A note from Marcia:
I love having some of the outdoors indoors, and having a fistful of flowers or a branch or two in a vase is a great way to bring the garden inside in a small and delightful way. The flowers can be what some might consider ordinary, such as pansies in winter, hellebores in early spring, or ubiquitous hydrangeas in summer and fall. When I look out my window, I see so many possibilities for cutting.
I like to cut something different and unusual from my garden. When the sweetly scented native azaleas are blooming, I cut a big branch or a fistful of flowers for a small vase. All it takes is a branch or two in a tall clear vase to make a statement and to fill the room with a delightful scent.
India Hicks, the style maven who recently spoke at SCAD and showed pictures of her Harbor Island house, likes to use a single tropical leaf in a vase. Here in urban Atlanta, a Kousa Dogwood branch in spring or a colorful coleus would look very smart.
Tips to keep your flowers fresh:
- Use a floral preservative such as those the florist uses. Grocery stores sell it in the flower section of the store.
- Keep daffodils in a separate vase. The sap will wilt other flowers.
- Cut your flowers in the morning before the sun warms the day.
- In the house, place the vase out of direct sunlight.
- Always use sparkling clean containers.
Garden nooks are great places for dreaming. In fact, gardens as a whole, are wonderful places to experience flights of fancy, unlock your childlike sense of wonder, and get curious about the magic of Mother Nature.
I’m the kind of person who saves and reads old magazines. In my collection, I have old issues of Country Life Magazine from the 1980’s that I reread every winter with delight at the stories and wonder at the property prices. And I pay close attention to the gardens featured and garden nooks that beckon from every decade.
I have a 30 year collection of Gourmet magazines that are a fascinating mirror on contemporary life in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, and that includes the recipes!
Here at the office we have stock piles of old Horticulture, Garden Design and Gardens Illustrated that we refer to when we get stuck on a design or planting combination conundrum. And that we use for inspiration and ideas because knowing what’s worked historically is the path to being able to innovate for today.
As I recently curled up on my window seat with weekend reading, I browsed thru an old New York Times Style magazine. Stanley Marcus and his creation of the shopping mecca Neiman Marcus was the feature. Mr. Marcus was said to have created not just a place to shop, but a place to dream. Here, at Gardens to Love, we endeavor to do the same. We like to create nooks for seating, lawns for children to play, views to enjoy, and a place for you to dream.
Here are five garden nooks you are sure to love, it’s time to unleash your imagination and inner dreamer.
Garden Nooks Are Where Hummingbirds Hover…
Anyplace in your garden where hummingbirds hover is an ideal place to create a nook. Add a bench or a couple of outdoor chairs, perhaps it’s as simple as two stumps. Time lost watching hummingbirds is time reclaimed from busy.
Garden Nooks Are Where Succulent Strawberries Grow…
Wherever you enjoy an edible, like strawberries in the garden, is the perfect place to create a garden nook. Just add a blanket to sit on and relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor, literally!
Garden Nooks Are Where You’ll Find Me on a Swing…
Got a place for a swing in your garden? Then you’ve got a glorious garden nook, perfect for reading, napping, or swinging with a friend. Garden nooks are defined more by their function and feeling than by their architecture.
Garden Nooks Are Often Where Bridges Will Lead You…
Bridges in a garden don’t have to be over water, but instead can simply lead you to a garden nook. A bridge can take you a place of unexpected finds, mossy shadows, hidden beauty, and garden secrets.
Garden Nooks Are Where Butterflies Dance…
Where you find butterflies dancing, you’ll discover a divine place for a garden nook. It will be colorful because butterflies are drawn to vivid yellows, lush purples, and radiant reds. And it will be sunny, nooks don’t have to be dark or shadowy.
Garden nooks are magical and the perfect place for dreaming. Call us to create favorite nooks in your garden.
Mexico is all about color, and there is no better place to see an exuberance of garden colors. On my recent visit to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, I arrived just in time for the Candelaria. It’s the celebration of the end of one lunar cycle and the beginning of the next.
It is also known as Candlemas or Presentation of the Lord, or Presentation of Christ in the Temple, and is celebrated in Mexico as Día De La Candelaria. The holiday commemorates Mary’s visit to the Temple in Jerusalem 40 days after the birth of Christ.
The park is filled with plantings, plants and flowers for sale, colorful garden tools, glorious containers, and people enjoying the show. Garden colors are in abundance.
If you love sedums and echo aria this is the market for you! The variations in texture are captivating.
I love this booth, it’s all about the exuberant garden colors.
Even ordinary flowers take on a showy look when gathered in such an array of garden colors and textured greens.
