Designer’s Block- Ground Plain Inspiration

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This is the time of the year when I need to be on my game, the most creative, innovative…..  However this the point in the year when I feel most removed and beaten down by the winter.  To combat this “Designer’s Block” I peruse through images…. Pinterest, Instagram, and pictures from my travels.  Garden visiting is so vital to my creative being.  A change of scenery goes a long way into the generation of ideas.  I cherish the images I am able to capture on these journeys.

Today the focus is on the ground plain.  Paving is such a great way to set yourself as a designer.  I pride myself on my patterns and schemes I work into my designs.  Yes, I am a complete plant nerd- but I also love architecture and pattern.

Please enjoy images from my travels and I hope you find inspiration the pattern…..Maybe it will help to get you out of a funk, like it did me!

Designer's Block- Ground Plain Inspiration, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

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Garden Tour: Tuinen Mien Ruys

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THE GARDEN:

Called one of the most influential garden designers of the past century, Mien Ruys paved the for the modern Dutch landscape design. With a background in perennials and architecture Mien, bridged the gap between the two mediums to create her style.  She was not afraid to push the envelope of design and experimented with combination of different materials. The gardens reside at the site of her parents’ perennial nursery and over the course of her career expanded into collection of 30 experimental areas. The highlights of her designs include the use of space (woods, open grass, etc), adaptable perennials, water features and art in different balances. It was her use of perennials in clean and simplistic designs that set her apart from the contemporaries of her time, saying perennials made it possible to have an experience of nature in a garden.

 

Garden Inspiration: Mien Ruys, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

REFLECTIONS:

I was very fortunate to tour this garden in July of 2012 with a group from the Perennial Plant Association (PPA)- certified plant geeks!  Prior to visiting I had researched just enough to know what I was walking into.  I tend not to look at too many pictures prior to touring a garden because I don’t want my visions to be skewed by what others think I should be looking. So with a fresh perspective I walking into this iconic garden.  As with any Dutch garden the economy of space is well achieved.  The different garden rooms are divide very delicately so the garden flow is not disrupted- from one room to the next you are gently guided through the garden constantly wondering what is around the next hedge or at the end of the gravel path.  If I remember correctly I spent roughly 2 hours in the garden and that is more than enough time to stroll the different areas and contemplate the design elements.  I will say I visited on a weekday so the garden traffic was quite lite so I was able to take all my photos without someone strolling into my shot.  This garden was Mien’s proving ground or lab to experiment with different perennial combinations, to use new materials, or try a new technique.  The ever-present use of sculpture in each area tied the running theme together of the important Mien had of art in the garden.  There is no doubt Mien Ruys was one of the influential gardeners of her time.  She melded all of her loves together to create a moment in garden design we still see presents today in public and private garden.  This garden is a must visit if you love garden design as much as I do…..

 

WEBSITE:  http://www.tuinenmienruys.nl/en/ 

 

Garden Inspiration: Mien Ruys, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Taxus hedging frames the mirror pool beautifully and the addition of the Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ creates a striking yet elegant contrast to the dark green evergreen.

 

Garden Inspiration: Mien Ruys, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Garden Inspiration: Mien Ruys, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The corten “bending over’ silhouettes added a bit of whimsy to the garden. A great interpretation of the kitschy garden ornament.

 

Garden Inspiration: Mien Ruys, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Garden Inspiration: Mien Ruys, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ massed in the forefront surround a trickling water feature

 

Garden Inspiration: Mien Ruys, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Here is a detail shot of the water featured in the above image, flanked by the foliage of Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’

 

Garden Inspiration: Mien Ruys, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Garden Inspiration: Mien Ruys, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Garden Inspiration: Mien Ruys, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Garden Inspiration: Mien Ruys, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Garden Inspiration: Mien Ruys, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

MIEN RUYS (16 of 18)

Garden Inspiration: Mien Ruys, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Garden Inspiration: Mien Ruys, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Deschampsia cepitosa ‘Goldtau’ surround a corten sculpture.

 

Garden Inspiration: Mien Ruys, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Garden Inspiration: Mien Ruys, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

ADDITIONAL READING:

  • Anet Scholma, the director of Mien Ruys Landscape Gardening bureau in Amsterdam published a dinfinative book on Mien  Ruys avaialbe via the Tuinen Mien Ruys bookstore via email here. I attempted to find a copy on Amazon with no luck.
  • Women Garden Designers; 1900 to present. Kristina Taylor (April 2015). (This book does not release until April, 2015. With 10 pages dedicated to Mein Ruys, Rosemarie Weisse and Jinny Blom, its looks to be a book worth adding to your library.) 

