Monday, December 26, 2011

Landscape Painting by Laurence E Fosgate

Here is a landscape painting I did a few years ago that hangs inside the Tremml family home in Vero Beach, Florida.  It depicts part of the back gardens we did for themat their former home in Maitland that was featured in The Orlando Sentinel under the heading "The Best Medicine."  We have done extensive work at both these homes over the years.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Orlando Pergolas by Laurence E Fosgate

We have been building pergolas for twenty years in Central Florida. Recently we revisited the  property in Vero Beach where we did four pergolas, including two in the courtyard of this impressive home on the Indian River.  In addition to the pergolas graced by colorful bouganvilla, the beautiful bromeliads, crotons, decorative pots and other landscaping were just a few of the elements added by us.  Our work even extended to interior furnishings!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Laurence E Fosgate Begins Designs for New Vero Beach Garden

Today we will go to Vero Beach to make a series of drawings and photographs for a garden across the street from the waterfront home of Willy, Emily and Glenn Tremml. They recently purchased the half acre lot for the purpose of turning it into an elaborately landscaped garden.  We're just beginning the design process, but one of my ideas is to construct a ruin- perhaps Maya inspired with shades of Machu Pichu and Angor Wat.  We'll see what comes of that over time. This will give our readers a chance to experience how a really grand project evolves through the interaction of clients and how  the progression of projects themselves begin to define the process. There is so much that goes into the something like this.  I feel confident it will be spectacular.  Our first project in Maitland was featured in Great Gardens by the Orlando Sentinel. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vero Beach Landscape by the Laurence E Fosgate Company

This is a home we first worked on in 2005. Notice how the Bismarckia, which were put in five years ago have stayed in scale.  This house has it all.  The owner's previous house in Orlando was all done by us and was featured on two full pages of the Orlando Sentinel titled "The Best Medicine" ( a reference to the husband's role as an ER physician).  We first worked on that house when the wife was pregnant with their son.  He is now sixteen and has grown up living a life in which gardens and outdoor living have played a central role.  More pictures to follow- this is one incredible property sitting on an acre along one of the deepest sections of the Indian River Lagoon.  I remember years ago when we first started working on the house having the sound of breaching dolphins keeping me awake as I attempted to sleep in the sun room.  This place literally teams with life.  Emily tells me that in addition to all kinds of birds and sea-life they have wild turkeys and bobcats. Still it's only a few blocks to the art museum, theaters and chic shops and glamorous restaurants.  The best of all worlds- living the Garden Monkey Florida lifestyle.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Travertine Pavers in Celebration by Laurence E Fosgate- Again

A couple of weeks ago, we had the pleasure of doing another travertine paver project in Celebration.  The color chosen is known as "Glacier" and it is a very clean white hue.  Once we created this great space, it became painfully apparent that the view of the neighbors house was less than inviting, so we applied for (and just last night received) permission for some eight foot trellises flanked by podocarpus and trimmed out with some boxwood, flax lily and minima jasmine.  A chinese fan palm and 2 queen palms will provide additional screening and greenery. The landscape will have both a lush and manicured, neat appearance and should provide a perfect backdrop for outdoor living.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Rock Gardens in Orlando by Laurence E Fosgate Make Great Orlando Sod Substitute

Over the years, we have learnd how to use rock gardens as a low maintenance and beautiful alternative to sod. The artful arrangement of rocks-from boulders to various types of river rock can add interest and color while reducing watering needs. The use of rock gardens has its place in landscape design going back to terraced areas common in Italian gardens of the 16th century and oriental gardens that run the gamut from zen to lush stream beds and water features. Since most plants need less water than sod, irrigation can be reduced saving a precious resource while conserving money. Our latest project in Rio Pinar combines mid-century modern design with lots of color in the form of bromeliads, Black Ti plants, Black Bamboo, Silver Bismarckia, purple oyster plants and two sizes of light colden brown river rock. The plants are arranged in multiple islands where the boulders simulate mountains, the islands are defined by 3/4 in river rock and the "ocean" is depicted with 1/2 river rock. The result is subtle and entertaining to the eye.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Laurence E Fosgate's Favorite Plants for Orlando

We have learned to love certain plants for Orlando. Some because they give a tropical look yet have proven they can withstand our occaisional frosts. Portea Bromeliads fill that bill. They have a beautiful bloom, can take sun or shade and freezing temperatures, are easy to care for and look spectacular. Neoregelias (also bromeliads) fill much the same bill. And the Bismarckia palm, shown here with the state palm of Florida, the sabal palmetto,
is another winner. Landscapes Orlando Florida haven't been learning about Florida plants for the last few decades for nothing!

