Country or city, acres or square feet, these outdoor areas are expertly appointed and incredibly inspiring.
Photo by Eric Piasecki
“Working closely with noted landscape designer Deborah Nevins, we created a series of garden rooms to surround this classic new stone farmhouse and anchor it to its bucolic site,” Gil Schafer says of Longfield Farm, a home in New York’s Hudson Valley. “The entry garden, seen here, is defined by parterres of boxwood ‘clouds,’ which manage to be both formal and relaxed in character, striking the perfect balance at arrival for a house that is both elegant and understated.”
Photo by Tim Street-Porter
Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s 1922 Italianate villa in Los Angeles features a lush courtyard. “The landscaping, done by Stephen Block of Inner Gardens, was designed to create a Moorish mood, found in the Marjorelle Garden outside of Marrakech,” Bullard says. “Lanterns and a fountain made from an antique olive oil jar were added to create an exotic vibe and relaxing mood at night. The plantings are indigenous to Morocco, but also work well in the Californian climate.”
In West Pomerania, Poland, stands a rather odd grove of pine trees. Some 400 of the trees have taken the peculiar shapes you see pictured, while the surrounding forest is filled with pines that have grown the ordinary way, true and straight.
The trees, collectively called “The Crooked Forest,” were estimated to have been planted from 1930 to 1934, when Pomerania was still a German possession. And while nature-driven theories have been put forth as to why the trees are shaped this way—some think heavy snowfall caused the bends when the trees were sapling-aged—what seems more likely is that this is man-made intervention.
The prevailing theory is that the trees were deliberately shaped, when seven to ten years old, for the purpose of eventually harvesting the naturally bent wood to construct something. Boats, furniture or some type of structure are the best guesses. On the nautical side, IFLScience’sJustine Alford dug up this quote from a Navy & Marine article on 19th Century shipbuilding called “Wooden Vessel Ship Construction:”
Oaks from the areas of Northern Europe were fine for the development of long straight planking, but the gnarled English “Hedgerow” Oak was the best for the natural curved timbers used to strengthen the ship internally. Trees were even deliberately bent in certain ways so as to ‘grow’ a needed set of curved timbers. These curved timbers were known as ‘compass’ timbers.
The link to the Polish tourism board’s website for the Crooked Forest is here.
This is the time of the year that my garden containers are at their peak. With all of the rain, they have had a good year! The secret to good performance is starting the container with new potting soil each year….and a little fertilizer. Dragon-wing Begonias, Persian Shield, Bloodlust & Coleus are my favorites. That is my mom’s Westie pup, Lilly in the last pic.
We are past the Summer Solstice and at the peak of the perennial garden’s showtime!
The last picture to the right shows the first year for my daylilies along Litzsinger Rd. I did have one deer attack though have been spraying them with deer repellant religiously every night. Next year they will have a bigger show. I had to plant about 300.
Spring is my favorite time of the year, though it is a little stressful. Of course the real estate market is going crazy and my staff and I are scurrying from early morning until night. I also get a little overwhelmed by what I need to do in my garden. Mother’s Day is next Sunday and I have to get zinnia seeds planted, containers filled with soil and plants & get some new bushes planted. Then I have to worry about my farm gardens which I am going to need to tend to this week. I am sure the weeds are knee-high. Everything will get done and the gardens will be splendid.
I did a quick walk in the garden this morning with my coffee and could hear the turkey gobbling in the woods. They come up to greet me periodically which I really enjoy. The deer also come up to greet me….I enjoy looking at them, though wish they would be happy with just eating grass. I put a pot with a new Split-leaved Japanese Maple in the yard to see if I would be happy with the location. Of course, a friendly deer enjoyed eating it overnight. It would have been less expensive to get the deer a table at Tony’s!
Lately all I see are strawberries in the market! So pretty, sweet and red. My only problem is that I don’t eat them quick enough after I bring them home …they go bad. Because of this I decided to do an experiment….on April 5th I bought a container of regular strawberries and one of organic strawberries…both Driscoll’s brand.
Check out how they look today! Just 8 days after purchase, the regular strawberries showed a considerable amount of mold. I actually ended up making a strawberry smoothie with the organic ones this morning! In the long run, although they are more expensive, they are a better buy….and superior in taste!
After 8 days
Close up of the non-organic berries
After seeing a comment from a reader I decided to add a few more details about this experiment. According to the Environmental Working Group, strawberries rank #1 for pesticide load. Meaning that strawberries carry more pesticides than any other. Also shown was a “Clean Fifteen” list of produce items that are least likely to hold pesticide residue, here they are…