Articles on this Page
- 01/31/14--11:30: _The Week in Review:...
- 02/01/14--03:00: _Herb Fever: A Frenc...
- 02/02/14--03:00: _Architect Visit: Ba...
- 02/03/14--03:00: _Architect Visit: A ...
- 02/03/14--06:30: _DIY: How to Force M...
- 02/03/14--09:00: _Shopper's Diary: Fl...
- 02/03/14--11:30: _10 Easy Pieces: Bul...
- 02/04/14--03:00: _Norwegian Wood: Gar...
- 02/04/14--06:30: _The Best $50 Valent...
- 02/04/14--09:00: _Steal This Look: En...
- 02/04/14--11:30: _For Valentine's Day...
- 02/05/14--03:00: _The Cult of the Wil...
- 02/05/14--06:30: _Shopper's Diary: Vi...
- 02/05/14--09:00: _DIY: Grow an Indoor...
- 02/05/14--11:30: _10 Easy Pieces: Pot...
- 02/06/14--03:00: _Garden Visit: The I...
- 02/06/14--06:30: _Design Sleuth: Wire...
- 02/06/14--09:00: _Garden Sheds and Ou...
- 02/06/14--11:30: _10 Easy Pieces: Gla...
- 02/07/14--03:00: _Recipe: Winter Kale...
- 01/31/14--11:30: The Week in Review: To Good Health
- 02/01/14--03:00: Herb Fever: A French Alchemist at Market
- 02/02/14--03:00: Architect Visit: Barn-Like Living (Only Better)
- 02/03/14--03:00: Architect Visit: A Garden Workshop in Cambridge
- 02/03/14--06:30: DIY: How to Force Muscari Bulbs
- Bulbs; I used Muscari Ocean Magic from Longfield Garden (the variety is available seasonally). You can also use other varieties of grape hyacinths (or tulips or paperwhites or hyacinths, if you insist).
- Potting Soil
- Florists' moss, such as Terrarium Moss ($19.95 from Moss Acres)
- A teaspoon (you can also use Terrarium Tools; a three-piece set that includes a little shovel is $43.50 from Sprout Home)
- A brown paper grocery bag, cut open to form a flat panel
- 02/03/14--09:00: Shopper's Diary: Flowerland in SF's East Bay
- 02/03/14--11:30: 10 Easy Pieces: Bulb Vases
- 02/04/14--03:00: Norwegian Wood: Garden Sheds, Retractable Roof and Walls Included
- 02/04/14--06:30: The Best $50 Valentine's Roses You Can Order Online
- 02/04/14--09:00: Steal This Look: English Writing Shed
- 02/04/14--11:30: For Valentine's Day: Frances Palmer Bud Vases
- 02/05/14--03:00: The Cult of the Wild Camellia
- 02/05/14--06:30: Shopper's Diary: Vintage Tools from Garden & Wood
- 02/05/14--09:00: DIY: Grow an Indoor Compost Garden
- 02/05/14--11:30: 10 Easy Pieces: Potting Shed Brushes
- 02/06/14--03:00: Garden Visit: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
- 02/06/14--06:30: Design Sleuth: Wire Pot Hangers
- 02/06/14--09:00: Garden Sheds and Outbuildings from the Gardenista Gallery
- 02/06/14--11:30: 10 Easy Pieces: Glass Cloches
- 02/07/14--03:00: Recipe: Winter Kale Salad
- Purple cabbage
- Baby spinach
- Red cabbage
- 1 red onion
- 1 apple
- 1 orange
- 1 beetroot
- 1 pomegranate
- Feta cheese
- Pumpkin seeds
- Balsamic vinegar
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
It doesn't take the team at Gardenista much convincing that there's a link between good health and gardening. But in case you still need to be won over, we've had a week's worth of posts proving that it's so.
Here's a roundup of some of our favorite stories from the past week:
Green Tea as food for your face.
To health and renewal: pick a Shade of Green.
8 DIY Terrariums for bringing some greenery indoors.
Witch Hazel for winter.
Not done browsing yet? See all of our Week in Review posts.
Our friend Mimi Giboin just got back from a trip to France (she was visiting her parents, who live in the town of Royan on the southwest coast). Lucky for us; she pulled out her camera and took some snaps of an out-of-the-ordinary herb stand run by Christine Bouquet (yes, that's her name) at the local farmers' market.