This fanciful pruning of some very standard and plain Japanese Boxwood makes me smile.
Just strip the stems of foliage until you get a poodle top. Kinda fun!
I have always loved my trips to Mexico and particularly San Miguel de Allende. I sold a house that I enjoyed there last year and turned right around and bought another property.
I’ll be renovating the studio that belonged to late Canadian figure skater and painter, Toller Cranston. He was considered revolutionary on ice and was nicknamed the “Nuryev” of the ice. It’s going to be an exciting project!
This is the perfect time of year to be focused on ways to add garden WOW factor. And this close to Valentine’s Day, do it with love! Whether you have an intimate patio garden or courtyard to design, or acres of lush rolling hills to landscape, when you add garden WOW factor, it becomes a special place to enjoy time.
And, as always, the team here at Marcia Weber Gardens to Love is delighted to provide dream garden and landscape designs, ideal installations, and stress free maintenance for all of your outdoor living needs.
Here are my “5 Ways to Add Garden WOW Factor with Love.”
#1 Focus on the part that is most important to you and your family. Don’t let a big area overwhelm you.
When you complete gardening goals in smaller stages you’ll keep up your momentum and avoid overwhelm. Divide your landscape into several parcels and tackle each one with a plan that excites you and delivers a result you are proud of.
#2 Have at least 5 plants that you really love. There is no need to be passionate about every plant, but you must have at least a handful of plants that give you joy when you see them.
Looking out into your garden and seeing perennial favorites and annual beauties will light you up and be a priceless reminder that your effort was worth it. While some plants may be more filler than favorite, they help your hits stand out and take center stage.
#3 Always have a few beautiful containers well planted. Add Garden WOW Factor.
Containers are really like having a series of miniature portable gardens. You can move them around (use a dolly or trolley with castors) and flank an entrance, draw attention to a seating area, or simply create an opportunity for texture and color spilling over.
#4 Keep the garden well maintained. You’ll feel better when it is tidy and well pruned.
A well tended garden lends a sense of beauty and organization to your landscape. Garden maintenance can be time consuming, so feel free to contact us here at Marcia Weber Gardens to Love; we love to take the hassle out of your lawn and landscape maintenance.
#5 Put out comfortable seating in various areas of the garden. You’ll find more to enjoy when you are sitting comfortably. Add Garden WOW Factor.
When you add garden WOW factor, you are creating an inviting and irresistible outdoor living space, a place you can entertain friends, relax and play with family, and an escape from the daily grind.
We’d love to hear from you.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WOW FACTOR HERE?
January is the perfect time for fresh garden ideas to plan the next phase of your landscape. Take a peek at Pinterest and get inspired by creative concepts, or let your fingers stroll to Instagram and view the tapestry of gardens and landscapes featured there.
Whatever you can imagine, we at Marcia Weber Gardens to Love, can design, install and maintain for you. Whether you want to add to the landscape you love, make elegant changes in the garden you have, or you are starting from scratch, we’ve got you covered.
In fact, here are 10 of our favorite fresh garden ideas to keep your landscape looking good…
#1 Reflect your landscape with a water feature.
You can go big with a full waterfall over rocks, a pond or even a creek, or small with a subtle recirculator of water through a quiet sculpture.
#2 Complement your garden with stone or ceramic vessels accenting nooks and corners.
Containers come in all shapes, sizes, and finishes and are a wonderful portable element that is easy to change seasonally and move about your landscape as your mood strikes.
#3 Enjoy your landscape with a place to sit and experience the fresh garden ideas surrounding you.
Just creating places to pause in the garden and take in the beauty and wonder of your garden can be truly priceless. Whether it’s a bench just for two tucked beneath a shade tree or two stone seats hiding behind a mass of hydrangeas just out of sight, secret places in your garden are ideal for a cozy conversation.
#4 Include classic architectural fragments or features as outdoor sculpture and focal points.
While nature offers her own architecture, it can add an extra touch of elegance and personality to include elements like an antique sundial, estate statuary salvaged from the wrecking ball, and column fragments to define your landscape.
#5 Improve your landscape with a pathway to guide and direct a garden stroll.
Whether your style is straight and geometric or curved and creative, pathways deliver flow and purpose to a landscape. They can protect the lawn from being trampled, or be a meandering moment of meditation.
#6 Expand your garden with additional trees, shrubs, and flowers.
Having a master plan for your garden that you implement over time will give you something new to look forward to each year with fresh garden ideas.
#7 Add an outdoor entertaining area for dining under the stars or weekend family fun, more fresh garden ideas.
