The things you find on flickr are sometimes just achingly beautiful….now I am really really really (as opposed to just really really) wanting to make over sun porch to accommodate more plants (and especially cacti).

Cacti are so interesting…I thought I would share some little known facts about them….to go along with the cool pictures.

1) Cacti come in all shapes and sizes.  Some of the more interesting ones take the shapes of chandeliers, curled snakes,  starfish, and wrinkled human faces.

Cool Cactus cacti facts and inspiring cactus images by Ely Yan via

2) Peyoti – Heard of it?  Peyotl (Lophophora williamsii), was chewed by Aztecs for its hallucinogenic properties and allowed the shamen to enter in trance. It is still considered sacred by some Indian tribes such as the Huiholes and the Tarahumara. Believing that while experiencing mescaline-induced hallucinations they receive messages from their gods, they pilgrimage to the region where it grows to conduct ceremonies that end with the picking of the cactus, which has previously been pierced by an arrow.

Cool Cactus cacti facts and inspiring cactus images by Ely Yan via

3) If in need – like if you find yourself a contestant on Survivor or something….it is true that cacti juice can be drank to keep hydrated….but also their thorns can be sterilized with fire and used as sutures.

Cool Cactus cacti facts and inspiring cactus images by Ely Yan via

4) Cacti are generally really easy to propagate…just snap off a part or an existing plant and let it dry or callus for a few days or weeks then plant, the dry end will readily root into a new plant.

Cool Cactus cacti facts and inspiring cactus images by Elly Yap via

5) Except for the genus Rhipsalis which is indigenous to tropical Americas and Africa, the cactus family is exclusively New World  (that is North and South America) in origin.  Cacti can be found in other parts of the world as well but is the result of migration of the species… now they are especially common in the Mediterranean, South Africa, and in Australia.

Cool Cactus cacti facts and inspiring cactus images by Ely Yan via

Crazy Cool Cacti (say that 5 times) pics were taken by elly yap - see more on flickr.

Do you remember our friend Stacy Bass? She had a great series here about garden photography (which she is really good at) called First Light. She taught us about frame, focus, and composition as well as creating photography books and preparing your garden to be photographedWell, if you loved all that, you might also love her book. It is called In The Garden and it is a beautiful collection of her work.
Today she is here again, to tell us a little bit more about herself and her own garden…I am so excited to share. – rochelle

vertical smile 2

How would you define your style (garden, fashion, interiors, other or all of the above)?

These days, I’d say my garden and interiors style has shifted more toward a clean, contemporary look. As a garden and interiors photographer, my work takes me to so many different kinds of places and there is no question I am influenced by things I shoot that really strike me. You can check out some of the gardens I’ve photographed in my new book, In The Garden, which features 18 amazing gardens.

Do you have a garden? What is it like?

After speaking to many groups about garden photography and ALWAYS being asked that very question, I made it my goal to create a garden at our home. Before that, I had what is better referred to as “landscaping” but not a garden, per se. So last spring, we hired a terrific local landscape designer (Sean Jancski) to help turn our vision into a reality and used images from many of my shoots to illustrate what we liked—everything from color, to the use of certain plants and flowers, to overall tone and feel. The garden is very clean and crisp, with a series of vignettes and spaces and is punctuated with two modern, geometric sculptures (one is a water feature) which add visual interest, light and movement to the spaces. The sculpture is by David Harber and the water feature by Allison Armour.

birdbath and hydrangeaDo you have any favorite or sentimental plants or flowers?

I am a sucker for hydrangea. Pretty much any color or type can make me swoon but I am especially partial to the Nikko blue. That flower and how lush and incredible it looks when in bloom reminds me of time I spent growing up and vacationing on Nantucket. They never feel to make me feel calm and happy and I always appreciate the chance to photograph gardens where hydrangea play a prominent part. Love them!


What is your earliest or favorite gardening related memory?