"Christine's stall is bit disheveled, in a good way," Mimi says. "The herbs she offers, you just don't find them anywhere else in the market. She specializes in seasonal and forgotten varieties of herbs, spices, and heirloom tomatoes. Christine's mother raised and sold flowers, and Christine worked alongside her throughout her school years. She ended up buying her grandparents' farm, and now she runs an organic herb, vegetable, and spice garden. She works from dawn until dusk; she's on a mission to make us comfortable using foreign flavors in cooking."
Christine can be found at the Central Market Royan, facing the boulevard Aristide-Briand (on the weekend off-season and daily in season).
Photography by Mimi Giboin.
Above: Christine's stand, laden with her herbal harvest.
Above: Braided garlic bulbs hanging from a pole.
Above: Mint and sage on display.
Above: Christine at her stand.
Above: Christine stacks wooden crates to display her produce.
Above: A wheat sheaf braided around the head of a garlic flower.
Above: One of Christine's favorites, salicornia is a briny, crunchy succulent that grows in the regional marshes. We recently spotted salicornia at Far West Fungi in San Francisco's Ferry Plaza, and you can occasionally source it at Earthy Delights. For a Sea Bean Salad recipe, go to Honest Food.
Above: An array of tomatillos.
Above: Vintage scales used for weighing produce.
Above: L'hélichrysum Italicum, a flowering plant of the daisy family, or what Christine calls the "curry plant" (she uses it in Indian cooking).
N.B.: This is an update of a post originally published September 2, 2013.
Do you dream, like I do, of living in a barn? The big caveat, of course, is that you need to have a barn to convert. Typically that involves either owning property that happens to have a few spare barns or transporting a barn from some place else. Prague-based Studio Pha offers a third option in the village of Klokočná, in the Czech Republic: building a new open structure that's economical, conducive to the openness of modern living, and, yes, inspired by the shape and feel of old barns.
Above: Studio Pha designed two barn-like structures for this family compound. The white one is the house and the gray, the garage and utility space.
Above: Typical barn construction is evident in the exposed bolts on the beams.
Above: Black ceramic tiles are durable and easy to maintain in the entry hall.
Above: The kitchen, dining, and living areas are in one open space.
Above: The beams run into the ceiling soffit, which has been built over the kitchen to hide the ductwork from the extractor fan.
Above: The ceiling soffit extends to the exterior porch.
Above: A thin skylight runs the length of the slope of the roof and provides natural light for the stairwell.
Above: A fluorescent tube echoes the light from the skylight.
Above: Rays of light formed by two thin skylights that run down the slope of the roof accentuate the shape of the barn.
Above: The architects created a simple and balanced composition from basic bathroom components.
Above: The barn-like utility building and garage stands next to the house.
Above: The interior of the utility barn is finished with fiberboard panels.
Above: The utility barn provides valuable storage space.
Above: A small glass connector attaches the living barn to the utility barn.
Above: The two barn-like structures are differentiated by their exterior materials: painted plaster for the house and standing-seam metal for the utility building.
Above: A section of the house illustrates its barn origins.
Never underestimate the beauty of utility. See A Utility Barn as Architectural Moment.
After coming into possession of his grandfather's workbench and tools, London-based architect Ben Davidson of Rodić Davidson Architects designed a perfectly proportioned shed for them in his garden.
We came spotted the workshop via Dezeen, where Davidson described how he designed and built the shed four years after moving into his home in Cambridge.
Photographs via Dezeen.
Above: The floor is concrete and the walls are lined with lacquered pegboard with hooks and open shelving to house tools.
Above: The exterior is clad in plywood siding, stained black. The windows are Velfac panels that Davidson was given for free by a contractor who had ordered the wrong size.
The garden workshop is one of two sheds Davidson built in his garden; the second building is a home office.
Above: Davidson, who inherited his grandfather's workbench and tools after his father died in 2012, told Dezeen: "My grandfather was a carpenter by trade and extraordinarily talented; he should have been a cabinet maker. I recall many summers in my early teens, being packed off for two weeks to go and stay with my grandparents in Norfolk and spending the entire time with him in his workshop."
