Berries To Reconsider

When designing a garden I always add is what I call "cuttables" , to any planting list I create. Those wonderful evergreen boughs and berries we all seem to decorate with come the holidays.
Nothing gives me more satisfaction than being able to stroll through my gardens clipping and gathering an assortment branches, be they needled conifers or evergreen leaves such as hollies and box woods, all for indoor display.
 As gorgeous as the blog post have been these past few weeks, with all the wonderful winter arrangements, please remember that the majority of  colorful berries being used are poisonous to small animals as well as children. Once cut and brought indoors these berries become dry and easily fall off their branches.

Treehugger.com did a very informative post on poisonous berries a few weeks back, that you can read here. Though not a complete list it will give you a good idea as to what to avoid when building your display.
Alternatives?  You might want to consider the following,

 Nandinia domestica 'Alba'

Junipers, for their berries as well as foliage
Pyracantha, in wonderful shades of reds as well as oranges and yellows 

Or better yet try mixing faux berries with your fresh cut evergreens, as Cindy Hattersley of Rough Luxe Lifestyle did in this charming basket.

If you would like to add a more Classical Contemporary feel to your garden please contact me about e-designs  at mwhite841@verizon.net


How A Garden Came To Be.

As most of you know I offer e-design on a regular basis. I love the idea of being able to connect with clients  on the east coast as well as across the country and Europe. It makes for  interesting work ......as well as great friendships.
Elizabeth Avenue Before
Last year I was fortunate to be able to collaborate ................I believe good residential design involves both the designer and the homeowner............with Maria Killam and Terreia Raufman.  Many of you know Maria from her color and design blog "Color Me Happy" . if not, stop by. You will be amazed by what  you will learn from each and every posting. Not only does she go into detail as to the whys and hows of color and design, her upbeat positive nature will inspire you.
And inspired we were. After our initial contact, it was decided that the gardens should have a loose, relaxed, almost country feel to them, with a bit of sophistication thrown in for good measure. Preliminary designs were created.
Rather than work with color,  we agreed on a white garden, this way we would not be competing with the interior colors but rather complimenting them with hints of yellow and green in the design.

With very little coaxing Maria realized certain major changes would have to take place before the design fun could happen. This of course would cut into the budget but sometimes "ya gotta do what ya gotta do"............ and so the backhoes were called in and the sea of concrete ripped out. Plants we were saving were relocated, grades were shot.....a term in the industry for checking the levels for water run off as well as sitting water and erosion .......and a rich top soil installed.
Once the not so pleasant work was over, walks were installed
Patios laid
Plants were planted

and a vegetable garden was born. 
Because the vegetable garden could be seen from the front entry, decorative fencing was installed to soften the view. The same fencing design was then carried to the front of the house as well, creating a transition from the driveway to the front and rear walks.
A good example of plantings being "worth their weight in gold"......This tree not only adds visual interest in the rear yard but from inside the front hall area as well.  If you look closely you will notice the hollies along the fence, They were used as vertical elements along with hiding the view along the studio from the kitchen window and when walking into the rear yard.  When planting, especially major elements  always walk around looking from different angles and views before deciding on the permanent local 

The ranch house itself had very little architectural detail we could work with..........so what I call accessories were added . Bits and pieces of architectural elements some classic some whimsical,  adding not only character but the warmth and charm the house first lacked. 

The landscape now compliments the existing structure, blending almost seamlessly into one impressive picture.
And so a Garden came to  be
All photos courtesy of Maria Killam

If you would like to add a more Classical feel to your garden please contact me for further information at mwhite841@verizon.net


Time To Get Your Tulip On

With the back to school drama, a mere memory at best, and pumpkin, costume and candy picking just about to take center stage, now is the perfect time to dream big and start your spring tulip planning.

Whether you are using a color blocked design

or a single


or triple color theme

Now is the time to start planting

Plant in Mass.....and I do mean Mass. One tulip here one there is never going to give you the show you are looking for. A good rule of thumb is to double or even triple whatever you thought you would need, and stagger your rows.......makes for a fuller more natural display

Tulip planting tips:
Plant bulbs 6-8 weeks before a hard frost

Tulips prefer a site with full or afternoon sun. In zones 7 and 8 you can get away with a bit of shade or morning sun.

Tulips do not like wet feet preferring a well drained soil. Wet soil will lead to fungus and bulbs will rot.  Water only after planting to stimulate growth or during a very dry spell.

Plant bulbs at least 8" deep measuring from the base up, and between 4' to 6" apart.

If planning on re-using bulbs next fall, feed them at planting time.

With tulip bulbs " bigger is better"

To deter mice and moles from feasting, mulch with holly or other thorny leaves .
or try planting within wire baskets .............have not tried this but it sounds good in theory.

Not sure where you should be planting your tulips? Try planting among the late spring emerging perennial beds such as Hosta , Lamb's Ear and Nepeta to name a few. As the plants leaves develop and open  they will hide the yellowing foliage of your tulips.

Nothing says spring like a containers of tulips gracing a front door or lining a walkway. For most of us in the cooler climates the surest way of getting these beauties to bloom come spring is by forcing. 
Brown bag your bulbs and place in the fridge for 10 weeks......tulips need  cold temps to get things going.......do not and I repeat do not place in crisper draw or near, apples, grapes apricots or onions it can actually kill your bulbs. After 6 weeks has past plant as you normally would in garden pots or in shallow glass dishes lined with pebbles. No need for soil as the bulb itself is all the food your tulip will need in order to bloom.

For the showiest of shows fill the entire pot placing bulbs shoulder to shoulder.

You can never over plant tulips!

all photos Pinterest

If you would like to add a more Classical feel to your garden please contact me for further information at mwhite841@verizon.net



If you would like to add a more Classical feel to your garden please contact me for further information at mwhite841@verizon.net


A Surefire Attention Grabber.

Sexy , Spicey, Sassy Red

Like a 3rd grader with the correct answer, arms waving enthusiastically, "ME ME ME, over here ME", Red demands as well as commands center stage. Drawing attention to wherever it is placed, be it  flowers in a summer border, to cherry red Andirondack chairs, red draws attention to an area like nothing else quiet can.

A red garden is a summer garden
a mass of red
a patch of red
a clump of red
a sprinkling of red
a touch of red
a hit of red
All make up a summer display in the garden

A warm color, Red can be used to influence your perception guiding you to an area as well as away from another
Ruby Red
Wine Time
Peppermint Patty
Mr. Lincoln
Black Cherry
Fruit Punch
Cranberry Crush

vincent van gogh

paul gauguin

Big bold Red adds energy and interest to any space it occupies.

william merrit chase

Summer's high held heat.

If you would like to add a more Classical feel to your garden please contact me for further information at mwhite841@verizon.net