Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Time to Redirect

Christmas is over and family has left.  Though the quiet is nice once again, we sorely miss everyone.  You work so hard planning meals, decorating the house, buying gifts...then it all comes and goes in an instant. 

Now I need to sit down and redirect my focus. I have several projects in my head, but where do I start? Book outlines, garden cards, video editing...

This isn't about resolutions, but about how to create a plan, then move forward.  Just one thing at a time (but maybe I should put the Christmas decorations away first).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Great Adventures

There is nothing better than taking your kids to cut down a Christmas tree at a local farm. We run up and down the rows in search of the perfect tree, pulling a sled behind us. The kids' excitement overshadows the cold and the hot chocolate that follows puts the icing on the cake.

This year everyone was thinking the same as my husband pulled into the parking lot of our usual tree farm and they informed him they ran out (can that really happen at a farm?!!).  The good news...a truck pulled up with freshly cut firs from another location. Not the usual adventure, but we did get a beautiful tree none-the-less...and my three-year-old son still loved every minute.

I wish you many great adventures this holiday season!
Photo courtesy of Beauty is in the i

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Little Bit of Sparkle

I'm getting caught up in these holiday images...I just can't help myself.  Trees and wreaths covered in lights just make me giddy.  I'm not sure if it's the sparkle or the idea of a simple green living thing getting dressed up for the evening.

I couldn't resist the ultra-glitter of these photos by Pixamatic.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just Add Red

Each holiday is infused with natural materials, but they also shout select colors.  Yes, red and green are the staples of this Christmas, but I love when you can play with the hues of these or simply narrow in on one color like red.  I found the following images that did just that in such a soft and enticing way.

Photo courtesy of 19sixty4
Photo courtesy of Lisa Russo Photography
Photo courtesy of The Shutterbug Eye
Photo courtesy of mingtaphotography

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Natural Holiday

Do you know what I realized today? That most of the holidays are decked out in natural materials.

Christmas is filled with evergreen trees, wreaths, berries and pine cones.  Pumpkins, corn and all those neat little gourds cover our porches and table for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Lilies bloom at Easter. Even blueberries and raspberries often cover sweet cakes on the Fourth of July.

I guess we've always decorated with what was at hand.  I don't think I've really appreciated that until now.

Please enjoy these lovely natural winter images by Carolyn Cochrane Fine Art Photography. They showcase this season perfectly.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Magical Glow of Light

As I walk my dog every night I savor the beautiful evening glow... light posts, holiday sparkle, plus the moon and stars.  There is something so magical about light in the evening landscape.  I recently found these lovely images from Jonas Peterson showing this nighttime aura.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wildlife in the Garden

I had to share another quirky garden illustration from my friend Tres Fromme, Principal, 3.Fromme Design. He always has an interesting perspective.  :) Thanks again Tres!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Paint It

I love paint.  I especially love adding paint in the garden to make furniture and plants pop. Think about how you can use this magic to add vibrancy in your landscape.

These images were taken at the Des Moines Botanical Center a couple of years ago when they had a fun display on color in the garden.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy thanksgiving!

I thought these images by shannonblue photography were perfect to kick-start the holiday season. Be thankful, eat much and crinkle a few leaves.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Dependable Container Plant

I know that many of you are disassembling your container gardens as we speak, but I came across this image and wanted to share it.  It highlights one of my favorite groups of plants - succulents - perfect for containers. If you like containers, but can't quite remember to water on a regular basis, succulents are your go-to plant.  Place them in something pretty and wa-la!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Trimming Your Garden

I have a passion for garden history.  Exploring the past has always been about trying to unravel a mystery...working with the few clues scattered about.  These clues tell us about how a society viewed the landscape, designed the landscape and lived in their landscape.

These images are one such clue.  A beautiful clay tile with a spiral top.  What were they used for?  In Victorian times, these were used to edge planting beds.  One pushed them in vertically, so the spiral edge showed just above the soil.

Were they functional?  Perhaps.  Maybe they helped retain soil.  Most likely they had an aesthetic create a pretty edge around flower displays.  These may have trimmed a garden, just as ribbon trimmed a pillow or curtain. Victorians often shared indoor textile vocabulary and craft with garden design.

