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Sourcebook for Cultivated Living

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    Hardly a garden feature comes to mind more charming than the garden gate. A personal favorite is the too-low-to-be-useful white picket fence with a gate that opens to a blowsy summer garden. But maybe even better is the oversized, heavy wooden gate that prevents passersby from peeking before it's opened, with a heavy push, to reveal the gardens within.

    In all styles—cottage gates, painted gates, minimalist gates—we love garden gates. Find your favorite in our Garden Gates Gallery

    Above: Made from recycled metal keeps the local predators away from an Edible Garden in Barcelona.

    Formal British Garden Gate Painted Turquoise Blue Green, Gardenista

    Above: This painted metal gate in England leads to a castle garden imbued with Brit Style

    Mediterranean Rustic Garden Gates on Stucco House in Spain, Gardenista

    Above: Befitting island living, this Mediterranean gate isn't really meant to keep visitors out.

    Garden Gate and White Picket Fence, Gardenista

    Above: The all-American white picket fence in true Summer Cottage style. 

    Black Painted Garden Gate Surrounded by Trees, Gardenista

    Above: This black-painted gate would make for an easy DIY

    Modern Concrete and Wood Garden Gate, Gardenista

    Above: An expressly modern gate leads to an all-Modern Garden

    Explore more in our gallery: Find The World's Best Houseplants

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    Did you just finish hanging a hard-to-reach houseplant? Worried about how you'll reach it for weekly waterings? Don't fret. We've found just the thing you're after.

    A new piece from a design favorite, Seattle-based Iacoli & McAllister: a step ladder inspired by the 1920s ladder in the workshop of the designer's grandfather. The body of the ladder is constructed from a matte black powder coat with brass hinges with two rungs made from pink washed oak treads. The caveat? This is a first look at the ladder which is not yet in production. But considering the popularity of Iacoli & McAllister's work, we expect to see it in shops soon.

    Above: The Step in pink is set to retail at $1,250, a serious price for seriously luxurious construction; Iacoli & McAllister are "only interested in making this stuff in the U.S."

    Above: Two planks of pink washed, hand finished oak in the front.

    For more from Jamie Iacoli and Brian McAllister, see Remodelista's previous posts: Brass Tacks Glam Lighting, Best in Show at ICFF: Wire Side Tables, and Upwardly Mobile Furniture.

    Looking for a ladder that's garden-ready? Let us suggest the Niwaki Tripod Ladder.

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    At the risk of stating the obvious, it's hard to find the best outdoor paint for your house. White is a classic, but choose the wrong shade and you'll end up with a very expensive mistake. 

    We wanted to take the guesswork out of choosing the best white paint for your house, so we asked the architect and designer members of our Professional Directory to share their vetted shades of exterior white paint. They've collectively painted myriad homes over the years, and know what works. Here, their generously shared ten favorites: 

    What's your go-to shade of white paint? Tell us in the comments below.

    Swatch photographs by Katie Newburn for Gardenista. 

    10 Best Architects' Favorite White Exterior Paints l Gardenista

    Above: Top row, left to right: Benjamin Moore Brilliant White; Benjamin Moore Simply White; Dunn Edwards Crystal Haze; Farrow & Ball All White; Benjamin Moore White Heron. Bottom row: Sherwin Williams Pure White; Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee; Benjamin Moore Linen White; Porter Paints Atrium White; and Benjamin Moore Cloud White. 

    Best Exterior White Outdoor House Paints, Gardenista

    Above: On this house in Connecticut, Brooklyn-based O'Neill Rose Architects used low-luster Benjamin Moore Brilliant White, which principal Devin O'Neill calls "a standard that always looks good." The firm worked with Donald Kaufman on the palette for the house, and chose Donald Kaufman Color DKC-44 in semi-gloss for the porch and ceiling.

    Best Exterior White Outdoor House Paints, Gardenista

    Above: Interior designer Meg Joannides of MLK Studio in LA completed this Brentwood Park home last year. On the exterior, she used Sherwin Williams Pure White; the shade is a true white that barely hints toward warm. The charcoal gray shutters are painted in Benjamin Moore Onyx

    Best Exterior White Outdoor House Paints, Gardenista

    Above: Architect Tim Barber chose Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee for this new home in Santa Monica. The color is also a favorite of SF Bay Area-based designer Nicole Hollis.

    Best Exterior White Outdoor House Paints, Gardenista

    Above: Donald Billinkoff of Billinkoff Architecture in NYC rarely uses any other white than Benjamin Moore White Heron. Says Billinkoff, "In bright light it is warm and in low light it is bright."

    Best Exterior White Outdoor House Paints, Gardenista

    Above: NYC-based 2Michaels worked with Larry Weinberg in choosing Benjamin Moore Simply White for this outdoor room on Martha's Vineyard. Interior designer Kriste Michelini also recommended the shade.

    Best Exterior White Outdoor House Paints, Gardenista

    Above: LA-based DISC Interiors painted the exterior of this Loz Feliz home in Crystal Haze from Dunn-Edwards. This shade has the deepest tan inflection of the paints recommended here. 

    Best Exterior White Outdoor House Paints, Gardenista

    Above: SF Bay Area designer Nicole Hollis chose Farrow & Ball All White as her preferred pick. This is the whitest white of our recommendations. In this image from Farrow & Ball, the door and metalwork are painted in Pitch Black.

    Best Exterior White Outdoor House Paints, Gardenista

    Above: Nashville architect Marcus DiPietro chose PPG Porter Paints Atrium White for the exterior of this modern, Japanese-influenced home in Oak Hill, Tenessee. Next to Linen White (Below), Atrium White is the second warmest of the bunch. 

