“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.” ~ Ruth Stout
Stowe House, Buckinghamshire
Despite the rain we’ve been having, Mother Nature is slowly but surely giving birth to her buds and our gardens are beginning to show signs of awakening. We have a ways to go before the lush flowers of summer take over and we can entertain our friends on the terrace. In the meantime, we resort to the pages of flower magazine and marvel at the works by designers like Carson McElheney, Lancelot “Capability” Brown and Brooke and Steve Giannetti.
Gardening for the Senses
The current issue is filled with inspiring landscapes that delight and capture the essence of what a garden should be – a place to rest, to recharge and to dream. Rarely have we lingered so thoroughly with a magazine and we’re so glad we did. It was like taking a little vacation in the middle of a busy week.
Here’s to spring!
Cothen Tulip Garden
Given our love for tulips and our Belgian upbringing, it’s no surprise that when we came across the work of Antwerp-based, Dutch-born artist Ronald van der Hilst, we had to get to know his work. Though originally from Asia, the tulip has played an important role in European history and its rich heritage captured Ronald’s imagination at an early age. For years this simple, yet iconic, bloom has become an endless source of inspiration for him.
Museum Plantin Moretus
“Falling Drop” – Cothen
But not all of Ronald’s gardens feature tulips. The landscape he designed for a Dutch businessman in the east of Holland was inspired by the music of Gustav Mahler, filled with drama and a sense of rhythm. A garden should be beautiful every day of the year so Ronald included water features to reflect the sky and surrounding landscape, adding interest even in the dead of winter.
Dijkerkoek Water Feature
With our gardens waiting for the first signs of spring, we’re so looking forward to seeing our tulips bloom!
As the colors in our gardens begin to fade, we know we can turn to Instagram to get an eyeful of beautiful blooms. One of our favorite “grammers” is the lovely Stacy Bass, garden photographer extraordinaire, and her #floweroftheday #365dayproject gives us a daily dose of pretty petals. Fortunately, Stacy’s on day 75 of 365 so we know we’ll have enough colorful corollas to last us through the winter.
Eremerus (Foxtail Lily)
They say that if you take a picture a day, not only do you become a better photographer, but you also see the world in a different light and pay more attention to the details. If you’re not necessarily the creative type, taking a picture every day may even take you out of your comfort zone with surprising results.
While we’re not ready to tackle a 365 Project ourselves, we’re glad that others have (including our blogging bestie Jeanne from I Dream Of who is painting a daily sketch) and are posting their pictures for all of us to enjoy.
Who wouldn’t want to spend time
procrastinating looking at these lovelies?
Earth Goddess by NIght
Well, we’re finally back from Atlanta and trying to catch up on all the work that has piled up in our absence. We wish we had a good excuse for the lack of posts (thinking of you Sandy at You May Be Wandering!) but we don’t… except for perhaps the whole work/play balance that we’re trying to achieve this summer. Speaking of which, we decided to add some fun to our trip and take advantage of Atlanta’s excellent transportation system (Uber, not MARTA) to get ourselves to the Atlanta Botanical Garden to see the new Bruce Munro: Light in the Garden exhibit.
Forest of Light
This British artist has created six works of art, each unique in its design and ability to enchant. As we walked through the Hardin Visitor Center and around a corner, we were greeted by 30,000 flower-like stems of light covering the ground, gently pulsing and changing colors. We meandered through the woods past water features and stately trees, and came upon the breathtaking Earth Goddess (above.) Next on our tour was Swing Low, a cradle of giant illuminated spheres…
and then the Water-Towers where 216 recycled plastic bottles threaded with fiber optic cables pulsed with shifting colors to the beat of African music. These 20 towers surrounded a lily pond from which came the chorus of singing bullfrogs (it was as if they wanted to be part of the whole experience!)
Though our feet were dying – we’d been on them since seven in the morning and it was now past eleven p.m. – we made sure to
walk limp through the Fuqua Orchid Center, all aglow with Eden Blooms. Nestled among the tropical plants, these futuristic flower forms took “artificial” to a whole new level.
We had a magical evening and wouldn’t have thought of venturing out of downtown Atlanta had it not been for our adventurous show neighbors from Sid Dickens and BlaBla. Thank you for making our show more play than work!
Earth Goddess by Day
P.S. The Bruce Munro exhibit runs through October 3rd and we highly recommend a visit should your travels take you to the Peach State.
