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Sourcebook for Cultivated Living

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    Los Angeles artist Sara Petersen's line of Nantucket Pottery is a play on the interaction of fog and beach. Like fog, the white glaze blankets the sand colored and textured vessels. They're equally at home by themselves or filled with a plant or other curiosities. 

    The Nantucket Planters are offered in five sizes (priced between $30 and $150) through the Potted Store in Los Angeles and online. 

    Nantucket Planter Petersen Pottery, Gardenista

    Above: No filler required; Nantucket Planters' beauty stands on its own. Available in two glazing styles: slant and horizontal.

    Nantucket Planter Petersen Pottery, Gardenista

    Above: A Nantucket Horizontal Planter with a dose of green (not included); $45 for the small size (4.5 to 5-inches in diameter).

    Nantucket Planter Petersen Pottery, Gardenista

    Above: Three sizes of Nantucket Planters in slant glazing style; $30 to $150 depending on size.

    Nantucket Planter Petersen Pottery, Gardenista

    Above: Handmade in Los Angeles, each planter is unique. 

    Nantucket Planter Petersen Pottery, Gardenista

    Above: The Nantucket Planters can hold more than just plants.

    Looking for more indoor gardening gift ideas? Shop Gardenista's Favorite Indoor Gardening Pots, Planters and Tools

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    All year we've been collecting holiday photos that inspire us: our favorite DIY ideas for bringing nature indoors to trim trees, deck halls, and make everything generally merry. We've pulled together a few hundred (yes, we had a hard time choosing!) of our favorite images for you in our Gardenista Photo Gallery. See anything you like?

      green and white christmas decor from the Gardenista Photo Gallery

    Above: Taking a break from red and green this year? We've got 56 ideas for a White Christmas that might inspire you.

    Prefer a Gold Christmas? Or a Blue Christmas? We've got those covered too.

    holiday Christmas string lights l Gardenista

    Above: Want to get creative with Holiday String Lights? See 41 of our favorite ideas for Starry Holiday Nights.

    Holiday ornaments l Gardenista

    Above: Every year my daughters and I make ornaments while listening to James Taylor's Christmas album and bickering over whether to put white or colored lights on the tree. Call it our special tradition.

    Are you feeling similarly crafty? We've rounded up 32 images of our favorite DIY Easy Holiday Ornaments and 40 ideas for DIY Garland From the Garden to inspire you.

    Holiday Wreaths from the Gardenista Photo Gallery

    Above: This year I wanted to fill the house with the scent of pine. You too? See our 43 favorite ideas for DIY Wreaths from the Garden.

    Expecting company for a holiday dinner? Here are some easy garden-to-tabletop Holiday Floral Arrangements.

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    Take a look at the floral arrangements coming out of Wild Folk Studio and you might not guess that they'd all been made by a single florist, working in a studio tucked into the eaves of her home in Somerville, Massachusetts. Then again, you might. The wild and whimsical arrangements look precisely like they're being made individually, each one with care and attention to detail.

    Committed to staying small-scale, Caroline O'Donnell operates her Wild Folk Studio from the home she shares with her fiancé (and her puppy, Bear). Wild Folk, which Caroline opened for business in February, combines her love of nature and design with her desire to work with her hands. 

    Among the items available for local Boston-area customers in her online shop, Caroline offers a Weekly Floral Plan. The idea is simple and surprisingly intimate. Floral plans are entirely customizable (a monthly plan also exists). After you pick a plan, Caroline visits you to get a sense of the space, the size and the scale of the arrangement that will find its way there week after week. 

    Customers who have a friend or a spouse who has a difficult time getting through winter can offer a season-long gift of flowers. If they're feeling especially generous, they might decide to commit to a year. For someone planning a last-minute holiday gift? A month's worth of arrangements sounds just right.

    Below, Caroline prepares an arrangement in rich colors for an intimate wintry dinner party.

    Photographs by Cambria Grace Photography.

    wildfolk weekly floral plan | gardenista

    Above: Propped in the studio: (from L) eucalyptus pods, privet berries, and pepper berries.

    wildfolk weekly floral plan | gardenista

    Above: In an effort to reduce the environmental impact of her small business, Caroline primarily uses thrift-shop or vintage vessels for her arrangements.

    wildfolk weekly floral plan | gardenista

    Above: Evergreens for texture.

    wildfolk weekly floral plan | gardenista

    Above: Caroline begins with a base of greens and builds from there.

    wildfolk weekly floral plan | gardenista

    Above: Caroline, at work in her studio.

    wildfolk weekly floral plan | gardenista

    Above: Deep red peonies found at the local flower market. Caroline sources from local wholesale markets and when the season allows, local farms and farmers' markets.

    Live in San Francisco? You're in luck too. You can get Pedal-Powered Petals: Same Day Flower Delivery in SF.

    wildfolk weekly floral plan | gardenista

    Above: Privet berries add texture to roses and evergreens.

    wildfolk weekly floral plan | gardenista

    Above: The sturdy worktable where Caroline works on arrangements.

    wildfolk weekly floral plan | gardenista

    Above: Bear keeps watch as Caroline works.

    wildfolk weekly floral plan | gardenista

    Above: Finishing touches. 

    wildfolk weekly floral plan | gardenista

    Above: Caroline and her arrangement, ready for delivery by public transport (another ecologically minded aspect of Caroline's business). Delivery to the Greater Boston Area is included in the price of the arrangement.

