Friday, March 12, 2010

The Garden Chronicles

(Detail of my garden)

It's that time of year again when a girl's fancy turns to all things abloom. Visions of picnics and chairs dragged out on the lawn and watering cans and flowered gloves and a tea table heaped with hot scones and lashings of jam and butter come immediately to mind.
(Illustration by George du Maurier, 1834-1896)

Yes, I am an utter romantic when it comes to my Lilliputian grassy kingdom, and I make no apologies.

My own garden, however, is still in "Early Eliza Doolittle" phase. We have privacy, a pool and a new troupe of grass seedlings busy making a brilliant fledgling debut, but not much else.

Most of the gardens in my neighborhood have been transformed into wondrous outdoor living areas. They are truly incredible; however, the downside is that they have given up most of their lawn in the process. In place of grass, there are hardscaped dining areas, stone fire pits, pebbled pathways, fountains, petanque alleys and other assorted features.

But I'm reluctant to give up my plot of verdant turf...and therein lies the rub.

You see, I don't own a dog, but I have a son, which amounts to much the same thing.

Luca uses that grassy stomping ground to chase his friends, lie on a blanket and read, and hurl as many types of balls as high, far and fast as he can.
I can't bear to take that away from him.

And, to be perfectly honest, I love looking out my kitchen window and seeing that little swath of green. It's an enchanted Arcadia to me.
(English countryside)

I do have some immediate plans, though.

1. I want to plant potato vines...
(via here)

...beneath the wall of ficus trees that extend the length of the property and let their pale green tendrils clamber up the branches and sprout delicate little white flowers. (The restaurant Ceccconi's in West Hollywood does this and it's wonderfully effective in adding texture and drama to a living wall.)

2. Over in the corner behind the pool, I plan to erect a wooden pergola and then create some kind of reading/dining area beneath it. It's especially lovely to sit somewhere and gaze back at the house (it creates the feeling of more space), so I want to make the most of this little visual illusion. I will paint the structure in Railings from Farrow and Ball, which is the most wonderful blue-black...
(color via here)

...and then cover it with pale, pale pink flowers in a color like this:
(color via here)

What kind, I don't know, as I am a novice gardener of the highest order. (Any ideas?)

3. Next, I would like to find some pale grey cement planters and perch them around the edge of the pool so that it feels like a little Victorian bathing pond. Whatever type of plant goes in them needs to be sturdy, structured and unprickly.
(photo via Bardy Farms)

4. I'll leave one corner by the pool bare to give me room for one of these cement poufs from Harbinger LA which I absolutely can't stop thinking about (they come in 25 colors). They'll look even better after a couple of years in the sun, wind and rain -- they'll be seasoned, literally.
(via here)

5. A beloved tree which gracefully overarches the pool...
...and which we adamantly refused to chop down...

Pool Contractor: But the leaves will make a mess.
Us: Isn't that what a skimmer is for?

...will gain an extra function with a wooden seat encircling it, á la this photo of designer Peter Dunham:
(photo via here)

5. Other than that, I guess our garden furniture will have to be restricted to the portable kind for now. But as I mentioned in the opening of the post, there's something wonderfully old-school about dragging indoor furniture outside. Plus, it gives you the freedom to create whatever type of environment you like, whether you seek to emulate the civilized luxury of a Victorian fete...

...or something a bit more sybaritic.
(Photo by Lee Miller of Nusch and Paul Eluard,
Man Ray and others, Cannes, 1937)

It's a work in progress. I'll report back.

28 comments:

Vegan TV Presenter said...

What a lovely space!

Jane said...

Planning gardens is exciting because you have to leave room for unpredictable events such as plants failing to thrive, flooding rain, damage from children etc.. I think the challenge is to balance the hard and soft landscaping. I can see the attraction to lots of built in outdoor furniture but to me it look a bit hotelly.

Two things which would work in your garden - a low stone wall for sitting on, we have these and they get a lot of use. And a trompe l'oeil gate ie a wrought iron gate on the fence covered in vines which goes nowhere! xoxo

Giulia said...

