Showing posts from July, 2014

Matisse - An Art of 'Purity and Serenity'

"What I dream of is an art of balance, 
of purity and serenity, 
devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter,

 an art which could be for every mental worker,
 for the businessman as well as the man of letters, 

for example, 
a soothing, calming influence on the mind, 
something like a good armchair 
which provides relaxation 
from physical fatigue."

-  Henri Matisse

Matisse's words apply to gardens of serenity as well. We aim for a similar result - to be a 'soothing, calming influence on the mind'.

Matisse succeeded beautifully in his goal.. his art still brings us joy and is 'something like a good armchair'. 

His love of nature shines vividly in his famous collage 'cutouts', done at the end of his life, when he was bedridden. The leaves dance across the paper. Bravo, Henri!

Garden Photo of the Day - Kilian Schoenberger

The photo of the day today is not a garden photo - it is of a path in the woods. I urge you to see more exquisite photos on the website of photographer Kilian Schoenberger (click on his name for more amazing photos.)

The photo reminds me of some lines in one of my favorite poems, 'The Road Not Taken' by Robert Frost:
"....I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."

Garden photo of the Day - Fernando Caruncho

Fernando Caruncho, the minimalist landscape designer, views the garden, not as a landscape, but as a person with its own personality and as a member of the family; a protector of the residence.
He first attended the University of Madrid to study philosophy, but learning of the Greek method of teaching in the garden, he transferred to Castillo de Batres School in Madrid where he received a degree in landscape design in 1979.  Fernando saw the importance of the garden to the Greek philosopher Plato, who used the garden as a place of teaching and repose. He follows this idea and his gardens provide every opportunity for meditation and reflection. 'Heaven is a Garden'

Weeds Are 'In' ...Soil Carbon Cowboys

Did you know that carbon in the soil makes it more capable of holding and retaining rainwater? No flooding!

The old ways are being re-learned by the cattle farmers who see the benefit of certain 'weeds' for repleninshing the soil...

A new day is finally dawning! Please share this fabulous 12 minute film with here

weeds are in.

Thomas Jefferson and his Private Retreat, Poplar Forest

I admit it, I am a Thomas Jefferson nut....

No well known historical person has combined so many diverse talents as good ole'  T.J. (well, maybe his friend, Ben did...) Besides his leadership and writing acumen, Jefferson was a genius when it came to building design, planning and, yes, gardening.

I admire his plantation retreat, Poplar Forest, in Virginia.

Here, Jefferson used a single geometric form, the octagon, for the house and a circle for the surrounding landscape. 

He took advantage of the sloping terrain and built the octagonal building into the slope so that lower entrance opens directly onto the ground level and the upper level opens out to the higher ground on the other side. You can now visit the restored 'villa retreat'  - please check out the website for a fascinating history of this wonderful place.

Jefferson created two artificial mounds on opposite sides of the house and planted trees on these hillocks to further envelope the house. The techniques Jefferso…

Organic Weed Killers You Can Make

Got weeds?Before you reach for the RoundUp (and killing bees and polluting soil and water in the process) - try these cheap, organic ways to get rid of them:

Dig Out the roots
Yes, this method takes a bit of time and you must let them dry out in the sun... but it works!
But if you’re looking for a quicker way to rid yourself of weeds, try one of these homemade herbicides:
CAUTION!  A herbicide is a "substance that is toxic to plants," but they can also have a negative impact on the soil if applied in large quantities and they may cause human injuries if misused. So be mindful...

Drench with boiling water:Boil water and then pour over the leaves and stems of the weeds you want to remove. This is great for sidewalk or driveway cracks or over a larger area that you’d like to replant after the weeds are gone. There is no residue or harmful long-term effects. Do not pour over the flowers or vegetable plants you wish to keep!

Fight 'em with fire: A flame-weeder tool allows you to ap…

Jared Leto Hugs a Tree - Garden photo of the day

Jared Leto knows what is important..

I want all celebrities to photograph themselves hugging a tree...

in fact, I  want everyone to photograph themselves hugging a tree.

Please send me them to me here in the comments section. Thanks!

Hibiscus 'Compassion' - garden photo of the day

H. 'Compassion' is the result of a cross between H. 'Simple Pleasures' and H. 'Enlightenment'...I love that.

Nature Speaks: Color in Nature, Color in the Garden

I just had the nicest interview on an internet radio show with Christine Agro on Nature Speaks.

We spoke about color and its effect on us and how to use it in a garden... It is a lot of fun! If you would like to hear us talk about color please click here: 

Nature Inspired: Color in Nature, Color in the Garden

We  talk about yellow, green and white and of course, blue .... also about Lakshmi gardens, the idea of a Venus garden...and the sparkle of a white garden. 

Then Christine mentioned the most intensely colored fruit in Nature is Pollia condensata. I did not know about it and so I looked it up...

The berry is an intense blue and cannot be eaten by birds. It is shiny and keeps its color for a hundred years!

The Pollia does not contain colored cells; instead, its cells are coiled in a twist and form sheets. When sunlight filters down through these layers of cellulose, the vast majority of the cells reflect only the blue wavelengths. A few cells reflect other colors, which gives the fruit …

Calla lily 'Goldrush' - A Midsummer Beauty!

The hybrid calla lily 'Goldrush' is a tender bulb that is easy to grow. It has striking yellow blooms that light up patio pots and make great, long lasting cut flowers. 

The calla “blooms,” are not flowers at all. They are a fleshy leaf that is uniquely shaped.  

Green foliage, spotted with white, adds beauty even when not in bloom. It is  tough and long-lasting, and wonderful in cut flower arrangements. 

Gold Rush's slender, upright form allows you to enjoy lots of blooms without giving up much square footage. Good for tight spaces. Excellent with dahlias in the center of a bed or with cascading plants in containers. One bloom can last for up to 2 weeks. 

Zantedeschia 'Gold Rush' likes partial shade/full sun, grows 16 - 22" high, and is hardy in zones8 - 10.  It flowers all summer long.
 In cooler zones, lift tubers in fall and store indoors.

Gardening and Metaphysics

A wonderful publishing house, Namaste Publishing,  featured a blog post of mine on their website a while back. 
Namaste is an interactive website and a publishing house. They are the publishers of Oprah's fave, Eckhart Tolle'sThe Power of Now.

The post they published was called "The Best Place to Seek God,"
Please click on it and check it out.
I wrote:
"I see the piece of ground outside our door as an everyday conduit to the energy of life that flows within plants, water, trees, sunlight, rocks, birds, and assorted creatures. 
When we are in a serene garden we connect to an aliveness that resides in these forms. They help us to experience the divine."
Gardening and metaphysics are twin passions of mine.This is what propelled me to write my book, 'Heaven is a Garden'
Perhaps the name is too intense, maybe I should rename the post...
 'echinacea enlightenment' 

or 'rudbeckia ruminations' 

or 'miscanthus mysteries'

on second thought, I do b…

'Quiet Mark' Treehouse - Garden Photo of the Day

The Quiet Mark Treehouse by John Lewis  was designed and built by Blue Forest.   and will be a central feature at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show,  8th – 13th July 2014. The theme of this year's RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show  is ‘Grow, Inspire and Escape’. This stand-alone treehouse was inspired by the shape of a small copse of Oak trees.

The Fragrant Chinese Lilac

The Chinese Lilac (Syringa chinensis) is neither Chinese nor a true lilac. It was the first known hybrid lilac and was discovered as a seedling growing in Rouen, France in 1777. Chinese Lilac is considered an "old-fashioned" shrub. It is known for its marvelously fragrant, showy purple, violet, or white flowers which appear in mid-May and last for one to two weeks.  It is a hardy, very wide spreading shrub, growing eventually to 12' by 12' wide. 

Chinese Lilac is the star of the show in spring when its intoxicating scent perfumes the air. The multitrunked silhouette of the Chinese Lilac differs from the more upright and narrow Common Lilac and many people prefer the Chinese Lilac for this reason.  It makes a perfect small tree for a small to mid-size yard.  It grows in USDA zones 5 - 8. Chinese Lilac likes full sun and needs good air circulation around it to prevent powdery mildew from forming on its leaves. In this regard, it is a good idea to plant it as a small bushy …

Seasonal Wisdom Garden Blog - Find the Power Spot in your Garden

Teresa O'Connor has a wonderful garden blog called Seasonal Wisdom. It is full of fascinating and well written posts!  She was a finalist in the Garden Blog Hall of Fame - so you know how great the blog is.

She very kindly reviewed my new book and asked me to write a post for her.  I am sharing it here. I hope you enjoy it and check out Seasonal Wisdom!

So if you would like to read about the Power Spot in Your Landscape - Click Here.

Garden Tip of the Day - Color in the Garden

Expect to plant up to four times as many cool colored plants
as warm colored plants 
if viewing the garden from across the yard.

For more info - click here: