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Sourcebook for Cultivated Living

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  • 08/18/14--09:00: Field Guide: Dahlias
  • Dahlia: "The Valley Girl"

    The dahlia, discovered by early Spanish explorers in warm South American climes, actually means “valley flower” in Swedish as a result of a transcontinental mix-up. And yet, true to its name (and to San Francisco, where it's the official flower), the dahlia lives up to the name of valley—and Valley girl. Valley girls, or should we say dahlias, refuse to live anywhere except regions that are free of frost.

    Dahlias bouquet ; Gardenista

    Above: See more images of Dahlias in our Photo Gallery. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    Dahlias love to be pampered, and cold spells make them pout. They compete to wear the loudest clothes, in colors that range from spray-tan orange to bubble-gum pink. And they always travel in a pack. Dahlias prefer to be surrounded by their own kind, so they can gossip freely, away from large trees and shrubs that would lap up all their drinks. The celeb du jour is the blue dahlia, but it avoids the cameras, leading to the consensus that this highly desirable hue of the flower does not actually exist. (Back in the 1800s, a horticultural society in Edinburgh offered an impressive cash prize to anyone who could find it.)

    Pink dahlia closeup; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Emily Daniel. For more, see Field to Vase: A Friend to Local Flower Farms.

    Cheat Sheet

    • Dahlias don't like competition; they prefer to be by themselves or in a vegetable garden away from large trees and shrubs.
    • These showstoppers will hog all the attention; place them in the garden accordingly. 
    • Dahlias are your late-summer friends. Their vivid pink, red, orange, and yellow flowers can provide all the color a frazzled garden needs.

     

    Dahlias staked Ben Pentreath Dorset UK; Gardenista

     Above: Dahlias staked in Ben Pentreath's Dorset garden in England.

    Keep It Alive

    • Hardy in growing zones 8-10; elsewhere you need to dig up the tubers and store them for the winter in a dry, cool spot.
    • The plants must be staked to remain upright.
    • Dahlias in full bloom can be their own worst enemy. In heavy rains, the open blossoms fill with water like a dish; if too much water accumulates, the stalk will tip over. It's your job to shake off the water (see: pampering).

    Dahlias pink floral arrangement ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    Dahlias are instantly discernible in a crowd, even though they have different body types. Some of the flowers look like pom-poms stuck on top of slender stalks, some resemble big flat lollipops, and others stick out wispily in all directions like surfer hair. The one place where these different shapes find common ground? They all look suspiciously top-heavy.

    Like conspicuous crowds of ladies, a dahlia patch can attract unwanted admirers. Two weeks after planting in the summer, bait and dispose of their slimy entourage of slugs and snails.

    Clare Day dahlia and blackberries floral arrangement ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Clare Day.

    Read More

    Read more about dahlias on Gardenista

    Above: See more stories about Dahlias in our archive. And let us know if you spot a blue one.

    Want to inject some color into your late-summer garden? For inspiration, see It's High Season in Grace Kennedy's Garden and our Field Guide posts on Nasturtiums, Cosmos, and Alyssum.

    More Stories from Gardenista


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    The winner of the Gardenista Considered Design Awards Best Professional Landscape is Adam Woodruff & Associates of St. Louis, Missouri. 

    Their project in Girard, Illinois, was chosen by guest judge Flora Grubb, who said, "The garden at Jones Road doesn't so much borrow the surrounding landscape as collect it. The plantings near the house evoke the spirit of the long view, but with an intensified palette that remains prairie—subtle and intoxicating."

    Take a look below and read what Adam Woodruff has to say about the landscape, his favorite features, and his best secret design source. 

    N.B.: This is one of a series of posts spotlighting the winners of the Gardenista Considered Design Awards. We'll be featuring one winning project every weekday. Go to the 2014 Considered Design Awards to see all the entries, finalists, and winners. And have a look at the winners of the Remodelista Considered Design Awards, too.

    Winner of Best Professional Landscape in the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Adam Woodruff & Associates | Gardenista

    Adam Woodruff & Associates' Design Statement: I strive to connect my clients to nature and the larger landscape while creating a rich, evocative experience for them. Jones Road is one such example. My clients, a couple with grown children, were in the midst of a home renovation when they engaged me to design the landscape of their rural property. Their bi-level house sits on a ridge with views of pasture, timber, and a meandering creek. They requested a design that would be sensitive to the borrowed landscape and not disrupt their views. I imagined a grand, stylized prairie enveloping the house to complement the pastoral setting.

    The property was largely turf, with few trees and a pool surrounded by a poured-concrete patio. The grade abruptly dropped off at the back of the house, so an entire hillside had to be moved and soil repositioned to accommodate expansive new beds. The bold move improved aesthetics and overall functionality. The new garden seamlessly blends the wild and the domestic, bringing pollinators, birds, and wildlife to the doorstep. Grasses form the foundation of this naturalistic design, a matrix through which shrubs, perennials, natives, and bulbs emerge. The feeling is spontaneous and natural. 

    Winner of Best Professional Landscape in the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Adam Woodruff & Associates | Gardenista

    Q: What are your favorite features of the project?
    A: I like to visit the garden in the late afternoon. It’s a magical time when the plants are backlit and the garden moves: Grasses sway in the slightest wind; bees, butterflies, and birds flit from flower to flower.

    Winner of Best Professional Landscape in the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Adam Woodruff & Associates | Gardenista

    Q: Where did you get your design inspiration?
    A: 
    Nature and native plant communities inspire me. Also, I travel a great deal to visit significant gardens. When I'm traveling, I look to see how a garden relates to the larger landscape, and how the designer defines space within the garden. I note the plant palette and consider how all these elements work in concert to evoke a response.

    Winner of Best Professional Landscape in the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Adam Woodruff & Associates | Gardenista

    Q: What was your biggest splurge?
    A: 
    My clients fell in love with the work of Thomas Yano, a sculptor in Vermilion, Ohio. His graceful pieces are the perfect enhancement to this garden.

    Winner of Best Professional Landscape in the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Adam Woodruff & Associates | Gardenista

    Q: Who worked on the winning project?
    A: 
    Adam Woodruff worked on planting design and installation, Can Am Professional Landscaping (of Girard, IL) worked on the hardscape, and Mark Prose (of Girard) worked on grading and drainage. 

    Q: What does your firm specialize in?
    A: 
    We strive to evoke a visceral response with contemporary designs that define space and artfully blend plants in new ways. Our imaginative planting schemes are stylized interpretations of nature, where herbaceous plants mingle with woody plants to form a tapestry of year-round interest.

    We work on a wide range of projects—from intimate residential gardens to large commercial properties. Our unique and enduring solutions are site-specific and reflect our clients’ tastes and lifestyles.

    Q: What is your favorite local shop?
    A: 
    Bowood Farms in St. Louis and Cottage Garden in Piasa, Illinois.

    Q: What is your best secret design source?
    A: 
    Other designers. I’ve been a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers for several years. I find colleagues in the green industry to be very open and willing to share ideas, knowledge, and experience. 

    Q: Who is your dream client?
    A: 
    I am fortunate to have clients like George and Lorraine Hart, the owners of the Jones Road property. They afford me creative license. More important, they are patient: They appreciate that it takes time to create atmosphere where little existed before. My design solutions are heavily plant-based, and a residential garden is built over several seasons. I start with a good base layer, then add enhancements to create visually dynamic displays with good bloom succession, diversity, and seasonal interest.

    Q: Which architects or designers do you admire?
    A: 
    Piet Oudolf and Roy Diblik have undoubtedly influenced me the most. I also admire the work of Michael King, Jacqueline van der Kloet, Ton ter Linden, Nico Kloppenborg, and Carrie Preston (in the Netherlands); Dan Pearson, Tom Stuart-Smith, and Sarah Price (in the UK); Cassian Schmidt (Germany); Amalia Robredo (Uruguay); and Thomas Rainer, Claudia West, Raymond Jungles, Dan Benarick, and Matthew Cunningham (USA).

    Q: What is your next project? 
    A: 
    I am currently involved in three projects. I am designing two acres of landscape and gardens for a new French-style home in Ladue, Missouri. My clients are a young couple with three children. The aesthetic is soft and naturalistic, with the introduction of formality through clipped plantings and the patterned repetition of structural elements like trees and shrubs.

    I am also working on a master plan for a residential condominium tower in Clayton, Missouri. The property is 12 years old and the landscape is in need of renovation. The project includes reimagining the ground floor façade, a courtyard garden, and two large roof gardens.

    Finally, and perhaps my most challenging project at the moment, is designing a garden for our new home.

    Congratulations to Adam Woodruff & Associates! See all the winners of the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards here:

    More Stories from Gardenista


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    In England, a micro-farm is called a smallholding and usually distinguished by a random assortment of rusted machinery and plastic gear. Not so Walnuts Farm in East Sussex, just an hour from London. The home of Nick and Bella Ivins, it pays its way as a location for film and photographic shoots.

    Nick and Bella are both photographers, which gives them a natural grasp of what those in the business might need. Their garden has made appearances in Glamour, Italian Vogue, and other publications. Here's why:

    Photography by Nick and Bella Ivins.

    Walnuts Farm, Sussex. Gardenista

    Above: The south facade of the house, seen from a path mowed through a meadow to the front door.

    Walnuts Farm, Sussex. Gardenista

    Above: Next to the house is an ordered vegetable garden. That's a dovecote on the side of the house; to the right is a two-story brick granary. 

    Walnuts Farm, Sussex. Gardenista

    Above: The vegetable garden is expected to be productive for the family. Shown here: runner beans, with sweet peas in the foreground.

    Walnuts Farm, Sussex. Gardenista

    Above: Despite the everyday requirements of farming (including livestock: there are pigs, chicken, guinea fowl, and wild turkeys here), Walnuts Farm needs to be shoot-worthy at all times. The Ivins make good use of rustic local materials, such as this informal wigwam of coppiced hazel.

    Walnuts Farm, Sussex. Gardenista

    Above: Late summer at Walnuts Farm.

    Walnuts Farm East Sussex UK ; Gardenista

    Above: To recreate the look in your garden, see Steal This Look: Walnuts Farm Kitchen Garden.

    Walnuts Farm, Sussex. Gardenista

    Above: Nick and Bella also make the fencing. Since East Sussex is relatively wooded, sustainable materials are always close at hand. For this fence, they wove coppiced hazel around chestnut posts. (Watch the video at Walnuts Farm to see them weave a willow fence.)

    Walnuts Farm, Sussex. Gardenista

    Above: Corn, kale, and calendula grow companionably by the shed. In this context, even chicken wire looks good.

    Walnuts Farm, Sussex. Gardenista

    Above: The photogenic (and real) hen house. Nick and Bella raise Welsummer and Cream Legbar chickens—which, of course, are also photogenic. 

    If you're not so interested in having your garden used for photo shoots, see Kendra's post Can We Please Be Less Fanatically Tidy? To find out more about cottage-style companion planting, see Five Favorites: Veg Plot Must-Haves

    More Stories from Gardenista


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    Many of us love the idea of camping but are daunted by the logistics. All that gear! Happily Shelter Co., the San Francisco-based company that provides luxury pop-up campsites for overnight guests, started selling its luxurious tents this summer.

    Husband and wife team Kelsey and Mike Sheofsky, the company's founders, arrange overnight tent stays in such venues as Big Sur, Joshua Tree, and Napa for families, weddings, and other events. This isn't roughing it: Inside the roomy tents are real beds with down pillows and 400-thread-count linens. Smitten by the look of one of their luxurious campsites, we decided to share its design elements so you can replicate the set-up.  

    N.B.: For more about Shelter Co., see Camping Gets Glamorous: Shelter Co. in California on Remodelista.

    Shelter Co tents campsite Steal This Look ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Shelter Co.

    Imagine a hassle-free camping weekend with a fully furnished canvas tent and whatever amenities you desire—say, a fully stocked bar, wine tastings, or an outdoor movie. 

    Shelter Co tents campsite Steal This Look ; Gardenista

    Above: The furnishings in Shelter Co.'s elegant tents compare to those you'd find in a luxury hotel room—but in a natural setting. Photograph via Shelter Co.

    Meri Wether Shelter and Co. Khaki Tent I Gardenista

    Above: Shelter Co. recently began selling its Meriwether Tent. Made of water-resistant canvas with a sewn-in vinyl ground sheet, it measures 16 feet in diameter and 9½ feet tall at the center, large enough to sleep up to six adults. For ventilation, there's a front screen door and four closable screen windows. Available in classic khaki (shown), burnt orange, and slate gray; $1,250 including shipping.

      LL Bean classic Adirondack chair; Gardenista  

    Above: A Classic Wooden Adirondack chair is built in New York's Adirondack region of sustainably harvested wood, and folds flat for easy transport and storage. Available in six colors, including natural; $199 from L.L. Bean.

    Fog Ikat Decorative Pillow by John Robshaw I Gardenista  

    Above: The hand-woven Fog Ikat Decorative Pillow is hand-dyed with natural pigments and measures 20 inches square; $135 (cover only) from John Robshaw Textiles. 

    Tourne Wool Blanket I Gardenista  

    Above: A gray Wool Blanket With Natural Stripe is made in Canada and measures 76 inches by 104 inches; $245 from Brook Farm General Store. 

    Vintage Rustic Wooden Crate from Haven Vintage via Etsy I Gardenista

    Above: A Vintage Rustic Wood Crate is good for storing blankets and gear; $32 from Haven Vintage via Etsy.

    Key Dhurrie Pouf West Elm I Gardenista

    Above: Poufs are versatile and make for extra seating. This Key Dhurrie Pouf comes in regal blue (shown) and platinum; currently on sale for $199 from West Elm. 

    Feuerhand Lantern Old Faithful- Shop I Gardenista  

    Above: The oil lantern—a camping must. The Feuerhand Lantern has been made in Germany since 1902, with a heat-resistant globe and special sealing to prevent leaks. A full tank provides 20 hours of light; $39.95 from W.T. Kirkman Lanterns. For more lanterns, check out 5 Favorites: Classic Oil Lanterns

    Acadia National Park Blanket by Pendleton I Gardenista  

    Above: The 100-percent-wool Acadia National Park Blanket is part of a series honoring North America's national parks. It's available in full and queen bed sizes, and starts at $199 from Pendleton. 

    Natural Bench by Ohio Design I Gardenista  

    Above: The Natural Bench by Ohio Design provides end-of-bed seating. It's made from radiata pine with a steel base that can be powder-coated in eight colors for an extra charge. Available in three lengths, starting at $949 for the 48-foot version. 

    AA Airborne Chair in Cognac Leather I Gardenista  

    Above: The authentic AA Airborne Butterfly Chair is made in France and is available for 783 in leather. In the US, CB2 offers its own version of the Butterfly Chair; on sale for $339, it's available in black or brown leather.

    Brushed Steel Jielde Signal Desk Lamp I Gardenista

    Above: The iconic Jielde Signal Desk Lamp is made in France and comes in 24 colors; starting at $399 from Horne.  

    Cow Hide West Elm Gardenista  

    Above: Cowhides make durable, low-maintenance throw rugs. A natural Cowhide Rug from Argentina, measuring about 5 feet by 8 feet, is available at West Elm for $549. For a lower-priced alternative, the Koldby Cowhide from Ikea is $199. 

    Ikea Tårnby Jute Rug Gardenista  

    Above: Ikea's classic and versatile Tårnby Rug is made of flat-woven natural fibers; $99 for the 6-by-8-foot size.

    Check out our Steal This Look archives for more gardening and campsite inspiration. If you need to get your own camping provisions, check out 10 Easy Pieces: Picnic Blankets and, on Remodelista, Charcoal Outdoor Grills.

    More Stories from Gardenista


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    Earlier this year, in the dead of winter, I spotted a great-looking recipe online for chilled zucchini soup—but I decided to save it for a warmer month. While I may have mastered hot soups, there's something intimidating about chilled soup. Even Fran Lebowitz has taken note of this issue: "Cold soup is a very tricky thing and it is the rare hostess who can carry it off. More often than not the dinner guest is left with the impression that had he only come a little earlier he could have gotten it while it was still hot."

    Enter the indispensable Vitamix: the blender that seems to do everything from churn butter to make sorbet, and more. Below, I've adapted a recipe for zucchini and purslane soup by substituting watercress for purslane and replacing the whole stovetop process typical of chilled soups with the single flip of a switch.

    N.B.: For more ideas, you can easily search the library of Vitamix-specific recipes by seasonality, dietary needs, and level of difficulty.

    Written and photographed by Alexa Hotz for Gardenista.

    Vitamix Chilled Summer Zucchini Soup | Gardenista

    Above: I used the Vitamix Professional Series 750 machine in black; $639 at Vitamix.com. Vitamix offers a wide range of Blenders starting at $399, as well as Certified Reconditioned machines from $279.

    Ingredients for Chilled Zucchini Soup (serves 4):

    Vitamix Chilled Summer Zucchini Soup | Gardenista

    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 cups cold water
    • 2 very small onions or 1 small to medium onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 2 pounds zucchini, sliced
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
    • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
    • 3 or 4 fresh basil leaves
    • Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
    • A few sprigs of watercress (or purslane)
    • Ice cubes for chilling

    Instructions:

    Vitamix Chilled Summer Zucchini Soup | Gardenista

    Step 1: Layer the ingredients into the Vitamix blender, starting with the olive oil and water and ending with salt and pepper (save the watercress or purslane and ice cubes for later). Secure the lid. 

    Vitamix Chilled Summer Zucchini Soup | Gardenista

    Step 2: Select Variable 1 on your blender and slowly increase the speed. Shown here is the soup half-blended at Variable 3.

    Vitamix Chilled Summer Zucchini Soup | Gardenista

    Step 3: Purée the soup to your liking (some like it somewhat chunky; others prefer smooth). For a smooth purée, turn the knob slowly to Variable 10. Return the knob to the starting position and turn off the Vitamix.

    Vitamix Chilled Summer Zucchini Soup | Gardenista

    Step 4: Ladle the soup into four individual bowls, and add a few ice cubes and a sprig of watercress or purslane to each bowl.

    Vitamix Chilled Summer Zucchini Soup | Gardenista

    Above: Serve immediately, and enjoy on a summer afternoon.

    Vitamix and Gardenista Logo

    More Stories from Gardenista


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    The winner of the Gardenista Considered Design Awards Best Amateur-Designed Small Garden is Ashley Hamilton of Edinburgh, Scotland. 

    Her project was chosen as a finalist by guest judge Isabelle Palmer, who said, "Immediately on viewing this garden, I wanted to explore it. For me that is a key of great design. The ivy seems to be draped over the space in different forms—hanging, twisted, placed—and the bamboo acts as a stage set to really evoke a sense of intrigue."

    Take a look below and read what Ashley Hamilton has to say about her project and learning the hard way about using shade-tolerant plants. 

    N.B.: This is one of a series of posts spotlighting the winners of the Gardenista Considered Design Awards. We'll be featuring one winning project every weekday. Go to the 2014 Considered Design Awards to see all the entries, finalists, and winners. And have a look at the winners of the Remodelista Considered Design Awards, too.

    Winner of Best Amateur Small Garden in 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Ashley Hamilton | Gardenista

    Ashley Hamilton's Design Statement: Measuring in at 1.4 by 9 meters, my north-facing balcony is long, skinny, and shady. It took me a few years to figure out what to do with it, but I knew it had to be green year-round and offer some privacy. There have been a few casualties as far as plants are concerned. Sun-loving herbs and fragranced flowers suffered from the winter winds and lack of light. I got wise and started to embrace shade-tolerant plants. My foxgloves, bluebells, delphiniums, Jacob's ladder, and clematis are quite happy with the sliver of evening sun. My ivy pom-poms are coming along quite nicely; that's my take on urban topiary. I carry my dining chairs out when I fancy eating outdoors. Given how narrow it is, I didn’t want to take up space with unnecessary furniture. To be honest, I’m happier with a picnic on the floor. My marble table is usually topped with all sorts of cuttings in jars of water. Growing from cuttings and seed is my new thing; I feel pretty smug when I get a new plant for free. This year, my bird box hosted a nest of blue tits, my bird feeder is busy, and I’m thinking of building some tenements for bees. Future plans include some herbs, more flowers, more green. Other than that, I’m more than happy with my chilled-out green haven.

    Winner of Best Amateur Small Garden in 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Ashley Hamilton | Gardenista

    Q: What were your practical goals for the project?
    A: 
    To be evergreen, create privacy, attract wildlife, and withstand the north-facing aspect and winter winds.

    Winner of Best Amateur Small Garden in 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Ashley Hamilton | Gardenista

    Q: What solutions did you find for your design problems?
    A:
    I exploited the hardiness and textures of ivy, I used saddle pots on the railings, and I chose small but dense shrubs and bamboo for screening.

    Q: What was your biggest splurge?
    A: 
    Zinc containers.

    Winner of Best Amateur Small Garden in 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Ashley Hamilton | Gardenista

    Q: What were the hardest lessons you learned along the way?
    A: 
    A sun-loving plant doesn’t just love the sun, it needs it.

    Q: Where did you cut corners?
    A: 
    Multi-purpose compost.

    Winner of Best Amateur Small Garden in 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Ashley Hamilton | Gardenista

    Q: Where do you get your design inspiration?
    A: 
    For this project, from Patrick Blanc, New York City stoops, English topiary gardens, and the Scottish wilderness.

    Q: What advice do you have for someone undertaking a similar project?
    A: 
    Experiment, get your hands dirty, and make it for yourself.

    Winner of Best Amateur Small Garden in 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Ashley Hamilton | Gardenista

    Q: If your garden was a celebrity, who would it be?
    A: 
    Julianne Moore. She looks beautiful in green.

    Q: What is your day job?
    A: 
    Multi-disciplined creative and aspiring screenwriter.

    Q: What projects would you tackle if you had an unlimited budget? 
    A: 
    Exterior: Social housing schemes that are blighted with concrete landscapes. Interior: Restoring the Glasgow School of Art, which was recently damaged in a fire.

    Q: What is your favorite local shop?
    A: 
    A coffee shop, Black Medicine

    Q: What is your best secret design source?
    A: 
    Junk shops.

    Q: Are there any other Considered Design Awards projects you're fond of? 
    A: 
    I voted in all the categories and was happy to see that Adam Woodruff & Associates won Best Professional Landscape. Those soft mounds of grass look so painterly. I also voted for the amazing Brooklyn roof garden.

    Q: Which architects or designers do you admire?
    A: 
    Architects: Carlo Scarpa, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Alvar Aalto, Tadao Ando, and Frank Gehry. Designers: Eileen Gray, Jinny Blom, Piet Oudolf, and William Morris.

    Q: What is your next project? 
    A: 
    A commission would be lovely.

    Congratulations to Ashley Hamilton! See all the winners of the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards here:

    More Stories from Gardenista


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    If life imitates art, so too does the garden. At least in the case of artist Georgia Marsh's home in Jamestown, RI. It is clear that Georgia approaches her garden with an artist's keen sense of space, allowing stone walls and paths to define the various beds. She has no interest in highly cultivated gardens with perfectly trimmed edges and borders. Instead, she prefers native grasses, fennel, and sedum to spill out over stone borders and into the walkways, swaying, bending, and creating movement throughout the landscape.  

    Photography by Christine Chitnis for Gardenista.

      Artist Georgia Marsh Rhode Island garden; Christine Chitnis; Gardenista

    Above: Georgia and her husband, Ted, bought the property 14 years ago, despite its dilapidated state and underwhelming grounds. (Their real estate agent had actually been embarrassed to show them the place.) The couple had already spent years fixing up various New York CIty lofts, and they felt they could bring the same vision and elbow grease to the Jamestown property. The result is a home that reflects their aesthetic, both inside and out. 

      Georgia Marsh Rhode Island garden Christine Chitnis ; Gardenista

    Above: The indoor furnishings are all "found" and vintage, with lovingly worn patinas and stories to tell. The same goes for the garden, which is filled with plants that Georgia has found in her travels around Maine, Cape Cod, and even New York City.

    Artist Georgia Marsh Rhode Island garden Christine Chitnis; Gardenista

    Above: Walking through her garden, Georgia can remember bringing home each plant, and carefully propagating it. "You either have time or money," Georgia states about the hobby of gardening. "I have time, so I buy plants that I love and propagate them to fill the space."

      Georgia Marsh Rhode Island garden Christine Chitnis ; Gardenista

    Above: Georgia prefers plants with an understated beauty, instead of those with, as she puts it, "too much lipstick." There are no flashy bloomers with bold colors in her garden, or plants that have been over-bred. Instead, simplicity and nature dictate the flow.

    Artist Georgia Marsh Rhode Island garden Christine Chitnis; Gardenista

    Above: Georgia calls herself a "disciple of Piet Oudolf." She has had plenty of time to study the work of this Dutch garden designer, since one of his projects is a backyard to her New York City apartment. "When I'm in the city, I wake up and walk through Battery Park, a loop that takes me about forty minutes."

    Artist Georgia Marsh Rhode Island garden Christine Chitnis; Gardenista

    Above: In fact, many of Georgia's first plants came from a sale held at Battery Park. During that event, the plants sold are divisions from Oudolf's original plantings. Georgia tells a tale of driving her beach Jeep from Jamestown to Manhattan, attempting to park overnight without getting ticketed, loading it with plants in the early morning, and hightailing it out of town to get back to her garden.

      Artist Georgia Marsh Rhode Island garden Christine Chitnis; Gardenista

    Above: Georgia spends June through October, the gardening months, as she calls them, in Jamestown, mostly holed up in her studio, just steps from the house.

    Artist Georgia Marsh Rhode Island garden Christine Chitnis; Gardenista

     Above: Through the studio doors she has a view of the garden, so she can watch the plants throughout the day, turning their faces towards the sun and bending in the sea breeze.  

      Artist Georgia Marsh Rhode Island garden Christine Chitnis; Gardenista

    Above: After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design and spending years teaching painting and drawing at the School of Visual Arts and New York University, Georgia now has the time to commit to her own artwork. It's no surprise that her favorite subject is plant life.  She is endlessly fascinated by the architecture of plants, their whirling patterns and organic shapes.

    Artist Georgia Marsh Rhode Island garden Christine Chitnis; Gardenista

    Above: Garlic from the garden.

    "It's my Zen," she says of her love of plants, and with her garden she has created a serene space capable of imparting a bit of Zen to its lucky visitors.

    For another of our favorite artist's gardens, see Garden Visit: Derek Jarman's Prospect Cottage at Dungeness. And for another of our favorite Rhode Island gardens, see Landscape Architect Visit: A Historic Farm, Ocean Views Included.

    More Stories from Gardenista


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    Everyone has a front door. No matter where you live, the elements you see when you approach your entryway should make you feel happy you're home. Here are 10 of our favorite tile house numbers:

    Heath ceramics tile house numbers ; Gardenista

    Above: From Heath Ceramics, Neutra Tile House Numbers (left) in architect Richard Neutra's elegant mid-century font measure 6 inches high by 3 inches wide; they're $38 apiece. A Teak Tile Track (Right) has a stainless steel back and comes in different sizes to mount from two to four tiles; $42–$48 from Heath Ceramics.

      Aluminum tile house numbers ; Gardenista

    Above: Aluminum Tile House Numbers come in black or white type and are available in configurations of three to five numbers; prices range from $57 to $79 on Rejuvenation.

    Extra large tile house numbers ; Gardenista

    Above: Extra Large House Number Tiles made of white ceramic tile measure 6 by 6 inches; £12.95 apiece from Zazzle.

    Green white tile house numbers ; Gardenista

    Above: Handmade tile Traditional House Numbers withstand freeze-thaw conditions and measure 5.25 inches by 4.25 inches. They're available in nine color combinations, including white with hunter green lettering (shown), and with or without mounting holes; $24.95 apiece from Rocheford.

    Asbury tile house numbers white on black ; Gardenista

    Above: Asbury Ceramic House Numbers replicate the ones created in the 1920s in Portland, OR, when the city embarked on a plan to standardize street addresses; they're $11 apiece from Schoolhouse Electric. 

    House numbers porcelain tile ; Gardenista

    Above: With black type on a cream background, a Porcelain Tile House Number Set (with three to five numbers) comes with a galvanized steel mounting bracket; from $30 to $75 from Rejuvenation Hardware.

    Vintage ceramic house numbers tile ; Gardenista

    Above: Four one-of-a-kind vintage ceramic Number Tiles (you're in luck if your street number is 67, or 89, or 6789) are available from River House Designs via Etsy; $8 each.

      Black white art deco house number tile ; Gardenista

    Above: Black Art Deco House Number Tiles measure 6 inches high and 3 inches wide; $22 per number from Historic Houseparts.

      Englehardt porcelain enamel house sign tiles ; Gardenista

    Above: Porcelain enamel Englehardt House Number tiles, designed in 1927 by architect Knud V. Engelhardt, Denmark's first industrial designer, measure 4.3 inches high by 5.5 inches wide; prices start at $49 for a single-digit sign from Ramsign.

    New Orleans style house numbers; Gardenista

    Above: Since the 1880s, blue and white address numbers have been a common sight in New Orleans. In the 19th century, the city embedded letter tiles at sidewalk intersections. Derby Pottery's reproduction Street Tile Numbers are sold individually or can be custom built as a single plaque; for more information, see Derby Pottery.

    For more, see House Numbers from Heath and on Remodelista, 10 Easy Pieces: House Numbers.

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    Whenever I catch a whiff of citronella, I’m taken back to family camping trips. We had an oily bug repellent in a sticky brown bottle that we’d pass around—usually well after we’d suffered our first bites—and we'd slather it on until our skin shone. While the citronella oil in the bottle did keep the mosquitoes away, it was repellent to us humans as well. 

    As an adult, I’m still interested in keeping mosquitoes away (see my post-bite efforts in Stop the Itch: Natural Mosquito Bite Remedies) but less keen on slathering my skin with something that smelly. Instead, I like to take a tip from Michelle and surround myself with candles, which sets a mood and keeps the bugs away.

    Most insect-repellent candles on the market are filled with DEET or other toxins and reek of citronella. So I decided to make my own scented tea lights that would keep pests at bay without also sending dinner guests running. I settled on a woodsy combination of rosemary, geranium, and lavender oils—three scents known for repelling mosquitoes and other insects. 

    Read on for a materials list and step-by-step instructions:

    Photography by Erin Boyle for Gardenista.

    insect repellent candles by erin boyle | gardenista

    Materials

      insect repellent candles by erin boyle | gardenista

    Above: Use an old knife to break half a pound of beeswax into small pieces that will melt evenly. Fill the bottom pan of your double boiler with water and place the wax into the top pan. Heat until the wax melts. If you’re a stickler for details, use a thermometer; the wax is ready when it reaches about 160 degrees Fahrenheit. A 12-inch Wax and Honey Thermometer is $14.50 from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm.

    insect repellent candles by erin boyle | gardenista

    Above: Add several drops of each essential oil to the melted wax. I used a wooden chopstick to stir in rosemary, geranium, and lavender oils. Beeswax has a distinctive smell, so add an extra drop or two more than you think you need, to make sure your candles are scented enough to repel insects. (If you prefer citronella or other essential oils known for repelling insects, swap in any of these to suit your taste.) 

    insect repellent candles by erin boyle | gardenista

    Above: Pour the scented wax into the tart tins. (If the pan you’re using doesn't have a pour spout, consider putting the hot wax into a glass measuring cup or other spouted vessel to help with pouring.) I filled each tin until almost full. N.B.: If you don’t have aluminum molds, you can use glass instead. To avoid shattering the glass, start with a small amount of wax and let it cool a bit before pouring in the rest. 

    insect repellent candles by erin boyle | gardenista

    Above: Let the wax cool slightly until a skin starts to form. Then place a pre-assembled tea-light wick (see below) in the center of each mold. The wax will smooth out around the wick as it hardens.

    insect repellent candles by erin boyle | gardenista

    Above: Pre-assembled wicks come already primed, i.e. coated in wax. If yours aren't coated, you'll need to prime them yourself by dipping them in wax. This ensures a longer burn time.

    insect repellent candles by erin boyle | gardenista

    Above: Let the wax harden, then trim the wick to a height of 1/4 inch. Use your tea lights during your next outdoor cocktail hour or dinner party under the stars.

    insect repellent candles by erin boyle | gardenista

    Above: Each tea light will burn for four to six hours.

    Speaking of dinner parties sous les étoiles, see Steal This Look: The Last Outdoor Dinner of the Season and A Starlit Greenhouse Dinner. Then get on with hosting one of your own.

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    The winner of the Gardenista Considered Design Awards Best Hardscape Project is Steven Harris Architects of New York City.

    The firm's California pool project was chosen as a finalist by guest judge Neisha Crosland, who said she loves "the way the pool cuts through the natural landscape like a sneaky alligator. The landscape is enhanced by the presence of the pool as much as the pool is enhanced by the fantastic landscape."

    Take a look below and read what project architect Eliot Lee has to say about the pool, part of his parents' vacation house in Calistoga, California. 