Above: A birch ply shelving unit.
Above: A second workbench, made of maple, runs along the length of a wall in the workshop.
Above: At the end of the birch plywood is a lowered platform, on which sits a Meddings pillar drill.
In addition to windows, the shed has two skylights. The pegboard wall panels allow Davidson to display (rather than merely store) his grandfather's tools.
You can keep your paperwhites. Yes, I know they're foolproof to force. But to me, grape hyacinths mean spring. So this year I decided to pass on the no-brainer bulbs to instead see just how hard it would be to force (or should I say strongly encourage?) muscari to bloom indoors.
For materials and step-by-step instructions, see below:
Photographs by Michelle Slatalla.
Above: The trick to getting muscari bulbs to bloom is to persuade them that spring has arrived after they've endured a long, cold winter. For this to work, you have to put them in a cool, dark place to simulate winter. My plan was to keep them captive in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator for eight weeks, and then parole them to sunlight and warmth. As you can see...they fell for it.
Above: I decided to force the bulbs in my favorite April Vase; 187€ from Tsé & Tsé. It consists of 21 linked test tubes that you can bend into a variety of shapes—an "S" snaking down the middle of the table, for instance, or a circle, or a straight line on the windowsill.
Muscari flowers get leggy; a tall, narrow vase that holds each bulb snugly in the bottom will prevent leaves from flopping before flowers bloom.
Above: In addition to a vase, you'll need a few other materials.
Above: Bulbs do not like to sit in standing water; they rot if that happens. When forcing them, the goal is to create a well-drained nest to coax a bulb to send down roots to reach the water beneath it.
Step 1: Using a spoon or terrarium tools, add a 1- or 2-inch layer of pebbles to the bottom of the vase. This will aid drainage.
Step 2: Add a spoonful of potting soil on top of the pebbles and then cover with a small cushion of moss.
Step 3: Moisten the moss with from 2 to 4 teaspoons of water, depending on the size of the vase. The goal here is to use enough water to wet the moss and the potting soil and to collect at the bottom of the drainage layer; the moisture will lure the roots to grow downward to get water.
Step 4: Place each bulb with roots down (and crown up) on top of the moss cushion.
Step 5: Open the bottom drawer of the refrigerator. Remove all the stray, wilted stalks of celery and soft, sad carrots and potatoes that have sprouted accusing eyes. Now you have plenty of room to place your vase in the drawer. Cover the vase with the flat brown paper bag (to block light). Close the refrigerator drawer—and don't open it again for eight weeks.
N.B.: Would you prefer to force a single, larger bulb in a vase of water? Later today we'll be posting our favorite 10 Easy Pieces: Vases to Force Bulbs.
Step 6: After eight weeks, you should see tiny green shoots starting to grow from the top of the bulbs' crowns. Place the vase in a sunny, warm spot.
Step 7: Give each bulb a teaspoon or two of water every two or three days—just enough to moisten the moss and the soil. But do not allow the bulbs to sit in standing water.
Above: Within a week of coming out of the refrigerator, my bulbs had 6-inch leaves.
Above: I started to see stalks with small purple clusters of flowers growing up through the center of the leaves.
Above: My muscari flowers were still going strong three weeks after coming out of the refrigerator.
Above: What's next for these little guys? Stay tuned: I am going to experiment with making my own pressed botanical specimens.
Want to force something that's a little more foolproof? See DIY: Bottle-Fed Paperwhites.
Some people, on Sunday afternoons, might visit a park, or a café, to read a book or spend time with a friend. But just north of Berkeley, in Albany, CA, people come to Flowerland. It isn’t just a nursery, it's also a place to sit, have coffee and a cookie, and say hello to the neighborhood dog.
Photographs by Liesa Johannssen.
Above: The nursery, which was built in 1945, is one of the few spots of green on a long commercial corridor.
Above: A 1969 Princess Airstream sits in the front of the nursery, serving espressos and cappuccinos from a side window. It’s operated by Local 123, a nearby third-wave café. Pastries come from local bakeries. The coffee is from Four Barrel.
Above: Candy-colored café tables, Adirondack chairs, and a cement bench that gives off radiant heat allow people to sit and consider the greenery in winter.
