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The 2012 Look Book: The Design Year in Pictures

The 2012 Look Book Looks Back

Color inspiration: Sunrise view from Garden State home 

A major part of my design world last year really hit home.  Literally. 
My husband Bill and I undertook a long overdue home renovation. 
We’d put it off for so long but we bit the bullet in 2011; construction work started in the last quarter of that year and design work was under way as we rang in 2012.
Color was key – from thinking about the wood and color of the kitchen cabinets, wall paint, floors, rugs, fabric for reupholstered furniture and new furniture, and fixtures.
And just like going from a black and white TV to a color set with a flashy NBC peacock, I started really noticing Color – rich, warm, pulsing bright and subtle, whispering hues and tints and shades.  
I am a watercolor painter and garden designer – and a former fashion buyer for the likes of Bergdorf Goodman – so it should be said I am keenly attuned to color and style. 
But with the home renovation my internal color wheel was spinning. 

I saw a recurring color not only in nature’s flowers and leaves but also in industrial products and everyday items from bikes to cars to  
restaurant décor 
to office products, 
retail fashion windows, 
and Tiffany’s new, limited edition line of Rubedo (Latin for red) that is a mix of gold, sliver and copper. 
I even took the Tiffany brochure and bracelet to Home Depot’s paint department to run under the color spectrograph.  They couldn’t do it…
It wasn’t long before I realized I was taking more pictures of a spicy orangey-gold dramatic shade. 
I rather think of myself as the classic, enduring decorator but there was no denying it.  
The Look Book was filling up with lots of this exotic, spicy, terracotta, goldish color. 
In some ways it wasn’t surprising because living on the water, high up over a marina, we enjoy radiant sunrises (above) and glorious sunsets.   
The blazing fiery orange, set off next to the blue of the sky and water is mesmerizing, Mediterranean and captivating.  

So in the end, the color wheel stopped on the spice gold, Hermes orange color that changes as the sunlight, filtered light, and candlelight kisses it.

Endlessly changing, varying at different times of day and night, and like a work of art unto itself, compelling. 
It is shameless.
We can’t stop looking at it. 
And it was only after we chose the Martha Stewart Precious Metals shimmering gold paint for the dining room and sitting room did we learn Pantone had chosen Tangerine Tango as the Color of the Year!  Pantone claimed it is “sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive.  
I’ll say.  It has a lot of depth to it. 
But it wasn’t easy getting to happy color land.  What happened? (see earlier posting) 
Essentially, with two of the walls glamorously good, we were led to the conclusion that the sloping wall/ceiling that had been painted with the same paint as the walls had “pooled” the color, making it look red. So after having trialed and tested other ways to correct, we determined the solution was to paint the sloping ceiling the same light salmon – almost white in some light – and went from Yikes to Yahoo – tapping patience and vision and perseverance. And a good painter!  
With a light tough, I also added silk leaves to two sides of the wall to suggest leaves blowing in from the window.  Nice addition. 
And the transition we had artfully painted from loft guest room/office to the dining room worked as a neat ombre-like affect, marrying that sky and water blue to the spicy orange.  

In deciding the rooms colors, I had to consider the flow of the more or less open rooms.  As noted in a previous post, I subscribe to the Dorothy Draper school of color flow. 
Borrowed Landscape: Terrace herb garden view from sitting room

And it was only after much paint on wall and color swatch musings that it all came together.  No rush.


The colors and textures came together. The chandelier I chose has floret glass and informed by the spiral staircase, it too spirals a happy twist. 

The Drapes

I wanted silk dupioni for the drapes so that the underlying color threads would shimmer a hint of nuanced color – just like nature does.  While risky to try to “match” the drapes to the wall color – it so works.  Both in terms of clean continuity when closed but also a frame for the windows and the view out to the water garden and the borrowed landscape beyond.

In the autumn, the leaves of the cherry tree and the coral bark are a fiery orange, tangerine color too which makes the color a garden collaboration. It’s that “sophisticated, dramatic, seductive orange with depth.”

Seeking the fabric, the Seamstress Wendy guided me to Mood Fabrics in New York City (Wendy made the drapes for what was our Brahma yoga studio: pre Sandy).
Stepping off the elevator at Mood, I did a double take.  I asked if I was in the right place. It looked like a party.  In a way it was.
They shoot “Project Runway” there and it was frothy festival.

There miles of fabric bolts. Daunting.

Thank goodness the staff comes round eventually.  With the French bulldog, “Swatches.” How perfect is that.

