Plant Wintergreen ( glossy green leaves with the red berries) and yellow pansies around a boxwood. Then place small gourds in the planter for an autumn touch. (Johnsen Landscapes & Pools)
Creating harmony, simplicity and peace in the landscape......
"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.
Gardening is an instrument of grace. "
Gardening is an instrument of grace. "
Monday, October 7, 2013
Saturday, September 28, 2013
|photo and garden by Jan Johnsen (That is a Kwanzan cherry tree)|
It is now time to plant those spring flowering bulbs in the colder regions of the northern half of the world.
|Photo by Jan Johnsen|
So in the spirit of arousing enthusiasm for what may appear to be a job with no pay-off...
keep these images in mind while you labor away planting daffodils, tulips, allium, hyacinths, scilla and more in cool earth....
The photos here are of Mark Egener's garden.
I worked with him to transform his property into a sweeping landscape complete with deer fence, gate, new drive, terrace, walls, grass steps, etc. I then planted some bulbs for him and his family to enjoy in spring
...it was a small gesture of gratitude for such a wonderful project.
Well, the next spring, when Mark saw tulips blooming around a lovely Kwanzan Cherry tree that I planted by his new drive he flipped.
He really liked them....I thought, 'Great! I am so glad he likes them...have to do more next fall..."
I forgot to do it, however. But Mark remembered. And he called me up me this past spring and asked me to stop by. Well, he actually ordered me to stop by. He said, "You must come and see what I did"...
I call it 'Mark's Magic Garden' or 'Mark's Garden of Delight'... I better call him up and ask what he has up his sleeve for next spring...enjoy these photos of Mark's horticultural passion:
Grass Steps with Redbud and masses of tulips, photo by Jan Johnsen
Tulips with garden behind, photo by Jan Johnsen
Friday, September 6, 2013
So in that vein, here is the Pinterest page for my projects. I am in pursuit of creating Serenity in the Garden....click here:
Johnsen Landscapes & Pools PINTEREST
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Sunday, September 1, 2013
I am pleased to announce that my firm, Johnsen Landscapes & Pools, has been nominated as one of four finalists in the NY Cottages and Gardens 'Innovation in Design' award - Garden Design category.
It is quite an honor!
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Grass steps in one of my landscapes- Jan Johnsen
Today I am discussing my signature dish — grass steps.
one of my projects using grass steps - can you see the steps? no? great!
I refer to grass steps - or grass treads, which is the correct term - as my signature simply because I have been incorporating them in my landscapes since the early 1980s.
I first saw grass steps in the mid 1970's in one of my favorite landscape venues, Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.
this great photo from Dumbarton is from The Photo Garden Bee website
Beatrix Farrand, the preeminent American landscape gardener (as she called herself) of the early twentieth century, installed three grass treads in a sloping lawn in Dumbarton Oaks. When I first saw them I was struck at how they disappeared when viewing them from above...
I loved this visual illusion! I also admired the way they suited the general sloping conditions of the site.
Beatrix Farrand, my fave
This approach arose, I assume, from what Farrand's mentor, Charles Sprague Sargent, taught her.
The following is from the informative website, 'Beatrix Farrand, Landscape Gardener'...
"Sargent taught Beatrix the basic concepts of landscape design, as well as how to stake out and survey a piece of land. Sargent imparted to Beatrix the idea that "plan" should fit the ground. One should never attempt to change the ground for the plan. (Balmori 2, p. 17) Farrand heeded this advice in her design plan for Dumbarton Oaks (Dumbarton Oaks, Site Plans, no. 3). "
Charles Sprague Sargent at work
But I find I must often alter a site to make it usable...However, grass steps do comport themselves and fit within a slope so seamlessly that it appears that all I had to do was make a cut in the earth and insert them. That is why I love them so much.
No one would ever guess how much work I went through to make these steps look so natural.
Grass Steps in the garden and the photo by Jan Johnsen
In 1992 Landscape Architecture magazine featured an article about my firm and showed a photo I took of a project of mine in Greenwich, Ct. The grass steps were front and center in the photo.
(They wanted to put the photo on the cover of the magazine but the editor called and explained to me that they didn't know who I was so they were putting another photo instead...)
I received so many phone calls from landscape designers who saw this in the magazine, asking me the specifics of how I built them. From that day forward , grass steps have multiplied and are now everywhere!
I like to think I had a hand in this rediscovery of Beatrix Farrand's fabulous idea....
the photo of Greenwich, Ct. landscape by Jan Johnsen in LA magazine
This is the photo from the 1992 issue of Landscape Architecture magazine......'Married with Clients' was the name of the article.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Sunday, June 9, 2013
“I think the true gardener is a lover of his flowers, not a critic of them.
I think the true gardener is the reverent servant of Nature, not her truculent, wife-beating master.
I think the true gardener, the older he grows, should more and more develop a humble, grateful and uncertain spirit."
If you are, like me, on the road to developing a more humble, grateful and uncertain spirit, there is no better way to help this along than by placing a Buddha (or one his 'associates') in a landscape setting.
Volcanic Ash Buddha from Indonesia
Meaningful treasures such as a jizo, Buddha or Indonesian goddess remind us to slow down, take a breath and live in the moment. Buddha statues elicit a serene response in us...although I am not exactly sure why. Perhaps it is their quiet countenance. Just looking at the photo below calms me down.
