Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Maine Gardens, Kitchens and Blueberries

Yes, all three topics will be covered in today's post.  It's been so long since I wrote anything, and now you'll have to tolerate my over abundance of words and images.  Let's start with one of my favorite places - Maine again.

The first Maine garden is one I saw in person on a Garden Conservancy tour several years ago.  It is the garden of Roxana Robinson and she was present when we arrived holding a copy of Architectural Digest.  Somehow she mentioned she was an author.  "Oh, a garden writer," I commented. 
"No, an author of books."  Terribly embarrassed and a tad skeptical, I quietly toured her lovely garden much of it designed by Patrick Chasse (more about Patrick in future blog).  When home, I looked on Amazon for her books, and she certainly is a "writer of books".  I've read them all and even used one of her short stories when I taught a senior English class on short stories.  I loved all of them and wish I could tell her how thoughtless I was and how talented she is.  I digress...on to the gardens.

The logia below offered a great view of the enclosed garden and the adirondack chairs offered a view of the nearby water and wooded grounds.

What was so cool about Roxana's garden is the fact that, as the image below shows, only part of it is enclosed by fencing.  The rest of her garden is free for the deer and chipmunks to roam.  She said she was sick of fighting nature, in fact she even left food out for the chipmunks - just not in the fenced section.  (She and the "chippies" have reached a detente I have not yet achieved.)

  Another enclosed Maine garden appeared in this issue of House Beautiful.

Tulip season in this issue.  If not for the fence the tulips would be only a warm memory in the minds of the deer and the garden owner.

I was recently on a Home and Garden Tour in Castine, Maine.  One of the gardens was designed by Bruce John Riddell.  I knew as soon as I stepped out of our car that it was one of his.  (See my earlier post about him in)  As someone once described his gardens, they seem cut out of a mountain.  Then he places his stone to complement the view.  Really magnificent.

He plants in masses which are so perfect with the scope of his gardens.  Here it's lavender.

Here it's low blueberries.

Now back to the house part of Castine's House and Garden tour.  What you're seeing below are Loi Thai's back steps leading to a small patio - I loved the use of stone on both.  Yes, his home was on the tour!  It was inspiring to see his work in person and so fun to actually meet the man whose work I have so admired.  He is as nice as I knew he would be.

Now to the kitchen part of today's blog.  If you follow Loi, which all should do, you know that his interiors are calming, white, spare and quite beautiful.  Thanks to his post, here are some images of his beautiful Castine kitchen.  There is nothing here to not love from the shiplap cupboards, to the soapstone sink, to the lighting fixture, to art work on the wall - all so perfect.

Even love the Tolix stool.

View of the kitchen from dining area.  Don't you love the nautical touches?

View of the original fireplace, more nautical art and carefully chosen antiques.  So cool, Loi, it really was such a treat to see your beautiful work in person and to talk to you, the man I've admired for so long.

Now, Loi's kitchen and all of his interior whiteness and spareness have inspired me much as Hugh Newell Jacobsen's work has done.  But, and this "but" is a big part of my need for at least five houses, I also love darker kitchens and rooms - those I've blogged about in Pennsylvania, Belgium, and England.  How to unite this disparate love is my conundrum which will never be resolved, which is why I blog.

See how different but also cool.

See, don't you love this one too?

And this...

and this...

and this.  All beautiful but would never work in a Thai or Jacobsen home.  What to do?  What to do?

One thing I am never "torn" about is my love of blueberries.  A bit of an abrupt transition but, in addition to design and kitchens, I love cooking and my old Gourmet magazines.  (My husband once told me the house would tip over with my collection of books and magazines, but it never has. Am trying to thin out, but it's so hard.) Here are some of my July issues and images.

A favorite July recipe.

Could you have recycled these magazines?  Obviously, I never could.  They helped inspire me to pick blueberries with a friend Saturday.  I love blueberries and the Blueberry Farm is somewhere special. We left at 7:30 in the morning, a beautiful summer day, and picked for three hours in a field that was quiet and its bushes were laden with fat blueberries.  We talked and picked and loved life.  I picked 11 pounds, my friend 12 1/2 pounds.  Below is my collection.

And this is what I did with them.

Yep, I made freezer jam and have ten bags of loose berries for recipes all winter.  I feel so rich.

That's it for today.  Sorry I was so wordy.  Promise to be more concise next time when I could be talking  about peaches, kitchens, Patrick Chasse or Maine.  
Stay cool,