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Sourcebook for Cultivated Living

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    Summer is a season of contradictions: so much delicious fresh food, so little desire to cook. For me, the perfect summer kitchen is one I barely see. Cold drinks and colder salads are the answer. Plus an endless supply of corn on the cob (but that goes without saying).

    After conducting extensive taste tests, I've rounded up five of my favorite garden-to-table salad recipes:

    Barcelona Empredet White Bean and Cod Salad Recipe ; Gardenista

    Above: In Catalonia, they know how to keep cool. I recently traveled all the way to Barcelona for a lesson in how to make the perfect White Bean and Cod Salad. Photograph by Pancho Tolchinsky for Gardenista.

    Garden to Table recipe watermelon purslane salad ; Gardenista

    Above: Sweet and sour, a Purslane and Watermelon Salad is just the thing to defeat a heat wave. Photograph by Rebecca Baust for Gardenista.

      Arugula and Proscuitto Salad ; Gardenista

    Above: A lemony dressing turns an Arugula and Proscuitto Salad into a surprise. Photograph via White on Rice Couple.

      Raw Kale Salad Apples and Almonds Recipe ; Gardenista

    Above: Warning, obligatory kale salad ahead. Except this one doesn't taste like a cliché, thanks to the crunchy bits in Erin's favorite Raw Kale Salad With Apples and Almonds. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    Corn and Tomato Salad in white bowl ; Gardenista

    Above: Have we mentioned how much we love corn and tomatoes? And corn? And tomatoes? Throw in some basil and red onion to make our favorite Corn and Tomato Salad. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    For more of our favorite Garden-to-Table Recipes, see our archives for Summer Cocktails and A Perfect Sandwich to Take to the Beach.

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    Fourteen years ago when Annette Gutierrez and her husband, Gustavo, bought their 1908 Craftsman house in Hollywood, it badly needed repairs. Or more. "Everyone urged us to tear the whole thing down," remembers Gutierrez, who owns the LA store Potted. Instead, they renovated the house. Next they added a pool and hot tub. And then, finally, their attention turned to . . . the 100-year-old garage.

    "We realized the garage would be much better if it were a pool house. Or in-law space," says Gutierrez.

    Despite a tight budget that limited construction costs to about $175 per square foot, they wanted the cottage to be a fully functioning living space, with a kitchen, bedroom, and full bath.  "And we wanted it to be private so that someday—in our golden years—we might use it as our LA pad while we travel the world and rent out the main house," says Gutierrez.

    Exit the garage. Enter the Little House. Built on a budget:

    Photography by Bethany Nauert.

    LA Garage turned into Cottage Outbuilding ; Gardenista

    Above: Gutierrez and her husband finished the garage's three-month transformation earlier this year. To preserve the privacy, "we put in a system of fences that channeled the entrance up the driveway, giving the Little House its own patio," Gutierrez says. "We also decided to leave the garage door opening as it was, but to fill the space with a series of little windows, kind of like Mondrian without color."

    LA garage cottage rehab diary; Gardenista

    Above: The "before" photo.

    "We knew that if we didn't preserve the wooden vaulted ceiling, the interior would just be a dingy room," says Gutierrez. "But with the roof, the garage was an inferno in the summer, especially since most of the roof faced south."

    LA garage cottage rehab diary; Gardenista

    Above: The "after" version.

    Gutierrez and her husband insulated the ceiling with high-density foam covered with wood paneling, leaving the beams exposed. "To get the worn look of the hundred-year-old original ceiling, we took a blowtorch and torched every single piece of wood that went up," says Gutierrez.

    LA Garage turned cottage Outbuilding ; Gardenista

    Above: On the patio are two Loll Lollygagger Lounger chairs (available in nine colors for $440 each at Potted) and a bistro set from Fermob.

    LA Garage turned cottage Outbuilding ; Gardenista

     Above: A white tiled Midge Table (also available in five other colors; $495 from Potted) sits between the chairs.

    LA garage cottage ; Gardenista

    Above: The interior space is divided into kitchen, living area, and bedroom. "To offset the earthy ceiling, we painted the walls Swiss Coffee and used high-gloss white cabinets from Ikea for the kitchen," says Gutierrez.

    Matte green subway tile was installed above the stove, "with a few extra colors added for interest," says Gutierrez. "It's an expensive look that's not very expensive at all."

    The pot hanger is a heavy-gauge chain purchased from Home Depot, bolted to one of the upper beams; clips were added to hang the pots.

      LA Garage turned cottage Outbuilding ; Gardenista

    Above: The entire interior floor was covered in two sheets of gray linoleum. Countertops are maple butcher block. The wooden shelf in the kitchen came from an old barn.

      LA garage cottage ; Gardenista

    Above: In the bathroom, Ikea's Bråviken sink ($250, not including the fixture).

    LA garage cottage grottage ; Gardenista

    Above: In the bedroom, built-in bookshelves. "I have a lot of air plants," says Gutierrez. "They're fun to decorate with and don't need to be watered as often as other house plants. They're a good choice for a space where we don't spend most of our time."

    LA garage cottage grottage ; Gardenista

    Above: "I especially love the vintage porcelain baby doll with the air plant on its head," says Gutierrez.

    LA garage cottage grottage ; Gardenista

    Above: Wall pegs for coats and a glass-paned door to let in more light.

    Love the idea of a garage-turned-cottage? For another favorite grottage, see Outbuilding of the Week: The 186-Square-Foot Guest Cottage. And on Remodelista, see The Studio Apartment, Garage Edition.

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    The Remodelista editors spent the week sleuthing for summer kitchen essentials, from old fashioned pest-repelling food covers to sherbet-colored tea towels woven in Lithuania:

    hydrangeas-kitchen-countertop-marble-sink-faucet-gardenista

    Above: Architects tell Meredith their secrets: read about Architects' 10 Go-To Traditional Kitchen Faucets.

    linen tea towels ; Gardenista

    Above: Julie discovers the oldest flax mill in Lithuania—and the sherbet-colored tea towels two sisters make from bolts of its soft linen.

    copper backsplash kitchen range stove aga ; Gardenista

    Above: A delicate sheet of copper flashing becomes a kitchen backsplash in a Catskills summer house; for more of the kitchen, see A Country House Reinvented by Jersey Ice Cream Co.  (We also profiled a makeover of the house's screened porch: Before & After: A Summer Porch Rehab in Upstate New York.) 

    Duralex mixing bowls eggs ; Gardenista

    Above: Duralex, a Love Story. Read more about the iconic French molded, tempered glassware in Megan's Object Lessons column.

    fly food cover ; Gardenista

    Above: Are you taking the kitchen outdoors for the season? See our Editors' Picks: 10 Essentials for the Summer Kitchen.

