Millstones in the Garden

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Last year we completed a project that included a small water feature for the family’s dog to take a quick drink when outside. The feature needed to be low, include moving water and do the best at keeping the dog’s paws from getting soaked.  The solution we designed was an old millstone resting over river rocks with water bubbling up through the center of the stone and falling down the sides into a reservoir below.  This was not designed to be a large focal point of the garden, but was highly visible when on the patio space so had to find the right sized millstone. (I have no photo to share since we have not photographed the project yet, but will update the post once we shoot.) 

 

Millstones in the Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 This is a collection showcases the variation millstones can be found from English Garden Antiques (here). 

 

 

Millstones are fairly easy to find from back when milling of corn and wheat was done locally both on the larger and small scale, creating many different sized stones. Searching your local stone companies or Craigslist will produce lots of options. We found our stone over Craigslist in Southern Ohio as part of a the matched pair. Good key terms to search are; millstone, mill stone, antique.

 

Millstones in the Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Millstones in the Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The above two images are from a local stone suppliers (Lones Stone) selection of mill stones. Search your local stone suppliers to see what options are available. 

 

The stones are versatile for use the landscape given the variety of sizes and thicknesses.  They can be used as fountains, stepping stones, in paving, stone walls, table, bench or focal art. Here are some examples for creative inspiration.

 

Millstones in the Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Martha Stewart's Bedford, CT Home

Millstones in the Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Martha Stewart's Bedford, CT Home

The above two millstones are from Martha Stewart’s Bedford Farm. These are each incorporated into the hardscape areas. (Images from Martha’s Blog here)

 

Millstones in the Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Miriam's River House Designs

This garden designed by Miriam’s River House Designs, features a millstone at the center of a garden designed by the principles of a circle. (Image and more of the design found here)

 

Millstones in the Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Janice Parker Landscape Design

Janice Parker Landscape used a millstone fountain in the center of this landscape. (Image Janice Parker Landscape’s website, here)

 

Millstones in the Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Austin TX

This millstone is used as a bench and gathering location in the personal garden of Christine Ten Eyck in Austin Texas. The image is from here and you can see more of Ten Eyck Landscape Architects work here

 

 

 

Millstones in the Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Here are large millstone is used as a table in the garden in the harsh salt air of Nantucket, MA. This garden is designed by The Garden Design Company, and you can find more of their work here. Image from Veranda Magazine here.

 

Millstones in the Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

This image is from Ohio Barns (here) which showcases the old millstones from the Weisenberger Mill (near Lexington, KY) used in stone walls. 

 

Another great option to use are antique stone well caps. These have the same central hole, however are typically square or even more irregular. To help in search terms try well cap, well cover, stone and I include vintage and antique to weed out anything faux stone.

 

Millstones in the Garden, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodMillstones in the Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 The above are two examples of full slab well covers, the top one is from Central Main Stoneworks (Here) and the second if off Craig’s List near Cleveland Ohio. It is 64 x 48 x 8.5 inches of Sandstone. I love the moss covering the top and would be amazing used in any landscape. I am half tempted to buy and hoard it until I have a design to use it, or honestly my house. (here)

 

Red Twig Farms- Twig Wreath

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Red Twig Farms- Twig Wreath, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Last season we had leftover dogwood branches from Red Twig Farms that we experimented weaving into different forms. Our most successful design was a simple wreath of the branches.  We sent a few off to Terrain as prototypes, and this Christmas they placed an order for both Yellow and Red Dogwood wreaths. The wreaths are beautiful alternative to classic evergreen wreaths and the traditional brown grapevine wreaths. We saved a few of the Red Dogwood wreaths at the shop and have been practicing different ways these could be used during the holiday season outside of bow adornments.

 

Red Twig Farms- Twig Wreath, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

(Upper Left) Plain Red Twig Dogwood Wreath. (Upper Right) Layered with a boxwood wreath

(Bottom Left) Mixed Bittersweet with Winterberry (Bottom Right) Wrapped with Stargazer lights

 

The wreaths are not listed on the website, but I am sure you can directly contact either Terrain location if you are interested in purchasing a wreath. I wish we had some of the yellow wreaths to show, but we shipped them all off before we took any photos.

