kdb. Artist/Designer/Naturalist/Passionate Citizen
Rewild your garden. It is truly easy to let nature have her way with our landscape, when we pay attention to the nuances of the season, the weather and how we plant and care for our plants! This is something we all must consider. Each summer is hotter than the next and far more humid. Certain areas of the world are becoming wastelands, hot, no water, and desertification is happening, the world over and here in the US as well.
We do have the power to change the world, each one of us. We can vote with our dollars and our conscience. We can say NO to poisons, engineered plants, Cultivars and a tidy garden, that has no relationship with the natural world. Mostly these landscapes are cared for by Equipment operators. A gardener can tell you about the soil, the bugs and ways to garden without killing a thing. A garden in balance is a joy, no one bug is taking over and causing problems, the birds eat the bugs, you have attracted with your native and pollinator plants. They also feed these little nuggets of protein to their little chickies, it takes about 6000 bugs, caterpillars and worms make up the diet to raise four baby chicks! No protein, no birdies!!
This Garden Designer has evolved into a Garden Rewilder, an UN-gardener, a lover of nature and I am embracing all it can bring to our lives!!!
I was a traditional garden designer and had a large firm for several decades on the West Coast. I worked diligently on drought tolerant and organic gardening and design.
After a 16 year hiatus, I am doing Design work again, but in a more intimate and thoughtful manner. Turning my eye towards a more inclusive style of design. “Environmental Habitats”. Homes and Gardens designed with a thoughtful approach to materials, sustainability and style is the key. These gardens are rich with insects, bees and birds and are an oasis and a habitat for us to share with the natural world. These magical outdoor spaces will beckon you with their siren song of birdies singing, the gentle buzzing of bees and the sound the wind makes as it ruffles the leaves of your trees and hedgerow.
Considering your needs, use of the available outdoor space and budget creates a template for good design. Researching the specific native and pollinator plants that once lived in your particular zone is the next step. After creating a list of possibilities we can now understand what plants and trees can be incorporated into your garden.
When this all comes together a design is created, specifically for you!
We can then work together making decisions with the intention of living in harmony with the natural world.
On Being an Evolutionist, kdb through the years…
My earliest memories are in the garden. Playing in the sunshine, digging in the dirt under the big Avocado Tree, using the hose to create watery landscapes, ponds streams and lakes all in miniature. Watching Butterflies and Capturing Lady Bugs in a jar, to be let go at sunset was how I spent my days.
When I was 8 we moved to a new house in a new neighborhood, just built. These were the days of tract homes in Southern California, the year before this particular tract of land had been a cow pasture and wild fields. The developer scraped the land and planted 4000 square foot houses to help house the bursting population of the late 60’s. All that raw bare earth was a blank canvas of possibilities to my little brain. Every Wednesday was trash day, I would ride around the neighborhood and collect Lint. Imagine seeing the colors of the 60’s Hot Pink, Harvest Gold, Avocado Green, Turquoise Blue and various tones of Orange. Wow, heady stuff! I would collect the lint and then go back to our barren back yard and create Lint Gardens. I would first sculpt the dirt with wooden spoons and a rubber spatula, then lay in the colors. I would create valleys with streams and lakes with hilly orchards and rows of crops. All as if seen from above, like a bird, soaring over the landscape. All with my brightly colored lint!!!
I was always growing a Sweet Potato Vines in a jar of water and little starts of Ivy and Spider Plants in my bedroom. I also had fun helping my Mom plant the garden. Calla Lillies and Agapanthus on the North side of the house and a Passionflower vine outside the kitchen window, my Mom said the Bees and Butterflies would come if we planted these plants, she was right.
The Ecology movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s, caught my attention. As a family we hiked, went camping and we were taught to love and honor the earth. When I was 12 a much wanted gift arrived, a Johnny Horizon Water testing kit. I did find out, with my kit that the Los Angeles River Water was unfit to drink. Not a surprise, but now I had the power to discover things like a real scientist!
At 14 I had saved enough money babysitting to earn a 35 MM Minolta Camera. Photographing became a heightened passion, dark room work, black and white film, everything was a delight to explore and discover. I have been documenting nature ever since.
As I became an Adult, a Mom and Wife and I continued gardening, inside and outside, and then I started my Garden Design Firm at 27 years old. I was passionate about creating beautiful spaces for my clients to enjoy the indoor/outdoor lifestyle. I worked hard and loved every single moment. I traveled to England, France and all the regions in America, researching and visiting Gardens and Garden Designers learning my craft. It was an amazing time in my life, 80 hours a week, but it all become too much.
In 2001 I sold my firm, Foxglove Home and Garden Design and moved to Maine.
It was scary, exciting and exhilarating to start fresh in a climate that had almost 6 months of winter.
I have had several personal gardens, here in Maine, each designed with the micro climate, zone and architecture in mind. I worked and explored the world of Graphic and Web Design, I sold my Photographic images and became a Painter, Acrylic and Encaustic (beeswax and Damar Resin).
But a magical thing happened in the spring of 2014, after reading articles about the Gulf of Maine heating up faster than any other ocean on the planet. A bulb went on, and I knew the next step in my evolution. I decided to devote One Year to researching and documenting the Kennebec River Watershed, from the Merrymeeting Bay to the Gulf of Maine 10 nautical miles. I set out to create a Visual Narrative, a baseline that could be studied 30-50 years from now and The Wilderland Project came to be. Climate change is real and happening, the changes are visible with daily observation. The first year was spent in full immersion. I lived near Popham Beach and went out most everyday, photographing, painting and paying attention to the nuances each day in this wintery climate.
After that first year I moved into the town of Bath, and created my “The Wilderland Intown Studio and Gallery”. I continued, documenting, painting, having gallery exhibits and giving talks about the Wilderland and Climate Change. After four years I wrapped up this “One Year” project on the last day of Summer, 2018.
The Wilderland Maine Project has been a gift with experiences I never could have anticipated or imagined. I have come to realize that everything in nature is connected and needed to create the delicate balance our Earth needs to be healthy and support life.
Being curious, researching and understanding the visual narrative I was creating led me to a deeper understanding of our natural world. I know now what it is I am to do with my lifetime skill set. Lead by example and work with people to Rewild their gardens, public spaces and stop using ALL poisons.
We must let all living things flourish and share our outdoor spaces with the rest of nature, pollinators and birdies.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Credentials: kdb Gardens have been commissioned in such diverse places as Southern California, Northern California, North Carolina, Montana, Connecticut and Maine. She has and does travel extensively to France, England, Mexico & Regions of our own United States. She has had fun applying this research to her work.
kdb has been featured in many books and magazines as well as a guest on various HGTV Home and Garden programs. She also appeared on Good Morning America, giving a tour of her own farm and garden in Malibu. Her work has been published in the book, " Leading the Artful Life" by Mary Engelbreit. A chapter was devoted to her philosophy and several pages feature photos of her personal Home and Garden. kdb’s work has landed her on the cover of Country Living magazine including the feature article. Home Companion magazine, has showcased her work as well as Sunset magazine. She also was the editor and contributor of the Home and Garden section of the Maine Women’s Journal. She contributed to the book Empowered Gardens, by Carol Soucek by sharing her gardens in Malibu, California.
Most recently kdb and The Wilderland Project were featured in Downeast Magazine.
kdb Studio Alchemy Design
PO Box 331