Thursday, October 27, 2011

Family Backyard

Now that James is interested in playing outside almost all the time, making sure we have a family friendly backyard is a high priority. I grew up on a strawberry farm with a pond and acres of fields and woods to explore. Even though we live on a cul-de sac I want James to hav fond memories playing outside just like I have.

I stumbled by this image awhile ago of a back yard that includes a fort. I think a nice fort is just want James needs to extend his imagination. We already have plenty of space for whiffle ball, soccer games and a large tree for swinging and someday climbing.  A fort will provide James with his own space and many options for being a pirate ship, castle or whatever his mind creates.

Image from Windsor Smith
Compared to the pre-fab units, I want to build something out of more natural elements. I am thinking willow branch guardrails, rough bark roofing and living green walls. I want it to feel more natural with the landscape. I am thinking this could be a good winter project. We will see when I can get it started.
Willow clubhouse found on Pinterest. I don't think I will do anything this advanced, but love the feeling 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ivy Covered - Yes or No?

I am a fan of ivy covered walls and homes. I think they can cover sins and provide some green in really tight spaces. However growing ivy comes with some responsibility in maintaining and ensuring you have selected the right species for your need. 

First, if growing on a structure NEVER plant English Ivy, choose Boston Ivy. This will insure that the suckers or rootlets attached to the surface will not do any harm. Boston Ivy suckers can be removed with a good power washing, while English Ivy will bore into your brick/stucco/wood siding. In certain zones can also use Creeping Fig (see photo below) or other climbers in place of ivy. 

Here is some ivy growing at a client's house. You can see from the bottom left corner were the plant starts and how far it spreads across the building.

This is and example of Creeping Fig. You can see it provides the same feeling of framing the doorway. 
This is a building I saw on Melrose in LA a few years ago.

Here is the ivy on the back of  my house taken a years ago in early summer. Since our house is covered in stucco in the back,  I used the ivy to provide some more green to the space. We have since moved our dinning room table to that section so it feels like you are dinning surrounded by a green curtain. 

You can see how this ivy has started growing up the wall and then will begin to spread out. 

Ivy can grow very quickly. I took a few weeks off from trimming at our house and the ivy started covering the windows and growing into the screens. On our one story ranch the trimming is easy to access with bi weekly clean ups (it is kind of my decompression therapy), but on a two story home would be more difficult. 

You are a slave to the ivy, two weeks off of trimming and you can have ivy growing into your windows.
Image from prettythings.tumbler  

This building includes a wire gird to support the ivy.
Image from Design Sponge. 

I love how this one building in a row of townhouses is covered in Ivy. Imagine trimming the ivy on the fourth story!
Image from Apartment Therapy. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Online Garden Mag - Leaf

Today a new online magazine was launched geared towards us Plant/Garden Geeks, Leaf. I have not had a chance to read, but hopefully I will find some spare time this week. However I am very interested after seeing this preview issue of what Leaf has in store for us readers in February.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Design 101: Pleaching

(Read Previous Design 101 here)

Pleaching is the method of training multiple trees into a single horizontal plane, or one continuous line. It is often used to create allees or hedges. More frequently seen in European garden design, the training takes dedication to clipping and time to mature. Most often the branches are clipped to expose the trunks. 


A classic example of pleached trees. 
Image from Jinny Bloom

Hornbeams pleached across an allee of trees.

Image n.mccullough

 These are European Hornbeams pleached into an Allee.

Image n.mccullough

Trees that work well for pleaching include;  Hornbeams, Linden/Lime, and Pear. My personal favorite to use are Hornbeams, but I am also experimenting using Buckthorns in my back yard. When planting you should look to 3-4 feet spacing between each tree. 

Here you can see a more natural landscape with a line of pleached trees. 
Image from here.
Image n.mccullough
From this photo you can really see the structure of the branches creating the unified green wall. This very tall allee of pleached trees is at Arley Hall in England.
Image from here.

I could post 20 more photos of different gardens using pleached trees, but I am going to stop myself from going over board since I think you now understand the technique. Keep your eyes out, I think you will be noticing a lot more pleached trees.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Garden in Belgium by Daniel Ost

I have about 10 years worth of past issues of Garden DesignGardens Illustrated and many more magazines that while watching tv at night I like to flip through. I always find something interesting that I flag for follow up or an inspiring garden I forgot about.

Last night I was reading a Garden Design from Jan/Feb 2008 and came across an article on Daniel Ost's personal garden in Belgium. Daniel Ost is known as an extreme floral artist and has done an amazing job crossing over into garden design with a garden that is a study in boxwoods and hornbeams which are two of my favorite plants. (All images are from Garden Design, Photographer Nicola Browne or from Daniel Ost)

 Since Daniel is a floral artist, the clipped boxwoods are a nod to his profession. There are sixteen "petals" of clipped boxwoods which are planted with alpine strawberries in the center. Hornbeams are clipped as pillars surrounding the flowers.

 You can get a slight peek at the ivy covered well in the previous photo, but here you can see it in relation to the field beyond. What is interesting on this image is the quote from Ost. I totally agree about designing thinking about how it will look in the winter, but from previous experience not everyone feels the same way about grass.

 Blue bells are planted under mature trees with more boxwoods.

So I have saved my favorite image for last. Hornbeams again are clipped into pillars (far right) and a crushed stone path follows a long reflection pool. Even though the clipped Hornbeams and rigid lines of the pathway and beds are formal, this spaces feels more relaxed compared to the other areas.

The following two photos are from Daniel's website of the same group of boxwood. The first image of boxwood covered in a beautiful frost is an example of garden design with beauty in winter.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall close to home

We are lucky that one street over from our house is a winding, tree lined road that takes you past horse pastures, a polo field and along a stream. It is my favorite route to work to see all the seasonal color, no matter what time of year. Here are some photos from my drive today. 

After dinner tonight we took our nightly walk through our neighborhood with James. Along the walk James collected different colored leaves that we saw and then completed the search around our own yard. Here is the the collection of leaves James found (with some help from Dad and Mom).

We have few more days of nice weather forecasted this week and then comes the rain. With the rain the majority of the leaves will fall, so I am going to enjoy ever last minute we have with this beautiful color!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fall in Granville, Ohio

So on Sunday I headed out for dinner and a stroll around Granville, Ohio. It is a small college town about 20 minutes outside of Columbus. As you reach Grandville the land transforms from the flat suburbs into rolling farm fields and large forests. We had a great time strolling the historic streets, hiking up to Denison's Campus and eating at a local Mexican restaurant. On the drive home, we realized the best fall color is just 5 minutes from our house, so expect more photos tomorrow. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Boxwood of the Week

Sorry I have been MIA this week. I have a feeling this could be the last week of nice weather here in central Ohio and we have been busy getting clients homes in top shape, starting a new project, and  yes preparing for the Holidays. I love fall and plan on spending the entire day outside with my camera. Also on Sunday we are going to head out to Grandville, Ohio which has some of the most beautiful fall color around. 

Hope everyone has a great weekend, and enjoy the wonderful boxwoods featured in Stella McCartney's garden. Which this really deserves a longer post, but maybe another time.

Images via