Saturday, June 30, 2007

Metal Work in the Garden

Metal work in the garden

Some of you may know that Christopher from the blog Tropical Embellishments has migrated east to the mainland and is currently in the throws of sculpting out his personal sanctuary + garden in the middle of a sublime forest in North Carolina

At the entrance to his slice of paradise he is contemplating the design of a metal gate .

Below are a couple of design ideas and some resources that may assist him in developing his own design.

When I design a metal screen or gate I occasionally use pre-manufactured forged wrought iron parts .
These hand crafted metal parts are fabricated in Italy and then are sent out to various metal shop suppliers across the world.

No matter what middle man metal shop or catalog that you order from, whether it be from
Ireland to France or the United States, all of the parts will coordinate with the exact same catalog number.
For this reason I purchased the MOTHER Book Catalog directly from the Italian forge shop. It is called Ferrum Amantibus .

If you do not want to spend the hundred dollars or so on the Master Book , then you can simply use the U.S. supplier catalogs . I also use the Jansen -
www.jansensupply .com when compiling my design.

Below is a handrail and stairway panel that was designed using the various Italian forged metal pieces.
You choose the individual components such as the curly cues, the leaves, the spirals, the straight stock , pickets, rail components, and balusters . You lay your design out on paper with the corresponding component number and create your piece.
This layout gives your ironsmith a blue print to follow when ordering and welding the piece together.

Carmel Valley Project hand rail.

There is also Hybrid metal design work - This hybrid uses partial pre- forged wrought iron metal peices along with totally original hand crafted black smithed elements.

The gate below was crafted by Bushere and Sons for a project of ours in Marin County.
The pine cones are completely hand wrought as well as some of the pickets. The outter frame is a stock metal element.

The driveway gate

And then there are those gates, railings and screens that we design that are completely crafted from scratch using no pre-fabricated metal peices.

Below is a photograph of a privacy screen that we designed in collaboration with a black smith in Lake Tahoe.
The sceen is about 1/2 way complete in the photo.
There are several more layers of copper and bronze sheet work as well and the trees were re-worked to look more like trees than fire place pookers.

The Squaw Valley Job.

Another very inexpensive way to craft your own metal gate is to use rebar or bend copper or round metal stock.

Below is a photogaph of a gate that I found on the internet. Sorry that I do not have a designer to credit the design to.
I think that it is quite attractive and fairly easy to craft if you have some basic metal crafting skills.

Below are a few photos of some of our other metal work in the garden :

A clean lined simple arbor - Napa Valley. - crafted by Sonoma Metal Works

In this photo the metal screen doesn’t have its back panel on yet, so you can still see threw it. - The adjacent side panel is complete but I don’t have a good photo of it.
The fire pit has a metal sculpture set into the flame spouts.
Crafted by Mountain Forge in Truckee California - The Squaw Valley Job

The Carmel Valley job-
Metal entry overhead arbor set ontop of Napa Valley Cast Stone columns,
Metal hand rails and stairway screens

In this photo the job is still under construction but I thought you would enjoy to see the metal
inset that was designed into the front entry planter box.

Aliano Iron work from Salinas California did all the metal fabrication on this job.
He is extremely talented and very pleasurable to work with.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Napa Pool Project - June 29 ' 07 update

Napa Project update June 29, 2007

Well it has been a long time since I have had a chance to add anything to this blog.
It is not because I have not wanted to but because I have been pretty busy with trying to keep my small business in check and then my left lung decided to check out .

On April 27 I suffered a 30 % collapse of my left lung.
I went into the emergency room and they did minor surgery and I was out of the hospital within 24 hours , though I did have a tube sticking out of my side that was connected to a catheter.

Then the lung collapsed 3 more times within the past two months and it was decided that if I wanted to live that I needed a more aggressive surgery .
During the research phase I had a CT scan that showed that my lungs were covered with little things called blebs and that I have emphysema. - me , emphysema, and I have never smoked a cigarette except during those experimental times in every kids life in the 9th grade bathroom .,, fortunately I discovered that I got a raging migraine headache from smoke and that puffing on a cancer stick was not for me.

On June 19. 07 I was checked into the emergency room with a major lung collapse.
It was deemed that I required some knarly ass surgery.
I was in the hospital for 7 days. Half of that time was spent in the ICU.
Oh what joy !

While I have been ‘out of it’, I have had wonderful support and help from a friend and colleague who has been working diligently on procuring the plants for the Napa Pool Project.
Today my ‘assistant’ , Dana ( I am giddy with delight over this ! ) and I took a drive over to look at the project.

The stone bbq is almost complete. The honed granite counter top is suppose to arrive tomorrow and Miguel will set it in place and then set in the Viking bbq , the access door and the warming drawer.