    N.B.: This is one of a series of posts spotlighting the winners of the Gardenista Considered Design Awards. We'll be featuring one winning project every weekday. Go to the 2014 Considered Design Awards to see all the entries, finalists, and winners. And have a look at the winners of the Remodelista Considered Design Awards, too.

    Winner of Best Hardscape Project in 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Steven Harris Architects Pool | Gardenista

    Steven Harris Architects' Design Statement: This gunnite pool is semi-inground, situated on a ridge that overlooks Napa Valley. The top two feet of the pool wall rise above ground in a straight datum that contrasts with the natural topography of the slope. The 25-meter pool was designed as a lap pool, with a wooden planked bridge separating the main pool from a small reflecting pool at the end, which adjoins a stepped seating area. This shallow pool perfectly accommodates children. A rammed-earth wall that bounds the property ends at the head of the pool and is capped in a water feature designed by Brooklyn artist Peter Lane. The surrounding landscape, like that of the entire property, is planted with native species of trees and low-lying shrubs, including tanoaks, manzanitas, and madrones.

    Winner of Best Hardscape Project in 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Steven Harris Architects Pool | Gardenista

    Q: What are your favorite features of the project?
    A: 
    As you move from one end of the pool to the other, you go from the expansive panorama to the intimate, almost room-like endpoint, carved into a stand of manzanitas and madrones. We've always liked this progression and its episodic quality. We're also very happy with the way the sunken seating area turned out, thanks in large part to Rees Roberts + Partners [the in-house interiors firm of Steven Harris Architects].

    Winner of Best Hardscape Project in 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Steven Harris Architects Pool | Gardenista

    Q: Where did you get your design inspiration?
    A: 
    In this case, we were very much inspired by the work of the artists who made up the land art movement of the 70s—Smithson, Heizer, et al. Also by Isamu Noguchi's beautiful bronze scale models of his playground designs. 

    Winner of Best Hardscape Project in 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Steven Harris Architects Pool | Gardenista

    Q: What were the hardest lessons you learned along the way?
    A: 
    That building a structure near large existing flora is not a task to be taken lightly. During construction, the large oaks and mature madrones required additional attention to keep them healthy—air spading of the root systems, etc. But ultimately, it was worth the extra effort.

    Winner of Best Hardscape Project in 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Steven Harris Architects Pool | Gardenista

    Q: Who worked on the winning project?
    A: 
    Eliot Lee, a partner in the firm, designed the pool as part of his parents' vacation house in Calistoga, California. 

    Q: What does your firm specialize in?
    A: 
    Steven Harris Architects specializes in residential design, though we have experience in retail, recreational, and academic work as well.

    Q: What is your best secret design source?
    A: 
    Because we design residences all over the world, we rely on a number of different contractors and fabricators to realize our designs.

    Q: Which architects or designers do you admire?
    A: 
    Josep Antoni Coderch, Peter Harnden, Paul Rudolph, and Oscar Niemeyer. 

    Q: What is your next project?
    A: 
    Houses in Sagaponack, NY; Kennebunkport, ME; and Westport, CT; and a residential tower in Pune, India.

    Congratulations to Steven Harris Architects! See all the winners of the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards here:

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    Nearly 30 years ago, Anne Wareham and Charles Hawes came to Veddw, an ancient cottage on a property deep in a valley in Monmouthshire, South Wales. Neither of them is a professional garden designer, yet over the years the two have built a singular garden that reflects their own sensibilities and is influenced by both the surrounding hilly pastoral landscape and the property’s existing features. Gradually, they have reinterpreted these elements, creating a thoroughly modern ancient garden.

    To me this is a garden of reflections. Veddw (pronounced ved-DOO) is full of contrasts, from the sculptured hedges that echo the Welsh hills to the inky surfaces that recast the surroundings. It is a combination of old and new, wild and tamed, casual and constrained. Its unifying elements are the simplicity of the plantings and the structure of the hedges and walls that enclose them.

    Photography by Fiona Gilsenan.

      Veddw garden in Wales ; Gardenista

    Above: Visitors enter the garden through a simple wooden gate and emerge at the top of a bowl-shaped depression. Looking down over a grass parterre, the garden slopes to a series of compartments framed by tall, undulating hedges of boxwood, beech, and yew. On the facing slope, the garden rises again to a meadow planting in what was once a sheep pasture.

    Veddw, Wales, closeup hedges; Gardenista

    Above: Shaped into sinuous curves, the hedges echo the rolling hills around the valley, framing and enclosing diverse plantings, much as the surrounding fields and pastures are enclosed by ancient hedgerows.

    Veddw, Wales, reflecting pool; Gardenista

    Above: Black dye deepens the water in the reflecting pool to a shimmering pitch that mirrors the surrounding trees and hedges. On its surface you can trace glimpses of passing birds and an occasional airplane high overhead.

      Veddw garden in Wales ; Gardenista

    Above: The sloping terrain combined with the strong geometry of the hedges leads to unusual angles and planes in the garden, lending a sense of mystery and even disorientation as you pass through the mazelike parterres.

      Veddw Wales, pool reflection, red bench; Gardenista

    Above: The pool throws back a mirror image of a wave-backed bench framed by angular yew hedges and softened by a tracery of clouds in the sky.

    Veddw, Wales, stone wall; Gardenista

    Above: When Charles and Anne first came to Veddw, they discovered a ruined cottage that had been abandoned for a century. Its stone walls have since been reconfigured into the signature Veddw curve.

    Veddw, Wales, foxgloves; Gardenista

    Above: At the south end of the garden, the setting midsummer sun catches the shifting angles of the hedgetops and backlights a volunteer foxglove.

    Veddw, Wales, plants for sale sign; Gardenista

    Above: Veddw is not a nursery, but some choice perennials and succulents are available for sale. The garden is open to visitors in summer for a small fee; the drive from London takes 2½ hours.

    Veddw Wales, conservatory, perennials; Gardenista

    Above: A bank beside the conservatory is planted with frothy acid-yellow lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis), white Jupiter’s beard (Centrathus ruber ‘Alba’), and blue hardy geraniums. The curve of the red clay roof tiles resembles the benches and walls found throughout the garden.

      Veddw garden in Wales ; Gardenista

    Above: Inside the conservatory, succulents arrayed in aluminum containers are set against a stone wall painted coal black, another contrast of the aged and the contemporary. Here, as elsewhere in the garden, the limited palette and repetition of plants bring a sense of order and calm.

    Veddw garden in Wales ; Gardenista

    Above: A monochrome underplanting of flowering ground elder surrounds moss-covered clay urns, mimicking Welsh meadows and the verges that line country lanes.

    Veddw, Wales, path, cardoons; Gardenista

    Above: On the north side of the cottage are some unexpected garden spaces, including a meadow and "Charles’s garden," a former vegetable plot now punctuated with strictly ornamental cardoons whose leaves tumble over clipped specimen boxwood.

      Veddw garden in Wales ; Gardenista

    Above: Bright, warm-toned perennials like yellow day lilies (left) and burnt-orange Euphorbia ‘Fireglow’ (right) line gravel paths in the front garden. A custom stone birdbath is set where the paths intersect; Anne regularly fills it with shells, stones, and floating flowers. And since this forward-thinking couple embraces Twitter, she decided to paint their Twitter handles on the basin's rim. 

    Want more Wales? See Designer Visit: Arne Maynard at Home in Wales. And for another striking garden with a black reflecting pool, see A Green Palette at Christopher Bradley-Hole's Bury Court

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    There's no doubt that wood shingle roofs are full of character and natural beauty, but they come with a cost. This expensive investment requires maintenance. Are wood shingle roofs worth it?   

    Wood Shingle Roof on Cottage by Whitten Architects, Gardenista  

    Above: The renovation of a 1915 cottage in Boothbay Harbor, ME, by Whitten Architects included a new red cedar roof. Photograph by Rob Karosis via Whitten Architects. 

    Is there a difference between a wood shingle and a wood shake?

    Yes, the difference is in how they are made:

    Cedar Shakes, Gardenista  

    Above: Shakes are hand split, not sawed, from a larger piece of wood. They are thicker at the butt (the end that shows when laid on a roof) than they are at the base. Less uniform than shingles, shakes are favored for their rustic appearance and variance in size and shape; they're generally highly textured. Variations include shakes with sawed backs, and tapered shakes with sawed sides. Photograph via Capstone Bros

    Cedar Shingle Roofing, Gardenista

    Above: Shingles, on the other hand, are machine sawed. They are more uniform in thickness than shakes and have an even taper. Photograph via C.F. Moller Architects.