I am really not a gardener as much as I am a garden LOVER. We had a vegetable garden in our yard when I was a kid but I admit that I don’t recall being especially drawn to it or the experience. But the “garden” moment that got me hooked—really hooked–was my very first professional photo shoot about 10 years ago. I was giving the assignment to shoot a gorgeous property high on a hill in Southport, Connecticut. I was alone and the light was spectacular and I was so enchanted by the chance to wander around this gorgeous place, discovering new surprises at every turn. It was so serene but yet very alive and SO very visual, I couldn’t wait for the next one.

stacy bass gardenWhat are three cardinal design rules that you think apply to outdoor projects?

To me, three cardinal rules which I think relate to both interior and landscape design – and how photogenic they will turn out to be–are…

  1. Keep it clean (meaning, even in the most meandering of spaces, have some order or theme that holds everything together).
  2. Pay attention to color (meaning, always think about how color impacts the space you are working on and how colors are interacting (or fighting) with one another).
  3. Keep it fresh (meaning, take the time to tweak or edit spaces over time. Sometimes the simplest change can refresh a space and give it new interest and life).

stacy bass gardenStacy Bass Recommends….

  1. Dovecote in Westport is always an inspiration. This fabulously chic home furnishings and design treasure always has just the right thing to freshen up your home, outdoor space, etc. as well as terrific gifts and books.
  2. Terrain (in Westport and Philadelphia as well as online) is a great place to get creative, organic and terrific ideas for the garden. I love wandering around this huge space (and nursery) to see what they are showing!
  3. I am obsessed with these great – totally rubber- shoes by Native. No more ruined converse (!) and after a shoot, I can just rinse them off. Functional and comfortable. Perfect for working in the garden.
  4. This garden water feature is just beautiful to look at. Love it in all weather. My neighbors tell me that they stop and stare at it for a quiet zen moment as they walk by!
  5. Dinners at the Farm. This is such a lovely way to spend an evening and support local agriculture as well.

 Thanks Stacy!  

all images by stacy bass
In the garden by stacy bass book cover


I have been trying to sort out what the remainder of my 2012 year should entail…and playing into that is the most current of events.  I am quite frankly having trouble wanting to talk about much of anything here — it is partially the season (quiet winter) and it is mostly that I just want to put it all down for a little while and enjoy the holidays with my family and specifically my little people (who I can’t help but want to hug at least 10 extra times a day).


I am craving quiet and loving the dark that envelopes us at this time of year….but still wanting to share a little twinkle and sparkle.  I had this idea that I might try and virtually hang some twinkly lights around the site here, but as with many things technology wise… changing up blog templates is a pain — and it will take me more time to figure out how to do it than I have to give.  So instead…it will just grace all the posts until I tire of it.


So instead of dithering about what to write about when my head is somewhere else…..this is what I have decided to do:  Over the next week and a half (until about New Years Eve or so) the daily posts will be heavily loaded with images of pretty, sparkly, holiday inspired, winter beauty along with a reprisal of some posts from the past (If I must say so myself, there are quite a few real winners that just never get seen now that this site has been live for nearly 5 years).

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

images by maureen lunnCubist Castle, and  p2p2


I am not sure why it rarely occurs to me that I can ask you all questions too when I need some help….but it just did…so I thought I would throw out a few things that I am looking for some input on.

small scale barn lights

1) I have been coveting light fixtures like these for a few years.  Problem is they are both British and I can’t find a US retailer that carries the same for our US electrical system.  I am aware of barn light electric….nothing there has ever been quite the same (too big, wrong finishes, and simply more than I want or need)….I’d like the galvanized finish, a rusted steel finish or a white finish.  I can’t figure why Home Depot or the like hasn’t figured how to make a simple mass market version for a good mass market price.  Anyone got any leads?

These lights are from Baileys and Cox and Cox.

canon ipf700 printer2)  I have a printer that I need to sell.   It is a really nice printer and it has been well cared for and lightly used.   It is a large scale (36″wide) full color printer (Canon IPF700) — that makes garden design plans look beautiful.  It would be perfect for an artist, a designer, a small architecture office…a printshop…anyone with an interest….

