One of them was a gem of a garden… the gentle breezes, the blowing table cloths,
Secret nooks captured views… the knowledge that someone envisioned a plot of land and worked it for their delight and fascination…
Meet Frank Harmon…
His fascination with design, building, art, everything green is astounding! It is comforting that he pulls along the roadside to do a quick watercolor of Native Places weaving a sense of time, sense of place and the importance of honoring these Native Places… then shares them.
With all that is happening in the world, I wish more people spent time seeking time to reflect and think in a garden.
Time yields perspective – thank you Frank for this lovely piece…
A COLLECTION OF THOUGHTS AND IMAGES BY FRANK HARMON
Gardening with Others
There’s been quite a ruckus in our town this summer about building a modern house in a historic garden district. Someone who lives across the street from the modern house sued the architect. The neighborhood is divided, pro and con, and nerves are getting pretty jangled, causing one opponent to say, “If this house is built, it will be the end of the Christmas Candlelight Tour!”
It’s time to sit in a garden.
A garden such as this one in Charlotte, North Carolina, planted by Elizabeth Lawrence over half a century ago. Lawrence grew several hundred plant species in a space about the size of a tennis court. She loved plants but her floral diversity was criticized. “I cannot bear for people to say (as they often do) that I am better at plant material than design. I cannot help it if I have to use my own well-designed garden as a laboratory, thereby ruining it as a garden,” she wrote. Yet visitors come from around the world to admire her garden.
Elizabeth Lawrence could have arranged her garden with plants that looked like her neighbors’. Instead, she spread a mosaic of flowers.
Read more about Elizabeth Lawrence .
Visit Frank at Native Places and Frank Harmon Architect, AIA.
Enjoy – living the EntwinedLife with Gratitude to know Frank!
It has been a little tumultuous with Hurricane Arthur blowing up the coast – but today is bright and sunny.
We are grateful for Food, Friends and Fireworks… Come Fourth! Continue reading
I awoke early—it was Saturday—the second one in March, in anticipation of a spring-like day. With the weather report crisp and a “to do list” a mile long, a whole glorious day planned in the garden to quench the cabin fever of a relentless winter.
There was something in the air.
Still under warm covers, I opened my eyes to the world through my I-Pad. A Word Press notification introduced me to a wonderful story by a writer in Australia, Deb Hunt, a blog titled Snap Decision about gardening and loss of her Mum. Something I know all to well.
Next I perused GRATITUDE—which so inspired me. Gratitude from down under. Continue reading
Music for a Moment—Violin with Heartstrings
There is a piece of music that tugs at my heartstrings, every time I hear it on Pandora. I know not what it is, but the violin is so melancholy and heartfelt that I must say it is my favorite.
To hear that music makes me pause, it speaks to my soul. Perhaps, I will pay attention and find out what it is next time. Yet, I rather think the randomness of hearing it without hitting a play button—makes it ever so much more meaningful—bittersweet and otherworldly.
It is the one piece of music that is not a “soundtrack to my life.”
I love it for the pureness of the sound and passion in the playing. I am grateful for the randomness!
Music for the Past—”Viva La Vida” Cold Play
The driving upbeat sound “I used to rule the world…” turn it up!
I love to play this in the morning—Play it loud—Get up and dance around! It motivates me to clear the decks and start a new project. I feel like my younger self again—in a time where I made a difference every day. It was fun solving problems being empowered.
That was then, this is now.
For me it was the overthrow of a company—I had no part in it. Shaking hands with the orchestrator of the ruse for the first time—made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. There was no stopping what had been set in motion. He wiped out a company and with it, hundreds of jobs.
A man’s life work—a body of work—sucked down the drain and those of us with it.
Yes, there are fond memories and all the good we did for a town, yes, we were creating jobs… but those jobs for the greedy meant nothing—only their gain and a hefty Swiss bank account or two.
I also think of that photo of Saddam Hussein in his undershirt unshaven hiding … what we do to other people… He was a pawn of our government. We set him up. We took him out.
But today I choose to dance for myself.
That was then, this is NOW!
Live the life!
