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Friday, May 31, 2013

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 1.6.13

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 1.6.13: imagecourtesynotesondesign.tumblr To say that trees are the slowest-growing of all plants is misleading.  Just because a tree might tak...

VT 1.6.13

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To say that trees are the slowest-growing of all plants is misleading.  Just because a tree might take a century, or even more, to reach its ultimate height does not mean that it is slow, just big!  But woody plants do vary enormously in the speed at which they grow and the slowest can frustrate your efforts to achieve early maturity.  This does not mean that the fastest are necessarily the best to choose.  Rapid shrubs can be coarse and leggy, or can be immature even though they get large quickly.  These may be useful for a quick-growing shelter belt on the edge of the property.  For the central part of design, there is more to making the best selection than going for the fastest growers.  We need artistic merit as well as speed.


Nigel Colborn, 'Shortcuts To Great Gardens'

Thursday, May 30, 2013

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 31.5.13

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 31.5.13: imagecourtesygiftsoflife.tumblr Although purists may insist on native plants, a well-planned woodland garden can carry exotic wild spec...

VT 31.5.13

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Although purists may insist on native plants, a well-planned woodland garden can carry exotic wild species and even certain hybrids without losing its natural look.  The secret is to use plants which give the impression of being wild--plants with small simple flowers and foliage which is not abnormally marked.

In the wild, woodland plants grow where there is a natural covering of leaf litter.  In an artificial wild garden, such plants as primroses, trilliums and epimediums grow better with plenty of organic matter in the soil.  Fertilizer will ruin the character of wild flowers.



Nigel Colborn, 'Shortcuts To Great Gardens'

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 30.5.13

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 30.5.13: imagecourtesygiftsoflife.tumblr Steps, too, can make strong central features.  A slope, a drop or indeed any difference in levels is an...

VT 30.5.13

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Steps, too, can make strong central features.  A slope, a drop or indeed any difference in levels is an invaluable asset in garden design, subdividing the area and thus increasing the interest quotient.  A stairway through a gap in the wall draws attention to itself and, if it has to be there, is better made grandiose than understated!


Nigel Colborn, "Shortcuts To Great Gardens'

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 29.5.13

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 29.5.13: imagecourtesygiftsoflife.tumblr Water is the stuff of life.  From a biological point of view, every living being needs it to surviv...

VT 29.5.13

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Water is the stuff of life.  From a biological point of view, every living being needs it to survive.  From the artistic point of view, water adds a special extra ingredient that can be the making of a garden.  A great many designers refuse to contemplate a garden plan without water and frequently it plays a central role in their landscapes.  But, like all hard landscape features, water can be overdone and an insensitive or self-indulgent designer may ruin a good thing by having too many water courses, fountains and pools.

Yet a garden with water is almost always more interesting than one without.  Water features provide another key to an established feel.  Although sometimes costly, they are quick and easy to install, and can be designed to suite every imaginable style of garden from a natural wildlife pool to a Persian-style rill that might grace a harem.


Nigel Colburn, 'Shortcuts To Great Gardens'

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 28.5.13

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 28.5.13: imagecourtesygiftsoflife.tumblr Although layout is important, the essence of a good garden is structure.  And the first and most tellin...

VT 28.5.13

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Although layout is important, the essence of a good garden is structure.  And the first and most telling features in any garden -- those which best create the felling of maturity and establishment--are such solid, three dimensional structures as wall, fences, hedges, pergolas and arches.  Thus, if lead time needs to be minimized on any garden project, the boundaries are an important element where effective change can be brought about very quickly, sometimes instantly.


Nigel Colborn, 'Shortcuts To Great Gardens'


Thursday, May 23, 2013

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 24.5.13

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 24.5.13: imagecourtesygiftsoflife.tumblr A holly at the bottom of the garden may be the last remnant of the natural landscape that existed befor...

VT 24.5.13

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A holly at the bottom of the garden may be the last remnant of the natural landscape that existed before urbanisation spread over your patch.  That is quite a comforting thought - a thread that connects the before and the after.  It need not stop you gardening around it, planting cyclamen close to its trunk and ferns to unfold after the holly's berries have gone.  Tune yourself into the holly's pace of life.  Think slow.

