Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bringing the Garden Inside at Tone on Tone

Welcome back!

Hope your summer was fun yet relaxing. Tom and I spent much of July and August in Castine, Maine. You can see photos of our new cottage as well as the quaint seaside towns we explored on my INSTAGRAM.

It's good to be back at Tone on Tone. Our shop is quite personal; it really feels like another home. I always miss being away. We've been in this retail location for 13 years - that's longer than any of the homes we've lived in. There is a definite point of view. Each item is personally selected, and there isn't a piece that I wouldn't take home. Actually a few have been.

As at home, I love to bring the garden inside. That's my favorite way to accessorize. I am passionate about incorporating myrtle topiaries, ferns and other plants in my decor, as they breathe life into the vignettes and surrounding spaces. Read more about my topiaries in this post.

If you don't have a green thumb or ideal sunlight, try hardy houseplants like philodendron or ivy. Both tolerate low light and should live (with benign neglect and the occasional watering) close to a month indoors, which is much longer than a floral arrangement. In fact, treat them like cut flowers and toss out when spent. Don't feel bad if they do not last forever.

In addition to plants, I accessorize with jardinieres, statues plus other items such as botanicals and artwork that reference the garden. I seek that connection to nature, and want my interiors to transition seamlessly to the outside.

Let's have a look around Tone on Tone. Click on photo to enlarge.
I couldn't resist these enchanting English (cast composition / concrete) squirrel statues from the mid 20th century. The small squirrel is life size, while the large one stands about 13.5" high. On a tabletop with topiaries in mossy pots and shed antlers, it's like a scene out of a woodland garden.
More garden friends! These felines are absolutely delightful and a bit whimsical. They are also English from the 1900s. Let's call the big one a he. And the long-haired beauty looks more like a she.
This big boy (about life size, 19" long x 17" high) would be charming layered under a table, or perched on an outdoor stoop to greet visitors. He reminds me of my friend's cat who follows her all around the garden. 
Does anyone know what breed this long-haired kitty is? She (about 10" high) has traces of old paint. I'd pair her next to an exotic orchid on top of a tall chest so she can be easily admired. Also, kitty would be a fun surprise tucked between perennials in the front of the border.
Here we have a vintage Shih Tzu or Pekingese with the most amazing patina of moss and lichen accentuating that luscious coat. What a face - talk about personality!
Now a look at some of the pitchers in the shop. Many have motifs plucked from Mother Nature.
First up is this pitcher (11.5" high) carved from a single block of wood. Look at the birds, foliage plus flowers - what texture! It's a piece of folk art that makes a bold statement.
Here is an American Aesthetic Movement (Ca 1880s) silver plated pitcher with a hammered body heightened with foliage, flora, and fauna from an Oriental garden. I've deliberately let it tarnish to a pewtery patina to get that mellow luster.
Amazing detail of wispy bamboo and cobweb complete with a spider. Wouldn't this pitcher be smashing with brilliant red poppies?
Next is an antique ironstone pitcher with transferware design of trailing vines around the words ice water. Simple and utilitarian, but full of humble charm.
Speaking of utilitarian, these early blown glass cloches were made to protect tender plants from a late spring frost. It's rare to find them in such perfect condition with the finials still intact. These sculptural pieces catch the light beautifully.
I love symmetry and pairs! Two exquisite floral still life paintings hang over a pair of unusually small cast iron planters on Swedish consoles.
The signed oil on canvas paintings of anemones and daffodils, with original frames (21.5" x 21.5"), were exhibited in 1934. 
A closer look at one of the 19th-century planters reveals an intricate daisy pattern. Each planter measures 17" wide x 7" deep x 8.5" high to the finials.
That's it for this time. If you have questions, please email me at info@tone-on-tone.com
See you soon!
xo
Loi

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Maine Blooms and a Garden Tour

Happy summer, friends! 

Can we chat gardens? For many of us, this time of year is about sitting back and enjoying summer's abundant blooms such as crape myrtles, daylilies, hydrangeas, etc. Yes, there's weeding plus watering, but most of the season's chores are done.

Until recently, I thought that the South, with its long growing season and warm temps, had an enviable advantage over the North when it came to flower power. I'm not entirely sure after spending much of July in Maine.

While in the process of designing perennial beds for our new property in Castine, I toured the gardens of friends to see what thrived in our coastal region. I noticed that the flowers throughout town bloomed beautifully with the most brilliant colors. Overall the plants looked healthy and happy; they didn't appear stressed. There were very few signs of insect damage. None of the peonies had any powdery mildew, which consistently plaques the ones in Maryland.

Speaking of peonies, they were flowering in July. Yes, JULY! Talk about a late season. I guess there are pros and cons everywhere. So, the northern climate means less disease, fewer bugs, healthier plants with more vibrant blooms but, alas, a shorter season.

Let's take a look:      
Peonies in July? Another reason to 💕 Maine. These beauties, cut fresh from the beds of our good friends, Carmen and Bill, graced our kitchen for over a week.  
And check out these pots on our new granite stoop - nonstop action! Doesn't Mocha look teeny compared to them? BTW, we just had the front door painted an apple green with a super high gloss sheen. I love how fresh and summery it looks. 
Thanks to friends Amy and Linda, Tom and I were able to tour the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden on Mount Desert Island. This private garden is open one day a week to the public from mid July - early September with reservations in advance. Book early as slots fill up quickly.

Created by famed landscape architect Beatrix Ferrand and Mrs. Rockefeller between 1926-1930, this is a fantasy of Oriental and English ideals. Picture pristine woodlands dotted with zen-like Asian statuary surrounding an English-style flower garden with a grand lawn in the center. What you have is an oasis of cool and calm engulfing an explosion of color - pure genius and drama!

Let's take a walk . . .
. . . through Maine woodlands carpeted by velvety moss.
Not one pine needle was out of place. A crack in the verdant forest floor reveals the tiniest babbling brook.
Through the moon gate framed by stately ostrich ferns, pops of color draw the eyes into the walled garden.
Welcome to a world of lavish English-style borders complete with perfectly groomed gravel walks, all surrounding a sunken great lawn. This is paradise in Maine!   
Aren't these delphiniums divine? I had serious envy. Clearly flowers are made for Maine.
One last stop in the oval garden for a bit of shade. The carved limestone Pagoda is Chinese from the Tang Dynasty. Hello, froggies in the reflecting pool.
Truly a garden worth visiting again and again. See more photos on my INSTAGRAM.
Cheers,
Loi