a bargain.  The link to their website was a dead end, but there was a link to a specification sheet PDF.

As a designer, this is a valuable tool for me and I hope the few glitches are resolved.

In my Reader…The Sketchbook Project

I am going to participate in The Sketchbook Project. Artists from around the world all interpret the same small sketchbook.  Anyone can participate.  For $25 you are sent a small Moleskin sketchbook to fill according to a theme you choose and return it by the deadline. All are then cataloged and become part of a traveling exhibit.  The idea is too cool for me not to participate in.  I’ve been thinking about working on a non-garden related sketchbook and looking for a reason to start it…kismet!

On the website they show examples of previous sketchbooks.  Here are my two favorites.


In My Reader…Dailies

There’s a new fun Twitter tool that deserves a look.  It allows you to keep up without actually Tweeting.  The Daily papers are created by virtually trawling a list, a hashtag or a single Twitter stream and putting links all in one place.  They all look similar, but the content is different.  There can be seemingly unrelated content also since it’s an automated process.  Just like a regular newspaper you can pick and choose what you want to read or not!

Here are a few I read…

APLD Members


Urban Gardens

Interior-Outdoor Design

In my Reader…Studio Roosegaarde

I’ll admit I’m a bit design obsessed.  Sadly, I don’t have an equal interest in science.  I do, however, admire designers who push the boundaries of technolgy in their work and Dutch designer Daan Roosegarrde and his Studio Rossegaarde is one of those.  Lately it seems as if all the cool kids are Dutch.

Studio Rossegaarde might at first seem to have nothing to do with garden design until you read their mission…to create interactive artworks which explore the dynamic relation between space, people and technology. To me, add plants, and that’s the same mission I have in my landscape and garden designs.

Here is a short video of one of the projects profiled on the studio website in action.

In my Reader…Slow Love Life

So many magazines that have disappeared in the past few years.  One of the ones I miss the most is House and Garden.  Dominique Browning was its editor from 2002 until 2007 when it was shuttered.  Her wonderful blog Slow Love Life is worth the read.  It’s a personal journal of savoring life and slowing down enough to enjoy and rediscover the things she likes, does and experiences.   There are thoughtful and intimate remembrances and ideas, beautiful images, and even recipes. I like the sheer joy (and sometimes sadness) of it.  Try it and see if you do too.

Some links to recent posts with an image from that post…

Floating Meditation

Farmer’s Market

Paradise Found:  LongHouse Reserve

Goodbye Children

So on this last official weekend of the summer I think I’ll try and capture some of my own slow love life.  Enjoy!

In my Reader…Dirt Simple

This is one of my favorite blogs about landscape design written by a landscape designer. Its author, Deborah Silver, is also the owner of Detroit Garden Works and The Branch Studio.  Her landscape design aesthetic is traditional as is the shop merchandise and the garden accessories she designs.  She has flawless taste, a remarkable humility, technical chops and a keenly analytical and creative mind.  In other words, she’s the real deal.  In Dirt Simple, Deborah muses on her life, her shop and her design work.  For me, this is a regular read, but it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.  Her images illustrate most posts–here are a few recent ones.

The shop store front with window planters below.

In praise (mine) of humble materials used in elegant fashion for this potager’s enclosure.

Capturing the view.

A glowing border.  Deceptively simple in fact.

Just in case you thought things were too subtle…the designer’s own terrace.

In my Reader…at the newsstand

It’s the end of August.  I have a reading tradition that goes all the way back to ancient personal history in fact.  When I was 10 my father brought me home a copy of Harpers Bazaar from his job.  Before that, my only magazine reading experience was National Geographic.   Since that time I have been a voracious reader of fashion magazines.  All design in my way of thinking is intertwined–have you heard of the slow fashion movement for example?   The same ideas that are happening in slow food are spilling over into other disciplines so as a self avowed inspiration junkie, I look outside myself and my discipline.

In August, the big September issues are published–pages and pages of articles on travel, culture, books and of course fashion.  Sure it’s not realistic for most of us, but in the dog days of summer with the fall fast approaching it’s nice to do a little dreaming. So here’s what I’m reading this week…

The BIG Bazaar
The BIG Vogue

And no, I won’t be wearing 5″ stillettos anytime now or in the future.  And if you want to watch a great and thoroughly entertaining documentary, try The September Issue.

In my Reader…Dig It!

I’m going to start off by saying that hackers suck.  Miss R has been down for a week due to malicious attacks and is now back fortified and healthy.  Thank you for your patience.  Now onward.

