“Just as the constant increase in entropy is the basic law of the universe, so it is the basic law of life to be ever more highly structured and to struggle against entropy. “– Vaclav Havel
I think this photo of my side yard illustrates Havel’s point pretty well:
After I smothered the turf from my side yard (on the right) and began planting a slightly messy mix of shrubs, perennials and groundcovers, my neighbor promptly planted a soldier-straight row of crape myrtles and Japanese holly, butted right up against my plantings. Between the hollies there is a layer of mulch about ten inches thick, which he refreshes and fluffs regularly. Continue reading →
“That a-hole designer said these would be low-maintenance.” (Nick Daley/DigitalVision/Getty Images)
True story: last week, while waiting to get a haircut, I flipped through a local home and garden magazine and stumbled upon an article about garden maintenance. Mostly I skimmed it, but then my eye caught a quote from a landscape designer based at a local nursery. He said, “If a landscape is designed right, there should be NO maintenance. None at all. That’s what a designer is for.”My jaw dropped. No maintenance at all! See, if you hire the right designer, you’ll never have to so much as pluck a leaf off of your zero-input lawn! Apparently this guy can even design it so all the leaves from your trees blow into your neighbor’s yard, too!
I almost wanted to stand up right there in the hair salon and be, “ya’ll won’t BELIEVE what I just read here in this magazine, ladies!” but they probably would’ve thought it was some juicy sex tip from Cosmo and been disappointed when it turned out to be faulty landscaping advice — shocking though it was!
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. Continue reading →
I’ll I’ll be honest. I had a hard time figuring out how to approach this topic. As I have mentioned before, I am New Dirt and not Old Dirt, meaning I do not come from a long line of gardeners, but rather picked up this obsession at age 36 with no influence from parents or grandparents. Like Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, my conversion to a life of gardening was sudden and complete. (Whether or not Constantine was pruning Euonymus at the time of his revelation, as I was, is not clear.)
Take a look at the pair of images below. What would you say they have in common?
Left: “The Arch of Nero” by Thomas Cole Right: Photo by John Glover.
Now, I’m pretty sure the garden vignette on the right was not modelled directly after Thomas Cole’s painting (on the left), but the two certainly do seem to share some genetic material, don’t they? The arches, the vines, the muted colors, the effort to capture antiquity — all are present in both painting and garden.
My husband and I moved into our house in Burke, VA (Zone 7a) early in 2003 and immediately got to work on “letting the yard go” for about, oh, 4 years or so. I’m sure the neighborhood was horrified by our neglect, as I know you will be when you see the “before” pictures. Continue reading →