    Hooked on flowers? See 148 of our favorite ideas for Holiday Floral Arrangements in our Photo Gallery.

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    Spotted on Decor8: inspiring imagery from Irene Finne's Loppelilla, a chronicle of her life in the pristine Norwegian town of Evanger. Along with two friends, Finne runs Patina, a café, store, and bed-and-breakfast. We especially like her simple, organic ideas for Christmas decorations: knitted ornaments, stars made of kraft paper, and cardboard Christmas trees. To see more, go to Loppelilla.

      Loppelilla snowy landscape Norway l Gardenista

    Above: The snowy Norwegian landscape surrounding Finne's home.

      Loppelilla Christmas ornaments on branch in jug Norway l Gardenista

    Above: A branch displays ornaments; a chair is casually draped with a sheepskin.

      Loppelilla knitted crochet Christmas ornaments Norway l Gardenista

    Above L: A crocheted fir tree ornament. Center: Christmas trees made from strips of parchment paper, bamboo skewers, and a brown paper star. Above R: Knitted ball ornament.

      Loppelilla crocheted shade on antler lamp Norway l Gardenista

    Above: An antler lamp with a crocheted shade.

      Loppelilla Christmas ornaments Norway l Gardenista

    Above L: A glass jar with a knit cozy. Above R: A Christmas tree made from wooden planks topped with a crocheted star.

      Loppelilla pillar candles and pine branches Norway Christmas l Gardenista

    Above: Pillar candles and pine branches; an instant holiday centerpiece.

      Loppelilla Kraft paper star Christmas ornaments Norway l Gardenista

    Above: Kraft paper stars.

      Loppelilla cardboard cutout Christmas trees Norway holidays l Gardenista

    Above: Christmas trees made from painted cardboard cutouts.

    N.B.: This is an update of a post originally published December 22, 2011.

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    In this season of decorating doors and mailboxes with as much winter greenery as humanly possible, we're already thinking about the rest of the year when houses get stripped back to their bare bones, boughs of holly not included. Happily, the Austin, Texas shop, Urban Mettle, has a solution: wall-mounted planter boxes that do double duty as a backdrop for modern house numbers. 

    Made of iron that's been left to rust, these planters provide the perfect spot for easy-care succulents and small plants (not included). Moveable magnetic house numbers are 4 inches high and made from solid cast brass with a satin nickel finish.

    urban mettle planter boxes with house numbers | gardenista

    Above: A large option, the Horizontal Hanging Planter and Metal Address Plaque measures 20 inches by 30 inches; $325. Contact Urban Mettle with your choice of 4-inch magnetic house numbers that can be moved or shifted. When the time comes to move, simply reorder a new set of numbers. 

    urban mettle planter boxes | gardenista  

    Above: Also available are hanging planters without the numbers. This Succulent Hanging Planter with Rustic Patina measures 20 inches by 12 inches; $185.

      urban mettle planter boxes with house numbers | gardenista

    Above: A smaller version. The Square Metal Succulent Wall Art Planter measures 12 inches by 12 inches; $145.

    See our archived posts on House Numbers for more inspiration.

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    You can make it snow indoors, you know, with pots of white cyclamen. 

    There are quite a few kinds of cyclamen—nearly two dozen species—and no, we are not supposed to venerate the common, large-flowered potted versions for sale in supermarkets. And yet. The so-called florists' cyclamen (say it with a slight disdain) can be a care-free, ruffly petaled thing of beauty when you set pots of it about on the mantel or beneath the Christmas tree.

    Photographs by Michelle Slatalla. Photography shot with the Canon EOS 70D digital SLR camera, with Dual Pixel AF technology and built-in Wi-Fi.

    white cyclamen in pots Christmas ; Gardenista

    Above: Cyclamen persicum, native to Mediterranean climates, can do well in the garden too, if you live in a growing zone where temperatures don't drop below freezing. If you bought a plant or two for the holidays, paint the plastic nursery pots gold for now and decide later, after New Year's, if you want to commit.

    Christmas potted cyclamen on mantel l Gardenista

    Above: Cyclamen spreads from tubers, and if you like the look of its velvety, upright petals—they remind me of the ears on a certain little dog I know—you can also experiment in the garden with more delicately shaped woodland varieties. Cyclamen cilicium, for instance, is a pale purple example, 3 inches tall and native to Turkey, with mottled green and white leaves. In the garden, it will tolerate light shade; $13 per plant from Plant Delights.

    Christmas potted cyclamen on mantel l Gardenista

    Above: If it's a holiday look you're after, head to the supermarket; potted cyclamen are inexpensive and will bloom through the season so long as you give them well-drained soil. I paid $4.99 per pot for mine.

    Softening on poinsettias? We witnessed a Christmas Miracle: 5 Poinsettias That Aren't Tacky.

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    When we first began Remodelista, it was in the early days of online shops and we came across a fantastic nursery and garden store in Austin called Gardens owned by award winning landscape designers James David and Gary Peese. Gardens was completely unique; then overnight, it disappeared. But I always wondered what happened. Over the years however its legacy has slowly reappeared as the shop's alum have gone on to form their new businesses taking some of the David/Peese sensibility with them. (Think of it as the Chez Panisse of the gardening world.) I recently discovered the best iteration to date: MIX Garden in Healdsburg.

