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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

      Showing posts with label designer. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label designer. Show all posts

      Friday, May 14, 2010


      I don't install or maintain gardens for other people, but I do coach home owners who want help with design, plant selection, and horticultural considerations in and around New York City. These are people who want to garden themselves or who want to offer new ideas to the person who currently maintains their garden.
      I do on-site teaching, with lots of ideas, questions and answers thrown around. Being a Garden Coach is a little like my first career as a Psychologist; I start with the personal interview to determine what the client wants and needs. I help the client see old views in new ways.

      In looking back over images of some local jobs, I notice two great themes: containers and height.
      It's not enough to have a fence separating you from your neighbors. The containers need to be big enough to support plants that can climb, cling, or otherwise reach the sky. This 'New Dawn' rose
      (above) may not bloom
      all summer and surely
      won't offer complete
      privacy, but it will make
      you feel as if you're in
      an enclosed space. Or
      achieve height with a
      standard, a tree,
      grasses, bamboo.

      The owners of the two
      homes below stood in
      doorways, looked out-
      ward and asked me
      what to do in their
      gardens. I encouraged
      them to first look
      backward to their entry-
      ways and select all-year-
      round containers with
      plants tall and large
      enough to stand up to
      the solidity of the home.If I were clever enough I could now go into Photoshop and superimpose the right containers on the original image. Alas.... I am not.

      This terrace gardener fell to the temptation that has also afflicted me from time to time: too many, too small pots. There's a very easy cure. Bigger pots, fewer pots, consolidate, and at the same time make more walking/sitting room on a terrace with limited space.
      You say this is totally obvious? Maybe, but we get so used to our surroundings that some times we need to be brought short by some outside expert. Think hair stylist, interior designer, makeover specialist.

      A condo owner with this fabulous naked space in Chelsea felt some concern about the metal corrugated walls surrounding the stairs, fans, AC. I saw the wall as perfectly capturing the feel of other rooftops, water towers and odd structures. Containerized bamboo photographed on the street just three blocks from the condo looks like one of many possible solutions to soften, but not hide the wall.

      Saturday, November 1, 2008

      Container Art

      Without my realizing it, I’ve become a stalker. I go to visit the object of my affection about once a-week. I try to grab a peek as I’m going by on the bus and I take photos in all seasons. Of all the planters visible on the streets of NYC these are by far my favorites. They are redone completely three or four times a year; in the interim when they get sad looking, plant material is removed or added. There are two window boxes and some built-in concrete planters about 12” H x 12” W that flank the flight of stairs to the entrance of the building. I’m enthralled with the color and texture, individual plants that are slightly unusual, and combinations that surprise. I go to see what ideas I can steal for my own garden because these are truly inspirational.

      In a city where we may not have a garden of our own, why not enjoy the borrowed scenery of others’ gardens? As I stop each season to take pictures, passersby approach me to share their own delight.

      I finally walk up and open the imposing front door to the Orthodox Greek Archdiocese office on 79th St. between 5th and Madison to discover the name of the artist who designs and installs the plants. He is Evan Denis, a third generation florist, as he calls himself, who no longer has a shop but works for clients doing floral design, events, traditional florist stuff as well as designing terraces and containers.
      Visit Evan Denis at: www.evandenisflorist.com. or after you visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, walk three and-a-half blocks south and see what another artist does with his palette.

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