Hello again. I hope you had a wonderful Independence Day weekend! I love the 4th of July, and my birthday just happens to come the day before, so I always have a lot to celebrate in July. This year I spent the weekend at the lake, soaking up the sun and eating all my favorite foods, generously prepared by my friends. It was a lovely time, and I couldn’t resist sharing this sunset photo from my birthday night. Glorious!
Spring is quickly approaching, and–if you’re like us–you’re happily anticipating being outside enjoying your garden, deck, or patio in the warmer weather. On February 20-22, the Statehouse Convention Center, in Little Rock, will play host to a gardener’s dream weekend that is sure to inspire you. Featuring speaker presentations, display gardens, how-to demonstrations, silent auctions, floral competitions, shopping, and more, the event is a perfect way to prepare for spring. Don’t miss family day on Sunday, which includes special activities and workshops for children. Tickets, $10; 3-day pass, $15; Children 12 and under, free. To learn more, call (501) 821-4000, or visit the show website at argardenshow.com
Hello and happy August! I hope you all are making the best of the last few weeks before school starts and enjoying the relatively mild summer weather. Even though we have had a few warm days to be sure, the temperature has yet to get even close to 100 degrees here at the Live Outside the Box House…not bad for August in Arkansas! Hopefully you have already seen this month’s At Home issue and the results of our Curb Appeal Makeover Contest, but if you haven’t, check it out here. It is so exciting to see the final transformation in the magazine, and it was such a pleasure working with the Gentry family. I hope they are enjoying the changes we made as much as we enjoyed helping with the makeover!
Around here, it has been a typically busy month with lots of activity, including a 50th birthday celebration for my good friend Mark Hatwig. The birthday boy (seen on the right in the picture below) is a wine and spirits expert, so we teamed up with Weddington Liquor of Fayetteville to make sure there were plenty of special libations which were paired with a delicious menu prepared by The Main Event of Bentonville. Everything was served in the garden which had been transformed into a magical setting by Buzz Event Planning and Design of Fayetteville.
In between fun parties, we have been working to keep things looking good around the garden, giving extra fertilizer to seasonal and container plantings, trimming back plants that were looking a little haggard or had finished their bloom cycle and making sure everything is adequately watered. We also emptied out the raised boxes in the veggie garden. Except for the tomatoes which continue to produce nicely, everything had pretty much passed its prime, and in the next few weeks it will be time to plant a whole new crop for the fall season.
In the perennial garden, the butterflies have really been making a show. The Hyssop and Butterfly Bushes (Buddleia) have been blooming like crazy, and they have not gone unnoticed by the dainty little creatures. I love the feeling they add to the garden and enjoy seeing them ‘dance’ about as I stroll through.
At the front door, a pair of planter boxes I potted up back in the spring are still going strong. This combo has done beautifully all season, so you might consider it if you are looking for a durable, high-performance container planting. I originally planted ‘Green Velvet’ Boxwoods, Echeveria, Variegated Ivy, Bacopa, Dusty Miller and Dianthus. The Dusty Miller and Dianthus were beautiful and added extra lushness during the spring and early summer. Eventually, though, they became a bit overgrown, so I simply cut them out. The other varieties still look great, despite the late-summer heat, and the silvery, succulent Echeveria are just about to bloom!
We have been living Outside the Box in other locations, as well, with many exciting projects in progress around the state and beyond! To help cool things down this time of year, I like to design a water element into a new garden whenever possible. Stay tuned next month for a look at some of the cool pools and refreshing water features we have been working on recently!
Exterior designer Daniel Keeley is an Arkansas native and founder/principal of DK Design. His work has won numerous awards and accolades and is featured regularly in various publications. For more information visit dkdesignoutdoor.com.