Thursday, June 30, 2011

Checkerboard Gardens

A great way to design a garden is picking a shape or style for inspiration.  I found these fun gardens inspired by the checkerboard.

Image via The New York Times
Image via This is Glamorous
Image source unknown
Image via Studio g
Image via Studio g

Monday, June 27, 2011

Woodsy Wares

I came across this lovely artist today and just had to share her woodsy wares. Woodland Belle creates dainty succulent and itsy bitsy terrarium jewelry.  My favorite...her "twig" bobby pins.  Earthy and elegant all at the same time.  {A secret: these plants are not real, but you can keep that to yourself}

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Daylilies and Coneflower

Four years ago we moved into our current house.  To my chagrin, this move included a transfer of my husband's favorite plants...hosta, purple coneflower and daylilies from the old yard to our new one.  At our previous house I would estimate that over 80% of the landscape contained these three plants.

Photo courtesy of gallery32
I was compelled to break out of this limited palette and actually design a diverse landscape.  {Some background information...even though I'm the designer, my husband still feels he's in charge of plant selection, thus the narrow collection}.

I was so excited to design a diverse, sunny border along the front of my house and was already scheming plant choices, creating sketches, picking colors...then one day I arrived home to a long line of daylilies and coneflowers along our front walk.  Ugh, my heart sank.  Now, let me say, I do enjoy both daylilies and purple coneflowers, but when those are the few plants in your life how could I not yearn for more?

Photo courtesy of No.9 Images
It took two years to push my way into that monoculture border with an array of new sunny perennials.  The end of the second year I finally told my husband to get the last few daylilies and coneflowers out or I was going to start pulling (though I had already started in secret).  I did keep one special daylily in my border, but only one.

My husband still has a fascination with both these plants and you'll still find them all over our yard, but overall our garden is at least more diverse.  The hosta fetish?  Well, that is another story that I'll save for a future post.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Childhood Garden: Role Play

As a child manipulation of my environment often led to role play.  The woodlands provided an overabundant supply of props, space and mystery.

Photo courtesy of karen clarke photography
One day we were having a tea party, while the next day we were adventurous explorers blazing new trails.  The "props" (like primitive bridges, forts and stepping stones) left by others often conjured up mysteries to be solved.

Photo courtesy of Gingerlillytea
Every day was a new story just waiting to unfold.  I hope my own children discover their own theater in our backyard (or nearby woodland).

Photo courtesy of Nicole Hill Gerulat and party items from Acme Party Box

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Garden Shoes

A couple of months ago I purchased the neatest garden shoes, plus matching gloves.  I'm okay with matchy, matchy in the garden...and my daughter is really jealous.

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Childhood Garden: Manipulation

I've been in this deep, landscape analyzing mode...wondering how and why my garden fascination began.

My story began with this plump red fruit: My Childhood Garden: Tomato Plants

Then led to the back forty: My Childhood Garden: The Woods

Image courtesy of Moore Photography
Why was I drawn to the woods (rather than our destitute backyard) as a child? I wish I could say it was a simple connection to nature, but honestly, it was more than that. The woods provided the opportunity for manipulation.

Photographer unknown.  Does anyone know who took this fabulous image?
This captivating place had sticks, leaves, soil, berries, and even some misplaced human trash that we could use to create our own world.  We would create something one day, let the weather blow it over, then start again the next.

Image courtesy of Nothin But Wood
There is something very special about creating with our hands, manipulating our environment.  Even more fun is creating something unique with whatever we have available at that moment.

I still have that urge to manipulate my environment today..whether it's reorganizing a room, trimming a hedge or painting a wall.  Manipulation (in an unobtrusive way) is such a wonderful way to connect to your surroundings and allow creative expression.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Planting Potatoes

Back in April my husband and kids planted a bunch of potatoes.  I'm lucky to have a husband who loves to garden and kids that are intrigued with it (okay, my oldest son is the least intrigued, but he does help).  I guess the next step is involving the kids in the decision in how to prepare them for tasty dishes this fall and winter.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Experiment

For the past two years I've been experimenting with a sunny perennial border.  The kicker...I only allow plants that are less than 24" tall.  Why?  Because the boxwood hedge behind it will only be three feet, so I'd like to see some differentiation between the two eventually.  Hopefully the hedge will reach that height in a couple of years.

My focus in this border is texture and form.  It's very successful in some areas, while in others it's still a flop.  I constantly move things around, try new plants, and even pull out some ugly ducklings once in awhile.

I'm sure the neighbors think I'm crazy.  I often pace up and down the front walk taking mental notes of what to change and add next.  I don't think this experiment will ever end.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Fairy Garden

I was so thrilled last week to see my nine-year-old daughter wanting to play in the garden...especially in the blazing heat.  She sat under a group of trees and excitedly made her own fairy garden.

After moving some bricks around, she placed some cute little plants purchased earlier that day, then carefully placed sticks and grass into a sweet little house.  She tucked some little chairs in and added a pitchfork for good measure.  We already had the neat mushrooms created by a local artist.

We're just waiting for the fairies to appear now. This is a magical way of living in the garden.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Allure of Gardening

One week ago it was blazing hot here...heat index 100 degrees.  When the temperature is that intense I typically want to stay within air conditioned confines, but for some reason I was compelled to be outside.

For three days I weeded, watered, and planted in that blazing heat.  Oddly, my 9-year-old daughter wanted to be with me (she created a cute little fairy garden...maybe I'll share images of that soon). Don't worry, we drank lots of water and stayed in the shade as much as possible (my daughter even begged me to purchase a small kiddie pool to stand in).

We accomplished a lot, felt good about it, plus had really nice showers at the end of the day.  I can't believe the allure of gardening.

Image courtesy of Jonas Peterson

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Nature Quotes

Yes, nature untouched is beautiful, but it can be just as beautiful when touched by human hands in a lovely way.

Image from Design Squish

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Strawberries and Eggs

Our neighbors have allowed us to collect their chicken eggs and pick their strawberries this week...and you know, it's been really empowering.

Image courtesy of Jenna Ebert Photography
There is something really special about making morning smoothies with fresh fruit and opening a small chicken coop door to find a collection of beautiful eggs.

I'm not sure if I'll run out and buy the chicks, but I definitely want to start my own berry patch now.  The next big trick is talking my husband into letting me have part of the vegetable garden...permanently.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Garden Shifts

It's always enchanting, yet also somber, when the garden shifts from one bloom to the next.  Our amazing iris are sadly closing their petals, while the bright and happy peonies are currently in full effect.

Photo courtesy of gallery32

I sit here typing while taking in the sweet smells of cut peony blooms on my kitchen table, knowing soon enough these cut flowers will shift to new ones in only a few days.

Photo courtesy of Hilary Upton Photography