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Sourcebook for Cultivated Living

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    We're delighted to introduce the first of two guest judges in the 2015 Gardenista Considered Design Awards: garden designer and social media influencer Carolyn Mullet. 


    Above: Carolyn likes to design simple gardens, influenced in part by the Amish farmland surrounding her childhood home in northern Indiana, and in part by her mother's passion for heirloom flowering plants passed on from generation to generation. After practicing residential landscape design for two decades, Carolyn founded her own firmCarex: Garden Design by Carolyn Mullet—through which she offers garden design and landscape consulting in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

    Carolyn's latest venture is CarexTours, through which she leads gardener/travelers on tours of the must-see gardens of Europe. In May, she led a tour to the Chelsea Flower Show and English gardens (read details in her Travel Report). She is currently organizing 2015 summer and fall tours of English Contemporary Gardens and a trip to the Netherlands to see the gardens of Piet Oudolf and the Dutch Wave.

    On her Facebook page, Carolyn shares landscape projects, flower photography, and garden news and tips with her more than one million followers.

    5 Things to Know About Carolyn: 

    Folly Farm Dan Pearson garden Jekyll Lutyens l Gardenista

    1. Favorite Garden Anywhere: The Sunken Pool Garden at Folly Farm in Berkshire, UK—Dan Pearson’s 21st-Century planting in an Edwin Lutyens early 20th-Century hardscape. A powerful space! (Photograph via NGS.) 

    2. Last Thing I Planted in My Garden: Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia syphilitica) spotted into a mass of Allegheny Spurge (Pachysandra procumbens) in my mostly native, deer-resistant, shady backyard. 

    3. On My Wish List for My Garden: A grooved Cecina water bowl from Lunaform for my entrance garden.

    4. Favorite Place to Be in Nature: The Oregon coast between Florence and Yachats. (Image of Searose Beach, Oregon by Haberuvi.)

    5. Hardest-Learned Gardening Lesson: Believing that a deer’s palate for garden plants will be the same from year to year. 

    Landscapes by Carolyn Mullet: 

    Landscape Design by Carolyn Mullet | Gardenista

    Above: A Carex Design project in Potomac, Maryland is a perennial garden with cutting flowers that surrounds a breakfast patio. The conical tree in the back isn't a topiary—it's a Dwarf Alberta Spruce (Picea glauca 'Conica') which is naturally conical and was never shaped. Climbing on the house is Honeysuckle Lonicera sempervirens. Says Carolyn: "I use some version of this native vine in most projects I design." In the foreground is Baptisia 'Purple Smoke.'

    Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' ; Gardenista

    Above: Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' (photograph by Eric via Flickr). Says Carolyn, "I like all baptisias, but 'Purple Smoke' has an especially lovely smoky color." 

    Landscape Design by Carolyn Mullet | Gardenista

    Above: Carolyn designed a rock wall to hide the base of a new curving deck and to bring plants closer to deck level. She made clever use of the perennials already on site: a variegated hosta, heuchera, daylily 'Stella d'Oro,' and bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis). She dug them up at the start of the project but found new homes for them by the end. Says Carolyn: "I rarely discard plants on projects and love the challenge of using and combining plants that wouldn't be my first choice. More often than not, I'm pleasantly surprised at the results."

    Bleeding heart garden bed ; Gardenista

    Above: Easy-to-grow bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis). Photograph by Manuel via Flickr.

    Our design awards are open to amateurs and professionals. Don't forget to enter by June 22: 

    2015 Gardenista Considered Design Awards Judge | Gardenista

    More Stories from Gardenista

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    Was Frida Kahlo the original modernist gardener? After nearly two decades of full-on Fridamania (during which traveling exhibits of her paintings attracted sell-out crowds, the US Postal Service put her face on a stamp, and Selma Hayek suffered a uni-brow to play the lead role in a Hollywood biopic about her colorful life), it turns out there's still a lot to learn from the artist.

    A revelatory show at the New York Botanical Garden explores new connections between Kahlo's paintings and her iconic garden in Mexico City, with a re-creation that makes you feel as if you are visiting her at home at Casa Azúl. Here are 10 garden ideas to steal from Frida Kahlo:

    Be Bold


    Photograph via New Yorker.

    Above: Casa Azúl was Frida Kahlo's childhood home as well as the home she shared with her husband, famed muralist Diego Riviera.  In the 1940s Kahlo and Riviera transformed its drab colonial-style into the brightly colored salute to Mexican culture that we know today. The garden, located in the central courtyard of the house, overflowed with bright flowers, distinctive cacti, and other native plants which were not often used in fashionable gardens in those days.

    Don't be afraid to fill your space with bright hues.  If you are lucky enough to garden in full sun you have a virtually limitless selection of plants available to you.

    Let Art Influence Life


    Above: Photograph vis WSJ.

    A re-creation of Kahlo's work space at NYBG includes a collection of bold pigments: bright, saturated colors were a signature element of her painting style. Kahlo chose flowers for her garden to reflect the colors in her paintings.

    When you design a garden bed, think of the color palette; don't be afraid to mix complementary colors or to try a bold accent color.

    Play the Blues

    Cobalt blue walls garden southern California ; Gardenista

    Above: Kahlo painted her garden walls a vivid cobalt blue, a brilliant shade that is the perfect foil for cacti and other plants with sculptural shapes. California landscape architect Jeffrey Gordon Smith (shown above) uses a similar cobalt blue backdrop to great effect in a coastal California garden. To experiment with the color in your own garden, paint a low retaining wall or a gate.


    Photograph via WSJ.

    Above: The walls at the NYBG are faithful copies of Kahlo's favorite cobalt blue.

    Cobalt blue paint color; Gardenista

    Above: If you're not ready to commit to electric blue walls, try an accent—a painted planter full of bright summer flowers will brighten a balcony or patio. See how we experimented with the color in DIY: Cobalt Blue Planters.

    Looking for the right shade of cobalt blue paint? We like Cobalt Flame from Behr; a sample pot is $2.94.

    Opinionated Plants

    Frida Kahlo sunflowers NYBG exhibit ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Shelly S via Flickr.

    Sunflowers are blooming at the NYBG exhibit, as well as dahlias, zinnias, and marigolds. Kahlo wasn't afraid to choose brilliantly colored blooms with strong shapes, especially if they evoked traditional Mexican life. The dahlia is the national flower of Mexico and the sunflower is thought to have been grown by indigenous people in Mexico long before the Spaniards arrived.  

    Zinnias were discovered in Mexico and brought to Europe in the 1500s.  The marigold is closely associated with the Mexico's Day of the Dead holiday. Plant these strong blooms in your garden and it will be festive all season long.

    Collect Cactus


    Above: Stenocereus thurberi, the organ pipe cactus, on exhibit at the botanical garden. Photograph via NYT.

    Kahlo and Riviera delighted in bringing indigenous cacti into their courtyard.  No doubt the statuesque shapes appealed to the two artists.  These plants come in a limitless variety of dimensions and textures, so it is easy to find a variety that will work in your space. In warm climates cacti can become strong permanent structural elements in a garden, but if you live in colder areas such as the Northeast you will most probably have to plant your cacti in pots and bring them inside in winter.  A notable exception is cold hardy opuntia, which can survive extremely cold winter weather.

    Aqua Fresca

    Frida Kahlo Casa Azul garden tiled frog fountain ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Gustavo via Flickr.