    Best Exterior White Outdoor House Paints, Gardenista

    Above: NYC-based Steven Harris Architects painted this Upper West Side townhouse in Benjamin Moore's Cloud White. Photograph by Elizabeth Felicella

    Best Exterior White Outdoor House Paints, Gardenista

    Above: SF Bay Area-based landscape architecture firm Pedersen Associates admires Benjamin Moore's Linen White, shown here on a home in Mill Valley. Says principal Pete Pedersen, "Here in Northern California, the quality of light is such that you need to take a little off of the whites to keep from too much reflective glare." Linen White is the warmest of the ten whites shown here. 

    Looking for a shade of white to paint an indoor room? See 10 Easy Pieces: Architects' White Paint Picks.

    Stay tuned for our recommendations in black and gray (coming next week). For more color ideas, visit all of Gardenista's posts on Palettes & Paints.

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    Tim Richardson is Britain's leading garden thinker, contributing to every garden journal of note and directing the Chelsea Fringe Festival when not thus engaged. His latest book, The New English Garden, is a large tome sumptuously photographed, but it is not really a coffee table book. It does actually need to be read.

    Trentham in The New English Gardener book. Gardenista. Photo Jane Sabire.

    Photograph by Jane Sebire.

    "How can a well-known garden such as Great Dixter, or Trentham [shown above], or Highgrove, be described as 'new'?" asks Tim Richardson in the introduction to his fascinating book. The focus here is on gardens which have been made or re-made in the last decade. Gardens which have a bright vision, which feel alive even in the most historic surroundings. This can require genius.

    For an insider's tour of Prince Charles' private gardens at Highgrove, see At Home With Prince Charles: A Garden Ramble

    There are a few geniuses in this book, like Tom Stuart-Smith (who appears twice and is responsible for revitalizing the Victorian park of Trentham near the potteries in Cumbria), and his Dutch counterpart Piet Oudolf, another card-carrying genius who has helped to make English gardens "new" again.

    Packwood House in The New English Garden. Gardenista. Photo Andrew Lawson

    Photograph by Andrew Lawson.

    It takes a visionary to get beyond the yew hedges of an old garden made famous by its yew hedges. Packwood House (Above) is run by the National Trust and gains bonus points here for rising above the something-for-everyone feel of many public properties. This is a credit to Mick Evans, head gardener at Packwood, who has moved beyond topiary maintenance to bring non-traditional excitement to other parts of the garden.

    The borders manage to move away from the pictorial ideal laid down by Gertrude Jekyll, followed so closely through the 20th century. Instead—and Richardson describes Cottesbrooke Hall in this way—the garden visitor is less of a spectator and becomes immersed in the repetition and intermingling of the planting: "It's a garden style that is very much in tune with today." 

    Temple Guiting in The New English Garden. Gardenista. Photo Andrew Lawson

    Photograph by Andrew Lawson.

    Temple Guiting (Above) designed by Jinny Blom, is "intensely romantic yet highly controlled," says Richardson. Like her mentor Dan Pearson, Blom brings a feeling of intimacy to her designs which contrasts with the theatricality of a player like Tom Stuart-Smith. Without diving into nostalgia, she has a style which we can relate to. At Temple Guiting, which is in the Cotswolds, she finds a mood which is entirely in keeping with the surroundings: "The tone is somewhat reminiscent of the work produced by Norah Lindsay at a succession of country houses in the 1920s and 1930s—very light of touch."

    Other "new" English gardens examined in this book include Prince Charles garden at Highgrove, Olympic Park, and the Living Wall at the Atheneum Hotel in London.

    Required Reading: The New English Gardener. Gardenista

    The New English Garden by Tim Richardson, photographs by Andrew Lawson, published by Frances Lincoln; £40 Hardback.

    For another New English Garden with strong links to the past see Garden Visit: Great Dixter.

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    On arriving at Highgrove, home of the Prince of Wales, you can't help feeling a little excited. Tickets are not easy to come by and a passport is required on the day. A sign declares "Warning: You Are Entering an Old-Fashioned Establishment," and it is clear that the owner likes to do things his own way.

    And yet. Prince Charles is a man of public duty; he belongs to us. Any personal expression—and what better place than a garden in which to express oneself?—will be informed in quite a big way by the day job. Tim Richardson approaches this with some tact in his book The New English Garden.

    Photographs by Andrew Lawson.

    Highgrove visit. Gardenista. Photo copyright Andrew Lawson

    Above: The house from an informal angle, looking south over a meadow of camassias and buttercups. The Prince of Wales was a forerunner of the organic movement and is still considered its patron saint. He began to develop meadows in the 1980s with the late Dame Miriam Rothschild. A radical idea at the time, especially in the context of a large country house.

    Highgrove visit. Gardenista. Photo copyright Andrew Lawson

    Above: The heart of Highgrove is quite masculine, full of big things. The designers Julian and Isabel Bannerman, with their swaggering references to earlier garden styles, have been the most recent designers involved in the garden. They use oak for stone effects and this lodge or "kiosk" with its 18th century feel is one of a pair that sits on either side of the Stumpery. Note the portico, infilled with driftwood.

    N.B.: Want to make a grand gesture in your garden? See Jamb's Glam Ornaments for a Grand Garden.

    Highgrove visit. Gardenista. Photo copyright Andrew Lawson

    Above: Detail of the celebrated Stumpery. The reaction of the Prince's father, Prince Philip, was apparently: "When are you going to set fire to this lot?"

    Tim Richardson: "The Stumpery is one of the most original features at Highgrove."

