Our garden in a magazine

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.”  ~Hanna Rion

DSCN4918Last fall, I posted an update on the renovation of the Carl Schultz house, the mid-century modern Frank Lloyd Wright home that Doug and I purchased in 2008. The project has been hammered with challenges, pardon the pun, but rewarding, too.

As the avid gardener in our family, I’ve been pushing to improve the property around the house. (Doug, my architect husband, worries more about little things like roof leaks and cracked foundations.) Just outside the master bedroom, for instance, there was an overgrown Japanese rock garden in need of attention. And lots of manual labor. Tangled with ivy and weeds, it was too large a task for an amateur gardener with hip replacements.

So I owe a debt of gratitude to landscape designer Anna Brooks of Arcadia Gardens for making my dream garden a reality. To create a soothing zen oasis, Anna cleared the overgrown site, reconfigured the original rocks, and added a “dry pond” of river stones and a few deer-resistant plants. (I hope to add a water feature when our budget allows.) I’ve always had a passion for zen gardens, but I’m especially excited about this one.

Anna’s team also re-landscaped several other key areas around the Schultz house, including the front entrance. It all looks amazing — and complements Wright’s organic architecture.

DSCN4920Of course, it’s the dead of winter, and few of us in Michigan are thinking about gardening right now. But I couldn’t resist sharing Anna’s article in the Winter 2013/2014 issue of The Designer, the magazine of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. A fellow MSU grad, Anna did a great job documenting the challenges and highlights of working on our project. We’re honored to be featured. Using this link, you can flip to page nine, where you’ll find Anna’s beautiful story with photos: “My Summer Fling With Frank.”

For more about the Carl Schultz house, including photos and renovation updates, please visit its official Web site: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Carl Schultz House.  Photos of the zen garden in this post by Cindy La Ferle. Click on the photos for a larger view.


Gardening Wright

As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.”  ~John Lubbock

Despite all the work involved, owning and caring for a second home is a privilege — especially if that home was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. For me, one of the most exciting aspects of our Wright home in St. Joseph is that it’s so unlike our 1926 Craftsman-style Tudor home in Royal Oak. It gives me an opportunity to explore a fresh new era of interior — and exterior — design.

Designed in 1957 and filled with many of its original Wright-designed furnishings, our ranch-style Usonian home evokes both streamlined Scandinavian and Mid-Century modern styles. Whenever I’m sitting in the living room, for instance, I can almost picture the cast of Mad Men kicking back on the sofa with their cocktails. Anyone for a martini?

Likewise, the gardens at both homes are practically polar opposites. (If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve seen plenty of photos of my garden in Royal Oak!)

In this post, I’ve included a couple of new photos from the Wright house. In the detail shot of the planter near the front door (bottom photo), you’ll see a large ceramic sphere that blends with the red brick and concrete used in and around the house. This area gets a lot of sun, so I’ve mingled succulents with the perennial grasses. The sphere was a gift from our longtime family friends, the Hemmings, as a memorial to Doug’s dad, who died last summer. Doug’s dad always enjoyed gardening, and I’m sure he would have appreciated this tribute.

We purchased our most recent piece of garden art (top photo) from the annual Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff in St. Joseph last weekend. It charmed me as soon as I saw it. Constructed from rusted scrap metal and embellished with rocks, this quirky sculpture features a part that moves like a weather vane or a mobile when the breeze blows through.

For now, we’re enjoying the sculpture on the terrace, which overlooks the woods and St. Joseph River (terrace shown in photo above). The piece looks right at home surrounded by the natural, untamed landscape — just the way Wright himself would have liked it. My next challenge is learning which plants the deer won’t eat. Any suggestions? –CL

— Photos of the Charles Schultz exterior by Cindy La Ferle. For a larger view, please click on each photo. —

Starting the year Wright

“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” — Frank Lloyd Wright

Late last summer, my husband and I fulfilled our longtime dream of purchasing a Frank Lloyd Wright home in southwest Michigan, where we hope to retire in a few years. Like most homes that need repair or renovation, this one has its own lessons to teach. You can read my new essay online in The Christian Science Monitor. –CL

–Photo of the Carl Schultz house by Doug La Ferle–