All posts by Julie Blakeslee

Call me Chucho

S- another day in paradise. a favorite client asked if we could clear a few branches out of the lake while we were doing a bit of planting on the property. roger that. Chucho began whacking away and JT began pushing and pulling on the limbs in the water while I, as usual got on the phone.


A few minutes later, JT snuck up and made some motions like we’re going to pull it out of the water. yes yes. fine fine. A bit later- i turn around and they’ve got the truck hooked up to something and are making whooping noises. Perhaps time to wrap up my call and pay a modicum of attention – we were not strictly on our client’s property at this point. Why do you need a chainsaw? And where did Chucho find a boat? and HOLY SHIT what is that?


Chucho’s caught himself a whale.The guys were giggling like horrid teenagers. Our options were somewhat limited at this point. As tempted as we were to try and drag it out to the middle of the lake- we did have it most of the way on shore so I called for the chainsaw- and ah bring an extra chain mmkay- and I scuttled back to the office hoping for the best. An hour and a half later I receive this text. that’s our boys. Happy weekend. xxojb


we never get to do anything good

S- Do you remember me talking about our client with the Paula Hayes planters? We are fortunate to have been able to do a bit of planting in and and around them and it’s fun. fun. fun. Although the texas heat has cooked a few roots- we’re getting the hang of them. And it’s been an honor to have the opportunity.

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I’m a bit too interested in her though i admit. Not only does she form these spectacular vessel shapes for the plants- importantly she designs entire gardens. and this is her art. fully accepted in the art world. as it should be right? The idea that her gardens are commissioned as art installations is genius. This woman is living the dream. Below is a photo i found on the web of the same client’s garden in Santa Fe- Ms. Hayes worked on the plantings for this garden as well as the vessels and I can tell you- it’s stupendous.


So yesterday i pop open my NY observer to read:

House and Garden: Paula Hayes Brings the Tropics to Midtown

and rather than a stab of oh man why don’t we ever get to do anything good (tee hee- i’m joking! but does put our little window works install into perspective non?) i feel a huge power to the sister moment. I’ve seen some groovy wacky stuff through the windows at the lever house. But it looks like she’s really holding her own. I’m up there week after next and I’ll try and pop through and see for myself.

Greening it up.

S- it is the night before East Austin Studio Tour and east siders are in a tidying tizzy. We finally got our window farms hydroponic system up and running last week. You know it’s a project that was facilitated by eye beam in NYC by artists Rebecca Bray and Britta Riley in 2009. Part of the project is to create a community of these farmers who can learn and improve the basic model via the website. We did rely on the community and also Texas Hydroponics and Organics were fantastic. We will be posting JT’s participation next week on the site. But for now- take a peek- you can see why it falls under the category of art.

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In other news- Chucho finished the veggie display wall and I planted it up. And the squirrels immediately dug it up. I came back to the office one day to have Aaron ask if he could get a whisper 3000. What’s that sugar? It’s to shoot the squirrels from inside the office. ah. yes. well. um. It is the east side but i’m going say let’s wait and see if Major and Dinah can help. So they are on terrier patrol daily. And it seems to be working- but there is still talk of sling shots…. i’ve resorted to hiding glass in the chard. is this bad? i guess our theme is homesteading and guerrilla gardening. devolve. discuss.

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We also got Nathan Nordstrom a.k.a. Sloke One to bedazzle some planters for the front of the nursery in honor of E.A.S.T. He asked if i had a theme in mind- and after seeing his old school style work in places all over the country via his Flickr site , I had complete confidence that he was all over it. We talked a bit about one of the artists I collect- Gajin Fujita. You know I am obsessed with his work. He’s first generation Japanese American who grew up in LA. He’s a member of 2 crews in LA and they work on his paintings with him. I talked with Nate about Gajin’s first layer on panel which is either gold or platinum leaf. I’m not sure you’ve seen these 2 newer pieces in our collection. But I do think you remember seeing the first super nasty one I purchased way back when. I swear I think his first gallery Kravetz/Wehby in NY (He’s now with the big guns at LA Louver- whom i also adore) but i think that Mark Wehby wanted clients to prove they could take the porn before they would sell you a non porn one- let’s be uptown and call it shunga. So i have that tiny little River Imp with the river imp screwing a geisha. And I love it but it’s weird. But oddly the Blanton was thrilled when I picked the one below to bequeth upon my demise. go figure.

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But then I’ve got non shunga ones too. Got this one below in honor of my divorce.


Anyhoo- Nate and I had a good discussion and off he went. When he dropped off the finished containers to us last week- he told Tessa that he hoped they were ok. He said he was thinking on it and thinking on it and then just went “urban on it”. but i noticed a distinct silver underlay to the work. very nice.

