Monday, September 30, 2013

The Art of the Landscape: NOLA Style

A beautiful fountain in Audubon Park.

As my New Orleans landscaping series continues, I am sharing some of the beautiful statues and garden art I saw there. I always think it's hard to try to incorporate statuary into the typical yard. So often I see suburban yards with huge formal statues placed awkwardly here and  there. One of our neighbors once erected a curious piece: a circle of cinder blocks topped on four sides with small cement squirrels. A giant cement swordfish leaped out of the center. It was quite a sight placed in front of the tiny midcentury ranch house! It did serve as a useful landmark when we were giving visitors directions to our house, though.

Old hitching posts adorn modern French Quarter streets.

I felt NOLA gardeners did a better job including statuary and other garden art pieces into their yards. They do have it easier; all houses in the French Quarter have been required for 200 years to have a courtyard with a fresh water fountain, so most have beautiful old fountains and statues existing. New Orleans also has a plethora of grand municipal statues dating back to the 1700s, so yard art blends in a bit better with the rest of the environment.

This statue is tucked against the wall in the Courtyard of the Two Sisters.

I did find the NOLA landscapers showed a great deal of creativity. The city has stepped up as well, commissioning lovely modern art to grace its many squares and walkways. I especially enjoyed a life-sized sculpture series depicting residents of the city from many different time periods behind the French Market.

Mural, statue, and fountain behind the French Market.

I hope you will gain some ideas from my photos. I was inspired by many small art pieces tucked away here and there. It was easy to imagine working art like this into my own yard. This is my last post about NOLA gardens. My next will focus on home exterior design.

I spent the weekend collecting more blog material from our road trip up to the mountains. We had to drive up to the High Country for our son's band competition. They won Grand Champions (thank you very much!), so that was fun to watch. On the way we stopped in West Jefferson, a favorite NC town of ours in Ashe County. They were having an antique fair, art show, and music festival. I picked up some great pieces for me and to sell in my store, so I will tell you all about those when I get them ready.

A mysterious vine-covered window in the Court of the Two Sisters.

Though we had a great time, I'm exhausted. We didn't even eat supper until 8:30 Saturday night, and we waited up for our son to return until 1AM. Sunday was devoted to housework, since we've been away so much lately. I washed laundry all day. Our towels were smelling musty, so I washed them in detergent with 3/4 cup of Borax added. I used a cup of white vinegar as a fabric softener as well. Then I hung them out on the clothesline to dry in the sun. At night I brought them in, about three quarters of the way dry, and finished drying them in the clothes dryer. This method kills any stubborn bacteria holding on in the terry cloth and makes the towels smell great! I also aired out the house with open doors and windows since the weather is cool and mopped all the floors. I got started on the bathrooms. Then I lined the turquoise antique trunk at the foot of my bed with contact paper to convert it to a linen trunk for sheets. I used bars of lemon soap in between the sheets as a scent sachet. I still have a long way to go, but it does feel good to have about the half the house deep-cleaned and fresh-smelling.

This pretty square opens into the French Market.

Because I had the band carpool last week we ate mostly frozen, pre-made food. I didn't have time to cook and cursed Aldi chose that week to stock all the German foods I grew up with and love. Strudel, braunschweiger, schnitzel... I'm going to have to clean up the diet this week or I'll weigh 400 pounds! I try to buy all these whenever they get them, though, so they know people want them. I was recounting this menu to my friend who grew up here today and she looked at me like I was a lunatic and said, "I don't ever fix anything like THAT"! Since I hadn't really cooked all week I made a big Ohio supper last night: pork schnitzel with homemade pretzels and beer cheese. We dip the pretzels and schnitzel in the beer cheese and pour it over vegetables like broccoli. The kids love making pretzels. They like to roll them out and twist the dough and they love to sprinkle the salt on top. You can find the recipe I use for beer cheese in my Pinterest recipes folder. I use the entire can of beer and increase the flour and cornstarch to 3 TBSP each. I also add about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of nutmeg. Otherwise, I follow the recipe.

The colorful Two Sisters fountain.

This morning in the garden I saw a big eggplant almost ready and some peppers, as well as a ton of basil. I think tonight I will make pasta with pesto sauce and later in the week I will make caponata to top either bruschetta or pasta. I want to give the eggplant a few more days. I think I will also serve marzipan pound cake topped with pineapple for dessert.

This beautiful sundial is located in a Garden District median.

My neck is killing me, though, so I think right now I'm going to go do some yoga. All the recent hours spent sitting in cars and planes has been wreaking havoc on my back!

A gorgeous statue on the River Walk.

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