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    Read on to see our latest obsessions.

    Earth tu Face Apothecary and Elixir Bar in Oakland, The Merchant Home, Photograph by Ali Hartwell | Gardenista

    • Above: We loved this tour of Earth Tu Face, a natural apothecary in Oakland, CA. Photograph by Ali Hartwell. 
    • What does the California drought mean for stone fruit season
    • Vegetable growing cheatsheet

    Crate and Barrel Fire Pit | Gardenista

    • Above: A sleek fire pit for marshmallow roasting and nightly gatherings. 
    • A quick guide to grilling greens
    • A typical beach hut with an out-of-the-ordinary facade. 

    Hone Factory, Bee Architecture by Francesco Faccin | Gardenista

    • Above: The latest in beehive architecture, The Honey Factory, is made by Italian designer Francesco Faccin. The protective structure "aims to promote urban beekeeping."
    • The formula for stylish gardening shears? Part stainless steel, part bamboo. 

    Slow Flowers annual dinner ; Gardenista

    Instagram and Pinterest Pick of the Week

    Gardenista Instagram Pick: @cabinlove

    • Above: If your Instagram feed needs more bucolic scenes, consider following Cabin Love (@cabinlove). 

    Gardenista Pinterest Pick of the Week: Cotton and Flax, Patio Living

    • Above: We're eyeing outdoor living inspiration on Cotton and Flax's Patio Living board. 

    Want more Gardenista? Read our Independence Day issue and head to Remodelista to see a week of Summer Kitchens

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    We're heading out of town to spend as much of summer as possible in our favorite country gardens. Join us this week for our favorite glass hurricane candle holders, tips on growing tomatoes, and 10 ideas to steal from cottage gardens:

    Table of Contents: Country House ; Gardenista

    Above: Michelle's remodeled kitchen is her summer headquarters. For more, see Rehab Diaries: Michelle's Mill Valley Kitchen Redo on Remodelista.

    Monday

    brewster-flower-garden-little-compton-rhode-island-gardenista

    Above: Do you prefer pink or blue hydrangeas? (And what does your choice say about you?) Dalilah moderates the great hydrangea smack down in our Plant of the Week post. And for more of this garden, see Rhode Island Roses: A Seaside Summer Garden in New England.

    Crystal porch ceiling light Deborah Ehrlich ; Gardenista

    Above: See the world's most beautiful porch light in this week's Lighting post.

    Tuesday

    larkspur-english-cottage-garden-gardenista

    Above: This week's Garden Ideas to Steal post is full of tips for creating a cottage garden.

    hurricane-lamp-outdoor-lighting-eva-solo-finnish-design-shop-gardenista

    Above: Illuminate your next outdoor party with a glass hurricane lantern candle holder; we've rounded up our favorites, from high to low, in this week's 10 Easy Pieces.

    Wednesday

    sooley-grass-path-glyndebourne-howard-sooley-gardenista

    Above: In this week's Garden Visit, Kendra visits Glyndebourne, an English country house with a summer opera season that competes with the grand gardens for visitors' attention.

    Thursday

    Stacked raised beds garden ; Gardenista

    Above: In this week's Roundup post, Michelle looks at 11 ingenious ways to include raised beds when you're Landscaping.

    Friday

    wire house numbers curb appeal ; Gardenista

    Above: For this week's Instant Curb Appeal post, we've discovered a new collection of colorful House Numbers.

    Subscribe to Gardenista daily newsletter ; Gardenista

     

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    A few months ago when Michelle wrote about how to turn pink hydrangeas blue, the post's immediate success made me wonder if I was the only one who likes pink hydrangeas just the way they are.

    Then, a couple days ago, I noticed a neighbor cutting blue hydrangeas from a pot along the side of her apartment building. I stopped to ask her if she preferred blue over pink. "Blue hydrangeas stay pretty even when they're fading. When the pink ones start to die, they look rotten," she said. Her reason was practical. The score so far was Pink: 1-Blue: 1. 

    For inspiration, we've rounded up some of our favorite gardens with hydrangeas. Where does your allegiance lie? Pink or blue? Let us know (and tell us why) in the comments section below.

    In This Corner, Pink...

    Pink vs. blue hudrangeas; Gardenista

    Above: A mix of light pink and purple hydrangeas have struck a truce in this Cutchogue, New York garden submitted to the 2015 Gardenista Considered Design Awards

    Are pink hydrangeas better than blue hydrangeas? | Gardenista

    Above: Pink hydrangeas among a perennial garden in Lake Champlain, New York (another entry in the 2015 Gardenista Considered Design Awards).

    Pink Hydrangeas on Isabelle Palmer's Balcony | Gardenista

    Above: London-based Balcony Gardener Isabelle Palmer's window boxes, vibrant magenta hydrangeas included. Photograph by Jonathon Gooch. See the rest of her urban garden here

    Pink Hydrangeas in San Francisco | Gardenista

    Above: Shades of pink hydrangeas in front of the Mrs. Doubtfire house in San Francisco. 

    ...And In This Corner, Blue

    Blue Hydrangeas in Tiina Laakonen's Hampton's Backyard | Gardenista

    Above: Stylist Tinna Lankonen's Hampton's backyard is lined with blue hydrangeas. For a tour of her house, see Rhapsody in Blue: A Finnish Stylist at Home in the Hamptons on Remodelista. Photograph by Matthew Williams. 

    What is your favorite hydrangea color? Blue or Pink? | Gardenista

    Above: A shade tolerant garden featuring blue hydrangeas, in San Francisco. The garden by Zacate Landscape Design is an entry in the 2015 Gardenista Considered Design Awards

    Blue Hydrangeas | Gardenista

    Above: A blue hydrangea hedge from Landscape Architect Visit: A Very American Garden on Cape Cod. Photograph courtesy of Stephen Stimson Associates. 

    Blue Hydrangea Bouquet | Gardenista

    Above: Justine's blue hydrangea and grapevine bouquet

    Want more hydrangeas? See: 

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    “The idea was a jelly jar,” NY-based designer Deborah Ehrlich told the New York Times. But this is no ordinary jelly jar light; the shade is hand blown Swedish crystal, the base is white glazed porcelain, and the fittings are made of rubbed brass.

    Above: The Crystal Jelly Jar Light, which is 4 inches wide and 8 inches high, is $225 at Artware Editions in New York City.

    Above: The light measures 4 inches wide and 8 inches high.