Music for Life
“Tapestry“ by Carole King
A song from my past—a music for my life— from early beginnings a fascination of textiles of things Entwined—music for life.
A life of ups and downs but always creating new lines of pattern, moving forward, creatively living, sometimes the edges are a little frayed but they can be fixed or just appreciated with time. Color excites me. Color soothes me. Fabric evokes such rich memories of family—sitting at my grandmother’s feet learning to stitch, rhythms of up and down, up and down—sometimes having to pull out and begin again—creating patterns, creating texture, creating things.
Lessons learned of up and down and redoing until you get it right, at least satisfied.
Up and down—a grandmother’s smile—a touch, a skill for a life of lessons—living, learning, creating, sharing—an Entwined Life. Always staying busy, up and down.
What Music gets your juices flowing?
I am blessed with fun, creative friends – yes, I am grateful for such an Entwined Life!
So as I sit working on several stories at once – on this “iced in” day from the east coast, I saw a fun post from my dear friend of 35 years, come across my screen from the west coast.
I’m taking a Bite out of Season 2… and so enjoyed this delightful virtual tour of the NBC Universal Tour high-jinks from my guest author and friend – Martha De Laurentiis exposing the lighter side of Hannibal:
This week’s blog is from Martha De Laurentiis,
one of Hannibal’s Executive Producers.
My production shingle, the De Laurentiis Company, is located perfectly in the middle of the NBC Universal lot, in the Alfred Hitchcock Bungalow on James Stewart Drive. From these offices, Hitchcock planned some of film’s greatest thrillers, including Psycho and The Birds, as well as his television series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which filmed on the lot 1955 1965.
Executive producer Bryan Fuller and the Hannibal writers room joined us in these hallowed halls as the show started ramping up two years ago, and out of respect, Bryan brought in his art quality collection of framed Hitchcock posters.
Of all the Hollywood studios and television lots, only the NBC Universal lot is open to the public, via a tram-based tour that starts from the theme park. The Universal Tour Tram memorializes the master of suspense by playing the Alfred Hitchcock Presents theme music as it passes, and we often hear tour guides talking about the bungalow and its history as we’re going to or coming from our cars.
Thinking that tourists might also appreciate the fact that a groundbreaking new suspenseful television series was being hatched in the same offices that housed Hitchcock, I set out to discover how we might get Hannibal included on the Universal Studios Tour.
I paid a visit to my good friend, Ron Meyer, who’s now Vice Chairman of NBC Universal. As a boy hoping to get into the entertainment business, Ron worked as a Universal tour guide for then studio head Lew Wasserman. Ron’s eyes lit up with a simple solution – “Easy, invite the tour guides down to the bungalow for a beer!”
The Director of the Studio Tour department, Mike Sington, put the kibosh on the beer – too many ironclad rules and regulations around studio liability – but he was completely on board with the idea of hosting the guides in the bungalow. On the tours, the guides describe the projects currently shooting on the lot, but apparently no one had thought to bring them into their offices or sets before. The Universal tour guides tend to be major classic film buffs, and once inside, their enthusiasm was contagious. None of Hitchcock’s original furniture or effects remain, but I invited them into his office, opened Dino’s award case and passed around some Oscars for selfies.
Mike agreed to host a short video clip on the trams as they passed by the bungalow as well as a blurb about the show. We chose the “Ring Ring” clip, which teases the show’s tone. To the accompaniment of the Goldberg Variations (synonymous to all things HANNIBAL), the camera pans over FBI trainee Miriam Lass’s severed arm holding a ringing Blackberry (rewatch episode 106 Entree if you don’t remember!), as Jack Crawford and Will Graham enter frame with a WTF expression. Cut. It’s the perfect length for the approach to the bungalow, giving the guides enough time for a short shout-out for the show.
Mike mentioned that props often help the guides keep things interesting. When I asked for a sense of the parameters, he said, “The gorier the better.”
My neighbors next door are the production arm of the game company Hasbro, behind films like Transformers and Battleship. In front of their bungalow, a giant Mr. Potato Head stands with his arms splayed, holding up the Hasbro sign. Tourists snap snap snap their cameras all day long grabbing pics of Mr. Potato Head. I had an outré idea… and I was excited when my friends at Hasbro liked it.
With the help of my friend Mike Filonczuk, we made a duplicate of Mr. Potato Head’s arm to scale and mounted it on a prop box. Then, we took a can of epoxy red paint and went to town, making it look like it had been brutally severed and was still dripping fresh blood. Echoing the iconic Miriam Lass image, we placed a Blackberry in the hand, as if in his last moments, Mr. Potato Head had been desperately calling out for help (#HelpMrPotatoHead). Then, suggesting a killer had been making mayhem on the lot, we displayed it in front of our bungalow, under the new Hannibal banner.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of tourists have gone by. It was an especially big hit during the entire month of October when Universal Studios Hollywood celebrates Halloween Nights, staying open late into the wee hours. Also for October, we decorated the bungalow with a backlit life-size transparency of the Hannibal Wendigo out of the corner office. To simulate mysterious doings going on inside, we projected a short clip of the Wendigo emerging from the river, from upcoming episode 202. The guides loved this because we were the only interactive bungalow on the tour – at least besides what they stage on the backlot!
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet again with the guides and give them insight into Season 2 and the progress of the writers’ room. We screened the first two episodes we’d just finished for them so they have the inside scoop on the series and can drop hints about it on their tours.
After almost a year, we’ve updated the teaser and supplied a new shout-out script. It’s a bit of a relief inside the bungalow to no longer hear the “ring ring” every five minutes, but we do miss the audio cue that the trams are approaching. I am incredibly grateful for my friendship with Mike Sington and his wonderful and supportive guides’ role in sharing the excitement we all have for Hannibal. Now that the guides know me, they’ll often say hello when I’m out. On the loudspeaker, in front of the entire tram of tourists. It makes the lot seem friendlier and serves as a humbling reminder of all the love we’ve had from the fans.
The new season began last Friday at 10/9c. Thirteen new spellbinding episodes are coming your way! We hope the master would think we’re making good use of his bungalow.
Enjoy the season as we’ve all enjoyed bringing them to you!
P.S. I saw a certain famous woodpecker outside the NBCUniversal offices. You’re next, Woody!
Watch Out Woody, and don’t forget to take a bite out of the new season of Hannibal on NBC!
Enjoy – living the EntwinedLife
This time of year, while searching for signs of life in the garden, my thoughts have are moved to Hope…
My friend Julie—visionary-artist-poet—could not have said it better… so enjoy Julie’s words and art on this Winter’s morning…
Wrinkles of Time
I want to write of Hope..
of plants opening and flowering,
even in the deep chill of winter.
I want to touch the wrinkles of time,
turning creases of old age,
into crinkles of laughter.
I want the hate and fighting on huge and small scales
I want Peace to be the world’s pastime,
everyone sharing in it..at all hours of the
day and night.
a dwelling place safe for all
a door open to each of us..
to live in the goodness
of all that is made
and given over to us to share.
an everlasting longing for
dignity and grace…through the
wrinkles of time.
December 1, 2011 at 12:10pm
Visit Julie’s Feather Stone Studios by clicking HERE
Thanks Julie—you always inspire me to live an EntwinedLife.
Grateful to have you in my life!
It was 2000—the beginning of my garden journey—I attended a Master Garden Conference and one of the many speakers, was showing photos of beautiful woodies—trees and shrubs.
Since I had been a Midwestern and Northeastern ‘City Gal” up until then—I was mesmerized by all the diversity of plants one could choose from.
Three stars, feverish plant notes scribbled in darkness in the margins of the slide list the speaker had prepared —so began a quest for the Object of Desire: Prunus mume ‘Kobai’ —a semi-double, deep red-pink color. Blooms in the Winter Garden. Jan-March.
One of the interesting things the speaker noted was that Prunus mume or Japanese flowering apricot, was one of the plants that uses vernalization—Latin “of the spring.”
In the southern garden—meaning it holds its ability to flower until after a certain exposure to cold, number of weeks of growth, or other seasonal clues before flowering—who wouldn’t want this smart beautiful small tree in their garden!
My friend Gayle was sitting next to me and we made a pack to scour local North Carolina nurseries for ‘Kobai’.
Months later, on a repeat visit to a nursery, the object of desire was spotted! Feverish phone calls made and plants put “on hold” until we could arrange transport.
A small tree–growing 15–20 ft–‘Kobai’ normally bursts forth with enticing clove scent and deep magenta blooms, the second week of January. It gives hope in the garden, when all is snowy in rare years, or brown in most years.
It lures me outside to basque in the scent – purifying and uplifting body and soul, just as the Feudal Lords would create and share their gardens with the warriors, workers, writers or artists–after battles or work–a place to go to relax and cleanse thru sight and scent.
For centuries, the Prunus mume has inspired traditional East Asian art and poetry. The famous Japaneses Kairaku-en Gardens were created with just that purpose in mind. I can hardly imagine being transported with the overwhelming scent of 3,000 specimens, knowing the power of just one at Entwined Gardens!
‘Kobai’ is so memorable that every summer, since it got a little too big for it’s britches–all leafed out blocking the lake view–we contemplate elimination or heavy pruning–but then the visceral always dissuades the logic and it stays as is.
This year with the strange weather, I thought for sure the buds had been nipped in the single digit icy weather. I was glad for the snow and ice–well for few days–but missed my favorite object of desire.
Last week the glorious show began, a good 5 weeks later than anticipated; I cut a few stems and brought them inside which filled the house with the anticipation of spring.
I remembered to call my friend Gayle, the talk, and grateful I am that my object of desire lures me out of my comfort zone in front of the fire–to the garden everyday–no matter how cold–to be refreshed and inspired by my smart beautiful tree; knowing that my long ago quest was well worth the effort.
“Few plants are as closely associated with the JC Raulston Arboretum as the Japanese flowering apricot, Prunus mume. J. C. Raulston widely promoted this winter flowering tree as a valuable addition to the southern landscape. It flowers from late December to early March depending on selection and brightens the winter garden with white to deep red-pink flowers and a delightfully spicy clove scent that warms even the coldest day.”
JC Raulston Arboretum
Department of Horticultural Science
Note: the above link to the JC Raulston Arboretum provides a list of the Prunus Mume on display at the Arboretum.
Enjoy – living the EntwinedLife
There are certain plants that one encounters which stop you in your tracks… so begins Lust and Envy in the garden. Edgeworthia – a woody Native of Japan, China & Nepal – has been my plant fetish, for over 13 years.
I am not sure where I first saw Edgeworthia chrysantha – Rice Paper Plant. There are several forms in multiple gardens at JC Raulston Arboretum.
- Edgeworthia chrysantha (compact form) Golden Paper Bush from China
- Edgeworthia chrysantha (pink throat) from China
- Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Winter Gold’ from China
- Edgeworthia papyrifera ‘Eco Yaku’ from Japan
- Edgeworthia papyrifera (melon)
But one must be out in the winter garden to experience. That “heart be still” moment… was at least thirteen years ago on my first late February visit to Pine Knot Farms in Virginia in search of Hellebores… I fell hard!
Cleverly growing out of a terracotta drain pipe near a walkway – the hypnotic scent an inexplicable delight. Creamy yellow pompons dangling in the air so unexpected, charming and exotic – you had me at your scent!
I’ve noticed that every great garden – zones 7b to 10b since – has at least one, so should Entwined Gardens !
Rice paper plant begins to entice in the late fall, after the striptease of leaf drop. Tiny cream buds turn into an ornamental sphere shaped sputnik fleurettes which dangle and dazzle visitors… hanging tight like Sandra Bullock in Gravity through anything winter throws at it… always a curiosity in the winter garden.
Then, by mid-winter, it bursts forth with the most seductive scent. Which is why you reach in to your pocket and hope you haven’t spent the gas money needed to get home after traveling far and wide to find it!
When the seduction that lasts weeks then fades like any romance, the plant sends up it’s beautiful leathery slender ovate shaped blue green leaves and becomes a most wonderful filler plant in the woodland garden.
Edgeworthia gives good reason and show – to long for the winter and then enjoy all year long.
Then heartbreak when it ups and croaks – well it is related to Daphne… so the process begins again – Love turns into Lust and Envy in the garden.
Many plant enthusiasts say you must try a plant at least 3 times before giving up…. Yikes, that can be expensive! Most of those folks are in the plant propagation and selling business!
My first Edgeworthia conquest grew in a pot for about a year. No blooms the first year… OK it happens… the plant likes to settle in and expand roots, which can be expected. I even found a terracotta drain/planter to raise it up while it got some growth on it, emulating the one at Pine Knot Farms. Imitation is flattery, so they say. By raising it up, I could see naked twigs a distance out my bedroom and living room windows… its wafting come hither scent would lure me into the winter garden with abandon I daydreamed. I would be wearing yellow chiffon… although planted in fancy bagged soil, I fear it did not get the appropriate moisture being in terracotta.
A year later it croaked. I was sad but undeterred… The diaphanous chiffon dress is back in storage.
I bought another one from the JC Raulston Arboretum… this one – Edgeworthia papyrifera, I planted outside my kitchen window in a raised bed to lift my spirits during the winter months. It didn’t bloom the first year, two tiny shoots sprung up and I was delighted… then deer munched them all down one night, and the plant never recovered.
Again I sprung for an Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Winter Gold’ from another plant sale. Planted it again in the raised bed outside my window. In four years it has remained a single stick. No buds. Just the delight of two leaves every year… talk of an unusual plant! I will say I defiantly wanted to see it out our kitchen window to cheer me up in winter, but the packed clay no matter how much I add amendments becomes strangled by the Oak Trees.
“What’s thaaaatt?” a snooty uniformed visitor drawled?
Not the response I would have had – after just enjoying crab cakes with the good silver for luncheon…. beat snotty raised eyebrows, not the lustful look of an informed gardener,
“That looks DEAaaD. Y’all got any Azaleas or Camellias?”
Hasn’t she drunk the Mark Weathington punch “Life is Too Short for Boring Plants!”
Note to self: Next time serve her pimento cheese sandwiches and only use stainless. Or better yet – just invite Mark over for luncheon!
I am not giving up… I do have another miniscule side shoot this year. I spray it with “I Must Garden” to deter any deer munching. They even munched a spiny Ruscus recently!
Then I saw it at Homewood Nursery, an end of the year closeout sale… even with “Plant Bucks” – it was more than I would normally spend… the coveted Edgeworthia akebono “Red Dragon” – Orange/Red Blooms, perhaps not as much scent, but that tartish color enough to make one blush atop those naked stems. I really couldn’t believe there were three to choose from!
Two years later it croaked, planted near a wall and a walkway with great drainage in morning sun… heartbroken. My friend Beth bought one of the three and her’s went tennis shoes up too. Misery loves company.
But friend Amelia’s specimen is as stunning as I had imagined.
Lust and Envy curled through my veins once again this past early spring when I spied it in her garden. Summoning a “come hither” look to find me stepping gingerly off Amelia’s well manicured paths to be enveloped in light scent and geisha like intrigue… more about plant obsession to come….
Two years ago, I visited my friend Jere garden. Jere’s Edgeworthia grows bawdily on a slope near a lake happily as swans & ducks drift bye above and giant carp below in the cool water. Here and there a turtle pops up its head… a lovely garden for relaxing.
After hearing of my pitiful ability to grow Edgeworthia, OK – I was lamenting even whining… Jere simply bent over, and with a flick of a wrist, twisted out a few stems with long roots and handed them to me… I had no idea it was that easy! Jere – I am forever grateful.
Grateful to Jere – for taking pity on me. I even gave one of the treasured rooted stems away to a neighbor to appease the plant gods… I am happy to report I now have sticks with buds in the ground in two locations!
I yearn for the morning when I open the front door and am hypnotically drawn across the driveway to basque in the scent and delight… I will honestly feel that I do have a patient nature, no matter what my husband thinks, and Entwined Gardens indeed has joined the ranks of a great garden!
Since my quest began Edgeworthia has become slightly easier to find for zone 7-9 gardens centers –
Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Snow Cream’ 12’ x 12’
Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Gold Rush’ 6’ x 6’
Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Hawksridge Selection’ 4’ x 4’
Check out Camellia Forest
Enjoy – living the EntwinedLife
At this time of year chores at Entwined Gardens include raking the leaves and acorns from under the Oaks. It somehow seems like a never-ending task, but one that always elicits a mixed bag of frustration and wonder, as I visit under the Oaks.
The grove of Oak trees was on the property when my husband purchased this woodland paradise. He hates the thought (and expense) of thinning them. So many hardwoods were cut adjacent to our property when the woods became a golf course community – habitat lost.
But their limbs have begun to hang over our rooftop, making the back deck and terrace a constant battleground… and a potential threat of roof damage in some crazy storm.
I know – first world thinking!
The acorns under foot can be dangerous, the leaves slick… and with a back that easily twists out of shape… I do get annoyed from the raking and sweeping.
It is not an easy task to establish new plants under the Oaks, as they provide a dense shady canopy for most of the year, so I often grouse (to myself) that I’d really like a more refined view from my dining room and kitchen… more light would be nice.
Most recommended woodland plants I’ve tried have languished, as the roots of the Oaks are far-reaching – sucking up any available moisture from the hard packed, root bound clay soils.
Then comes the fall when the thick drop of leaves builds up an anaerobic layer, smothering anything below.
To have any success, I have learned to plant specimens in pots. Should they survive the deer, then I create a modified raised bed – planting on top of the of the woodland floor adding good soil amendments around the root ball and spreading out the hauled in soil around the plant – yet not too high to smother the roots of the Oaks. It’s a learning experience and indeed a delicate balance.
I grumble more as most of the acorns sprout with ease just laying on top of – well anything – in the pots in the raised planting and across the woodland floor… while nothing else grows with vigor under the thick woodland floor of tannic acid… each spring I have a sea of Oak seedlings.
Oh a good remainder when raking – to limit the amount of Oak leaves added to the compost pile – no more than twenty percent because they take forever to break down and will create an acid, anaerobic mess.
While on the topic of tannic acid, (Plant Geek Alert!) it is also found in acorns… this is the true reason that squirrels and Jays hide the nuts… waiting for rain and melting snows to wash away the tannic acid over time to make them palatable. It is also nature’s way of distributing the nut seed with squirrels acting as dutiful gardeners planting them in new locations where often they forget to retrieve.
Or, is it Mr. Squirrelly shrewdly planting a tree for ensuring a future harvest?
The deer eat acorns and don’t seem to have a digestive problem. Then again the deer seem to eat just about anything, except poison ivy or just plain ivy! Dang!
The sprouted acorns cannot get raked, so this becomes a zen like meditation of tugging them out one by one. There are hundreds each year! It always amazes me how quickly they can put out a tap-root of several inches long once they get growing as temperatures become mild in early spring.
Last year I had an indoor mini forest of Oaks growing in a large pot of Aspidistra – cast iron plant – which we bring in for the winter. It was amazing that 15 or so acorns sprouted and developed leaves! Note to self: to look for photo.
So in the midst of raking, hauling and grumbling, I am reminded to pause, look up and ponder…
Today with milder temperatures under a Carolina Blue sky, I laid down in the leaves to take the photo, resting and hoping to capture some frolicking squirrels, as they perform aerial feats of delight, soaring from tree to tree, but no suck luck.
I am reminded that these giants are also woodland habitat to Woodpeckers, Jays and lodging for migrating flocks.
Shelter also for butterflies and host plants for moths.
All in all – grateful for their beauty, the shade for our home. The Oak flooring we walk on, and Oak furniture we use. The delicious wine that is aged in Oak barrels…
Grateful for the Oak table our family gathers around.
Now back to work…
Enjoy – living the EntwinedLife
Thanks for taking the time to visit under the oaks…
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