 

 

 

15 Fresh Greens for Holiday Decorating

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The week after Thanksgiving is a rush to get our clients homes decorated for the holiday season. Even though the week is busy, we look forward to flexing our festive creative muscles. I shared photos of a few projects on instagram throughout the week (NickMccland),if you want a preview. There were questions about the types of greens we used and thought I would share a list of all the different types of fresh greenery we use as a info graphic for quick reference. These are the greens that work well in Ohio’s December climate or we use only indoor (such as pepperberry). There are infinite combinations you could make with these greens, highlighted with ribbon, ornaments, pinecones and branches.

 

15 Fresh Greens for Holiday Decorating Containers, Wreaths or Garlands from Thinking Outside the boxwood

 

 

One of our favorite tricks is using a variety of these fresh greens tucked in a standard Frasier Fir wreath or graland. The fir provides a dense base for tucking in other greens for distinctive texture and color. You can purchase greens from florists or take clippings from your own backyard. The dense fir wreath will hold the green’s branches with in the existing wiring, or use paddle wire to secure to the frame. This trick provides you with a nice fresh wreath, that is unique to only your home without the custom made cost or time.

 

 

 

 

Case Study: Retail Embracing Green Space –Starbucks Downtown Disney

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In early November, I traveled down to Orlando for the APLD 2014 International Design Conference (working on a recap post). On my last day I killed time walking around Downtown Disney before my flight home. The area is going through a phased redesign to become Disney Springs with completion in 2016. One of the new spaces already opened included Starbucks. The Starbucks owned store opened in June and is LEED certified like the previously opened store in Downtown Disney Anaheim. Apart of the LEED certification, the store features reclaimed materials, but of more interest to me is the green roof installed by Metro Verde.

Case Study: Retail Embracing Green Space –Starbucks Downtown Disney, Thinking Outside the Boxwood  Case Study: Retail Embracing Green Space –Starbucks Downtown Disney, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

This implementation is interesting because it features a retail company embracing green roofs on the individual store location level. The store’s green roof is 1,800 square feet, the roof is at most a tenth of the size to the other recent green roofs installed by retail giants like Walmart (40,600 sq feet in 2013) and Whole Foods (17,000 sq feet in 2013). The installation shows a commitment to the impact small scale incorporation of green spaces can have on the customers.

Case Study: Retail Embracing Green Space –Starbucks Downtown Disney, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Even though customers cannot directly interact with the roof plantings, the grasses can be viewed from the ground and are a part of the full sensory experience. The roof also features LED lighting, which allows the plantings to be visible both day and night.  Metro Verde calculated the green roof produces enough oxygen per day for 4 people, not a huge impact environmental. However thinking about the swells of visitors the store will receive and exposure to plants used as key element of design, not after thought is pretty cool for a plant geek like myself.

Case Study: Retail Embracing Green Space –Starbucks Downtown Disney, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

greenroofs.com

 

Grasses Used:

  • Dwarf Fakahatchee, Tripscaum floridnum
  • Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus

 

Another interesting part of the Starbucks green roof story is the use of their own coffee grounds in the soil medium at both the nursery growing the grasses and in the continued care of the plants. This story was apart of Starbucks’ press release and marketing within the store. It makes me smile because of all the bags of used coffee grounds (Grounds for Your Garden) I have carted from our Starbucks and place the garden beds at home.

Case Study: Retail Embracing Green Space –Starbucks Downtown Disney, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Right next to the Starbucks was another key plant area, a reincarnation of New York City’s High Line. Without knowing anything about this project, the finished area completely evoked the feeling of the High Line. Once fully completed the area will be home to food trucks, seating and great vista viewing. Over all it will be interesting to watch as Disney and all the partners help transform the new Disney Springs area.

Case Study: Retail Embracing Green Space –Starbucks Downtown Disney, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Here are some great Links on the Project for more details:

  • Greenroofs.com (Background on the project with vendors, project details, etc)
  • Greenroof.coffee (website devoted to this specific project with great background)
  • Starbucks.com (press release and additional photos on the project)

 

 

If you want to read more about implementing a green roof at home check out:

Small Green Roofs: Low-Tech Options for Greener Living

By Nigel Dunnett, Dusty Gedge, John Little and Edmund C. Snodgrass

 

In Bloom – November 10, 2014

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I think this will be the final cuttings of items in bloom this year. Almost all the leaves are gone and all the perennials in the nursery are in beds to be wintered over. Below are the final collection of color and some final bounty of harvest off the figs. I will need to replace the in bloom posts with holiday decorating and then planning for 2015.