    Crystal porch ceiling light Deborah Ehrlich ; Gardenista

    Above: The profile is traditional yet with a subtle elegance.

    Looking for a porch light? See more of our favorites at 10 Easy Pieces: Classic Ceiling Porch Lights.

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    The best cottage gardens look like they planted themselves. They didn't, of course. But the design principles they follow are simple.

    The English invented the cottage garden, probably in the 1400s when even the humblest plots of land were pressed into service to produce food for families. Every inch of earth counted—with herbs, fruit trees, and flowers (which attracted bees to pollinate crops) jammed close together. Aside from being practical, the effect was charming.

    Today's modern cottage gardens look just as charming—a spill of color as edible and ornamental plants mingle and flop over the edge of a walkway. Roses engulf a trellis. Hollyhocks lean casually against a brick wall. Here are 10 ideas to steal from English cottage gardens:

    Crash Course: Gertrude Jekyll 101

      Upton Grey English cottage garden Gertrude Jekyll ; Gardenista

    Above: A cottage garden Gertrude Jekyll designed at Upton Grey (a little more than an hour's drive west of London) has been meticulously restored. Photograph by Fleur via Flickr.

    English gardener Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) is the patron saint of modern cottage gardens, having popularized the informal, blowsy herbaceous borders we associate with country houses (in England) and picket fences (in the US).

    In reaction to the fussy, formal plantings the Victorians championed, she advocated a more natural look, with plants arranged by color, height, and flowering season. For more of Jekyll's ideas and advice, see Gertrude Jekyll and the Country House Garden ($30.17 from Amazon).

    Breach Boundaries

    Cottage garden path York paving Gravetye Manor ; Gardenista

    Above: William Robinson, a Victorian iconoclast who invented the idea of the "wild garden," developed his naturalistic approach at Gravetye Manor. For more, see The Ultimate UK Getaway: An Hour from London and a World Away.

    To create the quintessential cottage garden, plant flowers at the edge of garden beds and allow them to spill over onto paths. Bonus points for fragrant flowers that brush against visitors' ankles as they pass by.

    Add Arbors

    Arbor with New Dawn rose seaside cottage ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Justine Hand. For more, see 10 Easy Pieces: Perennials for a Seaside Garden.

    Install sturdy arbors and trellises so you can train vines and climbers (particularly fragrant roses) to grow into billowy shapes against walls, next to gates, and above doorways. 

    Bench Logic

    bench cottage garden ; Gardenista  

    Above: Sarah's sister installed a bench to make it easier to regard the garden at eye level. For more of her English cottage garden, see Ruth's Garden: Playing Wildflower Roulette.

    Place benches, chairs, and chaises strategically in the garden to lure visitors to spend time sitting among the bees and the blossoms. Consider adding seats to a hidden corner, a knoll with a view, or smack in the middle of an especially pretty flower bed (provide stepping stones to guide the way). 

    Consider Climate

    Holly Hocks, Katrin Scharls walled garden, Gardenista

    Above: Hollyhocks grow against a wall in a cottage garden in Germany. For more of this garden, see Garden Visit: At Home with Katrin Scharl in Brandenburg, Germany.

    In the earliest English cottage gardens, there was no room for error. Tried-and-tested plants known to thrive locally were favored because they produced the best crops. In England—or a similar climate—common cottage garden flowers include hollyhock (shown), nicotiana, poppy, foxglove, nasturtium, and cosmos. If you live in a different sort of climate, you can plant native wildflowers to get a similar effect.

    Punctuation Marks

    Cottage Garden Miranda Brooks ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Miranda Brooks. For more, see Dream Landscapes: 10 Perennial Garden Designs Inspired by Piet Oudolf.

    Plant shrubs and small trees among the flowers to add height, structure, and visual interest to garden beds.

    Lure Pollinators

    japanese-anemone-bee-gardenista

    Above: If you have fruit trees, berry bushes, or vegetables, you need pollinators to produce a harvest. When planting flowers, choose varieties bees can't resist: lavender, yarrow, black-eyed Susans, and asters are good choices. For more ideas, see Helping Bees Survive, One Garden at a Time.

    Plant a Little of a Lot

    english-garden-great-dixter-luciano-guibbilei-gardenista.

    Above: Better known for his modernist green-on-green landscapes, garden designer Luciano Giubbilei recently took a crash course on cottage garden design at Great Dixter—and got his own garden border on which to conduct experiments on color theory.

    Cottage gardens often are a dense mix-and-match jumble for a practical reason: if you have small clumps of many kinds of plants, you will limit loss to pests and diseases. 

    Informal Design

    andscaping-english-cottage-garden-annie-guilfoyle-1-gardenista.  

    Above: Lay out irregularly shaped garden beds and allow paths to define perimeters and spaces in the garden. A meandering walkway is better than a straight one because it will force passersby to slow down and see more of the cottage garden.

    Experiment

    ottage-garden-sarah-price-perennials-grasses-stipa-gardenista

    Above: Don't be afraid to mix old-fashioned flowers with other varieties—depending on your climate, your cottage garden could have succulents, jasmine, or perennial grasses growing in it. In this historic cottage garden in Oxfordshire, British landscape designer Sarah Price added low maintenance grasses to ornamental borders to create drama and height. For more, see Leaves of Grass: 9 Ways to Create Curb Appeal with Perennial Grasses.

    ottage-garden-sarah-price-perennials-grasses-stipa-gardenista

    Above: Price's planting scheme includes sedum, salvias, origanum, erigeron, and Stipa gigantea to create structure, texture, and color all year.

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    Hurricane lantern candle holders earned their name because their tall chimneys protect a flame from wind. Not sure if they could stand up to a real hurricane—but with their pleasing shapes we like to have them on the table when we're dining outdoors at night. Here are 10 of our favorites, swith price tags that range from $12.99 to $1,260:

    Glass hurricane lanterns ; Gardenista

    Above: Hand blown, each four-piece Hurricane Lantern from Hudson Valley-based glass designer Deborah Erhlich is made of Swedish crystal and oxidized bronze. Available in three sizes, prices range from $810 to $1,620 per lantern at March.

    hurricane-lamp-outdoor-lighting-eva-solo-finnish-design-shop-gardenista

    Above: From Danish designer Eva Solo, a Hurricane Lamp with a gracefully proportioned glass chimney sits on a stainless steel and silicone base. It is €59.90 from Finnish Design Shop. Eva Solo's Hurricane Lamp is also available for $65 from A+R Store.

    hurricane-lamp-ikea-pomp-gardenista

    Above: A clear glass Pomp Lantern holds a block candle; $12.99 from Ikea.