    During the dry season in Mexico City (which runs from October to May), it must have been very pleasant for Kahlo and Riviera to enjoy the reflecting pool and the fountain in their garden.  The so-called frog fountain with its mosaic pool was inspired by Kahlo's nickname for Riviera: sapo-rana or toad-frog.

    <p">No matter how small your space, a water feature is a welcome enhancement.  It cools the air in the heat of summer, and the sound of even a tiny fountain can soften the racket of city life. For more ideas, see Ultimate Luxury: 10 Favorite Fountains and Water Features.

    Go Native

    Frida Kahlo Mexican garden designMonsera ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Jeanne Rostaing for Gardenista.

    Kahlo was a pioneer in using plants native to Mexico.  A favorite of hers was Monstera Deliciosa, also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant or the Fruit Salad Plant, a reference to the corncob-shaped fruit it produces. It is now commonly used as a houseplant.  Other natives she cultivated in her garden include the colorful Slipper Plant (Euphorbia bracteata) and Old Man Cactus (Cephalocereus), named for its resemblance to a balding pate.

    For more on Monstera deliciosa, see Split-Leaf Philodendron: A Temporary Houseplant for Commitment-Phobes.

    Calm Amid the Storm


    Above: Photograph via The Planthunter.

    Kahlo's bedroom was a serene oasis of white needlework and neutral-colored walls. For a respite from color, plant shrubs to create a protected nook and place a garden bench within.

    Color Wheel


    Above: A fringed Apache Cactus, on display at the botanical garden; available for $5.98 apiece from Holland Bulb Farms. Photograph via NYT.

    Kahlo not only grew brilliantly colored dahlias, she also frequently used them as accessories, wearing them in her hair and making bouquets of them to grace the table at one of the many dinner parties she and Riviera hosted. If you fill your beds with Kahlo's favorite flowers, you will automatically have a cutting garden. 

    Prickly Privacy Fence

    Mexican Fence cactus ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via University of Arizona.

    At NYBG a wall of Pachycereus marginatus. commonly and appropriately known as the Mexican Fence Post Cactus, mimics a fence at Riviera's studio.  

    Mexican fence cactus room divider ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Matthew Williams.

    Groupings of tall cactus can be used as focal points or dividers, even in a relatively small space. For more about how to use cactus to create a privacy wall, see Cactus as Glamorous Privacy Fencing.

    Terra Firma 

    Terra cotta pots Frida Kahlo garden ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Alejandro via Flickr.

    Kahlo made liberal use of heavy terra cotta pots in her garden.  They were often placed on concrete or stone retaining walls and usually contained a single specimen plant.  This is radically different from the now fashionable practice of filling a container with many plants of different colors and textures.  A single plant in a pot looks more like a sculpture and works especially well for cacti, succulents, and other desert plants such as agave and yucca.

    For more planting ideas for containers, see 70 more images of Terra Cotta Pots And Planters in the Gardenista Gallery.

    The New York Botanical Garden's show Frida: Art, Garden, Life runs through Nov. 1. For information and tickets, see NYBG.

    For more ideas about how to use succulents, cacti, and other favorite plants from Mexico, see:

    Enter the Gardenista Considered Design Awards 2015 ; Gardenista

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    Having a moment: the Acapulco chair. The symbol of laid-back, midcentury resort style looks as comfortable today as in the 1950s when (legend has it) a French traveler borrowed from the design of a woven Mayan rope hammock to make an open-air lounger to capture the Acapulco breezes.

    The iconic style harkens to an earlier era of celebrity chic—when Liz Taylor married Mike Todd in Acapulco, Rock Hudson caught a monster fish while honeymooning, and Orson Welles stepped ashore from a private yacht.

    The chair's simple, geometric lines make it an easy fit with other outdoor furniture styles. Available these days with choice of a classic bowl seat, an updated barrel back, or an elongated egg shape, the Acapulco chair is on our list of summer must-haves.

    Here are 10 of our favorite Acapulco chairs:

    Colorful Acapulco chairs on the beach ; Gardenista

    Above: A Copacabana Chair made of braided resin and metal is available in several colors and as a rocking chair. It's €69.99 from Maisons Du Monde.

    Acapulco chair ; GArdenista

    Above: A green Acapulco Lounge Chair is handwoven in rainbow colors; the chair has a powder coated steel frame and is $219 from CB2.

    Acapulco chairs green white yellow ; Gardenista

    Above: Inspired by the woven designs of Mayan hammocks, an Acapulco Chair is made of "flexible yet durable vinyl cord" and has a metal frame. It measures a comfortable 35 inches high, 30 inches wide, and 33 inches deep, dimensions likely to provoke "an instant siesta." Available in a rainbow of colors and with a choice of black or white metal frame, it is $435 from Innit Designs.

    Plain Air hoop chair Acapulco lounge chair ; Gardenista

    Above: Garden designer Julie Kameon's modern Hoop Chair from her Plain Air collection updates the idea of the Acapulco chair. For information and pricing, see Plain Air.

    Acapulco chair turquoise ; Gardenista

    Above: Made in Mexico, exported to Australia, an Acapulco Chair made of UV-filtered PVC cording with a galvanized metal frame is $495 AU from Acapulco Chair, which describes itself as "the only place to buy real Mexican Acapulco chairs in Australia."

    Blue Lagoon Acapulco chair ; Gardenista

    Above: With the same pear shape as the original 1950s Acapulco chair, a Blue Lagoon Chair from Mexican designers León León mixes handcraft with artistic techniques; $419. For more styles from León León, see A Lounge Chair Inspired by a Cocktail.

    OK Design Acapulco chair ; Gardenista

    Above: Danish label OK Design imports Mexican-made Acapulco Chairs with triangular powder coated steel frames for sale in Europe; available in four colors including (as shown, L to R): Petrol, Yellow, and Light Blue. A chair is €399.


    Above: From Danish designers House Doctor, a barrel silhouette and simple metal frame call to mind an Acapulco chair. A woven rattan Rotan Chair is €365 from Living and Company. For more see Gardenista 100: The Best Scandinavian Rattan Chairs.

    Acapulco lounge chair white ; Gardenista

    Above: With a powder coated steel frame and plastic cording, a round Acapulco Chair by Harmonia Living comes in eight colors and finishes; $249.99 from All Modern.

    Acapulco chair Roost Ellipse chairs ; Gardenista

    Above: From Roost, an Ellipse Acapulco Chair "updates a vintage classic: with cotton cord and a dark iron base. It is available in three colors (Shown L to R: Indigo, Chocolate, and Natural) and is $319 from Modish.

    For more, see:

    Enter the Gardenista Considered Design Awards 2015 ; Gardenista

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    Is there a more versatile hardscaping material than the humble concrete block? In the garden, you can use it to make: a wall, a privacy screen, a breeze block window, a planter for succulents, a raised bed for your tomatoes, a carport, a front stoop, a path, a fence, a potting bench, shelves, a bench, or a wine rack. Plus about a million other things.

    We admit that concrete is not always a good idea. Some concrete block structures look like Lego gone wrong. But when you get it right? Nothing looks better than concrete against a garden-green backdrop. The secret to success is proportion and context. To show you what we mean, we've rounded up 10 genius hacks with concrete—from humble DIY projects to architects' designs—that can improve any outdoor space: 

    concrete block wall ; Gardenista

    Above: A concrete block wall in the garden of a beach house in Australia by Kennedy Nolan Architects. Photograph by Derek Swalwell via This is Paper. 

    Cinderblock stoop Swedish summerhouse ; Gardenista

    Above: A cinder block stoop at a Danish summerhouse. For more, see Steal This Look: Summerhouse With Outdoor Shower.

