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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at  gardengurumontreal.ca

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

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Entries in garden photography (11)

Saturday
May112013

Meet a New Garden Blogger & Awesome Photographer 

A view of Pat Webster's garden.Please welcome Pat Webster. Her garden blog is titled Glen Villa: Sight and Insight .

Pat is a creative garden designer, erudite landscape lecturer, garden tour guide, amateur historian, artist, talented photographer and innovative sculptor.

She inspires her audiences to look at their own landscapes with fresh eyes and demonstrates how local history, art, and personal stories may be incorporated into landscape design.

Glen Villa Gardens  is the name given to the grounds surrounding her home in North Hatley, Quebec. This bilingual region of Canada, located east of Montreal and west of Quebec City, is known as The Eastern Townships, in English and Les Cantons de L’est, in French.

Thanks to the US Interstate highway grid, this charming corner of North America is easily accessible from the northern American states of New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York.

Plans are underway to open Glen Villa Gardens to the public for one day in July of this year as a fundraiser for the local conservation organization, Massawippi Conservation Trust.

Pat uses the gardens as inspiration for her posts as well as a setting to display her outdoor sculptures. However, readers of her blog and visitors to her professional website will also be impressed by the quality of her photographs and the delightful and informative style of her writing.

A recent post dated April 10, 2013, titled Mud and Maple Syrup, is a visual essay on how this delicious syrup is produced. As a photo documentary, it is classroom-ready.

The lead picture in this photo shoot demonstrates how Pat combines the linear perspective of the trees with the monochromatic late winter landscape to create a haunting work of art. Its vertical composition is reminiscent of the paintings of the geometric abstractionist, Piet Mondrian.

Pat Webster's talented eye is also evident in the beautifully set-up shots of her travels; each one adds to the engaging story-telling of the experiences she shares with her readers.

It has been a delightful journey to visit both Pat's garden blog and her website. Make the same click- trip as I did; you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday
Dec282011

How to Enjoy Flowering Gardens During the Depths of Winter

A meadow planting of Snakehead Fritallaria, http://www.holbrookgarden.comWe have just passed a psychological milestone; autumn is over, winter has officially begun, and this passionate gardener can hardly wait for next spring to arrive. Since snow will blanket my garden until next April, I satisfy my need for flowers and plants by visiting the websites of my suppliers. There I study the new perennials they intend to introduce next spring and refresh my mind about those I neglected last season.

Tulipa humilis, http://www.holbrookgarden.comIn addition, I visit the websites of public gardens to admire photos of flower displays. For example, all the images posted here are from Holbrook Garden in Devon, England, U.K.  Of the many pictures displayed on that site, I have selected those that tug at my heart.

Kniphofia uvaria nobilis and Crocosmia Lucifer, http://www.holbrookgarden.comThese cyberspace activities are the next best thing to real gardening. How long will it take to begin that activity anew? I imagine it to be an eternity. Consider that my suppliers closed their premises at Christmas after selling trees and decorative branches for the holidays. Many of them recently left Canada for warmer weather in Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, South America, and the Caribbean.

Iris ensata and Primula florindae, http://www.holbrookgarden.comThey are not expected to return until the end of March and my plant deliveries do not begin before early May. Until then, online images from nurseries, growers, and public gardens will become my kind of virtual gardening. I hope these pictures will help warm your hearts, kindle the imagination, and offer you just as much pleasure as I receive from admiring them.

Wednesday
Dec142011

This Landscaper Does Beautiful Work with Native Plants and Wild Flowers

http://www.pwsteinbeiser.comNo matter how plentiful the ideas that garden designers discover in their personal well of creativity, occasionally, there is a need to refresh and invigorate the mind. Searching online for inspiration is one of many ways that I add to my body of knowledge, because one cannot predict where, or when, the next innovative gardening concept will be born.

http://www.pwsteinbeiser.comThis quest keeps me researching online during the winter, when I cannot garden. On any morning, when I open up my computer, I have no clue where my hunting expedition will lead. Recently, I tripped over the Paul W.Steinbaiser Landscaping website and it stopped me in my tracks. The impressive images, I found there, reminded me that beautiful, eye-catching, flowerbeds can be created using mainly native plants and wildflowers.

In the gardening community, these two genres of perennials have taken center stage, of late, for several reasons. They are reliable, low-maintenance, hardy, easy to propagate, native to some locations, and many supply textural winter interest. While there is no consensus on the role that native plants should - or should not - play in landscaping, gardeners who are concerned about sustainability always find ways to include them in their plans.

http://www.pwsteinbeiser.comConsequently, plants in this category appear as basic themes in many gardens, all over the world. Steinbaiser, too, uses ordinary, easily accessible, perennials to create extraordinarily eye-catching compositions. Yet, rarely have I seen them designed and photographed so effectively.

http://www.pwsteinbeiser.comI return regularly to this website for several other reasons. First, there is much to learn about designing with native and wildflowers from the imaginative work of this commercial landscaper. Secondly, gardeners who have been wondering how they might adapt Piet Oufdolf’s and Michael King’s native and wildflower meadows, to their modest sized properties, will find some inspiration here, even though the examples are limited to a handfull of images. Thirdly, it offers evidence that Rudbeckia, a perennial that I have been avoiding, deserves reconsideration.  

