Archive for the ‘Erb Garden Videos’ Category

The talented Michael Tavano gives a tour of the gorgeous outdoor space he designed for the 2012 Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House. If you missed the original on LXTV, watch the clip below. Custom cushions and a gold pergola really set the tone for the space. Planting layout and planting by yours truly. Look for the full story and photos in the September issue of Elle Decor Magazine!

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Memorial day is a time to remember the lives given by those who served our country in the line of duty. At the onset of summer, as festivities and patriotic spirits are lifted, we gather with family and loved ones we are thankful to have in our lives. There is no doubt in my mind that Central Park is swamped with picnics and gatherings on this gorgeous day.

I want to take a moment to remember Frederick Law Olmsted and his contribution to our city. Central Park (and Prospect Park) is an inconic landmark of New York City which continues to make a significant impact on the lives of Manhattanites and visitors alike. The sea of green which Olmsted approached with the viewpoint of creating a public space equally accessible for all classes was truly visionary at the time.

A stunning penthouse on Central Park West overlooks the classic landscape that Olmsted left behind. Our task was to channel Olmsted’s vision to create a terrace that complements the views and surrounding landscape. The result is a timeless garden full of understated textures and greenery to produce a calm place for the homeowners to entertain and relax. Watch the video to see the transformation!

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Alan Klein Supervises Planting at Elle Decor’s 2012 Modern Life Concept House at the Dillon on West 53rd Street

NEW YORK, NY, May 11, 2012 – International design authority ELLE DÉCOR will produce the second annual Modern Life Concept House opening on May25th at The Dillon on West 53rd Street in one of the property’s exclusive townhouses.  Renowned international designer and judge of BBC’s ‘House of the Year’ Michael Tavano has tapped Jeffrey Erb, to design and install the plantings for the 600 sq. foot courtyard, the only outdoor space of the property.

“Green space and outdoor living are elements which have a profound impact on the quality of modern life in an urban environment.  We are thrilled to work with Michael Tavano to create a vision of innovative living and contemporary design concepts for this urban landscape,” said Jeffrey Erb. “A great landscape designer is to an outdoor space what a great architect is to a home,” added Michael Tavano.

Michael is an internationally renowned interior designer, product designer, home fashion stylist, visual merchandiser, table designer, judge of BBC’s House of the Year series.

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I had the great fortune to celebrate the start of spring at Brooklyn Botanic Garden this past weekend. It was still too early to see the Cherry Blossoms in the main promenade, but there were more than a few early bloomers offering a dazzling display of Spring color. The Magnolia stellata (Star Magnolia) grove outside of the main conservatory was breathtaking. I could go on and on about the sweet fragrance and the heavenly white blossoms floating magically on the bare branches, but you should really go see it for yourself.

One early blooming Cherry tree, Prunus ‘Okame’ also offered spectacular pink blossoms that drew a crowd of admirers. Camellia ‘Bernice Boddy’ gave brilliant pink blossoms along the walk leading into the Japanese garden. In the summer of 2006, when I volunteered at the BBG working with the children’s garden, I fell in love with Lagerstroemia indica ‘Natchez’ commonly referred to as Crepe Myrtle. The bark stands out in the spring garden and is covered in smooth patterns in varying shades of cinnamon and tan. The best specimen I have ever seen of L. ‘Natchez’ is growing outside of the main conservatory.

Daffodil hill was a sight for sore winter eyes while Cornus mas (Cornelian Cherry Dogwood) brightened a garden full of Boxwood and Chamaecyparis. One unusual bloom I came across was the pale yellow flower of Edgeworthia chrysantha (Paperbush). Edgeworthia is in the same family as Daphne and is used to manufacture very high quality paper. The summer leaves are arranged in palmate fashion similar to the shape of a Rhododendron.

Spring is here whether you like it or not. Embrace it and smell the flowers because they won’t last very long in this heat. Though it isn’t my favorite season, I am learning to appreciate spring for its fleeting beauty.

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For all of you wondering how you can join us to get your hands dirty and get your garden on….this is for you! In the end of August 2011 New York City was girding for an evacuation of low-lying areas from fear of flooding due to Hurricane Irene.  For most of us city dwellers the storm was relatively anticlimactic, bringing only a bit of rain and wind.

