On the drive home from work, I find that stopping for a large chocolate chip cookie and a Frappuchino from Starbucks is often just the pick-me-up I need to transition from work to home, where I will be greeted by a gregarious old yellow lab and a still-very-wiggly seven-year-old boy, both of whom will be requesting play and attention. (The martini, slippers, and newspaper are nowhere in sight!)
I have a vivid memory of eating a Red Delicious apple when I was seven years old and, afterward, regarding the dark seeds embedded in the core. [Read more…]
While reading the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens, I stumbled upon a new (to me) trend in outdoor living:
Phew! It’s about time. I was getting so bored and fidgety just sitting out on my patio with, like, no electronic devices whatsoever, wasting lazy summer evenings in quiet conversation with family or watching the birds and butterflies.
One of Beatrix Ferrand’s most famous projects is the garden at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington DC, which is known for its lavish garden rooms and magnificent attention to detail. As you can see in the map below, each garden “room” has its own name — Rose Garden, Urn Terrace, Pebble Garden, etc. — and each room is masterfully designed and delightful to experience. [Read more…]
Some interesting revelations in a book I’m currently reading called One Writer’s Garden, which is about the Jackson, Mississippi garden of Eudora Welty and her mother Chestina.
Last night I read this explanation for the shunning of magenta flowers back in Welty’s day (early 20th century, but the magenta aversion continues today for many gardeners):
“Historian Susan Lanman..points out that arsenic was was commonly used in pesticides, giving crops a magenta color that indicated that the lethal poison had been applied. [Gertrude] Jekyll and others distressed by the effects of industrialization eschewed [magenta]for such associations with pollution, and its manufacture from aniline dyes, which themselves were derived from the coal whose smoke blackened England’s skies.”
Ew. So magenta=toxic was part of the reason they didn’t like it.
But also many gardeners and designers just found the color plain nasty. Apparently, Gertrude Jekyll is the one who tagged it “malignant magenta” and another British garden writer called the color “that awful form of original sin.”
Poor magenta. It doesn’t seem fair. Everyone has their tastes, but who wouldn’t want to stumble upon that lovely sweep of Byzantine Gladioli (pictured above) on a drive through the country?
(Source: One Writer’s Garden, by Susan Haltom and Jane Roy Brown.)
I may not be installing giant lakes, building fake temples, or displacing villages full of peasants, but I have been improvin’ my landscape lately, indeed I have.
First, an update on the play structure thingee I started building in February. To refresh your memory, here is what it looked like several weeks ago:
“A man’s mistakes are his portals of discovery.”
Then again, Joyce was a man of ideas. I’m sure no contractor ever said to a client: “Oh, that retaining wall I put in last fall is collapsing now? But of course! How could something so bourgeois hold back the anarchy of our modern age?? Don’t you see?? It was futile from its inception!!!”
Anyway, it only took me a few minutes to compile a long list of mistakes that I have made over the course of my study of landscape design. Here are just a few:
1. Giving landscape design advice to people who didn’t ask for it. You might think that this would be obvious, but when you’re a new landscape design student all super-excited about what you’re learning, like I was, sometimes you can go a bit overboard.
On February 13th, I went grocery shopping on my way home from work. Right away I noticed things seemed different in the store.
Men. There were lots of men.
Oh yeah, tomorrow’s Valentine’s, I realized. So there were the men– old & young, fat & thin, hirsute & hairless, all kinds — buying flower bouquets for their sweethearts. They all looked slightly bewildered, and they were all purchasing either Valentine’s Day Default Gift #1 — Red Roses with Baby’s Breath in a Plastic Sleeve for the Big Spenders — or Valentine’s Day Default Gift #2 — Pink Carnations in a Plastic Sleeve for the more frugal/slightly less-committed set.
I thought, awwww, how cute. Until I realized how much they were clogging up the checkout lanes, and then I was like, get a move-on, you unimaginative bunch of lemmings!