Night Life

Nov 13 013
It never ceases to amaze me, how a space can be so transformed by light.  Sun and shade are critical elements of successful gardening; they are equally important elements of good design.  Rob did such a beautiful job lighting the greenhouse fernery for last night’s soiree.  There is a time during the fall when the workroom is all but impassable.  He makes garlands of lights-mixing colors, bulb size, shape and color. His most recent interest is in pairing Led lights with incandescent ones.  The floor space is covered with parallel strands of lights stretched out straight.  He then realigns all the wires to eliminate any light gaps, and cinches the entire assembly together every foot or so with zip ties.  These 45 foot long ropes of white and chartreuse lights  not only highlight the formally trimmed shape of the creeping fig growing on the walls but they evenly bathed the entire greenhouse roof structure in a warm soft glow.      

Nov 13 030He spot lit certain elements in the room- the refreshment tables in the middle of the space for the sake of utility, and ornament on the walls, for drama.  What he lights is balanced by what he keeps dim. He strongly lit the auricula theatres on the wall, so his forest stick and light orb sculptures would not throw them into harsh shadow.

Nov 13 009Simple votive candles can put light right where you need it.  In this case, lighting the garden at the floor plane also lit the underside of our old French fountain planted with ferns.  Natural candle light instantly romances anything it touches. 

Nov 13 066Some of Rob’s light garlands get another decorative element.  Light cords are are an incredibly unnatural shade of green; I cannot understand why an olive/brown color is not an option.  We do buy lights with brown cords for wrapping sticks or tree trunks. This garland has a weatherproof ball garland that gives the light a  diaphanous quality.  This is my idea of good garden jewelry. 

Nov 13 051Large light fixtures on the wall of the shop subtly light the Boston ivy vines on the opposing wall; the intense light in the pots, and on the tuteurs bring the ornament into focus. 

Nov 13 059The chartruese lights repeat the color of the moss, and add dimension to the light. The light emphasizes the sparkle and sass of the holiday elements.

Nov 13 056This is Rob’s winter berried vine light garland.  The olive plastic holiday balls wired on every so often add texture and color that looks great even during the day.

Nov 13 061The linden is draped in his light rendition of spanish moss.  The unseasonably warm weather we have had for the past few weeks has been favorable for outdoor installations.  In years when the really cold weather comes early, this kind of work can be daunting. With the temperature at 57 today, it is a perfect day to dress a garden in light.

Nov 13 070These commercial grade light strings have frosted bulbs; they produce a very soft light that is easy on the eye.  

Nov 13 064Though the ball garland in this strand is silver, the color of the terra cotta pot in which they are installed makes a richly colored night presentation vastly different than the day look. 

Nov 13 031

White Leds look like ice on fire-very chilly. These powerful lights readily read from great distances; they are clearly much more about drama than romance.  Though my patience for shopping the lighting showrooms with Rob is limited, I love the results. My favorite commercially produced garland lights have all the bulbs very close together; I like less cord, and more light. 

Nov 13 046
These warm amber and yellow lights veiled in a metallic mesh are all about mystery.  Though I firmly believe good design is in no small part about editing, I relax that rule this time of year.  There is no such thing as too much of this kind of night life.


  1. Some truly holiday lighting ideas. Rob did a great job.

  2. A spectacular creation! Kudos to Rob and his assistants!

    Chartruese lights (delicious), would love to get a set. What brand are they and are they LED?



  3. jane schulak says

    beautiful blog!!! bravo deborah, we are all so lucky to know you and to be able to experience you!!!

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