Garden Spark talk with Karen Chapman is an early sell-out

When I launched the Garden Spark talk series six months ago, I was sure there was an unmet need in Austin for people who wanted to hear top-notch designers and authors speak about garden design. So far I’ve brought in landscape architect James deGrey David and designer/author Scott Ogden and also given a book-related talk and garden tour myself. The response each time has been greater than I’d hoped. All three talks sold out within one to two days and had a waiting list. The speakers were well received, and I hope it was a positive experience for them to be able to share their ideas with an intimate group of keen gardeners.

My next speaker will be my first out-of-towner, Seattle designer and author Karen Chapman. On October 19 at 7:30 pm, she’ll present “Foliage and Focal Points: Ideas for Gardens and Budgets of All Sizes.” I always offer first dibs to the people on my email list, and this time all the seats sold out within 9 hours of that private announcement. If you’d like to be on the Garden Spark mailing list for future talk announcements, please send me an email and ask to be added. Also, if you’d like to be on the wait list for Karen’s talk, please email me to let me know.

Karen is a sought-after speaker and the co-author of two books that have given me a lot of inspiration for designing with foliage combos rather than just fleeting flower color: the award-winning Fine Foliage and her latest, Gardening with Foliage First (click here for my review). While Karen is blessed to live and design in the gardener’s paradise of the Pacific Northwest, her design lessons about using focal points and planting for foliage to improve our gardens are relevant for us here in Texas too.

***THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. If you’d like to hear about future Garden Spark talks, please join the mailing list. Simply send me an email and let me know you’d like to be added.***

Foliage and Focal Points: Ideas for Gardens and Budgets of All Sizes

“We all have sections of our gardens we’re dissatisfied with, but understanding what’s wrong can be frustrating. Instinct sends us shopping for more plants — often whatever is blooming that day — in hopes that an injection of color will solve the problem. Yet the sense of dissatisfaction grows, especially when the flowers finish blooming and we’re left with a muddled sea of nondescript leaves.

Focal points can help solve these problem areas. I’ll show why it’s important to establish focal points and talk about three areas where they play an especially important role. We’ll explore the use of containers, structures, water features, and artistic sculptural elements as focal points, and I’ll show how to frame and enhance these with interesting foliage to create memorable vignettes. With ideas for budgets and gardens of all sizes, this presentation will help you to become more confident and knowledgeable about transforming your own garden into a cohesive series of eye-catching scenes.” — Karen Chapman

After the talk, I’ll have light refreshments, and Karen will hold a book-signing for anyone who might wish to buy her books.

Speaker Bio: Born in England, Karen grew up with a trowel in her hand. After moving to the Pacific Northwest in 1996, she established her award-winning design business Le Jardinet. Her container garden designs and articles have been featured in many publications including Fine Gardening, Country Gardens, and Garden Design.

She is co-author with Christina Salwitz of the newly released Gardening with Foliage First and also the award-winning book Fine Foliage. Karen writes inspirational design articles on two blogs and is a regular contributor to several publications including Fine Gardening. Karen has appeared on local television and radio stations and teaches two online garden design courses for Craftsy including “Gorgeous Garden Design: Foliage & Focal Points” that was mostly filmed in her own 5-acre garden in Duvall, WA.

Karen’s aim is always to inspire, educate, and share the fun of gardening with her audience.

What: Garden talk by designer and author Karen Chapman: “Foliage and Focal Points: Ideas for Gardens and Budgets of All Sizes”

When: Thursday, October 19th, 7:30-8:30 pm, with a meet-and-greet until 9 pm

Where: My house in northwest Austin

***THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. If you’d like to hear about future Garden Spark talks, please join the mailing list. Simply send me an email and let me know you’d like to be added.***

GARDEN SPARK is a speaker series on garden design, open by invitation and hosted in a private home in northwest Austin.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.

All material © 2006-2017 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Long views and classic garden rooms in Brinitzer Garden: Capital Region Garden Bloggers Fling


Much as I love my contemporary-naturalistic garden, and enjoyed puttering in my flowery cottage garden before that, my next garden — whenever and wherever that turns out to be — is going to be more like this one: smaller, with formal garden rooms laid out along axis views, and planted mainly with evergreens for less seasonal maintenance.