Above: “It seemed like a nice gesture to have a spot where people could come and not feel like they had to shop to be here,” says Carly Dennet, Flowerland’s owner.
Above: It had been Carly’s dream to have an Airstream at the nursery, and fulfilling that dream came naturally. After both the nursery and Local 123 were mentioned as two of fashion designer Erika Tanov’s favorite places in a newspaper article, the owners of the two businesses subsequently met. “I told the owner, Frieda, that I’d love to have an Airstream trailer, and she said, ‘I actually happen to have a friend who has an Airstream he needs to get rid of.’”
Above: Getting the Airstream up and running was a three-month project. Now, even in the slow, winter months, Flowerland stays vibrant.
“I just really love the activity,” says Dennet. “I love it on the weekends. Families come, and there’s kids, and there’s doughnuts, and people having coffee. Of course the nursery benefits from that too. I think when you’re sitting there, you can really see the plants, instead of just walking through.”
Above: And 8-year-old Tommy, Dennet’s border collie mix, is a constant, gentle presence. When he isn’t napping, “he loves to sit by the front of the nursery, watching what’s going on. Or go through the trash bin, looking for pastries.“
Above: Instead of neatly arranged rows of trees and shrubs, the nursery has nooks and crannies, which makes for good wandering, and good daydreaming, coffee in hand. “It’s rustic. Nothing is ever perfect, or done,” says Dennet.
Above: Scattered among the native grasses, succulents, and drought tolerant plants from South Africa and Australia are found objects, including this old, scaffolding ladder and iron bed, both flea market finds. Now, the bed is laced with mosses; later, Dennet hopes to plant it with wildflowers.
Above: Carly admits to being a plant nut; before she opened the shop, she would spend whole days in nurseries, coming home at night to read plant books. Hellebore are a favorite, with their subtle color.
Above: “We really love textural plants,” says Dennet. “I do love flowers, but I personally would be happy with a garden full of texture, and very few flowers. I think that happens a lot to plant people. You start to fall in love with the texture, the leaf, the subtle color combinations. Flowers are just icing on the cake.”
Above: Flowerland’s gift shop has a forest-floor theme, inspired by Carly’s childhood growing up in woodsy Mendocino County. Branches rise to the skylight, mimicking trees, and tree stumps prop up books and jewelry. Marmalades, olive oils, and artwork are on display on the country store-style shelving, a legacy from the building’s original owners. The green paint has been stripped, leaving behind a coppery green stain on the redwood.
Above: “Things happen organically here,” says Dennet. “We try to have around inspiring materials, so that the staff feel like taking part, and being creative. And a lot of interesting things happen that way.”
Flowerland is open 7 days a week: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm, Monday - Saturday and 10:00 am - 5:00 pm on Sunday.
Here's a map of the Flowerland location:
Taking a tour of the East Bay? Stop in also at Oakland's Coolest Garden Shop.
I've decided that my bulb-forcing containment strategy needs to gain in its sophistication from my childhood bulb-forcing days. Toothpick-supported bulbs in a paper cup just don't do the trick on my winter windowsill.
The perfect shape for forcing bulbs, bulb vases are designed with a narrow neck to hold the bulb above water and allow roots to dangle and display the tendrils that would otherwise be hidden underground. Here's a roundup of bulb vases that will support and complement your winter-forced bloom beauties (and can be put to work holding cut flowers the remainder of the year).
For simple instructions to create lovely winter blooms, see Michelle's Forced Bulb Primer.
Above: Holmegaard's Celebrate Pearl Vase sized for hyacinth pearl bulbs (will work for other small bulbs like crocus) is a demure 4.12 inches high. Available in an amber shade "bloom" (as shown) or a green shade "evergreen," it's $22 at Royal Design.
Above: Holmegaard's Celebrate Hyacinth Vase and Votive (back, center) is a taller version (7.12 inches high) and comes with a votive candle holder for $64 at Royal Design.
Above: The simple Hyacinth Forcing Jar Trio (L) lets the plant be the focus. The set includes three 5.75-inch-tall vases and three bulbs for $12. The Crocus Forcing Jar Trio has three 4-inch-tall vases and costs $10. Both are at Living Gardens.