    Skargaarden hurricane lamp outdoor lighting candle holder ; Gardenista

    Above: From Skargaarden, a Moja Candle Lantern comes with either a clear or smoked glass chimney. It is $324 from Danish Design Store.

    henry dean hurricane lantern ; Gardenista

    Above: A medium size Tournon Clear Hurricane by Belgium-based glassmaker Henry Dean is $210 from Marche.

    Hurricane lantern - Gardenista

    Above: An Addison Hurricane available in two sizes is on sale at Crate & Barrel; $39.97 (shown) or $14.97 depending on size.

    Simple hurricane lanterns candle holders; Gardenista

    Above: Available in three sizes, cylindrical Simple Hurricanes are priced from $19 to $39 depending on size at West Elm.

    Glass hurricane lantern metal handle ; Gardenista

    Above: A 7-inch Glass Hurricane Lantern from Smith & Hawken has an iron handle; $12.99 from Target.

    Simon Pearce hurricane lantern candle holder ; Gardenista

    Above: Handmade in the US, a Nantucket Hurricane from Simon Pearce is made of lead-free glass; $190.

    tin-and-glass-hurricane-lantern-gardenista

    Above: A Stornoway Lantern with a powder coated steel base in charcoal has a removable chimney; £30 from Garden Trading.

    For more flattering outdoor lighting, see:

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    Paris-based ceramicist Cécile Deladier's delicate, hand-formed vases show off the charms of single stems—any flower, really, that you picked a minute ago from the garden.

    We love Deladier's work so much that we sent Alexa to France to visit her studio a few months ago. Now that her tiny, one-of-a-kind vases are on offer at Portland, Oregon-based Alder & Co., the big question around here is: which one do we want most?

    Cecile Deladier studio atelier Paris ; Gardenista

    Above: Says Alexa, "Cécile's pieces begin with clay derived from the earth in the Drôme in southeastern France. She mixes it in an industrial bread mixer. When firing each piece over an open flame, she wears a rubber bodysuit and mask for protection, and must add wood constantly to keep the fire burning strong. When she extracts the pottery at peak temperature, the pieces still glow red from the heat."

    white-ceramic-vase-cecile-deladier-gardenista.

    Above: A round white and gray vase with five cylinders to hold flower stems, Ceramic Piece No. 2 is 5 inches wide and 4 inches tall; $315 from Alder & Co.

    White gray round ceramic vase Cecile Deladier ; Gardenista

    Above: The internal cylinders serve the same practical purpose as a florist's frog; they hold individual stems in place.

    Ivory gray crackle glaze vase Cecile Deladier ; Gardenista

    Above: A small glazed ivory vase with gray crackles has seven holes for individual stems; the Ceramic Piece No. 7 is $115.

    White chalk bud vase Cecile Deladier ; Gardenista

    Above: A round, chalk-colored bud vase has one small hole. The Ceramic Piece No. 8 measures 2.5 inches wide by 2 inches tall and is $115.

    Blush pink flower vase Cecile Deladier ; Gardenista

    Above: Blush pink, a tiny round vase with six holes measures 1 inch tall and 2.5 inches wide; Ceramic Piece No. 6 is $115.

    Cecile Deladier ceramic glazed vase ; Gardenista

    Above: Ceramic Piece No. 1 can accommodate a garden's worth of flowers; it has both tall cylinders and small holes and is $315.

    Cecile Deladier Paris atelier studio ; Gardenista

    Above: Deladier's ceramic pieces, on display in her light-filled studio in Paris.

    See more of Deladier's work in:

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    In the garden, long-handled forks bear great responsibility: It's their job to break up compacted soil, spread a layer of straw mulch around the roots of the roses, and aerate the compost. Buy a high-quality tool to last a lifetime. Here are our 10 favorite garden forks:

    Burgon & Ball Garden Diggint Fork ; Gardenista

    Above: From British toolmaker Burgon & Ball, a Digging Fork with an ash handle and a comfortable Y grip is £39.95.

    Sneeboer garden digging fork ; Gardenista

    Above: Lighter in weight than a four-tine fork, a three-tine Digging Fork from Sneeboer has flat tines to make it easier to slice through compacted soil; for prices and dealers, see Sneeboer.

    PKS copper garden fork ; Gardenista

    Above: Copper tools enrich soil with trace elements as you work, do not rust, and last longer than iron. From Austrian toolmaker PKS, an Antares Copper Border Fork is €156.

    Garden pitchfork ; Gardenista

    A large Bonfire Fork is useful for pitching hay or leaves; £18 from Garden Trading.

    Garden steel digging fork ; Gardenista

    Above: A steel Digging Fork with four rust-proof painted tines is "simply indestructible" and is $83.50 from Garrett Wade.

    Joseph Bentley garden fork ; Gardenista

    Above: From British horticultural tool company Joseph Bentley (est. 1895), a Long-Handle Fork has rolled tines and small tread on the top of the fork so you can brace a foot for leverage; $49.95 from Williams-Sonoma. 

    Garden digging fork steel and ash ; Gardenista

    Above: A hand-forged Stainless Steel Digging Fork has an extra long neck and an ash handle; €147 from Manufactum.

    Clarington Forge garden forks ; Gardenista

    Above: Handmade in northern England since 1780, a Clarington Forge Garden Fork comes with a lifetime guarantee; available in two handle lengths (28 inches and 32 inches, for gardeners taller than 5 foot 5 inches) and at prices that range from $85 to $90 depending on size at The Tool Merchants.

    Garden digging fork ; Gardenista

    Above: Forged from a single piece of metal, a Digging Fork by British toolmakers Spear & Jackson has no welds or joints and is $69.99 from Grow Organic.

    Compost digging fork from Desit ; Gardenista

    Above: A Compost Fork from DeWit Tools has sharp, thin, curved tines to and measures 45 inches long: $49.35 from Garden Tool Company.

    For more, see:

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  • 07/08/15--07:00: Landscaping 101: Mulch
  • If mulch were a new invention, gardeners would tout it as a miracle. Spreading a thin layer of material on top of garden soil smothers weeds, prevents both erosion and compaction, and slows evaporation so much that you can cut water use by 50 percent. Wondering which kind to use? Read on for everything you ever wanted to know about mulch:

    mulch-black-wood-chips-gardenista

    Above: For more of this garden, see Architect Visit: Barbara Chambers at Home in Mill Valley.

    What is mulch? (And why does it have such an unlovely name?)

