Jardin du Luxembourg at a Glance

There’s no better time than on a dreary, rainy day to revisit photos of a summery Parisian garden. Something about looking at all their detail and charm just helps pour the sunshine back into any gloomy day. So on this damp week, Marvin Gardens loved looking back at these photos of the Jardin du Luxembourg from Habitially Chic. Where’s your favorite garden located?

Photos Credit: Heather Clawson

Do You Know the Many Benefits of Garden Rain Barrels?

While the summertime is usually the peak time of year for a nearly 50% increase in residential water use, it’s still important to try to conserve water year round. Rain barrels are a great way to do this; not only do they help conserve water use and lower costs, but they can also reduce water pollution by reducing storm water runoff, which can contain pollutants like sediment, oil, grease and bacteria, according to the University of Rhode Island’s landscaping division.

So what is a rain barrel, you ask? It’s a large container – usually 40+ gallons large — that collects and stores the rainwater from rooftops that would normally run through gutter downspouts and off into storm drains. The water that’s collected in the barrel would ideally be used for later lawn and garden watering.  Rain barrels can also be arranged to slowly release the collected rainfall to areas that can soak up the water, reducing storm water runoff and increasing groundwater recharge, notes URI. And best of all, they’re easy to build and install!

Click here to learn how to construct your own rain barrel.

Photo Credit: This Old Home

The Charm of an English Countryside Courtyard!

At Marvin Gardens, we just love courtyards–they’re beautiful for so many reasons: their green foliage, soft and tunneled lighting and the nook-and-cranny charm they possess simply through being a “hidden” enclave between buildings. COCOCOZY recently featured the lush courtyard of an English hotel that we just had to share. Behold the Lime Wood Hotel. This former country house was recently renovated into a relaxing hotel in the middle of a national forest, COCOCOZY notes. Take a look below for some interesting facts about this landmark structure’s history.

From the Lime Wood Hotel:

Previously a hotel called Parkhill, Lime Wood was purchased by Jim Ratcliffe in 1999.  It was closed in October 2004 when work was begun on its transforming renovation. The original building is a Regency country manor house built on the site of an earlier 13th Century hunting lodge.  It subsequently became a prep school for Royalty and aristocracy. The architectural additions that we have made to the site were designed by Charles Morris and Ben Pentreath with interiors by David Collins. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed bringing Lime Wood back to life and are thrilled with how our plans have turned out.  We want you to get to know it, to enjoy it and to come back whenever you feel like being spoiled, breathing some fresh forest air, eating delicious food and just getting away.

What do you like about this particular courtyard? Do you have a certain hotel that you like to stay at regularly because of its own quaint courtyard?

Photo Credit: COCOCOZY

Sharing Your Favorite Posts Has Never Been Easier!

If you’re looking for a simpler way to share Marvin Gardens’ posts without having to copy and paste its links every time, then listen up. There’s now a feature at the bottom of every one of our blog posts that allows you to quickly and simply share it with over 200 social networking sites! Follow the 5 steps below and you’re good to go!

1. Click on the title of the post you wish to share.
2. At the bottom of the post click on or hover your mouse over the share box.
3. Scroll down until you find the application you want to share through, or type in the name in the search box and click the icon.
4. Enter your user name and password for the site.
5. Click enter or send (depending on the site) and you’ve shared our post.

And there you have it!

Lemon Tree, Oh Lemon Tree

“Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet/
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat”

While these lyrics from the  illustrious 1960 song “Lemon Tree” by Will Holt suggest that  lemons aren’t ideal for the taste palate, this zesty fruit is one of the most-used for culinary purposes (among many others) throughout the world. In fact, amongst all citrus trees planted and harvested for fruit across the United States, lemon trees are the most popular. And when it comes to aesthetics, they add a touch of tropical beauty to any backdrop.

If you’re thinking of growing one in your own backyard, keep this list of Lemon Tree Care Tips from eHow.com handy:

  • Use a shovel and soil (leftover from the hole or somewhere else) to construct a watering ring surrounding the newly transplanted lemon tree. Pile up the soil to create a wall around the tree that measures at least 2 feet in diameter.
  • Fill the ring with water and allow draining. Continue to water the new lemon tree every other day for two weeks and then water it weekly, until the water ring naturally disappears into the soil. After this time, only water the lemon tree when the top 1 or 2 inches of soil dries.
  • Add a 3- to 6-inch layer of mulch around the new lemon tree to deter weeds and to maintain moist soil conditions. Keep the mulch at least 1 foot away from the trunk of the tree and extend it out to a diameter of 3 feet.
  • Apply a small amount of citrus fertilizer around the lemon tree once growth begins. Repeat each six weeks through summer. Water the lemon tree after fertilizing to ensure the nutrients reach the soil.
  • Inspect the lemon tree often for any signs of diseases or pests. Check the entire tree for any changes in appearance. Contact your area extension office to identify the problem and to learn about the treatment required.