    Highgrove visit. Gardenista. Photo copyright Andrew Lawson

    Above: The Wall of Gifts, a solution to a small part of the dilemma associated with the Prince's life of duty—what to do with all the gifts. Julian Bannerman designed this, incorporating random pieces of masonry given to the Prince over the years.

    Highgrove visit. Gardenista. Photo copyright Andrew Lawson

    Above: The Sundial Garden, another repository for gifts. Busts are set at regular intervals in the swagged yew walls. The busts are all of Prince Charles. As Candida Lycett Green, official garden historian of Highgrove, explains in the book: Many presents received by the Prince must be placed on display for diplomatic reasons, "giving the garden an eclectic and occasionally eccentric feel."

    Highgrove visit. Gardenista. Photo copyright Andrew Lawson

    Above: The Robinson Crusoe-style treehouse, built for Princes William and Harry, who grew up here. Designed by William Bertram.

    Highgrove visit. Gardenista. Photo copyright Andrew Lawson

    Above: The Cottage Garden, one of the disparate elements of the garden which works really well as an entity in itself. Tim Richardson suggests that the ethos at Highgrove is the opposite of "less is more," with each element honed and re-honed to perfection.

    For more photos of Highgrove, see The New English Garden.

     Want another peek into the lives of the royals? See Ask the Expert: 10 Tips for Wedding Flowers from Kate Middleton's Florist.

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    The back-to-school season should be about freshly sharpened pencils, uncreased notebooks, and squeaky clean new sneakers—not worrying about coming down with a cold. Fortify your germ-fighting abilities during this year's cold season with a natural remedy. 

    Not for the faint of heart, Rosemary Gladstar's fire cider recipe is an herbalist favorite for staving off the germs that are unfortunately synonymous with the back-to-school season. For a list of ingredients and step-by-step instructions, see below.

    Taking a tablespoon of the sweet and spicy elixir every day will ward off cold-causing germs and let you focus on more important autumn activities, like choosing the best place to pick apples

    This post originally appeared on Reading My Tea Leaves. Photographs by Erin Boyle.

    fall cold prevention: fire cider | gardenista

    Above: We weren't kidding about the "fire" part of fire cider. Onion, horseradish, ginger, cayenne peppers, and garlic.

    fall cold prevention: fire cider | gardenista

    Above: No need to be too precise about the measurements. Chop equal parts of the main ingredients and add a few hot peppers for an extra kick. Don't worry too much about the spice; adding honey in the final step will take the edge off.

    fall cold prevention: fire cider | gardenista

    Above: I filled a quart-sized mason jar half full of chopped herbal material. If you want to make a smaller portion, adjust the amount of ingredients that you chop to fit into a smaller vessel.

    fall cold prevention: fire cider | gardenista

    Above: Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar is my favorite unfiltered organic cider vinegar to use in herbal remedies. A 32-ounce bottle is $5.09 from The Vitamin Shoppe.

    fall cold prevention: fire cider | gardenista

    Above: After adding the apple cider, seal your jar and stick it the back of the refrigerator for a month to let the vinegar steep. Then strain the liquid and sweeten the mixture with a tablespoon or three of honey. The resulting liquid is powerful, but not as overwhelming as the ingredients might lead you to believe. If you can't stomach drinking a tablespoon a day to ward off back-to-school germs, consider drizzling it over salad greens with olive oil. The medicinal value will be just as strong, and you might find it tastier.

    Fire Cider

    • 1 part onion, chopped
    • 1 part grated horseradish root
    • 1 part ginger, peeled and diced 
    • 1 part garlic, chopped
    • 2-3 cayenne peppers
    • Enough apple cider to cover the herbs
    • Honey to taste

    Combine equal parts of finely chopped ingredients in a mason jar or other vessel with a tight lid. You can adjust the amounts to personal taste, but filling a quart jar half full of chopped ingredients is a good rule of thumb. Cover the herbal material with vinegar and allow to steep for up to a month. At the end of the month, strain the vinegar and discard the herbal material. Mix several tablespoons of honey to the strained Fire Cider and store in the refrigerator. Fire Cider should taste sweet and spicy.

    Are your allergies acting up this time of year? Try the Miracle Cure for Spring Allergies we made in the springtime. It will be just as effective now. 

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    I spotted no fewer than ten fancy grooming supplies to add to my wishlist after reading Sarah's post yesterday on the new Spruce Apothecary in Portland. But it was the brass and handblown glass lamp-cum-planter hanging above the shop's sink that really caught my eye. A planter with its very own light source? A dream come true for this dim apartment dweller.

    spruce apothecary growlight | gardenista

    Above: Turns out that the lamp was designed with someone like me in mind: "individuals limited by light, space, or temperatures outside," but who "desire a vegetal element in their world nonetheless." Precisely. 

    spruce apothecary growlight | gardenista

    Above: Aptly named the Growlight, the fixture is the work of Carmen Salazar, one half of the husband and wife design team, Seimon & Salazar. Base planting material is provided with the purchase of the lamp, and the team explains that the planter is especially suited for tropicals, epiphytes, fresh herbs, and succulents. Lamps can be hung as pendants or wall sconces or converted to act as table or floor lamps. Contact Seimon & Salazar to order directly; the Growlight is also available via Lightopia for $1,200.

    Suffering a lack of light? Try these Shade-Tolerant Herbs to Grow in Your Apartment.

