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Sourcebook for Cultivated Living

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    If only we could identify our particular succulents, we’d know how to keep our little friends happy—no more droopy, shriveled leaves, yellowing stems, or threats of sudden death. At least that’s the theory. This is the third installment of our Succulents Explained series (you can identify Kalanchoes and Sedums and Crassulas and Sempervivums with tips from […]

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    Among the things we’re noting this week: the return of a favorite magazine, two spring must-reads, and more. Michelle reports that Bird Talk magazine has made a comeback; catch up on all the latest here. We’re curious about Understory, a new urban ecology fair, workshop, and plant lab in Brooklyn, from April 28 to 29. […]

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  • 03/10/18--01:00: Gardening 101: Poppy Anemone
  • Poppy Anemone, A. coronaria: “Lilies of the Field” Of the more than 100 species of perennial anemones, the colorful poppy anemone is one you are likely to see in spring gardens (and to covet for yours). With its large, velvety petals and wide range of colors, Anemone coronaria flowers also find their way frequently into […]

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    “I wish we’d stop growing potatoes, carrots, and onions,” says Mark Diacono. “Life is too short to grow unremarkable food.” Welcome to Throwback Sundays: Readers’ Favorite Posts from the Past. Diacono, award-winning blogger, author, and photographer (and head gardener at River Cottage HQ), says: Don’t grow things because you think you should: Instead make a […]

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    Artificial grass has been gaining ground—and a reputation for being eco-friendly because it doesn’t need water, fertilizer, or to be mowed. Plus, the newest generation of artificial grass often looks good enough to fool us into thinking it’s real. But have we been too quick to extol the virtues of artificial grass? After Michelle included […]

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    With the official start of outdoor dining season weeks away, it’s time to take stock. We’ve rounded up a selection of rectangular wooden tables suitable for dining in the open air. They all meet the requirements for longevity, capacity, simplicity (and in some cases, expandability). Here are 10 favorites. Are you designing or updating a […]

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  • 03/12/18--03:00: Gardening 101: Plum Trees
  • Plum Tree, Prunus: “Early and Late” Plum trees open and close the growing year. They are among the loveliest and earliest trees to blossom after winter, and their fruit is one of the last to ripen in late summer. In Japan plums are celebrated for their blossoms, with ume festivals preceding the more famous Hanami (cherry blossom […]

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    In California, our architecture is young. We joined the Union in 1848 and since then have endured so many biblical calamities in the form of fires and earthquake that it’s a shock to find any building with a history that dates to 1850—much less a grand Spanish-style mansion with a pillared front porch and a […]

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    Three weeks before last year’s hurricane, Key West–based landscape architect Craig Reynolds completed a new tropical garden for one of the best-known Victorian cottages in the island’s historic Old Town district. The property is on a quiet lane where five houses share a handful of parking spaces; visitors arrive on foot. In addition to being […]

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  • 03/13/18--01:00: 10 Easy Pieces: Flower Frogs
  • The flower frog is the florist’s best friend, creating a secure base for flowers that would otherwise flop. We’ve rounded up 10 flower frogs in two styles—with sturdy holes to hold soft stems or with spiky metal prongs to spear spindly stalks or woody twigs. Metal Prong Flower Frogs Ceramic Flower Frogs For more help […]

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    As our Living Color week comes to a close, we’re circling back to a few favorite Irish gardens (and foraged, Emerald Isle-inspired cocktails) and noting a new trend: plant swaps (just in time for spring gardening). Take notes: And: garden ideas to steal from Ireland (including how to get the perfect patina on terra cotta […]

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    In chef Alice Waters’s house in Berkeley, California, “a small table…has a view out to her edible garden. This is where Alice likes to start her day, with a cup of tea and some reading,” writes the photographer Leslie Williamson, who visited the Chez Panisse founder (and a dozen other eminent Californians) at home for […]

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    If you are like me, you are probably pretty good at the parlor game of identifying certain plants: the flowers your grandmother grew in her garden, the pine cones you spray-painted gold in third grade, and forsythia (if blooming). Unfortunately this is not that helpful when you come across some new plant growing on the […]

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    When repotting a houseplant or transplanting seedlings to a window box, the urban gardener has to answer a basic container-gardening question: Is it OK to reuse potting soil? Or should I start fresh? The basic answer is yes, it’s possible to reuse potting soil. But first do a few things to perk it up–and replace its […]

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  • 03/18/18--23:00: Gardening 101: Kalanchoes
  • Kalanchoe, Kalanchoe blossfeldiana: “Flaming Katy” Last week, on a raw gray March afternoon I happened to walk by a small grocery shop in my Brooklyn neighborhood and was halted in my tracks by a group of succulents in radiant bloom, covered with tiny, star-shaped yellow, red, and orange flowers: kalanchoes. These floriferous beauties are just the thing […]

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    For years designer Russell Woodard’s midcentury mesh wire chairs were out of production, the province of in-the-know collectors who would pick them up at yard sales and vintage shops. (An original chair, dated 1950, is in the Cooper-Hewitt museum’s permanent collection.) In 2015, Woodard Furniture reintroduced the Sculptura collection (now available at Design Within Reach). Since then we’ve […]

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    Instagram offers a rich vein of inspiration for houseplant lovers, from fellow enthusiasts around the world. Here are my top 10 houseplant accounts to follow, from Cairo to Canada. Warsaw, Poland @warsawjungle They also photograph other houseplant lovers in their city. Look out for… they’ve even created a Spotify playlist for their plants. Cairo, Egypt […]

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  • 03/20/18--00:00: Gardening 101: Basil
  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum): “Tomato’s Best Friend” Basil is all about freshness. The herb’s associations with summer are so strong that dried basil is unthinkable. Starting from seed? Sow basil six weeks before the last frost. This will ensure a steady supply for summertime suppers. Basil needs to be added to cooked food at the end […]

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    An arched arbor can be one of the most effective elements in a garden design. Unlike a trellis, which acts like a wall, an arbor should welcome visitors and frame a tantalizing view of the garden they’re about to enter. If you’re shopping for an arbor, consider function first. For people to walk comfortably beneath […]

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    My first foray into flower arranging was using statice and dried roses to make wreaths and potpourri in high school. At some point I shamefully hid my roots after dried flowers fell out of fashion and I became annoyed by bunches of dusty petals. Now trends have come full circle again and I see statice […]

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