Above: The Extra Tall Bulb Vase (R) is15inches high and can accommodate large bulbs such as amaryllis or tulips with tall sides to support the flower and foliage. The Tall Bulb Vase (L) is a smaller version (11 inches tall) perfect for paperwhites; $24 and $18 respectively at Sugarboo & Co.
Above: Art glass meets bulb vase. The Vitrelux Bulb Vase is handblown in Portland, Oregon and is approximately 10.25 inches tall; $140 at Tilde.
Above: Specifically designed for small bulbs, the Smoked Glass Crocus Bulb Vase is available for £3.99 at Crocus in the UK.
Above: Made from recycled glass, Homart's Bulb Vases measure 4 by 5 inches and are available in five colors including colbalt (as shown); $18 at Abodewares.
Above: The Set of Four Hyacinth Bulb Vases is made of recycled glass molded with ribbing in a mixed color grouping. They stand 6.3-inches tall; $77.60 for the set at Origin Crafts.
Above: The color of the Lime Glass Bulb Vase complements plant foliage and blooms; $12 at Arhaus.
Above: Root tangles too messy for you? Consider a Ceramic Bulb Forcing Vase available in shades of green from one of my favorite Seattle shops, Watson Kennedy; $36 each.
Is your focus on indoor gardening this winter? Consider Wonderful Wardian Cases.
On Norway's coast, a 12-mile stretch of the Hustadvika shoreline faces the shallow waters of a fjord—dangerous for ships but home to many small, picturesque islands and reefs. From the land, the views are beautiful. It would be a shame to destroy the vantage with bulky garden outbuildings at the edge of your property. Solution: see-through sheds.
Clients who own a a summerhouse property at water's edge in Norway asked Oslo-based architects Rever & Drage to create three small garden outbuildings: a tool shed, a rain shelter, and a camping area. When the sheds' doors roll open, the trio, which we spotted via Dezeen, frame the view of a nearby narrow inlet with high cliffs.
Photographs by Tom Auger via Dezeen.
Above: Three wooden buildings surround a wood deck at the edge of a client's summerhouse property.
Above: The architects sprayed the wood with a coating of tar—traditionally used to waterproof boats—to protect it from the salt spray on the northwest coast of Norway.
Above: Double doors on two sheds slide open. The sheds' rear walls are glass panels and reveal a view of the fjord.
Above: The largest building has a retractable roof that can slide forward to create an awning for the patio. Beneath the roof is a glass skylight; when it slides open, the open space below is still protected from rain.
Above: The underside of the retractable roof, which is powered by an electric motor.
Above: The doors on the main shed (R) fold back to open.
Above: For another clever Norwegian outbuilding, see Norwegian Wood: A Folding Ice Hut.
Above: Say the architects: "The final result is a Stonehenge-like place to be with its high and heavy features."
For another shed with rolling barn doors, see A Stylish Garden Shed With a Secret.
The Bouqs Company, a new online floral delivery company based in Venice Beach, California may be the way of the future. We can only hope, as it's pretty slim pickings when it comes to finding quality and responsibly grown flowers online.
John Tabis and JP Montufar are co-founders who met at college. After a variety of work experiences on their own, they reconnected with the idea of the The Bouqs Company, launched only 14 months ago. JP grew up in South America surrounded by the floral business, and John in the US with an interest in marketing and business. Together they saw a need in the online floral market for a business with a conscience and simpler more modern style. In their words, an online flower company that didn't "suck."
They're offering a Valentine's collection of 40 different bouquets—from snapdragons to $50 bouquets of roses—and will ship to all 50 US states. (Place Valentine's Day order this week to ensure delivery.)
I had to check them out, so I had them send me some early Valentine's Day flowers so I could see the quality for myself:
Photographs by Stephen Johnson except where noted.
Above: The Bouqs flowers unpacked and being conditioned in tepid water with the provided floral food.
There are a lot of reasons to love The Bouqs Company (the name is short for bouquets). The website is easy to navigate and well-designed and the flowers are cut and delivered the same day, which means the flowers you receive are only two to four days old, versus the majority of flowers from online services, which are closer to ten to 14 days old.
Above: Detail shot of the roses, three days after arrival.
