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Muhammad Ali’s Peace Garden Initiative

June 4, 2016
 photo courtesy of business wire

photo courtesy of business wire

The Muhammad Ali Center of Lexington, Ky and Yum! Brands Foundation launched the global Muhammad Ali Center Peace Gardens project on September 21, 2010.

This coincided with the United Nations International Day of Peace.

Muhammad_Ali

Peace gardens focus on using edible plants from different cultures to teach youth about the world through culinary delights.

They also teach children how to “nurture and care for other living things” and remind them about the importance of fruits and vegetables in their diets.

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Through the process of growing food students learn about nature’s processes and increase their access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

What better way to create awareness about hunger than to have them actively involved in growing a garden, taking food home to their families, and giving to the community?

bigstock_Two_Girls_Gardening_3207764

The model for this idea came from the John F. Kennedy Montessori school. Children participated in all aspects of the garden including planting, nurturing, harvesting, cooking and donating food to the hungry.

The model garden consisted of different vegetable beds representing the different countries and the diverse cultures of the school.

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  • Squash and beans were grown in the United States/Native American garden and were used to make “3 Sisters Harvest Soup”.
  • Tomatoes, peppers and onions were grown in a Salsa Garden representing Mexico.
  • Sweet potatoes and black beans were grown in the Cuban garden bed
  • Edamame was grown in the Asian bed
  • Potatoes and cucumbers represented Russia.

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“The ‘Muhammad Ali Center Peace Gardens’ program will sow the seeds of cultural respect by teaching children how to build gardens with plants from different countries,” said Greg Roberts, President of the Muhammad Ali Center.

muhammed ali

Blog, Garden Tips

Add a Lively Red Accent in Your Landscape

June 1, 2016

Bold. Bright. Pop.

This is what RED adds to a garden.

RED, an eye catching hue, stands up to the summer sun’s withering glare in the afternoon.

When all pastels fade away, red, orange and yellow sing their hearts out….and RED always steals the show.

chakras-redRED has a vivid history – Check it out on the sensational color website. It is the color of the root chakra (this means ‘energy point) of the body:

“This chakra is located at the base of the spine and allows us to be grounded and connect to the universal energies. Groundedness, belonging….”

(sounds perfect for all us grounded gardeners)

p171551-nikko-shinkyo_bridge

In Japan RED is associated with certain deities. Their “Shinkyo” (Sacred Bridge) in Nikko, Japan is a wonderful example of the contrast RED makes with green in a natural setting.

You can also see how effective RED is in the modern Chinese Red Ribbon in Tanghe River Park, designed by Turenscape :

red ribbon park turen landscape

This use of RED has always been popular in Chinese gardens…Here is another example showing a red Tori or gate…what great proportions too.

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I was first introduced to the power of red by the French artist, Matisse…I loved his ‘Red Studio’ when I first saw it as a child in a NY museum:

redstudio

And of course Red furniture outdoors attracts the eye:

hotel-saint-celia

Here is a landscape I designed – the red bench definitely dominates the scene:

garden by Jan Johnsen  2011 02

(Jan Johnsen)

superbells redI often plant RED Callibrachoa in my clients’ gardens. It is a eye catcher for sure!

 

 

 

I also plant a mass of red begonias next to dark green leucothoe to make a statement. This is what I did along an entry walk:

Jan Johnsen -leucothoe and red begonia

Of course the spilling over of Superbena Royale Red Verbena in a pot is unmatched:

SUPERBENA ROYALE RED VERBENA

(courtesy of Proven Winners)

And Nemesia, a cool season annual flower, is also a knock out in red, Sunsatia Cranberry Nemesia :

SUNSATIA CRANBERRY NEMESIA

(courtesy of Proven Winners)

Did you know that Bees can’t see the color red, but they can see all other bright colors. Red flowers are usually pollinated by birds, butterflies, bats, and wind, rather than bees.

I love red tulips against a white fence so I planted these Parade tulips:

PARADE TULIPS garden and photo by jan johnsen

(Jan Johnsen)

And of course the traditional Red Geranium always signifies ‘welcome’ in so many languages:

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So please consider ‘spicing up’ your outdoor surroundings with some RED today – you won’t regret it!

Silas Mountsier garden - photo by Jan Johnsen

(Silas Mountsier Garden, photo by Jan Johnsen)

Blog, Garden Tips

Beautiful Foolishness of Things – The Book of Tea

May 30, 2016

‘Too little tea’ is a Japanese expression that refers to a person too busy to stop and smell the roses.
From ‘The Book of Tea’:
The heaven of modern humanity is indeed shattered in the Cyclopean struggle for wealth and power.

The world is groping in the shadow of egotism and vulgarity. Knowledge is bought through a bad conscience, benevolence practiced for the sake of utility.

The East and the West, like two dragons tossed in a sea of ferment, in vain strive to regain the jewel of life. We need a Niuka again to repair the grand devastation; we await the great Avatar.
Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea.

The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the sighing of the pines is heard in our kettle.