Bergenia cordifolia ‘Bach’ (Pigsqueak), Beta vulgaris ‘Ruby Red’ (Swiss Chard), Geranium wallichianumHavana Blues‘ (Havana Blues Cranesbill), Senicio serpens (Blue Chalk Sticks), Rosa ssp. (Rose hips), Ficus carica ‘Brown Turkey’(Brown Turkey Fig), Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ (Royal Purple Smokebush), Kalanchoe thrysiflora (Flapjacks)

 

In Bloom - November 10, 2014, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

In Bloom - November 10, 2014, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Brown Turkey Fig In Bloom - November 10, 2014, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Brown Turkey Fig

Yew Dell Botanical Garden Visit

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A few weeks back, the family and I had a long weekend trip to Nashville, TN. Along our drive, a much needed pit stop was timed with a visit to Yew Dell Botanical garden, just outside Louisville, KY. It was during a grey and chilly, fall day, so we had the gardens to ourselves other than the few vendors setting up for a wedding later that day.

Yew Dell Botanical Garden Visit, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Corten Gate

About Yew Dell (excerpt from Yew Dell’s website):

Beginning with 33-acres of Oldham County farmland in 1941, Theodore and Martha Lee Klein spent the next 60-plus years developing an exquisite private estate, a successful commercial nursery and an extensive collection of unusual plants and outstanding gardens. Known locally, nationally and internationally as a first-rate plantsman, Theodore Klein was also a self-taught artisan who personally crafted the buildings and gardens that became known as Yew Dell.

Through the years, Klein collected over one thousand unusual specimen trees and shrubs which were displayed and evaluated in his arboretum. He also worked to develop new plant varieties for the regional landscape, amassing an impressive list of more than 60 unique introductions over his professional career.

Yew Dell Botanical Garden Visit, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Gourd Hut

Today Yew Dell features Klein’s original designs spaces along with some new additions keeping inline with his philosophy of looking for plants that naturally thrive the region of Kentucky. Touring the gardens you not only see mature varieties of trees and plants, but also new varieties in trial before being available to the market, carrying on Yew Dell’s history of innovation. You can read much more on the Yew Dell website on the history and specific gardens (here).

Yew Dell Botanical Garden Visit, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Holly Allée Yew Dell Botanical Garden Visit, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Yew Dell Botanical Garden Visit, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Yew Dell Botanical Garden Visit, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Modern Barn Yew Dell Botanical Garden Visit, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Yew Dell Botanical Garden Visit, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Panicum virgatum 'Cloud Nine'-  Switch GrassYew Dell Botanical Garden Visit, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Geenhouse Greenroof Yew Dell Botanical Garden Visit, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Corten planters Yew Dell Botanical Garden Visit, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodYew Dell Botanical Garden Visit, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Tropical Border Yew Dell Botanical Garden Visit, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Arrangement of the week – October 27, 2014

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I went out into the garden to stretch my legs last week and came back with a large clipping of foliage and flowers. I was able to pull together two arrangements that had two completely different hues, and then proceeded to only photograph one. Oh well.  Here is one arrangement of the purples and orange, the others was dark burgundy and almost blacks. Arrangement of the week - October 27, 2014, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Here is a list of what was included:

  • Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’
  • Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’
  • Lysimachia clethroides
  • Spiraea nipponica ‘Snowmound’
  • Amsonia hubrichtii
  • Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla
  • Malus ‘Prairifire’
  • Rosa x hybrid ‘Charlotte’ hips,
  • Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Giant Exhibition Magma’

I am going to be sad when going out to the garden does not produce such bountiful clippings of color. I do a lot of brainstorming during the winter months and these flowers and foliage provide fresh inspiration that the grey and white Ohio winters cannot. Here’s to enjoying it while it lasts.

Design Identified – Andrea Cochran

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It’s funny how things click together. A couple of years ago when I was wondering the suburbs of Detroit I stumbled upon this massive residential job site.  The site was surrounded by a large screen- well of course that just sparked my interest. Then of course this past summer while in Detroit, I stumbled back across the finished product, a modern concrete house in the traditional Birmingham neighbor with a striking modern landscape. The landscape was particularly modern because of the use of Corten, land form and the use of mass planting. As a design element, corten steel is more often seen on the coasts and not much here in the Midwest outside of commercial design. I stopped and took photos of the house, but had the wrong lens for the camera so never posted. A few weeks later, while on Pinterest I came across an image of the garden attributed to Andrea Cochran, which perfectly aligns. Then just this week my wife handed me an old article from WSJ Magazine with the home owner and house featured (LINK to article here). Between the two sources it provided the complete story of the garden – the home owners tastes and desires with the landscape architect’s knowledge and aesthetic. (I was also able to get more details from some other sources).