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We are still fussing w trying to divide the design office between our design office and the retail. So we are trying a Lace Fence to help divide the back of the house. OK well honestly- we have just been dying to see this stuff in person and made up a reason to get it here. We are told we are the only showroom in the US to have it. I’m not sure what that says. But whatever it says- it’s certainly consistent. xojb

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Hamama mama

S- We have been uber busy with fall planting season- and @ day i’m going home dirty dirty dirty. But a civilizing element to these 11 hour days is coming at bath time- i’m just obsessed with all my new Hamam inspired accoutrement of course acquired on honeymoon trip. On our last day in Marrakech, we decided to redeem our “free hamam” via our hotel at the Royal Monsour. All during our stay we heard hamam this and hamam that and the only thing we could discern about hamam was that it had something to with a bath. A bath that lasts an hour and a half. So we decided to make it end of the day after a sweaty garden visit to the gardens of La Mamounia -a grande dame hotel from the 20′s that had just undergone a 2 year renovation by Jacques Garcia. The hotel gets it’s name from the gardens in which it was built so hopes were high.


More on this later- but i love these riad gardens with out plants. It’s pretty effective. This was the only riad i saw using this fantastic color of black grey on the stucco. The lanterns had to be designed by Mr. Garcia.


So now we were good and gritty as we trudged back to our hotel for our hamam. or whatever. mama is dirty. and tired.


We were met at the door of our spa that btw looks like a giant birdcage. beautiful. but still.


um so as promised- here’s how it goes down. you go into the locker room and they give you this tee tiny bathing suit bottom that ties around your nethers. then a girl who is sporting kind of a Morman underwear thing comes and gets you and brings you to this underground lair and tells you to take your tiny bathing suit bottom off and lay on this slab of marble. and umm. there’s no one around even though there’re a few more slabs of marble stations in the room so i kind of just did it. So you lay there face down on the heated marble- which is weird but kind of nice and all the sudden she just starts pouring buckets and buckets of warm water all over you from a copper bucket. and it’s going everywhere. and she mumbles something about “this is the black soap” and starts scooping some black goo out and rubbing it all over me and then has me flip over like a greasy fish and lubes up the front. then in a few she comes back with a mitt and says “this is the scrubbing” and begins to rub me rather aggressively. then buckets and buckets and buckets of water thrown all over us again. i mean this is a desert right? where is all this water coming from even? then she kind of heaves you up- and you’re super naked and all hot and slippery and she walks you to the next little room where there is another heated slab of marble and she says “this is the mud” and it all starts over again but has a lot to do with your hair- and i must confess it’s all feeling pretty good. i’m feeling like an arabian princessa. but then after the final rinse off she mumbles something about “essence and stretching”. hmm. wha? soon she’s slathering me all up with orange blossom smelling oil and then we are both pretty lubed up and she begins to get a grip on my limbs one by one and starts pulling me around. And i’m pretty slick and skinny and bony so i’m all sliding around and thinking shit sister if you go down it’s going to look like a fucking horror scene in this white marble cell. but amazingly we both live through it. and afterwards i feel goooood. and my skin is super soft and i identify a wrinkle free visage in the dressing room. As i’m wandering back into the lobby contemplating seeing if there’s some one at home to wash me once a week i run into my completely befuddled husband emerging from his hamam experience. tee hee. Back stateside- i’m beyond enamored with all the accouterments and find this chic French Moroccan company Tadé to order the necessaries.The black soap, savon noir is made of black olives, and the oils are amazing and there are candles that are super botanical so it all smells like morocco instead of stinky boys in the office/boutique. At least for a bit.


Tadé also makes these DIVINE planter things made of old tires. chic. chic. chic. I’m feeling quelle noir- just in time for dias de los muertas. more soon- xoxojb

I’d rather be protesting

Girl- We finally finished those planters at the Ashton Luxury Rentals on Cesar Chavez and Colorado last week. It was a wacky week to be downtown- as Occupy Austin was gaining a little steam at City Hall a block away. Spirits were high-mornings are hovering around 70 degrees, the location is prime and the current landscaping that we get to replace, well,

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let’s just say we were teed up for success. Morale slipped a bit as we shoveled trailer after trailer full of sludge from the planters…. hmm, wonder why all these plants are rotting?


Ah- 1 drainage hole, buried irrigation lines and pure clay. Because we didn’t know what we were going to find, we had already decided to cap the irrigation and plant cactus. Heaven knows with the drought predicted here through 2012 it’s the path to success if you need something to look stellar.


As the boys did the Lucy and Ethel grape stomp, more and more protesters began to stream by.


hey, look a friend at CoA.


anyhoo. After a couple came by, rather lubricated, yelling out to the boys- HEY look at all those WHITE BOYS working. and i kind of tried to keep all the boys in the planter rather than running after the couple- Abercrombie suggested they tape signs on their backs that said “I’d rather be protesting”. ahem. time a finito. X2.


