Is it me or is everyone having a difficult time keeping track of what month it is…what day it is? It seems like during the entirety of this Corona lock down the weather has kept us thinking it’s more like Fall than Spring and the sun has taken a back seat to the gray and rainy skies. A little inspiration seems to be in order to get us through the next few weeks to be sure. While the upcoming holiday weekend and unofficial start of Summer will be different than we know it, a little inspiration may ease the discomfort of continued shelter in place and social distancing orders. The simplest of things can bring new joy and freshness to a stale situation or outlook so look around with new eyes and see what happens. I’ve selected a few items from the simplequietmodern archives that might help get you started.

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Sheltering in place might have you contemplating a second place to get away to once we’re able to move around freely. And, while working from home may become the new normal for some, a simplequietmodern cabin with WIFI may be a neccesity.  Photo: Leonardo Finotti via Remash Tumblr

 

A comfortable place to kick back, either tucked away in the yard or on the front porch for those all important breaks between Zoom meetings. This reissue of the originalWestport Adirondack Chair design comes to mind immediately. Photo:Loll Designs

 

A simple spring dinner of steamed artichokes takes advantage of the season and satisfies while keeping time in the kitchen to a minimum. Photo: gp

 

If you need something to keep your hands busy and out of that bag of chips, this Elementary Wrap by Purl Soho is it. A modern hand-knit using their Linen Quill yarn results in a lovely seasonal project that will take care of that spring chill or tick off a special gift completed for the upcoming holidays.  photo: gp  https://simplequietmodern.com/2018/05/02/elementary/

 

The garden centers are open again. A quick stroll through might just tempt you to make a modification to your present landscaping. This Sunjoy Gold Pillar Barberry will add a little brightness even on those days the sun stays hidden. photo: gp

 

Why wait for the September running of the Kentucky Derby? This perfectly modern julep works for me any day . http://gardenandgun.com/media/mint-julep photo: gp  

 

Cabin Fever? Get out of the house and take a look at your place from a new perspective. Take a few phone pics from different approaches and try to view things as your neighbors or passersby do. You might be surprised to find that things are looking pretty good.  photo: gp

 

Who doesn’t like ice cream? My recipe for Pistachio Semifreddo will have you amazed that yes, you made it yourself.  photo: gp https://simplequietmodern.com/2015/05/24/whip-it-fold-it-freeze-it/

 

River rocks…or landscapers egg rock… can add that little touch of zen when used used in the landscape. As long as you’re home you might as well start another project to keep you outside. photo: gp

 

Not all potato salads are created equal. While I can often get a craving for potato salad like Mom made, I most often opt for this salad from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food…Potatoes Vinaigrette. Photo: gp   https://simplequietmodern.com/2014/05/04/a-simple-lighter-spin/

 

Memorial Day weekend is when those pots get planted. But, with what? I’m not into annuals…too bright. And last year’s planting of lily grass and Blonde Ambition Blue Grama grass while beautiful, did not winter over as I had expected. Now, I guess it’s back to my original choice…Blue Dune Grass. Fast grower, simple modern statement and, the deer won’t eat them. Check, check and check.  photo: gp

 

 

 

In the blink of an eye,

January 26, 2017

five years has flown by. It’s hard for me to believe that simplequietmodern is celebrating another anniversary. As I look back I am always surprised that what interests me also interests you…and, keeps you coming back. The appeal of factory inspired windows and doors, black fences, the timeless work of Brancusi, simple landscape statements, and modern seating solutions topped the list. Thank you for regularly stopping by, for your comments, for your inspiration, your friendship.

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Oh, you knew there’d be cake didn’t you?  This simple chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream can be found here. Perfect for a celebration like this or any day when a little cake is necessary. http://www.marthastewart.com/254376/busy-day-chocolate-cake

Now on to year six.

 

 

 

 

It seems early this year…the Memorial Day weekend. Particularly when I have yet to knock a dent in my Spring punch list of gardening projects. Really, it’s a “to-do” list as I have no changes planned, only a review to see who had the strength to survive, who lost the fight and a little annual manicure and mulch. Hopefully the extra day will help me put things in good order as we unofficially kick off Summer.

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Before anything else, honor the fallen by displaying the flag.

It looks like  that boxwood hedge could use a crisp edge.

This gift of water hyacinth will grace my interior until they take up Summer residence outdoors.