After cuddling with the pooch, it was back to business.
We had to order more from India because we needed a LOT of fabric for this full, crinoline effect but after dozens of samples, I knew which fabric was for us.  I had to go with the gold spice.

Wendy steamed the drapes. Bill says her hair matches room!

I visited Wendy’s atelier workshop that looked like it had been made by elves for a fairy tale artisan – and in no time, she had the drapes whipped into their Grace Kelly, couture pouf on one side of the room and the more modest, svelte mid-century Chanel model on the other side of the room, there merely to frame the water views.

I’ve already reported on the blue marble island quest and installation in previous posts.  There also is the update on the upholstered swivel bar stools and living room furniture upolstery fabric choice and color coordination with walls.

Winter 2012 Look Book

Is there a better way to start any endeavor much less an entire year, than with a happy amaryllis from BloemeBox? 
Like a Russian nesting doll, the shiny, preppy-colored hat box with bow and flower on top is a gift with yet another gift inside: the plant bulb or seed (depending on what BloemeBox plant you select.) 
It’s become a Holiday Tradition that one of my garden design clients who I most admire takes us out to lunch.  In fact, Maria is a garden and food muse you could say. I noted her magical influence in my book’s Acknowledgements.
She now takes not only me, but Mother too – to a very elegant New Year’s- timed lunch. We discuss garden design plans for the year ahead, fine art, cuisine — and dish the dirt in other ways too. 
We kicked of 2012 at Chef David Burke’s restaurant: The Fromagerie. 
Love the champagne, the culinary presentations and who doesn’t love cotton candy?  
Chef David is also known for those macaron-colored cheesecake lollipops that take center stage when they arrive at the table in their silver tree, looking so much like plant bling.  
Our home renovation was in full swing by early winter.  — Our “kitchen” was reduced to the coffee pot in the bedroom. One’s world is diminished in times like this… (I’ll spare you the photo)  
There were forays to the antique shops to find new dining room furniture. It felt like our first “adult” dining table and chairs.    
And to acquire a vintage china cabinet that looked elegant yet rustic enough to blend with the textures and various elements in the expanded room: stone, copper, brass, wood, silk and wool.
We were quite sure about the color combo of the loft: the blue of the walls, the black of the glam lacquer furniture. 

The new, sexy daybed I saw at the Architectural Digest show and just had to have was an adventure unto itself in terms securing the languid beauty from the designer. 
And then, just like that, while I was in a downward facing dog pose at yoga – it came to me. 
This glamorous screen siren could match up with our already owned-black lacquer furniture that used to shine in the dining room. 
So as quick as you can say Craig’s List, I pulled their sale postings and managed to have my nephew the fireman and his buddies get the furniture to the loft before the banister railing went up.  
The pieces went together like a hand in glove.
Each piece startlingly defined the look of the guest room/writing room in a perfectly elegant way. 
The black works with the railings and the spiral staircase, too.
Since this shopping at “Lavin 1st Dibs” worked so well, I went on a shopping spree!
I did even more shopping from among the stored items in the garage and laundry room to rediscover the brass and glass end tables.  They fit under the eaves in the loft and set off the lacquer and the brass jewels on the new, sexy daybed.  Kismet!

We were blown away at how perfect the pebbly, beachy, carpet we chose for the loft married the blue walls, the furniture, and the copper remnants of the fireplace flashing.  The brick chimney used to be outside but was now part of the loft wall inside.
We chose the carpet from among ten or so store samples that we brought home to try out.

The lads also helped get the spiral staircase in properly – after a few false starts.  Whew.    

On the horticultural front, the Wave Hill, New York Botanical Garden and Metrohort lectures provided fascinating and informative wintertime learning experiences – enjoyed with fellow hort enthusiasts.  I was able to write about more than a few but still have some to cover and share on the Garden Glamour blog. 
Highlights of the year included the Earthly Delights boxwood talk, presented by Andrea Fillippone.  Later in the season, Bill and I visited her Hunterdon County, Garden State homestead: Earthly Delights – which is in fact, Heavenly Delight –  for a spectacular garden immersion experience. I just saw Andrea at a recent Metrhort lecture and was saddened to learn they are holding off on showcasing the event this year… Here’s hoping for an encore performance in 2014.
Earthly Delights, NJ
Earthly Delights, Garden State
The other lectures of note were: Larry Weaner, Larry J. Wente, Barbara Paul Robinson, Thomas Woltz, Kongjian Yu, Ryoko Ueyama, and Karen E. Seiger, Markets of New York City, to name a few. 

