Natural Elegance

TSG Garden RomanceLast week, spring officially sprung, and since then we’ve been dreaming of secret gardens—and garden-inspired elements—that capture all the romance and promise that the new season brings. From the marriage of nature’s unruliness with a sense of man-imposed order to the sophisticated and soothing palette, formal gardens embody everything that we love about spring, so we’re starting off the season with a celebration of gorgeous outdoor spaces and items that demonstrate their influence. (See below for list of items featured above.)

tsg-formal-garden-Lambert-Design-Image-6Dallas-based Lambert Landscape Company‘s work has us feeling wonderfully flush with spring fever. The award-winning firm has been designing and caring for gardens in the area for nearly a century, and their expertise is evident in projects like the one above, as well as many others found in their endlessly inspiring portfolio. Carefully manicured hedges, detailed concrete planters, ivy climbing up the facade…everything about the above scene makes us long for such a special outdoor retreat.

tsg-formal-gardnens-dress-fiftyfifty-parisbalconyWho can resist the refined moodiness of florals set against a dark background, as in the garden party-ready Dolce & Gabbana orange blossom print dress available from Capitol in Charlotte and the sublime arrangement by the creative experts at event and floral design firm 50fifty in Naples? Equally enticing is an 18th century Parisian wrought iron balcony with a once gilded letter “M,” spotted on Atlanta-based Architectural Accents’s Instagram feed, which is ideal for adorning one’s garden gates. If we stumbled across it we’d go to great lengths to find out what lies on the other side.

tsg-sword-gate-house-chsThe historic Sword Gate House, which bears a historic marker thanks to the help of the Preservation Society of Charleston, dates back to 1803, and the garden at the legendary house feels like a place that holds centuries of memories. Thanks to sculptural elements, live oaks, fruit trees, and romantic walkways, no doubt it will host countless memorable moments for years to come.

tsg-formal-gardens-walls-transitionsThe creation by Chicago’s Craig Bergmann Landscape Design (top) has us simply swooning. The lush hydrangea and curved hedge showing a peek of lavender just beyond beckons us to get lost among the natural beauty. Meanwhile, the early 20th century hand-carved limestone gazebo enclosed by a wrought iron pierced dome available from Palm Beach’s Authentic Provence is ripe for a rendezvous, and the dreamy space by Dallas’s Lambert Landscape Company (above, right), looks like it’s straight out of a fairy tale.

tsg-craig-bergman-chicagoHere, another Craig Bergmann Landscape Design space appears to be the ultimate secret garden—the color contrasts, multi-levels, variety of foliage, and, of course, the entrance epitomize the magic and mystery of of spring.

Featured in collage at top:

1. Beautiful grounds by Lambert Landscape Company in Dallas, Texas.
2. 19th c. Copper Architectural Element from Bohland and Graham in Richmond.
3. “Secret Garden” 19th century French statue of a hidden face carved by hand out of solid block of limestone. One piece, bush hammered plinth on square base. Measures 68.5″H x 17″ W x 17″ D. From Authentic Provence in West Palm Beach, Florida.
4. Greek 19th Century Terra Cotta Statue of a Lady from Fireside Antiques in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
5. Pair of Large Italian Carved Gilt Candle Sconces from LaDonna Antiques and Interiors in Charlotte, North Carolina.
6. Gardener’s Dream Medium Greenhouse (measures 58.375ʺW × 34.875ʺD × 52.0ʺH) from Chairish in San Francisco, California.
7. Oscar de la Renta Floral Cat Eye Sunglasses available from Marissa Collections in Naples, Florida.
8. 75 King Street, a historic property affiliated with the Preservation Society of Charleston.
9. Givenchy glitter embellished pumps from Capitol in Charlotte, North Carolina.
10. Embroidered tea length Oscar de la Renta gown from Marissa Collections in Naples, Florida.
11. Stone Sphinx from Architectural Accents in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Enchanting Mini-Ecosystems

tsg-terrarium-silver-leadWhile we don’t currently have any reason to complain about the weather in TSG Headquarters’s hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, the brownness of the landscape and persistent chilliness have sparked our desire for creating lush mini-gardens indoors. There is just something undeniably delightful about cultivating a contained ecosystem featuring items of our choosing as our actual gardens lie dormant. Take, for example, the above terrarium crafted by TSG co-founder Christy Ford. Inspired by TSG Tip 88 expert Pam Heavner, during a recent snow day Ford and her children gathered materials and got to work curating a little domed paradise sure to be enjoyed until spring.

tsg-terrarium-styling-objectsWith base materials procured (see our Terrarium Tip for details), Ford assessed items around the house that would be at home under the dome. Orchids as well as everyday pieces from her various collections were excellent candidates.

tsg-terrarium-partsMoss is always a must! Mini humidity-loving plants and colorful rocks are also great for adding into the mix.


