Pearl Fryar update, plus some Odds-n-Ends

Pearl Fryar

After all the commotion Pearl received on the documentary shown on HGTV and the traffic this blog received when I promoted the documentary, some more news and a request came about.

Friends of Mr. Fryar wanted all of you to be aware of this website and the big news:

The Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden has been designated a Preservation Project of the Garden Conservancy.

The Garden Conservancy is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1989 to preserve exceptional gardens for public enjoyment and education. By facilitating access to diverse examples of our cultural heritage, the Conservancy encourages greater appreciation and stewardship of these fragile resources. Working in partnership with individual garden owners and public and private organizations, the Conservancy uses its legal, horticultural and financial resources to develop innovative methods of securing a garden’s future.

View the latest newsletter from the Garden Conservancy

To learn more about the Garden Conservancy and their preservation projects, visit

This is a big deal and major kudos to The group for getting Pearl this type of recognition and the forward thinking in saving a great garden.

More information can be found here about the gardens, the Conversancy, the DVD, and information about the plants in the garden. Good reading.

Ellen Louise Payson

I had read quite a bit about Gertrude Jekyll, and the American designer Beatrix Jones Farrand,  but very little about Ms. Payson.

Like Farrand, Louise Payson was known for her complex and detailed use of plant materials and for her hardscapes of walls and terraces. And while male landscape designers often distinguished themselves more on the drawing board than in the garden, Payson, like many in the sorority of designers who flourished during the so-called golden age of female landscape architecture between 1890 and 1940, was also a gardener who enjoyed getting her hands dirty. Being a Maine woman with roots in a state beloved by well-heeled rusticators may have given her the earthiness that defined her reputation.

Read the full story about her career and her life. A very accomplished woman and designer in a tough time to be successful in any endeavor.

Composition and Harmony 101

Another of those design principles that seems easy enough to explain but always turns into a very drawn out, complicated, mis-understood series of principles. I know harmony, you know harmony when you see it, you know when something isn’t harmonious; but dang’it try and explain why that is.

Same thing for composition, how things are put together and the perfect lay out for the designed space:

Composition is basically the arrangement of shapes, colors and elements in order to guide the reader’s eye making him understand and remember it, also looking pleasant. As we always say, there are no real rules for design, but there are principles that fits for most works. Don’t be completely restricted to what we say here, but know how to use it in your projects.

A good definition for line:

This element is important to indicate movement and make the layout flow. Being straight, curved, horizontal, vertical or diagonal can mean different things. The important thing is know how to use it, being explicit or not. Take a look at the images and see how the lines create a nice flow in different designs.

Texture explained in a few sentences:

The texture refers to the feeling you have about a surface, like rough, smooth, etc. It’s also related to repeated pattern on a surface. Using a nice texture can make your work much more rich and interesting. The images show texture as a surface and as the whole image.

Also good definitions on Balance, Positive/negative, the Golden Ratio,Rule of Thirds, and a few more. The accompanying pictures help reinforce those definitions. The article is directed to graphic design but good design principle is good design principle.

Growing a garden in Washington D.C.

Reading Adrian Higgins letter to the 1st Lady Michelle Obama almost had me in tears . . . from laughing. Gardening in D.C. is no picnic, no picnic at all. Lots of hard work, and some good luck, with a huge dash of timing thrown in.

A well written piece and to top it off some good advice for those who think vegetable gardening is about a plot of land and throwing some seeds on the ground.

I sure hope the Secret Service doesn’t pull weeds.

I got 1st dibs!!!

Check it out and prepare to spend some time in exploration. The site is 1st Dibs and the intent is shopping, lots of shopping and exploring.

Flora’s blog

This was the 1st image I saw when I opened the blog, and it’s a good one.

Kevin Smith

Wow, a real work of living art. Clicking on the image will take you to Kevin Smiths blog and some more fascinating and creative work. Really great stuff.

Before you go scroll down through the work on Flora’s blog, more solid work, inspirational, and creative. Nicely done blog.

Final Thought(s)

My take on links is that a blogger should only link to thing/thoughts/ideas/works that appeal to the writer. Is a given that I must be writing something that appeals to you my readers; or heck .. .  . . . you wouldn’t be here.

I like to add my take on the sites because I feel it’s a real honest way of linking to other sites. My who, what, where, and why, or how.

Bloggers who just throw up a laundry list of links with no thoughts/comments doesn’t appeal to me and I do not expect it to appeal to you.

I’m sure most of you are like me and are extremely busy right now. Blogging and the landscape business in seasonal climates just do no match, so little time and so many demands.

Plus I have got to get my garden in!

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


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