    Owned by Mick Kopetsky, MIX Garden is a combination of nursery, produce, and landscape and garden design. Kopetsky began his career as a retail buyer for a major department store but in the mid-nineties happened upon Gardens in Austin in what proved to be a career-changing visit. As he tells us, "You just knew that this was something entirely different and that there was nothing else out there like it. Everything had a purpose, and had been thought through not in a formulated way, but with an original new thought every single time."

    Kopetsky saw his future, promptly left Minneapolis and moved to Austin, where he started work as a plant buyer for Gardens, noting, "James and Gary taught me everything. It was like an old [-fashioned] apprenticeship. I learned to draw, design, everything. I went to sleep with plant books." After the business closed, Kopetsky headed west to Sonoma to create a kitchen garden for Cordon Bleu chef Bieke Burwell. The two began a collaboration with food and gardening, and Kopetsky started farming Burwell's land, supplying his produce to local restaurants. Five years ago, he bought a landscape materials business in Healdsburg which he renovated to create MIX Garden, a place bringing together his produce, nursery, gardening and design under one roof. For more, visit  MIX Garden.

     Photography by Mimi Giboin.

    Mix Gardens Healdsburg

    Above: Kopetsky's attention to detail is seen throughout his store. Redwood panels are used as covering for the lower half of the walls, and the custom desk features redwood coated in multiple layers of a paste wax. A terrazzo grinder was used on the painted concrete floor, which was then finished with a concrete sealer.

    Mix Gardens Healdsburg seeds on display

    Above: Kopetsky worked with a steel worker to create racks of custom rails for hanging his heirloom Italian seeds. He tells us, "The Italians are super focused on flavor, and these seeds are great for our climate as it's similar." (See Sow Now for Winter Salad for another story on Italian seeds.)

    Mix Gardens Healdsburg store

    Above: Kopetsky opened up the original building, bringing in light and covering the plywood ceiling with strips of painted pine. In the distance are flowers from the newly opened Russian River Flower School that has set up shop inside MIX Gardens.

    Mix Gardens Healdsburg stone and gravel display trays

    Above: Basalite pavers in steel frames from the former business are used to create display tables for landscape materials.

    Mix Gardens Healdsburg stone and gravel display trays

    Above: Sand and gravel are displayed on trays that are easy to view and preferable to combing through a dusty yard.

      Mix Garden Produce images

    Above: A wall of images featuring seasonal produce.

      Mix Gardens Healdsburg nursery

    Above: A chalkboard features produce and landscape materials. After Kopetsky bought the landscape business in 2008, the market crashed. He explains, "It made me really think about what I wanted to do. Nobody wants what we wanted five years ago, which is how I got into the whole education of farming and gardening. Sustainability is about connecting to the community."

    Mix Garden Healsburg

    Above: Redwood pivot doors lead to the potting shed. Kopetsky notes, "I first saw these at the Booneville Hotel, and I wanted doors that could open in both directions so I used redwood sandwiched between steel plates." 

    Mix Gardens Healdsburg quince

    Above: Boxes of quince for sale.

    Mix Gardens Healdsburg

    See our post on Mosiac Gardens (former David/ Peese alums). For more on the Russian River Flower School, see our companion post on Remodelista. 

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    Garden designer Arne Maynard, based in London and Wales, has been a longtime favorite of mine. Having grown up in the Dorset countryside, he knows his plants. That knowledge married with an architect's training and an intuitive eye enable him to create well-balanced gardens that mix perfectly a sense of wildness and order. They always feel right for their setting. 

    This past May, while in London for the Chelsea Flower Show I decided to take a trip to visit Arne and his longtime partner William Collinson. They restored a charming 15th century Elizabethan folly called Allt-y- bela (meaning high wooded hillside of the wolf) over the border in Wales.

    Photographs by Tom Mannion.

    Arne Maynard garden ; Gardenista

    Above: Allt-y-Bela is in the heart of the Black Mountains a few miles from the town of Usk, with spectacular views. Part of the house is run as a casual bed-and-breakfast with two well-appointed rooms with bath, fireplaces, and a bottle of Croft sherry at the ready for chilly evenings. In June, Arne offers courses for gardeners (they book up fast). Staying the night at a gardener's home is a real treat, offering a chance to stumble around the grounds viewing the plantings and property in the best light—dawn and dusk—when most gardens are closed. 

    Arne took a slightly different approach from his last property to his gardens here. Since he is in high demand now both in Europe and America, he needed to design his own garden with a serious consideration to low maintenance. That's not to say there isn't an impressive garden; it's just that it's remarkably manageable for its scale and diversity.

    Arne Maynard garden and chickens; Gardenista

    Above: His signature whimsical topiaries are the first to greet you when you pull up the unmarked drive at the end of a narrow road. The house, painted a brave color of terra cotta, is a striking backdrop to Arne's favorite palette of deep plums and richly purpled flowers. An intimate garden near the house enclosed in espaliered crabapples is filled with a wild look of bulbs and perennials. Your nose catches the intense scent of daphne, planted smartly near the kitchen door. Oversized containers are filled with intriguing color combinations.