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    Made from reclaimed wood that's more than a century old, a set of three nesting garden boxes from Peg and Awl would be just as happy on a kitchen shelf. But remember that with winter coming, you'll need a strong incentive to lure you outdoors to the potting shed.

    nested wooden garden boxes from peg and awl l Gardenista

    Above: Made of oak reclaimed from a former hardware store (circa 1897) in Ephrata, PA, a set of three Nesting Garden Boxes is $140 from Peg and Awl.

    nested wooden garden boxes from peg and awl l Gardenista

    Above: The small box is 13 inches long, and the largest box is 31 1/4 inches long. For specific dimensions, see Peg and Awl.

    nested wooden garden boxes from peg and awl l Gardenista

    Above: The boxes have wooden handles, as well.

    Planning on organizing your tools this weekend? See DIY: Toolbox for a Gardener.

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  • 09/12/13--08:00: Save the Peonies
  • Last winter, bulb grower Scott Kunst of Old House Gardens sent out an appeal to customers to help him rescue endangered heirloom peonies:

    "When I first started collecting heirloom plants in the 1970s, I was elated to discover a small, family-owned nursery in Iowa with an enormous list of peonies. Founded in 1887, Sherman Nursery was especially rich in peonies from the nineteenth century, many of which were no longer available anywhere else," Mr. Kunst wrote in his newsletter. "Unfortunately, like many nurseries Sherman’s was hard hit by the economic downturn, and in 2009 it was sold to a much larger Midwestern grower. When I heard the news I was worried about their peonies, because wholesalers typically make their money by selling large volumes of relatively few varieties, but I was busy and . . . before I knew it, instead of the 111 peonies that Sherman’s was growing in 2001, only 56 were still available – and last month we learned that 17 more will be dropped next year.

    "Although there’s no way Old House Gardens can save all of those peonies," Mr. Kunst wrote, "we’re doing what we can. Stay tuned."

    A few months later, the new fall catalog from Old House Gardens is offering three of those endangered peonies:

    frances willard peony l gardenista

    Above: 'Frances Willard,' named for a social reformer who urged women to "do everything," dates to 1907; it reaches a height of 34 inches and is hardy from zones three to seven (S) and through zone eight on the West Coast. It's $21 apiece from Old House Gardens. Photograph by Mbgna via Flickr.

    polar star peony l gardenista

    Above: 'Polar Star' is a Japanese peony first grown in 1932; bees love its yellow center. Hardy from zones three to seven (S) and through zone eight on the West Coast. It's $15 apiece from Old House Gardens. Photograph by Chatham Gardens via Flickr.

    walter faxon peony

    Above: 'Walter Faxon,' which can reach heights of up to 32 inches, is hardy from zones three to 8a (S) and to zone 8b on the West Coast. It's $16.50 apiece from Old House Gardens. Photograph by Posy's Dreams via Flickr.

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    Olivia Rae James of Everyday Musings sees apples and her mind skips directly over pie to rustic, buttery crisps. We like the way her mind works. 

    When we asked her to devise a very-September recipe us, she substituted coconut oil for more traditional butter and added coconut and almonds to a crumbly topping. Topped off with a coconut whipped cream, her Apple Coconut Crisp is an unexpected twist on our fall comfort food of choice. Excuse us while we preheat the oven.

    For an ingredients list and step-by-step instructions, see below.

    Photographs by Olivia Rae James for Gardenista.

    apple coconut crumble | gardenista

    Above: Tart Pink Lady apples ready to be cored and cut. 

    apple coconut crumble | gardenista

    Above: Olivia left the skins on her apples, but cored and cut them into evenly sized cubes.

    apple coconut crumble | gardenista

    Above: The makings for a crumbly topping: slivered almonds, oats, palm sugar, flour, and unsweetened coconut. Olivia mixed the apples with lemon, cinnamon, sugar and arrowroot, which acts like cornstarch to thicken the fruit filling.

    apple coconut crumble | gardenista

    Above: Baked for 35 minutes until brown and bubbling.

    apple coconut crumble | gardenista

    Above: Olivia's secret to making a whipped coconut cream? Refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk overnight until the cream and milk have separated.

    apple coconut crumble | gardenista

    Above: Served in single serving mason jars, it will blend in discreetly with the rest of your brown-bag lunch. 

    Apple Coconut Crisp

    For the filling:

    • 4 pink lady apples, cubed
    • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
    • 2 teaspoons arrowroot
    • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

    For the crumble topping:

    • 1/3 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
    • 1/2 cup oats
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
    • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
    • 8 tablespoons coconut oil or 1 stick of butter

    For the coconut whipped cream:

    • 1 15-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
    • 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For the fruit base, mix apples, lemon juice and zest, arrowroot, and sugar. Pour evenly into a baking dish. Next, mix dry ingredients: flour, sugar, oats, coconut, almonds, cinnamon, and salt. Incorporate coconut oil last with a pastry cutter (or by using your hands), until mixture is coated and holding together in clumps. Distribute topping evenly over the fruit mixture. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling. For the coconut whipped cream: begin by refrigerating a can of coconut milk overnight, or for at least a few hours until cream and water separate. Use only the cream, and whip with an electric mixer, slowly incorporating sugar and vanilla extract. To serve: spoon a dollop of cream on top of the warm crisp.

    Would you like us to send you a new recipe every Friday? Subscribe to our Gardenista Daily email. For more of our favorite dinners, see our complete list of Garden-to-Table Recipes.

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    I'm a big fan of the cachepot. First, it's an excuse to practice my French—that's ˈkaSH(ə)ˌpō for you anglophones—and then there's the fact it prevents me from turning my apartment into a potting shed. These fabric sacks from Bookhou can be used to stash any manner of bits and bobs, but designers John Booth and Arounna Khounnoraj are especially fond of putting them to work as plant holders. They can dress up a plain Jane plastic pot:

    Bookhou Storage Bags | Gardenista

    Above: A trio of Bookhoo round storage bags; 'Lines', 'Scallops,' and 'Stones' prints are $25 each.

