May 23, 2019

Container Gardening 101

You are in for a treat, 5 bloggers share their tips for brilliant container design. These ladies are uber talented in the world of design, 3 are my friends, Cindy, Mary Ann and Annie. Kelly is one I would love to know having watched her for years
Last minute there is a bonus, Janine, six bloggers!

No longer do I personally go to clients homes to fill their containers, well maybe a few, my talented team does that for us and our customers are thrilled. Lead by Gerrit Husar with a strong assist by Kim Fuller, we are deep in about now.

Where to start? Hoping my formula provides a strong assist

Three things in Container Planting……

1.  Match your containers, to your homes architecture, in color and style

2.  Match your choice in plants to the style
     and color palette of your home

3.  Remember the adage…..
#1 matching your homes architecture.....
Even though this is a winter composition, this helps in defining what I mean. The container matches the shutters and the accent plants match the brick. For this clients home we designed the landscape to place a pair of extra large urns/plinth in the garden vs the front door. By making these such a focal point they can be enjoyed from indoors too

As if this stunning door needs more attention... but by adding the verdigris copper pot, enhances the setting even more

When I first saw this image, my initial impression was why not black containers? Upon further inspection and noticing the brick wall, I found this to be brilliant. Take note of the size next to the chairs!

TIP..... Always error on the side of overly large containers. Make a statement with your containers! Far too often planters are too small in proportion to the structure

Oh yes! A London townhouse perfectly turned out. The setting is formal, and the box planters, in the matching lacquer finish enhances this view. The Bay Laurel topiaries nook in this composition

#2 Matching Colors
Once you master the containers let's do the same with your plant selection. In this instance, the simplicity heightens the effect and the choice of chartreuse pops 
Oh yes! The pots, the plant choices, a strong understanding of these principles.
Now imagine if the choices were pastel colors....what a clash!

See what I mean? 

TIP.....I always use a slow release fertilizer which will direct you to sprinkle on top of the soil. In addition to that, add several tablespoons at the rootball, that will produce extra large and strong plants

#3 Thriller, filler, spiller

Thriller Height. 
Filler  Mid/Center plants that link the high with the low.  
Spiller.  Spilling over the rim

In the above image, the white Caladium leaf lends order and interest. Too many small leaves reads as messy

TIP...When plant shopping at the nursery, take a wagon around with a particular planter in mind, designing as you go. Place plants you are considering in the center of the wagon, placed as you would imagine planting, step back and evaluate, what should I add, remove.......

Window boxes! Look around, where might they be added, such a softening effect

Roll this up to a window for a 'window box'

 Hanging Baskets.....

Yes, lettuce!
 TIP.... Learning how to plant containers, and most of gardening, in England. We were taught to plant root ball to root ball. Instead of the thick liners that can only be planted from the top, we used moistened sphagnum moss so we could punch holes in the sides for that overfilled look. After planting we always tucked in seeds, nasturtiums were a great choice
Let's explore other uses, and placements for your containers. How about this? Eliminate a banister utilizing containers
Marking an entrance
For privacy and safety. This setting is a 4th floor balcony
Not all planters need to be at front door or on deck, place them in the garden.This is my favorite when I get the opportunity to design a space with the containers in the garden which often allows the homeowner to look outdoors and view the planters
While taking a group on a garden tour in rural England I spied this very cracked, stunning planter far out into the garden, empty. Now that is low maintenance.
I asked the lady of the house the history of this vessel noting it was very old. 'Oh what a nuisance!''
'There were nine, this is the last and I backed my car into it, bloody family pieces from Egypt, 500bc or some such nonsense!'
A client called in dismay, her fountain did not endure the winter and had a big crack in the bottom. It was vintage, a one-of-a-kind piece. Let's redirect I suggested, we can turn it into a planter!
Have fun, experiment, think outside the pot!
Want more? Head to these talented ladies!


Happy Planting!