This beautiful and classic garden belongs to Arlington, Virginia designer Scott Brinitzer, and we saw it on the second day of touring during the Capital Region Garden Bloggers Fling in late June. We entered the garden via this long gravel path, drawn in by a striking focal point: a potted purple cordyline in a dusty blue pot in front of a pumpkin-colored shed door.


You can see the same pot in this photo, pulling double duty now as a focal point viewed from a spacious stone patio off the back of the house. Framed by a low hedge of clipped boxwood, feathery clumping bamboo, and panels of gray lattice fencing, the pot works like a visual magnet, drawing the eye into the next space along the L-shaped gravel path that connects various garden rooms.


I might have mirrored the lattice panels for additional privacy, but leaving them open provides more air flow, which is a plus in a Southern garden.


I love the color choices, which give a contemporary edge to the classic design. (Compare with the door’s previous incarnation in blue, as seen in Scott’s portfolio pics on his website.)


Here’s the opposite view, looking away from the shed toward a small circular patio and a pair of white Adirondacks. This pathway is a double axis, with carefully considered views that pull your eye toward focal points in each direction — an effective design technique for directing the movement of people through a garden and making the most of a small space.


The circular patio acts as a visual pause at the end of the path…


…as well as a turning point for a pathway to the driveway.


The old garage still sits at the end of what was once a long driveway. Scott told us that he kept part of the driveway up by the street and converted the rest into a water-permeable gravel path and garden, helping to cut down on water runoff from his property. Yes, that makes it a water-saving garden!


Heading back to the stone patio, wire chairs take up very little space, visually, as they cluster around a lion’s-head wall fountain.


I love how the fountain is cloaked with moisture-loving moss and softened by a clematis vine. A yellow hosta echoes the yellow-themed container planting at left…


…filled with ‘Color Guard’ yucca, variegated Solomon’s seal, and (I think) ‘Moonbeam’ coreopsis.


Lion’s-head fountain and purple clematis


Other patio pots contain caramel-colored plants, for an interesting change of pace.


New Zealand sedges, I think


Enveloped by the garden, the house is shaded by lovely trees, which Scott planted in his own and his neighbors’ yards as part of a streetwide beautification effort. A swooping wall of concrete aggregate encloses the front garden and the front porch — the creation of the home’s former owner.


Built-in urns are planted with a variety of succulents.


Scott’s dog, a cute Norwich terrier named Kobe, hung out with us as we toured the garden and enjoyed the wine and snacks the owners generously provided.


He seems pretty happy living here, doesn’t he?

Up next: My visit to the Smithsonian Gardens and U.S. Botanic Garden on the National Mall. For a look back at the pollinator-friendly Casa Mariposa garden of Fling planner Tammy Schmitt, plus a winery and garden center visit, click here.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Get on the mailing list for Garden Spark Talks. Inspired by the idea of house concerts, I’m hosting a series of garden talks by talented designers and authors out of my home. Talks are limited-attendance events and generally sell out within just a few days, so join the Garden Spark email list for early notifications. Simply click this link and ask to be added.

All material © 2006-2017 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Look for my articles in Garden Design on Mosaic Gardens and Steve Martino desert garden


Do you take Garden Design magazine? I’m pleased to be a contributing writer, and in the Summer 2017 issue you’ll find two articles I wrote about gardens in Arizona and Oregon that couldn’t be more different.


“Into the Arroyo” tells the story of an unlikely desert garden designed by “weeds and walls”-master Steve Martino in partnership with his visionary client, who came to love the natural beauty of the desert after relocating from greener, lusher pastures in the Northeast. The 14-page spread delves into the design of this garden and what it means to the owner, and you’ll linger over the gorgeous photos of jewel-toned stucco walls and bold desert plants. (As it happens, I visited this garden in person in 2014, and it’s truly a remarkable space.)


“The Oasis Builders” is a profile piece about garden designers Buell Steelman and Rebecca Sams, the husband-and-wife owners of Mosaic Gardens in Eugene, Oregon — and it’s the cover story! The 14-page article explores the designs of 4 of their wonderfully lush and plant-rich gardens.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy and give them a read!

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
_______________________

Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Get on the mailing list for Garden Spark Talks. Inspired by the idea of house concerts, I’m hosting a series of garden talks by talented designers and authors out of my home. Talks are limited-attendance events and generally sell out within just a few days, so join the Garden Spark email list for early notifications. Simply click this link and ask to be added.

All material © 2006-2017 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

posted in Desert, Design, Magazines
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