Lessons from Moss Mountain Farm

G A R D E N S, Inspiration, Landscape Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Elements of Moss Mountain farm you can use in your own garden - thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Back in May, I was fortunate to be invited back to P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm for the seventh Garden2Grow, my second. The event features two days of brands and passionate social gurus across home, food and gardening categories touring an amazing garden, discussing and learning from folks openly sharing their knowledge. After I left Arkansas, I came back re-energized with expanded knowledge and network of colleagues.

 

Elements of Moss Mountain farm you can use in your own garden - thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Allen designed Moss Mountain as a ferme ornée, a French phrase translated into ornamental farm. This was the same concept Thomas Jefferson applied in the grounds around Monticello, making the utility of farming beautiful and enjoyable to view. Ferme ornée can be applied to any home by incorporating utility plantings and elements into your ornamental garden beds with your neighbors being none the wiser. In the spirit of transforming your home into a ferme ornée, here are some elements from Moss Mountain you can apply in any home garden.

 

 

Ornamental Mow Paths

In the Midwest we have the luxury of space many do not have, but often open space around homes is surrounded by expansive field of grass. Moss Mountain features areas of native grasses and that are left to grow and only designed paths meandering paths mowed through.

Use designed mow paths to great interest in large open areas instead of large areas of formal lawn. Moss Mountain Farm - More details at thinkoutsidetheboxwood.com

Use designed mow paths to create structure in large informal areas, instead of maintaining formal lawn. Photo of Moss Mountain Farm, more at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

Signature Color

Outside the riot of bloom colors, using a signature color to tie together different areas of the garden and give all areas a sense of belonging to a certain place, signature paint color can provide that thread. Moss Mountain features trellis painted in a pale blue/green that match the gate of the decorative chicken pavilion. This color will continue to provide color to the garden, even when nothing is in bloom.

Use of a signature color throughout different garden rooms unifies spaces. garden trellises at Moss Mountain Farm - more images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Elements of Moss Mountain farm you can use in your own garden - thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

Dark Framework

Throughout the farm, the outbuildings all share the same signature dark black/brown color (another signature color). Dark architectural elements provide an amazing backdrop of the varied greens to pop and play hero compared to using white that can steal the spotlight from your plantings.

Dark colors on architectural elements provide striking element to the green foliage in a garden. Fence at Moss Mountain Farm - more at Thinking Outside The Boxwood

A collection of cut floral from uBloom waiting to be arranged, barn at Moss Mountain Farm. More images at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

Vegetable Garden Architecture

The vegetable garden at Moss Mountain is breathtaking in its formal planting design, scale and planting combination. The scale is difficult for many, but the combination of structure throughout is a source of inspiration and application. Using walk-able tunnels and natural elements for vining plants, a hedge row of asparagus for structure and hierarchy plantings in each bed take the very utilitarian and productive garden into a beautiful to view space. Below Allen used a common hog fence panel to sculpt his tunnel.

Using wire hog fencing to create a creeping vine tunnel to add structure to your vegetable garden. Garden at Moss Mountain Farm - More images at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

 

Edibles in Formal Areas

Directly surrounding the house are the formal, terraced gardens which feature a collection of annual and perennial plantings. Throughout the space, specimen edibles are placed to great structure and texture. Espalier apples and pears separate beds areas and a fig tree is focal point down a central pathway.

espiler trees in the formal gardens of Moss Mountain Farm - more images at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Elements for Moss Mountain Farm you can bring into your own garden. More at Thinkingoutsideboxwood.com

 

There are many more takeaways for any visitor to Moss Mountain beyond those mentioned above. On top of those listed, I still learned still more about video production, Instagram content, and content creation that I am still digesting.

 

Clouds rolling in at Moss Mountain Farm - More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

Our travels and the Garden2Grow event were sponsored by a list of great companies listed and linked below. Many of these are brands I have used personally and professionally before this event and continue after, others have altered my habits and the coffee we drink at home after learning from them.

Bonnie Plants

Good Dirt

Crescent Garden

Westrook Coffee Company

Sun Patiens

Sakata Home Grown

New Nordic Gardens by Annika Zetterman

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New Nordic Gardens by Annika Zetterman, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

I am so thankful for the connections created via Instagram. It is the social media platform that has allowed me to befriend designers I have long admired and more importantly, I have been exposed to individuals with unique perspectives I would have never known without the platform. One of the individuals I am thankful for finding is Annika Zetterman, (instagram) a Landscape based out of Sweden. Thanks to Instagram, I was given a heads up about her new book, New Nordic Gardens: Scandinavian Landscape Design. I am so thankful for her book since books on Scandinavian garden design are often not translated in English and are very difficult to get copies stateside. This combination makes learning about Nordic designers very difficult, but Annika is the liberator to us nordophiles.

 

New Nordic Gardens by Annika Zetterman, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodPhoto Credit © Annika Zetterman From New Nordic Gardens: Scandinavian Landscape Design by Annika Zetterman.

Scandinavian Garden design reflects the simplicity, quality and sustainability notability seen in the interior, product and fashion designs of the region. Materials are selected for long-term durability and connection to nature. Gardens are designed to be experiences from within, not just viewed from in doors or for the neighbors benefit. The New Nordic Gardens explains these innate Nordic principals while showcasing a vast collection of innovative applications that are all fresh and new projects that I have not seen before. You can see from my copy of the book in the intro image I have already marked dozens of pages for future reference.