    Bookhou Storage Bags | Gardenista

    Above: Each print is screen-printed onto linen with solvent-free ink. The lining is made from organic cotton canvas.

    Bookhou Storage Bags | Gardenista

    Above: The tops of the bags can be folded down or left up to accommodate the size of your pot. Bags are approximately 6 inches high with a 5-inch diameter.

    For a budget-friendly cachepot, consider the Brown Paper Bag.

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    If the backyard chicken trend appears to have peaked in your neighborhood, it's probably because poultry ownership, like marriage, is a scary commitment. Why not live together first? Enter chicken rental.

    Here are five companies that rent chickens (and chicken support equipment). Does one of them supply your neighborhood?
      White chickens eating chicken feed via OWI l Gardenista
    Above: Photograph via OWI.

    1. Coop and Caboodle in Birmingham, AL. For $395, you can rent two hens for six months, with 50 pounds of feed included.

    2. Rent-a-Chicken in Traverse City, MI. A summer chicken rental (from May to November) includes two hens, a "summer cottage style coop," and feed; $250.

    3. Rent-a-Chook in Sydney, Australia. A chicken starter package with a six-week trial period is $430, AU; for that you get a coop, two hens, a feeder, a waterer, food, and straw. If you decide against keeping the chickens and equipment, upon return you get a refund of $330 AU.

    4. Land's Sake in Weston, MA. A two-week rental includes two Light Brahma hens, a coop, organic feed, bedding, water and food trays, and chicken care instructions.

    5. Rent a Coop in Maryland. A four-week rental includes two hens, a coop, 50 pounds of organic chicken feed, food and water bowls, and pine shavings (bedding). An optional additional hen (limit two) is $15 per month.

    chicken at door of coop at slide ranch l Gardenista

    Above: One of about 40 resident chickens at Slide Ranch in Muir Beach, CA. Photograph by Katie Newburn.

    There's a lot to be said for cutting out the middlemen that stand between you and that fried egg you're about to put in your mouth. And there's a lot to be said for backyard chickens: they eat bugs, and they lay as many as 250 fresh eggs a year per chicken. As for all that scritch-scratching they do in the grass? Consider that free lawn aeration.

    chickens in oregon by erin boyle l Gardenista

    Above: Three chickens—that's Sassy, Felicity, and Jumper to you—live at a wilderness lodge in Eastern Oregon. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

    At Rent-a-Chicken in Michigan, "customers become so attached to their hens over the season, we tag their chickens so they can have the same ones each year," owner Leslie Suitor recently told the New York Post.

    chicken at slide ranch at muir beach, CA l Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Katie Newburn.

    Renting chickens before committing to keeping them permanently "Sounds like a good idea. Sounds like dating," Jim Cohen, director of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Maryland recently told NPR.

    fresh laid chicken eggs at Slide Ranch in Muir Beach, CA ; Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Katie Newburn.

    Where are your new little friends going to live? See 5 Favorites: Backyard Chicken Coops for Small Flocks.

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    We recently spotted NativeCast among the nominees for Martha Stewart's American Made Awards. An avid container gardener, NativeCast founder Ricky Giacco drew on his own gardening experience to create a line of modern planters that are lightweight and minimalist in addition to being environmentally friendly. 

    NativeCast | Gardenista

    Above: NativeCast Alapocas Bowls come in 7-inch and 9-inch sizes. Each planter comes fitted with a drainage hole and coco fiber insert to diffuse water over the drainage hole.

    NativeCast | Gardenista

    Above: Planters are made with NativeCast's "green" concrete blend, which uses a combination of natural materials—such as sand, coniferous mulch, and clam shells— and recycled materials including post-consumer plastic and concrete reclaimed from roadways and construction demolition. The result is a concrete that's lightweight, durable, and more environmentally sustainable than traditional options. 

    NativeCast | Gardenista

    Above: The Alapocas Bowl 9 in Gray; $45.

    NativeCast | Gardenista

    Above: The Brandywine Bowl, the largest in the NativeCast line, has a 16-inch diameter; $120.

    Hoping to hang a planter? See Izabella's list of 10 Easy Pieces: White Hanging Planters.

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    Back to school, back to work—this week has been about brown bag lunches (did you remember to pack our apple coconut crisp?) and a heat wave to remind us summer's not over yet:

    pink lady apples fishkill orchard by nicole franzen l gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Nicole Franzen.

    Can we please skip ahead to the apple picking portion of our regularly scheduled programming?

    Manhattan Nursery School, Nicole Franzen, Gardenista

    Above: Photograph by Nicole Franzen.

    The best nursery school in Manhattan; apply here.

    Seasonal quandary: cider or juice?

    Butterfly gardening for Texans.

    Carol Monpart interiors via CoffeeKlatch

    Above: We're admiring the interiors of Carol Montpart's home in North London; photograph via Coffeeklatch.

    In the market for a lighted tennis court?

    Wasps, what are they good for?

    Jim Denevan Ephemeral Sand via Gardenista

    Above: Jim Denevan's Ephemeral Sand Illustrations caught Janet's eye; photograph by Jim Denevan.

    Recycling 2.0.

    Real men wear florals

    garden gate Gardenista

    Looking for inspiration? See our gallery of modern garden gates.

    The 3-D printing phenomenon.

    East Berlin garden by Stacey Lindsay, via Gardenista.

    Above: Strolling around East Berlin, Stacey accidentally discovered Germany's first guerrilla gardener; photograph by Stacey Lindsay.