    In the 1400s, the English described things that were soft or moist as molsh, which may be the parent of the word "mulch."   Certainly a lot of mulch we spread as a cover layer in gardens is soft and moist. I am referring here to organic mulch, of course, those materials that were once alive—wood chips, grass clippings, straw—and are now in the process of breaking down and returning to the earth from whence they came. 

    Today mulch is a catchall term to describe any protective layer on top of the soil, which is how inorganic materials such as gravel managed to get themselves onto the list.

      Landscaping mulch types for garden beds ; Gardenista

    What are the best kinds of mulch?

    Wood chips: Hardwood and softwood chips are byproducts produced mainly by the lumber industry and both make good mulch, with the added benefit of coming in different sizes. You can choose shredded bark or nuggets to get the look you like.  

    Pine needles: Slow to break down, pine needles are a fragrant and long-lasting choice. You can add another layer every few months or you can rake up a dry, brittle layer and send it the compost pile before replacing it with a layer of fresh needles.

    Straw: Lightweight and easy to work with, straw—typically from alfalfa or cereal crops—is a natural color that will disappear neutrally into the background instead of screaming for attention.

    Grass clippings: The main ingredient in fresh grass clippings is water, which enables them to break down quickly when you use them as mulch. As they decompose, grass clippings will release nutrients—including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium—into the soil. 

    Aged Compost: Full of nutrients, a layer of compost enriches the soil beneath it. 

    Gravel: Both small stones (smooth edges) and rock (jagged) mulches are attractive, crunch satisfyingly underfoot, and last a long time. Caveat: they also absorb the sun's heat, which can raise soil temperature and damage roots of sensitive plants.  

    Decomposed granite: As it requires no water and little maintenance, decomposed granite is an increasingly popular material to use on paths and walkways or as a mulch around the perimeter of raised beds.

    mulch-pea-gravel-gardenista

    Above: A pea-gravel path abuts a bed of mulch and bluestone pavers, neatly separated by a strip of metal edging. Photograph by Nicole Franzen for Gardenista. For more, see Hardscaping 101: Pea Gravel.

    How do I choose a type of mulch?

    Choosing a mulch depends on where you want to use it:

    Edible Gardens: Straw is a particularly good choice to mulch a vegetable garden because as it breaks down it will add nitrogen to the soil. Straw also is lightweight and easy to rake; you can mound it around the base of plants and it will stay put. Pine needles also will help create the acid-rich soil in which vegetables and berry bushes thrive.

    Paths: Stone, rock, and decomposed granite mulches make effective mulches for high-traffic walkways (rather than in garden beds) because they are more stable than organic materials. The weight of pebbles keeps them from blowing away in wind or washing away in rain. 

    Flower Beds: Wood chips or bark will stay in place, break down slowly, and create an attractively uniform backdrop for flowering plants and their foliage.

    Beneath Trees: Spreading large wood chips around a trunk can have a protective effect against lawn mower blades and weed whackers that might otherwise come too close and nick the base.

    courtney klein garden sf storq ; Gardenista

    Above: In San Francisco, clothing designer Courtney Klein and her husband turned their Mission District backyard into one big edible garden, with raised beds separated by wood chip mulch. For more of her garden, see Steal This Look: An Urban Edible Garden in San Francisco.

    Do's and Don'ts

    Gardenista, Truth About Homemade Weed Killer, image by Michelle Gervais via Fine Gardening

    Above: Mulch effectively prevents weeds in Justine's garden in Boston. See more of her tips in Landscaping 101: Pros and Cons of Homemade Weed Killer.

    Do:

    • Do spread a thin layer of mulch—typically, 2 to 3 inches deep—to get maximum benefits.
    • Do remove and replace mulch every year In garden beds with disease-prone plants (such as roses). You can recycle the used mulch by putting it under trees.)

    Mulch wood chips cold frame ; Gardenista

    Above: For more of this garden, see Steal This Look: An Urban Edible Garden in San Francisco.

    Don't: 

    • Don't use grass clippings as mulch if the grass has been treated within the past 30 days with commercial weed killers or pesticides—you don't want to spread those chemicals to other parts of the garden.
    • Don't use compost as mulch until it is well aged—fresh compost can "burn" sensitive plants and young seedlings.

    mulch compost vegetable garden hoop house ; Gardenista

    Above: For more of this garden, see Gone Wild: How to Grow Vegetables in the Middle of Nowhere

    How much does mulch cost?

    Prices for mulch materials range from free—for pine needles or grass clippings from your own garden—to pea gravel (small pebbles), which costs about $5 a square foot. The cost of wood chips falls somewhere in between. Typically sold in bags of 2 or 3 cubic feet, a 2-cubic-foot bag of Black Hardwood Mulch is $3.33 from Lowe's. A Mulch Brick block of compressed organic coir, (which hydrates to 2 cubic feet) is $14.95 from Gardener's.

    How much mulch do I need?

    You can figure out how much to buy using an easy Mulch Calculator (just input the square footage you want to cover and the depth of the mulch).

    straw mulch strawberry plants ; Gardenista

    Above: For more ideas about how to use straw as mulch, see Straw Mulch, the Ultimate Winter Garden Blanket.

    Designing a garden? Find out more about our favorite hardscape materials:

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    As a florist and flower lover, I like to see flowers put to good use. The downside of working in the world of floral design is that there's a considerable amount of floral waste. Leftover flower scraps and past-their-prime blossoms too often find their way to the landfill.

    I hate to see them go, even when blooms are old, dying, and no longer suitable for making arrangements. I especially hate it when I think about how many flowers get thrown away every day. So when I heard that Cara Marie Piazza, a textile designer in New York City, uses floral trash as one of the many ingredients for her natural dyes, I had to learn more. 

    A trip to her studio confirmed that I have a newfound obsession with her work.  

    Photography by Sophia Moreno-Bunge for Gardenista, except where noted.

    Natural Dyes | Gardenista

    Above: Cara Marie Piazza's natural dye studio.

    On a mission to find sustainable alternatives to the harsh synthetic chemicals and dyes used in the fashion industry, Cara collects floral leftovers from florists around New York City and uses them to dye her fabrics, transforming trash into textiles worth treasuring. Each textile she sells online at Cara Marie NYC is one of a kind—some with colors that serve as reminders of the flowers' past vibrancy, and others in softer, more subtle hues.  

    Natural Dye with Flowers | Gardenista

    Above: Flowers Cara will use for a "bundle" dye. 

    Cara first experimented in textiles while studying at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. She began as a screen and digital printer, but found she didn't enjoy the process of working on a computer to create textiles. After taking a natural dye workshop, she was hooked. A self-proclaimed brown thumb and a lack of space to grow her own dye plants led Cara to start using flower and food waste as dye. She became addicted to "watching the experiments take form like a witch's brew." More than that, she explains: "Natural dyeing offered me a chance to be an urban alchemist and move my work away from my computer."