Oh I miss a garden (of my own). I saw your potato vine photograph & wanted to say do plant it. I used to grow it in the Mideast & also in DC. Lovely, lovely. It's quite popular in Cairo, on rooftops. Well, that has nothing to do with Bloomsbury but still...

ciao

Daniel-Halifax said...

Oh don't you love this time of year!? I've been reading lots of Beverley Nichols to get me in the mood for Spring(its still rather chilly in the Northeast).

As for your garden, I love all your plans, and all that grass is wonderful, like a Merchant Ivory film. And those Victorian planters? Without a doubt, I think you should put a variety of ferns in them. Then cover the soil with moss. I did this last year and it was so simple and so aesthetically pleasing I can recommend nothing else (especially those of us with shady gardens). And I bet if you do the Martha Stewart buttermilk/moss trick on the pots they will be green and aged by May. SO EXCITED!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Jane: Very intrigued by your wall idea. And the trompe l'oeuil gate is genius. Thank you!

Guilia: Bloomsbury is a mood and an attitude, not just a place frozen in time anymore... how interesting about the Cairo rooftops. Love that. xx

Daniel-Halifax: Love your mossy fern idea. My garden is partial sun, so as long as the hot July days won't scorch them into oblivion, it could work. And yes, that Martha Stewart buttermilk idea will have to be implemented. Thank you! xx

helen tilston said...

Foxglove is one of my fabourite pink flowers- how about some wild roses in pink to contrast with Railings F & B colour- hydrangia in shades of pink which can also be burgundy in fall. Does gardenia bloom in Ca? Jasmine- I had a white garden at my farm and remember someone saying white flowers glow at nightime. Love your plans!

VictoriaArt said...

Oh yes! Agree with all!
And perhaps a mimosa tree!

Waiting for spring, looks rather drary and typical English outside right now!

XX
Victoria

Karena said...

Love your ideas and that pool surround is fabulous!! Come see and follow me.....giveaway coming up!!

Karena
Art by Karena

A Super Dilettante said...

My dear, what a beautiful garden... the green colour is so lush. I love the way you pay attention to details xx

pve design said...

I trust you will design something with a chic, opulent, yet down to earth assemblage. I love the grass too, especially blue grass.
pve

pve design said...

oh, perhaps you can find one of those bar carts for serving outdoor tea or pimms - I could see some sort of bamboo trim and perhaps even a monkey.
pve

littlebyrd said...

Your backyard is already gorgeous! I can only image how wonderful it will look with all of your ideas in place. Great pictures of Luca....keep the grass :)

Reggie Darling said...

Hello Lisa,
How delicious! Due to several horrible storms we have lost many of the trees that once graced our property, and we have also ripped out the flower beds that a previous owner put in, in the wrong places that is. Now it is a tabula rasa...a bit too rasa, if you ask me. So now we, like you, are starting to put it all back together. I share your appreciation for a sward of grass, as it is one of the great pleasures of a property. But then it is best when appropriately framed by plantings and walls, and attractively littered with garden furniture, urns, and statues. We once painted our urns in F&B's "Railings", but then repainted them in "Near Black" after only a year since Railings fades to blue in the sun. In any event, your garden is lovely! Reggie

Mary said...

Bella - always kept grass for cartwheels and picnics and the occasional tent... they grow up all too soon.

Please post your progress.

Lushe said...

Love the vertical garden in the first photo.

Lushe
www.lushe.com.au

Mrs. Blandings said...

Agreeing with Reggie - delicious.

Jacqui said...

May i suggest a clematis for your pergola? There's a single flowering variety 'Montana Rubens' which I think matches your colour swatch very well.

Good luck with the garden.

Jacqui

Style Court said...

Lisa --

This post leaves me inspired. So agree about keeping the lawn. I don't understand the trend toward going with a total hardscape. As you said, no grass means no blankets on the ground, no croquet, no romping.

Anyway, love your plans. Love it as it is now too.

Patty said...

Absolutely beautiful garden! I miss having one of my own, can I borrow yours?

Susan's Snippets said...

