Deborah Howe’s Moss Garden

6 12 2007

moss-garden.jpg

Deborah Howe is a landscape architect and owner of Lighthall Company. She is also sister to Priscilla Howe, Storyteller, and Mary Howe, No Software Too Scary. Mary’s foot is pictured below.

Anyway, I met Deb on the beach last summer and was fascinated with the moss garden she was working on at the time. This photo shows the work in progress, since the moss won’t gain a really strong foothold until next year. Deb is a diehard sailor, bookworm, and seems to be interested in just about everything.

Egghead: I understand that you’re a landscape architect in the Boston area. Will you explain what you do?

Deborah: I design outdoor spaces.  Currently, I’m doing residential design, which means that if someone has a property and they want a patio or two, some way to retain a slope or  move up and down it, if they want a pool, a fire pit, a tennis court, formal or informal plantings, driveways, drive courts, lawns, decks, etc. etc. etc. I’ll design it for them, and then hand off my drawings to a contractor for construction. Excavators, masons, planting guys, swimming pool contractors, and carpenters are some of the construction people who use my drawings.  I also recently did planting designs for over 100 planting areas at a local mall, and have done plenty of public and institutional landscape architecture as well campuses, streetscapes, roadside plantings, housing developments, etc.  Architects design buildings; landscape architects design outdoor spaces at all scales.

Egghead: Boston winters must be pretty harsh. Are you able to work during the winter?

Deborah: I work year-round.  Because my work is designing these places for other people to build, if I’ve been on the ball and gotten work for the winter, I’ll do it, and be ready to hand my drawings off for construction as soon as the building season starts in the spring.  My desk is in a south-facing window, and winter work can be quite pleasant for me!

Egghead: When I met you last summer, you had recently completed a moss garden for clients in the Boston area. Was this your first moss garden and what was the biggest challenge?

Deborah: This was my first moss garden, though I had studied Japanese gardens at grad school, and had used moss in gardens on other projects.  I did some drawings for this project, so had a basic layout in mind, but had to visualize these irregularly-shaped boulders and how each might relate best to the others and to the plants and the enclosure.  That was the biggest challenge and quite a fun exercise — I had to imagine what the best result would be with the installation of each boulder; there’s not a lot of tweaking possible when your crew has to haul and turn and place organic objects that weigh hundreds of pounds.

Egghead: What are you reading?

Deborah: Right now I’m reading a couple copies of The New Yorker, my standby reading material, and today I finished The Phantom of The Opera, lent to me by a friend.  Next, I’m not sure.

Egghead: If you had just one more day to live, what would you request for dinner?

Deborah: For dinner:  a delicious fresh salad of mixed greens from the garden, some steamed chard with butter and balsamic vinegar, perhaps some Poulet a la Moutarde (sounds better than Mustard Chicken), some Yorkshire
pudding made with butter, and Veeeeee’s warm peach pie with vanilla ice cream.  I’m imagining a summer final dinner, for some reason, which means I’d like iced tea with some mint, lemon, orange juice, and a bit of honey mixed in.  A winter dinner might be different altogether.

Egghead: What’s your favorite item of clothing this week?

Deborah: My bright red REI down jacket. And here’s my question for you, Mianne:  when are you going to ask
yourself those same questions, and put the Q & A in your blog?

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One response

6 12 2007
gockow

Yeah, what questions would you ask yourself?

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