    Earth Inc. reclaimed patio in Toronto; Gardenista

    Above: Breeze blocks create an impromptu window to allow air to circulate on a brick-walled patio created by Toronto-based Earth Inc. See more at Steal This Look: Cinderblock Chic on a Toronto Patio.

      Concrete block garage TD Architecture ; Gardenista

    Above: Concrete blocks frame a garage on a house by San Francisco-based TD Architecture, a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory.

    Concrete block wall swimming pool ; Gardenista

    Above: A concrete block wall provides poolside privacy without blocking a panoramic views from a house by Sydney-based MCK Architects.

      Khopoli House by Spasm Design Architects/Gardenista

    Above: Large blocks of concrete mixed with basalt stone frame a courtyard in Khopoli, India. The concrete house, designed by Spasm Design Architects, is perched on the side of a cliff. For more, see The Sheltering Sky: A Vacation House in Khopoli.

    DIY concrete planters ; Gardenista

    Above: DIY concrete block planters fill a corner of a patio at Allison Bloom's house in Mill Valley. See more in DIY: Concrete Block Planters.

    Concrete block garden pavilion TD Architecture ; Gardenista

    Above: A concrete block garden pavilion by San Francisco-based TD Architecture.

    concrete block garden shelves Tom Kubik ; Gardenista

    Above: Concrete blocks hold redwood planks in place to create shelving in my next-door neighbor's garden. For more, see Garden Visit: The Hobbit Land Next Door. Photograph by Tom Kubik for Gardenista.

    Cinderblock wall planters ; Gardenista

    Above: Spotted via Urban Gardens Web, a cinderblock planter wall made by photographer Zac Benson.

    For more, see DIY on a Budget: $30 Mini Concrete Planters and Steal This Look: An Open-Air Concrete Bath.

    Enter the Gardenista Considered Design Awards 2015 ; Gardenista

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    Serenity and calm pervade a Japanese-inspired garden that San Francisco-based Surfacedesign, Inc. created to complement the renovation of a multi-story midcentury modern house in the city's Russian Hill neighborhood.

    Photography via Surfacedesign, Inc.


    Above: A multi-level garden, seen from above, has city views, indoor-outdoor living spaces, and a low-maintenance year-round garden.


    Above: Family living spaces connect to the south-facing garden.


    Above: The garden has just enough green to look inviting.

    Surface Design San Francisco garden ; Gardenista

    Above: Container plants include exuberant sprays of euphorbia, mixed with more typical succulents.

    Surfae Design San Francisco garden ; Gardenista

    Above: Ferns and Japanese anemones grow alongside a walkway, and an open-air fire pit adds both literal and figurative warmth to a garden where the horizontal planes of the hardscape dominate the design.

    Surface Design San Francisco garden ; Gardenista

    Above: A roof deck has expansive views of the city, bay, and Golden Gate Bridge.


    Above: A John Maniscalco Architecture renovation ofa midcentury modern home has a facade that gives up little to passersby. Other than a viewing deck, no portion of the internal courtyard gardens are visible.  

    For more modern landscaping in San Francisco, see:

    Enter the Gardenista Considered Design Awards 2015 ; Gardenista

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    A new kind of undercounter kitchen appliance caught our eye recently. No bigger than a wine cooler, an Urban Cultivator mini greenhouse creates a perfectly balanced environment of light, water, and air to grow herbs and microgreens:

    Urban Cultivator Herb Growing System | Gardenista

    Above: Like a miniature greenhouse, an Urban Cultivator has a precisely controlled environment optimal to growing seedlings; $2,199 from Appliance Alley. 

    Urban Cultivator Herb Growing System | Gardenista

    Above: A commercial size Urban Cultivator (on industrial castors in case you need to roll it out of the way) can grow up to 64 trays of herbs at a time.

    Urban Cultivator Herb Growing System | Gardenista

    Above: An undercounter model has programmable, automatic watering cycles and can be plumbed into existing pipes (or it can operate as a standalone unit).

    Urban Cultivator Herb Growing System | Gardenista

    Above: The undercounter model measures 25 inches wide by 38 inches high and is 24 inches deep.

    inspired to grow herbs indoors? For more ideas, see:

    Enter the Gardenista Considered Design Awards 2015 ; Gardenista

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    We're heading to London to host a Gardenista pop-up market at the second annual GROW London garden fair on Hampstead Heath from June 19 to 21.

    At the pop-up-market, our favorite local artisans and craftsmen will be offering a range of handmade, sustainably sourced, and one-of-a-kind garden and home furnishings and accessories.

    Buy tickets ahead of time or use Gardenista code GROWGARDENISTA to get a 50-percent discount on at-the-door tickets (code valid at all times excluding the Garden Party Charity Preview).

    Here's a sneak peek at some of the vendors whose work we're proud to showcase at GROW London this year:

    Electric Daisy Flower Farm ; Gardenista

    Above: Look for local, fresh-cut flowers from Electric Daisy Flower Farm at the Gardenista Market at GROW London.

    Electric Daisy Flower Farm is the brainchild of designer Fiona Haser Bizony, who has curated gallery exhibitions, installations, and festivals funded by Arts Council England. After laying grass over the main thoroughfare of Bradford-on-Avon; running a flock of sheep through the town center in Cirencester; and making a life-sized chocolate Jesus, she currently farms cut flowers. 

    Geoffrey Fisher garden accessories ; Gardenista

    Above: Garden accessories designer Geoffrey Fisher makes hooks, trugs, slingshots, and birdhouses.

    Based in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, an English county with a long history of working with wood, Fisher produces small volume pieces that are individually commissioned—everything is made to order with the highest standard of design and production.

    Fisher sources materials sustainably; timber pieces are generally offcuts from trees that have either come to the end of their life or need to be cut back. The cuttings are then stripped of their bark and sanded to reveal the beauty of the raw timber underneath.

    Botany UK plant shop Gardenista Market vendor GROW London 2015 ; Gardenista

    Above: Based in Hackney and founded by designer Angela Maynard last year, Botany is an independent plant and home wares store where ethical design comes first. At the Gardenista Market, Botany will offer a curated selection of plants, foliage, and handmade pots and accessories.

    Apolis and 31 Chapel Lane market bag tote ; Gardenista  

    Above: Irish linen tablecloths from 31 Chapel Lane; the designer's limited edition Irish-made textiles are made exclusively with Irish linen and tweed. At the Gardenista Market, 31 Chapel Lane also will be launching a market bag in collaboration with US-based Apolis.

    Woven planter hangers GROW London Gardenista Market vendor ; Gardenista

    Above: A maker of handmade rope and knotted interiors products, Knotted Interiors by Eleanor Bolton will be offering contemporary plant pot hangers made of acrylic rope (available in a range of colors).

    See more about the 80-plus exhibitors who will be at GROW London this year.

    Enter the Gardenista Considered Design Awards 2015 ; Gardenista

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    Modernist architect Philip Johnson, perhaps best known for his urban work like New York CIty's former AT&T building and the classic Four Seasons restaurant, used to refer to himself as a landscape artist.

    Architecture and landscaping, Johnson once said, are "one art." At his own home, the Glass House in New Canaan, Conn., where he lived for almost 60 years until his death in 2005, he deliberately made the walls between the two virtually invisible. We got permission to photograph the secluded 49-acre property at dawn. Join us for a tour:

    Photography by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.