The Architectural Digest Show was superlative this year.  So much more to report on.  Trends were more eco designs, more texture and more whimsical creativity.

My birthday lunch was celebrated at The Standard Hotel with a favorite cousin, Maryann DeLeo—a most talented Academy Award-winning filmmaker who I love dearly and adore spending time with. 
For coffee and ice-skating afterwards, a dear friend, Joanne, joined us.  
The Standard Hotel in Chelsea is exciting — from its roof top lounges to the beer garden – and plus it borders the High Line: New York City’s sexiest park. 
An afternoon eating and skating reminded me of my school days in Switzerland and was a perfect holiday afternoon.
More Garden State home décor decisions soon beckoned. 
We perused what color the hardwood floors in the kitchen and living room might be in context with the Thomasville cabinets and glass tile transition. 
After much eyeballing, we opted for the darker brown – middle of three sequence.
Kitchen & Living Room floors, glass tile transition to slate floor

Kitchen cabinets with buttercream yellow wall color  work with floor color tones

Likewise, decisions involving items I never even thought about – the molding, for example, required time and coordination with design elements.  And the color too — we chose an ice blue/whitish that too changes with the filtered light and time of day. 

I did design the valance for the dining room windows, with inspiration from an Architectural Digest magazine spread.  I needed our window valance to accommodate a sun shade – I chose a brown color to coordinate with the tile floor – and the silk dupioni, billowy, ball-gown sized curtains.  We were just making it up and determining size prior to having the shade hardware or the curtain rods too.  All a bit dodgy so it’s even more rewarding when it works out.

Spring 2012 Look Book
What says spring more than those first visits to the nursery? 
Garden clients needs give me the opportunity to shop for seasonal plants and flowers the way fashionistas might frequent the runways.
Except that I’m navigating the greenhouse aisles with multi layered carts, adding plants from previous year’s design work, with an eye to what is new, what is sensational.
Early in my career I was a buyer at Bergdorf Goodman – and shopping for seasonal plants is not unlike that experience: visiting the designer showrooms to stock up on the classics and adding, new picks curated from the collections.
I’m also informed with a season’s knowledge of landscape design lectures to help guide the plant picks.

We celebrated our home cherry blossom festival with our front yard’s astonishing Kwanzan cherry tree.  I was also much relieved to see the glory of the blossoms because we had the arborist perform a heavy prune the previous autumn, post Hurricane Irene. And while it was a professional cut, one can’t help but experience a bit of a nail biter until all the petals burst into pink pom poms and soon are falling like pink snow. 
It’s a showstopper!
And notice the lacy pattern the trunks create post pruning?
We eagerly anticipated our Garden State farm-ette plantings this year with lots of garlic, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and leeks, to name a few.  
Our Compost Cabana provided rich, rich soil.  Yeah for a year’s worth of composting.  
You know what’s so cool about composting like this?  Not only the rich, sustainable soil – but the secret, surprise of what might come up or grow in the compost cabana given what was shared there. 
A few year’s ago, we were delighted to discover and harvest white and orange pumpkins (I cleaned up my client’s garden designs and street cleaned my neighbor’s dumps)
In 2012 we benefited from a honeydew melon we must have composted. 


Spring asparagus was heaven. Beautiful grassy fronds add beauty to summer garden

In April, an invitation-only, stirring tribute to one the horticultural greats – Frank Cabot – was produced by Wave Hill’s Friends of Horticulture Committee, the Garden Conservancy’s Board of Directors and The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG).  Cabot was a champion of gardens, an author, and plant lover, and I am honored to have known him and to have been invited to the tribute and the reception.

In the time between day’s two events, NYBG invited guests to visit the new Azalea Garden Collection.  NYBG’s vice president of Horticulture Todd Forrest, noted it was really the first year the garden there was on full display as the first year it opened the plants were not as robust as they were now. 
I was one of the few who didn’t make haste for the reception, rather indulging and enjoying this extraordinary display garden at its peak. 

The vibrant colors and shapes of the mostly native azaleas are all the more arresting, preening it seems, as they stand out against the still-winter greys and browns of the surrounding trees, buds throbbing, waiting impatiently at the starting gate. 

