Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blowing Rock Home and Garden Tour 2012

It is once again the weekend for the Annual Tour of Homes sponsored by St Mary's of the Hill's 

This property, aptly named 'Conscious Sedation' will be one of the homes on tour this weekend.

This is the  entrance to the recently remodeled home.

I love this  wee floral basket on the front entrance steps.

 A better view of the front steps.

Planters on new lattice....I need to prune that branch that is blocking the 3rd Planter...Friday, before the tour!

This bench is a relic of the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.  It will accommodate visitors waiting on the shuttle into town.

This is how we decided to cover the electrical meter box on the wall. The folks attending the tour will see this as they enter the patio area.  We lugged the Pressed Tin Screen from my basement ....up the steps...., The pot of impatiens is from my front porch as well.  Staging for an event....So fun!

 The moss lawn is so lovely.....

Again, how to cover the electrical meter???
Not so bad on the fly and working with what is on hand....

I won't even elaborate on what it has taken to keep the deer from munching 3 of the properties on this garden tour.  After Friday, the four legged woodland grazers can have at it. A Thousand Thanks to the deer diva's and rain nymphs,  it is all so lush and beautiful.
If you are in town this Friday, come and explore the magical gardens and homes in Blowing Rock, NC.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Art and Whimsy on Clothing

I have spent the last few months playing with color wash  dyes, and having a lot of fun with it. (Once I learned how not to make the colors turn to mud LOL!)

I have so far found no video on using them on fabric, but I have been playing with dyes for years, and this product allows me to get the colors I want to be wearing these days.

Finding a  batik method on fabric with them has been a learning experience, as the water based resists melt if you don't cure them long enough. With the color wash, melting resist can create some cool effects, if not the one I was hoping for. For this rib knit shirt, I added color wash dye to the resist before painting the moon flower and the leaves.

I was getting so frustrated trying to use wax and such over the years, especially since I paint botanicals and want good detail! I was also getting tired of painting on white Tee Shirts. I want color!

The colorwash sprays on in brilliant colors, that blend and mingle in the moistened fabric. After it cures for at least three days, I rinse out the extra dye and reveal the design I painted into the fabric. The colors are muted after rinsing, just the way I like them! I did use a purple sharpie to outline and add details. I also blended in some green on the leaves with copic markers for more detail. Once the fabric is ironed the colors are washer safe.

It's a long process, but one I am happy with.  I can't show more photo's right now, because I am giving them away for Christmas!  I did take photo's and will post more after the holidays.

Sending holiday wishes to all for a magic and colorful winter season!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hacking out the overgrowth

It has been a year with abundant rainfall and heat here in the High Country.  Many of the gardens I have been caring for and creating in the last 3-5 years are feeling overgrown & chaotic.  I am spending my days cutting back Iris, daylillies, and huge tarp loads of perennial & woody growth.  I am making a list of everything that needs to be transplanted come a break in the weather. Tree's are being trimmed and inspected for overall health. Invasive weeds are being hauled out by the multi tarp load as well. Despite the excruciating demand of energy to accomplish garden health in so many gardens..., I keep going. Be it repelling ever increasing deer destruction, fungus, aggressive weeds, poison ivy, kudzu, and overcrowding, I conclude that it all needs to be rearranged!

Perennials are funny that way....every 3-5 years, it all needs to be dug up and rearranged.  Otherwise there is no definition between plantings.

I love this opportunity to redesign and rebuild and regain some symmetry and balance. Overgrown gardens are suffocating and repel entrance by the sane in any attempt to venture into areas that threaten to leave your ankles vulnerable by those  mysterious & silent legless, venomous creatures that are hiding with in. There is beauty in the void.  

When everything grows together as one giant blob of over planting by those innocent beings that think it is cute in the pot at the results in a nightmare for those of us that design for the genetic mature size of the plant. A great deal of this over planting I inherited. Air circulation is important, otherwise, everything rots....
The more aggressive plants take over valuable space.

In this heat, every gardener and outdoor servant of nature seems to have hit the wall of pretty much total exhaustion, myself included.  So, forgive us for stumbling around in a heat and forgetful stupor....we are really making plans, and envisioning a better way.....come a break in the weather and a new season.

In the meantime, I am eating all the garden produce I can devour, drinking gallons of water and doing the best I can to enjoy the beauty of beautifully groomed perennials, bountiful gardens and healthy trimmed trees.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Have I mentioned lately...I love my Job!

This is a 16 acre estate in Wilkesboro I nurture. The spring madness of getting everything in order is in a bit of a reprieve. The summer solstice has come and gone and now I can take a deep breath and enjoy the effort it has taken to manifest such beauty.

Not that there wasn't an overwhelming amount of work to do. Instead of taking a lunch break, I photographed the views I was enjoying, amazed, on this drippy rainy day, at the lush gardens I have been nurturing through deer and drought these last few years.....It is beautiful. Note the twisted ancient trunk of the Oak in the foreground.

Finn loves working here, it has 5 ponds he can dunk and drink from.

One even has rubber duckies floating in it for his enjoyment. It is a whimsical garden. The kind of history and antiquity I am so attracted to in this world. The house was built after WWI, and was built to survive any disaster whatsoever...The original gardens were designed by a landscape architect from Charlotte.