    Glass House Architect Philip Johnson garden landscape design ; Gardenista

    Above: From inside the shimmering box, perched on a promontory overlooking a pond, the view of apparently untamed New England forest and unmown grass was actually carefully planned and pruned to resemble both the naturalistic gardens of 18th and 19th century Europe and the midwestern farmland of his Ohio childhood.


    Above: "This was their house in landscape," says architectural historian Hilary Lewis, who walked the property with Johnson countless times and collaborated with him on his memoirs. "He used to call it a permanent camping trip. He would get cross with me because I didn't know my trees."


    Above: Inside the house, Lewis says, Johnson carefully chose and placed every bit of furniture, rectangles with rectangles, on warmly colored brick floors—with a ficus tree in a cylindrical copper British laundry urn as "punctuation" that helped extend the landscape indoors. But it was the view that commanded most of his energy and attention. Even the grass, which comes right to the edge of the house, is an architectural element, a square of green, kept mowed and trimmed with grass shears.


    Above: Johnson and his partner, David Whitney, were passionate about the trees and wanted light to penetrate to the bottom of the forest floor. Working with arborists, they carefully removed branches and trees from the forest of mostly second-growth oaks, maples, and elms to create alleys of light and to make it look like a more mature woods. "The basic building block of the place was trees," says Lewis. "He was a man who wore Wellies and walked around the property pretty much every day." The Glass House trust maintains Johnson's vision by cutting and clearing the undergrowth every late fall/early winter by hand, while the meadows are cut about three or four times a year.


    Above: The original Glass House was built in 1949, but over the years Johnson and Whitney added both land and buildings to the estate. Now open to the public for tours, the Glass House property covers about 49 acres and one can visit a series of 14 structures, including Johnson's study, The Library (shown). 

    "The buildings," says Lewis, "punctuate the landscape. They were designed to be an interesting location to pull your eye towards or walk towards." The grasses are kept mown at different heights, with the house on a tightly mown square of green, higher grasses beyond that, and still higher after that. The architect loved to walk through the grass, and it is now maintained to look as if he still made his way to the Library daily.


    Above: When Johnson acquired the land, he found a number of old stone walls from early farming days, which he loved, preserved, and added to. Here he built a wall to help with the hide-and-reveal of the house and driveway. Even the smallest details are full of intention: The gravel path has small steel borders that allude to the sculptures of Frank Stella.


    Above: In 1980, Johnson and Whitney acquired additional land, including Calluna Farms, a shingle house that was Whitney's domain. Behind the house Whitney created a succulent garden enclosed by the pink granite from the same quarry that supplied the stone for New York's AT&T building (now the Sony Building).


    Above: The layout for the garden, which is planted with hens and chicks succulents, was inspired by a pencil drawing by Kazimir Malevich that Whitney had bought earlier that year.


    Above: Johnson's bedroom. He once said that the Glass House was the only place in the world where one could see "the sunset and the moonrise at the same time, standing in the same place." It was a home both within nature, and of nature.

    For more of our favorite modern landscapes, see:

    Enter the Gardenista Considered Design Awards 2015; Gardenista

    More Stories from Gardenista

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  • 06/11/15--06:30: DIY: Studiomama Pallet Chair
  • Looking for a weekend DIY? The small-scale deck chairs in London-based, Danish-born Nina Tolstrup's Studiomama Beach Chalet are made from standard wood pallets and 50 screws. Step-by-step plans are available online for £10.

    DIY Studiomama pallet chair ; Gardenista

    Above: The pallet chairs are as happy indoors as they are outside.

    Studiomama pallet chair DIY ; Gardenista

    Above: For another Studiomama project, see DIY: Outdoor Kitchen Cart from Studiomama.

    For more of our favorite projects to recycle pallets, see:

    Enter the Gardenista Considered Design Awards 2015; Gardenista

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    Call me old-fashioned, but in the war of the weeds, I prefer hand-to-hand combat over chemical warfare. In my experience pulling up weeds by hand or trowel is not only more effective at getting rid of them for good, it also promotes healthier soil.

    Weeding by hand is more work than spraying weeds with an herbicide (See Landscaping 101: Pros and Cons of Homemade Weed Killer). But it need not be as backbreaking or time-consuming as you think—so long as you have the right weapons in your arsenal.

    Photography by Justine Hand for Gardenista.

    A Weeders Arsenal, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

    Above: My weeding arsenal includes the basics: a bag, gloves, knee pad, clippers, claw, and a hoe, as well as a few specialized tools: a soil knife, and a Fiskars UpRoot Weeder.

    Every gardener has a favorite weeding tool. Kendra prefers Sneeboer's Dandelion Digger; $45.75 (see World's Best Digging Tools from Holland), while Michelle tackles her weeds with DeWitt's F10 Hand Hoe; $45. Whichever feels most comfortable in your hand is a matter of personal preference. But in general, any weeding arsenal should include the following:

    • A hand-held tool with a long blade, such as a dandelion digger or a soil knife, for excavating weeds with deep roots.
    • A sharp hand tool for severing weeds with dense root systems.
    • A small surface scraper such as a claw or hand hoe, for clearing weeds with shallow roots.
    • A standard, long-handled hoe for clearing large swaths of new weeds.

    To these I would add one more back saver, a stand-up weeder.

    Fiskars UpRoot Weed Remover

    A Weeders Arsenal, Fiskars standup weeder, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

    Above: My new favorite weeding tool: Fiskars UpRroot Weed Remover; $30 at Home Depot.

    I admit, I bought Fiskars' Uproot Weeder for my husband as a bit of a joke. You see, we have a running debate about weeds in our lawn. I, who grew up on the salty, grass-challenged soil of Cape Cod, view anything green as good. Chad, who put himself through college with his lawn care service, views anything less than a pristine grass as an affront to his (former) profession. (The kids, who like picking dandelion bouquets and later blowing the seeds off the heads, are on my side.) So when I saw an ad for this easy dandelion eradicator, I had to buy it for Chad. Call it one of those marital concessions you make when something is really important to your partner.

    Long story short, it's my new favorite tool. I've completely co-opted it for the garden.

    A Weeders Arsenal, Fiskars standup weeder detail, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

    Above: My husband using the Fiskars Uproot Weed Remover.

    All you do is center the teeth over the weed and shove into the soil. Then, stepping on the pedal, pull back until the weed comes free. To drop the weed, simply slide down on the release bar.

    A Weeders Arsenal, Fiskars standup weeder detail 2, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

    Above: The Fiskars UpRoot Weed Remover gets right to the roots.

    I swear, this is not an infomercial, but at this point I do find myself wanting to say, "Wait, there's more! The Fiskars UpRoot Weeder is so easy and fun, your kids will want to weed!!"

    A Weeders Arsenal, may daughter Fiskars standup weeder, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

    Above: Here's Solvi making short work of some weeds with the uproot weeder. (Yes, I know she should have shoes on, but the tines are not sharp.)

    Of course, as with every tool, stand-up weeders have some limitations. One Amazon reviewer complained that the Fiskars weeder left big holes in her lawn, but I don't see how any weeder wouldn't do that since, after all, you are digging something up. I guess she was comparing the results to chemical weed killer, but that would leave a dead spot. Anyway, I did not find the resulting holes to be too big.

    What I did find is that since you can't adjust the width of the teeth or tines, the uproot weeder doesn't work for larger weeds, particularly big clumps of grass. It also isn't useful for weeds with long, robust roots such as Virginia Creeper. At the other end of the spectrum, the Fiskars UpRoot Weed Remover is overkill for weeds with shallow roots. For these two types of offenders, I use my claw and soil knife.


