GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2004 show2
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Show #2

This week we visit Columbia, South Carolina and talk with Dave Zunker, Executive Vice President of the Metropolitan Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau. Several years ago Columbia initiated a drive to recycle old doors and other scrap metal into the State tree, the Palmetto, and other objects of art. This movement did several things for Columbia, it made use of something that was junk, transforming it into something attractive, raised money for the community and increased community involvement and pride. It was a huge success.

This week we look at garden whimsies. Regardless of whether you like a wild and unpredictable garden or a formal garden, your personality should be the guiding light in your garden design.

Allen Marshall, is an architect, and his garden is filled with outdoor art, statuary and lots of fascinating spaces. Allen designed his home, built in the early 70's, and it has a lot of Frank Lloyd Wright influence. It brings the indoors out and the outdoors in. It has lots of windows, space, open gardens and neat little places to gather. Allen and his wife spend a lot of time outdoors. The walls protect those inside from the wind as well as directing the wind to provide better cooling during the summer.

Allen has painted many wall coverings for his outside walls. They frequently entertain and dine outside, the colorful wall coverings enhance the garden throughout the year. The walls serve as a backdrop for his paintings. Allen takes his oil paintings inside during wet weather but recently discovered that he can paint on foam board and it will survive the seasons. He uses an acrylic house paint that provides color and longevity, when complete they remain outdoors 12 months of the year. Allen likes water color for realistic art and oil for landscapes, in the garden he likes things more abstract - color blotches, wild designs, etc.

Allen also takes fabric, puts it on artists stretchers, found at any art store, stretches it and fastens it on the back with thumb tacks. It can then hang on a fence or a wall in your garden. It provides instant color, a personal touch and adds a lot of punch to any garden. There are nice floral patterns, abstract or geometric shapes and colors available. It provides a nice look and the cost is minimal.

Along the garden paths he has fragments of Greek art and architecture. There are masks and plaques that make his yard look more like an entrance to a museum than a garden. Most everything in his garden has special meaning to him or to his family. The Greek pieces, the stoneware and plaques are related to his architectural background. Other sculptures in his yard, the hands of the devil, the face of God and a garden angel, having personal meaning, as well.

We next visit Allen's garden zoo. His wife and children are tall. As well his wife started volunteering as a guide at the zoo, so at Christmas or birthdays the children would give her animal art and sculptures for the garden and home. Thus they have a giraffe. And a metal peacock, given to Allen by his wife, it is colorful and made by a fairly well known artist in Tennessee, it was so well received that his daughter then gave him the baby peacock to match. He has deer at a mountain home, he likes deer, thus likes deer sculptures grazing in this backyard. Many of the critters in his yard are more easily seen in the spring because the leaves aren't fully out.

Allen has a great tip for planting grass. He doesn't like the maintenance of permanent grass thus about 10 days before an event he will sow the area with Rye grass. He turns on the sprinklers or lets Mother Nature water the grass and up it comes. If you keep it watered it sprouts quickly. After 10 days he has a beautiful stand of fine green grass. When another party is approaching he sows the Rye grass again. The grass comes and goes but by keeping a 25 pound bag around he can always plant more. If you don't have a lot of sun in your yard or if you can't or don't want the work of grass, this is a method that may interest you.

In the springtime using a pre emergent is a great way to control weeds. One could pull up the weeds or use chemicals or sprays, the pre emergent seems an easier solution. This product comes in granular form but forms a gas barrier on the soil and surface. When the weed seeds germinate, it immediately kills them. If starting annuals from seed let them get up an inch or two before applying this product. It is a very fast, very simple way to keep weeds from growing. It is easier to stop them before they emerge, when they're germinating.

Allen likes the colors available in early spring. In one container he plants yellow flowers, in another blue shades. He particularly likes the color blue, it's such a cooling color.

One way to personalize your garden is through the use of color. We could easily pick favorite colors, another way is to consider the emotions each color evokes.

Red is the color of heat, impulsiveness and romance. Red is a great color, particularly in the morning. It's the color that our eyes seek when we first wake. Red is a good color in full sun. It can be seen at great distances, so if you have a long or distant view make sure that red or tints of red are present. Red stimulates heart beat and your appetite. Those red checkered tablecloths in restaurants serve a purpose and are there for a reason.

When we mention tints, pink comes to mind. Pink is the color most associated with fragrance in your garden. If you have fragrance in your garden you might want to consider adding pink plants so people will think about your fragrance.

Green is the most restful color on our eyes. If you're trying to create a relaxing, restful, meditative space use lots of green. Green is also the color of concentration. It's good for a space where you might read a book or have a serious conversation. Green may actually be too restful on the eye. Therefore it's important to vary the shapes, textures or forms of your green plants. By doing this it still is a restful color but is not boring.

