This is a fascinating deconstruction of a tea house. It’s all glass, whereas tea houses of the past were dark, enclosed spaces where you could hardly see. Light and shadow were paramount aspects. But here – all is revealed.
I would love to have tea in this space. Moving through the Roji one is certainly transformed.
This ‘glass tea house mondrian’ by Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto unites wood, glass and water as a pavilion, holding the traditional Japanese tea ceremony within its transparent wall. Read more about this tea house inspired by Venetian Glass.
I heard that gardeners spend 30 billion dollars a year on gardening stuff. That dollar amount is so huge I had to double check it on Google. It’s accurate.
What are we all spending money on? For me it’s perennial and annuals every spring. I’m making a woodland garden and searching for wonderful Lady Slippers, Maidenhair Ferns and Japanese Peonies. But what are other people spending their money on?
Yesterday I went to the annual Trade Secrets fundraising event nearby in Connecticut which features sales of rare plants and garden antiques. It was crowded with people who had turned out on a beautiful Saturday to buy… garden stuff!
Here’s what caught my eye:
First I made a bee line for Hillside Nursery which sells rare and delicate woodland plants. They have an amazing selection (more later).
Then I went to my favorite vendor Campo de Fiore. I can’t believe what they do with pots and plants in them. I had to restrain myself from getting a potted Begonia – I’m not having luck with potted plants, so I just admired what they had.
Campo de Firori exotic planting.
I really wanted to get this acorn or pineapple pot.
Then I got tempted by the mushrooms. I secretly want a garden filled with gnomes and magical mushrooms.
This giant fish is fantastic
As you can see, I spent a long time here, but restrained myself. This fish terracotta adornment for the garden was about $1000.00. Yikes.
Then I strolled around.
I saw some antique garden furniture, but mostly I was looking for woodland perennial treasures. My garden is fairly restrained. Gnomes, fish, topiary and big stuff just don’t suit my garden or me – but I’m happy to fantasize.
These are the coolest topiary. I’m not sure what evergreen they are.
Now these gigantic terracotta pots I could really use. But alas, they are very, very expensive. Maybe this is where the 30 billion starts to show up.
But there was more and even more. I started to get overwhelmed.
Piles of pots
And more piles of pots
and piles of other gardening things
Finally I got away and on my way home made it to oneof my favorite places for trees, shrubs and super perenials – Old Farm Nurseries
Geesh – look what they’ve got here!
What is this? Really?
So maybe this is some of what we are all buying that comes to 30 billion a year. A bit over the top for me. Yet I did come home with some delicate sweet wooland plants that I hope will flourish and prosper. Stay tuned.
Planting these wonderful woodlanders in my old woodpile.
Cypripedium pubescens – Yellow Lady Slipper
Podophyllum peltatum – Mayapple
Diphylleia cymosa – Umbrella Leaf
Adiantum pedatum – Maidenhair Fern
Jiny Blom, a well known landscape designer said “Take risks. If someone tells you something is impossible, see if you can do it. Gardening is a knife edge between disaster and serendipity.”
I felt she was talking directly to me when I built this stone path.
I collected the rocks from an old stone wall on my mother’s property. I dug a trench 8 inches deep and filled it with 800 pounds of rock dust and sand, then pieced the stones together like a quilt or jigsaw puzzle.
Rikyu, the brilliant tea master of the 16th century, said that the design of the Roji should be sixty percent practical and forty percent aesthetic. This path meets his criteria.
I’ve planted creeping thyme in the spaces between the stones. I wasn’t sure it would like the conditions: was there enough light, was the soil too sandy, did it drain well enough…? It’s taken a couple of years but slowly the thyme is making itself at home.
The path needs periodic weeding. I get down on my hands and knees, my nose inches from the stones and delicatly separate the weeds from the thyme. It’s a garden job that could easily be forgotten or put aside as too much trouble, but in the late afternoon when the light is gentle and the air soft, to get down on the ground inches from the earth is a task I’m grateful for.
