Sunday, September 8, 2013

Marc Appleton & Me

Truthfully, there is no Marc Appleton and me, only in my Dream House dreams ever since I read the paragraph below in Architectural Digest when they asked the Santa Monica architect what his personal dream house would be:


"A compound of small separate buildings situated in an abandoned plant nursery.
When I was a child, I always enjoyed walking through older nurseries with my mother,
smelling all the different flowers and plants as we strolled down dirt paths
damp from watering in the bright sun or in the shade of trees.
Littered about were lath houses, sheds and pavilions,
and yet the architecture seemed incidental to the landscape--
a landscape that had sometimes broken free of its containers and taken root.
It seemed a magical environment and the kind of place
in which I could happily imagine living:
this shed the bedroom, this one the kitchen,
the rose-covered pavilion and dining room,
all scattered throughout a maze of landscaped 'hallways'--
a true marriage of architecture and landscape."

[brookegeanetti.typepad.com]

My mouth dropped open in astonishment when I read this, for it was exactly my own personal dream house of decades that Appleton had written about, his own words coming as if from my heart.

My sisters and I grew up going to nurseries in McMinnville, Tennessee with our father, gardener extraordinaire, garden center and later nursery owner himself. Years later I continued visiting nurseries with my husband when he and his brother owned one of the many Mom & Pop garden centers that existed before the big chains drove most of us out of business.

Even on vacations we always visited nurseries. One we stopped at with our two youngest sons was high in the North Carolina mountains above Lake Lure.

[Pinterest]

It was a hot summer day, even in the mountains, when we spotted the nursery and stopped, always on the lookout for rhododendron and mountain laurel. A breeze and the sprinklers going soon cooled us down as we wandered from one faded wood building to the next, Zack and Defee exploring with R.H.

[gardeninglife.ca]

I strolled along behind, looking off to the mountain peaks and valleys that I love so much, thinking that I could happily make my home here in a heartbeat. There was a two-story brick house off to the side, home to the family that owned the nursery, but I would have chosen instead to live in the old buildings, walkways leading from one to another, letting me choose a different function--with minimal alterations--for each building.

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A family could have breakfast in the shed that faced east with the morning sun shining on glasses of orange juice and newly laid eggs, sunny-side-up.

[herbstarchitects.co.nz]

Choose another building that faced west for all to gather at day's end for a supper of mountain trout...

[studioblog.com]

And then move outside on the porch to eat warm blackberry cobbler, squashing buttery crust into melting vanilla ice cream, swallowing the last bite as the sun disappeared in an orange glow behind a far off mountain peak.

[apartmenttherapy.com]

In between times, they could each escape to a room of their own to read....

[Mitch Shultz on Pinterest]

To rest....

[shedtipsrus.com]

To sleep....

[flickr: kelly_k's photostream]

And to dream...

[welcomtothejungalow.tumbir.com]

The woman who owned the nursery was worn down to a frazzle by the care of it. Her husband had "passed over" and all their children who had grown up there and put in their own sweat equity now had jobs they preferred elsewhere. There was one man there that day, her only hired help. She was sitting on a future gold mine of property probably, but to us it was a peaceable kingdom that we envied.

[blog.designsquish.com]

It was just one more family-owned-and-operated small agricultural business fading away to nothing and destined to be swallowed up by developers.

Unless either Marc Appleton or I bought the place that was our dream home.





[Pinterest]



16 comments:

  1. My goodness, Dewena. WHAT a place! It is amazing, isn't it? Your images are gorgeous and really tug at the heart strings. It is hard to see those family businesses disappear. I hope you have a wonderful Sunday- xo Diana

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  2. Dewena, All your photos makes us all want to have big gardens and green houses. I would love at least an arbored walkway to the garage. LOL. Blessings to you and RH this wonderful Sunday.xoxo,Susie

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  3. Dewewna, your descriptions are beautiful, and the photos that you have posted are lovely, but the realist in me knows that I would NOT enjoy the heat, humidity, and biting bugs that would accompany a setting such as you describe. I do, however, love to fantasize with you, and in my fantasy it is cool and comfortable in the beautiful surroundings, and we are enjoying a tall, cold glass of iced tea while we peruse our surroundings. Oh, and we both look cool and lovely in our little sundresses and strappy sandals;-)

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  4. Dewena, your post today is my favorite of all you have written. I have always dreamed of garden sheds, "rooms" in the yard. What a wonderful life with your father and husband and nurseries. You have inspired me to go ahead with plans for creating a butterfly garden on one side of my house. But that is what a writer does...inspires people. Love the pictures on your post today, especially the modern rooms and Lake Lure! It is funny how we remember businesses where we bought plants. And you are right, many are gone. Have a lovely day!

    Lottie

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  5. Fun to dream and I love these images. We visited a bonsai garden last week and the owner/and his wife live in a cabin there among the many sheds, etc. It was a wonderful two hours that we wandered around!

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  6. Dewena,your dreamy description of your visits to the gardens of your travels, deeply embedded and recounted with such detail, are truly an inspiration for anyone thinking about starting such a project. Mind you, it IS a lot of hard, laborious work, but somehow, it always seems so satisfying in the end and worth the trouble, the anticipation of new life, and nurturing it. Wonderful choice of photos to accompany you on this most enchanting path down memory lane.

    Hope you are spending some time, relaxing and dreaming the day away in your own lovely landscape!

    Poppy

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  7. sorry to be boring but my heart goes out to the widow; only too well, I know what it takes to keep a place going...alone.

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  8. these pictures ~
    they're glorious. some are just enchanting. i have lingered long on a few... as if i lived there and am viewing it from afar. i swear i can SMELL them!
    this post was calming to me. there is a special light in these pictures. i'm sure it's something you're doing. and whatever it is... it's special. and it works. xoxo

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  9. Your description really pulled me in Dewena! I can imagine living in a place such as you describe quite happily.

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  10. Laughing at this in a nice way... and now I am going to go look Marc Appleton up!

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  11. Beautiful sheds Dewena!
    Thank you for the inspiration I have always wanted an outdoor shed my space for me to garden and relax.
    xo Marissa

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  12. Such a lovely post Dewena. How wonderful he was writing about your dream place.
    The photos really pull me in. Thank you for visiting. I hope you do dress up your wooden box. It could be tailored to your very own taste. xo Linda

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  13. I love your dream and Marc Appleton's. I have always wished I had a little shed in the garden to do my crafts. Lack of space makes that impossible, but a girl can dream.

    I hope your dream comes true.

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  14. I need to follow you on Pinterest. I love those places.

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  15. What a beautiful post, Dewena - not only beautiful images, but your descriptions of life in your dream "structures in a garden" were beautiful too. laurie

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