Design Identified - Andrea Cochran, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, photo by Nick McCullough

Design Identified - Andrea Cochran, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, photo by Nick McCullough

Above two images I took during this summer (2014).

The plants palette for the garden was kept to a hand full of species- which is indicative a modern planting scheme.  From what I could see from the passerby point of view the plant list consists of Heritage River Birch (Betula nigra ‘Heritage’) single stem, Rhus aromatica ‘Grow-Low’ (Grow-Low Sumac), Thorn-less Honey Locust (Gledistsia triacanthos var. inermis), Yew (Taxus xmedia), Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum), Eastern Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis),  Upright European Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’) or Upright European Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Fastigiata’)

 

Here is the background information from Andrea Cochran’s website:

“The courtyards of this Michigan residence are integral to the overall architecture. Each is an exquisitely designed piece of art that extends and enlivens the living spaces. Views into these oases offer a counterpoint to the austere modern interiors, while also providing immediate access to the open air. The designs both soften and create continuity with the character of the house, interweaving architecture and landscape seamlessly.”

Design Identified - Andrea Cochran, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, photo

Design Identified - Andrea Cochran, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The above two images are taken from Andrea Cochran’s website. The first is of the street view of the home and the second is of the courtyard space behind the home.

 

Here are more details and schematics of the home via the architect of the home, Steven Sivak.  (LINK to more photos here).

Design Identified - Andrea Cochran, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Design Identified - Andrea Cochran, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The plans are for the garage in the back to be covered in ivy and be a giant green box. This will be a unique area since it is already cocooned into a courtyard hedge.

 

Design Identified - Andrea Cochran, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodDesign Identified - Andrea Cochran, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The above two images are taken from Andrea Cochran’s website. The cor-ten sculpture is created in the style of Chris Burden  and installed by MBM Fabricators.

 

Here are some of the plants IDed in the design of the project.

 

Seasonal Color for Your Mood

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I am an advocate container and seasonal color for the ability to change your homes’ mood from season to season and introduce elements that provide a twist to the story of your landscape. This home in historical German Village is a great showcase how seasonal color can provide serious (and noncommittal) impact. The front yard space is about 7 feet deep and is planted with low, monochromatic and textural plantings. This was done intentionally to place the focus the window boxes and containers which are replanted four times a year with annuals and perennials. This frequent change allows us to change the mood and tones of the garden with the seasons and homeowners’ humor.

Summer 2014 – Color Explosion 

Seasonal Color for Your Mood, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Our color expert, Steve, and I created the combo for the windows to showcase an explosion of color. As you look at the house the two window boxes flank a central planter that is plant with Sterlitzia nicolai and Ipomea ‘Illusion Emerald Lace’.  The containers were kept simple with just two species because the window boxes behind were the real show in this case.

Seasonal Color for Your Mood, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Coleus ‘Dark Chocolate’, Lantana ‘Luscious Lemonade’, Begonia bolivensis ‘Waterfall Encanto Orange’,  Setcreasea pallida ‘Purple Heart’, and Dichondra argentea ‘Emerald Falls’, Seasonal Color for Your Mood, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

In this pair of window boxes you can see the amount of color and texture that is billowing over the edges.  Plant Identification (Starting from the top down) Coleus ‘Dark Chocolate’, Lantana ‘Luscious Lemonade’, Begonia bolivensis ‘Waterfall Encanto Orange’,  Setcreasea pallida ‘Purple Heart’, and Dichondra argentea ‘Emerald Falls’

 

Fall 2013 – Dark & Moody 

As we moved into fall the planters were planted in a monochromatic scheme of blue and purples.  Redbor Kale (Brassica oleracea ‘Redbor’ and Medusa Ornamental Pepper (Capsicum annuum) were used alongside pansies to add some fall flair.

 

Seasonal Color for Your Mood, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodSeasonal Color for Your Mood, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Looking at the planter with Redbor Kale, Medusa Peppers and Silver Scroll Heuchera and Setcreasea pallida ‘Purple Heart’

 

Winter 2013: Extened greens

Adding Winter containers are normally the most appreciated in Ohio when most landscapes are brown, grey and dull green.  Adding lights and hits of color always brings a welcomig impact that can stay long past the traditional Christmas decorations. The planters are filled with a Fraser Fir greenery, Southern Magnolia, Leyland cypress and scarlet curly willow.