Below you can see the coping stones being set and the water tile band laid out and ready to be mortared into the gunite pool

Below a photo of the pool equipment shed.
Unfortunately the installation crew did not read the plans and they installed the window and door in the wrong locations. ,, mistakes happen.
They will be coming out early next week to tear out the front wall and make things right

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Napa Pool Project Update- June 10 , 07

Napa Project Progression Photos June 10, 2007

The concrete has started the curing process.
Now the crew has started building the Sayer quarry stone wall at the raise terrace end of the pool

In this photo you can the the stone being set .
I set a 12” x 12” section of blue glass tile on the raised bond beam of the pool. This is where we are going to install the fountain wall.

I have started to plant some of the pots that we will place on the patio and terraces.
There will be 8 pots ( 4 each side ) lining the swimming pool , set directly on the coping.
They will be planted with Pennesetum sect. Rubra, Lysmachia, coleus, and variegated trailing strawberry.

A long shot view of the project.
Here you can see that the coping has not been set yet . The dirt area on the right hand side of the photo will be a sod lawn.
On the left side of the pool is the lounge chair area.
The guys are setting stone at the raised terrace over looking the pool.
There is one pot place on the left hand side of the pool towards the raised terrace, .. there will be 4 of these pots lining the pool on either side .

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A visit to The Pina Colada Garden

The Pina Colada Garden - photos taken in 2006 and 2007.

Last year my small garden was open to a couple of garden tours.
I am eternally grateful that the tours were scheduled for 2006 rather than 2007 because this year my garden is limping along in recovery from a debilitating frosty winter that killed many of the sub-tropicals that I had optimistically planted in a fit of zonal denial.

Below are several photographs that were shared with me from various garden photographers who took photographs during the spring and summer of 2006.

My garden is slowly regaining its florific momentum, but it is taking its sweet time during our unseasonably cool spring .

I anxiously await for my garden to resurrect itself to its former glory, but until then I am very fortunate to have such good friends who shared their garden photography with me.

So here’s to the Pina Colada garden, it was served up frozen this winter but soon it will be simply shaken and ready to be served up once again.

Below are several photos taken by California Sue of Dave’s Garden, Marion Brenner
and Lee Anne White.
With much appreciation, many thanks to your photographic talents.

Below : The layout of the Pina Colada Garden - USDA zone 9a - Marin County Northern CA.

Below: The front gate entry is flanked by blue glazed pots planted with papyrus, and succulents

This photo below was taken by Saxon Holt for an article in Sunset Magazine

A detail shot of the succulents - Lee Anne White photography

Another shot taken of the front path. The color of the tile mosaic in this photo is very true to the actual color.

After opening the front gate one is lead down the deep blue mosaic path. A small potager garden is planted to the right of the path and the succulent garden is planted to the left.

Set in the succulent garden is ‘Carman Miranda’s Grandson, “ Frenchy “.

This photo was taken this spring 2007. As you can see the boxwood frame around the potager was uneffected by the frost. A whole new seasonal batch of herbs and flowers are starting out.

Same garden area, photo taken by Calif. Sue in 2006 on The Garden Conservancy Tour.

As you pass past the potager the garden opens up to a small lawn and perennial border.
At the end of the lawn area I had a larger than life size topiary worman standing under the Ash tree, her name is Buxom Bottom Busty Betty. She has a little succulent covered terrior dog to keep her company.

As you leave the front yard , through an opening in the old redwood fence a path created from recycled cracked concrete takes you through the side yard Sculpture Garden.

Looking back on the side yard

A raku tile sculpture hanging off the redwood fence

Some low fired ceramic “she nut “ sculptures

Rounding the corner from the side yard into the back yard this is the first view that you have of the back yard garden.

Photo by Lee Anne White - Looking down the back yard path with a Charles Grimaldi Brugmansi in the foreground.

A three foot tall strawberry pot planted with The Guardsman Phormium. photo by Marion Brenner.

One of the Pot Heads that are tucked in along the path.

This photo taken by Calif. Sue was taken along the back yard path looking towards the greenhouse.

A bed adjacent to the greenhouse. Planted with Alocasia, Canna, Heliconia, Agave attenuatta, Carex ‘sparkler’ and various succulents and palms.

A photo by Sue that shows the trunk of a Red Banana and a tillandsia and plectranthus.

A Marcia Donahue stone sculpted head sits in an antique Indonesian grain grinding mill surrounded by succulents.

My outdoor dining and napping area.

Rounding the corner to the south side succulent garden . This is pretty much the end of the Tour and my small yard garden space . Thanks for enjoying it with me.