Thursday, July 28, 2022

Less is More: How I Changed a Garden to Reflect a Changing Lifestyle


"Less is more." 

The architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe may have underestimated just how spot-on his pearl of wisdom resonates with landscape architecture~garden design.

Why is it so much more work in order to get to less work?  

See, I’m referencing the Mies quote not just as the finished design but also, and particularly, with regard to the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into changing out and updating garden designs in order to get a beautiful but less maintenance and resources to support the gardens.   

Monday, July 18, 2022

How Old Glory Tablescape Design Celebrates the Stars and Stripes from Memorial Day through Flag Day & 4th of July to Labor Day


Don't you just love a summer tablescape look that stirs up your patriotic feelings while celebrating life, love, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

What can be happier than a bold, star-studded look inspired by our iconic flag to gather around? 

Here’s how to layer in Old Glory’s Red, White, and “You”  ~ to create a season of joy when entertaining family and friends at home. 

You’ll be totally  “on-brand” with a table setting you can maintain all summer long with just a few updates. 

Here are some ideas I hope will inspire you to create a grand ol’ flag-infused table design. While freeing you up to enjoy the season’s happy times and sunshine being outdoors.

"Summertime is always the best of what might be." —Charles Bowden.

When creating your patriotic table setting, the stars and stripes of the flag are a natural starting off point. 

From there, I wanted to design a look that was both elegant and whimsical.  

This time, flowers would play the supporting role to the leading actor, the flags.

In accordance with the color theme, I could use the blue and white of my blooming hydrangeas and the red from the rose bushes. 

It’s so lovely to combine garden-fresh blossoms into your seasonal table style.

At the same time, a good tip that I suggest is to use a mix of high-quality faux flowers and real blooms.  This way you can change out the spent blooms without forfeiting the entire look.


When I discovered the hydrangea and flag placemats from Hester & Cook, I was elated!  

I just love when my design concepts are “affirmed” by other tastemakers :) 

Caspari Flags and Hydrangeas Round Paper Placemats - 12 Per Package –  Caspari

I purchased a kind of glittery, iridescent “fabric” rolls of red, white, and blue at Joanne’s Fabrics & Crafts that I used as runners. On sale, too.  (I used the same style in autumn colors last year and it worked so well.) 

The material offers a terrific nexus of glamour and casual.

I ran the blue runner first (and on the entryway table too), cut it to roll under each table end, then topped with the white color. The transparent “fabric” allows you to see through the layers of color. 

I used the lipstick-red runner positioned perpendicular on two sides of the table.

We hosted a big brunch with extended family after our annual Independance Day Fireworks party and Mother’s Birthday party. She turned 97 this year! What a firecracker she is. 

I put in the two additional table leaves in to accommodate our guests. 

This also gave me more of a decorating footprint ^:^

I added faux hydrangea along the length of the table on top of the blue and white runner, weaving in a strand of soft, sparkly, lights. 

Gold votives inserted with battery candles added to the table’s luster.

I used one of my favorite tableware plates: the blue and white Marchesa by Lenox .  

In this way, I could add many of my lovely chinoiserie pieces ~ from vases to place card holders to votives and name cards.

I also added the blue and white shell art pieces I’ve been collecting. 

To allow the plate’s blue and white design to be a key focal point of the blue and white design element, I placed the navy blue, folded linen napkins under the appetizer dish and let them hang over the place setting a bit. Like a ribbon.

I placed a flag on each place setting as the finishing touch. 

I punched up the colors with red, sparkly glass candle tumblers filled with battery-operated lights to illuminate the flags included there. 

I opted for the Italian blue with gold rims for wine glasses and the chinoiserie-like blue design on the water glasses.

The striped, seersucker-looking poppers at each setting with its ring-like flag adornment just screams summer. I love them and use the poppers for most every holiday.  I’d love them for the crowns alone! 

Seriously.  Not seriously.  Ha. It’s a terrific way to start or end a party meal. 

The poppers are filled with quizzes, games, and trinkets. The whistles were a hit in these patriotic poppers! 

I told you it was about the fun :)

Here's the fun of table popping:

Here’s the two video tours of the Stars and Stripes tablescapes ~ from June through Independence Day.

God Bless America.

I sincerely hope you enjoy your gatherings with friends and family.  

After all, as Gershwin wrote and Sam Cooke (along with many others, but he could be my fav, or maybe Ella… ) sang, 

“It’s summer and the livin’ is easy…”


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Philadelphia Flower Show Announces Over 30 Prestigious Awards Presented for Horticultural Excellence

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society shares the list of award winners at the 2022 Philadelphia Flower Show, “In Full Bloom.” Categories this year included the coveted ‘Best in Show’ award, The Governor’s Trophy, and The Philadelphia Trophy, among over 30 others presented for horticultural excellence and mastery of this year’s theme.