 Fraser Fir greenery, Southern Magnolia, Leyland cypress and scarlet curly willow, Seasonal Color for Your Mood, Thinking Outside the Boxwood  Fraser Fir greenery, Southern Magnolia, Leyland cypress and eucalyptus:  Seasonal Color for Your Mood, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Looking at the front door we also draped the entry with a lush garland to welcome holiday guests and passersby. The garland and wreath at the front and embellished with eucalyptus, magnolia and Leyland  cypress  to tie in with the window boxes and planters.

Kenneth Lynch & Sons, Inc.

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The other weekend my father-in-law gifted me with a copy of Kenneth Lynch & Son’s Garden Ornaments catalog from the 1970s. It is 176 pages of garden furniture, ornaments, containers, fountains, and statues made in cast stone, iron and lead. Tucked inside was a reprinted article from the September, 1951 issue of The Saturday Evening Post about the company founder, Kenneth Lynch. Trained as a blacksmith, Lynch was known for his work in restoring and recreating metal armor and motto “if its made of metal, Kenneth Lynch can make it.” He expanded his design offering from purchasing the cast off molds, dies and patterns from other metal smiths marginal lines.

Kenneth Lynch & Sons, Inc., Thinking Outside the Boxwood

On the left is my 1970s catalog. On the right is the catalog/book I received when I contacted Kenneth Lynch & Sons for a copy of their current catalog. There are some products that are listed in both, but both feature items not included in the other.  If you are interested in their products you really need to request a catalog or download the PDF version. The website does not provide great photo examples of their work outside the catalog. 

 

The Saturday Evening Post article gave a great framework on the company’s history and transformation. It includes the great lesson to always say yes and have a “can do attitude,” you never know where that will take you. My favorite anadote is how he had a police officer help him steal a one of a kind sample bench for the 1939-40 World’s Fair so he could copy measurements and make molds to help win the work fabricating the 800 benches needed for the fair. Also, he did the work within the two week deadline.

Kenneth Lynch & Sons, Inc., Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Here is the drawings for the Worlds Fair Bench, which is also used in New York City Parks. If interested you can still order this bench design. 

 

Even if you are not thinking of purchasing from the company, the catalogs give you great inspiration for design work and containers. Here are some detailed shots from inside the catalog of favorite pages.

Kenneth Lynch & Sons, Inc., Thinking Outside the Boxwood

A lot of these tables do not appear in the current catalog, but I like the legs on the wrought iron legs. Simple design without a lot of extra flourish. 

 

Kenneth Lynch & Sons, Inc., Thinking Outside the Boxwood

I gather planters were not a favorite product since there were just a few pages of containers. What they do offer are a lot of different shapes and scale. 

 

Kenneth Lynch & Sons, Inc., Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Showcase of the detailed banning options for lead containers. 

 

Kenneth Lynch & Sons, Inc., Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The animal shapes of the kids playground equipment are amazing and great reference for making some almost mid century topiary shapes. 

 

Kenneth Lynch & Sons, Inc., Thinking Outside the Boxwood Kenneth Lynch & Sons, Inc., Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The straight lines of the chairs on the bottom left feel modern and contemporary. Even the scroll own on the loungers are unique and different from current items on the market. 

 

Here are some photos from the current catalog of products. You can see the catalogs are set up much of the same way with black and white photos.

Kenneth Lynch & Sons, Inc., Thinking Outside the Boxwood Kenneth Lynch & Sons, Inc., Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Their current catalog has beautiful cisterns that would great in formal spaces or used as garden planters. The catalog also includes cast stone and lead animal statues; deer, dogs, birds and the more exotic kangaroo or hippo.  

 

I would recommend the 1970s (or 60′s) book for any garden designer for creative reference. I found a few listed on eBay for anyone interested:

  • 1966 Garden Ornaments Catalog, by Kenneth Lynch & Sons – currently $50, Buy it Now.
  • 1961 Garden Ornaments Wholesale Catalog – Kenneth Lynch & Sons – Currently $45, Buy it Now
  • Garden Ornament an Encyclopedia from Kenneth Lynch & Sons – currently $16 (this is a bound book compared to my copy, and looks to have different images)

Here are links to the Kenneth Lynch & Sons company information. I was not able to find a lot of color photograph examples of their products nor have I ever used their products.

 

If any one is interested in the full article from The Saturday Evening Post, I can scan the article and send you a pdf. It was very entertaining and you appreciate all that Lynch accomplished in his life.