It is one generation off the most current model but I have spoken with the local company that services these types of professional printers (and from whom I bought this printer), and I know that they are still sold, actively supported, parts are available should they be needed, and that while I paid around $3000 for it new, they still sell these exact (used and refurbished) printers for around $1200 – $1500.  I’m asking $900….but if you are seriously interested, please, lets talk.

My parents are coming to visit for the holidays and this thing obscurely sits between the spare bedroom and the spare bathroom and I would just like to get it out of the way.

3) I am writing a book….and I am in need of some images (actually a lot of images)….if you have some great photography of gardens that are full of personality, they may be a fit for the book (I am not yet sure how much I can say about the book concept — so I am purposely being a little cagey here with the description).

I would love to see your pictures, I would love to hear from professionals that might have beautiful things in their portfolios.  I am looking for some very specific things…but I just know that if you send me some of your projects or you get in touch, we will unearth something that is just perfect!

Thanks for your help - Rochelle


pine cones symmagery by tara gordonWhile researching another article this morning I came across the interesting photography of Tara Gordon.  She calls it Symmagery and it is really like a kaleidoscope version of beautiful garden shots.

hemlock forest floor symmagery by tara gordon She proposes using her work  in a wide variety of design settings, but my mind immediately went to phone case.   I would really have such a hard time deciding which pattern I would want on my case — and I think I might feel compelled to change it with the season.

cauliflower mushroom  symmagery by tara gordonI’m looking over at case-mate— and wondering if it might be possible to work one out ?  Do you love these?  Wouldn’t you want a whole collection?

images top: pine cones, middle: hemlock forest floor, bottom: cauliflower mushroom.  Others in gallery: Milkweed, Beach Grass, and Spring Oak Tree – all from Tara Gordon

Tim Walker for vogue magazine portrait of a lady

I hope you can understand my continued quietness.  I am re-working a number of things.  This site is getting not just a visual makeover (due to be completed in a couple weeks), but, as it is a direct reflection of what is going on in my professional and personal life (and literally in my brain), it is getting a bit of an overhaul in that department too.

The start of a new school year is for me (particularly as a mom) a great time to leap into a new adventures (ah, the return to a schedule that includes reliable and solid chunks of uninterrupted work time!).  Last year I partnered with Susan to launch Leaf Magazine and this year is no different when it comes to taking on new challenges.

In addition to a site over haul (it’s been the same since 2008 – it is about time!), I am officially on a diet (I know, you probably don’t care about this, but I do).   This is big for me as I have never been a person who has had to do such things…but this last year (I guess with stress and age?) I have gained 10 lbs.  — Going into the fall, my jeans are not comfortable and I love my clothes too much to give them up in exchange for new bigger versions.  I know the answer lies in getting my priorities straight, less time in front of the computer and more time moving my body.  I’m all about mini goals that add up to big goals right now.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Also — I have some new projects that I am insanely excited to tell you about…but will share in their own due course.  All of this leads up to a little more time where I am not going to be here on a daily basis — but soon (very soon) I will be back to my old regular-posting self.  Summer is almost over, school starts in 10 days….so the count down clock is ticking.

images: Tim Walker for Vogue (found on flickr), and from mary-kate.


Biosphere 2,Oracle, Arizona, United States of America 2010-11

Creating persian rug-like images from satellite photography, artist/ photographer David Thomas Smith is shining a spotlight on development, growth and the effects that those things have on our landscape.

Delta Coal Port, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 2009-10

From Architzer:

“The rationale behind Smith’s work derives in part from the traditional craft of Afghani rug weavers, who notably used textiles to record and comprehend their experiences of a turbulent, war-torn homeland in more vivid, literal imagery. In a way, Smith’s psychedelic tableaus remove the viewer from reality by distorting satellite photos into abstract, illegible patterns. But at the same time, Smith’s synthetic multiplication of sites like Las Vegas, Silicon Valley, Dubai, and Beijing bring attention to the frightening pace of development that often escapes us today.”

I could stare at these for hours. How about you?

Images from Arcitizer and David Thomas Smith