I’ve written about Dig It! before…when two of my gardens were profiled in it.

This cool garden zine has been around for 7 or 8 years.  Its focus is the mid-Atlantic states, but the content is interesting enough for readers everywhere. Editor Mary Jasch seeks out the sublime, the practical and the accessible for Dig It! readers.  The layout is different than most online publications–its format has been largely unchanged since the beginning.  Straightforward without the bells and whistles of  faux turning pages, copy is in the center and photos are along the right side to be enlarged at the reader’s click.  It gives Dig It! a gravity that many ‘eye candy’ journals don’t have.

Here are links to two recent articles, although all of the articles ever published are easily accessible within DigIt!  Thunder Lane:  A Magical Garden and Native Plants – A Living History.

Enjoy!  Miss R will be back on a regular schedule next week.

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 via email.

I have recycler’s guilt.  I still throw away too  much–although considerably less than many of my neighbors if our weekly trash bags are counted.  Although the site itself is similar to the US freecycle sites, this infographic  from England is really worth the read.  Click on it,  it will be enlarged and readable.  Thanks, Claire at recycle UK.


Infographic by Recycle – Don’t bin it, recycle it

In my Reader…Design for Mankind

This one’s pretty eclectic.  I’ve culled some garden design related images from Erin Loechner’s Design For Mankind who culls them from everywhere.  Links back to the original source are on every post. It’s a fast and furious inspirational blog with multiple entries each day 5 days a week which is why it’s in my reader–no way can I keep up.

Most posts are a single image and a short statement.  Pulling ideas from everywhere, there can be a lack of focus and sometimes things are just plain silly.  But there is so much offered up that it is a funhouse of random inspiration that takes very little time to absorb and move on…perfect for those with a short attention span.   It’s also an incredibly popular site with more than 12,000 hits daily.

Lace Tree
New Zealand's Fox Glacier
Living Art?
Vegetarian's Purse?
Confetti Garden

In case you missed them…here’s links to a few of the previous ‘In my Reader’ posts: ArchDailyVulgare, and last week’s  The Good Garden.  Enjoy!

In my Reader…The Good Garden

There’s a new garden lifestyle blog in town and it’s worth a look.  The Good Garden is Sarah Kinbar’s brand new blog.  In case you don’t know, Sarah was also the Editor in Chief of Garden Design magazine for the past several years.  She has an inquisitive mind and great taste.  Add to this honesty (she hasn’t been reading Organic Gardening) and a her own point of view and well…see for yourself.

Here’s some of what’s she’s posted in the first month…

'We Must Go'

A post about Fresno, California’s Forestiere Underground Gardens in Fresno…this single photograph makes me want to put it on my go to list also…


Some would consider this garden design blasphemy…but YES! I agree, gardens should be pretty again.  Apparently so do more than a few others in the Rise of Pretty Gardens.

Tool Shed Green Roof

This green roof is achievable by just about anyone…love that the shed is plum colored also!  Not sure why the post is titled Tood Shed Greenroof though…

Photograph by Richard Felber

This week Sarah not only featured Richard Felber’s incredible garden phototgraphy, but Garden & Gun magazine…and

Royal Hawaiian Hotel via Elle Decor

The pink and grey outdoor lounge at the The Royal Hawaiian hotel as shown in Elle Decor this month.  Now that’s right up my eclectic alley.

In my reader…Nude and blushing

This is the first in a series about what I read and how it influences my design work.  Posts will likely be link rich, so feel free to explore much of the same material and see if it inspires you too.  I post regularly on Monday and Wednesday (with sporadic bursts in between) so for the foreseeable future Friday will be in the mix.  Isn’t summer the time to catch up on your reading anyway?

Back in May the Huffington Post published an article ‘NUDE: Fashion’s Most Debated Color’.  Then about a week ago, Pantone (@pantonetrends) tweeted this color palette. (Yup, I’m connecting the dots again…)

Since then it’s been lingering in the back of my mind as possible inspiration for a garden–not one for harsh light either.  These colors would disappear in clear bright light.

Since I’m hands on, I went to two of my go to websites–Colourlovers and Image Spark–to explore the possibilities for myself.  Both are fast and intuitive–the entire process was less than an hour combined.  I’ve discussed both before, but since this is about inspiration I think they deserve a second look.

Ultimately this exercise strayed away from ‘nude’ and morphed into something I called Blush.  Here’s a color palette that I fooled around with on Colourlovers.


and an inspiration I played with board on Image Spark.


Every now and again it’s good to stretch and PLAY with something just because.