    Arne Maynard edible garden ; Gardenista

    Above: A cutting and kitchen garden tucked around the back of the house is beautifully maintained with charming rows of vegetables, trained gooseberries, and currants and bordered on the outside by a bold rhubarb bed, a favorite of Arne's for puddings and jams. 

    Arne Maynard kitchen hallway ; Gardenista

    Above: Inside the farmhouse is cozy. The decor focuses on deep mulberry browns for the walls and stone floors, large fireplaces dwarf rooms like the library and the "snug." The furniture is 17th century oak tables and chairs with textiles strewn about and intriguing artifacts from Arne and William's travels. For the hallway Arne had an artist friend, Cornelia O'Donovan paint a wall mural of all his favorite flora and fauna, from bunnies to fritillaries, it's a nod to the old wall paintings in country piles. 

    Arne Maynard primroses in Wales ; Gardenista

    Above: A detail of Arne's auricula collection.

    Arne Maynard's espaliered wisteria and foxgloves l Gardenista

    Above: Wisteria is trained on the side of the house. Foxglove jets out of the paving.

    Arne Maynard garden ; Gardenista

    Above: The enclosed garden by the kitchen door makes for an welcoming entrance. Espaliered crabapples fence it in to form an intimate spot for afternoon tea. Whimsical topiaries, Arne's signature gesture are like charming waiters attending to your needs.

    Arne Maynard garden ; Gardenista

    Above: The cutting and perennial gardens are filled with Arne's favorite plants like allium, poppies, and verbascum to name a few.

    Arne Maynard edible garden ; Gardenista

    Above: The vegetable garden enclosed by a wattle fence and bordered by rhubarb.

    Arne Maynard garden portrait ; Gardenista

    Above: The designer Arne Maynard looking proud in his perennial gardens.

    Arne Maynard garden topiary; Gardenista

    Above: Another view of the enclosed front garden.

    Arne Maynard garden copper beech; Gardenista

    Above: A small purple beech maze is a welcome and relaxing design statement on the property.

    Arne Maynard garden ; Gardenista

    Above: Arne and William were inspired to paint their home this shade of Tuscan umber when they saw a similarly painted house on a trip to Ireland.

    Arne Maynard garden boot room; Gardenista

    Above: The classic boot room with ancient stone floors.

    Arne Maynard bathroom ; Gardenista

    Above: One of the bed-and-breakfast bathrooms painted in Arne's preferred shade of mulberry brown.

    Arne Maynard kitchen ; Gardenista

    Above: The kitchen with its traditional Aga stove and flagstone floor.

    Arne Maynard garden ; Gardenista

    Above: Chocolate cosmos and salvias.

    Arne Maynard garden ; Gardenista

    Above: The small stone waterfall adjacent to the upper perennial and kitchen garden.

    Arne Maynard garden ; Gardenista

    Above: A look at Arne's signature palette of purples and plums. Lupin, allium, and bronze fennel with spikes of verbascum blow in the breezes.

    For another garden designed by Arne Maynard, see A Downton Abbey-Worthy Garden.

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    If you're still searching for the perfect gift for me—oops, I mean an herbalist in your life—here are six special presents that I can guarantee would not only be loved, but actually used:

    gifts for an herbalist | gardenista

    Above: Take a moment to imagine these glass vessels filled with with milky oat tops, rose petals, and lavender. How can you resist them now? White Oak Vessels from Fort Standard; $240 for a set of three (also sold separately).

    gifts for an herbalist | gardenista

    Above: Every herbalist worth her salt knows the value of a good knife for chopping up herbs and creating new concoctions. I spotted the Pallares Solsona Kitchen Knife at the Remodelista San Francisco Market last week. My only regret is leaving this beauty behind; $49 from Quitokeeto.


    gifts for an herbalist | gardenista

    Above: Staub La Théière Round Tea Pot; $149.95 on Amazon. I recently saw this beauty stovetop at Francesca's house, and then I had the good fortune to see it again at Alexa's. Now I'm obsessed. Necessary for brewing herbal teas, of course.

    gifts for an herbalist | gardenista

    Above: The better to steep with: the Woven Tea Strainer in Silver Plate; $12 from Dar Gitane.

    gifts for an herbalist | gardenista

    Above: If the herbalist on your list doesn't already own a mortar and pestle, consider this classic: a Small Mortar and Pestle from Cooper-Hewitt is $60.

    gifts for an herbalist | gardenista

    Above: For setting hot pots of tea and maneuvering steaming glass jars: Cotton Canvas Potholders, $31 from Specialty Dry Goods.

    Still searching? See all of our Holiday Gift Guides.

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    We have a winner. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who entered our latest Gardenista Giveaway of a $224 collection of last-a-lifetime digging tools from Garrett Wade (and accessories to sharpen and care for them).

    Karlyn Collins, who gardens in Washington State, is our randomly selected winner and will receive a sharp-edged Super Penetration Shovel, a Professional Digging Tool with a serrated blade, and other supplies from Garrett Wade, sellers of fine tools since 1975. She told us, "My biggest digging challenge is trying to dig out the 10-to-12-inch round rocks in my garden. These rocks were left by a glacier and I think grow larger every season."