These photos were taken in the Missouri Botanical Garden's Victorian District.  The illustration was found in a book published during the Victorian period.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Clay Flower Pots

I often find myself drawn to the most common garden simple flower pots.  I snapped these images in England a few years ago.  Soil and all, there is always something so beautiful about a functional object.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Gingham Garden

Something I love to do is picking a fun image, color scheme or object to inspire me in designing a garden. It's a great way to generate ideas, yet help narrow down your plant choices.

I found this gingham image above several months ago and have been aching to design a perennial bed based on it. This is a simple border that you can place along a sunny wall or fence. The peak bloom time is June to July.  I'm in zone 4 so have planned it accordingly, but you can take the same principles and design something with plants in your area. Oh, and I chose all my perennials through a fabulous plant database found on the Midwest Groundcovers website.

I know it's getting a little cold to plant now, but it's never too early to plan for spring!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Neighborhood Sheds

Can functional structures like sheds be beautiful too?

As we decorated ours with corn stalks a couple of weeks ago I realized how lucky we were to have such a lovely, vibrant shed in our garden.  I then realized our neighborhood was filled with similar structures...some old, some new, but all stunning. They all store tools (and some even chickens), plus garden ephemera.  Each one has an intriguing beauty.

Rather than build a typical shed in your yard, create a functional masterpiece that becomes an integral component of your garden.

Our fun orange garden shed designed and constructed by my husband.
Our neighbor's garden shed and chicken coop to the east of our house. 
A shaker-like shed and beautiful worn brick a couple of houses to the north.
The oldest and most detailed shed in our neighborhood located just to the northeast. 

A big thanks to all of our neighbors for letting me tromp through your yards, move around your garden tools and allowing me to flip your light switches on and off to take these photos.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tomato Overload

I lied.  Though, not intentionally.  A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that most of our vegetable harvesting for the year had ended.  I truly believed it, then my husband brought all these tomatoes home.  Some were hidden in the vegetable garden by our house, while the rest came from vegetable garden B (down the street...yes, we do have a second one that I often forget).  I don't eat tomatoes so they are just staring me down everyday, but my mom has enjoyed the resurgence.  She is a tomato nut.

{Please note: this is a child-sized wheel case you were wondering about the monster-sized tomatoes!}

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beautiful Imperfection

On Labor Day weekend we had our kids' annual birthday party bash, with friends and family included.  Each year it takes place outside in our garden and every year everyone is amazed at the good weather that falls upon us.

Well....not this year.  It poured heavy rain all day.  Interestingly, it was the best get-together we've ever had.  We were all still outside, but crammed on the front porch (luckily it's pretty big).  I guess the closeness forced more discussion and laughter.  The imperfect weather made it such a beautiful day.

Image via We Heart It

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Last Two Cucumbers

It is so sad.  I am down to the last two cucumbers from our garden.  My summer of fancy olive oil and vinegar mixed with freshly sliced cucumbers will slowly come to a disappointing halt.  Oh hum. 

Image courtesy of Song Sparrow Studios

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Another Beautiful Espalier

I wish I would have found this beautiful watercolor a couple of days ago when writing about espalier.  It has a lovely example way at the bottom (of course, there is a lot of lovely other garden towards the top too!).

This painting was created by Holly at golly bard.  All of her images are just amazing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fall Ombre Flowers

I came upon these lovely photos while visiting the site, Ruffled. It's a beautiful collection of flowers created by Sarah Winward of Honey of a Thousand Flowers.  Her inspiration: fall ombre colors...that dreamy gradient of soft colors

Oh, and I can't forget, these amazing photos were taken by Erin Kate Photography.

The flowers used in these arrangements include:

Red arrangement: Viburnum berry, scabiosa, wild grasses, ranunculus
Peach arrangement: rose, berries and leaves
White arrangement: snowberry eucalyptus, spray rose, elephant ear plant

Please visit the Ruffled website to view entire article.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Garden Terms: Espalier

As I was rummaging through my photos from a trip to England several years ago I came across these images of a pear tree espalier.

Espalier :: A woody plant that is trained to grow in a flat plane against a wall, often forming a geometrical pattern.

This practice became popular during the Middle Ages when gardening space was limited within a castle courtyard. Espalier allowed fruit production, but also beautified barren walls.

These espalier were found at The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, England.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Twisted Garden Love?

My husband brought the last few carrots in yesterday and I finally cleaned them today. Not sure how he forgot to mention this slight little oddity, but two of them had twisted together.  So strange and seductive all at once.