– excerpt from A Tea Garden in Tivoli
Hedges and fences form the bones of a garden and create rooms with distinct styles. What starts out as a blank slate now has a frame that can be filled. One of the first things I did in my garden was to plant thirty feet of privet along my property line to enclose the flower garden and give me a sense of a “secret garden”, a walled place set apart from my neighbors.
The most magnificent privet I”ve ever seen are grown in the Hampton”s of New York and used everywhere. Here”s a typical, perfectly manicured hedge that screens a house.
This hedge must be at least twenty feet high – if not more.
“How do they get that tall and so beautifully sculpted?”
That”s been my question ever since I planted my little, two foot high shrubs ten years ago. Well, it turns out that here in the Hudson Valley it”s not so easy. There”s not enough sun, or there”s not enough “something” to make the Privet take off like they do in Long Island.
Pruning is difficult. Most people will get their electric pruners out and just top the growth, which creates more density, but in our case that would mean keeping the privet to about three feet tall; we wanted them much higher! Over the years I”ve hand pruned the hedge making sure that the top is thinner than the bottom like the diagram on the right. It needs to have the shape of a modified pyramid.
I”ve also hand clipped long straggly stems in the middle of the hedge that don”t have growth on the center and only leaf out on top where there”s enough light. It”s tricky. The more you prune, the bushier the growth as you can see from the diagram on the far left , but you loose that undergrowth that makes such a perfect hedge.
But finally after ten years, my Privet has taken off and responded to my selective pruning. Now my problem is how to get to the top branches. I get on a ladder and have a long hand clipper, but it”s an arduous task and I can”t reach the top. I”m not complaining though! I”m thrilled they”re so high.
My Privet hedge has gotten so tall I can”t prune the tops. But this
is a wonderful year for this hedge. It”s finally come into it”s own!
Not as manicured as the Hampton”s hedges, not as perfect, but I”m thrlled.
So now I have to figure out how to get to the top. I asked my neighbor who has a lawn business to help out, but we”re not in the Hamptons. She has two guys on a ladder, who “might” be able to reach. Take a look at what the pros do…Yikes!
I went over to Olana the other day looking for trees that had big leaves. I needed a leaf to use as a lid on a glass water container for tea. Here you can see the leaves I collected. The vase is the squiggly shaped glass object – designed by Alvaro Alto.
Olana, which is five minutes from my house, is the Persian style home of Hudson River artist Frederic Church. After an 18-month trip to Europe and the Middle East, Church hired architect Calvert Vaux and worked with him on the design of the mansion, which was constructed between 1870 and 1872. It sits on top of a hill with sweeping views of the Hudson River and the Catskills.
Olana is a grand and fascinating place
I had just returned from a month in Italy. The only garden I saw on the trip was the Boboli garden in Florence which is a huge, formal and cold place to my eyes. There were a lot of tall hedges and massive areas that implied wealth and prestige. It wasn’t interesting to me at all.
Boboli Garden in Florence, Italy
But now I was back home and at Olana. I decided to wander over to the flower garden which I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. It’s a tiny garden by a wall out of sight of the house. There are no grand gestures or sweeping views of the mountains. It’s a small and intimate place with a path that seems to meander with no haste. Truly a great garden with no artifice. Enjoy!
Flowers spilling over the path. A smoke bush in the far back.
Different heights of planting. The path curves.
The path curves up and hugs the wall. Blue Delphinum, purple Catmint
and the leaves of peony and grasses lead the way.
Almost to the end with the view in site. Leaves of Iris, pink Hollyhock and
a splash of yellow Heliopsis
The garden is enchanting and how wonderful to find this bench where
I could sit and reflect on the quiet beauty of the place.
When I set out on my quest for a leaf to cover the Alvaro Alto vase I never
thought it would lead me to this magical place.
For more about Olana
Evergreens are essential for a year round garden. I’ve planted Japanese Black Pines, Hemlocks and Plum Yew. Hemlocks are native to the surrounding woods. I love their lacy, delicate boughs. They like shade and grow well here. (more…)