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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Lambascioni Or Muscari, What Are They? | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Some call them wild hyacinth bulbs, some call them wild onions, in Puglia we call them Lambascioni, the dialect form of the Italian word Muscari. Puglia, the southern region of the Italian boot is full of ancient food the rest of Italy doesn’t produce.
(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Muscari is a bulb that grows to ft. in. tall. The edible part is the bulb, the flowers (hermaphrodite) both masculine and feminine are self-fertile, they fall in the ground a self-reproduce. Insects also pollinate them and transport the seeds elsewhere. Some people might get them through pollination, but not knowing they are edible, they let them go unobserved.

People in the food business discovered Muscari or Lambascioni and now enumerate them among all the food delicacy, but I can assure you, it was the poor of the poorest food our agricultural people in Puglia ate for centuries.
If we think about it, poor people in the past were healthier than the rich, the nobles, the landowners and kings and queens. Poor people ate the produce of the land, raw or cooked in a simple way and enhanced the flavor only with the simple spices they grew in the land.

Muscari bulbs have a pinkish coloration, no smell and a very bitter taste at the raw state. I would not suggest eating them raw. It ‘a perennial plant, which blooms in delicate purple flowers until late May, have no scent, but the bright purple attract plenty of insects for its pollination. I plant them between other flowers, as they look so good in the garden. In my last photo below, I show my Lambascioni growing between a bed of arugula. The Lambascioni plant adapts to any climate and soil but prefers full sun and reproduces abundantly in well-drained clay soils. Fall is the best time to plant them, before the cold arrives.
Muscari have many properties, some of which are refreshing, diuretic and stimulant of the digestive organs; stimulate bile secretion, cleanse the intestines; useful for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol; it is an anti-inflammatory and is especially useful in cases of inflammation of the bladder and bowel. I can say that Lambascioni prevent and protect the intestines by freeing them from harmful substances and making more difficult the passage of bacteria in the blood.

To get the bitterness out, I leave the bulb in milk for about 15-20 minutes after I peel the outer shells and washed the dirt out, then I cook them in a few different ways, for example:

  • casserole of lambascioni with zucchini, potatoes and Parmigiano cheese;
  • lambascioni fritters in a tempura batter;
  • lambascioni roasted on the grill and eat them with fresh tomatoes and a hardy cheese;
  • lambascioni frittata with eggs and prosciutto;
  • lambascioni baked with sausages.

However, my favorite way is much simpler and it seems most people in family likes them the same way:

“take them out of the milk, as I said to get rid of the bitterness (discard the milk, please, it turned bitter by now), place them in a pot with salted boiling water and cook them until fork tender. Drain the water, transfer to a salad dish and mash them with the back of the fork to make a soft creamy mixture.  Add extra-virgin olive oil, a few drops of lemon juice, chopped Italian parsley, salt & black pepper or chili pepper, if you like a kick. Spread the delicacy on a fresh baguette warm or at room temperature. The slight bitter taste will not linger in the mouth, actually it is very pleasant and after about one minute or two, it is not noticeable anymore, as it changes into a sweet and pleasant taste”.  I assure you a good experience!

 

 

I have ordered the seed from Puglia and now living in California I will be the only one having them on my table spring and fall. Ciao.
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com

 Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola has been in business as a designer since 1990. 
She has helped people realizing their dreams with homes, offices, interiors and exteriors. She designs landscape as a complement to the residential design concept as a unity. She loves creating gardens spaces that will serve the kitchen as well, other than beautification of exteriors. Check out her two published books on regional Italian cuisine, available in this site on the Books’ page and on:
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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