Chennai India Terrace Garden

Right now I’m gardening in Chicago. But when we complete the India apartment, I hope our garden terrace looks something like this:


We already have the space, the balusters very much like these, and even the banana and coconut trees!

For now, this low maintenance cyberspace garden was created by me at Olioboard. Thank goodness, because I already have enough gardens to keep watered and weeded in real life.

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Cool Summer Lagoon

Like, who has a lagoon at their home? Probably fewer people than those who have a courtyard, another feature I’d love to have in a home’s layout. What about a lagoon in a courtyard? Oh boy. Well, here’s one:

Unfortunately it doesn’t exist in real life, but you can find all the elements to put it together here.

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Glorious Garden Glimpses

I’ve been absent from blogging lately — the weather and gardens have been calling me outdoors. I like lush gardens with varying leaves and textures and colors all overlapping each other. Because my plants are still emerging and most of our garden areas are young, the gardens have yet to grow to that full lush point, so here I offer glimpses …

Geum and lime creeping jenny:

Yellow bearded iris, clematis, allium and geranium not yet blooming:

This is a shade garden — Red October hosta with floppy leaves, purple leafed heuchera, blooming columbine in the distance, and Chaai cat who had just emerged from hiding under “his hosta.” If you ever can’t find him, look under the hosta:

Garden view from the family room window:

Tree peony with variegated hosta in the background:

Painted Japanese fern:


Red stems of Red October hosta:


Variegated iris leaves:

Siberian iris:

Geum and Siberian iris (so glad their bloom times overlapped a bit):

Irish moss and iron garden ornament:

I love contrasting foliage in shade gardens:

Tree peony. Flowers so fleeting:

Many colors in a caramel heuchera:

Emerging orangey fronds of autumn painted fern:

Bearded iris, allium, clematis:

The master of the gardens, supervising the works in progress. Does he approve? The catnip does need to come along faster, he says:

Stepping stones, every garden needs some:

Armillary sphere:

Baptisia and honeysuckle:

Siberian iris, baptisia and honeysuckle. This all needs time to grow and fill in:

Siberian iris against lime Irish moss:

Peonies. This is just one slice of a big old peony plant with five peony stands holding it all straight up right now. The flowers are at prime time today! But tonight a severe storm is forecast and I fear the peonies won’t be like this tomorrow:

Garden master Chaai and his stomping grounds:

River of bearded iris. I love when this river of lavender visits us for a short time each spring. It reminds me of the rivers of bearded iris atop long stone walls in Tuscany:

Views from inside the house:

I don’t like being in here at this time of year. So, headed back outside …

(These photos were all taken with an iPhone and Instagram app)

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Outdoor Living Encore

Please bear with my enthusiasm for the great outdoors. I know many readers here are seeing many 80 and 90 degree days, but we’re still trying to defrost here in Chicago. It’s been a cold wet spring. Many of my more tender garden plants look unhappy. They’re closing themselves off and recoiling, much like I would do if someone threw a cold glass of water on me. Which is what it feels like outside.

So what to do? Resolve that better days definitely are ahead as these images remind …

Today’s outdoor living examples are all from Houzz — a site bursting with beautiful home photos that you can wander through. Here, I share outdoor “rooms” that have styles that extend the architectural style of the homes that they’re attached to:

St. Simons Island, GA mediterranean porch

Patio, Summer House, Island of Kythira, Greece mediterranean patio
Seattle Exterior Renovations By Fine Construction traditional patio
Alder Springs Ranch eclectic porch
Cottage Gardens eclectic porch
Residences modern patio
Family Pool traditional patio
Quaker Bluff Residence contemporary patio
Webster Exterior traditional exterior
Montana mix traditional porch
Modern Transformation contemporary landscape
Midtown traditional porch
So many different styles! But they all seem to flow from the house. Just as if you were to add an inside room to the house, the outdoor spaces should reflect the architecture of the house and the outdoor surroundings. I’m considering this as we think about the outdoor space we want to create behind our house. I have many ideas, but the driving force and deciding factor should be the house itself, which is a traditional/farmhouse style with painted cedar siding. Someday I shall post pictures, but the poor house is not at its best right now. We got a bad exterior paint job only a few years ago, and we’re now awaiting a new paint job next month. For now, the house looks like a young boy with grass stains on his knees and ruffled up hair, and maybe even a few tears in his shirt. And oh yeah … that mortar that’s falling out from between some bricks on the chimney … ah, houses … they’re always throwing something at you to do.

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