The flowers were strong and healthy when they arrived; in fact they are so fresh that after three days the roses were just starting to open. The lighter pink roses got a little hit by the cold, but all I needed to do was remove the outer bruised petals. I'll be tracking how long they last, but I'm guessing at least a couple weeks if I change the water regularly and keep them away from the heat.
Above: Using The Bouqs flowers, I created a few different arrangements, adding in a little spirea I had on hand with the soft pink roses. In the foreground is Speedy the cat (he's checking for fragrance).
The Bouqs flowers arrive in great packaging: it's tasteful and not embarrassing. The company specializes in well-curated, simple, modern bouquets created by a seasoned floral designer, Eric Buterbaugh, who has a simple classic style with no more than two to three different flowers in one bouquet.
Above: Detail of the arrangements in my own vintage vessels. I cut the red spray roses down to a low, loose mound using a floral frog for structure. See Vintage-Style Flower Frogs.
Above: A view of The Bouqs hoop houses where some of the flowers are grown. Photograph courtesy of The Bouqs.
The Bouqs currently has 13 farm partners in Ecuador and California that have been diligently inspected to meet all company's standards—quality of blooms from size, color, to vase life and respect and care for the environment and their employees. "We end up turning down more farms then we work with," says Tabis.
The majority of their farms can be found on the sunny side of a volcano, 10,000 feet above sea level in Ecuador. Recently The Bouqs started to add flower farms more locally in California with the same standards but with the added bonus of overnight delivery anywhere in the US for a $50 flat fee. There are plans in the works to explore farm partners farther afield in Europe and Asia.
Above: A worker on one of the farms in Ecuador. Photograph courtesy of The Bouqs.
Beyond sustainability, The Bouqs Company believes in honesty and fair prices. For instance, prices don't increase at the holidays, a classic trick of most florists. The $40 bouquets will always be that price, and there are no annoying add ons.
The Bouqs co-founders also have devised some apps they call their "Concierge Service." The service offers a program to "Never Forget," for birthdays or special occasions with flower deliveries prescheduled for the year; "Just Because" randomly selects days throughout the year to send to loved ones for no particular reason, and an option to track of the receivers' floral preferences.
I've been looking online for a responsibly grown and tastefully curated flower company that is reliable and well priced, and I think I've found it in The Bouqs. If you're thinking of sending a bouquet for Valentine's Day, place your order this week to ensure delivery.
Interested in other delivery options? See Shopper's Diary: Weekly Flowers to Your Doorstep from Wildfolk Studio.
Virginia Woolf did much of her writing in a converted shed, situated in her garden at Monk's House in Rodmell, Sussex. If you want to see more of her garden, see Required Reading: Virginia Woolf's Garden. If you want to know how to outfit your own shed in proper English style, see below:
Above: Inspired by Woolf's writing shed, Scotts of Thrapston designed the Reading Room, a summerhouse made from European redwood stained a dark green. The Reading Room is no longer available through Scotts, but the more modern Polebrook Summerhouse offers a similar small space for garden tools or garden contemplators; £7,400. If you opt for a DIY-version of the shed, Thompson's WaterSeal Semi-Transparent Waterproofing Stain in Douglas Fir is a comparable stain; $24 per gallon.
Above: Ikea's Sockerärt enameled steel vase comes in three sizes; $7.99 to $19.99.
Above: The Long Narrow Pole Handle Basket in large is $21.95 from The Basket Lady.
Above: Ikea's Norbo drop-leaf table folds down when not in use; $29.99. Paint it in an eggshell white to re-create the look.
Above: The Oak Counter Stool from Restoration Hardware has a weathered finish; on sale for $79.
N.B. This is an update of a post that originally published on March 27, 2012.
Troll our archives for more posts on Garden Sheds.
I'm an unabashed Valentine's Day enthusiast. I have my parents to thank: my dad for bringing me and my sisters sprays of pink carnations picked up from Grand Central Terminal bodegas on his evening commute home, and my mom for the handmade cards carefully placed at each of our plates come dinnertime. I never say no to a Valentine's bouquet. And why on earth would I dismiss a box of chocolates?
But this year, a tiny collection of vases caught my eye and I've been thinking about the appeal of a Valentine's Day gift that's just a touch less ephemeral.
