Showing posts from August, 2013

Emilio Ambasz - Melding architecture and Landscape

Green roofs are being touted as the future....  so back in 1995 it was pretty radical when Emilio Ambasz and Associates extended Fukuoka's Tenjin Central Park with a terraced building covered in gardens.
Ambasz successfully maintained the green space of an existing park while providing the city of Fukuoka with a multi-use, iconic building.

Go to Treehugger for more on this Project

I love his stated philosophy :
"Man should not see himself as a separate entity, detached from nature, but should accept his existence as part of it. Similarly, the artifacts we create should not be proud aliens, but rather should be designed as carefully and intricately woven extensions of the larger natural and man-made domains surrounding us." - Emilio Ambasz

He designed this research facility in Austin, Texas as a series of above ground buildings partially surrounded by built-up earth berms to integrate it into the landscape and reduce energy costs.
Neighbors see only a beautiful landscape…

Plants, Green Space make us Happy

source: Open knowledge, Allianz
Want serenity? or at least a little quality down time?  Spend some time with or among plants. Professor Geoff Dixon says:"Working with plants makes you feel better.  Dr Ross Cameron of the University of Reading, says: "The environment and green space drive social health"

Bastyr garden supervisor Alexis Durham tends to the spring garden. source: Bastyr University 
In fact, Swedish scientist Kristina Sundquist found a 72 per cent increased risk of psychosis and 16 per cent increased risk of depression in a study of four million Swedish people who lived withoutaccess to green space.
The new Brooklyn Bridge Park  And  key issues such as childhood obesity are linked with the fact that kids have no green space to play in. Any policies to thwart obesity must include providing a natural environment for a 'get active' plan. 

Parks are the best way to make city people more content and more fit. Yoga in the park, anyone? 

  More parks = happier place…

Picture of the Day - Hollyhock

Hollyhocks are an old fashioned biennial flower, blooming in early summer.

 You don't need a green thumb to have a beautiful garden full of this delicate flower but  you do need a lot of space as they will spread.

They can grow as tall as 8 feet so they make great summer screens.They also attract butterflies. Hollyhocks are best at the back of the flower bed or planted by a fence.

The Upcoming Garden Bloggers Conference 2013

A “how-to” subject like gardening is rich with great stories that can educate, fascinate and enlighten others. 
This is why I like Garden Blogs....they can take what others might think is mundane and transform it into a delightful new take on life.  I also love to blog because I want to share what I have learned about gardens and landscape design with other kindred spirits. 

So with that, I think Garden Bloggers, designers and garden lovers alike will love the upcoming 

Garden Bloggers Conference. Its in Atlanta on September 22 - 24, 2013.

Speaker Line-Up:Garden Visionary, Top Bloggers,  Award-Winning Authors and Journalists, and Social Media Experts.  View the complete list of speakers and their profiles.

Dan Hinkley
You'll hear from Dan Hinkley, Amy Stewart, Robin Horton, Steve Aitken, Felicia Feaster, Rochelle Greayer, Matt Mattus, Michelle Slatalla, Adam Japko, Chris Heiler, and more!  Get tips for digital content marketing to build your business and personal brand: blogs, Instag…

Hardy Hibiscus for Your Summer Garden

Hardy Hibiscus - photo by Laura McKillop
The Earth Laughs in Flowers - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Want your garden to laugh in summer? Giggling with pink, red, and white? Then the hardy Hibiscus moscheutos or Swamp-rose Mallow is the answer for you! And butterflies love them! ( It is a host plant for Gray Hairstreak butterflies.)

('Disco Belle' Pink Hibiscus - Johnsen Landscapes & Pools. photo by Laura McKillop)
I call them 'Dinner Plate' Hibiscus since the blossoms can be almost 9" across.

Johnsen Landscapes & Pools - photo by Jan Johnsen
Hibiscus moscheutos is a tall, cold-hardy perennial with huge flowers that is a native to wetlands and riversides of southeastern United States from Texas to the north Atlantic states. It naturally grows in large colonies.

(Lady Baltimore Hibiscus)
Lord Baltimore Hibiscus moscheutos
You can grow Hibiscus moscheutos easily in average to wet soils in full sun. (Do not allow them to dry out!)  Good air circulation is important for preve…

Water and Gardens = Mystery and Magic

A Kyoto garden, Japan In Japan, the act of sanctifying with water is called‘misogi’.

This practice traces its origin to a Japanese tale about a primordial god who cleansed himself of worldly ‘tarnishing’ with water.It is based on the belief that water rids us of earthly impurities and is the reason we see low, stone water basins in Japanese gardens.

It is also why Japanese people would traditionally sprinkle water at the gate of a home in the morning andevening. The Japanese people are not alone in their tradition of using water to bless people and places.  Photo by Fabio Sabatini. Many great religions value ‘sanctified’ water. Catholicism sees water that has been blessed as asymbol of God’s grace and as a “wellspring of all holiness...” Thai Buddhists make ‘lustral’ waterand believe that they will be blessed if they drink it or have it sprinkled on their head. At their new year, the Thai people scent bowls of water with flower petals, and sprinkle these sacred waters to cool, cleanse and b…

Vote for Serenity in the Garden blog! Thanks!

Vote for SERENITY IN THE GARDEN - one more day left!
If you agree, would you vote for this garden blog as the 'Best Overall Garden Blog' on the garden bloggers website? 

Click below and then go to 'Overall Blog' category.


Grass Steps - A Great Garden Design Idea

Grass steps in one of my landscapes- Jan Johnsen Garden writing is a delectable occupation. It allows me to offer up choice morsels of horticultural trivia, succulent design tips and full flavored philosophical musings about all and sundry.

Today I am discussing my signature dish — grass steps.

one of my projects using grass steps - can you see the steps? no? great!
I refer to grass steps - or grass treads, which is the correct term - as my signature simply because I have been incorporating them in my landscapes since the early 1980s. 

I first saw grass steps in the mid 1970's in one of my favorite landscape venues, Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.

this great photo from Dumbarton  is from The Photo Garden Bee website
Beatrix Farrand, the preeminent American landscape gardener (as she called herself) of the early twentieth century, installed three grass treads in a sloping lawn in Dumbarton Oaks. When I first saw them I was struck at how they disappeared when viewing them from ab…

I love Tardiva Hydrangea.

I must admit - I love Tardiva Hydrangea.
Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva' is a loose, carefree shrub that defines exuberance. It is one of the panicle hydrangeas that received a 2010 Cary Award for Outstanding Shrub for New England Gardens.
It adapts easily to many situations, blooms late in the summer which extends the garden season into October and can be pruned as a small tree if so desired.
Tardiva is known for its long, lacy white flowers. They are tinted a pale pink which become darker as the season progresses. This hydrangea can tolerate half shade and is disease resistant.

I prune Tardiva in very early spring, leaving just a few buds on the stem - this ensures larger flowers on stiffer branches.

(this photo is from Gloster Furniture - I think it is a tardiva)
Tardiva hydrangeas fit in well in a woodland theme garden as well as in classic mixed flower borders. They make a great screen in the summer and are striking when planted in a mass planting. 

They also make a wonde…