The 11-acre Azalea Garden boasts not only rarely seen North American native plants, but also rare and unusual non-native specimens, and some hybrids.  The collection is curated and landscaped on NYBG’s natural rock outcroppings.  The steep slopes are punctuated with steps, park benches poised at optimal vantage points for viewing, picture taking and meditating on the ephemeral beauty of nature and the peace and tranquility of the Garden.  

In May, my long-awaited book was in the warehouse, then in pre-sale! 
It was time to exhale. 

At long last, and after more than a few roadblocks, The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook was actually here, in my hands.  

Tears of joy don’t describe the pride and humble gratitude to all the Homegrown angels that helped guide this project to completion.

I was invited to speak at the prestigious venues in New York City, including the 92st Street Y and The Horticultural Society of New York. 
Presently, you will be able to read the year in review about the book at its blog: Master Chefs and their Gardens (
Summer 2012 Look Book
Nothing says summer like gardens, gardens and more gardens.

Well, maybe a beach or two… especially, pre-Sandy 

In 2012, I enjoyed working at my garden design clients’ gardens – seeing a praying mantis up close, topiaries in every season, new designs and plantings.

Here is a close up of a praying mantis in Maria’s garden!  How cute is he? Green eyes are beguiling.

I secured a new garden team with two pros from the Rutgers Master Gardener program: Mimi and Dennis – and the espalier pruning pros, formerly from the NYBG School of Professional Horticulture and now on their own working with a NY-based landscape architect worked their Edward-Scissorhands magic pruning up this living work of art: Hal and Kurgen

I also basked in the sylvan glory of visiting so many Hamptons gardens as part of the book tour.
By way of Foody’s owner and chef, Bryan Futerman, I was invited to The Bridgehampton Garden benefit.  This special day event allowed me to not only showcase my books, but to tour the breathtaking gardens there. Mother and I were charmed by the potager’s neat as a pin beauty – and utility, the colorful, textured perennial beds and the water garden’s sensual, serene space.

I met the director of the garden – he explained the estate was donated and a non-profit was established so it will be an event space and working garden. 
Entering the garden is a bit like stepping through the looking glass… 

Hamptons Hedges are fun to watch being pruned.

It’s part geometry and part horticulture. 
I think I will name one of my future novels Hamptons Hedges and tell a fabulous tale of intrigue about what goes on behind these perfectly manicured living walls. 
I often think that in a world of so much ugly or tattered manners, it’s nice to see traditions like this continued and practiced with such integrity…

The Grey Horse Tavern is a Bayport restaurant featured in my Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook and I just smile every time I see their beer garden.  

And their glimmering copper bar… Their edible garden is out back, featuring a few raised beds and the back of their red pick up truck cum garden.  

Our Garden State herb and farm-ette yielded meal-enhancing vegetables and fruits. 

A Jersey tomato is a thing to behold.  

This year we grew a variety of heirlooms, too.
The shisito peppers never stopped pumping out their sweet bounty.  We love them fried up with salt – and use as a cocktail time treat.
And this year we grew the best garlic I’ve ever tasted.  I couldn’t stop enjoying the juicy flavor on and in everything from salads to sauces to spread on bread. 

I even shared our precious garlic bulbs as dinner party gifts – all wrapped in colorful bags and tissue paper the same hue as our inspired wall paint!

This was a memorable Edible Gift.  Even if some folks scratched their heads initially, they were soon letting me know how much they were enjoying such an enduring, delicious, homegrown present.  

My girlfriend Roberta and I accompanied Mother on one of her Senior Citizens’ trips – to Monmouth Racetrack. This Gilded Age-looking historical treasure is an architectural gem – all wedding cake white with black and white checkerboard floors and era-busting style design.  Plus the Victorian planting beds there are maintained the old-fashioned way, filled with bright geraniums or canna. They embrace the grounds especially near where the horses are walked before the race.  We pick the horses by their beauty or the jockey’s silks.  

My Union Square Greenmarket bursts with local farmer and artisanal food pride in every season but summer is a no-holds, in your face, food festival.  I joke that I used to spend my money on clothes and now my monies go to local, sustainable, delicious ingredients, including the curious and exotic.
Bodhitree Farms from Burlington, NJ’s Nevia No showcases fairy eggplants and chives and kabocha squash that will break your heart with their beauty and flavor.  

I worked the Greenmarket Food Rescue for City Harvest during the summer and fall season.  Food Rescue is where we take the farmers’ excess food from the day and load it up into the bags, put on the City Harvest truck to take to the center for sorting and then next day delivery to the communities that need it most.

