Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Retreat


Each year on or around my birthday, I like to take a day all to myself where I spend the time alone doing some of my favorite things in peace and serenity. I try to disconnect from email and phone and spend some time outside in nature and with myself.  I usually spend this day admiring the garden, reading a book, and watching a film or two. These are some of my favorite things. Later or on another day, I will celebrate with my husband and friends and family.




I do not remember when I decided to begin this ritual. It must have been over 20 years ago. One day near my birthday, it occurred to me that it would be very satisfying to take a quiet day just doing some of my favorite things. I do much of my work from my home office, so I spend a lot of my time working at home. If I am not working on a writing project, I am cleaning, gardening, or organizing. And although I enjoy all of these things, sometimes it is nice to take a retreat in my own home--a quiet and solitary quest for pure amusement. It has become a personal ritual that I relish and treasure, and oftentimes I wonder why I do not do it more often than solely around my birthday.


This year, I decided to read Barbra Streisand's coffee table book, My Passion for Design. I bought the book over a year ago and saved it for a day when I had some time to savor it. It is a book about how she designed and built the buildings and garden on her property and how each detail was managed.


I am reviewing this book for Garden Book Review by Holly at Roses and Other Gardening Joys. It is not a traditional gardening book, but she has incorporated much of the garden design in the book. And, oh what a garden!



I do  not aspire to have a property such as hers, but I find books and films a great way to escape into another world and share in or experience that world. And in most books that include some aspect of gardening, I find a few ideas to translate to my own garden. Her property is impressive, for sure, and all the work shows her passion for beauty and a clear sense of home.


The property sits on the California coast and her home overlooks the ocean. She has incorporated paths, fences, arbors, pools, and ponds. She has free range chickens, a mill house, patios and sitting areas, a vegetable garden, and a rose garden. One of the roses in her garden was developed by Tom Carruth of Weeks Roses just for her and is called the Barbra Streisand rose.



The book details the history and struggles of her decision to build on the property and how she obtained it. All of her garden decisions seem to be based on a plan to complement nature. The vegetable garden is made of raised stone beds that are scattered here and there. Soft and round stones were selected instead of rectangular and sharp-edged concrete for much of the hard landscaping.



Overall, the book is a feast for the eyes and an inspiration for anyone who wants to design or decorate their house and garden. She seems to have thought of every single detail and it shows. The property seems like a retreat, a world away from distractions, a private refuge.


© copyright 2012 Michelle A. Potter

50 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for joining in! Especially as I probably would have never known about this book otherwise. That picture of the rose-covered pergola is close to what I am trying to achieve with my catenary bed. Which, is unfortunately, not any closer this year to being finished than last year. But what inspiration just that picture gives me to finish my dream! I think this book would be very inspiring, and I love all the little details you have already given us from the book (like using rounded stones). I also love your idea about having a retreat day. I have never had one, but I just may try to begin that tradition for myself!

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    1. You will really like the book. The rose garden is beautiful, and some of the photos show close-ups of those roses climbing the columns. Enjoy! And thank you for hosting.

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  2. A very nice idea. I'd never thought of doing that around my birthday but since I'm a Libra that's a really busy time of year for me. But I do something similar between Christmas and New Year's. It's so healing.

    Michael

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    1. That would be difficult to do something like that later in the year. I suppose it would be a real challenge, but it sounds like you make up for it later on.

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  3. Hi there, that's a gorgeous house indeed!! Yes you should definitely try to find some days alone more often but not too much that you end up in solitary. I try to do it occasionally but I end up staring in space not knowing what to do with myself. I'm just not used to it I guess, gardening helps though, that's where I find some peace and quiet.

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    1. I have been thinking about that. It is such a relaxing and healing experience, I have wondered why I don't do it more often. Perhaps...

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  4. I sometimes want to spend mu Birthday alone, in nature, but in cold winter this isn't possible. Happy birthday, you have the very interesting book, thanks for sharing!

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    1. That is hard in the winter, Nadezda. I suppose I would just curl up with a book near a window. That way I get to at least look outside. I am glad you liked the review.

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  5. Happy birthday. I saw her interviewed when the book came out...the house and gardens are quite something else!

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    1. Thank you, Alison. It is a nice book to have to dream.

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  6. Happy Birthday to you Michelle! What a wonderful way to spend your birthday, taking time for yourself doing something you might not otherwise do. We could all use a few days like that I think.

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    1. Thanks, Marguerite. It really does become a special day, and you are right, a few days like that would be nice.

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  7. Be alone with oneself is really a necessity in these circumstances we have. I love that Barbara's garden, if only i have plenty of money i will be making our property in the province also very beautiful, but maybe that will still be in the next life! That rose really looks so special too, amazing color, and you did a marvelous photo. ...I returned to Blotanical just now after months of absence! Yours is the first i opened and picked.

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    1. Thank you, Andrea. Her property is a beautiful one. Welcome back from your hiatus, and thank you for your kind words.