The landscape design and construction firm of Paul W. Steinbaiser, in Frenchtown, New Jersey, USA, also operates a native plant nursery. The organization focuses on the long-lived relationships between the landscape and its users. Local stone, soil, and native plant communities are sourced to create sustainable and eye-catching wildflower meadows and native plant gardens.

Monday
Oct172011

Is Your Garden a Cafeteria for Deer? - a book review for bookpleasures.com

 

50 Beautiful Deer- Resistant Plants, Ruth Rogers Clausen, photos: Alan L. Detrick, Timber Press,

Gardeners who live in deer country have a serious layer of complexity to work through when planning their landscapes: - Hungry deer will ultimately eat much of what they plant. Some are prepared to invest in fences that protect their plants from becoming Bambi brunch, while many prefer not to spend funds on such structures, or to invest in the necessary time to install them. As well, applying environmentally friendly products with deer-deterring odors can be both costly and labor-intensive because rain will wash away such products thus requiring repeated applications.

From time to time, many garden writers will publish articles about plants that deer avoid, however that information is usually insufficient. Knowing what deer will or will not eat, might ensure that a garden will not become a cafeteria, but that knowledge is incomplete when it does not address beauty and the elements of garden design.

It’s no secret that planning a beautiful deer-resistant garden is tedious work. Every time we select a plant or include our favorite perennial, we are obliged first to do research to determine if it is deer-candy. How exciting that now we have a list of beautiful, deer-resistant plants, conveniently tucked into a sumptuously illustrated handbook, [Mr. Detrick’s photographs are awesome]. As the subtitle suggests, this publication is about the prettiest annuals, perennials, bulbs, and shrubs. That list also includes herbs, ferns, and ornamental grasses. Think of all of the time liberated by not having to research our preferences before we plan our garden.

Some of the very wise suggestions that the author has also incorporated into this book are

-       the planting of natural barriers that are unpalatable to deer,  

-       how berms and terraces create a physically unwelcome-to-deer environment ,

-        cultural techniques that make otherwise tasty deer food unappetizing, 

-        a list of plants that deer love that must be excluded from the garden .

Since this is a book essentially about beauty, the author supplies design tips that enhance the appearance of the recommended plants. That is precisely the information we need to create attractive gardens with a restricted collection of perennials, shrubs and trees. This knowledge helps us to distinguish between the planting of a perfunctory landscape and the creation of a beautiful garden.

Again, because this is a book about beauty, it is worth mentioning that the graphic design for this publication is a work of art that reinforces the tactile and visual pleasures associated with handling the hard copy of a “real” book. Thanks, Timber Press. You’ve done it again.

                                       

Sunday
Sep182011

Wildflower Meadows: Rob Cardillo Creates a Landscape Masterpiece

Image is the copyright property of Rob Cardillo and used here with his permission.Those who read illustrated garden books or magazines are familiar with the work of the talented photographer, Rob Cardillo. Over the years, we have come to appreciate his intimate images of flowers, fruit, foliage, ornamental shrubs, as well as close ups of beautiful garden compositions. Whether it’s inside a book or on a magazine cover, Rob’s photography is first class.

This month, fans of his work are in for a treat. The September/October 2011 edition of Garden Design, a recently revamped magazine, commissioned Rob to photograph the private retreat of Larry Weaner, a designer of natural-looking landscapes, with 200 meadows to his credit. Mr. Weaner’s property, a retreat situated outside of Allentown, Pennsylvania, is the subject of an article written by Bill Marken and titled Pasture Perfect: Wildflowers and meadows create a sustainable rural retreat. Some of the photo outtakes from that project appear in this post.

Image is the copyright property of Rob Cardillo and is used here with his permission.In this photo essay, Rob Cardillo’s images are pivotal because, with their publication, he raises the bar for his own work and moves from respected photographer to Impressionist artist. Some of his perspectives of the Weaner garden capture light as an element of garden design. In one picture it appears as strong rays of sun flooding down, and through, tree branches, while in another, it illuminates, from afar, tree foliage and grasses. In Mr. Cardillo's own words:That garden is especially gorgeous in the morning when the sun breaks through the summer fog. 

The color blue features prominently in most of the photographs in this project. In one, it is found in an overcast sky. In another, it is revealed in multi hued patio stones. A colorful flower garden next to a water feature highlights the Caribbean blue that lines a pool, while a shade of violet-blue is picked up by the sun as it hits the shingles of a barn’s roof. In each instance, blue effectively sets off all of the other colors in the picture.

A double-page opening photograph captures the garden in overcast weather. The flowers on the right hand page trick the eye into thinking that the petals were brushed onto a painter’s canvas; there is a desire to reach out and touch them. The ethereal qualities of the image is captivating, while the directional lines of a brown fence tapering into the near background - but not the horizon - draws the viewer into the scene. The artist/photographer has created a masterpiece.

When I first came upon the double-page photo, I heard myself gasp with surprise and awe; I couldn’t take my eyes away from it. For over a week, the magazine remained open, to the left of my placemat on the kitchen table as I stared at it endlessly. Something kept drawing me to - and into - the picture. I wanted to step inside and lean against the brown fence and experience the hypnotic landscape just as the photographer discovered it - such is the talent of this artist.

I never expected to see pictures of this quality in a mass market garden magazine. Even the epitome of all horticultural publications, Gardens Illustrated, does not featured photography of this caliber. I hope that Mr. Weaner feels honored that the distinguished artist/photographer Rob Cardillo has forever preserved his magical retreat with such exquisite imagery