And Off to Ireland We Go

In just a couple of days I'm heading to Ireland with a fellow instructor and twenty excited students. This will be my first trip there and I'm over-the-top thrilled for this opportunity. We've been preparing all semester in a pre-trip Ireland course learning about their gardens, food, history, flora, fauna plus a multitude of Irish topics. Because of this you may not hear from me for a couple of weeks, but I will be posting daily on Instagram and periodically on Facebook and TwitterFeel free to visit me in those locations.

Some of the gardens we'll be exploring include:

Belvedere House Gardens & Park

Irish National Stud's Japanese Gardens

Powerscourt Estate

National Botanic Gardens of Ireland

I look forward to sharing photos and stories with you when I return.  Happy spring!

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Draw Your Plants: Worksheet

A great way to learn plants is to actually draw them. Taking the time to put pencil to paper allows you to closely study the shape of leaves, the detail of flowers and the overall structure of a plant. What a great way to be creative and learn in the process.

You can start a sketchbook for your collection of plant drawings or keep a binder of the worksheets below. Click on the image to download a .pdf, then start drawing and enjoy the process of learning your plants! The .pdf includes three sheets: one in color, one in black and white, plus an example like the one below.

To learn more about drawing your plants I've included two links to past posts on this subject. The first includes some examples of plant illustrations and the second is a video of me drawing one. Happy drawing!

DRAW YOUR PLANTS TO LEARN THEM

DRAW YOUR PLANTS VIDEO: COTONEASTER


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Garden Triangles

I enjoy connecting patterns seen in fashion to garden design, so when my daughter purchased a pair of socks covered in triangles I began my search for the same shape in gardens. Below is a sprinkling of images that have beautifully incorporated the triangle into the landscape. Can you find all the triangles below? If you'd like to see more examples, please visit my Pinterest board

Images via: 1. Pinterest (original source unknown) | 2. Planters Garden | 3. DIY Crafts You | 4. In the Family Lawn Care | 5. Back Bay Pottery | 6. Landezine | 7. Chiot's Run | 8. Cowparsley


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Salt and Pepper Planting Design

Last week I had the opportunity to present at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival in Orlando, Florida. An amazing experience that allowed me to not only meet wonderful Disney staff and enthusiastic gardeners, but also the fortune of taking in all the beautiful horticulture displays.

Photos taken at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Photos taken at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Among all the intricate topiaries were beds of lovely mixed annuals. Typically annuals are planted in bold monochromatic sweeps, but the Disney horticulture staff has blended many of their annual beds into what they call a "salt and pepper" approach. Imagine the large monochromatic sweeps being pulled together so they overlap. The result is a dynamic carpet of spotted color.  Very fun and something that can easily be done in your garden with annuals or perennials.

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Garden Doodle Sheets: Circles

If you have the opportunity to enjoy a spring break, take time to relax and doodle some garden ideas. Grab a pen and explore different ways you might design the spaces below. Try different plant symbols, ground textures and hardscape materials. Both plans incorporate the circle as the main structure. How would you create a tiny garden with a circle theme? Click on the image below to download a .pdf of the plans to doodle yourself.

 For additional garden doodle sheets, please click here.  When you've completed your garden doodles, please share them on Instagram or Twitter with #DrawYourGarden. 

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My Sketchbook

I always carry a sketchbook with me.  It's my place to capture ideas...whether in words or images.  I started this quest to save my thoughts in large (8.5" x 11" or bigger) sketchbooks, but failed to fill them in. The main reason - they were too bulky to carry with me.  My ideas didn't conveniently appear when my sketchbook was sitting next to me, but when I was out in the world without it. 

I finally realized my sketchbooks had to be small so I could tuck them into my purse. Now I easily fill each one and have a lovely collection of illustrations, quotes, processes, product ideas and so on.  Some people ask, "why don't you just use a camera to collect ideas?" Because sometimes there isn't some "thing" from which to take a photo. Seeing can lead to processing something new that needs to be jotted down.  I also love practicing techniques like lettering, textures, line weights and drawing plants. A camera can't capture everything.

 I have to admit, these have been great for my kids too.  When we are waiting at a restaurant or doctor's office, I can whip out my sketchbook and they are mesmerized as they fill in blank pages with their beautiful drawings. If you would like to capture your ideas and have a place to draw on the spot, find a sweet little sketchbook to tuck into your pocket. Please share photos of your sketchbook on my Facebook page or on Instagram with #DrawYourGarden.

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Curvilinear Preliminary Design

About a year ago I did a series of posts that showcased three parts of the design process. For those that struggle with how to start their landscape design this process is amazing. The idea is to arrange your spaces conceptually with bubbles, move those bubbles towards strong shapes, then finally place plant materials to reinforce your outdoor rooms. Click on the steps below to learn about them in more detail.

1. Bubble (or Functional) Diagrams

2. Garden Structure Studies

3. Preliminary Designs

Last year I created four garden structure options and drew one as a preliminary design.  I promised to choose another in the future and here we are!  Several of you asked if I would draw the curvilinear design, so you can now find it below. Enjoy!

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Garden Hearts

Since February is the month of love I thought it would be fun to go on a garden heart scavenger hunt. Some of my finds are below and many more can be found on this Pinterest Board. I hope you have a lovely Valentine's Day!

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