    Something tells us those tools will be put to good use.

    how to sharpen a shovel l gardenista

    Above: Photograph by John Merkl.

    This is the second of three giveaway contests we're sponsoring this season with our generous partner Garrett Wade. Watch this space in January for the third contest. 

    And for advice sharpening tools, see How to Sharpen a Shovel and How to Sharpen Pruners and Loppers.

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    There is nothing more magical than an open-air party in a forest clearing. There's a festive smell of pines, ferny green undergrowth, and clear bright moonlight. The only trouble is that in December it might be difficult to persuade prospective guests to brave winter's freezing temperatures. No need. With help from our partner The Home Depot, we brought the outdoors in to create a woodland holiday party.

    We decked out Gardenista editor in chief Michelle Slatalla's house for the occasion, figuring it would complement the Starry Night Holiday Lights Display we recently designed for her. Here's how we created an indoor fairyland:

    Photographs by John Merkl.

    woodland holiday party at Michelle's house l Gardenista

    Above: To bring nature indoors, we found supplies at our local The Home Depot: a large selection of Fresh Garland, Fresh Cut Christmas Trees, Fresh Wreaths, and Live Poinsettias. To gild Christmas tree ornaments, we also got a can of gold paint and a brush. And then we set to work.

    In the foyer, a 24-inch Classic Fresh Worcester Balsam Fir Wreath ($29.98) and a Live Poinsettia in a 6-inch pot ($5.98) greeted guests. We also hung a swag of tallow berries and cedar, wrapping the stems with Everbilt Natural Sisal Twine ($13.38) to create a bouquet.

    Holiday woodland party l Gardenista

    Above: It turns out that creating a fairy woodland indoors is easy: all you need is about 100 feet of Fresh Garland, such as The Christmas Tree Company's Classic White Pine Garland ($34.95 for 25 feet).

    We hammered small Assorted Brass-Plated Steel Bendless Nails ($2.98 per 10-pack) unobtrusively (we promise you'll never see the holes, Michelle!) into the top edge of wood moldings surrounding doorways to create support for the "forest" of garland.

    Then we draped Clear Mini Lights ($8.98 for a strand of 300) in the garland to simulate moonlight.

    woodland holiday party at Michelle's house l Gardenista

    Above: It's important to think about safety whenever you bring greenery indoors. We updated Michelle's smoke alarms with battery-operated Nest Protect: Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms ($129 apiece from The Home Depot). This high-tech, low-maintenance upgrade made her husband happy, as he now no longer has to get a broom and jab at alarms that go off in the middle of the night or when he is broiling chicken. To quiet a Nest alarm, all you have to do is stand under it and wave to let it know the smoke was a false alarm.

    woodland holiday party at Michelle's house l Gardenista

    Above: For mood lighting, we got a Silvered Glass Tealight Candle Set of four votives ($4 from The Home Depot).

    woodland holiday party at Michelle's house l Gardenista.j

    Above: We draped garland across the back of the sofa to transform it into a woodland sled and got a recipe for festive Poinsettia Cocktails from Gardenista contributor Justine Hand. Her recipe calls for cranberry juice, prosecco, and Cointreau. 

    woodland holiday party christmas tree l Gardenista

    Above: We scoured The Home Depot's selection of live Christmas trees (choices included Noble and Fraser Fir) and brought Michelle a 7-Ft. Fresh-Cut Douglas Fir ($37.98). 

    The Home Depot also has a large selection of pre-lit artificial trees, including a 7-Ft. Quick Set Benjamin Quick Set With Clear Lights ($119) and a Home Accents 6.5-Ft. Pre-Lit Verde Pine Christmas Tree With Clear Lights ($49.97), both of which will last for several years.

    woodland party at Michelle's house beautyberries l Gardenista

    Above: We decorated the Christmas tree with items found in nature. Our tree topper is a bouquet of beautyberries.

    woodland holiday party at Michelle's house l Gardenista

    Above: After a couple of Justine's poinsettia cocktails, we felt emboldened to also follow in her DIY footsteps, by making the same paper garland she used on her Gilded Tree, Inspired by Nature.

    woodland holiday party at Michelle's house l Gardenista.

    Above: We painted walnuts and a picture frame with Martha Stewart Living Vintage Gold Satin Metallic Paint ($5.48 for a 10-ounce jar) to decorate Michelle's foyer.

    woodland holiday party at Michelle's house ; Gardenista

    Above: We filled the votives with white Zest 1.5-Inch Citronella Tealight Candles (no odor or smoke!); $25.98 for a box of 100. They burn for four hours. 

    That's all you need to turn your house into a fairy woodland for a holiday party. And something tells us none of the guests will miss the freezing temperatures a bit.

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  • 12/18/13--12:00: DIY: Sarah's Cardoon Swag
  • At our recent Remodelista Dinner, our friend Louesa Roebuck decorated the dining table with cardoon thistles. I loved the furry burrs so much, I took several home with me. This year, instead of making a wreath for the door, I strung several cardoons together and tied a bell to the bottom for an instant festive note.

    Photography by Emily Johnston Anderson for Remodelista.

    Above: The cardoons are easily strung together with twine, using a large sewing needle.

    This is a rerun of a post that originally published on December 20, 2012.

    See more of our favorite DIY Holiday Projects.