    Sustainable living, with style, for fresh air enthusiasts.

    Pinterest Plants, Identified | Gardenista

    Puzzling over the plants in this pin? Erin ID'ed the specific varieties.

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    This week on Remodelista, Christine visited Nashville, Alexa blew her grocery budget on school supplies, Justine bought (puppy tested) dog treats, Julie embraced vegetarianism (briefly), and Meredith found the world's best closet built-ins.

    Mudroom storage Marcus di Pietro l Gardenista

    Fantasy mudroom.

    stationery and office supplies at present and correct l Gardenista

    Alexa in Paradise; but does she really need another pair of fancy brass scissors?

    pet toys Go Pet Design l Gardenista

    Worthy of the Puppy Seal of Approval.

    french bulldog puppy l Gardenista

    Exhausted from Product Testing.

    canteen cafe portland l Gardenista

    We're Swearing Off Meat with Julie.

    Built in laundry room shelving l Gardenista

    Closet Porn.

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    Have you ever stepped out of the car (after a traffic-dodging drive from the city) into mountain air, drawn in a deep breath, and felt instantly better? Here's how to cue the same relaxation response at home, by bringing the outdoors in.

    The back story: The atmosphere in the homes we create affects us deeply: it can change our behavior and, as a result, our health. Our environment can trigger a stress response (an imprisoning brick wall, stacks of unpaid bills, mounds of dirty laundry) or cue the relaxation response.

    Adding nature to our lives is one way to put a few more deep exhales back into the daily grind: a connection to nature is an essential ingredient of human health and well being. Here are ten ways to bring the outdoors in:

    Above: Houseplants in the bedroom of rug designer Cassandra Karinsky in Sydney, Australia, via The Design Files.

    1. Adopt a house plant. In the 1980s, NASA discovered that plans can improve indoor air quality. And let's not forget that fresh air helps you sleep: Remember, nature is the original Ambien.

    Above: Photograph of yellow mimosa flowers from Cécile Daladier.

    2. Fresh-cut flowers boost feelings of happiness. As I stroll through the supermarket aisles, I often wonder: is it worth the extra money to buy flowers? They are cheery, no doubt, but they never last long. After reviewing the research, I'm now convinced: Studies have shown that flowers reduce depression and increase positive emotion. Read more in Need to Be Productive? Buy Some Flowers on Greatist and Flower Power in Rutgers Magazine.

    3. Growing food helps connect you to the earth. For urban dwellers, compact edible gardens or a few potted herbs can make a dramatic difference in our culinary experience. After growing a bit of lettuce on our back porch, my children now prefer it to the store-bought variety.

    Above: A still life of shells and stones is one of many natural collections at Kettle's Yard in Cambridge.

    4. Add a small tree, a rock garden, or a terrarium to your indoor space. A verdant tree, like a Fiddle Leaf Fig, or a small rock garden of collected stones or a terrarium can help set the mind at ease after a hectic day.

    5. Go out for a mid-day stroll. Getting back to nature can inspire creativity. Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, coined the term "nature-deficit disorder" to describe a condition that he says results for our lack of communion with living things. He recommends living in and around natural living things, which boost our creativity, happiness, and health.

    Above: A set of herbal tisanes at Babel Restaurant in the Cape Winelands of South Africa.

    6. Grow herbs in small pots for a daily dose of energy and performance.  Atlanta-based interior designer Ginny Magher (full disclosure: Ginny is married to my father, Craig) recommends growing a variety of kitchen herbs in small pots for a quick tisane. She snips fresh basil or thyme into her tea and finds the scent of fresh herbs provides an early morning mood-boost.

    Above: A houseplant in a vintage pale blue pot from At Swim Two Birds.

    7. Spend time looking at plants to heal faster. Nature is natural medicine. In 1984, environmental psychologist Rodger Ulrich conducted a study on gallbladder surgery patients, which proved that those whose rooms overlooked trees healed faster than those who looked at a brick wall. Read more in How Hospital Gardens Help Patients Heal from Scientific American.

    Above: A grouping of houseplants in a home office from Hardworking Houseplants; photograph via Home Designing.

    8. Spend time around greenery to improve concentration and increase attention span. This benefit holds true for children as well. Studies have shown that children who spend time around plants have better concentration (A "Dose of Nature" for Attention Problems, NY Times). At Waldorf Schools, families are encouraged to build a nature table to reflect changes in the seasons; children are encouraged to collect "treasures" from the outdoors and display them inside to maintain a connection to the present season.

    9. Head to a natural environment to improve memory performance by as much as 20 percent. Dr. Esther Sternber, author of Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Wellbeing, says our health extends beyond our physical bodies to include our emotions and the spaces around us. The practice of Feng Shui, the system of harmonizing the human experience with the surrounding environment, echoes this same principle.

    Above: At (or past) their prime ranunculus and a few potted plants from At Swim Two Birds.

    10. Nurture house plants. Caring for life can channel anxiety into an outlet of altruism and nurturing. In our texting, updating, connected-but-disconnected modern life, we can forget our place in the larger universe; having a life to care for can put it back into perspective—and again, help us feel more alive, at ease, and whole.

    For more advice on wellness and balance, see more of our Happier at Home posts: 10 Secrets for a Better Night's Sleep, 10 Cures for TechnoStress, and 10 Tips for Happy Housecleaning

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    North Brooklyn Farms is a pop-up oasis of kale, tomatoes, and eggplants growing in a former parking lot near the Williamsburg Bridge in the shadow of a defunct Domino Sugar factory. Built on pallets, the raised beds can be lifted and moved to a new location if the property owners develop the 8,000-square-foot lot.

