Sunday, October 18, 2009

Little Green Pixels has relocated

HEY! I've moved uptown! Here's my new address:

Please come see me there.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Beautifully Useful

My favorite reference books are both practical and attractive. Whether it's a guide book, a manual or a monograph, I can find what I need quickly and then enjoy the scenery and side trips if I have the time. It's all about good informational design and The Perennial Care Manual has it in spades.

My first copy just arrived from Storey and it's outstanding (and not just because I did the photography.) The cover is both elegant and contemporary and the inside pages are beautifully organized and presented. Nan's words are clear and concise with just a touch of neighborly advice and flowery passion. She writes from years of trialling plants and testing techniques on her own handwoven perennial beds.

Expertly edited by Carleen Madigen and Gwen Steege who are two of the most efficient and kind-hearted book editors I've met. They know how to rework masses of words and images into graceful passages without roughing them up.

Physically, the paper is bright, the reproductions are sharp and the binding is flexible so it stays flat when opened -- a great feature when your hands are muddy and you need to reread an entry before you tackle a misbehaved perennial.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Only in New York

I've been traveling to and from NYBG for an ongoing assignment this season and on my way home I usually walk the ten or so blocks between Grand Central and Penn Stations to get a little taste of the city. Last Wednesday, I came across this scene on Broadway near 42nd where several blocks have been closed to traffic transforming them into a sprawling pedstrian mall. To make the block party complete, the city set up hundreds of lawn chairs so people could sit, talk and play with their cell phones all the while bathing in one million watts of blazing neon.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Garden Design

Wow! An unexpected cover of Garden Design! This was part of a feature on a Main Line sculpture garden that I photographed last summer. Full spreads to come....

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Morven Museum and Gardens

I'll be speaking at Morven Museum and Garden this Thursday morning at 10am. The talk entitled "Finessing the Flower, Lighting the Leaf!" will be lively and I'll be signing books afterward.

This picture is NOT from Morven (I've never been there) -- it's Chanticleer, the endlessly beautiful garden in Wayne which just reopened to the public last weekend.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Collaborations

Even when I'm on my own, shooting a garden is a collaborative act between the garden's creator and myself. A good designer has already established visual relationships and plant combinations that I must then translate and enhance through the lens. But when there's time and resources to bring in talented Art Directors, Photography Editors, Stylists and Producers, the results are often exceptional. Here are a few recently published examples:
Outdoor Rooms, Spring 2009. Produced and styled by Jon Carloftis. Jon is one of the most imaginative garden designers and stylists I know. We've worked together in PA and KY for several years now and I'm constantly floored by how quickly he can toss together a tasty tableau without breaking a sweat. I'm usually panicking as we arrive at a new site with a hot sun rising -- but Jon unfailingly whips the scene together before the magic moment has passed.
Philadelphia Home, Spring/Summer 2009. The Schumacher garden. The king of all difficult sites, this steep hillside has been reformed through thirty years of devoted care by Elizabeth and Ralph. Three main terraces hold sitting areas, exotic plant collections and one-of-a-kind garden objects from Liz's fine store, Garden Accents. Zoey Sless-Kitain, the magazine's most excellent PD, kept pointing me towards angles I had overlooked and Lisa Russell ably assisted with armfuls of tasty props.Country Gardens, Spring 2009. The Anne Spencer garden. This was a last minute find while shooting Lynchburg's famed Old City Cemetery with Marty Ross and James Baggett, editor and lover of literary gardeners. Anne Spencer (1882-1975) was a Harem Renaissance poet who found her muse in the natural world. This one wasn't on our schedule, so we had only a few hours to pull everything together. Marty artfully styled the set views with a trunk full of plants and some indigenous props before the rains arrived. One of the our finest garden writers (and recently knighted GWA Fellow), Marty also penned this sweet story.

Garden Design, April 2009. This Calla Lily feature was shot entirely in the Netherlands when Tovah and I traveled there last spring. With spathes this gorgeous, we couldn't pass them up during our visits to various breeders. Tovah championed the story and found it a beautiful home in the beautiful Garden Design. Our mugshots rubbed shoulders on the contributors page too.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Horticourt in Session

Just posted my first guest blog at Gardening Gone Wild. Come on over and see!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Yo, Adrian!