 

NEARBY GARDENS:

  • Du Tuinen van Appeltern – These gardens are definate visit while in the area. I also visited in 2012 and will feature in an upcoming post.
  • Vijvertuinen Ada Hofman – This is a water garden featuring 50 ponds within 30 gardens. During my visit, I did not particularly enjoy these gardens. I prefer designs that include ponds, fountains and pools as an element of the overall design. At Ada Hofman the water features are the primary element without the balance of plants, trees and negative space I prefer.

What to grow?

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January is the month of seed catalogs and research for what to grow in the upcoming seasons. I keep a running list of plants that caught my interest the previous year, thumb through books and review Pinterest to pull together my order list. We have the benefit of a greenhouse and production fields that allow us to grow more unique varieties or nurture plants for a longer period to get items that are not easily available.

 

Cut Flower Inspiration:

I am currently researching what to grow on Red Twig Farms for the local flower markets. Our production fields currently produce peonies, dahlias, french pussy willows, alliums, ornamental branches and berries. We are looking for items more grand than zinnias and sunflowers, but will continue the cut from the garden feeling. My search for options normally starts on our bookshelf and our collection of flower specific books. Our cut flower specific books are a lot smaller than the garden design and plant tomes, and includes some rather older books as well as recent releases.

books to inspire growing flowers

 

Seedheads in the Garden. By Noel Kingsbury

Lee Bailey’s Country Flowers. By Lee Bailey

Bringing Nature Home. By Ngoc Minh Ngo

Flowers Rediscoveredby Madderlake, Tom Pritchard, Billy Jarecki, and Allen Boehmer

Flower Design. By Bridget von Boch

Living Color. By Paula Pryke

A Passion for Flowers. Carolyne Roehm

To Have & To Hold. by David Stark and Avi Adler

Fresh Cuts. Ken Druse, Edwina Van Cal and John M. Hall

The Flower Recipe Book. Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo

 

 

FOR A CREATIVE OUTLET:

Also under the work on Red Twig Farms, we are growing specimen trees and shrubs. While I was in Belgium I was inspired by the nurseries and how in land much smaller than what we have, were growing amazing trees that they spent years training. This summer I ordered a truck of young Carpinus betulus  (European Hornbeam) that I am in the process of training in shapes and allee forms. I am looking forward to the time and training that goes into creating the art forms. I am working on a post about this tree as a Plant ID, which will include all the tree’s details.

 

 

Plants for Container Designs:

If you looked at our online portfolio of work you see that we do a lot of container designs.(http://mccland.com/Portfolio/3)  We have fun with this type of work because given its seasonal nature and small investment, we can experiment with different plant combos and go for big impact by playing with color, texture and height. I really think my best inspiration is travel, a change of scenery goes a long way in taking your imagination down a different, maybe more inspired path.  I had a chance to listen to Dan Benarcik, from the famed Chanticleer Garden (http://www.chanticleergarden.org/), this past Sunday at the Perennial Plant Association P.L.A.N.T. seminar in Columbus OH.  Dan gave a truly inspiring talk on his sources of creativity……and it was like he was speaking directly to me.  He too confides in his travels for a creative reset….If you have a chance to hear Dan talk, do not hesitate- you will not be disappointing.  When I travel I use my camera as my journal.  Click away, you never know when you might need a creative jump start.

Chanticleer Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Some of Dan’s work from a visit to Chanticleer Gardens a number of years ago I still draw inspiration from…

Chanticleer Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Mixed tropical and grass plantings at behind a boxwood hedge and Chanticleer.

Chanticleer Gardens, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Golden hops trained on steel cages in a central courtyard at Chanticleer.

Thomas Hobbs private garden outside Vancouver, BC.  Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Planters from Thomas Hobbs private garden outside Vancouver BC.

swirled heather planting and cobble stone, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

A swirled planting of heather and a cobble stone path outside Vancouver, BC

Nicotiana and Cleome at Butchard Gardens, BC. Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

Massed Nicotiana and and Cleome at Butchard Gardens Brentwood Bay, BC