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    A small, dark courtyard with an awkward shape: this is urban gardening for many of us. A new garden in the middle of London's Piccadilly is just such a place, with the added disadvantage of an electrical substation in its midst. If you've ever gazed at your sorry space and wondered "What would Tom Stuart-Smith do?", look no further.

    Photographs by Kendra Wilson except where noted. Kendra's photography shot with the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 digital SLR camera. Small in size, enormous in performance.

    Royal Academy Garden. Gardenista

    Above: The garden can be reached through the bar at Keeper's House, a meeting place for Friends of the Royal Academy arranged over several floors. The Shenkman Bar is now open to the public in the evenings. Garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith. Photograph by Richard Bryant/Arcaid.

    Royal Academy Garden. Gardenista

    Above: A subterranean garden, surrounded with brick. Stuart-Smith's approach has been "to make it more of what it is," with planes of brick on several levels and paving stone at the base. From this somber neutrality shoot up the wonky tree trunks and bright grasses.

    Royal Academy Garden. Gardenista

    Above: The nine tree ferns are ancient and Australian (about 250 years old). They give the garden "an exotic character," contrasting with the London brick.

    Royal Academy Garden. Gardenista

    Above: Grasses shimmer away in early December. Hakonechloa macra provides emerald green texture during the summer months. Accompanied by the highly scented, evergreen Pittosporum tobira 'Nana,' this is a garden that does not go into hibernation.

    Royal Academy Garden. Gardenista

    Above: Simple tables and Leaf Chairs by Arper are dotted around, with plenty of space for standing and talking in between. At the base of the tree ferns: Pittosporum, as mentioned.

    Royal Academy Garden. Gardenista

    Above: The garden is visible from different levels inside The Keeper's House. The planted roof is the top of the electrical substation. Other than the occasional sign bearing the legend "Danger of Death," it is not especially alarming. As the Virginia creeper and scented Trachelospermum jasminoides begin to cover the walls, it will be "a very green space," says Tom Stuart-Smith. Photography by Richard Bryant/Arcaid.

    For more courtyard gardens, see Garden Visit: Andrea Cochran's Courtyard Vignettes and Design Sleuth: Town Garden in Stoke Newington, London.

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    Garden designer Isabel Bannerman works on the grand scale. A forthcoming London spring show at Park Walk Gallery, Chelsea will showcase her flower photographs, with prints 5 feet high. 

    With husband Julian Bannerman, she designs big structures in big gardens (the most famous being the Stumpery at Highgrove), and in her flower photography she goes in close. She likes engineering: either creating hard landscaping or documenting the way a flower is put together.

    Isabel Bannerman photos. Gardenista

    Above: "Tree Peonie Seed Crown." Isabel began to document flowers at the former Bannerman home, Hanham Court. Like a latter day Fox Talbot at Lacock Abbey, she developed her photography technique in the surroundings of a large country house, with inspiration provided by her own garden.

    Isabel Bannerman photos. Gardenista

    Above: "Pink Poppy I." Isabel's photographs have been compared with couture, sex, and death. And birth, of course.

    The joint Bannerman look is uncompromisingly theatrical. Follies, pavilions, fountains: they draw on the heritage of this country's great estates and re-imagine it for our times.

    Isabel Bannerman photos. Gardenista

    Above: "Pink Poppy IV," with more than a passing resemblance to a silky frock. Along with other poppies and magnolias, it will be joining the forthcoming show at Park Walk Gallery.

    The Bannermans have a romantic design aesthetic. Besides hard landscaping, they favor luxuriant planting: roses festooning walls, self-seeders popping up all over a terrace.

    Isabel Bannerman photos. Gardenista

    Above: "Peony Molly Seeds." After prising them apart, Isabel lays her subjects in a box lined with black velvet, to be photographed in close-up.

    The Bannermans' projects have included Asthall Manor, home of the Hons' Cupboard in Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate and repository of happier Mitford memories. A sculpture show is held in the rose-garlanded grounds of Asthall every two years, due to re-appear in the summer of 2014.

    Isabel Bannerman photos. Gardenista

    Above:"Pink Magnolia IV." Like her garden structures, Isabel's plant photos take what's already there: the rich color combinations, the inimitable shapes.

    Isabel Bannerman photos. Gardenista

    Above: "Pink Magnolia II." Isabel and Julian recently left Hanham Court, their home of 20 years, and took a lease on Trematon in Cornwall, owned by Prince Charles, aka the Duke of Cornwall. It has a nine-acre garden, ready to be stamped with the Bannerman hallmark.

    Isabel Bannerman's new work will be featured in The Spring Exhibition at Park Walk Gallery: "Flowers and Still Lifes" from March 9 to 22.

    For Isabel and Julian Bannerman's garden design work, see At Home With Prince Charles: A Garden Ramble

    Is it just us, or do Isabel's photographs remind you of JAR's jewelry, too? See Jewels by JAR, Inspired by the Garden.

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    My favorite arrangements to make for the holidays are those inspired by my natural surroundings. What better way than to take a walk in the woods, on the beach, in the mountains, finding unlikely elements for a wild, seasonal arrangement? When making a wild and foraged arrangement, I tend to choose a foliage that can serve as a base, and help guide the feel of the arrangement. 

    Photographs by Sophia Moreno-Bunge.

     an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

    Above: This year, I decided to use castor clippings as my base, since they grow rampantly all along the Pacific Coast Highway in California where I find myself for the holidays. I love the star-like shapes of the leaves, and their surreal size. I also decided to use one of my favorites, foraged bottle brush—a tree that screams California Christmas to me, because of its luscious red color.

    an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

    Above: Star-shaped castor leaves.

    an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

    Above: Bright red bottle brush. With castor and bottle brush on my mind, I took a trip to the downtown Los Angeles Flower Market in search of a few more "ingredients" for my holiday arrangement.

    an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

    Above: At the market I chose striped red and white amaryllis, a beautiful bundle of pine (whose bunch shapes are incredible) and some wild rose hip branches. 

    an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

    Above: All of the ingredients. In addition to your flowers and greenery, you'll also need a large vase, preferably with a tapered opening to keep your stems from spilling out, and a pair of clippers.

    an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

    Above: To begin, I fill the vase with water and add my castor and pine base, creating an architectural shape. The beauty of this sort of arrangement is that you can supplement with your own floral materials, and use whatever you have handy as your foliage base. Make sure you cut your stems at a diagonal, and leave each stem as long as your vase will allow so they reach the bottom of the vase and can drink as much water as possible (you can measure the stem up to the vase before you cut it!).

    an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

    Above: I added a cascade of bottle brush on one side of my arrangement, accentuating its natural shape.

    an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

    Above: Next I added rose hip branches. And last, three stems of amaryllis (or your own floral choice). Amazingly, the amaryllis buds will continue to bloom over the next few says, filling out the arrangement even more.

    an unexpected holiday arrangement from sophia moreno-bunge | gardenista

    Above: The finished product.

    Taken by the rose hips? See Rose Hip Wreaths from the Hedgerow. For more seasonal DIY ideas, see all of our Holidays posts.

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    Expecting holiday guests? Snow shovels and brushes are no match for the thin layer of ice that can greet them, with perilous results, when they walk up your steps on a wintry evening. Imagine a heated door mat that would keep them sure-footed. 

    Above: Designed for commercial safety, HeatTrak offers a residential line of snow and ice melting door, walkway, and stair mats that are less costly and slightly less muscular than their commercial models (but no less effective for home use). The mats are portable and designed to lie on top of existing surfaces. Made of an electrically operated heating element sandwiched between two protective, waterproof surfaces, HeatTrak mats can endure harsh wear and are designed to be left outside all winter long. They plug directly into any standard 120-volt outlet.

    Above: It is recommended that you turn on your HeatTrak mat at least 30 minutes before snowfall so that it melts snow on contact (turning on the mats after snowfall will take longer to melt). Then, keep the mats on a few hours after snow has stopped as you may have water runoff. The mats work effectively down to -5 degrees Fahrenheit and melt snow at a rate of approximately 2 inches per hour.

    Above: The HeatTrak Residential Snow-Melting Stair Mat measures 10 by 30 inches and can be used independently or interconnected to other stair or walkway mats; $49.95 each at Amazon. It requires the 6-Foot HeatTrak Power Unit which is sold separately ($34.95).

    Above: Step out onto the HeatTrak Carpeted Snow-Melting Doormat, which measures 24 by 36 inches; $126.14 including power cord at Amazon.

    Above: To help secure the mats and keep corners from curling (and becoming tripping traps), grommets are strategically placed at the corners.

    N.B. This is a rerun of a post that originally published on February 7, 2013.

    Battling winter snow? See our favorite weapons: A Snow Shovel Built to Last and The World's Best Snow Brush.

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    Some of us are geniuses at Remodelista when it comes to floral arrangements (Alexa, are you reading this?). Others, not so much (self included). That's why I gravitate toward the single-ingredient arrangement—it's amazing how nice a pine branch stuck in a bottle can look.

    Above: A single pine branch, via RAW design blog.

    Above: Ferns as wreaths? Genius; they won't last more than a couple of days, but good for a party. Via Batixa.

    Above: Red berries in a vase; photo by James Ransom for Food52.

    Above: Our own Alexa recently put together a DIY holiday table with a couple of evergreen branches as a centerpiece (we'll be copying this one).

    Above: Pine cones strung on a cord; I'll be trying this at home.

    Above: A single pine bough; courtesy of By Fryd.

    Above: Pine cones corralled in chicken wire? Yes. Via Caisa K.

    Above: A simple bowl of pine needles and you're done; via Accessorize Your Home.

    Above: Our resident low-key holiday pine branch arranger Justine has it covered.

    Want more holiday decorating ideas? See Playing With Fire: Clip-on Candle Holders.

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    Everyone knows that starting the day with a well-balanced breakfast is a good idea and as far as I'm concerned, this is especially true on Christmas. It's a day when, if I'm not careful, I might happily fill up on melty foil-wrapped chocolate Santas in front of the fire and drift into a sugary stupor. A proper Christmas deserves a proper morning feast. But it also shouldn't be anything too complicated—there's dinnertime for that. Fresh juices, an indulgent smattering of fresh fruit, something warm from the oven, something savory, and something sweet sounds perfect to me. Olivia Rae James agrees. Here, her dreamed up version of the perfect Christmas morning spread. 

