The Art of the Islamic Garden: An Interview with Emma Clarke

The principles of Islamic garden design have informed almost all of the work at Mirror Lake since Shawn first learned of the concepts in school. 

Today, Shawn and Blinda chat with Emma Clark, author of The Art of the Islamic Garden. 

Emma Clark designs gardens with a fundamentally spiritual and holistic outlook, undertaking them for private clients and public institutions, both in the U.K. and abroad.  She specialises mainly in Islamic gardens, focusing on contemporary interpretations of traditional principles.

She is Senior Tutor on the post-graduate Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts  (VITA) Programme at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, London

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Nature Explore!

The kid are getting antsy! There are only a few more weeks of school left, and if you have little ones you know that they're ready for summer.

Shawn and Blinda chat with Chris Kiewra of Nature Explore, a non-profit whose mission is to "to help children and families develop a profound engagement with the natural world, where nature is an integral, joyful part of children’s daily learning"

Chris offers insight into how best to get your kids away from their screens and in front of nature.

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What is Wrong With This?

Google and the internet has been a wonderful source for the 21st century gardener. Often times, the solution to our garden scourges can be found with a little self-investigation and a internet connection. However, other times our problems are more daunting. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the average homeowner could send in a sample of a disease-ridden plant, and get a professional diagnosis? 

This is where Sheila McBride enters the story...

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The American Porch: An Informal History of an Informal Place

Shawn and Blinda interview the delightful Michael Dolan, author of The American Porch: An Informal History of an Informal Place.

In this charming look at an American icon, journalist and documentary scriptwriter and producer Dolan traces the history of the porch, using this history to explore subjects such as architecture, history, slavery, colonialism, trade, anthropology, sociology, consumer behavior, and publishing. He begins with an account of remodeling his own front porch and then takes us on an irreverent yet informative tour of the development of the porch, from its origins in ancient Greece and Rome, Africa and India, with stops along the way in Brazil, the Caribbean, Renaissance Italy, Georgian England, and Colonial America. From there, he charts the rise, decline, fall, and reemergence of the porch in America, from Greek revival architecture to plantation culture, from Victorian bungalows to suburban ranch homes, from front porch conversation to air conditioning and television, and from Modernism to the New Urbanism. Throughout, the author supplements his own research by calling upon an impressive array of authorities. Considering the book’s accessibility, the amount and quality of its coverage, and the current lack of comparable titles, this is highly recommended for both academic and public libraries

Book Review: The Living Waters of Texas

Shawn and Blinda interview the photographer, Charles Kruvand, the artist behind the gorgeous photographs in The Living Waters of Texas.

See some of Charles's beautiful artwork at his website:

In ten impassioned essays, veteran Texas environmental advocates and conservation professionals step outside their roles as lawyers, lobbyists, administrators, consultants, and researchers to write about water. Their personal stories of what the springs, rivers, bottomlands, bayous, marshes, estuaries, bays, lakes, and reservoirs mean to them and to our state come alive in the landscape photography of Charles Kruvand.
The Living Waters of Texas