Elizabeth Park, Hartford CT

Born of the American Park Movement, Elizabeth Park was officially opened to the public in 1897. Encompassing 101 acres, both West Hartford and Hartford share this treasure that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The property originally owned by Charles and Elizabeth Aldrich Pond was gifted to the City of Hartford upon Charles Pond’s death.  He requested that the park be named after his late wife Elizabeth.  So romantic!

This park reflects both the European formal style of gardens and the natural setting with sweeping views and trees around the periphery  associated with its Landscape Architect, Frederick Law Olmsted.

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The rose garden is the centerpiece of this treasured garden designed in 1904 by Theordore Wirth and it is the country’s oldest public rose garden.

It is home to over 15,000 rose bushes and arches on two and a half acres with 475 garden beds.

 

 

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Rose Arbors

 

 

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Rose Hips

Opposite the rose garden there are four gardens connected via pathways and entrances creating various garden rooms including a Perennial garden, a shade-rock garden, heritage rose and tulip – annual garden.

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Passion Flower
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Annual Borders
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Celosia

 

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Celosia on Fire
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Busy, busy bees

 

There is an herb garden, an iris garden and currently on display the dahlia display beds which are currently in full bloom!   Dahlias come in every conceivable shape, color and size so here is just a small sampling!

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The ponds, Laurel Pond and Lily Pond are divided by a stone bridge

There is a gorgeous view of the Hartford skyline from the Sunrise Overlook. This park is a true urban oasis showcasing its many assets for its visitors. It connects communities and encourages a healthy life offering historical, educational, recreational, cultural, social and economic assets to all who visit.

 

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I truly plan to visit during next year’s Rose weekend as well as during Tulip season!  You should make it a point to visit the next time you are in the Hartford area.  This is a treasure not to be missed!

SPRING FLING – a tour around the NY Botanical Garden

An explosion of perfume was in the air on Saturday at the NY Botanical Gardens!  The sights and smells were overload to this devoted gardener.  Even my husband was ooohing and aaahing!  The Cherry trees, Magnolias, Spireas and of course all those gorgeous bulbs and spring flowering perennials combined with the fabulous 80 degrees made for a spectacular adventure.  If you are looking for inspiration for your garden to add a new spring flowering tree, shrub or flowering perennial this will inspire and delight you!  I was so in awe I took almost 900 pictures!  Here are just a few! Do you have a garden you would love me to photograph? As I say, I am obsessed with gardening! So I will say no more but take you on a visual tour of the garden.  I hope you can get there yourself!

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Prunus ‘Accolade’ Flowering Cherry

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Corylopsis sinensis Chinese winter-hazel
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Hyacinth orientalis ‘Delft Blue’
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Spirea thunbergii ‘Ogon’ one of my all time favorites
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Spirea japonica ‘Goldflame’
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Narcissus ‘Monal’ large-cupped daffodil
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Monet would be proud
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Native Plant Garden
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Prunus mume ‘Peggy Clarke’ Japanese Apricot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designing with Color

When planning your garden basic design color principles apply both inside and outside.  Color schemes can be used in several different ways depending on the mood you wish to create.  When talking about color the conversation automatically goes to the basic color wheel. (Color Wheel courtesy of Sessions College)

There are primary colors: Red, Blue and Yellow; then the Secondary colors of Violet, Orange and Green and Tertiary colors which are colors made by mixing a primary color and an adjacent secondary color.  An example would be orange-red; yellow-orange or lime green which is a mixture of green and yellow.

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So first let’s look at Complementary colors.  These are opposite each other on the color wheel like red and green, yellow and purple and orange and blue. These combinations offer the most contrast and provide visual stimulation.  Typically you will want to use more of the cooler color which recedes visually and that is balanced by less of the other color which will advance towards you.  The ‘Pop”!  But beware don’t pop”onesies” here and there.  It will cause the eye to jump all over.  Try to buy at least 3 of any plant.  You will be more successful if you plant in drifts of color and plants vs. trying to bring home one of every little goody you find.  I must say that I am also guilty of doing this.  Sometimes I just can’t resist and I will then use that one plant and test it out for a season and see if my soil, sun and climate will work for that newbie before buying more of them.  Experiment!  It is really hard to go wrong when planting since you can always move the plant if you don’t like where you placed it.

