Garden For The Soul | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

In most American homes, usually one must enter the home through the garden. Some people like it beautiful, manicured and structured, some like it a bit natural, low maintenance and some like it made into vignettes (me). I adore going through gardens and find many elements of surprise and various sceneries. A well-designed garden is based on elements of designs or elements of architecture, then textures, forms, colors and clearly marked pathway.

Plants variety enhance the garden and make beautiful sceneries. Follow the rule of sizes for the best look, tall plants go in the back (wall, fence or island), they are the sentinels of the garden,  short plants go in the front and then ground cover to finish.
It’s important to study the rotation of the sun around the house. The area with the most sun during the day takes plants that can stand full sun.
Use container planters and potted plants to move around and change the scene. Today, conserving water is of the utmost importance. Consider an easy maintenance xeriscape made of plants that are not temperamental and don’t need much of anything, only water, and seldom nutrients. I sing at my plants.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Corner Vegetation

Corner Vegetation

Colors. Can we ever do anything without thinking of colors? Absolutely not. Have you ever noticed when driving on highways, traveling miles after miles, that the colors of trees change from light to dark, and from monochromatic to complementary colors? The change of colors assures a harmonious drive to avoids boredom and to keep the drivers attentive. Color schemes in the garden are just as important for a great composition of light and dark, soft and bold, cool and warm, they just add pleasure in our eyes.

Succulent making pink flowers when in bloom

Succulent making pink flowers when in bloom

Style of the garden – classic with symmetry or free form?
In a classic garden, it’s important to create symmetry. If you look at buildings in Italy, you will see a row of windows with a triangle pediment, and a row with arched windows. Then look down and will see two columns of the same size framing the entry of the building. In classic architecture, details are symmetrical to infuse peace in the eyes of the viewers. It is the same when creating a classic garden. The position and the cut of plants must be symmetrical. Curves are the details of a classically designed garden, which is usually an area with flower beds all around the curves to make us feel embraced. Most often in the center of a curvy area, there is a water source, a fountain, a pond with colorful fish, or a small pool.

Allied Art Round Area Garden

Allied Art Round Area Garden

A free form garden is made of whatever you want, just don’t mix the styles. For example, in a Japanese style garden, there will be a small bridge, stone lanterns, maybe a Buddha, stones of different shapes, and some sandy area. In a fantasy garden, there might be fairies and gnomes, whimsical metal sculptures, funky statues and everything that strikes your fancy.

Garden Fairies

Plant an orchard. If space allows it, in between flowers, you might want to cultivate some of the food you eat. We know how effective color blocking is in fashion and in interiors, use the same method to create a color blocking for products in the same family, for instance, red and green romaine lettuce, purple and green cauliflowers, green and purple cabbage, yellow and multicolor corn. You get the idea.

My orchard with funky characters

My orchard with funky characters

Lighting – I can’t stress enough how important lighting is for the garden, mainly for security purpose and to beautify. The entry landing should be always well illuminated, that’s where we greet people, the light should feel welcoming. The light around bushes under windows will keep unwanted people away and pathways must be clearly defined. Led lights are the best solutions today – https://bit.ly/2LDa4zU.

Led Solar Light

Led Solar Light

 

Following these simple criteria will help to conceive a beautiful garden. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Valentina is an Italian Interior Designer since 1990 designing for the USA and Europe’s markets. She loves to remodel homes and gardens. With her many years of experience, she is able to cover a wide range of design solutions. Often her clients ask to design the landscape concept complete with lighting to complement the interiors she restyles. She creates “exterior rooms” as she calls them and limits the garden design only to vignettes, no structural work. She offers design consultations online anywhere in the world through Skype and Zoom. Valentina is the author of four books available on
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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Globe Of Happiness | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

The holiday season will soon open the fun part of the year. Preparing for Halloween to me means decorating my clients’ home with fall colors, organize thoughts for Christmas decorations or parties, putting food away for the winter and arranging the garden that will go dormant soon.
Although Halloween is not one of the holidays I prefer, I like to set up a few things for the autumn celebration.
I adore the jewel tones of the fall colors, I like to wear them and I like to see them on my table. It is so easy to design my clothes in striking combinations with purple and orange, or green, baby blue and ochre, blue, gray and yellow, or pumpkin, burgundy and beige.  This is the season to be playful, we can just copy what nature does and repeat it in our fashion ensemble.

