November 2, 2012
C'est Inspiré is simply that - what is inspiring. Where the words end, images continue to speak. Seeing all that is around us, we seek some aspect of something that is life enhancing... something that you would like to be reminded of - to revisit. Something to capture and bring into your world, not leave behind... . That is why I take a camera everywhere; have spent countless hours organizing images in scrapbooks and pouring over them later to revisit the place, the people, the memory.
So, C'est Inspiré may be a single photo - or it may be 50, it may mean one thing to me, another to you - the meaning isn't important. Did it inspire? Did it make you smile? Did it bring back a pleasant memory? One or all of the above will do.
During a brief period of his life, the legendary art historian Bernard Berenson kept diaries where he wrote about how to see - and what he saw. These diaries were published under the title The Passionate Sightseer and edited by Raymund Mortimer.
Anyone, anywhere, anytime can be a passionate sightseer - just look.
November 2, 2012
Topiaries, and topiary gardening, is an art that has always fascinated me. A masterful craft, topiary gardening requires creative vision, some engineering and most of all – the patience to watch your garden grow…. Here are some photos from a recent tour of French gardens, and other inspirations….
Chateau d’Ainay-le-Vieil – http://chateau-ainaylevieil.fr/
Chateau de Marqueyssac – http://www.marqueyssac.com/
Chateau de Hautefort – http://www.chateau-hautefort.com/
Le Vieux Logis – http://www.vieux-logis.com/uk/index.php
September 1, 2011
The end of summer quietly announces itself –
Roses on the wane, legginess in the herbaceous border, a potager less than plentiful – clematis paniculata blanketing anything and everything, and the apples soon ready for picking.
Each year during the last week of August and the first part of September, I gather what is still blooming, mix it with leaves, herbs, and often-times branches and vines from the woods nearby, to create my last bouquets of summer. I photograph each one as a reminder of the ‘flower friends’ that cling to the end of the season. They give me another reason to examine what worked in the garden this year, and the research needed to make it better next year.
This year I have harvested the lemon verbena, dried it in flat baskets and stored it in air-tight containers to make infusions after dinner parties this winter. Leaves dried to be enjoyed all winter are an important note, connecting one year to the next. Labor Day weekend pestos were made with parsley, combined with pistachios as well as several varieties of basil (which thrived this summer)… soon to be tossed with fusilli.
While I feel somewhat like a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter, there are many plants that are faithful September friends. After a long Sunday morning beach walk with a good friend, we walked back to her home and took in the garden. She is an expert gardener, with an enviable knowledge of horticulture. Her garden includes perfectly clipped boxwoods, with pyramids of sculpted hornbeam and a wall of hydrangea serving as a backdrop. I delight in my own hydrangeas each year. The robust white clusters of these flowers announce the end of summer, and serve as symbols of hope. They offer a visual and psychological transition – a smooth passage to another abundant season.
I came away with two ideas, as one cannot help themselves when visiting such a garden…. A gorgeous tree - fagus sybiatica rohani – a curly leafed member of the beech family, the dark green leaves of which are shadowed with red. Where to place one in my garden? Something to ponder this winter.
The other idea for borders, against walls or around my fountain, laburia guarantica – “Argentine sky,” beautiful and delicate spires of blue. When my salvias have gone their flowering distance, this one takes the baton into fall. I look forward to gathering more ideas – from other friends, or on my own , whenever that might be – visiting famous gardens or just reading a book by the fire, trying to visualize what I am plotting and scheming, perhaps dreaming.
As this summer melts into fall, I feel great about my garden this year. A garden of twenty years – plotted, planned, bulldozed, ripped apart & replanted, prayed for and most of all enjoyed. I have photographed every corner and every plant. I have scrapbooks that remind me time and time again that gardens, like houses, are living breathing things. They are ‘a work in progress.’ People often ask “are you done” – they clearly do not understand. What does “done” mean? I never want to be done – the joy is in the doing, the puttering, the planning, the planting, the arranging…that soothing cup of tea, the fragrant pesto for dinner and the flower arrangement for the table. Simple pleasures – and luxurious ones at that!
All photography by Charlottte Moss.
September 30, 2009