MCK markThe quest for localness.

Locavore. Locatarian. Localvore. These are the PC labels for 2010. Whichever you prefer, each comes back to the same definition: eating locally grown, sustainable foodstuffs. Locally, as in within 100 miles of where you are. Everyone is jumping on the locatarian path. Friends, family, neighbors, restaurants, grocery stores. You should be, too.

And while you can probably pose many reasons why you can’t, I can offer just as many as to how you can. As for why you should, that’s easy: think lower carbon footprint, freshness which means better quality and taste, global warming, sustainability. You get the picture. The green grocer. First and simplest, watch what you buy. And where you buy. Local farmers’ markets are popping up everywhere.


MCK markThis summer, in Ireland, on the outskirts of Dublin, I enjoyed a vacation that served as a wonderful refresher course on the beauty and nuances of the classical garden. Driving through the countryside with the quaint villages set in the hills was a delight in itself, but when we arrived at our destination, the grounds and the gardens were nothing less but stunning. 

To say we were, as the hotel literature describes it, ‘amidst one of the most scenic and historic estates in Ireland,’ is an understatement. Set in the rolling Wicklow Hills, known as the garden of Ireland, every view from every angle of the grounds is beautiful. To me, the setting was a reminder of the virtues of the traditional garden, and more specifically, how these beautifully sculpted Renaissance gardens welcome guests now as well as in days gone by. 

MCK mark‘If you can’t agree on the problem, chances are you won’t agree on the solution.’ I heard or read or came across this thought somewhere years ago and it came to mind during one of our recent residential landscape projects.

The owners, two design-savvy and visually oriented individuals, approached McKinnon Associates with the goal to resolve questions, concerns and differences of opinion in the redesign of their home’s outdoor spaces. Both of the owners are long-time gardeners; and both, skilled in various building crafts, wanted to participate in the design and implementation of the project. I should add that they are also detail oriented, which is a perfect fit for my design philosophy.

Connections. Completions. Continuations.

MCK markAs a landscape architect, I am always amused and interested to discover the spark that awakens an individual’s connection to nature. Sometimes it’s a whim, a serendipitous meeting. Sometimes, it’s travel, a visit to a garden – in person or via the pages of a magazine. Sometimes, after years and years of planning, it’s a determination to seize the moment, act on a dream.

For a recent client of ours, the spark was a story in the Houston Chronicle. In December of 2005, Kathy Huber, garden editor for the paper and one of the city’s favorite writers of all things green, wrote about one of our projects for a neo-European garden in Galveston.