Exhibitions & Events

This little video just knocked my socks off. It is beautifully illustrated and oh so clear….it is based on this poem:


Tant de forêts arrachées à la terre
Et massacrées

Tant de forêts sacrifiées pour la pâte à papier
Des milliards de journaux
attirant annuellement l´attention des lecteurs
sur les dangers du déboisement des bois et des forêts

Jacques PRÉVERT “La pluie et le beau temps”
Éd. Gallimard, 1955

Here is the english (as translated by google translate — and decidedly a little rough…poetry and google translate I suspect are not good friends – if you can do a better translation, by all means, speak up!)

So torn earth forests
And massacred

So sacrificed for pulp forests
Billions of newspapers
attracting the attention of readers annually
the dangers of deforestation woods and forests

I think you get the idea though…a trailer of a short film that is based on a French poem written in 1955 that speaks to the irony of the fact that newspapers warn us about deforestation although they are made of paper themselves…I’d love to see the film.
Tant de Forêts – trailer from Burcu & Geoffrey on Vimeo.

Whoa – it’s February already!.  That really snuck up on me! January went by was faster than a collection of short and cold days have a right to.  I think its time to catch up from the beginning of the year….from when we were in beautiful southern California.

Gerbera Daisy Farm by Rochelle Greayer www.studiogblog.com

I’ve pondered the best way to tell you about our trip to meet California flower farmers and see the Rose Parade  and I have finally decided that the best thing to do, right now, is to just document it.  I don’t want to forget the little pieces that added up to a wonderful experience.  What I saw and learned will wend its way into all my future writings, but that will come with time; for now I need a diary.

Read the full post

We left our down coats in Colorado and flew to warm California last night and these beautiful cut flowers greeted us in our hotel. (This is best shot I could get in the low light…and I didn’t even try to capture the giant arms of orchids that sprayed out to the sides of this huge arrangement – G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S.)

I am in Pasadena this week with my family on an adventure to go behind the scenes with the California Flower Growers as they get ready for the Rose Parade on New Years Day. We have a busy schedule starting today when we head north to Santa Barbara County to visit a variety of cut flower farms that supply materials for the floats (one of which I am told is the largest in the USA). I can’t wait. I will be posting pics on instagram, commenting on twitter (if you have questions you want to me ask — tweet me – I hope we can all learn a lot on this trip!) and telling stories on Facebook all day — and then recapping here later tonight.
This will carry on right through the parade on New Years Day…so if you are interested in joining in, follow along with the #Farm2Float hashtag. I’ve been a huge fan of the Rose Parade since I was a little kid and this is my first in-person visit…so if you or someone you know (please pass this along) is also a big fan…I hope to hear from you this week.

Along the coast of Maine as we are readying for Christmas, our outdoor cultivation has come to a screeching halt as the ground is covered by a foot and a half of snow. To add emphasis to this being the time of the shortest days of the year, a half inch of ice fell the past couple of days, making a nice, preserving crust on the snow.

Ulf Nordfjells utstÑllning frÜn 2007 GîteborgFor a gardener, this is a time of planning, organizing, and preparation. For me, I am in search of a theme for next year’s garden designs at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. We are redesigning our entry walk, areas around our entry lawn, plus seasonal displays throughout the gardens. In looking for inspiration, I start running through the usual candidates: Victorian carpet bedding schemes, Beatrix Farrand with her free-flowing perennials, Roberto Burle Marx and his massive flows of bright colors, and Piet Oudolf’s visions of grass inflorescences dancing with salvias and alliums.

Ulf nordfjellThe problem is that all of this has been done before. Most gardens are looking to replicate one of these designers or some variant of their designs. Part of the reason I came to Maine was to be at a young garden where we could do things differently. Part of doing this is to learn which plants will survive and which plants will struggle. I learned last summer that tropicals that thrive in the south and mid-Atlantic, will sit around like a dozing dog all summer, only to peak in mid-September as the summer crowds have moved back to their occupations which afford them the ability to summer in Maine.