Outdoor entertaining is becoming standard on homes in the South. Home owners have come to expect a generous patio for dining, cooking out, and simply living outside.
#8 Request a delicious fresh vegetable and herb garden, just enough to fill your table.
You don’t need a lot of space for the basics of a vegetable garden. Get enough for summer salads and fall soups and enjoy the fresh taste of produce from the garden.
#9 Imagine a new pool for cooling off in the summer heat.
A pool is an a oasis of cool in our southern summer heat, it’s also a fantastic way to keep the kids at home with their friends and it’s a built in entertainment space.
#10 Install outdoor lighting to showcase your lovely landscaping.
The beauty of landscaping doesn’t have to stop when the sun goes down. Installing landscape lighting that spotlights and complements specific trees, beds, and creates rich shadow play brings the outdoors to life after dark.
10 fresh garden ideas to get you thinking about the next phase of your landscape or garden design, which one is your favorite?
We’d love to hear from you.
What’s your favorite kind of outdoor holiday decorating?
As I was driving to an event the other night after dark, I passed one of those homes that was lit up like a firecracker for the holidays.
They had lights of every color outlining the house, the shrubs and the walkway. It all flashed and blinked and there were a couple of blow ups (I recall a ten foot tall Santa and a giant nutcracker) to top it all off.
For me, Mother Nature is so elegant, that simply gathering what is available to us can create the most beautiful celebration of the season.
Take a look at some of the ideas here, and see if you don’t agree.
Leverage your garden furnishings and architectural features for outdoor holiday decorating.
Dress up the ordinary for a seasonal celebration in outdoor holiday decorating.
Remake your containers, including urns, with bountiful arrangements of evergreens, red berries, dried vines, and even fruits.
Redesign your window boxes with evergreens, pinecones, and berries. Food for the birds and a feast for your eyes.
Keep wreaths natural as it’s all about bringing the outdoors in every time you open your door to guests, with outdoor holiday decorating.
The best part about all of this is that it is all recyclable, you won’t be adding landfill, but instead what the birds haven’t eaten becomes garden protection as the temperatures are typically lowest in January and February.
There’s no need to haul off your decorations but simply scatter them. You’ll save, time, effort and enjoy the bounty of Mother Nature.
And the evergreens you bring indoors for garlands, wreaths, or over the door accents will add the wonderful fragrance of the season without requiring you to stock up on potpourri, scented candles, plugins or sprays (unless you want to.)
Outdoor holiday decorating can be fun, elegant, and affordable when you embrace the elegance of Mother Nature.
As the weather cools and the trees drop their leaves, the hydrangea blooms once a glorious indigo or sweet pink, now a dusty hue, it’s time to implement key garden and landscape fall maintenance tips. This is the time of year when you want to prepare your landscape for the upcoming winter hibernation while still enjoying the fall colors.
When it comes to landscape fall maintenance, you can do it yourself or allow the team at Gardens to Love to take care of it for you. We love to take care of your garden and landscape so you can enjoy it more, just let us know.
Marcia’s Top 10 Landscape Fall Maintenance Tips
1) Leave the leaves. Leaves are food for the soil and plants. Let them stay on the grass and in the borders until cold weather really sets in.
2) It’s okay to blow the driveway and walkways. We want those areas to stay safe for you and your guests. If you’d like to schedule a clean-up, just give us a call.
3) It is getting dark earlier, make certain your night lighting is in working order. Call us if you need repairs or a reset to your timer with the change in daylight savings time.
4) Check your handrails. Are they sturdy? Often mortar ages and the pickets get loose in the mortar socket. We can fix this for you, just get in touch.
5) Enjoy the fall color in the foliage on the ground as well as on the trees. Don’t have everything all cut down at one time. And when you are ready to have things cut and trimmed, call us to handle your landscape fall maintenance.
6) Plant lots of pansies, they are a bright note all winter long. We love to take care of planting seasonal color, let’s talk and find out what you’d like to have to brighten your garden.
7) Always invite lots of friends and family into the garden. You’ll enjoy it more when you share it.
8) Eat those pumpkins and squashes you used to decorate the front door. Some are surprisingly good and all are easy to cook.
9) If you don’t like pumpkins, you’ll love the seeds, roasted and salted.
10) As your garden goes into hibernation for the winter, it’s the perfect time for us to discuss what you’d like next spring to bring, get in touch.
When you take the time to prepare your garden and landscape for the winter, you can be sure that spring will bring beautiful green buds and colorful blooms.
Your garden should look good in every season, it’s the front door to your home. We look forward to working with you at your convenience.