Yellow is the color of sunshine and brightness. It's a great color when trying to brighten a dull or dark area of your garden. Yellow often contrasts with other plants so you may want to use a tint or a shade, meaning add some white or black. Yellow stimulates memory the most. Therefore if you have a part of the garden that you want people to remember or if you're selling your house, for example, plant lots of yellow. Be careful about using variegated foliage, leaves with green and yellow are a tough combination of colors to coordinate with other colors in the garden.

Violet or purple is another great color for the garden. It's the color of reverence or quietness. Although a great color to use in the garden it is a color that we don't enjoy for long periods of time. We get tired of it, therefore don't paint arbors, fences or chairs purple. It is a great color for perennials, for borders, whenever you're going to use a lot of color together. Purple looks further away than it actually is. The purple mountain majesty in the song is true, the mountains look further away than they actually are.

For an open space, a spacious area, use white. White is the color of purity and cleanliness and formality in the garden. If you want a spick-and-span look, use lots of white. The problem with white flowers is they often get invaded by fungus and bacteria. Use a general purpose fungicide on white flowers to extend their bloom. Pure white often contradicts everything else around. Add a little yellow or purple to help the white blend in.

Blue is the color of emotional contradiction. It's restful and cooling, stimulating and invigorating. Blue in a pool makes one feel 10 degrees cooler. Surround yourself with blue, especially in hotter parts of the country, you'll feel a little cooler. Blue flowers are often short lived, especially when temperatures get very warm. One option is to pick up blue in foliage or in ornaments or statuary. Blue is an excellent antidote for warm colors like red. It tends to tone them down and make them more soothing.

Orange isn't a popular color with most gardeners. It is a jovial color, a friendly color, very gregarious. It is the color of heat and thirst. It will make you feel 10 degrees warmer than actual. It's a great color for the spring, winter of fall. It doesn't work well in the summer, in hot, bright areas. Use orange when a space needs to be made more lively. It makes people feel relaxed, yet energized and it adds spice and punch to a garden. However just like spice, too much will spoil the entire soup. Use it judiciously.

Pick colors based on the emotions that they evoke. If creating a restful, peaceful feeling use blues, greens, purples, the cool colors. If you want more energy, more active spaces, reds, yellows and oranges work well. By picking colors that elicit specific emotions one can effect others outlook and create spaces for specific feelings and purposes.

Dr. Rick has found a new tool. If you don't like bending over and picking weeds by hand, this tool gets deep rooted roots out of your lawn or flower bed. It has four metal prongs that open up, put them directly over the top of the root, press down with your foot, pull back on the handle and it pulls the root and tap root out of the ground. Once out, it ejects it as well.

One of Allen's favorite places in his yard is a place that started as a basketball court for his daughter. To make the change, he first used masking tape, then scored in a pattern, painted it with a good terra-cotta exterior color paint and turned the area into a dining area. He found an old chandelier, painted some L'eggs eggs and the area is inviting. It is one of his favorite areas because it has a vista in both directions. To the left is the afternoon view, to the right is the mourning view with beautiful sun angles on the garden. This is a great idea if trying to determine where outdoor rooms might be placed. Ideally you want to sit back and enjoy your entire outdoor space.

Allen has created informal as well as formal areas. One geometric space started as a vegetable garden and turned into a perennial area. The many perennials keep popping up in the spring and summer and bloom on and off all summer. The soil is very rich but when originally built the soil was rocky. Allen created raised beds, had river bottom top soil hauled in. He believes in Osmocote, puts it down several times a year, it's a slow release fertilizer that provides his plants food throughout the growing season.

Allen has some invasive plants, like Violets. The brick walkways help keep them in place, they provide a border. Other perennials will grow and they tend to shade them out. He plants various lettuce and their chartreuse color contrasts with the Violets. Allen believes in painting with his flowers. Each bed is a canvas, the colors often come in randomly and that provides a natural look.

Growing together are an Obedient Plant, Violas and a Chameleon Plant. It doesn't look like any one plant is taking over. With several invasive plants together, they all compete, keeping them in check. With the Obedient plant he trims it down when it gets about half knee high, that way it isn't too leggy in the fall. Interspersed are containers with Mums, to add color. When some of the lower plants bloom, then the taller perennials start blooming above them, it layers the garden and adds to the depth, art and color of the garden. His plantings are informal, almost wild and unpredictable which is a nice contrast to the geometry of the beds. These beds combine the formal with the informal, neither one tends to overwhelm the other.

Allen also has an aquarium out door room. He is a fisherman and wanted to bring a little of that home. The fish on the wall are metal, in the pond are Coy fish. It is a room that can be enjoyed outside as well as from the inside, from the kitchen, dining room, even the roof deck. It can be viewed from many angles and Allen likes them all and often. That is a good point, normally no matter how much time we spend in our garden, 90% of the time we're inside. So make sure that important views of your garden can be enjoyed from inside.

Thanks Allen for sharing this unusual yard and your whimsies with us and our audience. We won't soon forget your masterpiece.


Columbia Metropolitan

Whitney Hotel
SC Homes & Gardens magazine

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