In Chicago the summer weather season is shorter than so many other places in the world. So at this time I spend many hours outdoors in our gardens. I love unusual pots and vessels for plants. One of our neighbors has an enormous Vietnamese lentil pot tucked by a pond in her gardens, and it’s meaningful because her husband was in the business of importing foods from Southeast Asia.
These pretty pots were at Jayson Home:
Jayson Home is in Chicago but so much of their style is MY style, I fear I’ll go bankrupt in there! I once cut through their gardens on the way to FLOR next door. Closest I got to Jayson Home in person. Need to go back and linger longer.
If you want a privacy screen near a patio or deck, this is a nice way to do it. This article says boxwoods are okay for planters, although it is Southern Living and I don’t know the long-term impact of keeping boxwoods in pots in northern climates. These are generous 36″ planters:
I love the ivy climbing this rustic pot and the Japanese Hakonechloa grass spilling over beneath, from Pam Pennick’s blog Digging:
This obelisk trellis is a different shape than the usual and goes great with this pot:
Beautiful mix of proportions in this little garden scene. Planters from Italian Terrace in the UK:
And this pot with patina from the same source, beautiful:
If you don’t have a garden, you can still have beautiful pots. Like in the bathroom. Why not? See, like this stunning bathroom scene here via Cyndy Aldred of The Creativity Exchange:
Beautiful, right? Looking back over these, as some women have a “type” with men, I clearly have a “type” with garden pots! And men too, but definitely not crusty and good grief certainly not mossy as I like my pots, but that’s another post for another day …
Yay! Today is the official start of frost-free gardening in Chicago. My gardens look really sparse, things just poking up now. So for now, here are photos of a gorgeous garden that was an oasis amid the great loud hustle and bustle of Chennai. These photos are from Amethyst, which I’ve heard has now moved. This was a walled garden — walls tall and substantial enough to keep all the honking at bay!
This is my style of garden: a bit unusual, bold shapes and color coming more from the leaves than flowers.
With each step you took, the city receded further and further away.
This collection of pots was near the spot where we dined on Amethyst’s covered veranda.
It was an inspiring and refreshing place. The new location also has lush gardens, an escape from the city.
When the globes of allium flowers burst so big in the spring, they’re always a surprise. I know they’re there, lurking under the soil surface, but each year the bulbs spread and the display gets more spectacular.
But what’s more surprising is the fireworks display that remains after the first burst. It just lasts and lasts. Yes it’s a bit neutral in color, but you can spraypaint dried allium flowers any color you want, or dust them with twinkly sparkly powder. Each year, a landscaping business near us paints its huge allium globes purple to keep the color going into the summer.
I popped dried alliums into a quick and easy table centerpiece in our sunroom:
See here I tried to get most of the “fireworks” high enough so you’re not trying to look through them while talking over a meal:
When I saw this crate said “alium” I snapped it right up. You can get a wooden crate like this too, from Mat & Janes Knobs&Knockers on eBay. The glass is from lemonade bottles:
The placemats and chargers are from Target, on a teak table. The sunroom overlooks gardens in our backyard:
The sunroom runs along the back of our house. Sometimes if you’re lucky in the mornings or evenings, you can step out there and find deer frolicking in the backyard. Lately a mother has been bringing her fawn to eat apples that are falling off the apple trees. Unfortunately this room is not temperature-controlled and it’s been a hot summer here in Chicago. We haven’t used the room much this year. I miss it, there’s so much view but it’s also very private:
The sunroom was added at some point onto the exterior of the house. See that big frame back there? I need to cover that wall with something colorful in the frame! I’m thinking abstract poppies, to remind us of our vacation to Tuscany. The allium globes here help break up all the lines in this room:
That’s it, a quick and easy natural centerpiece, perfect for a space that leads out to the garden!
It was glowing in the setting sun in Tuscany. Yellow flowers reaching for the rays:
This was the last image, burned forever in my mind, of the glorious garden. Before we backed out of the gate and swung the doors shut and latched the lock. Thud. Our week there was over.
Will we ever return? I don’t know. But while we pined over wanting breakfast with that view every day, my husband shared wise words from elders. Because no matter how wise and worldly we think we are, we can always learn from others, right? Here’s what they say:
You do have it, because it’s yours for now.
How logical. I decided to make it mine. I’d bring a garden back to Chicago. Thus, the visions of gardens outside our sunroom were sown there at that wooden table. It all started with that glowing Tuscan plant. The vision embraced plants slightly odd for gardens in our suburban Chicago neighborhood: euphorbia, sedum, ornamental oregano, mosses, sedges, oats. Quinoa, even. Colors of caramel, golden yellow and burning orange, set off with purples and burgundies. Nearly black leaves next to tea color leaves. I like the garden when it’s dead too … the brown spikes and fluffs and tufts in the fall and winter. And pods. Yes I’m one oddball gardener.
This weekend I found a plant very similar to the glowing Tuscan memory. It’s different, but it’s close enough:
This is an Angelina Stonecrop.
Does anyone happen to know what that plant is in the first photo above? It looks like a sedum, but I don’t know the variety. Let me know in comments, please! After four years I can close my eyes and see this plant as if it’s right here:
Don’t we all like to hold on to favorite images from our travels …