    Knowing the garden's site could be developed next year, the farm's founders, Ryan Watson and Henry Sweets, came up with the plan for a pop-up edible garden.

    Photographs by Rebecca Baust for Gardenista.

    North Brooklyn Farm moveable raised beds by Rebecca Baust for gardenista

    Above: Until last spring, the farm was just another unsightly wasteland in a post-industrial neighborhood particularly devoid of green space.  But then the owner of the lot, Two Trees Management, a New York City development company, offered to let it be used...temporarily.

    North Brooklyn Farm founder Henry Sweets at work by Rebecca Baust for gardenista  

    Above: Co-founder Henry Sweets at work.

    caterpillar North Brooklyn Farms l Gardenista

    Above: Three projects were chosen to share the 55,000-square-foot site: Havemeyer Park, Brooklyn Bike Park, and North Brooklyn Farms.  The understanding is that Two Trees plans to take it back in a year to begin a massive residential and commercial construction project. 

    North Brooklyn Farms two Tomatoes l Gardenista

    Above: Many people might have had second thoughts about creating a farm under these conditions. But Watson and Sweets came up with an ingenious solution.  Their crops would be moveable.  They created a pop-up farm by building raised beds on top of industrial wooden pallets.  If they have to go elsewhere, the beds can be moved with a forklift. 

    North Brooklyn Farm aisle between beds by Rebecca Baust for gardenista

    Above: After they had the idea, Ryan and Henry worked with Palette Architecture to make a design and obtained building materials through the Build It Green project, which recycles discarded construction elements in New York City to keep them out of landfills.  

    North Brooklyn Farm purple basil by Rebecca Baust for gardenista

    Above: A core group of about ten people broke up the asphalt parking surface, built the raised beds, lugged soil, and planted the crops on an 8,000-square-foot section of the site.  They supplemented the work force with special volunteer days, but Watson and Sweets estimate they have each put in hundreds of hours.  As Watson put it, "We worked beyond the hardest we had ever worked in our lives. We were totally absorbed into this world."

    North Brooklyn Farm visitor picks kale by Rebecca Baust for gardenista

    Above: A visitor picks kale.

    To make money to keep the farm going, Ryan and Henry are holding special farm-to-table dinners cooked on site by a chef who creates a menu based on the available crops. Three days a week they run a pick-your-own farm stand and help customers choose and harvest vegetables.  

    North Brooklyn Farm harvested produce by Rebecca Baust for gardenista

    Above: For many people in the neighborhood, especially the children, this is a first opportunity to see vegetables outside of a grocery store. The farm has been embraced by its neighbors.  People often stop outside the fence to chat and seem to regard the farm as their communal backyard. Watson and Sweets are hopeful that the community will follow them if they have to move to a new site.  

    North Brooklyn Farms welcome sign l Gardenista

    While tending the crops still requires a lot of work, the partners now have a bit of leisure to sit in the evening, to watch the sun set and catch a breeze with the hulking old brick Domino factory in the distance. 

    For another portable urban garden, see A Community Garden on Wheels in Berlin.

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    Whenever we go apple picking, we get a little carried away. How many families can eat three bushel baskets of fruit before it goes bad? Solution: storage racks that extend the lifespan of "keeper" crops will keep the harvest fresh longer.

    Does anybody have a root cellar any more? What do you do with your apples? Tell us about your pantry in the comments below.

    Three drawer vegetable rack l Gardenista

    Above: A Three Drawer Vegetable Rack made of untreated fir is £95 from Cox & Cox. Place storage racks in a cool, dark spot to keep fruits and vegetables fresh. Storage racks can also be used to dry herbs.

    Above: A Beechwood Fruit Rack is 36€ from Manufactum. The racks are stackable and have space to store fruit and vegetables; separate solid inserts are available to close the drawers' bottoms to keep smaller items from falling through.

    Above: The rack from Manufactum has a special non-skid construction to keep it in place when stacked or configured in multiple units. It can be customized with an insert to hold wine bottles or with a flat shelf with a wire bottom for drying mushrooms and herbs.

    Above: For abundant harvests (or families who fill too many bushel baskets). A Beech Apple Rack with ten drawers is £235 from Hibbitt.

    Above: For US gardeners, a nine-drawer Orchard Rack is $195 from Gardeners. A smaller six-drawer rack is available for $149.

    Above: Configured to fit the shelves of Gardeners' Orchard Rack, a set of two Bamboo Trays is useful for holding garlic and other small items that might otherwise fall through the slats; $39.95.

    Above: Made from spruce, the Minya Small Fruit and Vegetable Storage Rack can be separated into three units to fit inside drawers or pantries. The bottom unit has castors. It's £57.97 from 123Furniture.

    N.B.: This is an update of a post originally published Oct. 2, 2012.

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    There are at least 50 million shades of gray. Which one will look best on your house? We asked members of our Architect/Designer Directory to reveal their favorites. Here are the ten exterior gray paints they pick most:

    Deciding between gray and white? See the 10 Best White Exterior Paints chosen by members of our Architect/Designer Directory. 

    Swatch photographs by Katie Newburn for Gardenista. 

    Best Outdoor Gray Exterior House Paint Colors, Gardenista

    Above: Top row, left to right: Benjamin Moore Sag Harbor Gray; ICI Grey Hearth; Dunn-Edwards Vulcan; Benjamin Moore Graphite; Benjamin Moore Bear Creek. Bottom row: Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain; Benjamin Moore Gravel Grey; Sherwin-Williams Peppercorn; Farrow & Ball Down Pipe; and Benjamin Moore Graystone.

