Monday, May 30, 2011

Tropical Plants

So this is Guatemala in March where the Bromeliads are growing on the trees up in the mountains. We are familiar with one type we eat: the pineapple.

Below is a client's container we planted this weekend. The Bromeliad's tall sculptural form and striking bloom (plus orange Angel Wing Begonia, yellow variegated Impatiens and a wisp of Asparagus Fern) add character to a partially shaded nook when the people read the newspaper & watch birds on the nearby Serviceberry. The bromeliads make good house plants too.

Don't miss third photo of tropical plants below.

For fun and comparison, I am also showing a picture I took of impatiens growing in those Guatemalan villages at 10,000 ft. The canna provide a sense of proportion...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Plants that would survive our predicted hail

I admired this woman's coat in the lobby of the Milwaukee Arts Museum...which I will visit as soon as planting season calms down in July to see "The Emperor's Private Paradise: Treasures from the forbidden city." Not exactly paradise here...what with all the fierce storms (a result of the radical weather shifts from low 40s to 90s within a week: record lows and highs), I just moved all the client plants I am storing under cover. But: can't complain as we are luckily not in Joplin, Misssouri.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Lot of Annual Fun

Here's some of what we did last two days on roof and ground. I will get better photos when the heat finally happens and furniture covers come off & plants grow.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gardens & Puppies, Continued...

After I posted earlier today, I received the following comment which my client asked me to post in response to what I had written/shown. At the risk of being immodest, I am honoring her request and also putting up her photo of the previous spirit dog during the garden construction. We imagine he is watching over the garden and encouraging the new puppy to become familiar with the life surround.

"Thankfully, our garden is also infused with your spirit. Four years ago this month, we planted. How did such a tiny urban garden grow to hold so much life? Each year a greater number and variety of birds migrates through, nests, eats and are born here. The butterflies, hummingbird moths, and hummingbirds have found us too. Thank you for creating spaces for us to pause, paths to move along, and giving us views to look out near and far with trees and climbers to make us invisible from city streets and buildings.
Happy Birthday, Garden! Thank you, Julie...."

Thank you to all my clients who let me live vicariously, with gratitude.

Gardens & Puppies

Why is this client so Happy? Well, mostly because of the darling new puppy that has just become part of their household. But also because he is so creative and sustainable. He is about to recycle this sucker from the Viburnum 'Blue Muffin' in their garden...he will weave it in their porch gate to keep the puppy in.

These clients do a masterful and loving job of maintaining their garden where the spirit of their previous dog still roams...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Plant Heaven on Earth

I was lucky enough yesterday to spend most of it outside transplanting perennials and shrubs. The cool, cloudy, misty weather was perfect. As usual, I learned much from both client and garden in suburban Chicago. Not to mention being delighted by aesthetics (this was designed by an expert LA three decades hence) and superb maintenance.

Because asparagus crop is only second year, she had to stop year, it can be picked for three or four weeks.

Rain makes Hosta look like Tinkerbell lives nearby.

And woodland below MUST be magical.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The One Thing I Do Like About The Pear Tree

Which I normally refer to as "the Evil Bradford Pear," so I will spare you that litany again. And instead show you how the fallen petals make even the dullest garden spot shine.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Community Gardens

These images from wonderful Wicker Park Garden Club's annual plant sale a week ago...

Get 'em involved young.

One of the fearless regulars in Martian disguise (note antennas).

Richard's homegrown beauties sold out early.

Fashionable hat & plants plus winning smile inspire!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Extreme Weather Shifts in Chicago

After months of a prolonged wet, gray, cold spring, yesterday we experienced a record-breaking day of 90 degrees. So those fabulous spring bulbs (like the species tulip above), may be transitory. Which made me actually cut one and bring it inside. Vase by the rightfully renowned Swedish company: Kosta-Boda.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Reflecting on Ourselves & Nature

"Rather than wanting the climate, weather and the environment to cooperate with our personal agendas, we are being challenged and encouraged to cooperate instead with nature."

-- Lena Stevens

So, once again, I am reminded of this gift in attitude I witness down in the indigenous Mayan communities where AFOPADI works in Guatemala. Even though these people have far less shelter from the elements than we Gringos do, they exhibit a reverence for nature that I learn from.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Don't Miss F. L. Wright at MAM

You have only until May 15th to get to "Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century," the Milwaukee Art Museum's superb exhibit on F. L. Wright. Probably the most interesting I've seen . You can't photograph, but there is a useful, cheap ($5.) publication on Taliesin by the FLW Quarterly.

The whole experience prompted me to start reading T. C. Boyle's The Women.

Plus it was an excuse to see beloved friends [below] and bloggers of Madison, Linda (hat) and Mark (camera). Friends from Chicago are Greg (architect) and Stephanie (vessel of constant good cheer).

Milwaukee Art Museum: Calatrava

Calatrava's construction is always a marvel...

Of form and

light and