On days like this, Finn & I have the place to ourselves.  The owners come in for lunch, briefly. We wave Hi, and they are gone.  One of the owners is an antiques dealer and found this buddha statue in a carriage house in England.  He created much of these gardens during a few year long sabbatical.  It is a huge and well done plan.

Though, I think the deer are pruning the Japanese Maple.....

I feel at home here in the English boxwood hedges, under the ancient oaks,. with the sweeping lawn , giant magnolia, and a lush  understory of hosta's, liriope, lilacs, peonies and roses. Old gardens smell so good in the rain....The gardens are filled with lions, griffins, voluptuous virgins, and even a peeing boy.....

There is plenty of room for Finn to chase sticks and balls while I work.

I am in love with this hosta  border...I took half dead, dear nibbled hosta's from another bed and arranged them around this Oak and English is so lush, the photo really doesn't do it justice.  It is a challenge keeping the huge resident herd of deer from devouring the hosta's as if  they were burrito's, but so far, in spite of the rain, I am succeeding.
What is it about colonial brick architecture and boxwood hedges that makes me feel as though I am in heaven?
I took a lot more photo's of this garden, but I don't want to bore you.....Enjoy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Garden Whimsy in Kodachrome

I have been digitizing Kodachrome slides. Hundreds of garden photo's from my past. 

A fun winter thing to do.

This is a photo I had completely forgotten taking.

This is a garden I maintained for many many years in Hillsboro, VA for sculpture artist Laney Oxman. 

Her husband Michael is an architect. 

For their daughters wedding they designed and built this pergola, in their meadow along Goose Creek. 

Each figure holding up the roof represents a member of the family with their pet pugs at the base.

On this particular day she had placed a statue of a ballerina in the pergola.
Pergola on Goose Creek

Laney's garden was the perfect garden for me. It had a walled in formal boxwood garden with ancient statuary and formal bed lines. 

Laney always found ways to add her whimsical art into the garden that always made you do a double take.  It was as though while we worked we were being observed by whimsical alien beings....

I had known the Oxmans while growing up in Reston, VA. Their daughter was a dance student of my mother. I had taken her pottery classes as a child. I loved her pottery, fascinating whimsical characters even then.  

I grew up and moved to Loudoun and many years later I was helping the folks next door to Laney's with their landscape plan.  While there, I was standing on Laney's wall and admiring her garden bones, but it a was really, an overgrown mess full of dying roses. All of a sudden Laney (Probably wondering why I was staring at her garden) Came out to talk to me. 

We quickly realized we knew each other and I described what I was doing there. She asked if I could help her in her garden and I quickly agreed.  It was a bit of amazing syncronicity, but things work that way quite often in my world. The garden really needed me.

From then on even after I moved to North Carolina, Laney, Michael and I would manage the garden.  Along with artistic insight, it was Michael's job to grumble about the cost.
Laney and Michael had no time to do a thing in their own gardens because they were incredibly busy doing their talents in the world.

They loved their garden, but were easily overwhelmed by it. Every year or so she would call with an emergency request asking if we could get the garden ready for a photo shoot for Middle Atlantic Magazine or other publications that were featuring her work. I love nothing more that staging a garden for a photo shoot. I am sure that is how the ballerina got placed in the gazebo. 

I can't seem to find the photos of her swimming pool, with the patina pug dog lifting it's leg in the tall grasses by the diving board. But this was the privacy fence she created. 

Art and gardens show each other off in such delightful ways!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

This year, I think, more than ever before, 

I realize just how very fortunate I am...

A Very Happy Thanksgiving  everyone!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Visiting Ayrshire

I had a special treat last weekend. My daughter brought me out to see Ayrshire Farms in Upperville, VA.
She is the landscape gardener for the farm, and I was delighted to get to see her daily world and handy work.

First she took me to see the produce fields, greenhouse, hoop houses and her herb beds. Most of the vegetable production is done by another woman, who's growing skills were impressive.

Airynee's herb boxes were in beautiful shape.

I loved seeing the espaliered cucumbers and tomato's growing in the hoop houses.

Ayrshire is a beautiful historic property, the barns, outbuildings and service areas are lovely. Espalier is everywhere you look....
I have toured this Farm in the past during the Loudoun County Farm tour. It was newly planted then. Is was amazing to see it a decade later and how it had developed.  Airynee has much to do. The gardens are not intended to be manicured. Mowing is only done occasionally.  I like the effect. It is relaxed and natural. But, I can see it easily gets out of hand. The gardeners before my daughters arrival have planted a lot of invasive species. She taking this year to access the situation and come up with a plan for how to deal.
Airynee spent the winter getting many the espaliered tree's back under control. I was amazed at the size of the wood she had to cut to restore them. They are beautiful now. She has also worked on the orchards. I am so proud of her. Pruning is such an art. She gets it!  You can't be wimpy when it comes to espaliered fruit tree's. The growth in the above photo's had extended way out from the wall when she arrived. Now they are flat against the wall and bearing fruit in sweet clusters, as they should be.

I love the antique watering trough on this outbuilding.

And this view of the lake.
We ended the tour with a feast at the Hunters Head Tavern also a part of Ayrshire Farm.
Airynee tends the gardens and planters there as well.  All of the food served at the tavern comes from the farm.  I was delighted to meet the owner of Ayrshire and Airynee's employer.It was clear they are glad to have her on their staff. 
There is nothing I like more than spending a day with my daughter, touring beautiful estates and eating wonderful food. What a perfect day!