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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Big Ideas From Small Gardens ~Buffa10


Last summer a friend asked me if I could leave my garden....here for the post. Back then the notion of selling the house and leaving C&L was just a tiny possibility out there in an unknown future. The lovely gardens we visited during Buffa10 have nudged that idea to the forefront ... After all, I am an 'une femme d'un certain age' and feel ready to decrease heavy garden chores. I am also aware of a longing for a change~An urban garden in Nashville would be a big change from my acre lot in the 'burbs! Maybe, I am more ready to have a smaller garden then I thought. One with beautiful native plants and flowers complimented by evergreens shrubs and fun garden art. Gardens as attractively designed and as well thought out as the Garden District gardens didn't seem postage sized to me. In fact, they didn't seem all that small when you looked at what the gardeners have been able to incorporate into yards the size of many two car garages and suburban patios. In the photo above you can clearly see a well designed and intimate seating area that sat next to the fence lined driveway. There's plenty of space for a containerized Tiger's Eye Sumac, gorgeous burgundy leaved dahlias, Verbena Bonariensis and those spectacular monardas we saw in many of the gardens. The monardas in the above garden were tall enough to act as a privacy screen from the rest of the garden. Very nice.
There was so much color, variety and interest packed into the gardens that it was easy to imagine myself tending them! It wasn't long before I was visualizing how to go about creating intimacy and visual excitement at Clay and Limestone.
Could I create the room effect we saw in Buffalo through the use of colorful shrubs around my own paths and curves.
Would limbing the trees allow more light into the garden~Oh, to have those delicious sun loving perennials!
Could adding some vertical lines and 'different' focal points fit in the staid 'burbs of Nashville?
I don't know what will come from these musings, but, I left Buffalo energized and excited to start.


~and that's big!


xxgail

29 comments:

  1. Oooh, Gail, I see changes in your future. I thought the Buffalo gardens were magnificent, but of course, you knew that. I think Hedge could handle a bit of removal too. :) You can do it! Remember, you told me to tell you so.~~Dee

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  2. You did seem extra energized from Buffalo, Gail, brimming with ideas to use in your own space. Those gardens were well packed with fun art, delicious plants and well thought out hardscape. I was thinking that my own garden seemed too large to manage just today. Not age related, of course. :-)
    Frances

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  3. Buffalo was energizing, in so many ways. So many ideas! I like my big yard, soon to be big garden but could also, for once, imagine gardening in a smaller space, too.

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  4. Dee, Thanks for the reminder!

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  5. I always come away from touring other folks' gardens with new ideas and perspectives about my own. This time was no different ... I took pictures of things I particularly liked to remind me I might want to try them here on MCOK.

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  6. Gail, you could do like they do in England - have garden rooms ;)

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  7. Gail, looks like you had a great time in Buffalo, and the gardens are spectacular! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  8. Your pics are great. There was so much to see and so little time. Jim and Elizabeth did a magnificent job. It was a pleasure meeting you. As you can tell from my posts, Pat and I had a great time. jim

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  9. Gail,
    I came back to Asheville being able to imagine that I could live here with a much smaller garden (geez, our garden in Clemson is an acre and a half) - yikes!

    It was totally inspirational to see how folks in Buffalo gardened in much smaller spaces with spectacular results.

    Something to ponder.

    Thanks for an excellent post!
    Lisa

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  10. Hi Gail - Inspiring is the word and energized is the feeling! If forced to live at Miss Elly's or any of the others we visited in the cottage district, I'd be happy indeed! Nice final shot!

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  11. Hello Gail,
    I just love these photos.
    Your garden is fantastic.
    Best regards, Petra B.

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  12. I am glad to hear you were inspired by the Buffalo gardens. Just seeing the photos gives me a boost of inspiration. I think when we come of a certain gardening age we want a very manageable garden. Shrubs certainly do fill and enhance a space like flowers cannot. So many choices. I can't wait to see what all you do.

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  13. P.S. Mondarda will grow in the shade. It just doesn't get as tall and thick.

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  14. What lovely small gardens Gail. I can see why you were inspired by them.

