All posts by Julie Blakeslee



Big day last friday!


We have in our possession the rare and elusive (at least East of I-35) official Certificate of Occupancy for our new office. As you might imagine, it was no easy task. Our final request from the city was to move the new toilet 2 inches closer to the wall, which of course immediately made it start leaking and then for some suspicious reason back up 60′ down the line. Our plumber, who was unable to clear the blockage suggested “well, why don’t you just put your toilet paper in the trash can like everyone else?”.

Ignore. repeat. But- hey check it out.



I decided to blow off subtle signage when our ultra hip designers at Arts and Recreation suggested we paint our giant new logo over the ghost graffiti on the side of the building. They outlined it last weekend and while Paul was fishing out an extension cord from the back- our new neighbors called the cops on him. Which is extremely kind of them, and more kind was the cop who just told him to carry on blocking the street with his overhead projector and if the neighbors called again he’d take his time coming back- so get on it white boy. And they did- check it out….

17 feet of Big Red Sun from Arts and Recreation on Vimeo.

Cute little beasts. My new year’s wish is that only really talented graffiti artists engage with our logo on the wall. We will grow topiaried fig ivy on the rest- the shape of said ivy is still being heavily discussed. Christmas party is tonite….. more tomorrow. xoxjb



"I peed in my pants a little"

S- The weather finally broke for good last week so we geared up to move a special client’s really old, really big and ahem priceless sago palms from one location in her garden to another. We’d been wrestling with the decision to move them since last march and once we had planted the whole garden and let it settle in this summer, all of us saw that we had to bite the bullet and just do it.

So after much strategification we took the majority of the crew- minus Chucho and Polo (eek!)- to the site for the day. To protect the roots, we decided to pull them out all together with a sky track. We hand dug to expose the root system, trussed them together, guided the forks onto the loops and gave it a few gentle tugs. And nada- only one was even barely budging.


An executive decision made by Justin, the surgeon, to see if they would mind coming out one by one. The guys carefully trussed up the second biggest one and JT got 6 individual people giving advice to wiggle, lift, no! forward, back, stop!!, down- wait readjust the straps, don’t wiggle just jiggle… and then all of the sudden she just popped out of the ground with the tiny little root ball you would have imagined but I mean??? We were all so surprised we shouted like 5 year olds and Ben the new guy confessed he was so excited he peed in his pants a little.


We wrassled the biggest one out next – she was a nail biter- and the little one came out like buttah.

Jules couldn’t wait to go tell Chucho and Hippo his usual crew (pictured below w our new logo wear this fall) that it only took 6 of us 7 hours to do what chucho could have done barehanded in 3. That’s a joke- mostly right?!


We moved them to the front, placed them just right, watered them in, shut their sprinkler heads off for the rest of the winter and they look like nothing happened to them. Now we can just wait until next spring to see how much stress it really was on them. Buena suerta. xoxojb

monday blues-b-gone

S- it’s humid and 80 degrees- holiday weather right? Justin was all excited that his woodie was finally brought into the family last friday afternoon. But ese manana, he was pulled over for our expired inspection sticker and the truck immediately stopped working- it is now once again at Just Jeeps.


Our monday production meeting was starting off with a cloud for certain until the fed ex man arrived with our new swing! (and all the replacement tools that were stolen when the trailer was stolen from our lot a few weeks ago)


What we needed was some instant gratification mama- so JT dragged out the ladder and warned us that he was only going to adjust this once.


or four times- and justin made his day better by planting it up with ivy. bien sur we practice what we preach- swings make everything better. This one from droog theoretically grows ivy up the ropes for that romantic era feel. xoxojb


chez moi

S- I thought I would post the progress of my new garden, so clients could check out the process of a garden build. So, you know I purchased the house in February with an existing 1960′s pool. I started work immediately getting the pool underway because it was well- a death trap. The CoA power lines went over the pool and we couldn’t get a permit unless we buried them- a major major undertaking. But here it is November 4th a mere 9 months later and after a new foundation, new plaster, new tile that matches the 1960′s and new filtration system the pool is just now ready for prime time.


It’s particularly distressing that the property looked somewhat cuter when i purchased it than how i’m living in it day to day. Note the quaint screened in BBQ house back there. Good to know mosquitos were as bad in the 1950′s as they are today. Mosquito Nix to the rescue.

Demo is oh so fast- but reno hay dios mio. It’s killing me- why and how did i kill that grass? oh- right no irrigation system. I’m having to do it in stages too as we won’t be able to build a cabana until January when I assume we won’t be working in the field for clients. I’m trying at least to get the back to an area where it’s not a giant mud pit- although the dogs don’t seem to mind that aspect in the least.