 

Later this week I will have interview from Annika with all her favorite items. The book releases April 11, TODAY (well yesterday, technical difficulties yesterday)! (order on Amazon HERE). Here are a few image excerpts from the book, but I would highly recommend it to any designer or gardener looking to learn about  a true Nordic perspective in garden design.

New Nordic Gardens by Annika Zetterman, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodEnhancing the character of weak light

The light at noon is the most balanced light, appearing nearly white, while light in the early morning or afternoon can provide an array of color variations. Natural light changes frequently, and so gardens also change in their colors, often appearing extremely subtle in the characteristic low light of Scandinavia. This garden by Zetterman Garden Design, situated close to a bay in Värmdö, Stockholm, is enchantingly calm on a still day dominated by a beautiful, weak light.

Photo Credit © Annika Zetterman From New Nordic Gardens: Scandinavian Landscape Design by Annika Zetterman.

 

New Nordic Gardens by Annika Zetterman, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodTranquil sophistication

On late summer evenings we might finish the day with a swim. When adding water to a garden, with swimming pools and larger bodies of water in particular, consider how they will blend with the rest of the garden and the wider surroundings. Swimming pools are large and relatively solid in color, so choosing a tile, stone or liner that includes colors close to natural water bodies in the region will help the pool to blend in comfortably. This pool by Zetterman Garden Design in collaboration with Per Oberg Arkitekter in Saltsjöbaden, Sweden uses a mosaic containing greens and turquoises, conveying a feeling of tranquility and sophistication, and rests peacefully in the space.

Photo Credit © Annika Zetterman From New Nordic Gardens: Scandinavian Landscape Design by Annika Zetterman.

 

New Nordic Gardens by Annika Zetterman, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodSaltsjöbaden, Sweden

In summer Scandinavians like to do everything outside. We hang out laundry, move our indoor plants outside, chill in hammocks and share meals. Outdoor kitchens, built-in barbecues, pizza ovens, fish smokers and other cooking facilities are increasingly a normal part of our gardens. This black beauty in a garden by Zetterman Ggarden Design in Saltsjöbaden, Sweden is made from Danish brick, fired to withstand the cold winters, with its chimney standing tall like a sculpture perched on a cliff. A sloping sedum roof gives character to the oven, matching the small herb garden that sits in a pocket of the rock just below.

Photo Credit © Annika Zetterman From New Nordic Gardens: Scandinavian Landscape Design by Annika Zetterman.

A Thoughtful Gardener: An Intelligent Approach to Garden Design by Jinny Blom

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A Thoughtful Gardener: An Intelligent Approach to Garden Design by Jinny Blom, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

I have long been an admirer of Jinny Blom’s garden designs for the juxtaposition of feeling like they have always existed while being fresh and reflecting the current excitement in garden design. When she hinted at writing a book via Instagram early last year (@Jinny.Blom), I made a mental note to pre-order on Amazon. I am honored she accepted my request to review the book on Thinking Outside the Boxwood, and as a result got to read the book cover to cover before everyone else!

 

The short of the review is, YES you should buy this book. But here is why –

 

Gardening books typically fall into one of three categories; coffee Table/portfolio, DIY and Textbook/Plant geek. Generally a DIY book is not useful to the professional and a textbook/plant geek book can overwhelm a pleasure gardener or novice. The Thoughtful Garden falls into none of these categories.

 

Even though the book is filled with beautiful images worth studying and appreciating, this is not a coffee table book for thumbing through passively. The images are supporting figures for illustrating a thoughtful breakdown of her process for creating gardens that draw out the natural beauty with consideration to place, time and structure. Jinny pulls back the curtain to share her process with an honest dialogue, like her limited use of grasses or her love of Hybrid Tea roses.

 

A Thoughtful Gardener: An Intelligent Approach to Garden Design by Jinny Blom, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Jinny’s approach for creating a garden strongly highlights that gardens are more than just a collection of plants, with the first discussion on plant selection mentioned in chapter five. There is no chapter list to give the reader a cheat sheet to jump to a specific section, you need to read from beginning to end, for a gradual flow of the process woven between projects with time to pause between each topic to reflect before proceeding.

 

A Thoughtful Gardener: An Intelligent Approach to Garden Design by Jinny Blom, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

The process is littered with sage advice and practical tips that you could easily highlight and return to again and again. Some examples include:

  • Gardens used every day should be close to the house.
  • Posh path ways can meander, but practical routes should be direct.
  • Structure is the necessary corset of the garden
  • ‘First we must destroy’ – with the junk removed it is possible to really see the value in what is left.
  • The details make all the difference to the serenity and quality of the end project
  • Large gardens need division in order to give them intimacy

 

A Thoughtful Gardener: An Intelligent Approach to Garden Design by Jinny Blom, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

This quote towards the end of the book is the best recap of Jinny’s philosophy and what you will learn from The Thoughtful Gardener –

“My fundamental feeling is that it is the structure of the garden – its walls, surfaces, routes, views, water, structural planting such as trees and shrubbery, topiary and hedges – that ultimately counts.”

 

The book release date is next week on March 16,  so pre-order your copy from  Amazon and follow Jinny on Instagram. Once you get a copy of the book, please let me know what you think and how our thoughts compare. I will also report if there are any USA book tour dates announced for this year.