Lisa -

Until that big black lab "Buddy my Wonder Dog" goes to the exclusive dog house in the sky, my backyard (including my gardens that I use to work so hard in) will remain untouched by me.

on everything he does pee

ps - also wondering if i ever get to visit in the summer do i have to remove my top?

if so eating sweets i will now stop

Anonymous said...

Your garden is lovely, and I love your sense of whimsy and joie d'vivre. That said, I hate to be a killjoy.... but please do consider replacing your lawn, or at least reducing it. Los Angeles is not London. (To be read with a smile... not a trace of snark.)

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Anonymous: Totally appreciate your two cents...all opinions are respected here. :)

Cindy said...

The pictures, especially of England, reminds me of old English flower gardens I used to tour through.

Display homes said...

Your garden is absolutely stunning. I do wish I have a garden of my own.

Susan said...

Just discovered your blog -- love it! Try a climbing rose on your garden structure. One with beautiful pale pink blooms is New Dawn, and it is very reliable, hardy, etc. Also check out David Austin roses -- you will love it. It is all the old fashioned English roses, and you can search by color.

Vegetable garden said...

Try making a vegetable garden and I'm sure you will have a lot of fun. It will surely give you many hours of pleasure and satisfaction.

Anonymous said...

hermes bag are the representation of herme and all of the fashion bags. The most famous Hermes Lindy , the Kelly Bag, is among those most coveted by bag snobs.
daidaihua is based on the discoveries of the ancient Chinese. In the past, when the Chinese want to lose weight, they use the same herbal ingredients of the lida daidaihua but in a different form of concoction. Nowadays, lida is still made from the same ingredients but with herbs that are really well taken care of and scientifically selected so lida slimming can produce optimized results. slimming capsule works by increasing the metabolism of its user. With an increased metabolism, an individual can burn more calories in a day without exerting a lot of effort. slimming capsules also serves as an appetite suppressant so the person who took the diet products does not feel any hunger at all.
Ladies, you know there's nothing like the style, quality and comfort of an Chanel handbag . No matter what your mood, there's a Chanel to match. It's a smart idea to go online to buy chanel watches , since you'll be able to find some fantastic bargains. Don't get too carried away, though. You'll want to make sure you're getting only Chanel bags and not that cheap imitation stuff.
One of the easiest ways to customize a Tiffany is by changing the type of metal used in the band. Many couples will want to be able to choose the color and value of silver bracelets l in their rings. Tiffany accessories may offer a variety of gold, silver, and platinum mixes, as well as some other metals like titanium. The main thing to keep in mind when choosing silver accessories is the color and durability of the metal. It should look good, but it should also be able to stand up to wear and tear.

Anonymous said...

hermes bag are the representation of herme and all of the fashion bags. The most famous Hermes Lindy , the Kelly Bag, is among those most coveted by bag snobs.
daidaihua is based on the discoveries of the ancient Chinese. In the past, when the Chinese want to lose weight, they use the same herbal ingredients of the lida daidaihua but in a different form of concoction. Nowadays, lida is still made from the same ingredients but with herbs that are really well taken care of and scientifically selected so lida slimming can produce optimized results. slimming capsule works by increasing the metabolism of its user. With an increased metabolism, an individual can burn more calories in a day without exerting a lot of effort. slimming capsules also serves as an appetite suppressant so the person who took the diet products does not feel any hunger at all.
Ladies, you know there's nothing like the style, quality and comfort of an Chanel handbag . No matter what your mood, there's a Chanel to match. It's a smart idea to go online to buy chanel watches , since you'll be able to find some fantastic bargains. Don't get too carried away, though. You'll want to make sure you're getting only Chanel bags and not that cheap imitation stuff.
One of the easiest ways to customize a Tiffany is by changing the type of metal used in the band. Many couples will want to be able to choose the color and value of silver bracelets l in their rings. Tiffany accessories may offer a variety of gold, silver, and platinum mixes, as well as some other metals like titanium. The main thing to keep in mind when choosing silver accessories is the color and durability of the metal. It should look good, but it should also be able to stand up to wear and tear.

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin