March 27, 2016
Easter for me is a time for Bunnies, Chicks, Eggs, Easter Baskets and of course Egg Decorating… However you choose to spend the day, I hope you and your loved ones are together, sharing food, prayer, or your Easter Baskets. I chose to spend the morning peeping some eggs and this year I thought why not try the natural approach to coloring. I decided to try coffee, turmeric, chili powder, and spinach (because I really wanted green).
The colors are subtle, some more successful than others, and some didn’t really work at all. The big surprise is that I like the coffee the best! Turmeric worked well too, but chili powder and spinach were a bust… so I broke out the food coloring. I was carful to not over dye the eggs, because I wanted a soft natural palette this year. I’m not sure where this technique of wrapping the egg with mesh or a piece of nylon stocking came from (or I’d give credit) but I think it’s a great way to add visual interest, while keeping it natural. Here are the results. I’m pleased with how they turned out, there were one or two I’m not showing you but for the most part the method is easy, and produces good results. I love the flower , I used hellebore because it’s really the only thing blooming in my yard right now. I foraged some bamboo leaves, some evergreens and a small fernlike plant that I’m pretty sure is a weed… but a pretty leaved weed. Hey, on March 26th in the garden you can afford to be too picky. Note: choose soft non-woody plant materials and avoid thin spindly plants, they don’t work well. I added vinegar to both the traditional dyes and my “spice dyes” , i have to be honest I don’t really know what is does, but we did it when I was a kid, and you add it to PAAS so I added it. Good luck if you’re dying eggs today.
January 3, 2016
The concept of training plants into topiary is a centuries old tradition. Topiary is the horticultural practice of training live perennial plants by clipping the foliage and twigs of trees, shrubs and subshrubs to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes, whether geometric or fanciful. The term also refers to plants which have been shaped in this way, as an art form it is a type of living sculpture. The plants used in topiary are evergreen, mostly woody, have small leaves or needles, produce dense foliage, and have compact and/or columnar growth habits. I’d say the most common species chosen for topiary is the boxwood or “European box” however arborvitae, bay laurel, holly, myrtle, yew and privet are all widely used. I love a simple boxwood ball (or may as the case my be above). It’s such a happy shape, the form is classic, the technique time honored.
This is a perfect example of how adaptable boxwood is, look at how sharp this stair detail is. It’s just so chic. The picture below was inspiration for a “redo” of our small garden in front of the beach house. We pulled out everything but a climbing rose and planted different sized boxwood spheres. For greater visual interest we under planted with bulbs of white tulips and purple allium. I can’t wait for spring!
And this is my back yard in the City. The garden is asleep (taken late november) but the form of the boxwood is something I count on in the winter months to give the yard color, and structure. Please excuse the sofa cover. There is nothing prettier than a dusting of boxwood on a boxwood.
Above is an image of my garden a few years ago and a different application of boxwood, grown into a knot garden. We planted different types of hosta in each of the diamond shapes formed by the boxwood. In my head it looked like the image below, maybe not quite… But you gotta start somewhere. The Dogwood tree is certainly bigger now, and the X’s more clearly clipped.
September 10, 2013
The season may be coming to an end ( sad ) but we are gearing up for Fall planting and the construction of a pergola! at my house now that we have finished a much-needed fence across the back of our property. We are hoping to keep the project simple but the more I study the construction of these whimsical pavilions, the more I realize that I may need to shell out more for something a bit more than “basic”. What I really seem to like is a structure with double round columns at the corners. Double columns means double the materials which adds up to probably double the money AND round columns definitely means more money.
So what that means is I can probably afford something that looks more like pergola in the image above. Four square posts, no doubling up, simple cross pieces and not too many bells and whistles. Our plan is to paint any structure white so disregard the finish of the above example. I think if this is what I end up with I’ll be happy, but I’d be happier if the posts are doubled on the corners because I think the detail adds visual weight, a visual quality and a nice detail. This is what I imagine it will look like…
This one is elegant, love the extra height and the trellis insert between the posts. I think I like the idea of the additional sense of enclosure the trellis gives the structure. And, I think I like the smaller more tightly spaced cross pieces. I plan on experimenting with the spacing of the cross pieces to get the right amount of shade at the right time of day… those details will need to be discussed with the carpenter including and maybe most importantly, the direction of the cross pieces.
Promise to post before, during and after pics. Stay tuned.
May 13, 2013
I am especially lucky to have Mondays off from my typical work day. The Interior Design business; paperwork, installations and the balance of client/office time morphs into something completely different, something more personally creative, almost introspective on a day off. And eventhough I snuck in a tiny bit of client time most of the day was spent alone, arranging shelves, gardening, induldging and maybe a tiny bit of napping! So, as I start to unwind tonight I thought I’d send out what a typical day off looks like for me.
It started with a commute (about 15 minutes) to a Clients for a quick rug install. We flipped a few rugs around the house to freshen up other rooms while updating the living room “off the kitchen” (vs the living room” off of the front foyer”, through the “tween” room and bar. Shes a great lady and I have fun with her, we debate and collaborate to find common ground between us and when we find it, we buy what ever it is we are in agreement on. The Ascot rug from Asmara Rugs in Waltham, MA is a beautiful addition to the relaxed space that’s affords comfortable reading spots, coffee cozy spots and a snuggle up spot. We agreed on this rug after she had the chance to have it brought into the home. This Asmara Rug was definitely love at first sight.