    Natural Dyeing with Flowers | Gardenista

    Above: Cara making a bundle dye with flower trash rolled onto a white backdrop.

    Natural Dyeing | Gardenista

    Above: Bundles (rolled with flowers) get steamed over a large vat of water to release the plant dyes onto the fabric.

    Natural Dyes | Gardenista

    Above: This textile was dyed for four hours with an assortment of red and green eucalyptus leaves, dahlia, and rose. Then it was dip-dyed in madder and set with white wine vinegar.

    Pressed Flowers for Natural Dye | Gardenista

    Above: Extra flowers that Cara will dry first, and then use as dye. 

    In addition to culling from the waste piles of New York's florists, one of Cara's recent projects involves partnering with NYC restaurants to intercept their food waste. She's recently partnered with Reynard of the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, using the restaurant's Brussels sprout, cabbage, and onion skin leftovers to make dye. 

    Natural Dyeing | Gardenista

    Above: A silk scarf was dyed with twice-extracted madder and dried hibiscus. Photograph by Alberto Moreau.

    Natural Dyeing | Gardenista

    Above: A silk scarf in an itajime shibori pattern, dyed with logwood, iron sulphate, madder, and turmeric. Photograph by Alberto Moreau.

    Natural Dyes | Gardenista

    Above: A silk scarf dyed with madder, iron sulphate and turmeric in an itajime shibori print. Photography by Alberto Moreau.

    Stay tuned: Cara is working on a line of housewares using DIY: Indigo Dye

    Interested in more posts on natural dye? See:

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    You don't have to be an admirer of the Bloomsbury Group to appreciate the allure of Charleston Farmhouse, the literary circle's outpost in East Sussex. On a late afternoon its garden shimmers for us: 

    Photography by Kendra Wilson.

    Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, by Kendra Wilson. Gardenista

    Above: At Charleston time appears to have stopped somewhere in the 1950s, although its well-known inhabitants Vanessa Bell (Virginia Woolf's sister), her children, and her life-partner Duncan Grant moved in halfway through World War I. Their sensibilities and those of their friends were modernist: they had their own design for living.

    The lawn gently slopes down from Vanessa's ground floor bedroom (past which the head gardener rushes, Above). It was converted from a storeroom after her ex-husband Clive moved into Charleston just before World War II and requisitioned the best rooms for himself. A very charming house guide tells us by way of explanation that Clive Bell paid most of the rent, introduced heating, and kept a very fine cellar.

    Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, by Kendra Wilson. Gardenista

    Above: The first thing to know about Charleston is that it really is on a farm, down a rough track. Tractors still charge past women in interesting shoes, wearing the odd smock.

    Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, by Kendra Wilson. Gardenista

    Above: The framework of the garden at Charleston (formal layout, unruly plantings) remains fresh and uncomplicated: "The garden looks formal in winter," says Mark Divall, the head gardener. "The brick paths and beds form a frame; within that it's plant anarchy in summer."

    Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, by Kendra Wilson. Gardenista

    Above: Dorothy Parker observed about the Bloomsbury Group that they "lived in squares, painted in circles, and loved in triangles." How right she was. Vanessa Bell's devotion to (mainly gray) circles, is evident in every room of the house and is reflected outside, in the round clumps of santolina that surround the central square-ish lawn.

    Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, by Kendra Wilson. Gardenista

    Above: In the opinion of the painter Duncan Grant, England suffers from being "too green." Bell, Grant, and friends were devoted to France and Italy, importing as much continental garden style as they could. This included the idea of gray foliage, but in the end green does thrive more easily in this garden, especially in the shade of numerous fruit trees.

    Charleston little pond Vanessa Bell garden ; Gardenista

    Above: This santolina (or cotton lavender) grows hard and has its flower buds removed to keep it compact.

    Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, by Kendra Wilson. Gardenista

    Above: An Italian "piazza" was created at the bottom of the walled garden, to trap the afternoon sun.

    Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, by Kendra Wilson. Gardenista

    Above: The garden at Charleston is surrounded by flint walls. On the other side is an old farm pond, given the Italian effect with statuary.

    Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, by Kendra Wilson. Gardenista

    Above: In 1916 Virginia Woolf (who lived just over the South Downs at Rodmell) saw that this former bed-and-breakfast was empty. She urged her sister Vanessa to take it. (See Required Reading: Virginia Woolf's Garden).

    Charleston was only ever rented over the years, from the Firle estate. This did not stop its artist-tenants from covering the walls in their own way, nor its only wealthy tenant (Clive Bell) from putting in extensive changes, including new bathrooms. When Duncan Grant died in 1978, the farmhouse was due for a white wash and general overhaul. It was the art historian Deborah Gage (who had family connections with Firle) who appreciated the value of Charleston and saved it from oblivion.

    Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, by Kendra Wilson. Gardenista

    Above: A great deal of research went into the restoration of the garden, which involved studying the paintings of flowers by Vanessa, Duncan, and friends to discover what was growing in the garden. Vanessa Bell's intention was to make an artist's garden, undoubtedly influenced by that of Claude Monet at Giverny. 

    Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, by Kendra Wilson. Gardenista

    Above: No visit to Charleston should be undertaken without a house tour. Our guide was emphatic in trying to explain that Duncan Grant was "utterly irresistible;" an attempt, one feels, to explain his promiscuity. As we stand in Duncan's studio, built by Roger Fry and opening on to the garden, our guide asks whether we all feel inspired to re-decorate in the Charleston style. I'm afraid my answer is an emphatic "No." The garden on the other hand is a different matter.

    Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, by Kendra Wilson. Gardenista

    Above: When Mark, the head gardener, kindly leaves me to wander around after the visitors have gone home, the light changes and the flower-tangled paths become even more alive. Atmosphere? Charleston has it in spades.

    For more of the Bloomsbury effect, see:

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    Raised beds are a garden designer's secret weapon, and not just because they look good. A raised bed is a microclimate of fertile soil where flowers flourish and herbs and edibles co-exist peacefully with trailing nasturtiums.

    Perhaps you worry that you don't have enough room for raised beds or that a raised bed or two will disrupt the design of your garden? Allow us to us change your mind, with these 10 innovative ideas for adding raised beds to a garden.

    N.B.: Looking for practical advice about how to build DIY raised beds, how big to make them, or what materials to use? See our design guide at Hardscaping 101: Raised Garden Beds.