Selecting a vessel is a key component to the process. Above is a terrarium by Pam Heavner set in an antique French cheese case, which Heavner says is perfect for terrarium projects thanks to the hinged door on the top, which allows for easy access. Ferns, African violets, wild violet, and sedum all imbedded in a field of moss combine to create a gorgeous garden in the 18-inch space.

tsg_Pam_Heavner_1Above is another one of Heavner’s creations: Orchid and African violet in 19th century serving dish, with rusted wire “gazebo” with bird’s nest on top. “Mixing textures—and centuries—with organic elements is unexpected,” Heavner says.

tsg-terrarium-glass-bowl-blue-candel-sticksA simple glass compote provides the perfect setting for this terrarium by Christy Ford, which would look great on a coffee table, bookshelf, side table, or windowsill. Refreshingly green and a bit whimsical, it will brighten up any space.

For more inspiration, see TSG Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill editor Hopie Avery’s posts on her past terrarium projects with Pam Heavner here and here.

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A Festive Fall Table

tsg-fall-table-christy-fordEarly fall is a wonderful time to entertain outdoors. The air feels fresh with welcome hints of chilliness, and while the vibrancy of summer still remains evident throughout nature, the beginning of fall has begun to creep into the landscape in lovely and subtle ways. When setting our outdoor tables, we try to mimic this sense of autumnal anticipation, celebrating the beauty of spending yet another evening outside while acknowledging the changing season with a slightly more muted and sophisticated palette.

tsg-fall-table-top-1The foundations for a festive fall table are comprised of chic, rustic elements that will anchor the look. The Reclaimed Iron Wood Plank table and Bench and set of henan weathered blue pottery, available from Circa Interiors and Antiques in Birmingham, and Natural Antler Handle Flatware, available from Maze home in Chicago, will beautifully set the tone for an elegant outdoor evening.

tsg-fall-table-top-christy-ford-2tsg-fall-table-table-3Dappled light always sets a magical scene, and with the sun setting earlier by the day, this robin’s egg blue hued metal filigree lantern from Dwelling and Design in Easton, Maryland, is a must. The handcrafted artisan edges and earth-toned hues the Joan Platt stoneware, available from Atlanta’s Signature, make it a natural choice for a casual yet refined outdoor affair. The clean lines of this concrete and fiberglass table from Baton Rouge’s Red Onion would contrast well against a natural backdrop and suit outdoor hosts with more modern tastes.


tsg-fall-table-top-4As the above tabletop by New Orleans’s Leontine Linens proves, cool blues mixed with jewel tones form an absolutely lovely combination that would be perfect for autumn. Get the look with an ocean-colored linen dinner napkin from Leontine Linens and the amethyst juice glass from And George. And should you wish to complete the scene with a New Orleans balcony of your own, call realtor Lynn Morgan at 504.473.8320.

tsg-fall-table-cford-detailFor the truly perfect fall table, add a few finishing touches: something personal, something whimsical, and something natural.


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Autumn Gardening


{Photo courtesy of Lambert’s}

Contrary to popular belief, cold weather does not herald the end of the planting season. In fact, as Dallas-based landscape architectural firm Lambert’s reminds us, this is an excellent time to plant and prepare for spring. The ground is not yet frozen, and newly planted trees and shrubs can get their roots established now that the stress of summer heat is no longer an issue. It’s also a perfect time to dig large trees and shrubs, which are going into a dormant period.

winter pots

{Photos of winter pots from Pinterest}

In addition to planting and digging, now is a good time to winterize your garden. To that end, Lambert’s provides this useful checklist for after the initial winter chill:
– Container Care: After the first killing frost, pull out spent annuals and pitch them into the compost pile. Scrub pots with a stiff bristle brush and store them in the garage or garden shed.
– Maintain Trees: Wrap the trunk of young trees in burlap to shield the tender bark from sunscald.
– Don’t Over-prune: Resist the urge to cut everything back. Perennials left standing provide architectural interest, plus habitat and food for birds. Of course, if plants are diseased, discard them, but otherwise let nature take its course.

Whether you’re looking for an excuse to get outside or simply miss tending to your plants, bundle up and enjoy helping your garden grow.

Lambert’s // Dallas, TX // 214.350.8350

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Fall Flowers

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Roost Flowers and Design // Virginia Beach, VA

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The Perfect Petal // Denver, CO

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Tourterelle Floral Design // Charlottesville, VA

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Gorgeous & Green

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“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which it’s loveliness arises.”
– Pedro Calderon de la Barca


1. Perfectly manicured lawn from Richmond’s Cartwright Landscaping is dependent on not using straw. In their words:

“By using straw to grow what you hope will be your beautiful new lawn, you are setting yourself up for failure. Straw is a weed the germinates as seen in this album cover. Its base is thick and unsightly and will stick out readily in a nice rescue grown grass. Don’t use straw. Instead, use premium topsoil/organic, nutrient-rich compost mix when growing grass in bare areas. The topsoil’s weight holds the seed in place and the make-up of the compost being granular allows the seed to healthily root in soft soil. Topsoil alone will not work as it hard packs when watered and will not enable healthy rooting of new grass.”

2. Take a look at this magnificent specimen mesquite Desert Star Construction was able to salvage from a new home site. Based in Phoenix, AZ, this expert building company continues to prove their commitment to environmentally conscious choices that we believe in.

3. Adaptive reuse of an old train station via Tyson Geary Interiors.

(First two images, courtesy of Cartwright Landscaping and Kip Dawkins photography.)

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