Artichoke and Euphorbia in Brooklyn Garden

To me this image says Urban because it combines an ornamental plant, Euphorbia, with an edible plant, Artichoke. It is an example of how, even in a small urban space, we can plant gardens that are both interesting, unique, useful and practical.

Roses and Clematis Intertwined

For me there is always a joy in watching a garden evolve over time, whether it’s my own garden, the garden of a friend or of a client.

On the LinkedIn site of the National Association of Professional Women in Landscape, Karen Chapman, owner of Le Jardinet talks about a garden she designed for friends/clients that involved intertwining Roses and Clematis along a pergola over the home’s garage. She discusses how rewarding it is to design a garden for a client who will let you visit year after year to follow its evolution. The post is titled Friends and can be found on her blog

Click here for more information about Karen, her company and her new book.

Recently I was nominated by Shannon at dirt n kids for not one but two blog awards. So, first of all thank you to Shannon. If you haven’t yet visited her blog, you should. The first award is the Kreative Blogger. And the second is the Versatile Blogger.

The rules for both awards ask that you nominate seven other bloggers for the award and share seven fun or interesting facts about your self. Since I got nominated for two awards I am going to do 14. You may fall asleep.

Here we go… 14 fun filled facts about me.

1. I can spend about four or five days completely by myself before I get lonely.

2. I purposely keep my nails short so they are easy to clean after gardening.

3. I am a Sherlock Holmes junkie.

4. I have seen every episode of Bones at least three times.

5. My favorite poem is A Man Said To The Universe by Stephen Crane.

A man said to the universe:

“Sir I exist!”

“However,” replied the universe,

“That fact has not created in me

A sense of obligation.”

6. In high school I was on the Junior National Ski Team and was offered a spot on the U.S. Development Ski Team (which I declined).

7. I spent a semester abroad in Nepal and have traveled to India, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Guatemala, Montserrat, Kauai, Canada, Russia, Scotland, and England.

8. My family lived in England for a year when I was a baby.

9. I was recently asked to be the chair of the Austin Chapter of the National Association of Professional Women in Landscape and, yes, this is a blatant promotion of the group whose web site is napwl.org.

10. Before I became a landscape designer I did lighting for feature films.

11. After marrying into a family of cooks I have finally started trying to cook and found I don’t hate it. In fact, I kind of like it.

12. I once had a client in Brooklyn whose wife, while planting pansies in the back yard, found a gun buried there.

13. I can weld.

14. I have two cats I found as stray kittens living in the basement of the Trump Tower. I named them Osiris and Tamuz

Okay, on to the other bloggers for nomination. Here we go…

1. Sublime Palate

2. The Boxcar Grocer

3. Urban Roots

4. 222 Million Tons

5. Plant Select

6. Rantings of an Amateur Chef

7. Transplanted North’s Blog

8. The Garden Zealot

9. arignagardener

10. The Incredible Lightness of Seeing

11. The Soulsby Farm

12. wasteisblank

13. GRDNBKLYN

14. Vickster’s Vine

If you made it this far thank you for sticking with it. If you have a chance I highly urge you to take a look at at least a few of these blogs. Of course not everyone will like all of them but I bet all of you will like at least one enough to start following it.

The Genius Of The Place

April 22, 2012

Burlington waterfront

Burlington waterfront (Photo credit: Lens‌cap)

In ancient Rome a Genius loci referred to the protective spirit of a place. In the Western world it came to refer to a place’s atmosphere or spirit.

It was Alexander Pope who linked the concept to landscaping. In a letter to Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington, in 1731 Pope wrote:

Consult the genius of the place in all;/That tells the waters or to rise, or fall;/Or helps th’ ambitious hill the heav’ns to scale,/Or scoops in circling theatres the vale;/Calls in the country, catches opening glades,/Joins willing woods, and varies shades from shades,/Now breaks, or now directs, th’ intending lines;/Paints as you plant, and, as you work, designs.

Happy Earth Day

Clematis integrifolia Photo Courtesy of Plant Select

Plant Select® is a great organization located in Fort Collins, Colorado that works in cooperation with the Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado State University, horticulturists and nurseries throughout the Rocky Mountain region and beyond to seek out the best plants for landscapes and gardens for the Intermountain region and the high plains.

Most people think of Clematis as vines that grow to 20 feet or more and climb over everything. But there is a group of Clematis that only grow to between 2-4 feet. Clematis integrifolia Mongolian Bells is in this group.

A man named Harlan Hamernik, the founder of Bluebird Nursery in Nebraska, found the seed for this amazing Clematis on a trip to Inner Mongolia back in the 1990’s. In an article about the plant written by Panayoti Kelaidis of the Denver Botanical Gardens, Panayoti describes the plant as a “…compact, almost ground-covering race of Clematis integrifolia [that] blooms from spring to fall, with nodding, leathery four-parted flowers in blue, lavender, pink and pure white. It appears to have greater drought tolerance than typical clematis.”

I myself planted this in a landscape I installed in Idaho and it did quite well. Once established it needed little care and looked very pleasing creeping through a bed of perennials. Because of its long bloom season it is a good plant to add to a perennial bed of plants with shorter bloom seasons as the Mongolian Bells will carry the bed through times when not much else is flowering.

A special thank you to Tim Matsui for letting us use his photographs in this post.

My school, Colby College, had Jan Plan. Jan Plan was great. For one month in between semesters you could do just about anything you wanted as long as you learned something. You could take a class somewhere else, learn to play the guitar, or go on a school-sponsored trip to London to study theater.

One year I went on an Earthwatch trip to Montserrat in the West Indies. Originally it was supposed to be an architectural dig but hurricane Hugo put the kibosh on that, so Earthwatch turned the trip into a hurricane relief project and asked all who had signed up if we still wanted to go. We all did.

In the main town of Montserrat, Plymouth, there had been a very old tree that marked the unofficial town gathering spot. People would meet there during the day as they went along their daily routines and at night to socialize.

The hurricane demolished the tree but people still gathered around the spot where it had been. To them this was a social routine that was not going to end because the tree was gone.

The Pomegranate Center, founded in 1986 by artist and community organizer Milenko Matanovic, is dedicated to working with communities to create public gathering places. The people of the Pomegranate Center believe their, “… time tested approach to public space building creates a foundation for healthy community development and can be a critical first step in bringing communities together to work for a healthier, more sustainable future.”

Recently the Pomegranate center completed a project in Sumner, WA that turned an alleyway into a community space.

To the left is a picture of the alley before any work was done. Not very inviting or practical as a community space.

But with hard work from Pomegranate staff members and the community this alley was transformed into the beautiful space you see below.

But with hard work from Pomegranate staff members and the community this alley was transformed into the beautiful space you see here.

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