Do you have a lemon tree in your own yard?

Photo Credit: Club Algarve

Italian Architect Takes Gardening to New Heights

Gardens come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They also can be placed in a number of locations. For some folks, space permits sprawling backyard plots that can showcase a number of different fruit-bearing plants. For others, their “home garden” is better defined as a strip of tiny potted cooking herbs on the kitchen window sill. But the award for the most truly unique garden space has to go to those for Italian architect Gaetano Pesce. In a world of tight spaces and growing pollution Pesce created hanging wall gardens in Osaka, Japan to maximize space while still maintaining beauty. The walls of the construction feature interesting extruded pockets with plants, thus creating an impromptu vertical garden, according to Freshome.com.

From Freshome:

This idea also contributes to the overall original look of the building which made it become one of the city’s landmarks in the past years. The 80 types of plants and trees were selected by asking help from specialized local horticulturists, but the main species is Bamboo. In case you are wondering what this structure houses, know that is a nine-floor building with 7,052 square meters of interior space.

To learn more about Pesce and his work, visit his website.

Photo Credit: Freshome

A Twist on The Traditional Wedding Bouquet

If you’re in the process of planning a wedding, you know that there are a number of options for virtually every last detail that needs to be decided on. There’s black and white and then every shade of gray in between when it comes to picking out items like invitations, centerpieces,  cakes, venues…and of course, let’s not forget dresses. But we here at Marvin Gardens think that one particular designer of yesteryear had the right idea when it came to navigating through the plethora of options: less is more. Constance Spry, known to many as “The Original Wedding Planner” was responsible for designing the flowers for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and chose a more simplistic approach to the couple’s royal decor. In fact, through a little creative ingenuity, she created masterpieces of not just fancy flowers like roses but weeds and even kale.

Thanks to Habitually Chic, we found some fun photos from of Spry’s  traditional, yet minimalist style. Now if only Lady Spry was around today to help us wade through today’s obstacle course of wedding planning, we’d be in good shape!

Click here to view more.

A Century of Gardening

American horticulturist and philanthropist Bunny Mellon will turn 100 years old on Aug. 9. Yes, that’s right, 100! A longtime Kennedy family friend, Mellon advised  Jacqueline Kennedy first on fine arts and antiques during the Kennedy White House Restoration and then on the design of the grounds of the presidential rose gardens.

Her work was recently recognized in Vanity Fair by renowned photographer Jonathan Becker and so, to celebrate her life and her many contributions to the world of gardening,  Marvin Gardens invites you to take a look at some of Becker’s photos of Mellon’s gorgeous garden at her Oak Spring Estate in Upperville, Virginia.

Thank you and happy birthday, Bunny!

Photo Credit: Jonathan Becker and first by Henri Cartier-Bresson via Habitually Chic

For regular design tips and gardening news from Marvin Gardens, be sure to subscribe to our blog by submitting your e-mail address in the top right-hand corner of the homepage.

Add a Touch of Cottage Style to Your Home

There’s no better time than summer to touch your home up with light cottage décor. “Cottage” style can incorporate so many different elements that make the season from –everything form the breeze of a beach house to the warmth of a county inn. In fact one of the most tantalizing things about cottage style is its implied “no-fuss” vacation-y energy, notes Freshome.com in a recent article of theirs called Simple Touches to Bring Cottage Style Decor into Your Home.

“Cottage style décor is reminiscent of vacation homes and small tucked away cabins that are no fuss, and all about leisure and a slower paced lifestyle.  You can achieve this look in your home with the following touches to bring cottage style décor into your favorite spaces. Whether its summer or winter, who doesn’t love laid back interiors to come home to?”

Visit Freshome to learn more about incorporating cottage-inspired décor into your home.

Whites, neutrals, and colors inspired by the beach are very common in cottage décor. Sun bleached hues of blues, and greens give a sense of weathered interiors. Cottage inspired décor looks like it has been there for years.
Try combining modern materials coupled with cottage décor – the results can be beautiful! The kitchen is the perfect place to add modern marble or granite counters, paired with cottage inspired cabinetry.

Photo Credit: Freshome

New Julia Rothman Patterns

They’re here! Julia Rothman’s latest collection of patterns have been unveiled this month! The Brooklyn-based illustrator and pattern designer has become recognized for her light and fun, whimsical patterns and is a fixture at a number of hip boutiques and retailers like Urban Outfitters and Hygge & West.  Her illustrations have even appeared in The New York Times, Details magazine and on a line of puzzles for Kid O. If you haven’t had a chance already to take a look at her designs, please do! They’re fun and can be used for a variety of projects. The possibilities are endless!

Visit Julia Rothman to learn more about her work.

Photo Credit: Julia Rothman