Sod and Cattle Country for Laurence E Fosgate

Trips to pick up zoysia and other sod takes us down to cattle country where we are inevitably fascinated by the endless miles of ranches. Stretching south from Orlando over a hundred miles to below Lake Okeechobee, Florida's cattle country contains some of the top breeder stock in the country. Particularly famous are the Brahma and Brangus breeds. The people who sell us sod are as likely to ride up on horses as tractors. They are not pretending to be cowboys- they are the real thing. There is something arch-typical about the relationship between Man and cow- from images of the minotaur, toreadors, gauchos or sacred cows wandering the streets of India, something primal is awakened in me each time I see these magnificent animals on the prairies of central Florida.
And check out that longhorn. We couldn't believe it was real!

Laurence E Fosgate Home near Mead Gardens

Mead Gardens is a real treasure in Winter Park Florida, less than a block from our house. Consisting of almost forty acres of natural gardens it borders the west side of the creek that connects the north Orlando chain of lakes (Lakes Sue, Rowena, Formosa, Estelle and Winyah ) with the Winter Park chain of lakes. Recently Mike and Stephen of the team took a canoe from the dock of the "Bamboo House" (see previous blog entry) through the creek and ended up at Lake Minnehaha. Had they wanted to keep going they could have followed the waterways north to the St John's River all the way to Jacksonville and the Atlantic Ocean. These pictures show some of the varied terrain of Mead Gardens including Stephen capturing me making my way through an abandoned nature walk. I loved seeing the "Be Careful of Alligators" sign. I think it was designed more for its shock value for out of state visitors than any real desire to prevent people from being eaten. Can't remember the last time anyone around here got bitten. It is true, however, that a few folks have been taken by gators in Florida- but not while walking through the woods. Hard to believe all this wildness exists right in the heart of an urban area of almost three million people.

Chicago Brick Paver Driveway in East Orlando

Recently we completed the installation of this Chicago brick driveway in east Orlando. The home itself is 10,000 sq ft mediterranean style poured with solid concrete walls! It sits on acreage along the Econ River less than a mile west of the University of Central Florida. Most of the homes around it have horse stables. We at Laurence E Fosgate and the team really enjoyed working with this beautiful product. Old Chicago brick is salvaged from demolished buildings and has characteristic gold and yellow tones mixed with traditional terra cotta and light brown hues. While not inexpensive, it is one of those improvements where the high quality material is worth it because the results are so obviously visually spectacular. We use the analogy when describing the difference between using travertine and real brick vs concrete pavers as the same as the contrast between using formica vs granite countertops. The extra cost is amply rewarded with increased value. Frankly, the same analogy would apply to concrete pavers vs plain concrete except in that case, the obvious upgrade comes with virtually no extra cost. Regardless of the material, new driveways patios and walkways are some of the best improvement values available.

Orlando Zoysia Sod Succeeds

Our team at Laurence E Fosgate installed several homes with zoysia grass in the last couple of years. Locations ranged from Rose Isle and Lake Highland neighborhoods north of downtown Orlando,Eastside, and Alexandria Place in north Apopka. The results have been spectacular. Not only is the sod beautiful and carpet-like, it is highly resilient. Once established, it can survive periods of drought and is strong enough to resist most weeds. It's reputed drawback of losing most of its green color in cold weather is overplayed. This last winter, in spite of a few days of freezing, none of the lawns lost their color entirely. They became a mix of tan and green that was not unattractive, and this only lasted for a few weeks. By the middle of February, they were looking lush again. This is our number one recommendation for sod in Orlando. Other good news is that under a new statute here in Florida, Homeowners Associations are no longer allowed to prevent the planting of Zoysia or any other drought tolerant ground cover substitute for the notoriously water hungry St Augustine varieties. In addition to zoysia, perennial peanut (arachis glabrata) and asiatic jasmine (trachelospermum asiaticum "minima") make terrific sod substitutes.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rio Pinar Pavers and Landscape

