May 23, 2012

Maiden Flight


The baby barn swallows have left the nest and taken their maiden flight. Mom (center)watches as baby comes in for landing. We have another clutch of eggs in another nest on the other end of the porch.  More babies on the way!

May 6, 2012

"Genesis" In the beginning........


The past few months has been spent removing sod, amending soil, digging holes and planting plants, both old and new in the new landscape.  When we moved in the overall landscape theme was green on green on green, which in itself was not bad considering the natural beauty of the surrounding vistas. I am reminded of pastoral scenes from England and areas of the United States I have visited and of the landscape architects such as Fredrick Law Omsted who embraced the 'genius of a place". Omsted wanted his designs to stay true to the character of their natural surrounds. He referred to "the genius of a place," a belief that every site has ecologically and spiritually unique qualities.  His goal was to "access the genius" and let it infuse all design decisions. 


While Omsted was opposed to any type of ornamentation that distracted from the natural surroundings or brought attention to "individual elements".  Olmsted believed the goal wasn’t to make viewers see his work. It was to make them unaware of it. To him, the art was to conceal art. And the way to do this was to remove distractions and demands on the conscious mind. Viewers weren’t supposed to examine or analyze parts of the scene. They were supposed to be unaware of everything that was working. Unfortunately, while I appreciate the lesson he is trying to impart, I am afraid in this respect, I fail miserably. While I hope to preserve as much as possible the beautiful vistas that I enjoy daily, I also want to put my "own stamp" in the landscape. I realize that over time things will change, plants will be removed and discarded, others will be incorporated, hardscapes will be installed or altered and questions asked, "what in the hell were you thinking" immediately comes to mind. The great thing about landscaping and gardening it that it is an ever evolving process. Nothing is "set in stone" so to speak. 


Most of my efforts so far have been directed towards the back yard/pool area.  I have removed a ton of sod literally to make beds for the new plants. This is the back porch area before......


  


and now......



                
                          then.... 







                         now.......






The new arbor at dusk ... See Buddha in the background!








The bottle tree ......"haint it cool" 


 The yard birds ....






Things are starting to take shape. I am excited in that I have some new plants in the landscape. These include: Drift knockout roses (peach, coral) and I plan on getting a few Apricot ones when I can find them. Purple pixie weeping Lorapetulum. "White Out" knockout roses, which are really not knockouts but were developed by the same breeder of the knockout roses. A chartreuse buddleia named "Evil Ways". I have 20 green velvet boxwoods outlining the back porch bed with four "Snowflake Hydrangeas inside the bed and a lady banksia rose that I plan to train up the porch columns. I also have a "Pinkie Winky" hydrangea and some cast iron plants. 


Today, I weeded some of the beds, cleared off another area next to the deck and moved about 30+ hostas in pots to a new location under some maple trees as some were getting a little "sunburned". 






I planted a beautiful Japanese Maple "Shidare" in the area left of the hostas shown above. I plan on planting some hydrangeas or maybe some azaleas or camelias in the area previously occupied by the hostas. 


     " In the beginning David created his garden.  Now the garden was previously formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the pool, and David's spirit was hovering over the landscape. And David said, "Let there be plants, and there were plants. David saw that the plants were good, and he separated the plants from their pots. David planted the plants in the light of day, and rested in the darkness of night. And there was evening, and there was morning- the first day."