Anna Pavord, 'The Curious Gardener'

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 23.5.13

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 23.5.13: imagecourtesydesiretoinspireblog A satisfying garden is a resonant one.  That is easier to recognize than to pin down.  A resonant gard...

VT 23.5.13

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A satisfying garden is a resonant one.  That is easier to recognize than to pin down.  A resonant garden has things going on it that are not of the here and now.  Built into it there many be messages from previous owners of the garden and previous uses of the land.

Even after the mammoth building boom of the late twentieth-century, fewer people are the first-time occupiers of a house than live in places that others have lived in before.  Even if the house itself is new, the space around it may carry hints of what happened there previously.  Huge pear trees in suburban gardens round the outskirts of London remind us of the orchards that used the feed the tenement dwellers of the city.  Big old bay trees planted close to houses recall the time when gardeners believed quite literally that 'neither witch nor devil, thunder nor lighting will hurt a man in the place where a bay tree is,' as the seventeenth-century herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper, put it.

Anna Pavord, 'The Curious Gardener'

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 22.5.13

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 22.5.13: designlucianogiubbilei courtesyathoughtfuleyeblog In your garden, you can make a stand against the prevailing trashy mood of the time....

VT 22.5.13

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courtesyathoughtfuleyeblog


In your garden, you can make a stand against the prevailing trashy mood of the time.  The great eighteenth-century landscape gardens were made at a time when their busy agricultural owners were fencing and hedging and parcelling and enclosing land.  Capability Brown's idealised landscapes reminded them of a pastoral, dreamy past, before turnips, before corn.

If the mood now is instant, disposable, then our gardens can become places where the opposite things are going on.  We should be planting slow, steady, sustaining things.  In the garden at least, if in no other part of our lives, we can dream a future.

Anna Pavord, 'The Curious Gardener'

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 21.5.13

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 21.5.13: imagecourtesydaniellawitteblog The point of gardening is the doing of it, not having got it done.  It's the process that matters, ...

VT 21.5.13

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The point of gardening is the doing of it, not having got it done.  It's the process that matters, though it is of course directed towards an end result.  It's rare now for people to stay in the same place for generation after generation.  But continuity produces a tangible effect in a garden:  hedges bulge, trees cast ever-longer shadows over a lawn, wisterias send out tendrils to close up the windows.

We live in an impatient age, used to quick results.  Because people move around more than they used to, they don't plant things that won't immediately benefit them.  This is a danger in gardens.  It leads to layouts that, like instant takeaway food, are ultimately unsatisfying.  The ingredients are limited and, after the initial gratification, there is no lingering sense of longer pleasures.  But a holly tree, though slow, can give you that in spades.

Anna Pavord, 'The Curious Gardener'

Monday, May 20, 2013

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 20.5.13

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 20.5.13: imagecourtesythenewyorktimes There is one style that defines all that taste is really about to me.  It's not over-good, or over-bad...

VT 20.5.13

imagecourtesythenewyorktimes


There is one style that defines all that taste is really about to me.  It's not over-good, or over-bad, or dull, or elaborate.  It think of it as uncontrived taste, and it is exemplified in the room [pictured above] . . .  One senses that the decorator isn't trying too hard, that the room is simply right; it is not bland or unconsidered, indeed it is romantic and gutsy, as the furniture is huge and not what one would necessarily consider the right furniture for the room; it has warmth and coolness, light and strong shadows, scale and dignity and a dash of carefree color.  One gets an almost imperceptible air of impermanence, yet the scale of furnishings, their presence, anchors the room into our consciousness.


Nicky Haslam, The Matter of Taste
(T), The New York Times

Thursday, May 16, 2013

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 17.5.13

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 17.5.13: designbetsybrown imagecourtesydesiretoinspireblog Humor, a moment that makes one smile, seems to have vanished from most decoration:  t...

VT 17.5.13

designbetsybrown
imagecourtesydesiretoinspireblog



Humor, a moment that makes one smile, seems to have vanished from most decoration:  taste has become rigidly uniform--those far-too-long, desperately ungiving sofas, furniture arranged to look good with little thought of its actual use, the spiky "pieces' made by "artists"--probably because designers think too hard and not subjectively about it . . . And as every owner of a new space automatically tears out the decor, even if it is by a master designer, to impinge their own taste on it, impermanence is not at all a bad look or idea.  Indeed, it suggests a life in progress, one in which living is going on, rather than a stiff, sterile layout meant to count as taste for the ages.