    (Note: For the remainder of this post, we use the term "shingle" to refer to both wood shakes and shingles.) 

    What type of wood is used?

    Wood shingles are typically made from cedar (Western red, yellow, or white), which is known to be durable, flexible, long-lasting, moisture-resistant, and insect-repellent. Cedars contain oils that naturally prevent decay. The grain of red cedar is particularly good for accepting stains and fire retardants. Yellow cedar has a tighter grain, which makes it more water- and insect-repellent, but not as good for staining or painting. White cedar is more like red, but since it's especially fast-growing, it's a better choice in terms of sustainability. Cypress, pine, and redwood are also used for shingles.  

    Wood Shake Roof, Gardenista  

    Above: A roof with medium hand-split cedar shakes. Image via LGC Roofing.

    What are the benefits of a wood shingle roof?

    • Aesthetics: Wood shingles offer natural beauty and variations in color and texture. And they get better with age, turning silvery gray as they weather. They sit equally well atop cute cottages as modern wonders.
    • Insulation: Wood shingles are great insulators, reducing the cost of heating and cooling. The USDA Forest Service has indicated that real wood roofs and siding have the highest insulation value—better than wood substitutes, asphalt, laminate, or fiberglass.
    • Longevity: A properly installed and maintained wood shingle roof should last 30 to 40 years, depending on the grade of wood used and the climate (sun and salt can shorten its life). Proper installation includes a layer of material that allows air to circulate beneath the shingles, allowing them to dry after a rain and extending their life. Many manufacturers offer warranties for 20 to 40 years. 
    • Extreme Durability: Wood shingle roofs resist wind and impact, so they're good protectors during storms. 

    Wood Shingle Roof Rick Joy Woodstock Barn, Gardenista

    Above: Wood shingle roofs aren't just for country cottages. This decidedly modern take on barn vernacular by architect Rick Joy pairs wood shingles with stone. See Architect Visit: Rick Joy in Woodstock, Vermont. Photograph by Jean-Luc Laloux.

    Are wood shingle roofs a boon or bain to the environment?

    While wood is a valuable resource, it is a natural one, and with a small amount of effort you can source shingles that are made with trees from certified sustainable forest. Far less energy is expended in the manufacturing of wood shingles than with manmade materials. Also, when and if your roof needs replacing (ideally, not in your lifetime), the biodegradable shingles can be turned into mulch. Combine these attributes with a wood roof's energy-saving nature, and it can certainly be considered an eco-friendly choice. 

    Wood Shingle Roof on Craftsman House, Gardenista

    Above: Cedar shingles complement a Craftsman bungalow by Rill Architects. Photograph via Rill Architects.

    What maintenance does a wood shingle roof need?

    Now for the news you don't want to hear: Just like people, wood shingle roofs require ongoing maintenance to keep their health and longevity. Because wood expands and contracts, and is porous, the biggest threat is moss and mold growth. Depending on the wetness of your climate, you'll need to pressure- or power-wash your roof every three to five years, and apply a cleaner/preservative like Linseed Oil. Removing moss and mildew is good not only for the health of the roof, but also for aesthetic reasons. Debris such as rotting leaves should be cleared away regularly. And your installer/supplier may recommend a sealant to extend the durability of the wood.

    James Dixon Architect Metal Porch Roof, Gardenista
    Above: Wood shingles mix well with other roofing materials. In this Hudson Valley house by James Dixon Architect, a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory, a standing seam metal roof was installed over the porch, below the wood shingled roof. Photograph by John Kane/Silver Sun via James Dixon.

    What about fire?

    There is no doubt that wood is combustible. That said, many wood shingles on the market today have been treated with fire retardant, giving them a rating that meets fire safety standards. Check with your local housing codes for requirements. It's also a good idea to ask your insurance agency if different rates are charged depending on roofing material. Some people believe that a wood shingle roof is better in the event of fire: If the fire burns through the roof, toxic fumes won't be trapped in the house.

    Cedar Shingle Roof by CF Moller Architects, Gardenista

    Above: Natural wood shingles and wood siding help this modern summer house by C.F. Moller Architects blend into its surroundings. Photograph via C.F. Moller Architects.

    How much does a wood shingle roof cost?

    The cost of materials and installation for a wood shingle roof is higher than some of its manmade lookalikes, and similar to quality metal roofs. Estimates range from $500-$900 a square (roofing lingo for 100 square feet). The price varies depending on the heft (medium vs heavyweight shingles) and quality of the wood (hard-to-find heartwood cedar vs the outer wood of younger cedar), your location, and the size and complexity of the roof. 

    Wood Shingle Roof Installation, Gardenista  

    Above: Out with the old and in with the new wood shingles. Image via Wall-to-Wall Contracting.

    Wood Shingle Roof Recap

    Pros:

    • Naturally beautiful
    • Energy-efficient insulator
    • Breathable
    • Durable; withstands stormy weather
    • Long-lasting if properly maintained

    Cons:

    • Flammable
    • Expensive
    • Requires regular maintenance
    • May not be good for houses in very wet climates

    Researching roofs? We've done some of the work for you. See our earlier roofing features: 

    Working on other parts of your house's exterior? See all of our Hardscaping 101 Features.

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    It's always fun to find Gardenista-worthy gardens and shops in places where they're least expected. During a recent trip to Switzerland, I visited the tiny village of Samedan, in the Engadin Valley. On a gray, drizzly day, I was passing the time by taking a walk through town. I rounded a somber stone corner to meet a riot of colorful plants, mostly tucked into simple baskets and bins. It was exactly the kind of charming village florist I'd hope to find in a charming cottage town. And on closer inspection, I even spotted a few alpine plants. 

    Photography by Meredith Swinehart

    Flower and Plant Shop Display in Swizterland | Gardenista

    Above: What grows well in Switzerland? By the looks of flower shop Blumen Malgiaritta-Defilla in Samedan, seemingly everything. Here, deep purple heuchera next to a pot of lavender.

    Hydrangeas in Switzerland Flower Shop | Gardenista

    Above: The shop sits on one side of a stone town square. Delphiniums and crisp white and bright pink hydrangeas provide much-needed color. 

    Edelweiss in Switzerland Flower Shop | Gardenista

    Above: Edelweiss, the snow-white symbol of the Alps. 

    Gentian plant in Switzerland flower shop | Gardenista

    Above: An enzian plant, known to us as gentian, tucked into a metal bowl. The roots of this alpine plant are used to make Switzerland's gentian liqueurs

    Orange Peppers in Switzerland Flower Shop | Gardenista

    Above: Orange capsicum peppers—not native to Switzerland, but a nice source of color.

    White Hydrangea in Switzerland | Gardenista

    Above: Close-up of a winter-white hydrangea. 

    Above: The plants on offer look especially appealing because of the way they're tucked into clever baskets, boxes, and bowls.

    Read about a charming flower shop in Copenhagen in Blomsterskuret, the World's Most Beautiful Flower Shop? And of course England has plenty of charming flower shops. Read about one of them in Shopper's Diary: Flowers From Miss Pickering.

    Traveling this summer? Visit our Destinations guide to find Florists, RestaurantsHikes, and more around the world.

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    The winner of the Gardenista Considered Design Awards Best Edible Garden is Britton Shepard of Fall City, Washington.

    His project was chosen as a finalist by guest judge and garden writer Margaret Roach, who liked this project for "pairing a permaculture ethic with strong aesthetics (love the fence!), while also packing in the produce. Who wouldn’t want to walk down that Berry Boulevard and meet all those happy beneficials?" 

    Take a look below and read what Rachel Shepard—wife of Britton and the family's resident vegetable grower—has to say about the project.

    N.B.: This is one of a series of posts spotlighting the winners of the Gardenista Considered Design Awards. We'll be featuring one winning project every weekday. Go to the 2014 Considered Design Awards to see all the entries, finalists, and winners. And have a look at the winners of the Remodelista Considered Design Awards, too.

    Winner of Best Edible Garden in the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Britton Shepard of Fall City, WA | Gardenista

    Britton Shepard's Design Statement: Our mini homestead is situated on an exact half acre in Fall City, Washington, a small town near Seattle. We have a collection of ancestral fruit trees, a flock of chickens, and four gardeners (two of the large and two of the small varieties). Our edible garden is inspired by permaculture principles and designed to welcome children as foragers and helpers. It is composed of two main areas.

