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Showing posts from August, 2015

Repurposing and Recycling in Garden Design

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This is a perennially popular post and so I am sharing it again!

Recycling can be many things to many people...

or, in other words,  "One man's trash is another's man treasure"

from Stone Art Blog
This piano was placed in a garden. Here is what Sunny Wieler of Stone Art Blog wrote about this:
"Besides being a passionate gardener, my dad is also a passionate piano player, so a few years back we got him a new piano for his birthday. So the old piano spent a while in the shed before he had the great idea to put it out in the garden..."

Little did Sunny's dad know that he was at the forefront of the conceptual art movement:...they would say something like this is a testament to the natural decomposing processes, a statement of the fragility of life, the impermanence of existence...
his dad would say, 'Hey, why not put it in the garden?"
photos of broken concrete from Bourget Bros website

Recycling nowadays has a much classier name in the design lexicon…

Trees of Peace

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"...Years ago I heard somebody say that all our political and diplomatic conferences ought to be moved out of smoke-filled rooms and held underneath trees..."
-  Clyde S. Kilby,   page 159 of “The Lost Myth”, Arts in Society, Vol. 6, 1969.


from justfocus in New Zealand

Imagine if the United Nations met under trees? I imagine their discussions might be a little more fruitful...

Trees are a wonderful mediating influence in our lives.


If a child misbehaves, instead of sending them into a corner have them go outside and sit at the base of a tree...or better yet - in its limbs!

Tell him or her to talk to the tree and listen to its guidance...the children would know exactly what you mean (up until about age 9). No tree out there? ah! now is to the time to plant one.


Here are 3 trees associated with peace-making:


Great Elm of Pennsylvania (actually, Great Elm Tree of Shackamaxon)


In 1682, along the banks of the Delaware River, under the shade of a great elm tree, William Penn made a Tr…

Unhappy Hipsters in the Garden

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These photos and captions are from Unhappy Hipsters....a very funny website, please check it out..I have my comments in bold below.


Sure she was watering a street tree during a statewide drought. But the gate was made of recycled street signs. Carbon footprint: neutral.(Photo: Randi Berez; Dwell Magazinre, Dec/Jan 2006)

My comments - you gotta love that street sign fence!


The porthole windows seemed like a good idea. But now the house appeared to be leering at them, distinctly ominous.(Photo: Philip Newton; Dwell Magazine, March 2004)


My comments - such emphasis on the house design..such little emphasis on the landscape...



It became their routine. And so the evenings stretched out before him: still, gray, and gravel-strewn.(Photo: Dean Kaufman; Dwell, November 2006)
my comments - OMG..must be hot as blazes in the summer





Not on the grass, Sweetie. Never. On. The. Grass. See how much fun Daddy is having?(Photo: Jack Thompson, Dwell, October 2009)
My comments - Those pavers set in the grass are…

Annual Flowers - Colorful, Joyful and So Rewarding

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(Jan Johnsen - angelonia, vinca and dusty miller)  

  Annual flowers - those that bloom all summer into late fall then give it up for good - are the secret to a joyful and colorful garden. 
I know people think planting annual flowers take too much work in spring but I say, "go ahead, try it! The rewards in your garden continue into the late fall."
(Jan Johnsen - profusion zinnias, marigolds,salvia, plectranthus)

Colorful annual flowers make us happy, enrich our lives and then sometimes take our breath away, to boot.

(Jan Johnsen - coleus, plectranthus,angelonia, and more)


I know all about annual flowers because after graduating college (landscape architecture focus) decades ago, I went to work in the display gardens at MOHONK MT. HOUSEin New Paltz, NY.

 I was not very happy about the situation because back then, in LA school, flowers were not popular. 

I thought flowers 'beneath' me because I had drunk the 'koolaid' that said landscape architects need not be conc…

A New Idea for a Gabion Wall - Logs

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Here is a great idea - a new take on the gabion wall (those walls full of stones)...

if you have a lot of logs and don't mind watching them decompose in front of your eyes :-)

This photo is from the great Arslocii:Placeness as Art blog post: click here


Try the fragrant August Lily Hosta

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The old fashioned 'August Lily' (Hosta plataginea) is a magnificent fragrant, white flowered Hosta that deserves to be rediscovered.
First imported to England from China in 1790, Hosta plantaginea came to the United States a short time later. Since this species is from a more southern clime than other Hostas, it is more heat loving than most.



It also blooms later in the year and features a honeysuckle like fragrance!

The large white flowers of Hosta plantaginea certainly puts it in a class by itself.  

They  are relatively 6+ inches long, pure white and open at 4pm in the afternoon. (Most hostas have flowers that open around 7am in the morning).


And the best feature for me is that Hosta plantaginea continues to produce new leaves all summer long.  This is a particular advantage when the original spring foliage becomes damaged or diseased. So the hosta leaves look as fresh in August as they do in spring.


Try the double-flowered selection, Hosta plantaginea 'Aphrodite'.

It has …

A Taoist Explanation for Cause and Effect

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“When two things occur successively - 

 we call them cause and effect, if we believe one event made the other one happen.

 If we think one event is the response to the other, we call it a reaction.



 If we feel that the two incidents are not related, we call it a mere coincidence. 

If we think someone deserved what happened, we call it retribution or reward, 

depending on whether the event was negative or positive for the recipient.




If we cannot find a reason for the two events' occurring simultaneously or in close proximity, we call it an accident. 

Therefore, how we explain coincidences depends on how we see the world.



 Is everything connected, so that events create resonances like ripples across a net? 

Or do things merely co-occur and we give meaning to these co-occurrences based on our belief system? 

Lieh-tzu's answer: It's all in how you think.” 


― LieziLieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living