The Courtyard of Hartley House in Hell's Kitchen

Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design provided a pro bono consultation to our neighborhood community center, Hartley House, one week before Irene’s visit. During that meeting, one of our chief concerns was for a pair of Ailanthus trees growing in the courtyard which had never been pruned properly.  This invasive species, known for being unstable, raised fears for the wellbeing of surrounding historic buildings of Hartley House, and for the children attending afterschool and summer programs in the courtyard.

If you are already a reader of Erbology, you know how this story (and storm) ended, as chronicled in When Heaven Came Crashing Down on September 7, 2011.  Thankfully no one was hurt, and the property damage was minimal.  The courtyard plantings suffered the worst with multiple beds and plantings being demolished and requiring removal.

We are ready to start the next chapter for the courtyard. Alan Klein has taken the initiative as chairman of the newly formed Hartley House Garden Committee. This group is tasked with a fundraising effort to help restore and replant the courtyard between the main building of Hartley House and the original 1800’s carriage house hidden behind.  Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design is donating a new design and installation materials while Alan works closely with Hartley House staff members on fundraising for this effort.

We welcome contributions and support of all shapes and sizes. Volunteers will be needed for our June planting (check back soon for dates and times) and contributions of any amount will be greatly appreciated. Don’t miss this chance to be involved and to give back to an amazing community organization.

The Carriage House Stairway and West Planting Bed

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It’s entirely possible to walk down the same street in New York City every day without noticing certain buildings or architectural features. New Yorkers are skillfully taught to tune out their surroundings to maintain sanity. This morning I walked down 44th Street on the south side of the street as opposed to my preferred north side due to a construction project. As I continued down the block I glanced across and noticed the most extraordinary roof garden and pergola perched on top of the New York Yacht Club.

The New York Yacht Club on 44th Street, Manhattan

The New York Yacht Club is a beaux-arts style architectural masterpiece. The architects Whitney Warren and Charles Wetmore designed the building in 1899-1900 before their first big commission to work on NYC’s Grand Central Terminal. With plenty of work on early skyscrapers and hotels and private country homes under their belt, Warren & Wetmore developed a prestigious resume of projects.

The Roof Terrace Was an Original Feature to the Yacht Club

As shown in the photograph from 1901, the roof garden was part of the original concept of the building. Today the same pergola design remains with neat rows of boxwood hedges lining the edge of the terrace facing 44th Street. Part of my surprise in seeing this terrace comes from the fact that there are very few roof gardens in this part of midtown. The ornate building features galleon-style windows along the first floor which are dripping with chains, seaweed and various nautical motifs. The garden sits like a little gem set inside a piece of jewelry.

See it in person: The New York Yacht Club is located at 37 West 44th Street between 6th and 5th Avenue on the north side of the street.

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Ornate wrought iron railings, gates and tree-guards are common in New York City. However, as I strolled through J. Hood Wright Park today, I noticed the most artistic example of metalwork I have seen in a while. Around the edge of a large planting bed full of mature trees and grasses was a fence with inset panels depicting beavers, mice, pumpkins, raccoons and other creatures. The relief work is inventive and completely appropriate to have adjacent to the children’s playground (which is cleverly modeled after the George Washington Bridge).

Fence by Arlene Slavin in J. Hood Wright Park

Arlene Slavin is the artist behind this delightful fence. It turns out Ms. Slavin is talented in painting and sculpture with a diverse portfolio to boot. Her commissioned works can be found in train stations, schools and zoological parks. Ms. Slavin currently resides in NYC where she was born and raised.

A Beaver Cleverly Crafted into the Fence by Arlene Slavin

A Pumpkin Finds a Home in the Fence

See it in person: J. Hood Wright Park is located at 173rd Street and Fort Washington Avenue in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood. Originally the site of a mansion owned by Mr. Wright, a wealthy banker from Philadelphia, the park came into being in 1925 when the closest green space at that time was over a mile away. The park now features handball, volleyball and basketball courts with stellar views of the George Washington Bridge and a dog-walk. What more can you ask for from your park?

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