    Photographs by Olivia Rae James. Photography shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III digital SLR. The filmmaker's camera.

    christmas morning breakfast | gardenista

    Above: Olivia's idea of the perfect Christmas morning spread.

    christmas morning breakfast | gardenista

    Above: Olivia's boyfriend, Blake, was in charge of making the cinnamon rolls. He used Oh, Ladycakes Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls recipe, but added a boozy addition to the glaze: a touch of whiskey. Don't mind if we do.

    christmas morning breakfast | gardenista

    Above: To balance out too much sweet, Olivia made tartines of smoked salmon and whipped cream cheese on toasted sourdough bread.

    christmas morning breakfast | gardenista

    Above: Part of Christmas morning tradition in my family, too. Olivia broiled halved oranges, sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar, until they were just warm. 

    christmas morning breakfast | gardenista

    Above: Blake's glazed cinnamon rolls, ready for snagging.

    christmas morning breakfast | gardenista

    Above: Coffee and grapefruit juice for waking any sleepy family members.

    christmas morning breakfast | gardenista

    Above: Breakfast in action. What about you? What you are your favorite holiday breakfast treats?

    For more of Olivia's festive recipe ideas, see A 5-Ingredient Holiday Cocktail Party and Mulled Apple Cider With a Secret Ingredient.

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    Whether you know someone who dons the white suit and does the noble work of beekeeping, or someone whose relationship to bees is more one of admiration from afar, here are gifts for the bee-loving set.

      gift guide: for the apiarist or honey bee lover

    Above: The Beekeeper's Bible ($35 from William-Sonoma) is the prettiest book on beekeeping I've seen. Perhaps not the best book for an expert beekeeper, it's a lovely primer for the armchair apiarists among us.

    gift guide: for the apiarist or honey bee lover

     Above: A maple wood Honey Dipper; $8 from Alder & Co. Made in Vermont.

    gift guide: for the apiarist or honey bee lover

    Above: And the accompanying glass and teak Honey Jar; $35 from Alder & Co. Made by a husband and wife team in Thailand, committed to using wood from managed forests and leaving the it chemical finish-free.

    gift guide: for the apiarist or honey bee lover  

    Above: Stocked with a few essentials for getting started (smoker, fuel, hive tool, and bee brush), The Beekeeping Tool Kit is $49.99 from Grow Organic.

    gift guide: for the apiarist or honey bee lover

    Above: What's a beekeeper without her hives? The Painted Backyard Beehive looks like a perfect beginner hive; $349.95 from Williams-Sonoma.

    For more bee-related gifts, see the roundup that Kendra put together last year: Gift Guide: For the Beekeeper.

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    The New Craftsmen is a pop-up shop in London's Mayfair. Its temporary home is a former stable in a muse behind South Audley Street, and the original interior (tiled walls, floors with drainage) perfectly complements the traditionally crafted British goods within.

    The New Craftsmen, Gardenista

    Above: Ingenious birdfeeder made from wood-fired stoneware, Dorset: £80. To the left, a Cricket Table from Arne Maynard design, £1.920. Inspired by an old table in his house Alt-y-Bella in Wales, three legs were originally considered more stable on uneven flags than four. Photograph by Kendra Wilson.

    For more of Arne Maynard's house and garden at Alt-y-Bella see Designer Visit: Arne Maynard at Home in Wales.

    The New Craftsmen, Gardenista

    Above: An Apple Storage Chest, from Arne Maynard Design: £2,200. Through his work in the garden of Haddon Hall, Derbyshire, Maynard has collaborated with the craftsmen on the estate to make products of English oak, to be used indoors or out. This chest can be used for anything, though it stores up to 600 apples. Photograph via The New Craftsmen.

    The New Craftsmen, Gardenista

    Above: Apple Collecting Sedan, on location in an orchard: £3,840. Part of Arne Maynard's collaboration with The New Craftsmen, the slatted trays in the sedan fit as drawers into the apple storage chest. A sedan is preferable to an apple cart because the whole thing can be lifted and carried, keeping the apples intact. This also applies to picnics.

    The New Craftsmen, Gardenista

    Above: Inside a horse stall at The New Craftsmen, this branch Coat Stand is from Somerset, welded from steel and powder-coated. Also available in gray: £1,600.

    The New Craftsmen, Gardenista

    Above: Willow Basket Platters for bread, from £75. Made by Hilary Burns in Devon.

    The price tags at The New Craftsmen say a lot about their ethos. They list in order of importance: maker, location, material. These products are made by people, not machines, and they are closely bound to local materials. Photograph by Kendra Wilson.

    The New Craftsmen, Gardenista

    Above left: Selection of handmade Penknives from the steel city of Sheffield (from £105). Right: Humbug Trug, a stained, striped update of the Sussex Trug, £65.

    The New Craftsmen, Gardenista

    Above: Monster food cover, made in County Down, Northern Ireland, £300. Available to ship; please enquire.

    The New Craftsmen, Gardenista

    Above: The New Craftsmen can be found at 14 Adam's Row W1 until 24 December 2013. After this date they will be trading online (including international shipping) until they move into their new premises in a yet-to-be announced location in Mayfair.

    For more handmade garden implements see Red Pig Garden Tools, Hand-Forged in the USA.

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