    Gardenista, A Weeders Arseanl, claw tool, by Justine Hand

    Above: The claw is useful in getting grid of "clumping" weeds with shallow root systems, particularly those tucked in hard-to-reach places, like the area under a hedge. (I just have a basic claw, but you can get a really nice hand-forged Three-Tined Garden Rake from Fisher Blacksmithing; $50. See The Claw: A Tool Weeds will Fear.)

    Gardenista, A Weeders Arsenal, results from claw, by Justine Hand

    Above: It took me about a minute to clear this area with my claw.

    Soil Knife

    ardenista, A Weeders Arsenal, clump of grass, by Justine Hand

    Above: Prime offender: grass, so welcome in my lawn, so unwelcome in my garden.

    A Weeders Arsenal, hori hori knife, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

    Above: With its long, sharp blade, my Zenport Zenbori Soil Knife (available at Amazon for $19) makes quick work of grass' tenacious root system. Then I use this same versatile tool to dig a hole in any bare patch of lawn, where I then transplant the formerly offending grass. Voilà, recycling!

    Also a favorite of Michelle (See My Most Useful Garden Tool: Hori Hori Knife), this knife is likewise my go-to for weeds with long, tenacious root systems such bittersweet and the dreaded Virginia creeper. (Honestly, these are the only enemies that make me think twice about my stance against chemical warfare.)

    Finally, with its thin blade, a soil knife can work out weeds in very narrow spaces. In between the bricks of your patio, for example.

    The Classic Hoe

    A Weeders Arsenal, hoe, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

    Above: My mother helps me clear a new bed, which is going to get a nice covering of shade-tolerant, groundcover.

    Last but not least, there's the tried and true hoe. Effective at quickly clearing large swaths of weeds with shallow roots, a hoe is particularly useful in the vegetable garden, or wherever there is a lot of room in between desirable plants. A hoe is also ideal if you want to mulch your weeds right back into the soil (not recommended if the weeds have seeds on them).

    Remember that a hoe is more of a chopping tool than a digger or a rake. To use it, make quick, downward, shallow strokes to cut weeds at the soil line. Be careful not to dig too deep as disturbing the soil can actually encourage dormant weed seeds to grow. For this reason, be sure to apply mulch right after you hoe. (To learn more about no-dig gardening, see Charles Dowding's No Dig (and No Weed) Garden in Somerset.) 


    A Weeders Arsenal, mulch 2, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

    Above: After I've pulled, plucked, hacked, and scraped all the weeds from my garden, I apply the final tool in my weed killing arsenal: mulch. Weeds need sunlight to grow, so I smother them with a good two inches of bark mulch, all while enriching my soil. Also by providing a barrier between your soil and weed seeds, mulch helps to keep new weeds from germinating.

    Still seem like a lot? Remember that the more thorough a job you do this year, the less you will have to do next.

    Dandelion weed ; Gardenista

    Other Battle Tactics:

    • Weed when it's wet. Roots come free more easily from wet soil.
    • Sprinkle cornmeal gluten. Cornmeal gluten interrupts the germination process of seeds. In the early spring, sprinkling cornmeal gluten in between your healthy plants will help deter weeds, and add a little extra nitrogen to the soil. N.B.: because cornmeal gluten keeps seeds from germinating, it is only effective on annual weed seeds. It has no effect on weeds that already have germinated nor on perennial weeds with established root systems. And beware that cornmeal gluten will have the same effect on any desirable annual seeds you plant in your garden, so use only around established perennial plants. 
    • Cultivate a dense canopy. Like all plants, weeds need light to grow. Instead of mulching under hedges and around trees, consider panting a healthy canopy of leaves, such as hosta or any groundcover, to deter weeds.

    Michelle has also had some experience with weeds. See Why I Weed and Landscaping 101: How to Kill Poison Ivy. Also remember that not all weeds are bad. See In the Weeds: A Foraging Food Show and Lemon Balm: Weed or Wonder.

    Enter the Gardenista Considered Design Awards 2015; Gardenista

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    The challenge: To create a feeling of lightness and space for a pool house that must share space with a tennis court and the main house on just a small section of a six-acre parcel of land on Long Island.

    The result: Brooklyn-based architects Vrinda Khanna and Robert Schultz of Khanna Schultz designed a simple modern structure that seems to hover above the natural landscape. Garden designer Julie Farris of XS Space planted native grasses and an undulating lawn to connect the pool house to the landscape.

    The bonus? The pool house has solar paneling on the roof, supplying the main house with all its power in the off season.

    Photography by John Porcheddu via Khanna Schultz.

    Water Mill Poolhouse Khanna Schultz ; Gardenista

    Above: Working from the ground up, architects Khanna and Schultz came up with a pool house design that is part building, part shade structure, that echoes key elements of the main house. Because of zoning restrictions, all the structures had to be wedged onto just 15% of the property. Built on an elevated plinth with "a simple, repeating palette," says Schultz, of wood and steel, the pool house also screens the tennis court from the main house. The exterior and underside are stained red cedar for beauty and durability; glulam beams and exposed steel columns reveal the house's full structural bones.


    Above: The original site had a uniform slope. The architects, working with Farris of XS Space, used landfill from the house's excavation to create a subtle artificial wave-like topography on the lawn.

    Water Mill pool house native perennial plantings grasses ; Gardenista

    Above: Not only does the topography help with drainage but, says Farris, "What was once slightly regular, now has some movement," says Farris, especially as the sun moves across the area throughout the day.


    Above: Hardy native perennial plantings help soften the required pool fence, here of limestone, and add some interest to the view from the house. Some of the plantings jump the wall in cutouts within the enclosure. Bright green clumpy Miscanthus mix with the dusty purples of Russian sage, yellows of Black-eyed Susans, and the wheats of Calamagrostis, all chosen to bring a colorful, beach-y feel to this hidden home.

    Khanna-Schultz-pool-house-in-Water Mill-03-Gardenista

    Above: The owner uses the spa, clad in the same bluestone used on the patio, on rainy days—and heat from solar cells on the large roof structure all winter long.


    Above: No one wants to traipse water into the main house, so the pool house has bathroom, changing room, and pantry, with cedar cabinetry, small dishwasher and refrigerator, and Graphite slate floor, from NY-based Stone Source.  Windows and doors are mahogany, which relates to the language of the main house.


    Above: The pool has a long floating bench, of the same red cedar as the pool house and designed to look like a dock—a playful "little reference," the architects say, "to places nearby." The architecture of the main house, visible beyond the pool, set the tone for the rest of the project.


    Above: The tennis court—and the solar panels—reveal themselves on the back side of the pool house.

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    Brooklyn-based ceramicist Yuka Uchida grew up in Japan and and instills an elegant simplicity in her designs. In addition to jewelry and tableware, her OVO Ceramics line includes a mini wall pocket vase we've been admiring because it takes the guesswork out of floral design. The simplest sprig or flower stem is all it needs:

    Ceramic wall pocket vase ; Gardenista

    Above: An unglazed porcelain Hanging Flower Pocket is $30 from ABC Home.

    Ceramic wall pocket vase ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Martha Stewart.

    Says Uchida, "As for the patterns, I’m not painting them on. I’m using the Nerikomi style—which is the Japanese name for it—which is sort of a marbling technique where the clay gets tinted ahead of time, stacked, then sliced to create patterns."