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Purple and yellow

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Red and Green
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Purple and Yellow
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Orange and Blue

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Analogous color schemes utilize neighboring hues on the color wheel.  They are typically warm or cool when most successfully used. Analogous colors lie between two primary colors like crimson. violet and violet-blue. These combinations are easy on the eye and the colors just seem to go together.  They are adjacent on the color wheel.

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Mohonk Mountain Hotel
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Yellow-Yellow Orange – Orange – Red Orange – Red
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Red Violet – Purple

When discussing color you will hear people refer to hue, value or chroma of a color.  The Hue is the name of the color such as red or blue. The Value of a color refers to its lightness or darkness and the Chroma is the strength of the color. Again, repetition is key in garden design.

Monochromatic schemes have one color used throughout.  In the case of the garden, green is a neutral color but even a garden can have too much green.  Look for different textures, heights and a variety of colors like, green, lime, yellow-green, blue-green so the view isn’t boring.  Hostas are a great example of the tremendous range of color available in a single plant species.  Heuchera is another! I bet you can find Heuchera in every color under the sun these days!  Always provide some darker and lighter plants for interest.  Relief in every color scheme can be added by sprinkling in whites.  This will break up the palette and keep the energy and the eye moving.  Remember that colors can be warm or cool.  Yellows can lean towards green or towards orange and this will guide you to the companion plants you might plant nearby.

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Verbena bonariensis
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Brooklyn Botanic Gardens – Monochromatic
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Nepeta

 

Whatever your color scheme if you have a garden that you would like photographed call me!  I understand when the light is right, the bloom time is perfect and as a gardener I love my gardens and always want to preserve the moments that come and go and change almost daily.

You can find me at www.lensidesigns.com where you can link to my Flickr page that will showcase many of my photographs.  Need a gift?  I can help with that too.  I can have a print made for you to give as a gift, ready to hang on archival paper, no frame necessary.  Maybe treat yourself!!!

Happy Gardening!!!

Face your Fears, Live your Dreams

How do you see your future?

If you had asked me this question in the past my answer would have been vastly different than it is today.  Life is funny in that the twists and turns bring us to our destiny.  I always talked about being a photographer but never saw myself being here.  Today I can imagine nothing but being a photographer!  I see every moment of my life as I would like to capture it through my lens.  Life had different plans for me and my life has led me to be where I always dreamed I could be.  If life had moved differently I might not be here but this time I faced my fears and I am living my dreams! I will show up each and every time!  I will not let myself down.  This is for me!!

Where will your inspiration come from? It could be from anywhere or anything.  It could be from a negative experience that taught you a precious lesson or an unexpected friendship, a moment, a breeze, a rainbow, a bird or a butterfly. Anything that moves you to action and touches your soul. Your inspiration might come from the laughter of a grandchild or the dying request of a parent.  When my Mom was dying she asked me to “take care of my father”.  Of course, I didn’t hesitate and told her I would.  I kept that promise till the day he died 4 years later.  He would be so proud that I never stopped reaching for all I wanted.  I stayed true to myself.  I went back to school again for a Certificate in Garden Design and Horticulture.  Little did I know when I started that this would be my path to photography.  I have always been a gardener and loved photographing my gardens.

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Nepeta at the garden of Linda Allard

My background in gardening and interior design have made me uniquely qualified to photograph gardens. Design makes you understand proportion, color, composition and balance.  All the essentials of a great photograph. My life experiences have helped me to see the garden and the landscape in ways that enhance my interactions with it.

Ansel Adams said: there are always 2 people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.  He also said you don’t take a photograph- you MAKE it!”

Take a minute and ask yourself – how do you preserve your memories?

I capture Memories!

I MAKE Photographs!

I help garden designers who are awesome at creating inspiring gardens for their clients but neglect to capture their work in photographs and I help them record their completed projects which showcase the seasonal interest of the garden design from creation to maturity so their images can get them more exposure, more opportunities and more revenue.

