Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Two Trees & Quiet Beauty

I haven't had any profound landscape thoughts lately, but when I saw this photo felt it was profound enough on its own.

trees in snow
Photo courtesy of Lucy Snowe Photography

We don't have snow here yet and though some of you will kick me for saying it, I can't wait for our first heavy snowfall. The quiet beauty of winter is alluring.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Thanksgiving Garden

I think we sometimes forget how many of our foods come from the garden.

Our thanksgiving dinner was filled with some of my favorites...pumpkin, sweet potatoes, spinach, corn and cabbage...all made to perfection.

I am thankful for family and friends...but also for all the lovely fruits and vegetables that we're able to grow and enjoy each year.

dinner at 6 p.m.
Photo courtesy of The Jonathon Galleries

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Rainy Day

I've been sick the last couple of days.

The first day was sunny and warm, the second day rainy and cold. I felt guilty about being sick the first day. On the second day...the rain gave me permission to stay in my PJs, drink hot cocoa, and wrap myself in ultra warm blankets. The guilt was lifted.

For some reason bad weather allows us to accept a quiet day, rest our bodies, even celebrate misery (in a good way). Now if I just had some pretty pink wellies to uplift every rainy day.

Pink Boots
Photo courtesy of Amy Osaba

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Book Review: Home Ground - Language for an American Landscape

A few weeks ago Trinity University Press shared their new book, Home Ground, with me and asked for a review. I have always been intrigued with garden vocabulary, so jumped at the chance to read this publication.

In the simplest sense Home Ground is a collection of landscape terms. I was quite surprised to find that it is not just a reference book, though successfully fills that role. It is a beautiful collection of writings from a multitude of authors on how they define the landscape.

Accuracy is impeccable, but the real punch is how each author injects culture, history and sometimes memory into the evolution of these terms. Of course, many lovely illustrations accompany the terms that need additional clarification.

Home Ground is a beautiful celebration of the landscape from the hearts of many devoted people. This is a book one should have on their shelf to fulfill answers, yet in the end you will also find inspiration. It is an absolute pleasure to read about the landscape...in such a personal way. By knowing the language of American landscape, our sense of place is heightened.

The book is available at booksellers everywhere and at Amazon.com. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Green Halloween

I was thinking about how "green" Halloween is in the holiday world.

Pumpkins are bright, fun, and a renewable decorating resource. Plus you can carve them into whatever you want....the perfect green craft. Of course, there are hundreds of different kinds to fuel the creative juices. When they start to cave in on themselves, you just add them to the compost pile and start the whole cycle again.

I can't wait until the next Halloween.

pumpkin patch
Photo courtesy of Jules Bianchi Photography

pumpkin face
Photo courtesy of shannonblue photography

picking pumpkins
Photo courtesy of 3191 Miles Apart

lots of pumpkins
Photo courtesy of Eye Shutter to Think

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Collection Box

Something I have always wanted to build is a coffee table shadow box where I can showcase beautiful items we find outdoors. It would be painted white, with a glass top. Imagine the floor of this box being a beautiful classic yellow and white wallpaper pattern, with a display of lovely acorns, pine cones, seed pods, and nests lovingly placed on top. Until this dream comes true I've collected images below to fill my digital collection box.

Photo courtesy of SLG Designs

pine cones
Photo courtesy of Lola's Room Photography

poppy seed pods
Photo courtesy of HoneyTree Photography

Photo courtesy of Judy Stalus Photographs

Photo courtesy of f2images

Friday, October 8, 2010

Divine Divan

One of my good friends, Tres Fromme, is a talented landscape architect and artist living in Texas. Amazingly, he whips up these detailed sketches in minutes.

I asked him to share some garden wisdom through his enchanting ink drawings. Today he has highlighted a "divan".

Divine Divan

Tres describes himself as a designer specializing in plant-rich spaces...and I can tell you that is oh so true! Contact him here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Garden Candy

I recently found out that raspberries are in the top ten for most nutrient rich foods. An even better reason to eat them every day.

Have I said that I love raspberries? This is the candy of a garden.

raspberry boxes
Photo courtesy of Deliciously Organized

raspberry red cup
Photo courtesy of Canelle et Vanille

raspberry basket
Photo courtesy of Frolic

raspberry cup
Photo courtesy of Straight from the Farm

Learn how to throw a special raspberry garden party at The Lunch Box Project.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Love of Fall

Today I would like to celebrate the start of fall...and my love of it! Please enjoy these enchanting images from three talented photographers...while you kick around some leaves.