    Ceramic wall pocket vase ; Gardenista

    Above: Also available without a patterned texture, a Hanging Wall Pocket is $30 from ABC Home.

    For more of our favorite wall vases, see:

    Enter the Gardenista Considered Design Awards 2015 ; Gardenista

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    This week on Remodelista, the editors surveyed the Scandi design scene; here's what they found:

    Plain English Osea Kitchen | Remodelista

    Above Blonde on blonde? 9 Favorites: The New Timber Kitchen

    Swedish Scandinavian dining chairs Remodelista ; Gardenista

    Above: Beyond the Wishbone: Julie looks at where Scandinavian design is headed and finds the next wave of Scandi Dining Chairs.

    Upholstered sofa Scandinavian vintage fabric ; Gardenista

    Above: See the Before and After of Izabella's DIY reinvented settee with vintage fabric. 

    ABC Carpet and home summer gift card $500 giveaway ; Gardenista

    Above: We're giving away a $500 Gift Card to spend at ABC Carpet and Home's summer sale. Enter the contest on Remodelista.

    Camp Cots as Summer Daybeds | Remodelista

    Above: Napping season is here: Trend Alert: 10 Canvas Camp Cots as Instant Daybed.

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    Take a look at what's on our radar this week: 

    Terrain Rope Net, Gardenista Considered Design Awards Prize Sponsor

    Midsummer Cocktail from HonestlyYUM | Gardenista

    Joey Roth Self Watering Planter | Gardenista

    Instagram and Pinterest Pick of the Week

    Gardenista Instagram Pick of the Week: @emily_katz

    • Above: We love this yellow door spotted on Emily Katz's (@emily_katz) Instagram feed. 

    Gardenista Pinterest Pick of the Week: Sarah Samuel, Cabins

    For more Gardenista, see our Modern Landscaping issue and don't miss Remodelista's week of Scandinavian Blues.  

    Enter the Gardenista Considered Design Awards 2015; Gardenista

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    What to do with a bushel of nearly gone fruit? Thrifty American colonists added sugar and vinegar to make a sweet and sour syrup that would last the winter. What did they call it? Shrub.

    Don't worry, no one's suggesting you add boxwood to your G&T. But modern-day mixologists are taking a page from their forebears in tricornered hats, and adding this delightfully acidic syrup to cocktail recipes. Make your own and try it with seltzer, whiskey, or whatever your favorite beverage is. Here's a collection of shrub recipes that have tempted us this season. 

      10 Favorite Shrub Recipes | Gardenista

    Above: Fresh Apple Shrub; photograph by Marisa McClellan via Food 52.

    Marisa McClellan shared her recipe for apple shrub on Food 52. It's just three ingredients: shredded apples, apple cider vinegar, and granulated sugar. She suggests mixing it in cocktails, stirring it into sparkling water, or whisking it into a salad dressing. We'll try all three. 

    10 Favorite Shrub Recipes | Gardenista

    Above: Plum Shrub from HonestlyYUM.

    Red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and over-ripe plums are the ingredients in a syrup concocted by Todd from HonestlyYUM. "Try saying 'plum shrub' three times fast without smiling," he suggests. Or just add a splash of his fruit syrup to vodka and shake over ice.

    10 Shrub Recipes | Gardenista

    Above: Peach Shrub from Brooklyn Supper; photograph by Elizabeth Stark.

    "If you were looking for the opposite of a schmancy cocktail, and you wanted something simple and down-home and good, surely then you would want a shrub," says Elizabeth Stark, from Brooklyn Supper. Head to the market this weekend to get ripe peaches.

    10 Favorite Shrub Recipes | Gardenista

    Above: Calamansi Lime Shrub; photograph by Marvin Gapultos via Burnt Lumpia.

    Marvin Gapultos set out to make a shrub inspired by his native Philippines, using calamansi, a citrus fruit from the Philippines, and Filipino sugarcane. The result? "A shrub syrup full of bright, calamansi aroma—think mandarin orange crossed with a lime."

    10 Favorite Shrub Recipes | Gardenista

    Above: Peach and Berry Summer Shrub from Oh So Beautiful Paper; photograph by Nole Garey.

    When Nole Garey makes shrub, she doesn't stop with just one kind of fruit. Here she combines peaches, blueberries, and strawberries in a trifecta of summery tastes. She also uses two vinegars: balsamic and champagne.

    10 Favorite Shrub Recipes | Gardenista

    Above: Cherry Balsamic Shrub from Reclaiming Provincial; photograph by Carey Nershi.

    Balsamic vinegar and cherries give this shrub a moody hue. Carey Nershi, from Reclaiming Provincial, describes it as "wonderfully tart (and a gorgeous shade of red, to boot)."

    10 Shrub Recipes | Gardenista

    Above: Concord Grape Balsamic Shrub from Documenting our Dinner; photograph by Brianne Looze.

    For late-summer drinks, Brianne Looze captured the flavor of Concord grapes in a balsamic vinegar-based shrub. "It takes a few days to put together, but the end result rewards you well for your trouble," she says. "The nostalgic flavor of Concord grapes is elevated by adding a bit of earthy balsamic vinegar, but the mixture retains brightness from a hefty amount of white wine vinegar as well. The shrub strikes a brilliant balance between sweet and tart." We'll take ours like she did, with whiskey. 

    10 Favorite Shrub Recipes | Gardenista

    Above: Blackberry Rum Shrub from Saveur; photograph by Nicole Franzen.

    Impatient food preservationists, rejoice. This shrub syrup is heated for speedy results. You'll have a crimson cocktail in no time.

    10 Favorite Shrub Recipes | Gardenista

    Above: Strawberry Drinking Vinegar from Five and Spice; photograph by Emily Kuross.

    Strawberry season has come and gone, and we're wishing we'd bottled up a taste of the season with Emily's recipe. We're saving this recipe for next summer (but for now, we're following her lead and using fennels sprigs as a garnish from here on out).

    10 Favorite Shrub Recipes | Gardenista

    Above: Rhubarb Shrub from Hungry Ghost; Photograph by Andrea Gentl.

    Here's one to save for next spring. Andrea used a cold process to make a rhubarb shrub, allowing the fresh rhubarb and sugar to steep on the counter for 72 hours.

    Search our Cocktail Recipes for other drink ideas.

    Subscribe to Gardenista daily newsletter ; Gardenista

    N.B.: This is an update of a post published on September 17, 2013.

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    One of our favorite color palettes for a landscape is white on white. With a dash of white. You might be surprised by how many shades of pale there are (and by how lovely they look by moonlight). Join us this week to explore summer whites:

    Table of Contents: White Gardens; Gardenista

    Above: Cosmos in bloom. For more of this organic flower farm, see Garden Visit: Clare Day at Red Damsel Farm in British Columbia.



    Above: A 19th century Italianate townhouse in Manhattan's West Village gets a modern white garden to play up the dappled light in a shady courtyard in this week's Landscape Architect Visit. In the meantime, see more designs for Classic Townhouse Gardens.


    Outdoor Painted Beer Garden Table from Light Locations | Gardenista

    Above: "In an abundant garden, why not let keep the furniture simple and let florals shine instead?" asks Alexa, who rounds up her favorite white outdoor dining tables in this week's 10 Easy Pieces.

    And if you're setting up an outdoor space for summer, see our recent roundups for our favorite Café-Style Outdoor String Lights,  Picnic-Style Dining Tables, and Acapulco Chairs, Vintage and Modern.