Made in her Connecticut studio, Frances Palmer's tiny bud vases are a gift designed to last a lifetime. Frances has been updating her limited edition Valentine's Day Collection over the course of the past week as eager shoppers place their orders. Each piece in the collection is one-of-a-kind, so scurry over to her site before everything's snatched up. Orders must be placed by February 7 in order to arrive before Valentine's Day.
Above: A tiny ceramic urn made in Frances's Weston, CT studio; $120. Did that purple muscari catch your eye? See How to Force Muscari Bulbs to grow your own.
Above: A wide-necked version of the vase shown above; $120. This one reminds me of a rotund court jester.
Above: A simple, dented vase was my favorite vase for sale last week; $120.
Above: One of several vases with perforated necks; $120. See the full Valentine's Day Collection for current bud vase listings .
An avid gardener herself, Frances knows a thing or two about seeking inspiration from the garden. See A Garden Lovely Enough to Inspire Art.
As a native of Cape Cod, where plants have to scratch a weathered existence out of sandy soil and salt-spray air, I've always had a soft spot for wilder plants. This may be one of the reasons I never related to the prolific camellias I discovered when I moved to the Pacific Northwest. Too often over-pruned into a dense ball of overly perfect blooms, camellias to me (I hate to admit) seemed almost gaudy. I held this opinion until an eye-opening encounter two weeks ago at the Lyman Estate Greenhouses in Waltham, MA. Pruned only to enhance their health and natural form, here are camellias as they were meant to be seen.
At the Lyman Camellia House—which is at the height of its Camellia Blooming Season—the unobscured architecture of the plants more closely resembles that of camellias' native cousins in the altitudes of Asia. Here the more lanky branches, twisted trunks, and boisterous blooms perform a wabi-sabi duet, conjuring images of Chinese paintings with graceful bows against misty mountains. And here one could see why the expressive form and exquisite flowers were a favorite of Japanese ikebana masters. And that precious bloom? Precariously perched on the end of a lithe stem, instead of appearing ostentatious, it now feels like a gift.
Photographs by Justine Hand.
Above: With some plants, including this hot pink specimen, that date back more than 100 years, the Lyman Estate Camellia House offers a unique chance to view rare varieties.
Above: Soon after camellias were introduced to the United States in the late 18th century, Boston became a lively center for camellia culture, with many local families cultivating them on their private estates. Built in 1820, the Lyman Camellia House holds one of the few collections still in existence today.
For those who want to learn more about the history of camellias in Boston, Lyman Estate Greenhouse manager, Lynn Ackerman, will be speaking from 1:30 to 2 p.m on Sunday, February 16. The talks is free to Historic New England members; $5 for nonmembers.
Above: Smiling down at me from its 10-foot height, the pink, peony petals of a Debutante (Camellia japonica 'Debutante') are among the many varieties currently in bloom at Lyman.
Above: There are anywhere from 100 to 250 varieties of camellias worldwide, with petal structures that range from the dense peony form on this older white variety to the more understated single form below.
Above: Visitors to the Lyman Camellia House can purchase rare older specimens, including the hot pink R.L. Wheeler (similar to this old variety); the scarlet Glen 40; Victory White, and soft pink April Dawn.
Above: A new Japanese hybrid, Spring Awakening produces smaller rose form blooms in graceful little clusters.
Above: Variegated Peppermint Camellias like this one are available for purchase at Aaron's Farm; $49.95 for a 3-gallon pot.
Above: The pure white bloom of Camellia japonica 'Edelweiss' boasts a lush anenome petal form.
Above: This older red variety is a perfect example of the plant's natural ikebana form.
Above: Camellias like the temperate climate found in the mountains of their native Asia, where temperatures range between 40 and 80 degrees. In the US, they do well outdoors in Zones 7-9, though some are bred up to Zone 6. For those who live in more extreme climates, camellias can be grown inside—the Victorians used to place them in drafty windows—or in a cold greenhouse. They prefer moist, acidic soil and filtered light.
Above: The camellias now in bloom at Lyman, like this Kumsaka, are of the Camellia japonica species. Another species, the Camellia sasanqua, blooms in fall.
Above: A red Chandleri looks striking against the old brick.
Above: A single bloom in petal pink greets visitors.
The Lyman Estate Camellia Blooming Season runs through March 12; Wednesday—Sunday, or by appointment. Admission is free; guided tours are available by appointment from Monday to Friday for $6.