Photo courtesy of Irene Suchocki Photography

feet in leaves
Photo courtesy of 3191 Miles Apart

Photo courtesy of Tokketok

fall forest
Photo courtesy of Irene Suchocki Photography

For more lovely fall images visit this fun post on A Touch of Autumn by Scoutie Girl.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Power of Weeds

These words might make you grumble at the thought of how weeds can take over our gardening lives.

I challenge you to take a step back and change your perspective towards these unwelcome guests. Rather they having power over you, how can you create power by their presence?

Photo courtesy of Tracey Clark

I enjoy weeding (there, I said it). Why? Because I feel powerful around them.

I earn the power of physical activity. It's a great way to add variety to your excercise routine (if you have one and if not, you just got a little sweat).

I am rewarded with the power of contemplation. Weeds give me the chance to slow down and think simple thoughts.

I am bonded with the power of connection. Weeding allows me to get closer to my plants, watch their progress, and simply helps me develop a better relationship to a wonderful landscape (that I created).

I am fulfilled with the power of accomplishment. Some days I feel like I've rushed through life and not achieved a single thing. With weeding you see (and feel) accomplishment withing minutes.

pom pom girl
Photo courtesy of Sandrine Estrade Boulet

Change your perspective and celebrate the power of weeds.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Cutting Garden :: Pink Bouquet

One of my favorite things to grow is cut flowers. I can't be outside 24-7, so I bring in as many flowers as possible. My husband kindly makes me a large area near the vegetable garden where I can hack away as many blooms as needed (he hates it when I touch his perennials).

pink bouquet
Photo courtesy of small stump + studio choo

Each month I'd like to show you an array of floral design using mostly garden flowers with hints of greenhouse ones. This arrangement is a beauty from small stump + studio choo. The flowers are identified below.

bouquet with text

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Dichotomy of Formal and Informal

In high school I became enamored with farms and prairie.

red barn
Photo courtesy of Maleah Matthews Photography

As we ran long distances in cross country we would pass one perfect farm after the other. I became intrigued with the big barns, two-story houses and rows of corn. The geometry was mesmerizing and held a secret world unknown to me (I lived in town and when much younger in the big city of Chicago).

white wash barn
Photo courtesy of Matthew Morgan Photography

We also ran in a beautiful county park filled with prairie, woodlands and streams. I was equally mesmerized by this informal landscape. Today I still enjoy the dichotomy of formal and informal.
in the pasture
Photo courtesy of Jonas Peterson

Why do you need to favor one over the other? Quite honestly, it's the combination that creates edginess in the landscape.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Beauty and Function

Beauty and function go hand in hand more often than we think.

metal chair
Photo courtesy of Bloom, Grow, Love

I found this lovely quote while writing my thesis on farm gardens. It describes me and what I love perfectly. I have always been intrigued with functional things and how they bring beauty into our lives.

Photo courtesy of Gingerlillytea

Think of a colorful clothesline, a comfy chair or even the dishes on which you enjoy a tasty dinner. All have a purpose and can be quite stunning. These are the things that give life to our gardens.

picnic in a suitcase
Photo courtesy of Skunkboy Creatures

Take a peak around your landscape and find beauty in vernacular objects. What loveliness hides in your backyard that deserves a second look?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Tiramisu Part

The "tiramisu" part of my title refers to how we live in the garden. How do you use your landscape? Do you entertain, read a book, hang your laundry or even sleep in your garden?

party in the orchard
Photo courtesy of Mary and Gabrielle

Next time you enjoy that lovely piece of carrot cake, take it outside on a pretty plate, sit in that rustic adirondack chair and enjoy the breeze.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Topiary Part

How did I arrive at the title of this blog? I wanted words that described my garden ideal. The "topiary" part refers to my passion for garden history and formal design.

green arbor
Photo courtesy of Obsession with Jello

A co-worker recently said to me...why do people always want to see a formal garden with clipped hedges, topiary and perfectly groomed paths? Frankly, it's because they never get to see that. How many of you have a knot garden in your backyard? Think about the energy that goes into a garden like this. Yes, it's time consuming, but think of the personal connection you develop with that type of landscape (you either hate it or love it), but in the end we're all intrigued with it.

woman on horse

Just so you know, this blog is not just about formal gardens...it's really about how we manipulate our outdoor environment to make it our own. What's up with the "tiramisu" part? That's in the next post.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Personality of a Garden

I have an infatuation with gardens.
The more formal the better. With people...the most intriguing.

holding hands (500)
Photo by Jonas Peterson

Beauty and function should go hand in hand. Why have a beautiful garden unless you actually use it? Interestingly, many stylistic garden images are devoid of people. I understand why...it is easier to capture a pristine space without the clutter of humans bounding about. These are lovely photos, but they lack energy and emotion.

I hope to show you the energy of a garden by the people in it...laughing, loving, eating, playing, and creating. This is how a garden exhibits personality.