    White Garden, Sissinghurst. Kendra Wilson for Gardenista

    Above: In this week's Expert Advice post, Kendra visits Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, just outside of London, where florist-in-residence Thomas Broom helps her draw a list of essential flowers for a white garden.

    Geoffrey Fisher garden accessories ; Gardenista

    Above: We're counting down the days to this year's GROW London contemporary garden fair, where we'll be sponsoring a Gardenista Pop-Up Market featuring garden accessories from our favorite local artists and craftspeople. If you're in London, join us on Hampstead Heath this weekend.


    Gillian Carson British expat Portland Oregon garden; Gardenista

    Above: In Portland, Oregon, expat Gillian Carson gives us a tour of the English garden she recreated to remind her of home in this week's Garden Visit.

    Finalist in Best Edible Garden Category of the 2014 Considered Design Awards, Gardenista

    Above: Love where you live? Enter your garden in the Gardenista 2015 Considered Design Awards for a chance to win a $200 gift certificate from Terrain. Each winner will be showcased in a post on Gardenista next month.



    Above: A glassy greenhouse is this week's Outbuilding of the Week

    Catch up with the Remodelista editors, who will be celebrating Summer in the City all week.

    Enter the Gardenista Considered Design Awards 2015 ; Gardenista

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    Not everyone loved the the mid-19th century architectural fashion that introduced to Manhattan genteel rows of brownstones whose "uniform hue coated New York like a cold chocolate sauce," as the novelist Edith Wharton (not a fan) observed drily. 

    A century and a half later, how do you create a modern garden to complement that rather oppressive brown color? This was the challenge facing architects Sawyer-Berson when they designed both front and back gardens for a 20-foot-wide, four-story brownstone on a particularly pretty stretch of Perry Street in the West Village—which just happened to be a few doors down from the much-filmed Sex in the City facade made famous as Carrie Bradshaw's house.

    Their solution?  A luminous white garden that shimmers in the dappled shade cast by mature city trees. Let's take a tour:

    Photography via Sawyer-Berson.


    Above: Mark Alan Hewitt Architects oversaw a 1988-90 restoration of the historic Italianate facade designed in the 1860s by Robert Mook.

    A Dr. Merrill magnolia blooms in early spring, protected from the street by an iron railing and a brownstone curb. Behind the railing, a front garden is paved with slabs of bluestone edge by plantings of enkianthus and hosta.


    Above: Behind the townhouse, a wood and mirror trellis fence encloses an 825-square-foot courtyard garden where a minimal planting palette emphasizes only three colors: white, green, and black.

    Sawyer-Berson designed another similar white garden for actress Julianne Moore, who lives nearby in the West Village. See Julianne Moore's garden at Design Sleuth: Julianne Moore's Staghorn Ferns


    Above: The white garden's plant palette includes hostas with variegated leaves, clipped boxwood shrubs, ivies, ferns, clematis vines, and annuals to add seasonal color.


    Above: Handmade in Italy for the garden, gray terra cotta pots are a silvery foil for green foliage.

    white-garden-new-york-city-sawyer-berson-5-gardenista.jpg Above:

    Above: Custom iron furniture and antique bluestone pavers complement the green and white planting scheme.


    Above: A mature Norway maple creates dappled shade in the garden but allows in enough sunlight to enable a mature wisteria vine to thrive on the back wall of the house.

    white-garden-new-york-city-sawyer-berson-5-gardenista.jpg Above:

    Above: A spiral staircase repeats the circular patterns found elsewhere in the garden and leads to the parlor floor level of the townhouse.


    Above: The leaves of ferns, ivy, and baby's tears add different textures and shapes to the garden and soften the hard edges of the metal staircase.


    Above: White impatiens in round pots surround a circular birdbath; the reflective watery surface is another mirror in the garden.

    For more of our favorite NYC townhouse gardens, see:

    Enter the Gardenista Considered Design Awards 2015 ; Gardenista

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    I met Blue Bottle Coffee pastry chef Caitlin Freeman when the founder of the wildly successful Miette bakery and sweets shop in San Francisco came to Heath Ceramics to sign her book, The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee.

    I bought two books for gifts, and waited patiently in line to have them signed to their eventual owners. Co-author James Freeman signed first, and after exchanging the smallest of pleasantries with him, I turned to Caitlin. She looked surprised—she wasn't the star of this coffee-centric event—and said, "That's sweet." We chatted about pastries for the next several minutes because to me, coffee is nice. But baking is something I can believe in.

    Here's one of my favorite recipes from the book:

    Olive Oil and Rosemary Shortbread


    • 1 cup (8 ounces/ 227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 cup sifted (4.1 ounces/ 115 grams) powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
    • 1 to 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 2 cups sifted (9.9ounces/ 280 g) all-purpose flour
    • Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar, rosemary, and salt, and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then mix on medium speed until lighter in color and the texture resembles mayonnaise, from four to five minutes. 

    Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the flour. Mix on low speed just until uniform in texture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on low speed for one minute. 

    Gather the dough into a ball, transfer to a piece of plastic wrap, cover with a second piece of plastic wrap, and flatten to form a rectangle measuring 7 by 10 inches (18 by 25 centimeters) and about 1/2 inch (1.3 centimeters) thick. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least three hours and up to five days. 

    Above: The recipe calls for the shortbread to be cut into rectangles, but I had round biscuit cutters and wanted the cookies the same size.

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If you want square corners, cut the dough into small rectangles measuring 1 by 2 inches (2.5 by 5 centimeters), and place the cookies on the lined baking sheet, spacing them at least 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) apart. Bake for about 18 minutes, until golden around the edges, rotating the pan midway through the baking time. 

    Brush the tops with olive oil as soon as the cookies come out of the oven. Let cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing, then let cool completely before serving for optimal texture. Cooled completely and stored in an airtight container, the cookies will keep for up to 3 days. 

    Published by Ten Speed Press, The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee is $13.17 on Amazon. 

    For more herb-infused recipes, see:

    Enter the Gardenista Considered Design Awards 2015 ; Gardenista

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    When archeologists stumbled recently upon the ruins of a lost garden at the Taj Mahal, where night-blooming white flowers filled the air with perfume in the 17th century, the evidence helped solve a mystery dating to ancient Persia: what makes a moonlight garden?

    For centuries, gardeners have been intrigued by the question. Moonlight gardens—planted with white and silvery flowers that glow after dark—became an early 20th century fad in both the US and Europe. After having a dream about a garden that shimmered in twilight, in the 1950s Vita Sackville-West created a white garden at Sissinghurst Castle that today remains England's most visited garden.

    What makes a moonlight garden? Among the clues found at the Taj Mahal were charred bits of ancient flowering fruit trees, shards of pale sandstone decorated with a delicate lotus design, and the faint outline of an octagonal pool where more than two dozen fountains once sprayed water into the night air. The idea then, as now, was to create a luminous glow of white, silver, and gray to reflect moonlight.

    Here are 10 garden ideas to steal for a modern moonlight garden:

    Create Mystery


    Above: A white Rosa mulliganii in bloom grows over a metal arbor in the center of the Sissinghurst white garden. Photograph via Visit Britain.

    At Sissinghurst Castle, Sackville-West and husband Harold Nicolson reworked the design of their former rose garden (after moving the roses elsewhere) to create a  series of small beds bordered by circuitous boxwood hedges and pathways that would encourage passersby to wander among the plants. The maze and the high hedges lend a secret-garden air to an after-hours stroll.

    For more of Sissinghurst's gardens, see Garden Visit: Vita's Sunset Garden.