    Above: LA-based SIMO Design painted this home in Dunn-Edwards Vulcan, a cool blue-gray and the bluest of the shades in our top ten.

    Best Exterior Gray Outdoor House Paint Color, Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain, Gardenista

    Above: Los Angeles designers Nickey Kehoe Inc. had this house painted in Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain, a dark gray with a rich brown undertone. The shade is also a favorite of SF Bay Area-based Geremia Design and Klopf Architecture. Photograph by Amy Neunsinger.

    Best Exterior Gray Outdoor House Paint Color, Benjamin Moore Sag Harbor Gray, Gardenista

    Above: Chatham, NY-based architect James Dixon chose Benjamin Moore's Sag Harbor Gray for this Hudson Valley farmhouse. The light green-gray is part of Benjamin Moore's historic colors series.

    Best Exterior Gray Outdoor House Paint Color, Benjamin Moore Graphite, Gardenista

    Above: SF Bay Area-based Ana Williamson Architect used Benjamin Moore Graphite on the siding of this modern home; the color is a true dark gray with just a hint of blue. On the trim, Williamson used Benjamin Moore Gunmetal and had the stucco integrally colored to match Benjamin Moore Timber Wolf.

    Best Exterior Gray Outdoor House Paint Color, Benjamin Moore Bear Creek, Gardenista

    Above: SF Bay Area-based interior designer Kriste Michelini chose Benjamin Moore Bear Creek as her favorite gray. Bear Creek is also rich in brown tones; lighter than Iron Mountain but darker than Grey Hearth. Photograph via Pinterest.

    Best Exterior Gray Outdoor House Paint Color, Farrow & Ball Down Pipe, Gardenista

    Above: Both LA-based DISC Interiors and SF-based Nicole Hollis chose Farrow & Ball Down Pipe as their favorite exterior gray. The popular color is a complex mix with hints of blue-green. Photograph via Farrow & Ball.

    Best Exterior Gray Outdoor House Paint Color, Benjamin Moore Gravel Gray, Gardenista

    Above: NYC-based architect Alex Scott Porter has used Benjamin Moore Gravel Gray on several house exteriors, including the Maine island home shown here. Gravel Gray is the darkest of the shades we've recommended.

    Best Exterior Gray Outdoor House Paint Color, ICI Grey Hearth, Gardenista

    Above: LA-based Kevin Oreck Architect painted this new home in ICI Grey Hearth

    Best Exterior Gray Outdoor House Paint Color, Sherwin Williams Peppercorn, Gardenista

    Above: Interior designer Laura Clayton Baker of LA-based The Uplifters Inc. used Sherwin Williams Peppercorn on this Washington, D.C. home. Peppercorn is the truest gray of those listed here, and pairs well with Clayton Baker's other picks on this exterior: The trim is Sherwin-Williams' Pure White and Tricorn Black, and the door is Benjamin Moore Vermilion in a high gloss finish.

    Best Exterior Gray Outdoor House Paint Color, Benjamin Moore Graystone, Gardenista

    Above: SF-based Klopf Architecture has used Benjamin Moore Graystone on several home exteriors; it's a flattering shade in all kinds of light.

    Don't miss our designer-approved outdoor paint picks in white, gray, and black. Here, Architects' White Exterior Paint Picks.

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    During a recent stay at the 21c Museum Hotel, I was pleasantly surprised by their curated magazine collection. One title (featuring a bold black rooster) stood out in particular: Modern FarmerWith editor-in-chief Ann Marie Gardner (former editor at T:Travel The New York Times Magazine and founding editor of Monocle magazine) at the helm, the magazine strives to raise global awareness on agricultural issues.

    "There has been a movement afoot in recent years to make connections between what we eat, how we live and the planet. Modern Farmer exists for people who want to be part of that movement—it is for window-herb growers, career farmers, people who have chickens, and anyone who wants to know more about how food reaches their plate," says Gardner.

    In print and online, Modern Farmer isn't a twee representation of farm life. Across platforms, it's filled with stories as varied and vibrant as the modern agricultural climate it covers. Featured most recently? Farming in space, Syrian refugees at work in Lebanese fields, and the ethics of eating roadkill.

    Photographs via Modern Farmer, except where noted.

    Modern Farmer, Gardenista  

    Above: An eye-catching rooster dominates the front cover of the first print issue. Hudson, NY-based Modern Farmer describes itself as a "media brand for the New Food Culture." The quarterly print magazine and can be purchased in online shops and select stores; $7.99. Photograph by Izabella Simmons.

    Modern Farmer Magazine, Gardenista  

    Above: A photo from a feature titled: "Rurbanista: Shearers Quarters." If you can't get a print copy in your hands right away, you can get started by reading select articles online. Photograph by Trevor Mein. 

    Modern Farmer Magazine, Gardenista

    Above: "4 Hotels that Farm" profiles luxury hotels that embrace the farm-to-table model. At these four establishments, guests don't just dine on gourmet fare, they harvest it, too.

    Modern Farmer Magazine, Gardenista

    Above: Belgian Michelin-star chef Kobe Desramaults has worked in some of the world's best kitchens and today he's bringing his training to bear in his family restaurant and inn. Read the full story: "Global Guide to Local Food In De Wulf." Photograph by Piet De Kersgieter. 

    Modern Farmer Issue Two, Gardenista  

    Above: Issue 02 hit newsstands last week, purchase a copy at the Modern Farmer online shop for $7.99. 

    Browse our library for more Required Reading posts. In the mood for a print quarterly in particular? See Nude Gardening and Prickly Pears: Wilder Quarterly Has It All.

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