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  15. The only downside that I see to visiting gardens is coming back with so many ideas -- and, then realizing that to incorporate such would mean expanding an already large garden! :-)

    I do know what you mean about small gardens. Sometimes I long for a "rectangular lot with a fence" so that I'd have clearly defined lines for my coloring with flowers...to focus on quality of the design instead of quantity of plants in order to build a design in my wide-open spaces.

    Here, the land has no boundaries (so it seems on 4.5 acres) and there's no stopping except for my lack of energy and funds.

    Glad you had a great time and were inspired. Keep us posted if you decided to pull up your plants and move! :-)

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  16. Cameron, Exactly, it's difficult to create boundaries (like garages, privacy fences and relics of factories) that are often a part of smaller, urban gardens~gail

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  17. Hi Gail, I feel that way too after visiting certain gardens. A small yard, a white picket fence, all look very attractive sometimes, especially after tending gardens of an acre or more.

    Garden aside, I don't want to live in a place where the houses are too close. What if you get bad neighbors?

    You can always go with the start from scratch approach at your current location. But let me tell you, if the Buffalo folks took a tour or your garden, they would be jealous.
    Marnie

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  18. I am totally jealous of big gardens. But I'll be honest and say I would not want to have to deal with one. I like my architectural boundaries.

    Gail, if you're ready, than I wish you luck! Don't worry about the neighbors. As close as I am to mine I rarely am aware of their presence. Hopefully they can say the same!

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  19. I'm with Carol -- I still couldn't live without a big garden (I have a patch bigger than most of those yards just devoted to tomatoes!) But the little ones were appealing as well. Someday, when I'm rich (yeah, right...) I think I'd like to have both.

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  20. Hi Gail,
    It sounds like you all had a great time at Buffalo. I love the photos of the gardens you enjoyed. My favorite thing of all is that jagged fence/trellis. I plan to ask Larry if he could make one of those. I'm sure I could find a spot for it on my corner lot.

    I agree with what Marnie said. I know I would be envious of your place. If you decided to move, you could find a nice sized lot with some privacy. Know what you're looking for.

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  21. I can see why you came away with so many fresh ideas and thoughts of change, Gail--these gardens are so colorful and inviting. Garden tours always inspire me, too, though I seem to implement changes in small increments. I can't see myself ever living anywhere else, though being a woman "of a certain age" myself, I have often thought how nice it would be to have some young muscles around here to do the heavy work for me:)

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  22. Interesting thoughts! I always feel like I have to concentrate more on the details... on making people slow down and walk through the garden to notice things, otherwise the "tour" will be way too fast. Maybe that's why there seems to be so much packed into the Buffalo gardens, too?

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  23. Gail, I know what you mean. It's good, I think, to evaluate our priorities, consider alternatives and what we and our property are capable of. Nothing is ever stagnant and I think this is the whole reason for garden touring. We can learn so much from each other. And these tiny digital cameras help those of us [me] with fickle memory capabilities. LOL

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  24. I have read quite a few buffalo posts from bloggers and I was really surprised by the beauty and form in the gardens as I never knew what to expect from Buffalo - I can tell you that I was pleasantly surprised. I'm sure you've come away with loads of inspiration Gail.

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  25. Would love to have a crowded well thought out garden sitting area like you've shown. The key word being "thought out". Of course lots of sun helps.
    Thanks for the tour.

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  26. Tours are great for jump starting us, aren't they Gail? I'm glad you are feeling energized. I can imagine how a lot of garden space must feel like too much work sometimes. I have a smaller yard (as I hope you will see) and even that can be overwhelming sometimes. Change can be hard but also good. I hope you find an answer to what you're seeking.

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  27. I'm trying to get a new garden going on a much larger lot than I've had before. It's a bit overwhelming in terms of how much maintenance it would require to remove all or most of the lawn and put in garden beds. I'm up for more...for now...but do anticipate selling this house in 10 or 15 years and pulling up stakes for a smaller property. I could totally be happy with a Buffalo sized garden.

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  28. I can't wait to see how you turn your inspiration and ideas into reality!

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  29. Gail - You're so right -- if anything would make you excited about the idea of a smaller garden, it would be those that we saw in Buffalo. You're making me think!

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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