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  8. Happy Birthday! What a wonderful gift you are giving yourself: Peace and Quiet, and the time to savour all that you have.

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    1. Thank you, Rosemary. It always is a special day, and I enjoy it immensely.

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  9. I had no idea that Barbara Streisand was into design. It sounds like a fabulous garden!

    Happy Birthday to you. It sounds like a wonderful birthday tradition! I long for a day of peace and quiet for myself. When the little ones are a little more grown!

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    1. Thank you...I think we all need some peace and quiet from time to time. I hope you find some in between tending to the little ones.

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  10. Happy Birthday Michelle, glad you enjoyed your birthday your way and have a lovely second birthday with your husband, Frances x

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    1. Thank you, Frances, for your kind wishes.

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  11. I also work at home and relish my alone time, but rarely do I devote one whole day for me. Really should do that!! I remember seeing an interview with Barbra in her home (60 Minutes?), but didn't know (or remember) about the book. Thanks for sharing, and hope you had a great birthday!!

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    1. Thank you, Charlie. It is a very rare day indeed but one I treasure.

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  12. Oh, Michelle, that is an absolutely beautiful post. Happy birthday! I'm glad you were able to do the things you love on your special day. :) I posted about our "lessons learned" yesterday. Thanks so much for linking in!

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    1. Thanks, Beth. I never knew how satisfying it was to take a day for me.

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  13. Gardening creates a common bond between people from all walks of life doesn't it?
    I'm going to look for this book.

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    1. Yes, it does, Susan. We all come together in that one area.

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  14. Thanks for introducing this book to us. I'll definitely go out to get one soon. Those little snippets of yours from the book have stimulated my apetite for more.

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    1. It is worth it. A book to sit down and relish.

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  15. Gardening is really fun specially when you share the same passion with others. How I wish I could read those wonderful books if have the time...Happy birthday!

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    1. I love gardening, and it seems there is always something new to do or try.

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  16. Michelle I will be looking for this book. I have read about her house/retreat but had not heard about the book. What a feast for the eyes it truly is...a dream of building a retreat on the water has been mine for a lifetime...I love your idea of getting away on your birthday and having a retreat. I usually take the day or a day or 2 before or after to spend time doing what I want or taking a trip to a special spot. Wishing you a lovely birthday filled with every delight you desire.

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    1. She has created a beautiful place, and I wish you your dream retreat when the time comes. Hearing the sounds of water would be a lullaby indeed. And thank you for your kind birthday wishes.

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  17. A very relaxing way to spend the day and a fun book.

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    1. Thanks, Carolyn. It was a very nice day...want to do it more often.

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  18. Well, it sounds like a very good ritual to me. I often do the same, except you may see my murder and mystery stuff as being a bit trashy.

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    1. Whatever your taste, it is a relaxing day! :)

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  19. I've surfed the net more than three hours today, and your blog was the coolest of all. Thanks a lot, it is really useful to me

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  20. It sounds like Barbara has a retreat in this place, it is beautiful from the images you posted. I am surprised she did so much of the design, I did not know she had that talent also. I know she is a very private person and this place looks like it gives her all the privacy she needs.

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    1. She seems to be talented in many areas. And that place sure is private.

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  21. Good for you that you take that special time for you every year! What a really neat tradition. I did it once many years ago, and you've made me think I should do it again. What a perfect day to read on your special day.

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

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    1. Thank you, Cindy. I should do it more often...once a year really is not enough.

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  22. It is a great idea to take sometime for yourself each year on your birthday. I usually do the same thing when the rest of the family is away for the weekend. I watch a movie that my husband would hate, eat the food that I like best and make a trip to a store or nursery that I like. It is great to spoil myself in this way, but I find I am always glad when everyone comes back home.
    I saw the Barbara Streisand book in the bookstore and took a look through it. Her garden is quite amazing. The roses especially are gorgeous.

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    1. That sounds so nice! I like doing all the things that we want...feels so good.

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  23. What a lovely post and great book review! I always look forward to your posts, even if I don't always leave a message.
    I would like to nominate you for the ‘One Lovely Blog Award’, your blog is so lovely and truly deserve it. Congratulation! You can find the rules here: http://graphicality-uk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/one-lovely-blog-award.html
    Take care :-)

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    1. Thank you, Helene. I am honored to receive this award. Thank you for thinking of The Sage Butterfly.

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  24. How are you recovering from the storms? Are you all ok? Thinking of you!

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    1. Thank you so much for your concern. We are doing better now that the worst is over. It was a challenge to stay cool in that heat, but I am glad we had a small generator to keep the refrigerator and freezer working so we could save the food.

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'I see trees of green, red roses, too
I see 'em bloom for me and for you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world'
--What a Wonderful World

Thank you for visiting The Sage Butterfly blog. I enjoy reading your charming reflections very much. Have a great day!

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