March 26, 2013

Easter Vigil

It is March 26, five days  from Easter Sunday. I look out my office window, holding my breath...

after an anxious vigil last night as temperatures dipped into the low 20's  threatening the spring show.

Soon, I'll venture outside to see what damage, if any, was suffered...

by the early tulips, the pansies, phlox, azaleas, lettuces, chamomile and hellebores

that are already in bloom.

I covered the flats of foxglove, snapdragons, dianthus and canterbury bells I had seeded and grown for this spring.

I'd hoped to get them tucked away in their earthy homes before the cold blast hit, but no such luck.

I actually think all the little darlings will be fine, though they will need some warmth (but not TOO quickly) to perk up...and some serious deadheading for the pansies

Read more about freezing temperatures affect plants here.

The hellebores will shake off the freeze, no problem.

As always, the biggest worry is my beloved hydrangeas. Only time will tell.

March 22, 2013

Garden and Nature Inspired Easter

If you missed the Nature-inspired Easter segment that Linda Cavanaugh and I did today on NewsChannel 4, I'm sooo

But you can watch it here and catch what you may have missed!

Garden Inspired Easter

Please join Linda Cavanaugh and me today at 4:30 on NewsChannel 4 to talk about Easter basket inspiration from the garden.

Hope you can join us!

March 21, 2013

Helen Dillon Garden: Summer

As promised, Helen Dillon's magnificent Dublin garden at high season (which in Dublin was August!)  

Even scanned images of non-digital photos 

East Side
can't diminish

the incredible sophistication of

Helen's use of

form, growth habit, play of light,

and shadow, hardscape

and turf

focal points, and grade changes,

texture and movement,

color echo and contrast,

line and scale,

mystery and practicality,


and site lines,

and comfort,

drama and whimsy,

exploration and 



exposure and intimacy,

and unabashed 

verdant JOY.

(If you are comparing images of the spring vs. the August visits, please note the installation of a pool canal where the turf used to be...a dramatic, effective, and yes, expensive modification.)

March 19, 2013

Fulbright Scholar

I had every intention tonight to do a post with the promised images of Helen Dillon's summer garden.

But then I got the news.

 And then I started celebrating and dispensed with the notion of being even remotely productive.


My wonderful, brilliant, open-to-everything, tenacious, intellectually insatiable son

had just been notified that he had been named


I tried to find an appropriate picture of my boy to accompany this post...

but came across this one...

And decided it was more appropriate...because takes
a village to make a Fulbright Scholar (read about the program here)...and this is the village

that made THIS one...(he is on the far left.)

Congratulations family.  I am so proud of you.

March 18, 2013

How To Take Your Own Path

I saw this little passage in The New York Times Magazine this weekend.  I don't know why it was excerpted, or even what it means exactly, but for some reason it resonated...and stuck.  I thought I'd share it with you.

How to Take Your Own Path
By Richard Hell

My perverse ideal is to look at my life as a work as I live it and make it as pretty and stimulating as possible, as if experience is an opportunity to create forms.  I want to choose what to do in my life as a form I'm creating, making what I've done into a shape.

Hmmm.  Still, for some reason, in a weird, inexplicable does make sense.

March 16, 2013

Helen Dillon and St. Patrick's Day

I have a St. Patrick's Day treat for you, my dears. 

As many of you may know, I am not a formally trained gardener...err, garden designer.

I found gardening, or it found me, through a series of small, but significant (to me at least), green and wondrous epiphanies...

and floral discoveries, that, over time, through childhood

and even the awkward teen and young adult years, gave me great comfort and pleasure and expression and happiness. 

I knew nothing, NOTHING about gardening. And so, (like many of you, I imagine... I turned to books). Books with gorgeous, images.  Of gorgeous gardens. And gorgeous compositions.  Of flowers and vegetables and trees and herbs and yes..

talented, dedicated, brilliant, GARDENERS. Some of them spoke to me (and my emerging gardening aesthetic) more

than others. One of them...a rock star in my literary
gardening world...was

Helen Dillon, a Dublin, Royal Horticultural Society-gardener/designer (discover more about Helen and her brilliant gardening career) here.

In 2003, on Saint Patrick's Day, 

after sitting in the grandstand (in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral, no less) to watch the St. Patrick's Day parade (yes, it was a shamrock-on-steroids kind of trip),

Husband and I made our way to Helen Dillon's Garden.  An Irish pilgrimage to Ireland's

premier gardening doyene's...

little bit of Irish heaven.

To my absolute amazement and delight...

Helen Dillon herself was there.


Most certainly, the luck of the Blarney Stone was with me!

While Husband and Val (Helen's hubby) talked compost piles and bathroom renovations,

Helen and I talked gardens...Oklahoma, Irish and otherwise...our favorite garden designers and plants and mutual bad habits (she admitted to being an inveterate over-water-er.)

I tried to put on a good show....though I was FAR out of my league.  Just a groupie in the presence of a superstar.

Just the two of us, touring her incredible garden. I had seen it so many times before.

In countless books (find some here) and magazines.

Familiar, iconic images that I had seen in print so many times.

Now manifest...on St. Patrick's Day.

I couldn't have dreamt it...

any better.

The cherry on my Irish Coffee?

Helen (because by tour's end we were BFF's) offered ever so kindly

to drive us back to our Dublin hotel.

I am happy to report that, 

like the rest of us,

her car...

had that ever-so-familiar scent of

Eau de Manure.

What I haven't told you, is that

this was my SECOND visit to the Dillon garden.  I had visited a few years before,

but in August...when the gentle clime of Dublin's gardens are in their full resplendent glory...

not just the fabulous garden 'bones' and garden architecture you see 

in these images.

Coming up? Gorgeous shots of this fabulous space in full bloom.

The proverbial gold at the end of the rainbow.  :)