Photos: Earth Goddess night, Forest of Light, Swing Low, Water-Towers, Eden Blooms, and Earth Goddess day
Monogrammed Garden Gate
Having been raised in the Belgian countryside by a mother who worshiped Constance Fry and the untamed yet still elegant she designed, we naturally gravitate toward the “tumbling cacophony of lush mixed borders” barely contained by a clipped boxwood hedges. This is why we had to share this beautiful garden lovingly cultivated by interior designer Jane Ellsworth which we spied in the pages of one of our favorite local magazines, Connecticut Cottages & Gardens.
Peek-a-boo Pool House
Set on seven acres in Darien, Jane’s 1940’s brick Georgian house has the feel of an English country home and the garden is filled with colorful exuberance and blossoms for every season. “In my opinion, the garden is an outdoor room whose components should be handled in the same way as the corresponding decorative elements in an interior space, to create a specific mood or style that is functional and pleasing,” says Jane. You may call this garden functional and pleasing, but we’ll call it sheer bliss.
We’d love to spend the weekend under that apple tree but we’re off to our final regatta of season! Wishing you a wonderful weekend of whiling away the hours…
Photos: 1 – 6
We spent the day Tuesday with our very talented friend, Sally Green, shooting our flowers and bouquets for our new website and we had such fun. Sally showed up with her custom vinyl backdrops that look like wood floors or tables in a range of finishes, two camera bags filled with equipment and one small footstool to give her height when she wanted to shoot from above. Though by day Sally works as a corporate and real estate lawyer, her true passion is photography… and gardening… and raising the most glamorous chickens (along with her two cool kids.)
As you can see by these pictures, Sally’s no stranger to flowers and her garden (which we blogged about here and here) is breathtaking. She can also arrange the blooms she picks into pretty posies. As soon as the beds and planters around her French-style farmhouse are filled with blossoms, we’ll be coming over so that she can take our portraits and we’ll finally have a picture of mother and daughters to add to the About Us section of our website.
More to come…
P.S. To see more of Sally’s sensational shots, visit her website here!
Photos: 1 – 6
We’re still on the hunt for art for our new living room so we were thrilled to receive Sandy Dooley’s email introducing us to her work. A landscape artist living and working in the beautiful Weald of Kent in the UK, Sandy is known for paintings that transport the viewer to the in-the-moment experience of being out in the countryside surrounded by the colors and visual richness of the natural world.
Given that her studio is in her garden and she works outside as much possible, Sandy exquisitely captures the moods of each season in her paintings – from the verdant greens of spring and warm tones of an Indian summer, to the deep rich hues of fall and the cool blues of winter. Her work feels as spontaneous and lush as an English garden and her vibrant colors would brighten any wall.
We’d invest in any number of these so it’s a good thing that Sandy’s paintings and prints are available online at Saatchi and Artfinder. It’s only too bad we can’t just hop a plane and visit her in her garden… Yet through the magic of Vimeo, we can! Just click on the image below to launch the video.
A Morning with Sandy Dooley
Isn’t Sandy simply sensational?! Happy weekend, everyone.
Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
Given all the construction going on inside our home, our poor garden has been left to fend for itself this spring and quite frankly, all we have energy for is herbs. Which is actually great since they’re so versatile and easy to care for… and they’re also good for you! For instance, did you know that you can improve your memory by sniffing rosemary?
Or stay alert by chewing mint?
How about curing anxiety by eating lavender? (Or relax after a long day by bathing in it!)
Basil has anti inflammatory enzymes that help with arthritis…
and drinking sage tea can banish bloat before a big date!
We’re thinking all of these would make a great additions to our herb garden (and recipes) this summer. Do you have a favorite?
Photos via Pinterest and The Cake Bar
As we’re waiting for spring flowers to bloom and trees to bud, we thought we’d share some beautiful gardens designed by one of England’s most renown designers, Jinny Blom (and yes, her last name means “flower” in Danish!) We saved the article about her in Veranda last year and filed it away for a rainy day (which we’ve had a lot of lately) and when we read another article about her in the spring edition of Flower, we dug the pictures up (so to speak!)
Who wouldn’t be inspired to don some gardening gloves and do some pruning after seeing these beauties? Since we’re huge fans of pinks and purples in our own garden beds, we are smitten with Jinny’s romantic touch.
This spring, Jinny will be working closely with HRH Prince Harry on a special garden for the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show which will support Sentebale, a charity which gives aid to Lesotho’s neediest children. This project will be quite different from the ones she’s done in the English and Scottish countrysides but sure to be a favorite.
Are you spending time in the garden yet?
Photos via Jinny Blom and Garden Design