Let us dream of evanescence, and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things.

Kakuzo Okakura

Garden & Plant History, Garden Photo of the Day, Musings, Uncategorized

Landscape Design – A High Calling

October 1, 2015

cascade – Jan Johnsen design

“The world is moving into a phase when landscape design may well be recognized as the most comprehensive of the arts.” 

 Geoffrey Jellicoe,

‘The Landscape of Man: Shaping the Environment from Prehistory to the Present Day’ 

Creative ideas don’t just come out of thin air – they are an amalgam of what we have learned and used in the past. By looking at other cultures’ traditions and their approach to the natural elements you can enhance your garden immeasurably.

by Bill Bensley, Thailand

A garden maker should look to landscape designers of the past and present and learn their design philosophies. Never stop learning.

The English garden designers such as Russell Page, Arabella Lennox Boyd, and Gertrude Jekyll stand side by side with their counterparts in the United States, Canada,  Japan, South America, Thailand, Indonesia, Hawaii, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Italy,  Holland, Germany,  France and India in my world.

blue moon bridge at les quatre veints, Canada

I borrow from new and old unabashedly and thank them all for their inspiration, guidance and insight.

To co-create with Nature and walk ‘the beauty way’ is a high calling, indeed.

dorset settle by Arabella Lennox Boyd

 

Musings, Teachers/Designers/Writers

Nature Words Deleted from the Dictionary..oh no!

March 1, 2015

acorn

In 2009 Oxford Junior Dictionary (Oxford University Press) revealed a list of the entries it no longer felt to be relevant to a modern-day childhood. So they deleted these words from the Junior dictionary. These are the words deleted:

acorn

adder

ash

beech

bluebell

buttercup

catkin

cowslip,

cygnet

dandelion

fern

hazel

heather

heron,

 ivy

kingfisher,

 lark

mistletoe,

nectar

newt

otter,

pasture and 

willow

The words taking their places in the new edition included attachmentblock-graphblogbroadbandbullet-pointcelebrity,chatroomcommitteecut-and-pasteMP3 player and voice-mail.

This is an outright shame because as  Wendell Berry wrote: “… we need a particularizing language, for we love what we particularly know.”

When I was a child, I asked my mother what this was (see above), she said it was Nature. For some time after that, every time someone said the word, ‘Nature’, I imagined a dandelion seedhead.  

 “Humans seldom value what they cannot name.”  – Elaine Brooks
Garden Photo of the Day

10 Great Garden Photos of 2014….

January 24, 2015
Allium ‘Millenium’ by Laura McKillop

What makes a great garden photo? Anything that delights you.

But if I had to put my finger on it – salient aspects would be the quality of the light and the richness of color. And composition figures prominently.

That said, here are some memorable photographs that have been featured in this year’s ‘Serenity in the Garden’ blog posts.

My criteria? Whatever grabbed my eye as I perused the photos..

 

moongate by Richard Hartlage

 

Andy Goldsworthy Spire, San Francisco

 

 

Cornell

 

 

Blue Moon Bridge by Virginia Small

 

 

Meadow flowers

 

 

Baptisia Purple Smoke, Bluestone Perennials

 

 

bicycletteboutique.com

 

 

Jan Johnsen, landscape design

 

 

From the film, Being There

 

Art in the Garden, Blog, Musings

Trompe l’oeil for 21st Century Landscapes

January 21, 2015
Michael Krondl – waterworks in Katonah, NY

One day in 2007 I was driving along a road in my area when I saw a long wall of falling water that wasn’t there before. The water was gushing over the wall but I saw no evidence of any water beyond that . Hmmm…..

Photo by Jan Johnsen

I had to stop the car and take a picture. Then I had to walk up there and see what was going on….

It was an art installation using photo-derived imagery of a waterfall.

A digital print on vinyl  – trompe l’oeil for the 21st century!

The artist is the talented and inventive Michael Krondl.

The 200-foot long waterfall called ‘Rising Water/Falling Water’ was in front of the Katonah Museum of Art.

I was struck by this vinyl wall of water..I had to see how he attached it to the existing wall…ah yes, grommets!

photo by Jan Johnsen

The possibilities of this trompe l’oeil in a landscape or public setting are vast-

Walls of water on subway platforms, sides of buildings, billboards, gas stations…

why not? As they say, views of nature help us relax. Serenity in the Garden goes viral…..

Mr. Krondl’s other projects include ‘Waterwalk’ he did for the Center for Contemporary Art in Prague. It was created to commemorate the anniversary of flooding that had devastated Prague in 2002 .

Mr Krondl explains on his website that he made the digital print on vinyl in 2003,by taking a series of photographs of the nearby river.

He digitally “seamed“ these together to make one large image and this was printed by a commercial billboard printer. It was then installed on the floor of the Palmovka Synagogue, a spot heavily affected by the floods. People walking on the surface of the ‘water’ felt they were literally afloat.

Someday I will place a trompe l’oeil ‘water wall’ somewhere…..or this! (look carefully):