My globe of happiness must contain all things around me. I want my garden to play with statues, fountains or some jewels and radiate its vibrant energy back into my house.

Even my wild birds are happy playing in my garden. They see their reflected images in the gazing globes and think they are in the mirrors, then coquettish go sing at me from their hideaway in the threes. Often, just like the birds, seeing myself in the globes I experience my oneness with the Universe and the positive energy that these Spheres of Light as they were also called bring to me, to my house and my garden.

Every object in space emanates energy. Inanimate objects such as glass or metals affect our life just as much as celestial objects, stars and planets do. The round shape of the gazing globes like all the circles is a harmonious shape, it supposed to bring happiness, good luck and prosperity. Thus, it is a good idea to place gazing balls near every entrance of a home, in gardens around plants and even inside the home. The legend says the gazing globe keeps away misfortune, evil spirits and illness, but I believe this legend is true, because the round shape is a very powerful shape and keeps things moving around and around.

Placing the gazing ball on iron stands will add a powerful strength to the globe sitting it on stones or on top of vases will add certain elegance. The highly reflective glass of the gazing globes is suitable to show off the garden in different views. Grouping them at different height between plants and flowers will add playfulness, as I have seen the famous glass artist Dale Patrick Chihuly doing in his traveling exhibition throughout the Botanical Gardens of America.

Garden Globe Vignette by ©Valentina Cirasola

The Swan King, Ludwig II of Bavaria, adorned his palace with globes, he made a copy of a Versailles Palace.

I have made my small Versailles with a few globes in my garden, but only because I heard they keep the witches away. Witches can’t bare to see their image reflected in the globe.

Gazing globes remind me so much of the bull’s eye mirror my grandmother’s had in her kitchen and used it to see who was at the door while she was cooking, or to keep an eye on us kids. We couldn’t escape out the door without being noticed.

Some of my clients have a “Butler Ball” in the Butler Area, which alerts the servants that the guests sitting at the dinner table need assistance without staring at them. It feels a Victorian era all over again when I am invited to such high level engagements. I only need the petticoat and a fan in my hand.
I am joking, I feel very honored being invited at my clients’ table.

Gazing globes are an invention of the 13th century Venetian glass blower artists and after eight centuries are still bringing enjoyment.

Please, let’s not get the witches disturb us while we are preparing a nice butternut squash bisque for Halloween night and some pumpkins cookies.
My globe of happiness include cooking and enjoying eating as my wellbeing and as fuel for my brain.
Remember that: “The red on the cheeks come from the mouth” – from my book ©Come Mia Nonna-A Return To Simplicity. 

 


Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque
2-1/2 lb. butternut or acorn squash
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 medium onions
a hand full of dried thyme, chopped
1 small bay leaf
2.5 oz. of ham or Italian prosciutto, cubed
3-1/2 cup chicken broth
roasted apples slices
freshly grated nutmeg
salt to your liking

Preheat oven to 350F. Split squash in half lengthwise. With spoon, scrape out seeds and fibers from cavity. Season with salt; place flesh side down in a lightly buttered baking dish.
Add in 1/2 cup water to baking pan. Bake 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until skin is browned and flesh is tender when pierced with knife. Remove from oven; let rest until cool enough to handle. Scoop out flesh; discard skin.
In large saucepan melt butter. Add diced onion and season with salt to your taste. Sprinkle thyme over onions. Add bay leaf.
Saute’ prosciutto with onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the onions are tender and translucent, about 10 minutes and the prosciutto is golden. Add the pulp of roasted squash. Season with additional salt and pepper. Cook 5 more minutes, stirring often.
Add broth, bring to simmer uncovered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste. Remove bay leaf. Puree soup, in blender or food processor.
Add grated nutmeg, taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper. Decorate it with a few basil leaves or dill. I like to add some parmigiano shavings.

I also like the prosciutto cubed and not cooked and roasted apple slices, both ingredients to add separately as you enjoy the soup.

Ciao,
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. She operates in the USA and Europe. She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn unattractive spaces into castles, but especially loves to design kitchens and wine grottos, outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms, great rooms and entertainment rooms. She is the author of two published books on Italian regional cuisine, available here in this site on the Books page and in various other locations: 

http://outskirtspress.com/ComeMiaNonna
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lnq8baaAq0M
http://outskirtspress.com/SinsOfAQueen


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