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I would like you to think about 3 things:

  1. How are you impacting your clients? Are you limiting your business by not preserving your designs? Did you provide something even your client didn’t realize they needed that improved their lives?
  2. Do you have clear images for one on one presentations? What challenges and adversities did your design solve?
  3. Creative people are not always business minded people. I can help you enhance your market presence. Don’t limit yourself! Promote yourself! Go all in!!!!!

I can only begin to imagine where my photography will take me:

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I hope it takes me back to Positano, IT
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OR Back to Ravello, IT

Gay Head

OR

Just next door! What doors will photography open?

HOW WILL YOU BE REMEMBERED?

This is how I will be remembered:   I will be remembered as a daughter, a mother, a wife, a sister, a very good friend, my mother’s advocate, a caregiver, a “do-gooder” a good listener, a doer, a good neighbor,  a runner, a skier, a gardener, a motivator, a shoulder to cry on, a friend to laugh with and last but not least, as a photographer!  I am a PHOTOGRAPHER! I see the landscape through different eyes than others do.  Let me capture that awesomeness that nature gives us:  for you.

I hope you will come to my website: www.lensidesigns.com and explore the possibilities.  I look forward to talking with you and preserving your memories!

Spring is coming…. but not today!

As I sit by the window watching the first fat snowflakes fall I find an extreme sense of peace.  The snow is so beautiful! Perfect snowflakes in all shapes and sizes blanketing the gardens and keeping my beloved plants safe till spring when it will be time to awaken.

Spring is a time of rebirth and new beginnings.  Another chance to get it right! A chance to reinvent ourselves to meet our ever changing lives.  I have gone thru several reinventions in my life and I will talk about that another time.

How will you greet the spring … if it ever comes to New England this year?  I am planning to revamp some garden beds and add a few companion plants to bump up the happy co-existence my plants share with the others in the garden.  Hopefully the bunnies and the deer will not interfere with my grand plans!  Each plant effects the next and plays a supporting role to provide beauty for us to appreciate, a source of food for the bees, butterflies and birds or us!  We all have an impact on the ones around us.

How do you see your future? What are your dreams? Stop and assess where you are and where you want to go.  When I started running 6 years ago our team leader gave me wonderful advice that I carry with me into every run and every race. “One step at a time, right foot, left foot!” (Thanks Jody!) Many times when I didn’t think I could take another step I remember that advice.  My dearest friend Nancy told me when you think you can’t go any further “Run faster and you’ll finish sooner”.  I don’t want to run so fast that I forget to enjoy the journey and you shouldn’t either.  There is beauty all around us.  Just stop and notice it.

Spring is coming…… but not today!  Enjoy the  Peonies and Lilacs for now 🙂

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Some plants are attractive all year but really shine in the winter. Of course, you must think beyond just evergreens. Some trees and shrubs have beautiful bark and spectacular winter color like the Red Osier Dogwood ‘Baileys Red’. Ornamental grasses provide movement and are luminescent against the snow and go great with evergreen shrubs. Consider Miscanthus or Calamagrostis grass. Create lots of variety!

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Consider perennials with seed heads like Rudbeckia, Black Eyed Susan’s or Echinacea, Coneflowers

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Many shrubs have berries like Winterberry, Inkberry, Hollies, Viburnum and some have beautiful foliage like the Witch Hazels.

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Witch Hazel – Hamamelis
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Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’
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Viburnum

You are looking for trees and shrubs that attract attention in winter but still provide interest throughout the rest of the growing season. Interest can be provided with berries, exfoliating bark, early blossoms or gorgeous architectural branching.  Here are some examples:

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Aronia – Black Chokeberry – lovely berries
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Heptacodium – has wonderful exfoliating bark

 

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Exfoliating bark on Acer griseum and Betula nigra- River Birch

Ilex verticillata – Winterberry Holly- berries in winter

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Winterberry
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Callicarpa dichotoma – Beautyberry – ‘Early amethyst’

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