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Showing posts from 2011

10 Great Garden Photos of 2011 - Serenity in the Garden

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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 posts....my 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

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Johnsen Landscapes & Pools - Angelface Blue Angelonia and white Begonias
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 “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

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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 - www.johnsenlandscapes.com
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

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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.....




Born with a Green Thumb - Jan Johnsen

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The most recent edition of a local magazine '914Inc' featured 28 of Westchester County's accomplished women entrepeneurs...so if you want to know a little about the writer of this garden blog, read article link here:

http://www.westchestermagazine.com/914-INC/Q4-2011/Westchester-Countys-Most-Accomplished-Women-Entrepreneurs/
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

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waterfall by Jan Johnsen      www.johnsenlandscapes.com
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

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

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

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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

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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 apartmenttherapy.com, 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 …

Lynden Miller and her Central Park Conservatory Garden

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A while back I took my landscape design studio class from Columbia University (I teach there)  to a powerpoint presentation given by the 'grande dame' of New York City gardens, Lynden Miller.

 It was a fabulous talk about the various gardens she has installed all over New York and the impact they have had on city life..

(BTW, we saw Lynden at the N.Y. Horticultural Society, which has a fantastic horticultural library - open to all - on 37th Street at 7 Avenue.)

Wow! What a legacy Mrs. Miller will leave.  She specializes in glorious mixed flower and plant borders which you can find in all parts of the city.

Lynden calls her gardens 'sanctuaries for the soul in the city' and that they are.


Lynden Miller has been, in my estimation, the modern driving force behind the beautifying of New York.   Her first commission was to restore the aged and forgotten six acre garden called Central Park Conservatory Garden....

As Director, Mrs. Miller raised an endowment for this grand g…