I've recently been commissioned to photograph a selection of Fairmount Park's abundant public artworks. The park is ten times larger than Central Park in NYC and houses incredible objects like this one of Rocky at the foot of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Like many of the park's sculptures, it's been moved more than a few times. It first sat center stage at the top of the Museum's steps as a movie prop for Rocky III but highbrow types found the ten foot bronze offensive so it was relocated to the sports complex miles away. The statue was trucked back to the museum stairs for the filming of Rocky V, Mannequin and Philadelphia before it finally found a home in a grassy alcove to the side.
Weekends bring a stream of out of town visitors and many walk the mile from center city to be photographed touching the hem of his trunks. Some folks even run up the steps with their arms raised. But, alas, only a few go into the museum itself.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tulip Time

Another spring cover but this time it's tulips dancing in a mixed border at Keukenhof. The inside story, penned by Tovah, outlines the way Dutch master designer Jacqueline Van der Kloet integrates bulbs with other plants into meadow-like combinations. No more fussy little clumps of mono color! After 100+ years in Boston, our grande dame of of gardening mags, Horticulture, recently moved to Cincinnati. Now in the capable hands of AD Joan Heiob Moyers and ME Patty Craft, it continues to evolve in both style and content.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Workshops 2009

For those folks who have asked, I've scheduled a bunch of one-day garden photography workshops this year. They'll all begin with my illustrated talk (Building Better Garden Photographs) followed by a few hours of one-on-one coaching at these beautiful locations. We'll gather again in the afternoon for a lively critique of our work. Here's where I'll be:

April 18 Longwood Gardens - may be sold out
May 16 New York Botanical Gardens
June 6 Delaware Center for Horticulture
June 30 (tentative) The Barnes Foundation

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bathing Beauty

Another spring cover but this time it's from my own backyard. Nature's Garden, a newish title in the Meredith SIP lineup, is a fun and informative read for those of us who love to mingle with the natives in our chemical-free gardens. Jane McKeon, who I just met this past summer in Ohio, is their delightful new editor. The previous editor (and one of the most upbeat people I know) James Baggett, moved on to head up Country Gardens. He and gifted AD Jarret Einck directed this cover shoot with a few sketches and two phone calls. I also photographed three of the features for this issue -- Violets at Rita Sillivan-Smith's, written and produced by Tovah Martin; a Texas garden profile, produced by Barbara Nielson; and Trilliums at Edgewood Gardens written by Adam Levine.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Allium Love

Alliums are my favorite bulb especially big showy ones like this Globemaster that graces the most recent cover of Organic Gardening magazine. I especially like the way the AD layered the type above and below the image for a more dimensional look. OG becomes more beautiful and more relevant with each new issue and I salute the passionate staff led by Editor Scott Meyer. Photographed at Keukenhof in Holland, a mecca for bulb lovers worldwide.

Friday, January 23, 2009


A Guide to the Great Gardens of the Philadelphia Region garnered TWO GOLD AWARDS (BEST PHOTOGRAPHY and BEST BOOK) at the annul Garden Writer's Annual Symposium in Portland, OR last September. I don't know why it took me so long to post about this but I still feel quite honored every time I walk by these two handsome trophies.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fordhook Farm

For ten years now, I've had the privilege of shooting at Fordhook Farm for the Burpee catalog. Their seeds and plants are terrific in large part because they field trial and evaluate hundreds of varieties each year at their historic farm site in Doylestown -- just twenty minutes from my home. The Burpee empire now includes both the famed Heronswood and Cook's Garden catalogs and is helmed by George Ball whose own blog profoundly examines a wide range of topics.
Once just row upon row of vegetables and annuals, the 60 acre farm has been slowly transformed into a showcase of plant diversity under the guidance of crackerjack plant breeder Grace Romero. Increasingly, you'll find corners filled with exotic perennials and woodies (many from the Heronswood collection) where only tomatoes and impatiens fared in past years. Still, food crops are the major players here and I've spent many a hot summer day shooting unbelievably fresh produce with sharp-eyed Michele King, the Burpee AD, and her talented staff. My real payoff is when I get to bring home armfuls of leftovers. A flurry of soups and stirfries usually ensues but we still haven't found a recipe for ten heads of leaf lettuce.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Gale Nurseries: Four Generations of Garden Excellence

Many of the Philadelphia region's finest gardens were designed by the Gale family and this new book showcases some of their best work. Chuck Gale, third generation landscape designer, envisioned this book years ago after seeing some of his father’s garden creations fade away when properties changed hands. He called in Adam Levine, a regular writer for Martha Stewart Living to not only write the garden essays, but also to manage the project from beginning to end. The book was meticulously crafted and designed under the careful eye of Charles Nix and George Scott of Scott&Nix and printed by The Studley Press. Finally published late in 2008, it has been a holiday hit with everyone who’s paged through the 35 profiled gardens. Don’t know if and when it will be available for purchase but it does offer a window into some gorgeous Main Line backyards that few will ever see otherwise. Here are a few favorite views: