Posts Tagged ‘garden design’

It’s barely Spring here in New Jersey, and I am itching to get outside. The ground is still muddy, and the garden still seems so undefined. A mixture of gray and green, Winter is reluctantly giving up control of its  cranky gloom, appearing to hold onto us longer every year. I hope, that soon, the daffodils will be flowering.

Never a big fan of yellow, I now crave the clear brightness of them, deliriously happy when I can finally pick some and bring them inside. Every day I look at them, knowing that they will be here soon. They remind me of my Grandad’s garden, in England, I don’t know why…

As the clouds grow darker outside, my mind wanders to the subject of patio spaces and outdoor rooms. My ideal would be a cobbled patio with moss and thyme sprinkled in between the stones (no weeds). A few chairs facing a round picnic table, and a big fire pit off to the side. We would toast marshmallows and hot-dogs on sticks, late at night, staying warm with checkered blankets and oversized sweaters. Perhaps an old-fashioned, charcoal BBQ would look pretty; the men would curse at the inefficiency of it all, as the women relaxed, sipping wine and waiting for the food that will take hours to cook. (Yes, I know that is sexist, but, well, that’s how it usually works if we are honest – and lucky)

My table would have the biggest market umbrella standing over it. 10 or 12 foot wide, so that no one has to scrunch to fit underneath. It would be a lovely persimmon color, not quite orange or red, but somewhere nicely in between. Or, I may get all sophisticated and choose black, perhaps with lime green peeking from underneath…

Giant games would be scattered on the lawn, and a hammock would lie in a quiet spot.

The trees would be covered in thousands of white, mini Christmas tree lights and large, colorful paper lanterns would hang inbetween. An extravagant candle chandelier (well, maybe one from Ikea) would be hung from the biggest tree. Underneath, there would be chairs and sofas, sitting on an outdoor rug, making it the perfect place to relax and talk (or, take a nap).

So, as my dream continues, I look outside. It is still raining. The picnic table (that I found on the side of the road) needs painting, and the dog has worn a muddy track all through the moss garden. My umbrella was enjoyed by the hungry mice, living in the garage, and my potting table is starting to show loving signs of wear and rot.

Don’t worry, I’m not delusional, this is what I do. Each year I plan and fix and wonder about all the amazing things I will do. Rarely are they accomplished, but that is not what I need. I love the planning, the wondering and the creating. Not worrying about the mice needing a Winters snack, I am glad at the excuse to re-cover (or attempt to) the umbrella with a new fabric. The table I can paint, or seal with a wood sealant, and the rest will gradually take care of itself. For me, it is the process that keeps me motivated. The dreaming and the planning…..

And, yes, of course I will buy the candle chandelier (from Ikea, at $29.99 who can resist?), and I will find the perfect tree to hang it from.

http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/  Thanks to http://www.housetohome.co.uk/ for the lovely photograph and Ikea for my chandelier www.ikea.com

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Recently I fell in love with several pieces of sculptural artwork. Brazenly placed in abandoned fields, the images were surreal in their gigantic beauty. Whether you liked them or not, you could not deny the talent and the vision that created them. I have to confess that I took more photographs of these images than I did of the people I was with.

Growing up I never quite understood the use of decorative objects outside.  At the time, the only ones I had seen were gnomes with fishing rods, or strangely, flamboyant statues that lived in the grounds of old castles. 

Now, years later, I know the importance that art and shapes can play in revitalizing an outdoor space. The gigantic images that I saw overseas reminded me to have fun with nature, and that sometimes, a piece just exists for us to enjoy.

I have to confess I don’t have many decorative objects in my garden (my gnome prefers to live in the house) but I recently placed a squiggly thing next to my garage, and I love coming home to it every night!

My garage is detached from the house, so the door is flanked either side by white concrete. To the left I have a half-barrel with an apricot rose in it, and to the right I have a small, rectangular planter overflowing with mint. Above the mint I have a wild, white rose that I “help” meander across the top of the garage, but above the apricot rose there is just a white expanse of concrete. Every night it bothered me, the inequality of the two sides. Not that I wanted anything matching (been there, done that) but it just looked unbalanced, and the rose looked a bit sad and isolated. 

I had to fill in some of the area above the rose, but everything I tried just looked wrong. Eventually, I experimented with a 6 foot curly metal garden pole in my shed. I stuck it in the dirt, to the right of the rose, and it looked strangely perfect; tall, soft and unexpected. 

My meager attempt with a squiggly piece of metal cannot be compared to a 30 foot corrugated eyeball, but seeing those large pieces of raw beauty definitely became a wonderful teaching moment for me.  


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