19 September 2015

from the end of a hectic summer, now that autumn advances...

the nights are cooler here in North Carolina, my garden is in dire need of relief from its summer leftovers. 
at the moment there are no takers. it's impossible to find a competent gardener that doesn't want to just desiccate the hedge or mow down the grass to within an eighth inch of his life...
but I digress, yet not so much.

"Just a single blossom can speak volumes." -Charlotte Moss

Charlotte Moss's book Garden Inspirations is a book that crossed my desk-my sofas-tables, chairs-now known as the How They Decorated files, and had me returning to it throughout the summer, and even today, just to grasp the possibilities of controlling my garden and yard, in so many ways an extension of a house's interior.

Charlotte Moss, with 8 diverse books -yet all focusing on how to make things beautiful- lasting- and personal, never disappoints. Garden Inspirations is both a visual feast and an approach to creating the lasting-lifetime project of a garden. Charlotte's garden is an extension of her East Hampton home-seen in the book, and most likely the source of her constant inspiration for what goes on inside.

"If you had to describe my garden, it's not so much about parterres and sweeping vistas as it is about intimate spaces, small rooms- gardens within gardens." -Charlotte Moss

I can find places in my garden spaces from Charlotte's book for much inspiration-but some struck me as essential and simple things to remember and to incorporate into my plans.

Have a plan, a map-a visual. At one time-early days, I had such a plan, by a professional-with many many tweaks of my own. Some things didn't work out, others after determinedly repeating what couldn't work-wouldn't work, have finally gone by the wayside, and my original garden intent has been diminished. In an attempt to get it back, I pulled everything but a few English boxes out in one area and have good intentions of regaining some structure and form to what I consider an English garden. Charlotte considered the boxwood as essential to her garden from the outset.
I like a somewhat Nancy Lancaster-Havershamish look to my English garden vision-timeless- yet a little unkempt.
As you know, this unstudied appearance takes work.

Charlotte's Garden Plan

"Boxwood-a shrub that I have such distinct memories of growing up in Virginia...was one of my first and more important requirements for our gardens and property." -Charlotte Moss

Another point well taken in Garden Inspirations is using urns to add structure to the garden. Charlotte also uses pots and urns to plant annuals that she can switch out over the season.  As it goes, I've got lots of urns that need to be moved around and placed differently for maximum effect. (Help Wanted!)

In Charlotte's kitchen garden, 3 terracotta pots of varying sizes are stacked to accommodate three different specimens-repeated to add height. I love this idea. 

Sometimes the simplest things can create the most memorable- Again this is an idea I am going to put into my garden.

The repetition of these chive plantings is so striking-at Mount Vernon

One of the most gratifying things about a garden-(even if it's just a terrace garden) for me is Cutting the flowers of our labor. Charlotte has collected wonderful vessels to arrange her flowers in-from a single stem with a moppy head, to an extravagant arrangement of wildflowers.

Wildflowers "introduced me to a world with no boundaries and no rules." Charlotte Moss

From these points, Charlotte's book also has a beautiful section on her garden travels from around the world to her home state of Virginia, along with her garden observations, often seen through the lens of her camera. Her garden heroines are noted too- a sojourn to the late Bunny Mellon's Oak Spring Farm in Virginia, and two of my favorites Nancy Lancaster, and Vita Sackville West.

Charlotte's husband Barry Friedberg who wrote the foreword said, "the development of our garden has been and will continue to be a process full of surprises and many pleasures." I know I can expect the same from Charlotte's endeavors in finding beauty in the simple or grand-all approached with such great constancy.

I'm happy to note that Charlotte is writing the foreword to my book, How They Decorated...


  1. Gaye, This looks like a fabulous book by Charlotte and you have said it all wonderfully!

    The Arts by Karena
    Painting Central Park

  2. Gaye, you mean you don't want me to write the forward for your new book? Haha. That is exciting. I can't wait for your new book to come out. Is it a coffee table book? I hope so as I want a signed edition front and center in my living room. My gardens are pitiful this year. I can't kneel or even bend down for too long anymore and need to hire someone. Maybe in my new house.

    1. Donna my knees resist kneeling too. And the book is a ct book of sorts and I will definitely plan to offer some signed editions on the blog! thanks pgt

    2. Signing for me as well..a devoted Little Augury acolyte!

  3. how great to have her write your forward -she's such an inspiration and busy busy busy! She gave a lecture for us at the ICAA here in DC about her gardening book -such fun!



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