    The New Front Yard

    london-edible-garden-front-yard-sam-tisdall-gardenista

    Above: In London, architect Sam Tisdall designed a tiny 800-square-foot house with an enormous vegetable garden in raised beds in the front yard. For more, see Garden Visit: The Little House at No. 24a Dorset Road.

    Seaside Sprawl

    brewster-garden-edible-kitchen-vegetables-gardenista

    Above: At their summer house in Little Compton, Rhode Island, Dan and Dara Brewster ceded much of the lawn (and view) to a sprawling kitchen garden with raised beds. For more, see Rhode Island Roses: A Seaside Summer Garden in New England.

    Triple Threat

    Raised beds garden Charlotte Rowe London ; Gardenista

    Above: In London, landscape designer Charlotte Rowe created symmetry with three side-by-side raised beds of equal proportions. For more of her work, see Before & After: A Jet-Black Garden with White Jasmine Perfume.

    A Stacked Deck

    Stacked raised beds garden ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph via Flickr.

    Tiered raised beds create extra growing space in a small garden. In a sprawling garden, stacked beds look sculptural and become a focal point in the landscape. For more, see Design Sleuth: Stacked Raised Beds for the Garden.

    Edible Backyard

    decomposed-granite-edible-garden-raised-beds-gardenista

    Above: LA-based garden designer Lauri Kranz uses decomposed granite to surround raised beds in a vegetable garden, creating weed-free walkways. For more, see Low Cost Luxury: 9 Ideas To Use Decomposed Granite in a Landscape.

    Lawn Begone

    Backyard-landscaping-edible-garden-gardenista

    Above: Instead of being swallowed by lawn, a tiny cottage becomes a destination defined by its large, squared-off raised-bed garden. For more, see 11 Best Backyard Landscaping Ideas of 2015. 

    Tennis, Anyone?

    frances-palmer-tennis-court-kitchen-garden-gardenista  

    Above: Ceramicist Frances Palmer transformed a neglected tennis court into a verdant garden, using the surface as a foundation for rows of raised beds. For more, see Steal This Look: An Old Tennis Court Turned Kitchen Garden.

    A Concrete Plan

    Concrete raised beds by Kathleen Ferguson in southern California ; Gardensita

    Above: LA-based landscape designer Kathleen Ferguson transforms a sunny corner of a garden into a mini edible garden with a closely clustered collection of small raised beds. For another of her gardens, see New Glamor for Old Hollywood: A Visit to Howard Hughes' Garden.

    Black Beauty

    victoria-skoglund-raised-garden-beds-black-Gardenista.

    Above: Blogger Victoria Skoglund stained her raised beds black to focus attention on them in her garden. For more, see Hardscaping 101: Raised Garden Beds.

    Sunset magazine raised bed garden ; Gardenista

    Above: Sunset designers created a checkerboard effect with raised beds, with a single variety of plant in each box in a demonstration garden at the magazine's Celebration Weekend 2015

    For more:

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  • 07/09/15--09:00: Field Guide: Tomatoes
  • Tomatoes: "Wolf Peaches"

    Tomatoes are something like that co-worker who sweetly wears pencil skirts and cardigans, and is all sunshine and timely expense reports. Then she starts telling you about the motorcycle she just bought and the skydiving lessons that are her New Year's resolution. Tomatoes, like her, have a dark side. They're in the nightshade family, after all, kin to the traditional witchy plants, foxglove, and belladonna.

    Tomatoes bewitch most gardeners too, with their beautiful vines and plentiful fruit. But they also require plenty of sunlight, regular irrigation and fertilization, and, most importantly, the right timing. Seasoned gardeners generally have their own laundry list of tricks and tips, and I am no exception. Below, my advice for novice tomato growers:

    Field Guide Tomatoes: Gardenista

    Leave nothing to chance. If you plan to start tomatoes from seed, check with neighbors or local extension agents to get the exact right time for your region. Plant too soon, and your seedlings will have outgrown their pots more than once before the weather warms up. Too late, and you'll still have green plants in August.

    More than 7,500 varieties of tomatoes exist. There are a number of ways to narrow the options: Choose between cherry, plum, or regular-sized fruit. Decide on bush or staking plants. If you want to get the whole crop of fruit at once, pick the determinate variety. For a harvest period that extends over several weeks, get indeterminate. Finally, select for length of growing period: for cold climates, the earlier the better. Once you find a perfect fit, be aware that tomato plants can be prolific, so choose sparingly and plant just a few seeds of each variety. (For more photos and recipes for Tomatoes, see our Gardenista Gallery.)

      Tomato on vine with suckers bamboo stake ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Melanie M. via Flickr.

    On indeterminate tomato plants, the fruit ripens one by one, rather than all at once. For the best harvest, you'll need to snap or snip off the suckers—the lighter-colored vines that sprout between the V's made by the leader branches. Removing the suckers sends energy down the main vines.

    Tomato seedlings ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Karen Jackson via Flickr.

    Cheat Sheet

    • Treat tomato plants as an ornamental, interplanting them with flowers in your garden. Why not take advantage of the plant's beauty—the pale yellow flowers and dark green foliage, not to mention the fruit, in so many shades of green, red, yellow, purple, white, black, and pink?
    • The tomato's delicate nature makes it a perfect choice for backyard gardens. Home-grown fruit fresh off the vine is far tastier than the grocery-store variety. You lose flavor even during the journey from the farmer's market to home.
    • The tomato plant's flowers and fruit attract pollinators, and the dark green foliage sets off any flower bed beautifully. 
    Keep It Alive
    • Side-dress your tomato plants with compost in spring when they blossom, and again after they start to set fruit. That makes the plants resilient enough to withstand chilly temperatures on late-summer nights.
    • Live in a cold climate? Stick with cherry and plum varieties, choose heirloom seeds bred for early yield and cold hardiness, and time your starts so they'll be ready when the ground thaws and temperatures warm—not before.
    • Don't sneeze at container gardening. Especially with cherry varieties, you can grow very tasty tomatoes indoors. 

      Kitchen Memories Lucy Boyd cookbook tomatoes ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Laura Edwards.

    A bit of history: The original tomato gardeners, Mesoamerican people like the Aztecs and Pueblos, ate tomatoes cooked, and believed the seeds could aid in divination. Following colonization, the seeds of those plants slowly spread across continents, meeting resistance in some places. Tomatoes are now a staple of cuisines from South America and North America all the way to North Africa. 

