My passion for gardens was ignited last week with a visit to the DIA Art Foundation. A boutique modern art museum in New York’s Hudson Valley, DIA Beacon opened in 2003 in a 300,000 square foot former Nabisco box printing factory overlooking the Hudson River. An architectural museum garden is relatively rare — especially one designed by an artist whose work is featured in that museum. But the commission went to Robert Irwin, a Los Angeles artist who I happened to know during my time as an art student at UCLA, my alma mater.… Continue Reading
Virtual tours of gardens and grounds of homes we own or admire.
This last month of summer has been cool, especially at night. So the weather has been perfect for sitting outdoors around a fireplace and the coming months will get better, one by one, straight through to Halloween. But some of the best examples of outdoor stone fireplaces come from western and southern climates where they are prime features of stunning landscaped exterior living spaces that can be used year-round.
Stone is key to fireplace architecture. The color, size, type and texture is critical to the character and style of any fireplace and there can be a surprising amount of variation.… Continue Reading
The French call a kitchen garden the potager, since it’s devoted to vegetables, the principal ingredients in soup.
Kitchen gardens can be somewhat formal even though they are devoted to growing vegetables for food. Sometimes a garden is elegant and walled — almost an outdoor room. But the notion of a potager — as opposed to just a fenced in area with rows — is the addition of decorative pathways and a creative plan. Two diagonal intersecting gravel paths [top], with a circle in the center, create an X-shaped arrangement that yields four main planting areas. Within the central stone-bordered rondel is a vertical feature is comprised of a square brick pedestal topped by a planted urn.… Continue Reading
May is the month when wisteria in bloom is on display and the views can be spectacular.
The ability to travel to faraway places to see phenomena you would never find at home is always a life-changing experience. But even if you don’t leave your desk, it’s possible to travel online. It’s not the same, of course. But it’s still a thrilling experience, one I enjoyed recently when I saw stunning photos of hanging purple flowers. I didn’t know exactly what they were or where they are from. Then, after a lot of clicking, I learned that there are wisteria gardens in various parts of the world and that May is when many of the blooms are at their very best.… Continue Reading
Technically speaking, Earth Day was earlier this week but it’s never too late to think about ways to spend more time outside. Last month, when the heavy snow finally started to recede, my mind turned to fire pits, pizza ovens, and outdoor water projects. I’ve long wanted something more substantial out back than the Weber grill. But I must admit this cast-iron outdoor bathtub definitely rivals an outdoor shower in my mind.
I wonder how long it would take to heat the water. Alternately, a hot and cold water valve could be hooked up outdoors and the spigot connected to a hose.… Continue Reading
A French invention, the formal garden has gone in and out of style for more than 400 years. Certainly this type of garden is not very modern even though it may be as exquisitely geometric as a minimalist design. A formal garden requires historical skills to create, establish and maintain since it is as architecturally based as a house plan. This one, this one near Estoril , Portugal is especially intricate and beautifully manicured.
I can only imagine the effort and skill it would take to keep concentric hedges at two different levels so perfectly clipped.… Continue Reading