Long-story made short, I started thinking about what kind of home interiors I like the best and was drawn to the furniture of Hans Wegner. If money were no object and we did not have 4 kids, our home would be an assemblage of Scandinavian modern design. Aha, that is when I began searching for Scandinavian garden design. We share somewhat similar climates and short summers, I thought, so the plants and designs might be worth investigating.

2007 Chelsea

Right now, I am poring through the gardens of Ulf Nordfjell. Nordfjell has a simple aesthetic with clean lines and blocks of plants. The colors are subtle and used with restraint, when used at all. Like a Wegner wishbone chair, the look is easily understood yet relaxed and comfortable. Nordfjell entered gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show in London in 2007 and 2009. I saw his garden from 2007 in person and thought it was brilliant. All of the other gardens seemed to be competing with one another to have the largest structures and plants just appeared to be filling in the gaps. Nordfjell’s garden was structured around the plants. From what I recall it used green, white, and a bit of purple for color. Not the garish combinations of his competitors. He won a gold medal for this garden only to come back in 2009 to take a Best in Show award.

Ulf Daily Telegraph

The challenge in the coming weeks is to figure out how to take this inspiration and make it fit our existing context. The lines of our gardens are more organic and curving. Our guests are drawn more to color than shades of green, grey, and white. I will continue looking through his designs, reading about his inspirations, and then coming up with plant combinations that are our own.

How about you? How do you design? Who are your inspirational designers? What cool things are you thinking of trying to pull off for 2014?


Images: englishgarden.se, Shoot Gardeningtradgardsformgrysigurdsdotter

I returned late Thursday night from the International Trials Conference at Longwood Gardens. The conference was fantastic because of the information presented, the people I met, and the new plants that we saw at various trials. I have a new listing of plants that I want to grow in 2014 at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. At the top of this list is the ornamental black-foliaged rice, Oryza sativa ‘Black Madras.’ There is a wonderful mass planting of Black Madras rice in the annual trials at Longwood Gardens. It is planted in front of the black leaved Pennisetum ‘Vertigo.’ The dark foliage is fringed with a yellow celosia and a light colored Alternanthera.

Oryza sativa Black Madras

The Black Madras rice was in seed which are actual rice kernels. The rice kernels are a chartreuse-green that contrast nicely with the dark foliage and flower stalk. The plants were growing in a regular garden bed that had been amended with compost and receives adequate moisture. When I think about growing rice, I think about submerged rice patties. Oryza ‘Black Madras’ will grow well in a patty like environment but it will also do well in a garden bed with full sun and sufficient water. This would be cool to try in an aquatic planter if you do not have the right place in the garden for it to grow. These rice plants can be purchased as annual plugs or grown from seed. In looking at various seed sites, it appears that you can sow seed in late winter in flats or direct sow in late spring into the garden bed.

Oryza Black Madras

We will probably start our from seed in late winter since we cannot plant our annuals into the gardens until early June. I am starting to think what I can use for companion plants around the rice. I hope we can even get some rice to set on our plants. It would be fun to harvest some and then serve it in our cafe as “micro” harvested rice. Well, maybe that last part would be a stretch but worth a shot!


Photos: botanickateplice.cz, davesgarden.com

Are you traveling this month?  I hope so – we all need a break every once in a while.

I’m giving August a theme this year (this is a new thing….what do you think about every month having a theme?).  The theme is traveling and I will have lots of posts related to garden visits, hotel gardens, vacations, outdoor lifestyle while on the move, and anything else that I can tie in.  Fun, right?

To kick it off, I reworked this old post that I did some time ago — it is my personal top 5 garden adventures.  I would love to hear some of the places you have been that have stayed with you as some of the best places for garden lovers and outdoor enthusiasts to visit? 

garden lights at tivoli gardens in copenhagen denmark

Travel at its best is all about adventure…setting out with the sole intention to experience something new, try something different, get inspired, or challenge yourself.  Garden travel doesn’t have to be exotic to be a good adventure and my most memorable adventures are those places where the magic of the place intersected with the mood, the details, and the memories of the day.  This post, I think, it a perfect excuse to share some of my favorite garden places with you.

1) Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen Denmark — unlike any normal amusement park that I had visited before, this place felt like a magical throwback to another time.  The vast variety of lights that warm this place in the evening provides as much excitement as the rides, the wonderful restaurants, and convivial atmosphere.  All garden lighting since has been compared to this standard.

Lime walk at Sissinghurst castle. by tim entwisle via www.studiogblog.com

2) Sissinghurst Castle, England– Ok, this is easily the most cliche garden visit place ever, and I have to admit, I wanted to cross it off my list for that reason alone.  But to not tell you about the amazing arrangement of spring bulbs under the Lime Walk would be a shame.  It stopped me in my tracks, it’s a forever garden memory and I strive for this genius in bulb planting. (note this really great picture does not show the bulbs….I wish I had something other than my minds eye to share the scene with you…but try to imagine…)

3) Clock Barn Garden, Carlisle, MA.   Opened for only a day on the Garden Conservancy tour, this private garden is the epitome of what I want to create at my home.  A beautiful mix of vegetables, chickens, water, glasshouses, experimental planting beds, flower drying sheds, gorgeous barns and every single thing I could ever possibly want in my own garden.  I am so hopeful that it is open again soon…I need to wander in wonder again.

Northcourt B&B on Isle of Wight via www.studiogblog.com

4) NorthCourt, Isle of Wight, England. The B&B is nice – your typical Jacobean pile with a pretty English garden.  But the garden is made so much more wonderful because down a sweet path, through some trees, and around some hedges is suddenly a wonderful pub.  The magic of walking through a garden to a cozy place where friends gather for good food and cheer is one of my all time best travel memories.  Now I think every great garden should have a pub at the end of a path.

5)  The wildflowers of the Colorado Rockies are amongst the most astoundingly beautiful things I will ever enjoy.  I have enjoyed picking them as a child, receiving them as gifts, carrying them down the aisle and trying to recreate them in gardens that I have cultivated.  If you want to see the best of them….check out the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival….or just go for a walk in the Colorado woods in July.

 These are the gardens and landscapes that have etched a place in my heart and psyche as I have traveled.  I am wondering what adventures you have had in the garden and the landscape that you might want to share?

images from Tivoli Garden Lights public domain,  The Lime walk  from Tim Entwisle of Talking Plants, and NorthCourt

Want more Garden Travel inspiration? Check out these posts of my GDRT compatriots.



So here is the deal…I am finally, (FINALLY!) (after years of telling myself I should) attending a conference for bloggers.  Oh — and as a newbie to one of these events…I am also going to be speaking.  Nothing like jumping into the deep end right?

It’s all happening in Atlanta, GA on Sept. 22-24.  I am personally looking forward to meeting so many people who I have only known through comments and facebook and pictures on instagram and it would be fantastic fun to meet you there too.  If you want to join in, you can get an extra $50 off the registration by clicking this link and enter promo code SPAS – this offer ends on August 10.

There is a great line up — I am going to be joined by lots of people I am honored to share a platform with…Dan Hinkley, Amy Stewart, Robin Horton, Steve Aitken, Felicia Feaster, Matt Mattus, Michelle Slatalla, Adam Japko, Chris Heiler, and more!  You can check out all the speaker profiles here.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be attending….this event is new and it is being hosted by the same folks that have put on a similar blogging conference for interior designers for many years. I have considered attending that show a few times….but always felt that since I am not actually an interiors designer … well … perhaps it wasn’t the most perfect fit.  I’m thrilled that they have branched out into our corner of the design blogging world!

So — you pick — meet me in Boston on the 15th  of August or in September in Atlanta….or both!


P.S. There are awards being given out in September too… To nominate your favorite garden blog, go here. <hint, hint>

P.P.S.  If you going…let me know if the comments so I can look out for you!