    First, the annual vegetable garden is composed of a flexible system of semi-raised beds that rotate crops throughout the season. The annual garden is approximately 200 square feet and is enclosed by a reclaimed wood fence. The paths are lined with straw for ease of weeding and to keep small feet clean. It is ringed by cutting flowers for the kids to sell out on the road.

    The second section of the edible garden has been deemed “berry boulevard,” as you can snack your way down the 120-foot bed. The bed is a long and narrow edible perennial border, beautiful across seasons and home to birds during the winter. Plantings include berries (raspberries and blueberries above, strawberries below), fruit trees for structure, and alliums, rhubarb, elderberry, angelica, and herbs of all kinds.

    Both planting areas are edged with a hand-formed concrete curb to keep the lawn from creeping into the beds. This delineation and structure give the garden an organized feel, even as it matures into the late-summer frenzy of sunflowers and tomatoes.

    Winner of Best Edible Garden in the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Britton Shepard of Fall City, WA | Gardenista

    Q: What were your practical goals for the project?
    A: 
    The first thing was to be realistic about how much time we really have to devote to the vegetable garden. The aim was to create a manageable space that can be worked in periodically on the weekends or in an hour after work. Also, we wanted the kids to be able to wander freely and eat their way around the yard.

    Winner of Best Edible Garden in the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Britton Shepard of Fall City, WA | Gardenista

    Q: What solutions did you find to your design problems?
    A: 
    We needed a structured but flexible system for rotating our crops. We decided on a fenced-in area with a concrete curb (to keep grass and chickens out!). I always take on more garden than I can care for, so we scaled back the overall size of the garden into 16 3-by-8-foot raised beds that are tillable all at once in the spring. The periphery outside the fence is planted with annuals so we can experiment with new plantings every year. For the permanent border the aim was to mix fruit and berries with grasses and other low-maintence plantings. 

    Winner of Best Edible Garden in the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Britton Shepard of Fall City, WA | Gardenista

    Q: What are your favorite features of the project?
    A: 
    This area of the property was a lawn when we started. With the garden, fencing, and borders, the space has been transformed into a series of thematic rooms—it makes it feel so much larger and full of diversity. We can move from the vegetable garden to the berries and then to the coop—lots to see and explore.

    Q: Who worked on the winning project?
    A: 
    Britton Shepard, my husband, has been a landscape designer in the Seattle area for 20 years. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington. He designed the layout and structures, and together we worked on the plantings. I grow the vegetables.

    Winner of Best Edible Garden in the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Britton Shepard of Fall City, WA | Gardenista

    Q: What were the hardest lessons you learned along the way?
    A: 
    I used to battle weeds and feel defeated when they got the best of the garden. Over the past few seasons I have made a habit of letting a few key plants go to seed: borage, carrots, kale, cilantro, and parsley. I leave these volunteers throughout the season and they help to crowd out the undesirable volunteers (dandelions, grasses, and morning glory).

    We also switched to laying straw in the paths to suppress weeds, which has been a huge time saver. And I’ve learned to grow just the right amount to keep the family fed for the summer. I don’t always have time to can and preserve, so this avoids having to compost the lovely veggies we can’t eat.

    Winner of Best Edible Garden in the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards, Britton Shepard of Fall City, WA | Gardenista

    Q: What was your biggest splurge?
    A: 
    I guess having a husband who is a landscape designer is a pretty big luxury! Other than that, we invested in planting the border completely and richly so that it would fill in during one summer. We purchased the plants in one go—not cheap, but really worth the immediate gratification of seeing the garden fill up. Also, the concrete curbs around the beds were somewhat laborious, but they will pay off in the long term.

    Q: Where did you cut corners?
    A: 
    The soil under the perennial bed is freakishly full of morning glory. I am pretty sure it is the epicenter for all morning glory on the West Coast. Rather than dig them all up, we used a filter fabric to repress them. We planted directly into the fabric and then used a mulch mixture to cover the fabric. As we continue to plant this will be slowly dug up and removed.

    Q: Where did you get your design inspiration?
    A: 
    I love the idea of the traditional kitchen gardens our grandmothers kept: useful herbs and the family’s favorite dinner additions right out the door. Those gardens tended to have an enclosure (traditionally a simple picket fence). 

    Q: What advice do you have for someone else undertaking a similar project? 
    A: 
    Two parts: First, work toward a master plan slowly over time. Taking on too much at once leads to lots of unfinished projects. Second, keep it simple and manageable. Having a veggie garden that is too big to handle can be really disheartening.

    Q: If your room was a celebrity, who would it be? 
    A: 
    Joni Mitchell—a little wild, down to earth, and eclectic. Definitely a hippie garden.

    Q: Which architects or designers do you admire?
    A: 
    Larry Weaner—he blends natural principles with aesthetics.

    Q: What is your next project? 
    A: 
    Next year we are tackling the front garden. It is currently a swatch of purple geranium—gorgeous for about two weeks in June and then shaggy the rest of the year.

    Congratulations to Britton Shepard! See all the winners of the 2014 Gardenista Considered Design Awards here: 

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    Jeffry's House in Ireland is a funny-looking hut on stilts, with walls of thatch. It's so charmingly odd that it should be in the pages of The Little Fur Family. Instead, it overlooks a wind-swept beach at Ards Forest Park, in Donegal.

    Photographs by Emily Mannion and Thomas O'Brien.

    Outbuilding of the Week: Jeffry's House, Donegal, Ireland. Gardenista

    Above: Jeffry's House has been described as a "folly"—the term used for a decorative small building of no specific purpose. However, as the winner of an Irish Architecture Foundation competition, it's not an idle folly: The brief was to create a building that would improve or enhance its surroundings.

    Outbuilding of the Week: Jeffrey's House, Donegal, Ireland. Gardenista

    Above: The hut was designed by architect Thomas O'Brien and artist Emily Mannion. It stands on legs to allow scrub and rough grasses to grow up around and beneath it.

    Outbuilding of the Week: Jeffry's House, Ireland. Gardenista

    Above: The walls of Jeffry's House are steep to aid rain runoff, and thatched for insulation. But the flax thatching is also meant to blur the hard lines of the wooden frame. It's a friendly landscape intervention.

    Outbuilding of the Week: Jeffry's House, Ireland. Gardenista

    Above: The timber frame includes window openings that frame the sea and the sky. 

    Outbuilding of the Week: Jeffry's House in Donegal. Gardenista

    Above: Jeffry's House is intended to provide respite from the elements. Donegal faces the Atlantic from Ireland's northwest coast.

    Outbuilding of the Week: Jeffry's House in Donegal. Gardenista

    Above: The window facing the sky shares characteristics with church windows that are designed to let in light only at certain times of day. It is hooded with folded steel.

    Outbuilding of the Week: Jeffry's House in Donegal. Gardenista

    Above: Jeffry's House was named for Jeffry's Lough, a lake that appears on old maps of the area but that no longer exists. This mysterious hut has succeeded in nestling into its landscape and even enhancing it. 

    For a parallelogram sea-view elevation, see Outbuilding of the Week: A Tuscan Hillside Aerie. And see more bold and unusual designs at Outbuildings

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    Originally from Southern Asia, the cucumber is a fruit that’s generally eaten as a vegetable. We grow several varieties in our garden in upstate New York, but the classic Kirby might be our favorite. A close second: the Mexican sour gherkin, which looks like a miniature watermelon.

    Photography by Laura Silverman for Gardenista.

    Garden to Table Cucumber Pickle Recipe Laura Silverman ; Gardenista

    Above: The Kirby's creeping vine has taken over the trellis where earlier this summer a clematis bloomed magnificently.

    Garden to Table Cucumber Pickle Recipe Laura Silverman ; Gardenista

    Above: The stubby, spiny Kirby was developed by Norval E. Kirby and released in 1920. Its sweet, mild flavor and super-crunchy texture make it ideal for pickling.

      Garden to Table Cucumber Pickle Recipe Laura Silverman ; Gardenista

    Above: Kirbys are delicious eaten out of your hand with a little salt, or made into a refreshing cold soup. I also use them to make bread-and-butter pickles all summer long. After slicing the cucumbers, I give them a good soak in salted ice water, which helps prepare them for pickling.

    Garden to Table Cucumber Pickle Recipe Laura Silverman ; Gardenista

    Above: This recipe produces slightly sweet, judiciously spiced pickles with a subtle kick from red chile and a beautiful golden hue from turmeric. They go beautifully with a grilled cheese sandwich and are absolutely essential with pulled pork.

