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Sourcebook for Cultivated Living

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    With the abundance of grocery stores and fresh markets today, I never fully understood why anyone would choose to spend hours toiling over the canning process. That is, until I grew a garden of my own. I had overplanted my veggies last year by a long shot, and found myself at harvest time trying to […]

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    A look at what’s on our radar, this first weekend of March and looking toward spring. On the eve of the Oscars, looking back at one of our favorite cinematic gardens of the season (hint: the peaches were “stuck” on). And just in time for our Plant-Based Diet week, Meredith spotted these seasonal food wheels: […]

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    Waiting for spring can make you as antsy as waiting for Christmas when you were a kid. Will it ever get here? And then it arrives suddenly…and there’s no more luxurious time to scheme or dream. We think of winter as a gift—precious time to prepare for spring. Barb Pierson, nursery manager at White Flower Farm in Connecticut, […]

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    I’ve killed every succulent I’ve ever attempted to grow. Things start off well enough, but a few weeks after I bring one into my home, it starts to look spindly and sad before it gives up and dies. Despite hearing time and again about how foolproof succulents can be, I’ve never had luck. I have a hunch that […]

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  • 03/04/18--01:00: Gardening 101: Crocus
  • Crocus, Crocus:   “The Early Riser” What will heaven look like when we get there? Emily Dickinson predicted a springtime Resurrection, with “the feet of people walking home” amid clumps of crocuses. We’ll be in sandals. Above: For now we thank those tiny cup shaped flowers for making late February and early March bearable. Photograph by […]

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    Remember when gardens were outdoors instead of on Instagram? Maybe we can compromise. I spent a couple of hours on the sofa flipping through photos (#itsajob), the modern way to travel around the world to look at beautiful gardens and houseplant collections, and came up with a bunch of ideas we should be stealing for […]

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    Is a portable greenhouse the best weapon in a spring garden? My friend Kate, who grew up in Wisconsin where the growing season is very short, recommends germinating seeds in a mini greenhouse on a trolley that you can move to follow the sun. “My brother has one he wheels around his garden,” she says. […]

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    Quince is often the first sign of spring at the flower market. I breathe a deep sigh of relief upon the first sighting. You can’t go wrong with a large glass vase full of these architectural blossoms in any room. But I wanted to go beyond the obvious and play with quince as art, by […]

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    When a young couple found an aging, one-bedroom cottage for sale on the east side of Seattle’s desirable Capitol Hill neighborhood, they looked past its flaws and instead at its generous, 4,800-square-foot lot—and began to imagine making a permanent home there. First, the flaws: The couple required three bedrooms, not one, and wanted an “efficient, […]

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    The little black fence is our new must-have accessory for curb appeal. We’ve long been admirers of the clean, simple lines of hog wire fences, so it’s only natural that we’ve fallen hard for the dark elegance of black wire fencing. Did we mention that black wire fences are easy on the budget? Whether you […]

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    Too many people ignore curb appeal until it’s time to move. Then they spruce up the place for the next residents. How does this make sense? Every time you come home, the sight of your front door should give you the sort of euphoric endorphin rush that long-distance runners feel when they stop. Adding curb […]

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  • 03/06/18--04:00: Gardening 101: Dead Nettles
  • Dead Nettles, Lamium: “Colorful Carpet” I need to start with some honesty. Dead nettle is one of those plants that almost has everything going for it, until it doesn’t. The promise is that Lamiums are fast-growing perennial ground cover or container plants that brighten partly sunny spots and produce charming flowers. The reality is that […]

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    Soon after graduating from college, winemaker Rosemary Cakebread and her husband, Bruce, planted a tiny cabernet sauvignon vineyard in St. Helena, California. Three decades later, after a small expansion (they bought the property next door), Rosemary Cakebread’s organic vineyard, Gallica, is located on what she calls “two gravelly acres” and produces 1,000 cases of much-sought-after wine […]

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    Nothing concludes a satisfying stint in the yard like neatly wrapping up the hose. But a tranquil afternoon of gardening can deteriorate into a sweaty wrestling match if you have to manhandle 100 feet of synthetic rubber onto a hose holder. With a manually rewinding hose reel, a few turns of the crank zips the […]

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    Anyone who has seen a hellebore in a garden understands why these charming flowers have recently surged in popularity to become a sought-after ingredient in bridal bouquets, a must-have perennial in a shady bed, and the darlings of Instagram. With sweetly nodding heads, moody colors, and their willingness to bloom in winter when everything around them looks like dead sticks, hellebores are fairly perfect. With […]

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    If anyone other than my friend Amy Lindburg wanted to buy a Victorian two-flat in San Francisco in “almost original condition” with knob-and-tube electrical wiring and no central heat, I would have pointed out that the situation could easily become the sort of costly nightmare not seen since Mr. Blandings built his dream house. But […]

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    The yearbook at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut is called The Ivy, named after the ivy-covered buildings on the quadrangle. When I arrived there for my junior year, the fustian towers had been recently stripped of its evergreen vines; a pity since they must have been built with ivy in mind. College gothic is nothing […]

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    When designing a garden for a client, I consider every piece in the puzzle: the homeowner, the location of the house, the architecture, the current landscape, the hardscape—and the driveway. While a driveway may seem like an unglamorous aspect of the overall design (on a par with say, drainage), a driveway actually is one of […]

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    So much of garden-making is in the long game. Waiting for plants to fill out and to reach their potential can take years. But for anyone with a bare patch of soil or a blank slate of a garden, it’s perfectly possible to create something not only beautiful but also low-maintenance and sometimes budget-friendly in […]

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    Do they call it a “gut renovation” because its can be gut-wrenching? A kitchen remodel need not upset one’s equilibrium. This week the Remodelista editors tracked down new design trends (and checked in on some of their favorite go-to strategies). Here are five design ideas to steal for a kitchen remodel: 6 Cabinet Styles “Type […]

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