Friday, September 30, 2011

Outdoor art for the garden

I so want this in my own yard someplace. Saw this on the Ken-Ton Garden Tour this past summer. Gotta find me some old pickets. I would use more subtle "worn-looking" paints - maybe even stains. Then I gotta figure out where I'd put something like this. I'm running out of wall space on the outside of my house.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My rock collection garden

I can't call it a rock garden, because it's not a true rock garden filled with unique alpine plants. It's mostly ground covers that are comfortable with shade. But it is a garden of my prized rock collection.

A few years back on a trip to Plymouth, MA, we took a few rocks from the beach we visited for this other-wise neglected area of the garden boxed between the driveway and house, but hosts a pretty, three-trunked River Birch. I liked the idea of having my own "Plymouth Rock."

Since then, on trips, when feasible, my daughter and I have started picking up a rocks for the collection. The most recent purchase? A small chunk of the Berlin Wall. At least we assume it is real, it was purchased in a gift shop across from Checkpoint Charlie. It has papers!

My most cherished rock (not seen here) is one of the rocks that formed the fire pit at my family's lakeside cottage outside Greene, NY. It's burned, black, scarred and broken. It has nearly 40 years worth of bonfires, s'mores, beers, wine, clam bakes, cousins, friends, nieces & nephews, aunts & uncles, a sister & brother, and mom & dad embedded in it, along with having heard thousands of conversations both inanely juvenile and thought-provoking. It's the only rock like it on earth.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An orange garden on Summer

Little Summer Street is unquestionably the most popular destination during Garden Walk Buffalo. The dense Civil War-era neighborhood of tiny cottages is even more densely planted with exuberant gardens and, without a doubt, one of the most charming and photogenic neighborhoods in Buffalo. And even here among these unique and colorful cottages one stands out.

2010 Photo by Jacquie Walker.
This garden gets a different treatment each year. Home to local artist Dottie Fitzgerald, it's usually a surprising and oddly funny take on pop art with readily available materials. One year it was colorful vintage suitcases floating in the hot tub. Another year it was sculptural/architectural takes on shopping carts. Another year saw the hot tub filled with floating melmac tea cups & saucers.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The rarest (and loneliest) tree on earth - the Wollemi Pine

Recently we had the chance to visit the Hortus Botanicus the botanical garden in Amsterdam. It's a very nice botanical garden with all the trappings of a great horticultural tourist destination - even a café. It's been around since 1638, making it one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. I'll post about it sometime soon.

The one thing I didn't expect to find in the middle of the metropolis of Amsterdam was one of the rarest plants on earth - the Wollemi Pine. I remember reading about this rare tree, thought to be extinct, when it was found in 1994. I saw it in Time magazine. The tree is now considered "Critically Endangered."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Seen and enjoyed...

A bowling ball fountain! I could do this in my own yard. Can't be too large a project. This is found, of course in the Highland garden where the bowling ball totem can be found. You can see it each year on Garden Walk Buffalo.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bauhus Museum and its garden(?)

I'd always wanted to visit here. The Bauhaus School movement (also called the International Style) is an important influence in design, typography, art, industrial design, interior design & architecture. But certainly not on gardens. I guess it's too much ornamentation for them. But I figure Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius or Marcel Breuer must have had gardens someplace. They weren't here.

It was an actual school that, after graduating students, would put them to work in "workshops" to design products, and then actually develop them into marketable, sell-able items. They developed everything from chairs to lamps to dishware.They closed themselves down under pressure from the Nazis. The bastards.

The museum itself looks like some past generation's version of the future still yet to come. It's a bit severe. But inside are Bauhaus influenced art from furniture to product design, from photography to architecture. Still stunning after all these years is a model of the 1929 International Exposition Germany Pavilion in Barcelona, Spain, by Bauhaus former director, Mies van der Rohe. It STILL looks futuristic.

If nothing else, I want the colored totem seen in the top photo for my garden.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Charlottenburg Gardens, Berlin

These 1697 gardens were designed by landscape architect Siméon Godeau, a student of French landscape architect André Le Notre, designer of the gardens at Versaille. It is significant because it is the earliest garden in Germany to be influenced by the French style of gardening at the time. It has been added to and revised over the years, so it may not reflect the original intent of the designer.

Charlottenburg Palace was pretty much the invention and domain of Sophie Charlotte, wife of Freidrich III. If you ever get there, you have to see her china room. Never been in a room like it. Couldn't take photos inside though.

The grounds were vast and impressive, much like the gardens at Versaille. Many of the same principles were used in its design - avenues, moats, boulevards, fountains, parterres, sculptures, topiaries and grand planters. One thing that served a more useful purpose was the lake at the end of the gardens. Generally, lakes, canals or ponds were designed into gardens to provide and end view or vista. This one served a purpose. Sophie Charlotte didn't like taking the dusty coaches into Berlin and had her lake connect to the canals and rivers leading into Berlin so she could take boats in when she had to go into the city.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The office worker's garden

Seen in Amsterdam, Holland. A field of wildflowers between two large office towers out by the exhibition center. Both mornings we went by and office workers were picking flowers for their offices. How simple. How thoughtful. What an elegant, gracious and simple idea. What a good way to start the day.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Schiphol Airport Forest

These, along with the recorded sounds of birds, crickets and a gurgling stream? In the middle of not only Holland's largest airport, but one of the busiest airports in the world? "A" for effort, but I'm gonna' have to say no.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chelsea - my favorite display garden

This was probably the most difficult of all the show gardens to take in all at once. It was only open on two sides. The "back" was a two-level deck/glass platform. The lower level had built-in bench seating around a contemporary fireplace. The second floor was a dining table surrounded in waist-high glass walls. The whole thing was floating - seemingly supported by espaliered fruit trees that masked the actual weight-bearing supports. Even the second floor of the deck was glass. This is NOT a handy-man weekend project!

I saw the video here first, before I went to Chelsea. The The M&G Bank garden seemed like a winner -- the ultimate potager garden or "modern kitchen garden." But cripes, some great ideas and a big budget, and how can you go wrong? It had everything I would put in my own backyard – given the money and the space. Time? Not so much of an issue if you can bring in mature pleached trees, willow-weaved raised beds, immense specially-embossed terracotta pots with trees, full sized trees and fruits and vegetables all at peak (even if it isn't even close to their season).

The rest of the garden, in front of this space, was all in containers -- the beautiful basket-weave raised beds and planters. Everything in the garden was intended to be productive: lemon, fig, apple pear and lime trees; kale, beans, peppers, squash, chard, artichoke and lettuce; chives, dill, tarragon, fennel, mint, parsley & sage; lavender, thistle, loosestrife and other flowers to attract beneficial insects. Full planting guide found here.


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