The House Beautiful magazine event in Rockefeller Center presented a showroom kitchen and outdoor patio and garden room that was gorgeous and inspiring.

Right there, in the center of New York City, where the Today Show does its outdoor events – was a design that visitors could walk through and touch and check out for themselves.  Cooking demos too were presented from celebrated chefs. 

While I was covering the showcase house and garden for the blog, I was lucky to meet Sean Sullivan, the magazine’s associate publisher.
We hit it off like peanut butter and jelly.
I learned that Sean has a blog he’s passionate about too: Spectacularly Delicious.
Sean shares his good taste and honors the table as theater tradition.
Slow Food has met its match with his inspired masterpieces: only recipes with proper names such as “The Triumph of Gluttony!”  Part design, part culinary wizardry, Sean’s lifestyle blog is brimming with his researched, curated ideas and suggestions.  I will write more about this.  But visit it now and enjoy – don’t wait for me!

Sean and I shared a perfect Hamptons afternoon shopping the food stands and specialty stores and a visit to his Hamptons home with its Edward Hopper-looking pool and garden. 

Sean was my “Plus One” for the East Hampton Library’s Author’s Night – an over the top book event launched by Alec Baldwin. I saw him come marching in with his now wife and my yoga instructor, Hilaria. I “yelled” hello to her and she enthusiastically waved a happy greeting as they were swept to the reception area. She’s a doll. 
Sean! Happy Day/Happy Memory/Super Talent

Me, and in some cases, my team, did a lot of garden maintenance work this season.
It was too hot. Too dry.  But we did it. The plants were wilting and so were we.
Two of my clients live right next to the beach (town to remain nameless for reasons you will soon understand) and they needed some clean up there too.
I turned one into a chaparral-like garden.
They loved the work so much they urged me to make some flyers and let their neighbors know how I could help them.  While I don’t usually do much of this kind of work, I respect and like my clients so much – and didn’t want them to think I wasn’t grateful.  So in the end, I finally accommodated and put a few (15?) flyers in some mail boxes and in front planters while Mother waited in the car, as we were on our way to a beach afternoon.
Later, the police called and left a message. This started a horrific nightmare series of consequences where I visited the police station to clear everything up. I was humiliated. The police told me they could put me in jail!
I had to hire a lawyer, go to court and pay a fine.  For offering to clean up gardens…
My husband joked that he could see the scene where inmates state what they are in for: murder, robbery, aggravated assault – and me saying, “gardening.”
It was no joke, though… but rather a stress-induced unnecessary blot on a sweet, love-filled endeavor that is filled with hard work.  But Sandy took her own revenge….

Garden Design
So much of my fleeting summer was seeing some of my long cherished home garden design come to fruition.
I designed the front walk – comprised of bluestone and used brick and decomposed granite (DG) — and for days, the team was cutting the stone, measuring and putting into place my garden dream.
The garden design challenge for the front of the house is frankly, to resist the urge to do not much of anything so as not to compete with the world-class views of Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Long Island, along with the Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook as seen from the back side of the house. 
One would be forgiven for focusing on the more “lived-in side;” just putting a neat façade to the front yard and calling it a day.
But I am a garden designer. I love gardens.  We needed a classic garden that would be an enduring work of garden art.
We have various elevations in the front yard.
A huge driveway (one can do a Grand Prix K-turn there). 
And located up front and center is that huge, luscious Kwanzan cherry tree that is pure poetry in the spring with its pretty pink blossoms and in the autumn with its fiery orange leaves, matching up with the Red Abor’s delicate fall leaves.
In the other seasons the Kwanzan dominates the yard.  I respect this sakura and designed around it.
I got lucky and found a fountain for the water garden and despite its price and challenge to deliver, I am ever so glad I did a carpe diem and bought this Tuscan-looking tiered fountain with an urn on top. 
I redid part of the water garden design to accommodate it, modifying the parterres. 
The design concept for the front was to create more than a few garden rooms: parking courts, walkway, street front border, foundation perennial border, water garden, a spec of turf/lawn and to marry this to the now 10+ year-old Red Arbor garden –so named for the Coral Bark of the trees and Red Twigged Dogwood as seen in winter and the Lady in Red hydrangea and red roses in summer.

The walkways allow for a step up from what will be a more garden-friendly driveway, er parking court, to a circle: signifying or suggesting movement and transition.

One can go ahead to the front door, or proceed onto the water garden.

This path will also be the only way to the back terrace and garden except for the Red Arbor.  

