Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Dream Garden

A Dream Garden... Ah, yes...You never know what you're going to get when you type a word into Google. I typed "Garden,Philadelphia" because I was going there with my daughter and wanted to see if I could find a nice garden or two to visit. What I got was a fantasy garden created by two of my favorite men - Maxfield Parrish and Loius Comfort Tiffany.
The Dream Garden is a huge mural created of Favrile Glass.

The design for the mural was painted on the wall by Parrish and the glass for it was made by Tiffany. Then workers from Tiffany's studio went to work installing thousands of the hand-made glass pieces to Parrish's painting.

The Mural was finished in 1915. It measures 15 feet x 49 feet and weighs nearly 4 tons.

You can see this masterpiece in the Curtis Publishing Company Building, right across the street from Independance Hall in Philadelphia.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Before and After - The Courtyard

Back angain with more Before and After Pictures. This time we're in the courtyard at the Village Green.

June 2003

August 2003

August 2007

June 2009

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lawn Gone?

I hate lawn. There! I've said it and I have no guilt whatsoever. The only fond memory I have of lawn is rolling down a grassy hill in a barrel, over and over again. Oh, and I do love the smell of fresh mowed grass.
That said, I hate everything else about a lawn. The upkeep is agonizing, and they are boring. Every year we dump enough chemicals on them to pickle a nation. And they are not ecologically sound.

The Green at the Oregon Garden is a huge expanse for weddings and other functions. It is a gardener's nightmare to keep it green and weed free.

The Bridal Garden at the Village Green is another lawn that is a major headache to keep looking good.

This is the best this lawn ever looks. It is a small lawn, just big enough for a small wedding, but it's a pain in the tush to keep looking good.

I don't have a problem with grass. You may ask what the differance is, and I'll tell you. Grasses come in all differant sizes and flavors. We have annual grasses and perennials grasses, bluegrass, rye, fescue, etc. There are tall grasses for gardens and invasive grasses for cussing at. I like a little plot of flat vegetation where I can sit comfortably and where the grandkids (if I ever get any) can roll around on.
But I don't want a steroid green lawn of one or two specific grass types with no other "bad" grasses or broadleafed weeds growing in it. The only way to get this kind of lawn is to
a) Be a slave to it.
b) Dump mass quantities of chemicals on it.
No Thank You.
How can I feel good about letting my grandkids play on a toxic wasteland? Do I want to sit in a chemical dump? Do I want the run-off from my over-fertilized lawn to pollute the stream that runs nearby? All so I can have a lush green lawn?
I hearby invite everyone who is reading this to convert their lawn to a miniature meadow. Let the native grasses sow themselves in it, sprinkle seeds of english daisies and violets in the grass, revel in the lush mosses that come in over winter. Mow it if you want to - or not. As we said in the '60's, "Go with the Flow, Baby".
The most delightful lawn I ever saw was at Haceta Head on the Oregon Coast at the Lighthouse Keepers house. It was a beautiful tapestry of tiny potentillas, yarrows, wild strawberries and native grasses. You could roll on it, play on it, run on it and be quite happy. Or you could lay on your belly and marvel at the magical little world beneath you.

We mowed this labyrinth into our field. A fun way to enjoy grass without chemicals.

This "lawn" at Chanticleer has many lovely little wildflowers and crocuses growing in it. They mow some of it short and leave some tall. Very Charming.

Much of my life has been spent ripping out lawns and putting in gardens. I figure I've sent a couple of acres of sod to the compost. Not a bad thing to look back on.