Signs You Spent Too Much at the Garden Center (Again)

1. You just “swung by” to get some mulch but then somehow all this wound up in your car, too.


How did all these plants get here?

2. When the cashier announces the total, you realize it’s the same amount that Oxfam’s fundraising letter said would feed an entire African village for a month.

3. You have trouble shifting gears on the way home because you have a hardy banana plant wedged diagonally in front of the passengers seat.  Also, your tiny car is so packed with plants you find pollen in your ears when you get home.

4. Your 8-year-old, who has accompanied you and overhears the total, announces that he is going to “tell Dad” how much you spent when he gets home.

5. You don’t think you’ve spent more on fabulous container plants this month than on food for your family, but you’re not really sure.

I Gotta Git Me One o’ These Outdoor TVs

While reading the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens, I stumbled upon a new (to me) trend in outdoor living:

Outdoor Televisions!

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.

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Garden Designers’ Roundtable: Mistakes

“A man’s mistakes are his portals of discovery.”

–James Joyce

13retain1_lgThen 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.

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The Election 2012 Garden Mash Up

Finally, the candidates discuss the real issues.   And just in time for election day, too!

(Oh, I guess I should mention the candidates’ actual words are in white and my very slight modifications are in yellow.)

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Some Thoughts on Garden Ornament

Nothing announces the mood or atmosphere of a garden more so than Garden Ornament.  Sure, you can plant an Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’ and a carpet of black mondo grass, but it’s really the stone lantern that declares:

“This Japanese Garden.  Please now be feeling sense of reverence and quiet awe.”

In the case of one of my neighbors, it’s the red Victorian gazing ball held aloft on the ears of three stone rabbits that announces:


I love all kinds of garden ornament, from dignified to kitsch, which is why I face a dilemma.  Since garden ornament tends to set the tone of the garden more so than any other individual garden element, there should be some sort of consistency among the pieces chosen.  An overall statement should be made.

Personally, I’m torn about which direction I want to go with ornament in my garden.  On the one hand, as I get older I find myself drawn to more dignified, classic pieces.  I love the idea of a stone column in my garden, surrounded by ferns and set off by evergreens…soothing, dignified, timeless.

But I also like this:

Gnome-B-Gone, by Fred Conlon

I mean, I know my garden is MINE, and I can do whatever I want with it, but I don’t want it to appear completely bipolar.

Luckily, there are some pieces of garden ornament that are more neutral and can fit into any scheme.  Most pots, for example, don’t hit you over the head with their personalities; they’re like the Zeligs of the garden and can blend into cottagy, modern, whimsical, or classic schemes.

This is why pots are all I have at the moment.  Pots and a couple of metal dragonflies hovering among my perennials. 

Perhaps my difficulty with garden ornament speaks to a larger problem with my sense of self.  My garden doesn’t really know what it is, therefore, perhaps I don’t really know who I am.  Should I wear floral scarves or chunky metal watches?  Should I try to do more serious writing or should I learn carpentry? Should I take a stand more often or just laugh stuff off and go with the flow?

Am I a stone column or a Gnome-B-Gone?

The Agrarian Buying Guide – a Top Ten List!

If you’re like me, you’ve been looking to simplify your life, get back to basics, and really re-connect with the earth — but you haven’t found the kind of shopping experience that allows you to do so with classic vintage style

So frustrating. 

Well, good news.  If you weren’t familiar with Agrarian, Williams-Sonoma’s new line of fashionably overpriced garden and urban homesteading accessories, consider this your introduction!  

Thank goodness somebody is looking out for your image as you undertake your new committment to gardening, canning, chickening, and honey-making (you need bees!!!), because otherwise you might have to buy your supplies from a regular nursery or hardware store.  Ewwww.  Or even make do with something you already have around the house.  Gasp!

Anyway, here is a sampling of what Agrarian has to offer —

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So I’ve Ripped Out My Lawn, Now What Do I Do?

With all that grass, I mean.  I know you have a super-creative plan for re-planting your ex-lawn, but now you’ve got a huge sod pile to deal with.  Don’t tell me you smothered the poor grass under cardboard and plastic?  That’s a damn shame.  Had you an ounce of ingenuity, you would have re-purposed your grass in a stylish and ecologically correct manner.  Like these people did.

#1  The Ecologically Fashion Forward Couple About Town.  Don’t roll your eyes.  You know you wish you could pull this off.  If you’re a little daunted, just start small.  Maybe with the tie, shoes, and hat.  Confidence is key.  You have to own the look.

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The Landscape Urbanism BS Generator

To follow up on my Top Ten Garden Buzzwords posts, here is a neat little doo-dad introduced to me by Stephen Ray, a landscape architect in the ASLA LinkedIn group:

The Landscape Urbanism BS Generator

Once you’ve opened the link, simply click on the “Make Bullshit” button, and voila! instant Landscape Architecture/Urban Planning Jargon BS is created for you!! 

I also wish somebody would invent a Pretentious Anglophilic Suburban Subdivision Name Generator, to randomly generate names in this well-loved format:

“The _________ at _________  ____________”, as in “The Mews at Crustington Manor”