I am always inspired by English garden design and landscapes. Last month, I enjoyed a brief trip to England on my way to Russia and wanted to share some of the flavor of their landscape architecture and the English garden design. The English are well known for their classical gardens and gorgeous flowers, despite it being late in the season, there was a lot to enjoy.
English Garden Design & Landscape Architecture
Often called the Russian Versailles, The Peterhof Gardens near St Petersburg are the very definition of a grand garden design. With 500 acres, 200+ statues, 144 fountains, 7 palaces, and 23 museums, it is the most visited site in Russia hosting over 4.2 million visitors annually.
Inspired by a visit to Versailles castle and grand garden design in France, Tsar Peter the Great built Peterhof as a summer residence and he managed to make it even bigger and more spectacular than his inspiration.
The Fountains Inspire Garden Design
The Tsar insisted on the use of an Italian gravity based water flow system that enables the fountains, an integral feature in the garden design, to flow on their own, never running dry. The fountains circulate 30 million liters of water daily, the equivalent of 12 Olympic swimming pools, 1 thousand liters per second.
What really makes the gardens and palaces so exciting is the grandeur and volume of the space they inhabit. Grand spaces are a rare thing in our increasingly crowded world, grand garden design is even rarer. The Peterhof Gardens are the finest I have ever visited, and I have visited many.
Grand Space Delivers Grand Gardens
These gardens are grand with space, moving water, plantings, and the sea light. I loved that everyone was so happy in this garden. It’s as if they felt Tsar Peter’s inspiration personally and were transformed by the true magic of his grand garden design.
Russia is like another planet, not just another country, culture, and customs. The light is very different, whether the day is cloudy or sunny.
The plants were all familiar to me and I was surprised to learn that. I think I was expecting Siberian winters. The original landscape and garden designers used carefully selected native plants that could withstand the harsh winter weather and provide that blanket of green in the spring and summer.
Peterhof Restored and Garden Design Today
Peterhof has undergone restoration and fresh plantings significantly following the great flood of 1777 and again after the decimation of World War II.
The groundwater in St. Petersburg is so polluted from earlier heavy industry that it cannot be drunk by anyone. It is an irony that the city is surrounded by water and it is water that inspired Tsar Peter the Great, yet it is undrinkable. Humans can make and destroy grandeur.
In February this year, the International Sculpture Center awarded artist and sculptor Bernar Venet the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions to the field of landscape sculpture. Just two weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Venet and experiencing his world renowned landscape sculpture first hand.
It was 1983 when Venet established the basic structure for his “Indeterminate Lines” steel structures and I was drawn to them at first sighting. Being near the fluid lines without specific form, something so rigid as solid steel, is compelling physically and emotionally, almost electrifying to the touch.
I became a raving fan of Venet’s when I met the French born conceptual artist this summer. I was fortunate to be a dinner guest of the energetic, charming, and fascinating artist at Le Muy, the site of his Venet Foundation in Provence France this summer and home to many of his landscape sculpture.
While Venet’s landscape sculpture can be seen in museums and important galleries all over the world, his paintings, photographs, films poetry, and music are less well known. Venet says “I work in all these different areas because I’m never satisfied.” A consummate creative experimentalist and intrepid artist in a surprising variety of media, surely the best viewing spot is in the artist’s personal landscape and sculpture park.
Venet was inspired to create Le Muy, as a home for several of his grand scale landscape sculpture and for his foundation, by fellow artist Donald Judd. Judd created his personal gallery in Marfa, Texas and included many works by his artist friends. In Le Muy, the collection also includes works by major artists of the American minimal and conceptual movements, Dan Flavin, Richard Long, and Richard Chamberlain as well as works by Arman, César, Sol LeWitt, On Kawara, Robert Barry, Lawrence Weiner, and Carl Andre. Frank Stella designed a chapel especially for the site.
According to Venet “With the Venet Foundation, I am trying to make more widely known the adventure my friends and I experienced during an extraordinary period—the 1960s and after—in the United States, a country that opened doors for me from the moment I set foot in it at the age of twenty-four. While I’ve had and still have the great privilege of living with them, the works I’ve created and those I’ve acquired do not belong to me. They were produced for cultural reasons and as such they belong to everyone, they are for everyone’s eye, pleasure and knowledge.”
Venet is the most internationally exhibited French artist with 30 public sculpture exhibitions and monumental works permanently installed in cities including Auckland, Austin, Beijing, Berlin, Cologne, Denver, Geneva, Neu-Ulm, Nice, Paris, San Francisco, Seoul, Tokyo, and Toulouse. Venet has been the recipient of many awards including the Grand Prix des Arts de la Ville de Paris and Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest decoration.