This year’s Flower Show featured a roster of 40 of the world’s best landscape architects and garden designers and placed special emphasis on diversity. Exhibitors varied in their interpretations of the theme, professional experience and background, gender, personal identities, and more.

Bill and I were able to visit all the entrants and experience the immersive designs. All the gardens were designed with great care and passion ~ I love the stories behind the garden designs.

The sought-after “PHS Philadelphia Flower Show Cup - Best in Show” award was presented to Mark Cook Landscape & Contracting LLC for its excellent representation of theme and garden design. Mark Cook, the owner of Mark Cook Landscape & Contracting, is known for his innovative designs which have won him various awards in each Philadelphia Flower Show over the last 11 years, including Best in Show in 2020 and 2017, and the Silver Trophy in 2014, 2018 and 2019.

The Silver Trophy was awarded to Susan Cohan Gardens, who created a peaceful and beautiful space meant to encourage visitors to reflect and dream, inspired by Virginia Woolf’s essay, “A Room of One’s Own.” Susan’s garden was dreamy, colorful, and serene. It’s a terrific presentation of the power of plants.

The Governor’s Trophy was awarded to Refugia Design, who designed its exhibit to be alive with sights, sounds, and smells and featured native plants, sustainable materials, and innovative soundscapes. We loved the mushroom archway and the “amplified” perspective ….

The Philadelphia Trophy was awarded to Auburn University Landscape Architecture Program with “Conquer the Soil,” whose striking exhibit made use of color, depth, and perspective. I had the distinct honor to interview Abra Lee, Conquer the Soil, on my Ladies Who Lunch Conversations in February this year, and wrote a follow up blog post here on Garden Glamour. Reading this important reference to W.E.B DuBois, I recognized Abra’s contribution! Cheers to Effie Lee Newsome and her children’s nature poetry. “Mixed Shades, Much Joy.” And the gazing portholes into the garden in this presentation are brilliant. Great perspectives into plants and horticulture. And history…

The 2022 Flower Show is the second time the Show has been held outdoors in its almost 200-year history. Held at South Philadelphia’s FDR Park, “In Full Bloom” connotes good health, positive well-being, and a passion for life, and encourages all to recognize the restorative power of nature and plants, as well as the importance of mental and emotional health that contribute to a person being “In Full Bloom.”

Congratulations to all the winners! But I also truly believe that all the attendees and the real winners ~ we get to feast our eyes on these inspiring garden designs. Plus, the Flower Show offers classes, tours, and lots of food and drink.

Food and Drink and Experiences

Through a blend of culinary artistry, local flavors, and diverse cuisine, OVG360 and Brûlée Catering have joined forces with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to incorporate a wide variety of food and beverage options into the Philadelphia Flower Show experience, which will once again returned to FDR Park.

With these elevated and reimagined dining experiences, the Flower Show will bloom bigger and brighter than ever before, offering guests dining options to suit every preference and palate.

This year’s Flower Show will offers several new guest experiences, including new on-site activities and events, new family-friendly spaces, and a new show layout. The dining experience has also been revamped and the Show will feature cuisine from near and far, with an emphasis on local culinary talent. Guests can also look forward to refreshing floral-inspired cocktails, hometown Philadelphia favorites, dishes fresh off the grill, smoothies, salads, and delectable desserts.

This year, guests will be able to unwind at a Happy Hour with Fine Wine & Good Spirits, grab a bite and listen to some music at the Food Bazaar, share a casual drink and bite to eat at the Boathouse, explore a collection of dozens of notable food vendors, or enjoy an expertly prepared meal while seated in The Lakes restaurant.

For more about these unique dining experiences and to get your tickets, please visit at the 2022 Philadelphia Flower Show.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Pretty in Pink: Peonies Grace a Tablescape Designed for Peace and Love

I wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s no secret that I love, love, love peonies.

They are my favorite flower. (Don’t tell the viburnum or the hydrangea, nor the casablanca lily, or…)

I grow a variety of deciduous and itoh peonies ~ Paeonia Itoh ‘Julia Rose.”

My heart does skip an extra beat for ranunculus ~ I’m even growing them this year, for the first time. We’ll see how this turns out.

I find the papery-thin, voluminous, petticoat-like blossoms of the ranunculus and the peony, similar in a romantic, seductive way that is just so heart-clutching. Turns out they are genus cousins, if you will; part of the same taxonomy family.

But the fragrance of the peony makes it the luxurious, glamour-girl of the garden.

That it is also a symbol of peace makes this beauty the perfect star of my recent tablescape. Now that the peonies have been in full-bloom in the garden, I hope this lovely table decor, brimming with peace and love, inspires you …