Nicky Haslam, The Question of Taste
(T) The New York Times

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 16.5.13

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 16.5.13: imagecourtesygiftsoflife.tumblr I'm sure, today, that the interior decoration of Arturo Lopez-Willshaw's yacht, La Gaviota, loo...

VT 16.5.13

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I'm sure, today, that the interior decoration of Arturo Lopez-Willshaw's yacht, La Gaviota, looks like bad taste to many, but in its just-post-war heyday, the Orientalism and leopard velvet furnishings were as refreshing as Dior's contemporary New Look.  Likewise, after the bad taste bling and glitz of Versailles coming as it did on the heels of the colder, far more austere Renaissance style, the court breathed a sigh of relief at seeing Marie Antoinette's lighthearted and light-giving cottons and gauzes at that purposely tumbledown creation, the Hameau; and her sister Queen Maria Carolina, having fled the mauve marble and silver stucco of Naples, preferred bright, natural colors and sparsely furnished Turko-Gothic interiors for the Chinese Palace in Palermo.  The decor of both these interior schemes was thought to be the height of almost perverse whimsicality; now they may seem affected, but dull they are not.  Taste irons itself out over time.


Nicky Haslam, The Question of Taste
(T), The New York Times

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 15.5.13

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 16.5.13: designaxelvervoordt courtesymyparadissiblog For there is a dire lack of oomph in most current interior design, whether ultramodern or tr...

VT 15.5.13

designaxelvervoordt
courtesymyparadissiblog



For there is a dire lack of oomph in most current interior design, whether ultramodern or traditional, calming or glamorous.  The act--maybe I mean art--of making beautiful, comfortable and unique settings of our own is deeply satisfying.  The scope to be different is so vast, and luckily, one man's mat is another man's cushion.



Nicky Haslam, The Question of Taste
(T), The New York Times

Monday, May 13, 2013

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 14.5.13

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 14.5.13: designtriciahuntley courtesyathoughtfuleyeblog And yet, every continent, country, and capital, is awash with bland beige, unrelieved ...

VT 14.5.13

designtriciahuntley
courtesyathoughtfuleyeblog



And yet, every continent, country, and capital, is awash with bland beige, unrelieved by a lot of lifeless leather, a bit of black and a throw.  And that's not just the new breed of "modern" hotels, but apartments and homes as well, for people seem to want their living spaces to look exactly like the hotel, or spa, or friend's house they just left.  This dullness of "taste" is surely a watered-down version of those coolly elegant rooms that were so eye-catching decades ago.  Think of the Mercer Hotel-ification of style:  those dark brown wenge-wood bookcases are now the sine qua non of ubiquitous, bland modernity.  Even an icon of great taste, like Cy Twombly's house in Rome, has been the object of much dull, middle-of-the-road copycatting.  Nowadays, the tedious sameness of so much modern architecture enhanced by a dash of classicism can only make such taste insipid.


Nicky Haslam, The Question of Taste
(T), The New York Times

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 13.5.13

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): VT 13.5.13: photodianekeaton courtesythestylesalonisteblog WHAT IS IT ABOUT TASTE?  A sort of defensive look crosses many people's faces when ...

VT 13.5.13

photodianekeaton
courtesythestylesalonisteblog



WHAT IS IT ABOUT TASTE?  A sort of defensive look crosses many people's faces when they hear the word.  If good taste is mentioned, often the reaction of sophisticates is a counterintuitive: "Oh, yuck."  And if bad, it often yields defiant admiration:  "Well, I love a bit of bad taste, actually."  Do they?  Don't they really mean they desire something with guts?  Gusto, after all, in Italian, means taste, gout to the French.



Nicky Haslam, The Question of Taste
(T) The New York Times

Sunday, May 12, 2013

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): MOTHER'S DAY 2013

VT (for all of my design-obsessed peeps): MOTHER'S DAY 2013: imagecourtesygiftsoflife.tumblr For all the mothers of the world, a heartfelt thank you!!

MOTHER'S DAY 2013

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For all the mothers of the world, a heartfelt thank you!!