Thursday, February 27, 2014


                   This post I did for the Garden Designers Roundtable in 2010 is reprinted here for your inspiration, especially those being inundated with the polar vortex this dreadful winter.  Winter has also been way too long and cold for North Carolina.

 May Flowers by Moi

One of the most beautiful and beloved gardens in the world was designed by Monet,  an artist with no landscaping experience . He declared "more than anything I must always have flowers, always, always. "  He planted his gardens as subjects for his paintings.  " "The richness I achieve,"  he said, " comes from nature, the source of my inspiration."

 I also combine my passions for gardens and art and like Monet, nature is a great source of my inspiration as well.    The verdant rolling hills of my youth are forever in my heart and mind and the fragrance of cedar and pine in my nostrils.   I cannot pass a garden , no matter how humble or ostentatious, without appreciating the good elements of design it may have, but more than that, the beauty it brings to my eyes and soul.

Winter does not bring landscaping or gardening to an end, rather it is the season we spend planning for the coming Spring.   I find inspiration in the glossy garden magazines, the many treasured volumes I have on gardening, attending garden shows and visiting numerous gardeners who blog on the subject.  I know many who welcome Fall and Winter as a break from the gardening season but if I had my druthers I would choose a place to garden year round for I never tire of it .

Spring renews my winter-weary soul.  Like the earth I am awakening to a new season, a new beginning.  Every emerging plant is a source of inspiration and I am eager to start creating a beautiful garden for someone to  enjoy and attending to mine as well.

Having grown up without the inspiration and nurturing a mother gives a daughter, I have found a source of it in friends , family and others I come into contact with.  From the person who bought my first painting to the client who trusted me enough to say " do your thing " with my garden and loved the results,  all have inspired me to greater heights.

One of my greatest inspirations comes from visiting both public and private gardens, especially those that have left a living legacy of their work behind.

Monet's Masterpiece -Giverny

Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst

Thomas Jefferson's vegetable garden at Monticello

To create a garden or a work of art doesn't require a degree in horticulture , landscape design, or painting.  As famous fellow Alabamian Helen Keller said " Don't look to college for ideas. " That is not to say that education isn't important, it is, but inspiration is the well-spring from which creativity flows.

The gardens of novices Monet, Vita Sackville-West,  and Thomas Jefferson  provide a continuous source of delight and inspiration to all who are fortunate to see them.  As a primitive painter and garden designer I think I'm in good company.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

January Post Delayed Due to Snow

Snow is as rare as hen's teeth here in North Carolina but getting a 

dusting of 2 inches causes immediate chaos.   Schools and businesses close and the supermarket is busy with shoppers stocking up.  I know that people up North think we're all crazy and laugh about our frantic antics , but hey, they don't live here or they'd understand.  Its the fear of black ice more than the snow. After living in Chicago for 4 decades I know something about snow but for the life of me could never understand the locals need to reserve their parking spaces with chairs, buckets, etc.  Instead of helping their neighbors dig out the entire block so everyone could find a spot they go to great lenghts to stake their claim, even flattening tires or breaking car windows.  

January has been unusually cold here and saw the lowest temperatures and most snow in 14 years.    But the nice thing about it is no matter how bad the weather it will change in a short time.  So from 7 degrees one day it went to 65, bringing everyone out to enjoy the sunshine.  

Soon we will be able to enjoy the beautiful dogwoods and azaleas such as the ones above at Duke Gardens.  I have two dogwoods in my garden that I can't wait to see bloom.  No azaleas yet as deer dine on them but looking for Rhododendrons they may leave alone.

Farewell, January, or good riddance is more like it.   You made us more appreciative of the coming Spring.

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