Waiting on Spring…

Landscape Design, My Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well at least the sun is shining today, but as I write the temperature is just above freezing with no foreseeable spring temps. Normally by the first week of April we have done 2 rounds of mowing, and this year we have yet to put mower to turf. Now we are into the “April showers” and the ground is over saturated with 3 inches plus of rain in just the past few days. As gardeners we forget how cruel spring can be for our anxiousness to get outside and work. The only good part is extending the winter off-season project completion timetable, which includes finally the site redesign which is just moving into development.

 

Since it looks like another week of cold, wind and threat of snow, here are some summer garden images of projects from last year to warm you up until more spring action starts in the garden.

The wedding Garden at Oak Grove. 100 year old Lord & Burnham greenhouse and tobacco barn surrounds a cocktail lawn. Design by McCullough's Landscape & Nursery.

The gardens surrounding Oak Grove, a wedding and event space outside Columbus, will be even grander this summer as they mature in their second year in the ground. Over the winter the space is expanding to include a 250 guest dinning space with the surround pastural setting taking center stage. More to come once the space opens in the coming weeks (previews on my instagram).

 

A small space garden with a large impact with seasonal color, dog friendly design and making the most of a smaller garden. Design, Install and Maintenance by McCullough's Landscape & Nursery

This garden was planted two years ago so this year it will be fully matured and ready for photographing extensively. (a good guide for planting expectations is first year it looks good, second year great, and by the third year best.) The back garden is about 100 feet wide by 25 feet deep, so every space needed to be functional and beautiful. This garden is great for showing how focusing on good bones and function combined with purposeful placement of seasonal color can maximize a homeowner’s enjoyment.

 

 

A french influenced garden located in the art of the Midwest, is planted with a large sweeping bed of fragrant lavender. Design, Install and Maintenance by McCullough's Landscape & Nursery

Every June we count down the days for when this large sweep of hybrid lavender (LavenderPhenomenal‘) comes into bloom. The entire courtyard of this home (and street) is overrun with the intoxicating scent. Last year we even harvested a few of the plant’s stocks for drying and creating lavender sachets for the client as a holiday gift. This is another garden that keeps getting better year after year and is ready for a full scale photoshoot.

 

This garden showcases the magic of landscape lighting with a selection Hinkley Outdoor lighting. More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Last summer I worked with Hinkely Lighting at a client’s home for shooting Hinkely’s outdoor lighting collection in use. It was an amazing two days. I am excited to showcase how this garden evolves when the sun goes down and the lighting keeps the garden alive in a future post.

 

Well by the time I finished this post, I have been able to enjoy how much warmth the sun can provide even on a cold day. An old wives tale states, three snows remaining after forsythia blooms.  Our forsythia started blooming early last week and we have had two noticeable snows, that leaves one more and finally spring can arrive.

Using Faux Bois in the Garden

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While visiting the Nashville Antique and Garden Show this year, faux bois was one of the key items featured in the garden dealer booths. These items were all sold early on Friday, proving their popularity. All these were made of concrete, included moss patina, and most were brought back from Europe by the dealers. Faux bois details are great in many gardens for this contrast of cottage and modern. There is also many different ways you can add it to your garden.

Collection of antique Faux Bois planters seen at the Nashville Antique & Garden Show - More images and details at Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

CONCRETE FAUX BOIS

One of my favorite garden containers I own is the faux bois planter next to our back door. It is my favorite for a few reasons. First the story of when and where we found it. (It was on a detoured state route in rural Wisconsin on our trip back from the PPA symposium in Minneapolis, MN. It caused us to u-turn in the middle of the road and strapping down luggage to get it back to Ohio.) It is also my favorite for the mix natural wood graining in the rough and raw texture of concrete. The fact it needs leveled with pennies, missing a small chuck in a foot, and an amateur repair on side adds to its charm.

Faux Bois Planter over the season - how to incorporate faux bois into the garden - more at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Our container at home at a few different seasons. This is placed at our back porch against the black portion of our home which makes both the container and plantings pop.

 

Faux Bois fiber cement table top planter filled with succulents - more at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

This is a small concrete planter belonging to a client that is planted with succulents. The smaller sized containers look great on outdoor or indoor tables and do not require a crew of people to move.

 

Faux Bois planter filled with ferns seen in Preston CT. - More on Faux Bois at Thinking Outside the Boxwood

We saw this faux bois planter in Preston, CT over the summer filled with ferns. Something this size is extremely heavy but its heft is scale and weight gave it the realistic feeling of a carved out tree trunk.

 

Outside of planters, faux bois can be added to the garden in furniture. There is antique furniture and contemporary designers still crafting in these designs today. Carlos Cortes is the most recognized craftsman, (see article from Martha Stewart here). Other designers include Branch Studio, Husson Studio, and  Marcella Marie.  Outside of using concrete you can also find cast iron benches with faux bois details.

 

RESIN FAUX BOIS

Besides our concrete planter, we have had a wood stump planter that was painted at one time to look like a real wood stump, but over the past few years has chipped off. This is a much more manageable size to use and moves around from inside to outdoors. This one is made of a mystery resin and was purchased a long time ago at auction with no maker marks. Even up close this planter looks very realistic compared to the concrete versions.

Using Faux Bois in the Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

CAST IRON FAUX BOIS

Cast Iron Faux bois is another antique item you can use to add to the garden. From benches, hitching posts and ornaments, the cast iron stands up to wear and tear. Oddly enough we saw no cast iron faux bois while at the Nashville antique and garden show.

Faux Bois in the Garden - Cast Iron Hitching Post at Moss Mountain Farm. More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

This cast iron hitching post is from Moss Mountain Farm, the home of P.Allen Smith. Painted black it is the perfect fix of form and function.

 

Using Faux Bois in the garden - Metal Edging that evokes bent branches. More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Here are two runs of metal edging that evoke the look of bent branches. Adding these are a subtle nod to natural elements in the garden while serving a function creating edges to different areas.

 

 

SEWER TILE FAUX BOIS

Another antique faux bois planter belonging to my in-laws collection is made by sewer tile craftsmen. These are made from the same material as the tile, so have the color of the red clay used. These are American made but are equally expensive as their European counter parts for their rarity.

Using Faux Bois in the Garden - 20th Century Sewer Tile Faux Bois Planter - More examples on Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

This planter is about 2 feet tall and 3ft wide and crafted using clay used to craft sewer tiles. This planter was purchased in Southern Ohio and was most likely made by a Ohio craftsman.

 

 

BOARD FORMED CONCRETE

Finally, the most contemporary way of adding faux bois to the garden is using board formed concrete. This could be in retaining walls or in fireplaces, really any were you would use poured concrete. These are created using wood boards that have been sandblasted to bring out the graining in the forming process. HERE  is a great post about how it is accomplished.

 

Faux Bois in the Garden - Board Formed Concrete from Howells Architecture +Design from Dwell. More uses at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

A board formed concrete wall from Howell Architecture + Design via Dwell.com This method can be used for fire pits, walls and raised beds.

 

 

Here is a round up of some faux bois planters that don/t require visiting antique shows , France or farm auctions.

Using Faux Bois in the Garden with containers - More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

(1) Martha Stewart for QVC 19 inch Planter

(2) Capital Garden Products Driftwood Planter

(3) 910Casting Concrete Faux Bois Planter

(4) Pennoyer Newman Tree Hallow Planter

 

I ordered the Martha Stewart QVC 19” planter, and will let you know what I think about it when it arrives in March. Also, this spring I am planning on selling some of our antique garden items. I have held on to stuff for too long and it’s time to pass along and make room for new items. Will keep you posted, but I know metal edging is going to be up for grabs.

 

GARDEN TOURS: Asian-infused in Weston, MA

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White birch and Azalea, GARDEN TOURS: Asian-infused in Weston, MA. Thinking Outside the Boxwood

This garden was a feature on the last day of the garden tours during the conference. (There is a post conference day of tours as well as the two days during the conference).  This was the most extremely detailed garden with meticulous maintenance.  The home on the property is a modernist glass-walled that is nestled into the landscape with a seamless transition between indoors and out. The image above features White Birch dotted with a large stones and a mass of green under-planting of Azalea.

DESIGNERS: Zen Associates

 Asian-infused in Weston, MA. Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The entrance of the house features 100s of boxwood pruned to maintain their individual spherical domes. The base color palate of the entire 6 acre property is limited to greens and white with additional tones added by the Black Mist granite and other natural stonework. Note the small river rock edging between the boxwood and driveway, which is seen again in the next photo to blend transitions.

 Asian-infused in Weston, MA. Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Acer palmatum var. dis. 'Virdis'

Throughout the gardens are strategically placed conifers / Japanese maple that are pruned and maintained to highlight their unique form and structure.  Many of the conifers are place with immense detail among mossy boulders and creeping ground cover.

 Asian-infused in Weston, MA. Thinking Outside the Boxwood Asian-infused in Weston, MA. Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Stone plank bridge Asian-infused in Weston, MA. Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The garden is also home to a collection of contemporary sculpture that is placed intently to draw your eye.

 Asian-infused in Weston, MA. Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Bonsai collection

The owners collection of bonsai placed on custom stands that allow the homeowners to view them from inside the home with ease.  The bonsai are cared for by a bonsai sensei on a regular basis.  Some of the trees in the forest of bonsai are over 400 years old.

 Asian-infused in Weston, MA. Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Bonsai House

During the colder seasons, the bonsai move into the modern climate controlled bonsai house on the property.  In my next life I will have one as well.

 Asian-infused in Weston, MA. Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Bonsai House Asian-infused in Weston, MA. Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Bonsai House Asian-infused in Weston, MA. Thinking Outside the Boxwood

View back to the house over the 1/2 acre koi pond with three water falls.

 Asian-infused in Weston, MA. Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Stone spa

 

 Asian-infused in Weston, MA. Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Bonsai House