Sunday, June 28, 2015

White Space

In graphic design, white space refers to the blank areas on a printed page. 
It allows the eye to see the print or graphics better. 
It lets everything else exist within the space. And it gives the eye a rest. 
Here is the tidy garden at the peaceful Saint-Paul Asylum in Saint-Remy-de-Provence 
where Van Gogh was a self-admitted patient. Ahh.

I never really thought about white space in a garden 
because I love the exuberance of an overflowing cottage garden. 
That is, until I recently returned from a week-long trip.
While I was gone, it rained every day and then the sun came out in force, 
unusual for Denver's dry, pleasant climate. 
It was a natural greenhouse and the garden loved it. 
I have delphiniums that must be ten feet tall. Really.

Some of the garden was so dense, you couldn't walk through it 
even though there are brick walks or stepping stones meandering through it.

It was lush and beautiful but too much. 
I couldn't see where one plant ended and another began. 
I couldn't focus on the individual plants as my eye jumped from one to another. 
My eyes couldn't rest.

So, even though I hate pulling out perfectly healthy plants, 
I had to start creating some white space.
Out went several tall orange poppies flopping into the columbine, 
some forget-me-nots clogging up the stepping stone path, 
and a thistle that has beautiful blue blooms but is invasive and has big teeth. 

The ornamental grasses were well behaved as were the rose bushes. 
The delphiniums are fast becoming my favorite bloomers and can re-seed as much as they like.
And the goats-beard with its long whiskery strands stays put in its space by the fence.

As I filled more and more white plastic buckets with plants, the garden began to breathe. 
The black-eyed susans and agastaches spread out their droopy arms 
and each plant seemed to shine in its own glory. 
I can see the paths and they invite me to enter. And I appreciate the white space.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Dog's Life

Hi there! 
My name is Roxy and I am a rescue Maltese/Bichon Frise.
I am a little bit French so I'm definitely qualified to take over this blog
for Mommy while she is visiting her sister in Ohio. 

My jobs around here are simple but exhausting:  Sleeping...

Begging, perched on a pillow, of course ...

Keeping an eye on things from my favorite bed in the thyme...

Did I mention napping? Can you find me?

Now, where was I?
Oh, yes. This is supposed to be about French Country, isn't it?

Mommy wouldn't admit this
but I'm the one who really gets French Country...
 the comfy beds (I mean chairs),
the old furniture that doesn't matter if it gets scratched,
the . . . hold on a minute . . . SQUIRREL ALERT!!!

Ah, that was fun but I digress.
Where is that Mommy, anyway?

Thank goodness Daddy feeds me, rubs my tummy and takes me for walkies.

I just went to the dreaded groomer for my summer do.
How do I look?
A bit too short I say.
At least it's cool and I probably lost a couple of pounds!

Going to the salon is so stressful.
Think I'll take a quick nap.
When I get lonely, I grab a toy from my toy basket to keep me company.
I can't wait for her to come home.

Oh boy! She's back!!!

Now, maybe I can get some sleep. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Is it worth saving?

The French are famous for passing down well-loved furniture, rugs, paintings and accessories. 
Some things have been in the same family for centuries. 
Are we too quick to throw things away instead of seeing the beauty still left in them?

When I found this old Singer sewing machine base, it seemed to be missing something
. . . its top!
But I took it home anyway and appreciated the intricate metalwork base. 

Then, one day, I discovered a discarded metal grate at a thrift store.
 I think it was a mat to wipe your muddy feet on in a previous life.
I knew right away where it was going.

It found a new home on top of the sewing machine base but it still looked a little lost.

So I added a pot of impatiens, a chippy watering can and a rusted lantern. 
I needed to give the lantern a bit of height so I placed a piece of a tree limb 
that had to be cut down this year under it. 

Added a candle and it's perfect in an empty corner of my patio.

For entertaining, I can put a tray or a wooden cutting board
 over the metal grate to provide stability for glasses and wine.

Definitely worth saving and passing down some day.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What is a vignette?

Vignette. I love the word.

In French, it refers to a "little vine." How very French!

The dictionary defines it as a short literary sketch
or a descriptive scene in a play.
Someone once said, "A good vignette leaves you wanting more."
I like that one.

To me, a vignette is a snapshot in time, capturing a moment . . . evocative, impressionistic. 

A glimpse of the past.

A moment right now.

A daydream of the future.

Gather those things that mean something to you
and arrange them artfully.

A vignette isn't just a display of pretty things. It tells a story.

The best vignettes are personal . . .
and leave you wanting more.

Linking with:  Knick of TimeShabby Nest

Thursday, June 4, 2015

French Country Garden

What makes a garden French Country?

You don't have to have an intricate parterre or a huge limestone fountain 
to create the feeling of Provence in your garden.

When I returned from a trip to France, one of the first things I did was tear out some grass. 
And then, a little more grass. 
In France, I loved the sound of walking on gravel paths in the gardens, museum courtyards 
and the path leading up to the Eiffel Tower.

So, I ripped out the grass and designed curved gravel paths in my front and back yards.
 Every time I walk on them, I'm transported to France. 
The edges are softened with thyme, creeping phlox, wild geraniums and soapwort.

Each year, I seem to expand the garden spaces around the house by eliminating more and more grass. When I first moved here, the yard was all grass with a crabapple tree in the middle of the back yard. Now, the gardens have taken over and encircle the house.

The front yard path curves around the porch through a chippy metal arch to the side garden.
The path is filled with pea gravel and crunches when you walk on it.

The back yard path winds like a snake to the back gate. 
This one holds "red chip" and matches the red flagstone patio. 
I think red chip is just flagstone scrap pieces that have been broken into tiny pieces.

A dry stream bed with a brick path lends a natural touch.

Another feature that enhances that French Country feeling is a bistro table and chairs. 
I found mine on Craigslist. They've found a home under that crabapple, 
complete with hanging lanterns. A perfect spot to admire the sunset with a glass of wine.

Add a recirculating wall fountain for a soothing sound 
and pots overflowing with flowers and voila
French Country at the foot of the Rockies.

Now, if I just had a rooster!