Buddha head photo By Jennifer Cheung, Sunset
Buddha heads, in particular, are very powerful. This is especially true if they are lit up at night. Mira and Suresh Suresh found this hefty stone Buddha and set it in their garden. Its serene expression sets a tranquil tone, more so at night.
photo by Benjamin Benschneider
Buddha heads look lovely placed among greenery - like this lava stone Buddha head from Bali. It is set upon a tree stump base and is surrounded by neatly pruned boxwood:
You can also hide a Buddha and make it a sweet surprise in a lush setting as here. Can you see it?:
I think the calming 'Buddha Effect' is due to the ability of a Buddha statue to 'ground' us. We look at a Buddha statue and it somehow connects us to a deep, earthy place within while exhorting us to fly high.
It is that 'push / pull' feeling we find so entrancing.
Nezu garden monk (not Buddha) by Camera Freak, via Flickr
I create Buddha gardens for my clients. It is a joyful exercise. There are just a few rules: first, create a space that offers a backdrop; place a base that elevates the statue slightly and make it visible only after turning a corner or climbing a slope.
You can place it by an entrance of a house or building to add some 'gravitas' and a welcoming energy to the setting.
Buddha by my front door - Jan Johnsen
And you don't have to be so serious - smiling baby Buddhas make us happy
This also opens up the idea of using other sorts of statues. As I mentioned before, you do not have to have a Buddha to add great meaning to a garden. Here are a few wonderful statues of his associates or similar that also enhance that 'uncertain and humble' feeling.
Source : Private Runner tumblr
Campania - Seated Buddha
I hope this inspires you to create a Buddha Garden of your own.....
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Friday, May 24, 2013
In May I work outside in the landscapes I create for others. I will share pics with you as I take them.
Serenity in the Garden is my goal...that can mean meditative settings or flowerful displays, grassy gardens, rock strewn hillsides and more.
Here is a mossy path from one of my landscapes. The wood rounds are from a large tree that fell. We sliced it up in 4" thick slices and treated each with wood sealer 4 times...
This glorious garden is not on the Garden Conservancy tours so photos must suffice. I will share more in time. www.johnsenlandscapes.com
Monday, May 20, 2013
Sunday, April 21, 2013
About 2 weeks before her daughter's garden wedding, my friend was in the throes of pre-wedding running around. Since the wedding was going to be at her house she looked at her overlooked hillside rock garden and decided that it needed help, and fast.
She asked me, "Can you improve upon my little rock garden?"
|Rock Garden BEFORE|
Within 5 days, we transformed a forgotten corner of the property into a little gem of a garden. I added some wonderful rock garden plants and several evergreen yews at the top of the rock garden to act as a green backdrop for smaller plants.
The biggest hit of all were the annual flowers that we planted, Gomphrena 'Buddy Purple' and the trailing White Bacopa. They are not standard rock garden plants but they provided a splash of color on the rocks all summer long. Some of the plants listed below are not hardy in my area - but they looked great during the wedding.
The Rock Garden Plant List
Campanula posharskyana Serbian Campanula 6"- 8" h. lavender
Cotoneaster dam. 'Coral Beauty' 'Coral Beauty' Bearberry Cotoneaster 2' -3' h. red berries
Delosperma cooperi Ice Plant 6" h. vibrant purple
Delosperma nubigenum Hardy Ice Plant 2" - 3" h. yellow
Dianthus grat. 'Bath's Pink' 'Bath's Pink' Dianthus 6 - 8" h. pink
Dianthus allwoodii alpina Alpine Dianthus 8" h. pink
Geranium 'Biokovo' 'Biokovo' Geranium 10" h. White w/ Pink
Helianthemum nummularium 'Raspberry Ripple' 'Raspberry Ripple' Sun Rose 6" - 10" h.red & white
Helianthemum 'Wisley Pink' 'Wisley Pink' Sun Rose 6" -10" h. soft pink
Iris cristata Dwarf Japanese Iris 6" - 8" h. purple
Kamtschaticum ' Varigatum' Variegated Sedum 4" - 5" h. orange
Sempervivum 'Mahogany' 'Mahogany' Hens and Chicks 3" h. red tinged
Thymus wooly Wooly Thyme 3" h. pink
Veronica repens Creeping Speedwell 2" h. light blue
Veronica 'Waterperry' 'Waterperry' Speedwell 4" - 6" h. light blue
A Year After....
Friday, February 8, 2013
|My backyard dry stream - Jan Johnsen|
If small is beautiful then....smaller must be more beautiful.
At least that is what I tell myself as I survey my postage stamp of a backyard. I remind myself that some of the sweetest of serene spaces are small gardens, tucked away, out of sight.
|I add touches insummer like this flowering lantana amongst the rocks|
My small verdant retreat is where I can place a chair or two, sip a cup of tea, tend to the garden, admire my planters of foliage or even write my blog, ‘pleine aire’, so to speak …
Sedum is a sun loving, easy to grow succulent. Sedum rupestre 'Angelina' is one of my favorites. It rows about 6 inches high and spreads out among rocks, pavers, in flower beds. It is a chartreuse yellow- green that spreads and spills out. Easy to grow and quite the eye catcher!
Sedum Angelina by Jan Johnsen