    Mirror Images

    White Garden Tom Stuart Smith Chelsea Flower Show 2010 ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Crocus

    In garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith's white garden at the 2010 Chelsea Flower Show, the surface of the water in large zinc water troughs reflects and emphasizes the white flowers blooming nearby.

    White Garden Tom Stuart Smith peonies Chelsea Flower Show 2010 ; Gardenista

    Above: White peonies at the Chelsea Flower Show. Photograph via Crocus.

    Stuart-Smith's planting list for his 2010 Chelsea garden included: Epimedium, Hosta 'Devon Green', Asarum, and Rodgersia. Different shapes, textures, and leaf colors added interest and layers to a monochromatic garden.

    Pale Planters

    White garden planter hydrangeas ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Matthew Williams.

    White clay pots and planters look luminous by moonlight and will convey a feeling of "whiteness" in the garden even when flowers are not in bloom.

    Silver Slivers

    White Garden, Sissinghurst. Kendra Wilson for Gardenista

    Above: Eringium edges a brick path. Photograph by Kendra Wilson for Gardenista.

    At Sissinghurst, one of the white garden's secrets is a preponderance of gray and silver, colors that make nearby whites look whiter. For more, see tomorrow's Expert Advice post, in which Petersham Nursersies head gardener Thomas Broom helps Kendra compile a plant list of favorite white flowers for a moonlight garden.


    White garden trellis ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Matthew Williams.

    Paint hardscape elements and materials white to add an extra dimension of white to a moonlight garden.

    Tapestry Of Texture


    Above: Plants with variegated foliage, evergreen leaves, a silvery cast, or interesting textures—ranging from feathery to glossy—will create layers of interest that needs nothing more than a white flower to two to convey the calmness of a serene moonlit night.

    For more of this garden, see Landscape Architect Visit: "Sex in the City" Meets Edith Wharton in Manhattan.

    A Pleasing Perfume


    Above: After dusk, the way a garden smells is more important than how it looks. Photograph via Arne Maynard

    In Oxfordshire, UK-based garden designer Arne Maynard rejuvenated a Norman manor house's gardens with a white, green, and gray palette that includes aromatic herbs and white roses.

    Add Annuals


    Above: In a white garden in Manhattan's West Village, architects Sawyer-Berson added pots of white impatiens, which will bloom all summer long. For more of this garden, see Landscape Architect Visit: "Sex in the City" Meets Edith Wharton in Manhattan.

    Fill in the gaps when roses and other perennials aren't blooming with potted annuals such as white impatiens, begonias, and nicotiana.

    Shadowy Giants


    Above: Close-clipped topiaries provide a strong structural backdrop for white oxeye daisies in an Oxfordshire garden by designer Arne Maynard. For more of Maynard's work, see Old House, New Garden: A 17th Century Farmhouse in Devon

    Tall shrubs and hedges serve the same purpose as sculpture in a moonlight garden—strong, geometric shapes are visible even in the dark.

    Vines And Climbers

    Chinese star jasmine ; Gardenista

    Above: From clematis to potato vine to scented jasmine (shown), blooming vines and climbers can create a large swath of white color to attract the eye at dusk. 

    Successive Bloomers


    Above: The white garden at Sissinghurst, as it appears today. Photograph via Sissinghurst Castle.

    Plant flowers that bloom successively over the course of a season. When Sackville-West designed the white garden at Sissinghurst, the plant list included spring flowers, such as irises; June roses; lilies "seen by twilight or moonlight gleaming under the shadow of a thick wood," and summer stalwarts such as gladiolas and late-season pompom dahlias.

    For more ways to add white to a garden, see:


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    For the last four years I’ve been fixated on a photograph of a bare courtyard with a single, white-painted beer garden table and two potted plants. Even in my color-obsessed phases (last month was all pale salmon pink, recently it’s been butter yellow), I find myself coming back to the same photo. I chalk it up to the unfading appeal of a purely white palette and its potential, like a painter’s canvas, to highlight the surrounding color. In an abundant garden, why not let keep the furniture simple and let florals shine instead?

    Here is a list of our 10 current favorites in the category of white outdoor dining tables (many of which can be paired with benches and chairs of the same set). Have a look:

    Outdoor Painted Beer Garden Table from Light Locations | Gardenista

    Above: To start, my favorite image is a project sourced from a small courtyard in Hove, England: an old German beer garden table is whitewashed in multiple coats of paint. For a host of options to paint, see our post The Gardenista 100: Beer Garden Tables (Ikea Included). Photograph via Light Locations.

    Fermob Luxembourg Rectangle Table in White | Gardenista

    Above: Modeled after the brand's first outdoor pieces for Paris' Jardin du Luxembourg, Fermob's Luxembourg Rectangle Table is an aluminum tube frame, lacquered in white (or other color of your choice); starting at $1,217 at Y Living.

    Eos Square Table by Matthew Hilton for DWR | Gardenista

    Above: Designed by Matthew Hilton for Case, the Eos Square Table (named after the Greek deity of light and dawn) is stackable and made of rust-resistant powder-coated aluminum. The square size measures 31.5 inches long and is $500; the Rectangular Table is twice the length for $810. The two can be used together to host larger gatherings. Available at Design Within Reach.

    Äpplarö Drop-Leaf Outdoor Table in White from Ikea | Gardenista

    Above: The Äpplaro Drop-Leaf Outdoor Table is made of eucalyptus and finished in white acrylic paint. It seats up to eight people with the leaves extended and has a center umbrella hole; $169 from Ikea.

    Jardine Folding Bistro Table from West Elm | Gardenista

    Above: West Elm's Jardine Folding Bistro Table is the perfect size for two or a close group of three and a mess of cheese and summer fruit. It's made of weather-resistant hardwood treated in white (or green) for $139.99.

    1966 Collection Porcelain Dining Table from DWR | Gardenista

    Above: The 1966 Collection Porcelain Dining Table, as the name suggests, was finished in 1966 by Richard Schultz after a four-year collaboration with Florence Knoll. The body of the table is constructed from powder-coated aluminum and the tabletop is porcelain enamel on steel; $2,170 at Design Within Reach.

    Room & Board Round Penelope Table in White | Gardenista

    Above: A small, round cafe-style dining is powder-coated in white, measures 28 inches in diameter, and stays put with a spoke-like base. The Penelope Table is $449 at Room & Board.

    Pottery Barn Hampsted Rectangular Dining Table | Gardenista

    Above: A substantial piece of outdoor furniture, the white-painted mahogany wood Hampstead Rectangular Extending Dining Table seats from six to ten, for $999 at Pottery Barn.

    Painted Metal Bistro Table in White from Terrain | Gardenista

    Above: In the same fashion as classic Fermob furniture, Terrain's Painted Metal Bistro Table is lightweight and suited for tight spaces; with a UV-resistant powder-coated steel; $168 for the table.

    Ikea PS Indoor/Outdoor Folding Table in White | Gardenista

    Above: Modeled after the beer garden table, Ikea's PS 2014 Folding Table is budget-friendly at $129 and is meant for indoor-outdoor use.

    Restoration Hardware Aegean Dining Table | Gardenista

    Above: Restoration Hardware's long Aegean Dining Table is inspired by Greece and made in Australia of a rustproof aluminum frame. The 60-inch table to seat four is $1,270 and at the other end of the spectrum, the 108-inch table for ten dinner guests is $2,120.

    For more all-white garden ideas, see our posts:

    Enter the Gardenista Considered Design Awards 2015 ; Gardenista

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