The varied colors and textures of the Blue Dune Grass, Lysimachia ” Goldilocks” and large lobed non- blooming Lambsear compliment the Pines and Birch on site perfectly.   Photos: gp

I’d like to add this black Mondo Grass to some large modern concrete saucers at the entry, but the jury is still out on whether or not they can really handle the harsh zone 5 winters. Photo: Better Homes and Gardens

 

 

 

Gray Gardens

June 25, 2014

It’s a simplequietmodern fact that I am not a fan of annual flowering plants or the annual trek to garden centers large and small to search them out. Even when designed and installed by ” professionals “, most annual flowering plant combinations are the visual equivalent of nails on a blackboard. The selection tedious, the colors jarring and most combinations ill-conceived. I’m serious. Do you really expect me to subscribe to the idea that the orchidy blue-pink shade actually works with the mercurochrome orangey-red of the same Impatiens?  Then add to the mix some red Geraniums and a shot of any of the many gaudy varieties of  Marigold …then perhaps a little sprinkle of something in a lavender blue, like Ageratum. Congratulations. You have successfully convinced me that most people turn to Coney Island for their color inspiration. My suggestion…reel it in. Make a clean modern statement with a simply shaped pot filled with a single plant variety. If given a few minutes of thought and planning , you may not see a single bloom among them. A variety of perennial grasses can provide easy care texture and movement as well as continued interest come Fall and Winter…colorful groundcovers like Lysimachia can add a spot of texture and bright color.  If blooms are a must, a judicious selection planted en masse will make a strong yet simple statement if you choose one…just one. As for containers, any of the following would be the perfect place to start.

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The simple modern shape of this Ibarra planter from Crate & Barrel is available in two sizes and one great concrete-like finish. http://www.crateandbarrel.com/ibarra-ficonstone-13-planter/s570443

The slick dark blades of Mondo grass would fill any of these containers with easy care drama. Photo via: Better Homes and Gardens

Bright Lysimachia gets even brighter in good sunny conditions. A pot filled simply with this one specimen with provide a modern splash a Chartreuse.

Again from Crate & Barrel, this Saabira low planter provides a simple modernist shape in coal-black Fiberstone.http://www.crateandbarrel.com/saabira-fiberstone-short-planter/s544752 Picture it filled with the large velvet gray of the non-blooming Lambs Ear below.

Stachys Byzantina ” Helena Von Stein” ” Big Ears”…a large non-flowering lambs ear that never fails with its silvery softness and easy care.

Mexican Feather Grass ” Pony Tails” will keep your containers animated with even the slightest Summer breeze. Photo via: ornamentalgrass.com.uk

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 Leymus arenarius, Blue Dune Grass, planted in vintage modern concrete bowls comes up faithfully year after year.

 

Finally…

June 1, 2014

it’s seeming like we might have a Summer…maybe a little different than usual, but Summer just the same. So, what’s inspiring me now?

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Simple well-edited landscaping and a quiet well integrated water feature. via http://cabbagerose.tumblr.com/

The openwork and texture of my test knit of paper yarn. photo: gp

A great place to fall out and relax on a hot summer day. Does it get any better than affordable teak? Simple seat and back cushions in natural or charcoal duck and you are good to go. via: http://www.shopterrain.com/outdoor-furniture-preserved-teak/slatted-teak-sofa/productOptionIDs/bd0459cc-8958-45c4-b120-330bd8a8856a

It’ll still take me a while to shake the chill from the last two seasons, so, a little Summer cashmere from James Perse is on my “gotta have some” list. http://www.jamesperse.com/men/collections/summer-cashmere/lightweight-cashmere-v-neck/viewProduct.do?productId=prod1790117&categoryId=cat1230006

Tending to my Blue Dune grass…pretending I’m at the shore even in the middle of the week. photo:gp

And, if I’m lucky, taking off with Jaxon to the shore for a bit of sunny R & R. via: http://remash.tumblr.com/

Should it stay or should it go? Butterbur “volunteers” showing up in the aftermath of Winter’s brutal attack. I’ve promised some to friends, but I may leave a few to buffer the bare spots after the dead have been yanked and buried. photo: gp

The breezy organic shapes of Ruth Asawa’s crocheted wire sculptures. via: https://www.lamodern.com/tag/ruth-asawa/

 

Any volunteers?

June 17, 2013

Really, look around…do a quick survey of your site…and make a few notes as to the indigenous plant material that has made a home there on its own…the volunteers. If they are doing well, you have the added benefit of knowing that in addition to being happy they’ll be safe from attacks by local fauna. This is a great  jumping off point when selecting the plant material for your new landscaping project. The  juxtaposition of modern meadow against structures, clipped yew, tallhedge or boxwood  may be just the simplequietmodern statement you’ve been looking for. Dutch landscape master Piet Oudolf  illustrates this point to perfection in the design of the Highline in Manhattan as well as both public and private spaces around the world. If inspiration like this can come from a quick inventory of flora in an abandoned elevated train track I imagine you could pull a little magic from the “surprises” popping up in your yard. 208HighlineNYpOudolf_highlineNYpOudolfSONY DSC228_meadowmxpOudolfFhttp://www.oudolf.com/piet-oudolftumblr_modzpdr4zK1qd5e3ao2_500,hedghttp://remash.tumblr.com/hsfrnt3cropgpyard7_07crpcropgpyard7_07b