Rio Pinar is a neighborhood about five miles east of downtown Orlando that was developed around a top-rate golf course and country club in the late 1950's. My father, Laurence E Fosgate Sr, was an architect with Stevens and Sipple who designed the clubhouse and other amenities for the developer, Welborn Phillips, whose previous subdivision, Azalea Park had been built a few years before. It was upon its inauguration, one of the most fashionable addresses in town and held the Florida Citrus Open
- a golf tournament that moved and became the Bay Hill Classic. The Landscapes Orlando Florida team just finished a major transformation of a classic "retro" ranch style home with pavers and a rock garden.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Morning in Winter Park Garden

Even though there's not much in bloom in the garden right now, I still found a few flowers and a couple neoregelias to photograph. And the gardeners at the end of the street in Mead Gardens are taking advantage of the fall planting season to work in their plots. A part of our mission at Laurence E Fosgate is to capture the ever changing world of landscapes and garde
ns as they move through our central Florida seasons. What a pleasure to share them with people all over the world. And the mere act of capturing these images for others does so much to help me see them better for myself. When I have taught art I always felt guilty that I thought I learned at least as much from showing others as rhey did from me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Paver Installations We Have Done Last A Long Time

Landscapes Orlando Florida and our company, Laurence E Fosgate, have done paver installation over the last twenty plus years that have stood the test of time. Going back to our first installation at theWinter Park firm of Fannie Hillman and Associates where we installed a brick patio that still stands, we have honed our skills as hardscape installers. Last week we went out to photograph some of those projects to put in our ads and were really heartened to see how well they had endured. A formed and poured concrete driveway with black lava rocks we did for Pete and Sandy Goldish, still looks great at their Bryan Avenue home. Not only did we do the driveway, but every single plant on their property was installed by us as well. In addition we did a water feature and walled terrace, as well as a tiered raised planter bed we affectionately called "The Wedding Cake," which is the focal point in the island created by their semi-circular driveway. Other projects were around the corner where we did everything for Eric Larsen. Not only did we order a cupola for the top of his house, to reinforce its eighteenth century architectural inspiration, but we did cut outs for brick in his driveway and stained the concrete. We also did all the landscaping, ornamental stucco clad gate posts, significant travertine wall fountain and a variety of other exterior elements. We ultimately did major interior design work as well, which we will showcase in a future entry. Around the corner from these homes we did work on Rita Bornsteni's former house (
she is a past president of Rollins College) on Lake Bryan. In addition to a wall fountain in the courtyard, we constructed two large pedestals for wrought iron planters at the entry. We did significant landscaping for this home as well.
The terrace in front of Goldish Residence
The Goldish Concrete and Black Lava Rock Driveway

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Xeriscape and Freeze proof Landscape in Casselberry

We came on the scene in Casselberry where our client had a vision of a front lawn with cast concrete pavers as a walkway through her front lawn. Our task was to help her realize her idea and enhance it with the look of a dry stream bed and pond that would give her the beauty and maintenance free landscape she dreamed of. The result is truly terrific. The plants used will give a cavalcade of color as the seasons progress. Camellias, shrub and ground cover roses, perennial peanut, asiatic jasmine, purple queen, cold hardy bromeliads, day lilies, african and Louisiana irises are some of the shrub and ground cover plants used. Accent plants include Bismarckia Palm, Japanese Maple, Arizona Blue Cypress. Nothing could be more up to date or desirable than a landscape that, once established will require virtually no extra watering, trimming or other maintenance. A blower, a little organic fertilizer and a trim once or twice a year and this place is good to go. Lovely flowers will constantly add color and interest and all this being able to take practically able to care of itself seems counter-intuitive- nothing this terrific should be so easy. Twenty five years and a lifetime in design have given Ed Fosgate and the expertise to bring everything together in this truly cutting edge landscape. A particular attention was paid to plants that can handle freezing temperature with minimal impact, yet still flourish in the sub-tropical central Florida summer!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Camellia-Freeze Proof Plants for Orlando

The recent cold weather here has given new interest to one of the oldest landscape plants used in Orlando- the camellia. This venerable plant has graced the grounds of many southern mansions from Norfolk to New Orleans. Here in Orlando, the Leu Gardens collection is the third largest in the US. Cold weather doesn't hurt these plants, at least the amount we've had in the central Florida region. Here at Laurence E Fosgate, we've used them in landscapes for years and have always appreciated the fact that they bloom in the winter when lots of people in Florida entertain and other plants are frequently flowerless. There are two main families of camellias- japonicas which tend to grow larger, and sassanquas which can be a low to medium shrub. Both are beautiful.