The front of the house was old lady overgrown paradise and it killed me to thin it out- but I needed to bring my garden over from the old house. I’m thrilled to say that the guys transplanted everything so well, the camellias didn’t drop a bud and have begun to bloom. My poor oakleaf hydrangeas have now been moved 3 times- some 4. I cannot believe they are all still with us. Hopefully, under jackie’s green thumb it will be old lady overgrown paradise soon enough. And I found a tiny brick planter on the chimney. A friend told me that Mrs. Aickmen, the previous owner always put coral geraniums in the boxes. But everything I try to put there looks way too perky and freaks me out. I planted a lot of vines on the front of the house…so hopefully that will cut the perk enough to pop some cute flowers in.


I took so much out on the side of the house it went from full shade to full sun. Oops. Opportunity for a rose garden; you can see it from the kitchen window- a cool surprise. I hid a vulgar mauve rose back in there- they look great in the house but in the garden… debatable. When I see all this in person, I automatically like you do see it full grown, but when I see it in photos- I sympathize so much with our clients. Really? All this work and these spindly little things are what we get? But oh next spring and next fall… divine. oh wait- in this picture, i see mosquito nix put sprayers in my rose garden yesterday. That should kill them toute suite- curses. More later on the mud pit in the back. best, Julie


mommy it’s loud


We moved into the new office on Friday. Dios Mio- it’s horrid being your own client. We are SO last on the list after all our clients- so as you can imagine- we just threw all our crap in and tried to pretend it was clean. Thus we are working in a construction site. I mean- is this REALLY what it sounds like to live with Chucho welding all day? I feel like we should include a xanax prescription in our estimate for the poor moms or nannies that are home with this racket.


We still have a giant hole in the wall for the fleetwood doors to the courtyard but poured the concrete threshold (and the fountain) for them today. I love how nervous the crew is when they pour for a client- it’s pretty much a one shot deal. But pouring for us apparently is more fun than anyone should be having at ahem 7 am. See them hone their supervisory skills…


I know this is how clients feel when they look around and think is this ever going to look like a garden? But all the confederate jasmine is coming in on Thursday for the trellis and the irrigation is stubbed out and the keggerator is plugged in. So i guess it’s all going to come together. We are supposed to have the opening party on Nov 10th BUT no way are we going to make it.

But it’s good for us to be back on the east side and to look down Cesar Chavez and see the original blue house- mother ship BRS. all for now mama- i gotta get my clorox clean up on. xoxo J

post script

but hey- glory be. We popped the forms this afternoon and voila- a “water feature” is born. After all their kvetching that it was WAY too big julie- we are building a swimming pool for chrissake… it looks just right. Now i get to breathe a little secret sigh of relief. Ah- torture me not scale. Don’t we loooove the drama of it all….xojb



Dear S- So we all arrived in NY the Thursday before memorial day. As you know, we are working on trying to build our design

eye together -but i’m also trying to get our team to deeply understand the luxury of a green space in a tight urban environment- thus all the forced fun. We landed around 6 and got into the city around sunset. I’m SO very very anti outdoor kitchen so I showed the boys the beauty of the charcoal Weber- in the rain, on my terrace on 5th avenue. We all agreed it much wiser to spend the money on strips from Loebel’s than the thing we cook them on. Plus the threat of burning down the building is an added bonus.

After dinner and wine and wine we decided to check out Central Park. We literally saw no one- they couldn’t yet realize how incredible it is to be in Central Park and not see a soul. The band shell, fountain and allees seem huge and haunting. The team found out trying to cross the park on the way home- it was empty because ahem it closes at 1am. NYCPD very helpful and kind.

The next morning we were fresh as daisies setting out to see Central Park by day. We started in the conservatory gardens, the only formally planted part of Central Park. Justin found his yoda- 1 dude a giant hedge and pair of felcos. period. slaying it.

In the afternoon- we headed downtown to get to the highline. I’m really wanting more artists’ work in the gardens so we loved seeing the Spencer Finch installs. and then some R&D at the Standard.

The next morning we aimed mid town to see one of my favorite spots in Manhattan- Paley Park. For me, it is the apotheosis of restraint and elegance. It takes a brave client to trust that 3 types of plants are more than perfect. We do adore our Live Oak client who allowed us this luxury and you know it looks SO fine. oops. ego. down.

It was fleet week and that evening we found a marine in Times Square . He helped us get our Irish car bombs on. In spite of it all, we leapt of bed the next morning to continue walking Olmsted’s program in central park. I had never rowed on the pond and we decided to make it happen. We used our engineering skills to build a super boat and rowed in tandem. took on a little water. It’s cool to see that people still have the same amount of fun rowing on the lake as they did when it was built. It probably is even more surreal now than when it was built because of the skyscrapers of course.

We capped off the trip with a visit to Grimaldi’s with our friend Oliver Herring and his partner Patrick. We talked about guerilla gardening and are hatching a project for the spring. We walked the Brooklyn bridge and then somewhat called it a night. And a weekend. We’ve already been referencing our Philip Johnson garden MoMA visit and seeing the new spaces at the Lincoln <div /></a></p>
<div>Center. We so wish you could have been with us. best, J</div>
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