    BREAD & BUTTER PICKLES

    Makes about 2 quarts. 

    • 1¾ pounds Kirby cucumbers, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
    • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced

    • 1/3 cup coarse sea salt

    • 1 cup rapadura (unrefined whole cane) sugar, or to taste (any granulated sugar will do)
    • 1 1/8 cups apple cider vinegar

    • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric

    • ½ teaspoon celery seeds
    • ½ teaspoon red chile flakes
    • 1½ tablespoons mustard seeds

    • 1½ tablespoons coriander seeds 

    In a medium bowl, combine the sliced cucumbers, onion, and salt. Mix well. Cover the mixture in ice water and let stand at room temperature for 3 hours. 

    In a pot, heat the sugar, vinegar, and spices until the sugar has dissolved. Rinse the cucumbers and onions lightly, and drain. Add to the vinegar mixture and bring almost to a boil, stirring to combine well. Remove from heat and let cool before transferring to a glass jar or other airtight container.

    The pickles will begin tasting pickled after a few hours, but the flavor improves greatly if you wait a day or two. They will keep in the fridge for several months—if they last that long.

    Garden to Table Cucumber Pickle Recipe Laura Silverman ; Gardenista

    Above: The Mexican sour gherkin is not technically a cucumber, since it belongs to the genus Melothria rather than Cucumis. But its crisp skin, bright taste, and watery flesh make it an honorary member. It’s a reliable producer that likes to twine its slim stems around a trellis.

    Garden to Table Cucumber Pickle Recipe Laura Silverman ; Gardenista

    Above: This ancient heirloom variety of cucumber—eaten by the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America since pre-Columbian times—is a seedy fruit that looks like a tiny watermelon and packs a lot of tart, citrusy flavor. 

    Garden to Table Cucumber Pickle Recipe Laura Silverman ; Gardenista

    Above: Pickled in a vinegar brine spiced with coriander, garlic, and jalapeño, “cucamelons” make an ideal garnish for a dry martini. 

    Garden to Table Cucumber Pickle Recipe Laura Silverman ; Gardenista

    Above: To eat them fresh, slice in half and toss in salads or sprinkle with chile salt. For a new take on the mojito, muddle them with mint and agave before shaking with aged rum and plenty of ice.

    For more recipes from the garden, visit my blog, Glutton for Life.

    Is there such a thing as too many fresh vegetables? If you just answered yes, check out other Garden-to-Table recipes on Gardenista.

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    On a recent European vacation, I spotted this petite cottage garden in Samedan, Switzerland (pop. circa 3,000), just a few towns over from the wintertime jet-set capital of St. Moritz. If there are any cottage gardens in St. Moritz—I didn't see any—we'll leave them for the pages of the Robb Report. Here at Gardenista, we'll take the gardens of actual cottages. 

    Photography by Meredith Swinehart

    Stone and Wood Garden Gate, Cottage Garden in Switzerland | Gardenista

    Above: The cottage garden's requisite wooden gate, with the Swiss Alps in the background. 

    Pink Flowers in Cottage Garden in Switzerland | Gardenista

    Above: Pink flowers and edibles growing in abundance, thanks to the summer's bountiful rainfall.

    Pink Flowers in Cottage Garden in Switzerland | Gardenista

    Above: A gardening apron hangs along the perimeter. 

    Vegetables in Cottage Garden in Switzerland | Gardenista

    Above: Among the healthy-looking edibles are kohlrabi and behind it, fennel.

    Vegetables in Cottage Garden in Switzerland | Gardenista

    Above: Various lettuces, frisee, chard, green onions, and a flourishing rhubarb plant.

    Strawberries and Sorrel in Cottage Garden in Switzerland | Gardenista

    Above: A dainty row of strawberries in front, sorrel behind it, and carrots in the back.

    Cottage Garden in Switzerland | Gardenista

    Above: A dark pink peony bush at the center of the garden.  

    Flowers in Cottage Garden in Switzerland | Gardenista

    Above: Yellow lupines, along with the seed pods produced after they bloom. 

    Stone Outdoor Cooking Fireplace, Cottage Garden in Switzerland | Gardenista

    Above: I admired this simple setup on a tiny lawn next to the garden: a stove made of stone with a slate shelf, and a basket underneath for storing wood to burn.

    View of Swiss Alps, Cottage Garden in Switzerland | Gardenista

    Above: The garden's surroundings are both mundane—it's next to a condominium parking lot—and striking—in the shadow of the Swiss Alps.

    Explore more cottage gardens in Garden Visit: Camera Ready in the English Countryside at Walnuts FarmSteal This Look: Irish Cottage Garden; and Garden Visit: Derek Jarman's Prospect Cottage at Dungeness

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    Over at Remodelista, the editors started this week with a vow to wring every last moment out of summer (and we haven't seen some of them around the office since). Maybe you ran across Margot hanging out on Justine's screened porch?

    Justine Hand Cape Cod cottage screened porch Matthew Williams; Gardenista

    Above: Margot arrived at Justine's Soulful Cape Cod Cottage just in time for cocktail hour. Photograph by Matthew Williams.

    Leslie Williamson vintage hurricane lanters ;GArdenista

    Above: Megan gave us an Object Lesson on the history of the hurricane lantern (and some suggestions for where to buy the classic design). Photograph by Leslie Williamson.

    Instant Camp Style Kitchen ; Gardenista

    Above: Janet sourced everything you need to create an Instant Camp-Style Kitchen.

      Net Market bag as bath toy holder ; Gardenista

    Above: Julie came up with a clever new way to store our bath toys.

    Orange broom Andree Jardin ; Gardenista

    Above: And as soon as her house guests left town, Julie started housecleaning—with the ultimate stylish dustpan

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    Here's a look at what we're loving lately: 

    Cabbage Crostini from Sunday Suppers | Gardenista

    What Kate Ate flowers in Barossa | Gardenista

    • Above: We're admiring the photos of Sydney photographer Katie Davies, especially the ones from her recent trip to South Australia's Barossa Valley. Photograph by Katie Davies
    • We know broccoli's healthy. But can it really make you happy? 

    Hanging Garden Spheres at Terrain | Gardenista

    West Virginia Capitol Market on Mary Maslow Flowers | Gardenista

    Wildcraft Natural Dye Workshop | Gardenista

    • Above: After a light hike in the Columbia River Gorge, learn how to extract dye from the area's plants in Wildcraft's natural dye workshop, September 14 from 10 am to 4 pm. 
    • Italian fashion designer Federico Forquet turned his creative hand from haute couture to gardening and decorating. His favorite project? His home in Tuscany

    Did you miss this week on Gardenista? Don't fret; you can catch up here. And also see Remodelista's Summer Cottage week.

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    Like most things in your garden, tools need a little loving care to keep them happy. Before you start cutting back summer's spent blooms, here are a few tips for cleaning and caring for your pruners.

    Photography by Erin Boyle for Gardenista.

    protect your pruners, gardenista

    Above: Pruner maintenance depends on which brand you own. These Handmade Japanese Garden Pruners are $109 from Kaufmann Mercantile. They're not stainless steel, so they need more care than the average pruners, but we think all pruners enjoy a little attention.

    For a roundup of our favorite pruners, see 10 Easy Pieces: Garden Pruners.

    protect your pruners, gardenista

    Above: Get in the habit of giving your pruners a good wash after each use. If I make only a few snips I'm sometimes tempted to forgo washing—but cutting even one stem can leave sap and plant residue that will damage pruners in the long run.

    protect your pruners, gardenista

    Above: Usually, warm soapy water is all you need to wash your pruners. Same goes for garden scissors and other metal garden tools.

    protect your pruners, gardenista

    Above: After washing, dry the pruners well to prevent rusting.

    protect your pruners, gardenista

    Above: If you notice any rust, remove it with linseed oil and a small wire brush, then wash your pruners well to prevent a sticky film from forming. Linseed oil is also an excellent protectant for wood-handled garden tools.

    A liter of Boiled Linseed Oil is $21.50 from Solvent Free Paint.

    protect your pruners, gardenista

    Above: Even for tools that aren't prone to rust, it's a good idea to wipe them down with oil after cleaning them. Some people rely on motor oil or mineral oil, but I just use household vegetable oil to keep them lubricated.

    Wondering how to put those pruners to good use? See Gardening 101: How to Prune a Rose Bush. For more on tool maintenance, see 5 Favorites: Tool Sharpeners.

    N.B.: This is an update of a post published June 10, 2013.

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