March 3, 2019

Three Before and After's

 I love this time of year, business wise in particular, it is full of design work, planning for the year, catching up, finding long forgotten "to-do's" (still left un-done), and supposedly organizing,…..the latter skill eludes me!

 We are in the endless planning stages because.......
 2019 is our 30th, year in business! 

Stay in touch, we have some great parties and workshops coming up to celebrate, and finally, a new website,  well shortly.
Here are a few recent projects

NOTE: all photographs, except the last project, are with my old IPhone....sorry

Powder Room Before

It happens.....we decorate, sit back satisfied, then time goes, and goes, so fast that one day something makes us look anew. Suddenly we have to redecorate, NOW.  This is a client's, but my own powder room also needs a re-do after 23 years.... stay tuned!

Wallpaper borders were huge in the 80's, as was coordinating wallpaper patterns. One could open a wallpaper book and see 3-4 options, pleased that trend has long passed

And now.....

The border rails are gone for a more sophisticated look
The new wallpaper is by Thibaut, 'Augustine Brown'. 
I like a starting point, it could be a rug, sofa upholstery, even a pillow, or in this case, the wallpaper. Once the prominent element has been chosen, you have a key to play off of. 
The old light fixture
The ceiling is painted in one of the colors in the paper. For a powder room, erring on the edge of dramatic, is a better option than safe. I love this ceiling fixture, look at those shadows. The gold fixture mirrors the shimmering gold in the wallpaper
 As do these, I have had a long love affair with these accents we carry,  inexpensive and very effective. The battery operated taper fits perfectly, and the gold elements in the paper positively glow

 The antique, every room, should have at least one, for patina, originality, and for the back story.
 Handmade 19thc shell art from Rome

When I re-do my powder room, this is the paper, Brunschwig and Fils 'XIAN'.  
 In person, it is positively charming

Recently my assistant Gerrit, and I went to a clients home to Stylize. It is a fun process whereas we arrive ready to move furniture, if necessary,  to style bookcases, tabletops, cabinets, move art, and add  elements to provide a new look. Anything within our realm.
With this client, much was accomplished by rearranging the existing furniture, the space was virtually a new room appearing more expansive while creating two distinct conversation areas

For Phase Two, we recommend painting the expansive picture window trim black, and painting the walls white, plus the addition of new lighting fixtures. (scroll back up to revisit the current scheme)

 Can you see the difference, isn't it a wow factor?! Instant visualization for the client. These graphics were created by our brilliant designer Gerrit. Via his magic, he provided a visual, showing the client what the room can look like with black trim and white walls.
All with a different fixture
Here is another fixture
Which light fixture do you like? I have a clear favorite...the last one

                                                               Third Project
While offering a design consultation, my client expressed uncertainty about a lamp of hers.This lamp came from my shop eons ago, the taupe base, wore a shade with now faded birds inside the shade which itself was a taupe, all screaming 1980's
 Feeling a need to 'use my hands' this project come home with me for a transformation.
Chalk paint, by Amy Howard, in black began the base
 Now onto the shade itself. Amy Howard gold gild sheets were added to the interior of the shade. Not difficult to do but time-consuming with 2 layers to more in spots.
I lay this on, overlapping as I go, lightly press so that it adheres and let thoroughly dry.
Once dry take a paint brush and go back and forth until all loose ends have been dusted off

 Going, going, gone are the birds
A gilded interior positively glows when lit. AG

For a full update, I painted the shade, Amy Howard paint, watered down, 3 parts paint, 1 part water. The shade reads fresh, and clean with it's texture intact.

NEXT EVENT.........



We will create a beautiful fresh arrangement using live foliage plants that will always look good, with the addition of floral stems this centerpiece will take you from season to season, all year long

We will also chat Outdoor Containers, our tips,  tricks and combinations for success!
limited containers
RSVP  .......  630.232.1303

Have a great week.......another freezing one here!

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