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Showing posts from September, 2013

Another reason to plant flower bulbs now.....

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photo by Jan Johnsen
In 2006, the National Gardening Association in South Burlington, Vermont (I used to be a garden design consultant for them in the early 80s) decided to celebrate National Garden Month by inviting readers to share their garden tales for a "This is My Garden" Sweepstakes.
Here is one of the inspiring stories that they received:


Deciding to Cure by Joanne B.
"Darryl, my husband, lived in what is now our home for 9 years before we married. Each fall I planted daffodil bulbs. He had no interest in planting anything. 
During the winter of 2004-2005 Darryl suffered a bad bout of depression. So that spring and summer flowers became his cure.
 Petunias in planter - by Jan Johnsen

He built a planter at the front edge of the lawn, planted perennials and lots of petunias in hanging baskets and scattered large pots about the yard. During the autumn we planted tulip bulbs and pansies in the planter. Darryl also planted hyacinths, daffodils and Asiatic lilies.
planters cre…

A Tulip / Daffodil Garden to Inspire You

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It is now time to plant those spring flowering bulbs in the colder regions of the northern half of the world. So in the spirit of arousing enthusiasm for what may appear to be a job with no pay-off... keep these images in mind while you labor away planting daffodils, tulips, allium, hyacinths, scilla and more in cool earth.... The photos here are of Mark Egener's garden.
Multi-petaled daffodil - so luscious I worked with him to transform his property into a sweeping landscape complete with deer fence, gate, new drive, terrace, walls, grass steps, etc. I then planted some bulbs for him and his family to enjoy in spring ...it was a small gesture of gratitude for such a wonderful project. Well, the next spring, when Mark saw tulips blooming around a lovely Kwanzan Cherry tree that I planted by his new drive he flipped. He really liked them....I thought, 'Great! I am so glad he likes them...have to do more next fall..." I forgot to do it, however. But Mark remembered. And he c…

REINDEER MOSS - Fun and Artful

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Norwegian reindeer moss
 is a perfect covering at the base of plants, in dried arrangements, set around stones, and any other idea you may have.

It is really a lichen - a combination of a fungus and an algae. It is sold as a  preserved material. You can buy it in boxes or bags.

It comes in a wide variety of colors which makes it a must have, especially in autumn...Here are some colors (among many):






There are so many things you can do with this living material....Make items from it like shown below:




The artist Olafur Eliasson made an entire wall from reindeer moss and has exhibited it in museums around the world...

This installation is appropriately titled Moss Wall.  It is a wall covered from floor to ceiling in reindeer moss, a study in living texture. (It resembles what I have done on a hidden wall in my house which was to put a carpet on a wall... I call it Carpet Wall.(not) )




This is from a flikr file Annie Chicago, a designer, was so inspired by the Moss Wall that she made one herself fo…

Downtime Outdoors...

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Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment  ~ Lao Tzu  The quiet you feel outdoors, away from others, is a sublime treasure. Some people don't ever feel it because they never have a chance to 'steal away'. They are surrounded by people, TV, games, work, cell phone, etc. They do not know downtime outdoors. You don't have to go far to find that outdoor spot that allows you to focus on you: on your breath, on your pace, on the birds, or on the plants and trees around you. I used to sit on a particular park bench when I growing up in NY city.  It wasn't much but I could sit under the trees and hear the leaves rustle. I said to myself,  'these trees have names...I wonder what they are?' Years later I wrote a book called 'Ortho's All About Trees' just for others who wanted to know the same things I did.... I feel strongly that garden lovers share their passion with others - if only to show them what we already know - that the alone …

Don't forget to plant DRUMSTICK ALLIUM this fall

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I must admit I first discoveredDrumstick Alliumwhen I could not find any other allium bulb to buy...it was late fall and I had waited too long to buy the popular Globemaster Alliums...
What to DO? I bought the Drumstick bulbs and was thrilled at the result. These purplish - red blooms are small - 1" -and oval shaped.  They bloom in my part of the world in June atop wiry 24" - 30" tall stems and wave in the breeze...and they make a superb cut flower (which you can dry to be an 'everlasting').     THEY ARE DEER RESISTANT. Drumstick Allium bouquet - Martha Stewart Photo
Drumstick Alliums look fantastic tucked in the early summer flower border...You can add these small bulbs easily in the fall around clumps of established perennials such as Artemesia, Yarrow, Nepeta and Agastache. They peek out around these plants and are a delightful addition that come back every year! Artemesia Powis Castle - Great with Drumstick Alliums - Greatdeer resistantCombo!
White Flower Far…

Great Idea for an Outdoor Screen

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Looking for a unique outdoor screen?

Here the idea is to encourage vines to grow up these various hanging elements... a fascinating idea - I wonder what the finished 'green' product will look like.

Eclectic Landscape by Perth Landscape Architects & Designers

Photo of the Day - Crystals in the Garden

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These amazing crystals are in a garden designed by Art Luna.
Check out the website:  http://www.artlunagarden.com/projects1.html

Where is it? California, of course.

Serenity by Design - Johnsen Landscapes Pinterest Page

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I love Pinterest...it is so easy to share ideas here with a minimum of words.  I love words too but, let's face it, a picture really does say a thousand words.

So in that vein, here is the Pinterest page for my projects. I am in pursuit of creating Serenity in the Garden....click here:

Johnsen Landscapes & Pools PINTEREST

Photo of the Day - Roses, Grass Steps and a View

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I designed this garden (well, it was a pool and a garden)... The Knock Out Roses just keep blooming....

Blue in the garden and Blue Angelonia - a Flower that Keeps Giving

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This is the most popular blog post in Serenity in the Garden so I decided to re-issue it...The wonderful Deer Resistant Blue Angelonia flower. (Angelonia with Helichrysum, petunia, Johnsen Landscapes)
Blue is everyone's "favorite color."  It is, hands down, the most popular color worldwide and is the least "gender specific" color, having equal appeal to both men and women. Now Purple is giving blue a run for its money as the second favorite color....
Blue is the favored color for toothbrushes, so that says it all!  (this info is from a great website: Sensation Color) but can purple be far behind?

Scientists have found that the color blue causes the body to produce chemicals that are calming. This may be why we all like to be around blue....stare at this square and see if it calms you.


In fact, over the past decade, scientists have reported the successful use of blue light in the treatment of psychological problems such as addictions, eating disorders, impotence, …