Estate Gardens, early 1900s, Northeast USA : The Photographs of Frances Benjamin Johnston (Pt. 2 of 2)

Estate Gardens, early 1900s, Northeast USA : The Photographs of Frances Benjamin Johnston (Pt. 2 of 2)

Extraordinary color photos of City Gardens of the American Northeast in the early 1900s by Frances B. Johnston.

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Growing Vegetables, Fruit, and Herbs in Your Garden

 Rooftop kitchen garden. It is possible to grow quite a variety of herbs, vegetables and fruit in a small space!

Rooftop kitchen garden. It is possible to grow quite a variety of herbs, vegetables and fruit in a small space!

 About 25sf of planters and pots supply produce from apple and cherry trees, raspberry and blueberry bushes, strawberry plants, a grape vine, as well as greens, tomatoes, peppers and a dozen different herbs.

About 25sf of planters and pots supply produce from apple and cherry trees, raspberry and blueberry bushes, strawberry plants, a grape vine, as well as greens, tomatoes, peppers and a dozen different herbs.

 Collecting some vegetables, herbs and fruits for the day's breakfast and lunch menu. Photo by Raquel de Favori ©2017.

Collecting some vegetables, herbs and fruits for the day's breakfast and lunch menu. Photo by Raquel de Favori ©2017.

 Tomatoes ripening in the roof garden.

Tomatoes ripening in the roof garden.

 Growing your own berries is not difficult at all. Ask the nursery about purchasing a male and a female plant, and for netting to place over the plants so that the birds don't take the berries before you!

Growing your own berries is not difficult at all. Ask the nursery about purchasing a male and a female plant, and for netting to place over the plants so that the birds don't take the berries before you!

 Grow your berries in a sunny spot

Grow your berries in a sunny spot

 Grapes don't have to overwhelm your garden; a lattice fence or even a parapet railing can support them in a sunny spot adequately sheltered from the wind.

Grapes don't have to overwhelm your garden; a lattice fence or even a parapet railing can support them in a sunny spot adequately sheltered from the wind.

 The sweetness of growing your own cherries.

The sweetness of growing your own cherries.

A Sense of Place

 Gate in an ancient yew hedge at Levens Hall, England's oldest garden.

Gate in an ancient yew hedge at Levens Hall, England's oldest garden.

The art of landscape design is by its nature ephemeral. While we have both histories of architecture and the buildings which date back sometimes millennia to experience our connection to the past, the history of gardens usually relies upon descriptions, drawings and plans from earlier eras to describe what once was (or to recreate what once was). One exception is the extraordinary Levens Hall garden in northern England, which was designed in the 1690s. 

 Topiary, Levens Hall, England.

Topiary, Levens Hall, England.

Levens Hall garden has been continuously maintained since its first days, in the 1690s and many of its topiary are 300 years old. It has walls of beech and yew hedging, a potager garden, an orchard, a rose garden, a bowling green, a "wilderness," and other mysterious, less purposeful but extremely atmospheric rooms. Its original owner, before the garden was commenced, lost the property through gambling ("Colonel James Grahme acquired the property, and the old tradition that Levens was won with the turn of the Ace of Hearts probably has some foundation in fact" --the estate's website).

 Levens Hall, yew hedge (windows, crenellations, and doorway).

Levens Hall, yew hedge (windows, crenellations, and doorway).

A sense of place abides here with centuries of footsteps, sharing the path with those strolling before by 10, 50, 90, 150, 300 years. At the same time, the architecture is mostly living, and when you realize that the current head gardener is only the 10th since the 1690s, that this living artwork has roots which connect you directly to the past. . . . It is not an ordinary feeling.

 Topiary garden at Levens Hall

Topiary garden at Levens Hall

 Levens Hall : house and its topiary garden.

Levens Hall : house and its topiary garden.

For more about this garden : http://www.levenshall.co.uk/levens-hall-gardens-historic-topiary-in-cumbria/garden-history.html

Views from NYC Gardens

Views from NYC Gardens

Framing views from rooftops in NYC is a thrilling part of hide-and-reveal, in design of the garden.

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Spring 2017 : Some designs underway

 BEFORE.  East 50s terrace garden with spectacular views : LEED Gold building terrace garden. The very light-colored flooring deflects heat (though the pavers shown here will be replaced with porcelain tiles, the tone will remain about the same).

BEFORE.  East 50s terrace garden with spectacular views : LEED Gold building terrace garden. The very light-colored flooring deflects heat (though the pavers shown here will be replaced with porcelain tiles, the tone will remain about the same).

This Spring we are working on some fantastic landscape design / build projects for our clients, from a roof terrace for an art collector in the East 50s, to a Japanese-influenced backyard garden for a family on the Upper West Side, and a brownstone 2-level backyard garden -- with a footbridge from deck to back garden, on the upper level!

 DESIGN RENDERING.  An Upper West Side backyard has been one part of a interior/exterior renovation which must pass through multiple rounds of approval : the building's board; the Landmarks Preservation Committee; and the Department of Buildings. Some gardens are designed and built within a few months of our first meeting a client. Others can take a year to come to fruition!

DESIGN RENDERING.  An Upper West Side backyard has been one part of a interior/exterior renovation which must pass through multiple rounds of approval : the building's board; the Landmarks Preservation Committee; and the Department of Buildings. Some gardens are designed and built within a few months of our first meeting a client. Others can take a year to come to fruition!

Our clients love outdoor space in NYC and want to make the very most of it. Some love a view from the 27th floor, but would like to block out just one or two aspects of it and protect themselves from a southern exposure's heat and direct sunlight. Another client's ideal harks back to a grandmother's garden, and includes a screened enclosure in the garden to enjoy the outdoors while avoiding bug bites. For a third, the garden is primarily meant as a serene view, but nonetheless has 3 distinct spaces for enjoying contact with nature and entertaining friends and family.

 

School Garden Design

School Garden Design

Education gardens are a great resource for interdisciplinary exploration.

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