Showing posts from 2011

10 Great Garden Photos of 2011 - Serenity in the Garden

What makes a great garden photo? Anything that delights you!

But if I had to put my finger on it - salient aspects would be the quality of the light and the richness of color.  Also, composition would figure prominently.

That said, here are some memorable photographs that have been featured in this year's 'Serenity in the Garden' blog criteria? whatever grabbed my eye as I perused the photos...I hope you agree. 

Doug Thayer Bench

photo: Jan Johnsen

zen garden kyushu

 garden by Jan Johnsen

Jim's Poppies 2011 : Jan Johnsen

Allerton Gardens Kauai  photo:Jan Johnsen

photo: Jan Johnsen

from Apartment Therapy

Pablo Reinoso bench

Purple Angelonia and more in a Purple Garden

Johnsen Landscapes & Pools - Angelface Blue Angelonia and white Begonias
 “If you pass by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it, God gets real pissed off.”
~ Alice Walker

Purple tickles the brain. It speaks to us of mystery and enlightenment.  Purple gardens evoke delight and sumptuousness.

Leonardo da Vinci said that light streaming through purple stained glass windows could increase the power of meditation ten fold. And scientists have found that purple stimulates the brain activity used in problem solving, integrating both hemispheres of the brain – the thinking left side with the feeling right side.  Stare at purple and your mind will stop chattering...Try it!

 In 2008, the ‘Color of the Year’ selected by Pantone was ‘Blue Iris’ (Pantone 18-3943), which combined, "the stable and calming aspects of blue with the mystical and spiritual qualities of purple..."  So true - calming and mystical.

Indeed Blue/ Purple Iris are intoxicatingly beautiful. Especially Siberi…

Yin / Yang in the Garden - A Landscape Design Tip

The High Point / Shady Corner Balance – Serenity Assured
A truly harmonious outdoor space is a blend of both open space and shady shelter. The counterbalance of these two opposites can be seen as the ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ of the landscape. Johnsen Landscapes & Pools -
A high point or open level lawnis bright and forceful, ‘yang’. A sheltered shady spot is muted and soft or ‘yin’. Seeing the world through the complementary lens of yin and yang is an eye opening exercise. Gardens containing both qualities feel balanced and comfortable. Therefore shady sites near open sunny lawns are thoroughly enjoyable places to sit.

A note:moderation is the key to a tranquil and harmonious outdoor space.Stay away from extremes of ‘yang’ or ‘yin’. For example, if a high point is too high or too exposed, it can be feel scattered.Likewise, if a low area is too deep or shady, it feels stagnant.  But an open lawn ringed by trees is a delightful balance of yin - shade and yang - opennes…

A Glorious Fall Planting at the NY Botanical Garden

Recently I visited the Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Gardens at the New York Botanical Garden.

What a treat in November!

I was was so impressed I decided to share with you some of the plants in one corner of this wonderful garden space.  And to think this is in the Bronx, NY.....

Great Native Shrubs: Fothergilla 'Mt Airy and 'Blue Shadow'

I adore Fothergilla gardenii Mt Airy. (wonderful photo of fothergilla leaf from Quercus Design blog)

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 -

photo by Laura McKillop
'Mt Airy' is a dwarf form and got its name from the Mt. Airy Arboretum in Cincinnati, Ohio. When compared to the native species, Mt. Airy Fothergilla has more vibrant multicolored foliage in shades of yellow, orange and red in October through mid-November.

This fall color is the best! It is spell binding in the garden....

 Photo for Monrovia by Doris Wyjna

Photo by Plant Introductions, Inc
 I like to use 'Mt Airy' in combination with Fargesia, Manhattan Euonym…

Born with a Green Thumb - Jan Johnsen

The most recent edition of a local magazine '914Inc' featured 28 of Westchester County's accomplished women if you want to know a little about the writer of this garden blog, read article link here:
Born with a Green Thumb
Jan Johnsen
Founder and Co-Principal, Johnsen Landscapes & Pools
When she was in the third grade, Jan Johnsen planted corn seeds on the windowsill of her family’s New York apartment.  She soon branched out to the fire escape, where pots of flowers and vegetables thrived. At 16, she won first prize in the Manhattan borough-wide science fair with an experiment on how sound affects the growth  of plants. “My teacher thought it was a stupid idea,” she says, “and that made me want to do it more. I just intuitively knew there was a connection.” Since then, scientists have learned that the  high-frequency vibrations of birdsong o…

A Waterfall Garden - A Short Video Tour

waterfall by Jan Johnsen
I am new to the video world but it seems like a perfect way to give garden tours without making you leave your house.. So if you are interested in creating a cascade I hope this walk through a waterfall garden will inspire you and give you some ideas.

Life of Flowers Video - Nature is Magnificent

This short video is so lovely - if you love flowers this is for you.

Nature’s Time in a Garden and Einstein's Dreams

Anyone who has lost themselves to a daydream on a sparkling afternoon in a garden knows intuitively that time ebbs and flows.

We ‘lose track of time’ while raking dry crunchy leaves or snipping old hydrangea blooms. And we see it stretch as we sip tea and marvel at the colors of our roses or the dance of the clouds.

Gardens tell us the time – daily time, seasonal time and yearly time – by unfurling leaves and bursting buds, by nascent seed pods and light frost on glistening leaves.

garden by Jan Johnsen
This is ‘Nature’s time’, a quiet spiraling of experience that envelops us wholly. What a contrast to its counterpart, our human mechanical time.

Human time hangs heavily around our neck, like an unbreakable locket.  It is “as rigid and metallic as a massive pendulum of iron that swings back and forth, back and forth…unyielding, predetermined...” (Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams, p.23).

Mechanical time puts constant pressure on our lives, superseding all else, and forcing us…

Black and White in the Garden

Black and White, the oh-so-chic color combination that we see adorning all the hippest living rooms in all the coolest urban settings is just as alluring in a garden...and perhaps even more so because the colors are not from Benjie Moore but from Mama Nature....
(black walls anyone? This is from, a great website!)
Black and white tulip combinations create a luscious contrast especially if they are surrounded with green, green and more green...White Flower Farm combined the 'Queen of Night' tulip, as close to black as a flower can get, with the white delicate Lily-flowered Tulip, 'White Triumphator' - that is the photo at the top of this post.

I too planted Queen of the Night black tulips with a white tulip to create a late tulip show that is also a wonderful cut flower combo.

Another black tulip you must consider is the heavily frilled and feathery-edged Black Parrot tulip which is especially beautiful -  it is dark purple outside and almost black on …