The path takes you into the water garden – enclosed by cherry laurel, bordered by box – as will the parterres which will have lavender inside with a boxed citrus in the center.  

This water garden is accessible from the dining room of the house.  A wall of windows with two sides of sliding French doors open to the water garden.

One can step directly onto turf, as I selected former township curbs as the step’s risers and the turf is the step.  So nice to walk onto in the warm month – getting right into the garden, if you will, and in winter – the snow will look so pretty stacked on the two level of steps. 

I’ve decorated with cut Christmas tree branches and big gold balls we had from previous year’s big wreath.  It was perfect.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Our Summer Saturday yoga classes were extra special this year – and I even took Mother for two afternoons to enjoy our beach. 

I must’ve had an intuition that this would be the last of an era….  

Autumn 2012 Look Book
Autumn arrived with a whisper.
The fall asters were pretty in purple. 
The garden views from our new room were divine.
The home and Greenmarket harvest was a mellow triumph.
My garden team planted spring bulbs.
I produced a good garden design for clients and me and the team installed it.  It was beautiful.
I produced several other design concepts for a garden client and while he paid for the designs, he hesitated – saying he wanted to wait to install. 
But then Superstorm Sandy lashed out and nothing will ever, ever be the same.
That garden design client who did not pursue the garden installation did not benefit from plant protection and further, his house is now designated not livable. The yard littered with detritus from the sea and river.
We heard he is on a suicide watch…
Other clients had their yards mawed by Sandy and her evil twin Athena. 

It was breathtaking to behold the destruction.
They are rebuilding the bulkhead and the yard. 
Yet another who’s house in the woods was completely spared, was generously hosting friends who were evacuated from their home. Sadly, their big SUV’s unwittingly tore up her lovely, unique parking courts that look like giant checkerboards, composed of white marble and green turf squares. So that had to be redone…
The area is called Two Rivers and the tidal surge pushed both of them to the limit – smashing boats and docks and cars into places they shouldn’t be.
Some of these things landed in basements and on porches.
Some curiosities were juxtaposed against one another creating tableaus or compositions that are the stuff of nightmares. 
At Mother’s a boat and a pier pierced a tree and then a hamster cage hung like an earing dangling just above it…
The trees suffered so.
And then, as I’ve written about, the next humiliating tragedy was the wholesale slaughter of the downed trees or the ones that the utility companies deemed, “in the way.”
This is an unwarranted, wholesale slaughter of living things.  Things that give us so much, like beauty, housing for other wild life, oxygen, and soil retention (yes there was a landslide near one of the rivers as a result of clear cutting).
I have advocated for protecting our trees and investing in infrastructure and putting the utility wires underground.  We deserve better than a centuries-old way of operating, especially in light of climate change.
Overall, I developed a seven-part plant clean up and soil remediation program that we implemented for the clients who were most affected by the salt water of Superstorm Sandy.
It was a herculean task and many hours that we gladly devoted to saving the plants.
We did all we could. About the only thing I’m concerned about is that the plants are comprised and some insects have set up shop – mainly the Indian Wax Scale. Curiously, these sucking predators are all female – no males!  And once they are in, the black fungus further disfigures the host plant.
I heard it said more than once by many of the trades coming to fix the houses that they never thought about the gardens.  Seriously?
I smiled and reminded them how much money the homeowners have invested in the landscape.
Plus the plants are alive. Too many people just don’t see plants as living things… Just ornamental “things.”
Let’s Wrap it Up
The holidays brought a much-needed respite.  A time to reflect and take stock and look ahead to 2013.  The winter solstice ushered in the Age of Aquarius – a time of compassion.
Cheers to a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. Thank you for all your reads in 2012.
Please write and share your garden highlights, design highs – and lows  — of the last year.  Lessons learned and goals for the year ahead.

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"Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 I adore plants. Plants are my muse ~ they are my paramour… I’m a garden artist; a nature lover, & horticulturist. I’m an author & writer. My passion for culture & beauty, along with my trait curiosity, brings you an authentic celebration of life. I’m a storyteller ~ weaving the artful gifts of horticulture, garden design, tablescape decor, floral design, cocktail culture, garden-to-glass recipes & their glamorous garnishes, homegrown edibles, food & drink; & cooking, to bring you my flair & what I’ve been told is an avid elan ~ as well as the stories from those who inspire me ~ to pursue an elegant, enduring, & joyful, entertaining lifestyle. It’s an honor & a privilege to do what you love.

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