Now we are humping it to prep for EAST- east side studio tours- second 2 weeks in November. You know i never cross 1 35 if there’s a festival- all those ppl walking around freaks me out. But here i am this year in the middle of it.


I think ppl are thinking we are a little too ghetto as we are prepping for our vertical veggie garden.

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JT’s in nerd heaven figuring out our Windowfarms exhibitions…hydroponics! He’s already been to the head shop- where he gleefully got to explain the charge to the accountant.

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and of course our cute little bedazzlers are being debuted this week.

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All for now. But you know there’s much much more. We are in our 6 week planting window so super slammed. Just joking. it’s 8 weeks. slay me. xxoxojb

Bachin’ it

S- back from honeymoon. more on that soon- but check out what the crew whipped out while i was galavanting across the pond. Our buddies from the Dogwood, Dizzy Rooster, Chuggin’ Monkey and Molotov called for a refresh @ Molotov in honor of their 5th anniversary.


They just needed a bit of flair to soften the upstair deck and also grab some attention off of west 6th street. And we can’t say no to these guys- they are really just the sweetest most polite bunch of guys we’ve run across. Their mamas did it RIGHT. And boy howdy, they are super cute all. We do love that in a client right? Anyhoo- we pounced on a theme that riffed on our mexican barb wire X molotov cocktail and ran with it. Alejandro popped a dish way up high and we distracted our insurance company while

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the boys dragged a monster agave up with their asses hovering over 6th street. It was quelle charming to see the crew chugging cases of Ty Nant sparkling water on job sites so JT could cut their tops off. We lit up the bottles for slavic drama at night. Added some planters along the front and another dish in the back to echo et voila.

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Project completed 3 weeks early. The Womack boys are thrilled. The bar is refreshed. sixth street may party on. more soon. xojb

fall fashion

S- loverly to see you in ATX this weekend. I just got back from NYC- where it rained so much my annuals may not recover and did a little work replenishing my fall closet. Which now consists of me shopping for dark linen sale items for work wear. vey. But what up with the fact that I can always find room for fall fashion in my closet. But here in the nursery, (which of course is smaller than yours was down the street) when i want to go shopping for more plants for fall installs I don’t have a place to put them? Ah… now i understand the idea behind a sale. But- it’s killing me that there are still fantastic orange trees here dripping with fruit- cold hardy! taste great!

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Tried to place them with a client this week, but she preferred to wait for the fall lemon trees, which i also love, but hers are dead b/c they froze last winter- freezing. Hah. seems rather far off right now, but still something to be aware of. Why not plant hardy mandarins?

And the beautiful agave medio pictas?! drought hardy, cold hardy and beautiful. I love you my girls… why aren’t you gracing someone’s urns?

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We don’t have many of our cedar/juniper order left. They are so freaky cool and weird- they should be planted as sculpture. and heaven knows, they are fully climate adjusted now.

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But listen to this- i’ve got the urge to buy for fall- O great hopes for FALL hurricane rains because a friend of mine who was running Newton’s has left and get this is setting up a wholesale nursery on Tillery. We are in hog heaven. One of the best buyers in the state- up the street and best friends with mon new husband. Sweeeet. Mama needs to make room. So, first sale starts this weekend until end of August. talk to you soon. xoxojb

tarrytown gone loco

S- i love that you are on vacation~ every 7 years whether you need it or not right? Look how your east austin is leeching into Tarrytown? this sign was out front off of westover this am.


Chicken Coops are the new west austin dream vehicle. I remember, my neighbor Melanie in old enfield used to keep a hen that would roost in the bushes by her front door and invariably would scare the shit out of you when you were coming to their house for dinner. I have yet to see a coop in Tarrytown, Pemberton or Old west enfield though….maybe too many little dogs? Maybe it was my terrorista terriers? we are all moved to our new abode as of this weekend so 78703 is safe for chickens- let the designing begin! I’ll shoot some pix of the state of the garden- room for improvement indeed. Off to NY this afternoon. All hail cooler weather. xooxjb

Pimp out my patio

S- we were asked to fluff a patio at a new Scott+Cooner model condo at the Four Seasons. They asked last friday and were hoping pretty pretty please if we might be able to have it completed in time for a party wed night. to which we said… bien sur.

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These condos are really swank a rama- and you know that i know some swank when i swee it. And here’s my new swank-o-meter:: they have an air-conditioned loading dock. Michael Graves designed all the patios to be extra living rooms- which many places say, but here it actually works. We’re looking forward to visiting again very soon. xoxojb