Not going to lie… I had cake for lunch, torte actually. It was Mother’s Day leftovers, it was calling my name, I had to taste it. I made a semi-sweet torte with pecan and cookie crust for Mothers Day and I was so happy that there was actually a bit of it left over for today. It is SO rich that one 9 ich spring-form pan ( and 2 lbs. of chocolate) produces enough torte to serve 20 people. I served it with homemade (of course) carmel sauce. Here is the link I used…simplyrecipes.com
If I had known I was going to post this topic today when I was planting rose cuttings in the hopes of propagating them. A client gave me these after I had complimented her healthy rose-bush, so vital in the ocean air, and pretty too. A small pink rose covers the canopy, Cecile Brunner? heirloomroses.com If I don’t kill them I will plant them to climb the columns on the front porch.
February 18, 2013
Hedingham Castle was constructed in 1140AD, both by and for the famous de Vere family. These Earls of Oxford lived here for more than five centuries, and to this day the castle remains under the ownership of their descendants, the Lindsay family. As one of Britain’s oldest buildings, the stunning keep still overlooks almost the entire county of Essex, with its 12-foot thick walls and original Norman architectural flourishes having been admired by numerous royal visitors including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Close by is the Queen Anne House, constructed in 1720 and overlooking a lake and glorious wooded grounds which are populated by a profusion of birds, flora and fauna.
Hedingham Castle’s famous Norman keep, and its fine Queen Anne house, together with their beautiful grounds, lake and woodland, provide superb locations suitable for a wide variety of filming and photographic shoots.
The historic buildings include the well-preserved 12th century keep consisting of four floors, with a magnificent banquet hall and minstrels’ gallery. Adjacent to the castle is a Queen Anne house (most of these images are of it) with elegant old-fashioned rooms overlooking the lake, and a charming octagonal dovecote built in 1720.
Some of the productions the castle and house have been hired for include the BBC drama “Ivanhoe”, various documentaries such as “Made in Britain” with Fred Dibnah, The Shakespeare Theory with Sir Derek Jacobi and History of Britain with Simon Schama.
Hedingham Castle is on the North Essex / Suffolk border, 60 miles from London. For location charges and further information please contact them.
The Castle was also used for a feature film starring Willem Dafoe & Gina Mckee with Renaissance Films entitled “The Reckoning”. Magazine and photo shoots include “Vanity Fair” featuring Alexander McQueen… oh, and the grounds are lovely too!
November 19, 2012
Gone is someone else’s choice, we have claimed this house as ours (after 8 years) and changed the color the previous owners had picked 32 years ago. That is a long time for a house to be a certain color and there was some trepidation regarding the color change, we would no longer be the green house in the middle of the block. We are now the white house with grey shutters, or the house with the blue door or until next spring anyway the house with no front yard.
And with winter on our heels it is also time to say goodbye to the lush greens of the warmer months, and hello to the browns and greys of winter… I”m feeling like I didn’t get enough face time with my boxwood and dogwood. yes, we were lucky enough to find a good house painter that we could afford and we got the entire house painted but I was kept from many yard projects this spring/summer due to scaffolding and tarps. We didn’t lose any plants because of the painters which was good but we were not out there enough to nurture and encourage plants to achieve their full potential… nor was there time to plant the front yard at all.
We have pulled in the agapanthus and soft plants that can’t survive the winters in the North East and we will spend today raking up the final leaves (we hope) of fall. I don’t miss the green on the house, but I’ll miss the green of the yard very soon. It’s a good thing that I like to watch the snow collect on the boxwood knot garden from the family room window, there will be months (and months) of that waiting for the tulips and daffodils to poke through some time in May or early June.
Until then I’ll have to read up on and plan for spring projects without a painter ruining my plans… and finalize the plan for the front yard.
November 5, 2012
Halloween has come and gone, leaves litter the yard and the air is crisp (and I avoided posting a Halloween costume picture, epic to say the least). Autumn is in full swing on the East Coast. Friends are getting their electricity back in Manhattan , Thanksgiving menus are being planned and I am loving the layering happening on my own personal fashion front. Sweaters and scarves are all out of hiding and I’m rocking cords and tweeds and bow ties, oh my! There is so much to love about fall/autumn on the East Coast. I almost don’t even miss Summer (I miss it terribly).
Fall to me means dinner parties with fires in all the fireplaces, hearty dinners and boozy old fashions pair with turtleneck sweaters and boots. Evenings at home with close friends and the dogs at your feet feel cozy and help you forget winter is on its way. In recent weeks I have become one of the converted if you couldn’t tell from the images in today’s post. Yes, I am now an Instagram devotee. Crack hoe is closer to the truth but I never showed you as picture of my Halloween costume so why would I want you to know that Instagram is my new crack? it is… Crack. Just like crack. find me on there and you’ll find Halloween pictures. If you’re not already on Instagram, consider yourself warned, it’s Crack. Did I mention Instagram is just like crack?So where was I? ah, yes… turtlenecks and cords, or pocket squares and tweed jackets, it’s all the same it’s Fall Drag. And I buy into it every season. Boots and bags costume me, the look of the season, what dessert to serve at Thanksgiving and then the dreaded Christmas shopping list – and wish list : ) This time of year I like to cut my hair short – I love my barber Joey and wear snug knit hats made of cashmere, and change my sunnies from gold metal frames to tortoise-shell frames and carry a dark brow leather manbag, ignoring my caramel colored bag all winter long.
The Dogs sense that the days are getting shorter and the evenings are coming more quickly. The dog content to sleep at the foot of the bed is now on the bed and the dog content with sleeping on the bed in now IN the bed. It’s colder now and slippers are the norm, after dinner attire is cashmere sweatpants and a sweatshirt or sweater, I haven’t put shorts on in weeks (except for gymshorts, and those have an elastic waist so I can’t tell if I’m maintaining my summer waistline), not to worry, don’t have to bring the Summer clothes out til February or March when I’ll escape to some far off land that is having Summer while New England is struggling into the first early weeks of spring, still cold and leafless. That wake-up call will be enough to get me back on track and hopefully there won’t be too much to lose before Summer.