Creating harmony, simplicity and peace in the landscape......
"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.
Gardening is an instrument of grace. " - May Sarton
Gardening is an instrument of grace. " - May Sarton
Friday, May 27, 2016
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Green in all its shades and tones is the tranquil color of Nature.
It wraps us in a multi hued cloak in a garden, twining lime green together with moss green, spring green, fern green and deep pine green to create a feeling so luxurious that we can forget all our cares.
This is the siren call of a serenity garden at its best and it begins with the natural world’s ever changing show of green.
(garden & recirculating waterfall...Jan Johnsen)
While some gardens seek to stimulate the senses, a predominantly green garden promotes relaxation and quiet contemplation.
The best model is the classic Japanese garden which uses striking plant textures and forms rather than myriad colors to create an oasis of green peacefulness.
In such a serene landscape, pine, holly, azalea, ferns and junipers display the passing of each season in verdant contrasts.
In summer, lush foliage play against deep shadows; in winter, variegated greens, evergreen boughs and the tracery of bare branches offer an austere and still setting.
Monday, May 16, 2016
Our natural inclination, when in a group, is to gather in a circle.
The ineluctable unity of this shape gives each person equal standing, equal voice and equal support. It is a perfect shape for expressing ourselves to others. The result? A unified purpose or intention arising from talking and listening, in turn.
Yay for the circle!
Like theater in the round, no one has a better seat than anyone else. It is no wonder that circular gathering spaces are popular for group activities and in various spiritual traditions.
The Contemplative Mind is enhanced through circular gatherings
This is why I advocate Circular Peace Gardens wherever people may gather.
A circle is a nurturing form that invites us in - there are no hard edges, corners or angles.
|Alcazar Garden, Seville, Spain photo by Jan Johnsen|
It is all a matter of proportion, scale, context and intended use. If you are in a dense urban neighborhood - the size of the circle may be decided for you by what is available....if you are in a wide open flat space, the size would depend on intended use.
Above all, I always counsel people to make it bigger than they think they need.
Always start with determining the personal space required for each person which is about a 2'6" radius around each person...then I add another 1.5 ft. for 'move around' space.
4' radius or 8' diameter for each person
I then use this as the space - 4 ft. - as the rough distance between people.
So if you want 10 people in your circle then multiply 4' x 10 to get a circumference (perimeter) of about 40 ft. Once you know that you can go here (click on it) to determine that your circle's diameter should be about 13 ft.
The radius would therefore be about 6.5 feet. If you wanted 20 people, then double 13 to get a diameter of 26 ft. This is the minimum - you can always go bigger.
Always work from the center point out when laying out the circle...Here is a wonderful diagram from a mathematics in gardening blog:
Good Luck! Let me know....
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Sunday, May 8, 2016
Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp,
but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
|butterfly garden by Jan Johnsen|
This is why a butterfly garden should be in everyone's life.
In the photo above, I planted 'Lucky White' Lantana and purple Callibrachoa to attract the summer butterflies....they love lantana! Plant lantana in all its ice cream colors and you will have an open house for butterflies.
|Mexican sunflower and butterfly - photo by Jan Johnsen|
Also perennial coneflowers, agastache, bee balm, chrysanthemums are butterfly attractors.
These all have nectar, a butterfly's delight.
So if you have a sunny open spot, some shelter from wind and fresh water (butterfly puddles) then plant some butterfly flowers and enjoy a bit of happiness.
|luscious citrus blend lantana|
And a great partial shade plant- a tall shrub - that butterflies love is Bottlebrush Buckeye!
Here is a wonderful butterfly garden plant list from the Farmer's Almanac:
|Common Name||Latin Name|
Friday, May 6, 2016
|Fothergilla in bloom - photo by Laura McKillop|
"Fothergillas, ask so little from gardeners,
yet give so much;
all friends should exhibit this kind of relationship."
- Michael A. Dirr
I adore Fothergilla gardenii Mt Airy.
Fothergilla is native to the Appalachians, is deer resistant and sports fragrant, honey scented, early spring flowers before the leaves come out.
The flowers are white, short bottlebrush spikes that light up a sunny to partial sun woodland corner. The flowers are followed by blue green, heavily textured foliage.
Photo from Robs Plants Website - http://www.robsplants.com/plants/FotheGarde
This fall color is the best! It is spell binding in the garden....
Photo for Monrovia by Doris Wyjna
Photo by Plant Introductions, Inc
photo from Sooner Plant Farm - http://www.soonerplantfarm.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/plants.plantDetail/plant_id/452/index.htm
And now there is the cultivar ‘Blue Shadow’! This exciting introduction originated as a sport from Fothergilla major 'Mt. Airy' and is blessed with the same vigorous constitution and habit..
It has steely blue summer leaves with the same outstanding autumn display of rich yellow, red and orange.
Blue Shadow is a medium-size deciduous shrub 5 to 6' high and wide and easily adapts to sun or partial shade. It is tolerant to a wide range of soil and environmental conditions, needs little pruning and has no major disease or insect problems.
And don't forget the shorter 'Blue Mist' dwarf Fothergilla (fothergilla gardenii Blue Mist) . It makes a great low hedge and is attractive in three seasons - the brilliant yellow, red, orange fall coloration is a show stopper. Grows 2' - 3' tall. Plant in non-alkaline soil.
|Blue Mist Fothergilla gardenii - photo from Monrovia|
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
The dreaded Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), for which we spend tremendous amounts of weed killer money to eradicate, has been prized over the years for its medicinal and nutritious properties.
In fact, dandelion roots, flowers and "dandelion greens" (leaves) are all edible!
Dandelions are a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. And in traditional medicine, dandelion roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. Native Americans used dandelion decoctions (liquid made by boiling down the herb in water) to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and stomach upset.
|From a great blog: Sierra Foothills Garden|
• Dandelion roots can be roasted as a coffee-substitute, or boiled and stir-fried as a cooked vegetable.
• Dandelion flowers can be made into a wine.
from Embracing My Health blog
Boiling them or stir frying them will further reduce their bitterness.
from the Herbwife's Kitchen website
My musings: It makes sense that, at the end of winter, when our ancestors were probably hungry and vitamin deficient, that Nature would see to it that they had a great source of vitamins proliferating all around them! No one had to seed them or turn over the soil...the Dandelions appeared just for the picking!
And today we spend so much money just to make them go away....something is wrong here.
Just make sure to avoid harvesting near roads, since road salt and/or toxins may be present. Likewise, you obviously shouldn't harvest from a lawn where herbicides have been used.