    Sliced grape tomatoes ; Gardenista

    Above: For one of our favorite easy tomato recipes, check out Irresistible Vegetable Soup in 30 Minutes or Less. Looking for a good summer salad? See Summertime Delicacies: Corn and Tomato Salad. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    Black tomato ; Gardenista

    Above: When ripe, Indigo Rose tomatoes turn almost dark purple—and are loaded with antioxidants. Seeds available from Johnny's Seeds. For more, see Why We Need a Blue Tomato.

    Planting a summer garden? Read about more of our favorite edibles, including Carrots, Chives, and Rosemary in our Field Guide archive. 

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    Here's a look at a few things we loved this week. 

    Joseph Dupius Shipping Containter Home | Gardenista

    The Sill tours the Singapore Botanical Garden | Gardenista

    Copenhagen Pavilion via Dezeen | Gardenista

    • Above: The rooftop of Around Pavillion, a new outdoor venue in Copenhagen, peeks over hedges at the Roesenborg Castle. 
    • 10 steps to make a floral centerpiece

    Instagram and Pinterest Pick of the Week

    Gardenista Instagram Pick of the Week: @amberthrane

    • Above: Our latest Instagram discovery is stylist and photographer Amber Thrane (@amberthrane). 

    Gardenista Pinterest Pick of the Week: Dara Artisans, Outdoor Board

    • Warmer temperatures have us dining al fresco. We're looking to Dara Artisans' Outdoor Dining board for inspiration.

    For more recent posts, see our Country House issue and head over to Remodelista to read their week dedicated to New Americana

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    Spread over 35 acres of California's high desert, artist Andrea Zittel's otherworldly studio compound on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park features a dozen freestanding pods that look like compact trailers from Mars. 

    Zittel, a longstanding international art star represented by Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York and Regen Projects in LA, among others, describes her work as "encompassing all aspects of day-to-day living: home, furniture, clothing, food, all become the sites of investigation in an ongoing endeavor to better understand human nature and the social construction of needs."

    The home base for her study, A-Z West is a destination; Zittel invites kindred spirits to come and stay for up to a month at a time in spring and fall. Consider this our application. 

    Photography via TRNK, unless otherwise noted.

    Above: Rising amid the boulders, Zittel's flip-top living units are made of steel, aluminum, MDF, and Lexan. Residents can sleep in the open or pull down the roof for shade and protection from the wind.

    Above: Single-size Wagon Stations are furnished with a mattress, shelf, hooks, sun hat (essential in these parts), flashlight, and brush for removing sand. Visitors stay free of charge, and the rules of the compound include pitching in an hour every morning on upkeep and kitchen duties.

    Above: Some of Zittel's sleeping units are scaled for one, others for a family, and several have been customized by artists in residence. 

    Zittel moved to the desert in 2000, established her setup as a nonprofit, and has been building a creative community since then. "We believe there are many ways to live, and that learning from others can offer new insight and perspectives on ourselves and the everyday environments we may think we already know well," she says. 

    Above: The encampment has a communal kitchen that rises in the sand. Though it looks as if the encampment stands on its own, the town of Joshua Tree isn't far.

    Above: The structure, and tables too, are composed of concrete block and wood. Partial walls help keep out the sand.

    Above: Zittel's bare-bones design is detailed with steel storage cubes overhead. Bowls of various sizes are used for serving food and drink.

    Initially water had to be trucked to the site, but eventually Zittel received a grant to build a well. Propane stoves are used for cooking and there's no fridge. Zittel advises prospective guests: "Ideally you will be a kitchen cleaner, a cool chest organizer, and you won’t mind sometimes making extra coffee to share with others in the morning." Photograph via A-Z West.

    Above: An open-air shower area is situated on the other side of the wall, and elsewhere there are composting toilets.

    "Our time at A-Z West was one of reflection, where everyday actions like preparing meals and going to the bathroom were reconsidered. Our movements were dictated by the elements—finding warmth in the mornings, shade in the afternoons, and shelter in downtown Joshua Tree during a few particularly brutal windstorms," writes visitor Nick Nemechek of magazine/design shop TRNK. "By distilling the camp to the minimum, the artist challenged our relationship to the many objects we indiscriminately consider essential...The experience has made me an infinitely more discerning consumer of objects, space, and time."

    Above: Nestled at the foot of a rocky slope overlooking a valley, A-Z West is a two-hour drive east of LA. The colony also includes Zittel's home and studio, three shipping containers converted into additional sleeping quarters, and a chicken coop. Learn more and explore Zittel's far-ranging body of work and her blog at A-Z.

    Intrigued? Here are two more creative hubs worth knowing about: Villa Lena, an Artist Residency and Hotel in Tuscany and Fogo Island Artist Studios in Newfoundland.

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    Design collective Nak Nak has a new collection of wire house numbers with a retro vibe reminiscent of old neon signs in show windows.

    The steel numbers by Stockholm-based designers Kyuhyung Cho and Erik Olovsson are available in mix-and-match colors:

    wire house numbers curb appeal ; Gardenista

    Above: Each numeral measures approximately 4.2 inches high and is available in black, red, yellow, green, white, or blue.

    wire-house-number-nak-nak-5-gardenista

    Above: Bent by hand by skilled craftsmen, each wire number has its own design idiosyncrasies.

    wire-house-number-nak-nak-7-gardenista

    Above: "Inspired by the motion 'knock knock,' NakNak means to knock on people’s mental doors and gently bring a new level of organization to their daily lives," say the design collective's organizers.

    http://www.naknakdesign.com/product/item/13-WIRE_NUMBER

    Above: For more information and prices of the wire house numbers, see Nak Nak Design.

    Looking for house numbers? For more of our favorites, see:

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    The Remodelista editors spent the week "we shining a light on the best of homegrown, made-in-the-US design." Here's what they discovered:

    houseboat Berkeley CA; Gardenista  

    Above: In California, Meredith boarded a Remodeled Berkeley Houseboat and found "a lesson in how to get maximum value out of a remodel—on land or sea."

    reclaimed wool potholders ; Gardenista

    Above: Julie discovered summer-cabin-worthy Zero-Waste Potholders made from discontinued fabrics and scraps from a mill in the Pacific Northwest.  

    Bathroom sink bedroom cabin cottage ; Gardenista

    Above: Small space living made spacious: Justine revealed 6 Tips for Maximizing Storage in a Minimal Bath.

    desk and table fans ; Gardenista

    Above: Direct a blast of cool air where you need it more with 10 Easy Pieces: Table and Desk Fans.

    DIY bathroom hanging tray ; Gardenista

    Above: DIY hack of the week: Use a galvanized tray from Sausalito, California-based Roost to make a Hanging Tray for a Bathroom.

    Catch up on the rest of Remodelista's coverage of new American design at New Americana.

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