April 26, 2011

Watching the Wedding....in a 'dreamlike' state?

Yes, 3:00am, central time, the alarm will startle me but I will get up to watch the pre-wedding chat shows. It's mass excitement, on the world stage, a time of dreams and fairytales in a 'time' of need.
Before the alarm sounds I am certain to dream of Princes and castles.............

The fire would already be roaring, the remote within arms reach......a tea would be lovely. I'll pull up the down duvet and reach for Cooper, my Corgi. The butler will be alerted to prepare my tray, breakfast in bed is sheer luxury

Nothing like being served in bed.......NO,  not the image i had in mind!
Is this my nightmare or a crystal ball? AGGHHH

ahhhhh, much better........the butler arrives

Oh, that butler!?

Ah yes.......now i am ready for the festivities to begin

 The eponymous  'Fortnum and Mason', a London institution, nicely outlined
 the days festivities along with a sumptuous brunch in their elegant dining room and probably a first,  a large screen television. A magical way to celebrate.

I shall watch the wedding in my 'fascinator'. One can only hope that Princess Beatrice, she of the ridiculous headpieces fame, will show a modicum of restraint. However hat watching is a traditional sport and often the more outlandish the better. Where else is Millinery an in demand profession?

This will do, don't you think?  And I am hoping this is a trend that takes hold here in the US, how fun are these?
Since we were not invited, we can celebrate this happy occasion with the world, indulge our own princess fantasizes from afar and then make reality happen, with reservations...........
Space is available but filling quickly. So, we are repeating this journey immediately following;
September 9th to September 16th. Space is limited to fourteen.

Everyone wants to take part


April 3, 2011

RURAL ENGLAND...Fairy Tale with a happy ending

I believe in fairy tales; magical places where dreams still come true. Of Princesses, Camelot, Knights in shining armor and Mr. Darcy's, England is that place for me
I get lost in thought, wander down unknown paths, turn into a "peeping tom" (what design lies beyond?). My imagination is on fire, inspiration floods in, and where i find a sense of place.

Care to join me in an England recap? This is a long one.......take a tea, maybe a glass of wine. This is my love story with a place. This happy ending could also be yours.

Castles......thatched cottages.........medieval ruins...........and the fanciful....and do not forget the doors!

And those gardens.........Cottage styled

 The formally styled

 Mother nature's garden early on a misty morning, off on a woodland walk
Heading deep within where ancient oaks wear green velvet slippers
A matching velvet dress

I always feel safe, the woods are so soft, silent and welcoming 

Their habitat is clean, fresh, and tidy. I caught this one cleaning up

Running streams, the churning warns you well in advance 

Lichens in mustard, gray, rust and green tones are an indicator of a healthy environment, did you know that? Found in the English countryside, these tender plants will not grow in areas with pollution.

Simple gatherings can make for an informal Spring display

Let's go visiting, these private gardens
First up is Fleur....could one have a better name as a gardener? So many properties are wrapped in ancient stone walls. Her's is particularly lovely with 'pleached' (connects sideways) lime trees.

Just beyond the wall, upon entering, this is your view
Take note of her box hedge
See the owl above the door? It is made of thatch
See the pheasants? Yes, also thatch
Fleur herself sheared the yews (taxus) into shapes......behold the chicken!

Sue's garden......wide entrance with high stone walls. the 'staddle stones' are perfectly clothed in moss

The most endearing resident, look into those melting brown eyes
Front of house. Notice the lack of yew hedged foundation plantings? That would be very rare, most homes have actual "gardens" at the foundation

British gardens are parceled into "rooms". Versus sitting on a deck or patio and having everything within view, you are seduced to meandering and seeking what lies beyond
The ceilings of a 17th c. barn. The intricacy,  the muted hand cut wood reveals design and function at it's best
Garden shed
A nation of dogs with a fondness of naming their homes and cottages, LOVED this name

An approach to Lord and Lady Digby's home. The Digby's have opened their grounds to the public, intimate trails, broad reaching views, a profusion of water features, surprises at all turns
Does this not remind you of a scene in Pride and Prejudice where Mr. Darcy comes up from behind?

Rhododendrons and Azaleas only thrive in an acidic soil such as found on the east and west coasts.  Illinois gardeners.........try to resist, you are only inviting frustration.

My treasured, long time friends Angela and Ian's garden. Angela is a 'plantswoman', a collector of species, many with historical beginnings, now little known

Angela is the one that inspired me and taught me so much about plants, design and in particular creating an eco-system without your garden to eliminate the need of chemicals. My career path as a garden designer began with the lessons learned from her.

Want to have plants in between the cracks of walls? Choose those that will prosper in the drier condition. Gather up small seeds in a straw, place the straw in the cracks and blow. In many of these instances Mother Nature was the sower
Angela and I always laugh at the differing words between British English and American English.

After a day of lunch, great conversation, wine and dinner, all at their home, she asked if I would like to go into the living room and continue to mooch. 
UK = relax     US = take advantage of
A beech hedge to the far right. A perfect shrub/tree for our gardens. Thick green glossy leaves in the growing season......winter/early spring lingering copper leaves. Look closely, in the center, Ian's decorative plant supports. Very posh with the ball finials
A view in the summer growing season. Her garden was once featured in Victoria magazine
Do you recognize what is "dripping" at the end of the limb? if you guessed mistletoe, spot on! Always seeking a proper host to grow on.
An attractive meadow, additionally useful as a habitat for the beneficial insects
A fallen tree is partially left, planted with climbing ivy. This attracts the bugs which provides a feast for the birds

A neighbor of Angela's garden. 'Chiffchaffs' by Mr. Potts. Noticing the naming again and the lichen?
The current issue of 'English Gardens' magazine presents Mr. Pott's idyllic garden

Whenever your property allows for steps and varying levels opt to enhance that natural feature

Cantilevered sheared yews makes a dark background, think of a curtain on the theatre stage; a backdrop for the stars of the show

Aim for the celebration of each season in your garden.
Great color companions

My dearest friend and hostess, Sylvia, and I are combining forces to create a dream trip through the region of Dorset.

Together we are finalizing the details for a memorable journey of garden inspiration, antiquing, floral design, garden design, furniture design origins, creative meals with optional sessions in photography, massage, healing and much more. 
Our accommodations are a dream, 17th c. barn recently converted by author/owner Annie Coultas.
 As your driver, don't worry, having conducted 15+ English tours, you will be in great hands. With a maximum of twelve, don't wait too long!  


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