A map of the greenhouse location:
N.B.: Among the oldest in the US, the rest of the Lyman Estate Greenhouses are also not to be missed. See more, including the Citrus and Grape Houses as well as the "Peach Wall" at Living History: One of America's Oldest Greenhouses.
How complicated is a hoe? There is the Dutch hoe, the draw hoe, the push pull hoe, and so many more. Despite this variety in shape and name, the one-size-fits-all approach to most modern tools means that there is rarely a right hoe. As British vintage tool specialists Garden & Wood might say, the way forward is with a tool from the past.
Photographs by James Corbett.
Above: A clutch of salvaged and reconditioned tools from Garden & Wood.
"The joy of vintage tools," says Louise Allen, one half of Garden & Wood, "is that they come in a wide variety of heights and styles, giving gardeners a greater chance of finding a tool that is fit for purpose." Not to mention added charm, patina, and history.
Above: Like a treasured wooden spoon in your batterie de cuisine, a favorite spade is a joy to use. The wood, the marks on the wood, the metal join, the metal screws. And we haven't even got to the part that digs yet.
Garden & Wood source many items from continental Europe, particularly France. "The tools are often more flamboyant in style," says Louise. Copper Watering Cans (from £275), ornate secateurs, and arcane objects such as the French Mistletoe Cutter (£65), all stocked in the Garden & Wood shop, are difficult to find elsewhere.
Above: Vintage forks and spades often come with names as varied and mysterious as their design. Some of the spades at Garden & Wood have names which are self-explanatory: the thistling spade (still popular) and the rabbiting spade (perhaps less so) for digging out a rabbit or blocking its burrow exit. Don't ask. However, should you be in need of a bramble slasher, gooseberry hook, or daisy grubber, you know where to look.
Above: A Garden Line, prices vary, from Garden & Wood. For anyone who grows flowers or vegetables in an orderly fashion, this is the ultimate tool. Long metal prongs pushed deep into prepared soil keep the line taut for seed sowing or planting out. Like the late lamented Cast Iron Water Bowser (£220) this elegant variety of garden line is not in production as far as we know but can be found here, perfectly reconditioned, at Garden & Wood.
Above: Vintage equipment comes with emotional baggage—the good kind. Plant Labels (£10 each from Garden & Wood) may be the most potent memory triggers. And yes! Rhododendron 'Thunderstorm' still exists.
N.B.: For those who prefer to mix new with traditional, Sneeboer make hand-forged steel tools in every shape and size imaginable.
For more new Dutch tools, see The Sharpest Tool in the Shed: A Gardener's Obsession.
Stews certainly help to take the chill out of winter. That's why we make a lot of these warm and hardy meals in our house. But it seems a shame to consign all the lovely leftover vegetable scraps—the roots, the bulbs, the carrot tops—to the compost bin.
That's why, after reading an article about growing a compost garden in the Illinois News Gazette, the kids and I decided to grow a garden from the leftover roots from fresh vegetables from our latest stew. Granted, we won't be harvesting the, er, "fruits of our labor" this summer, but it was still fun to cheat winter by watching our garden grow.
Photographs by Justine Hand.
Above: Root vegetables such as the carrots, potatoes, and beets above lend themselves quite well to compost gardening, as do beans and bulbs like onions and garlic. You can also try citrus seeds that have been soaked in water or even pineapple (though neither of these worked for us).
Above: For leafy vegetables like carrots and beets, select specimens with the tops intact. Then solicit your little helpers to cut off all but 2 or 3 inches of stem.
Above: Prepare a bed of gravel, small stones and/or soil in a shallow dish or pie plate. We chose an antique cash drawer from Oh Albatross, which we lined with plastic. You can find a similar vintage divided drawer on Etsy.
Above: For carrots and beets, push them into the gravel cut side down and add water to the top layer of rocks. Keep well watered. Plant beans a couple centimeters deep in soil and keep moist. As a bulb, garlic takes well when placed shoulder-deep in either soil or gravel.
Next, place your compost garden in a sunny spot and wait.
Above: Remember this technique with avocado pits? It works with potatoes too.
Above: After a couple of weeks, our carrot tops are coming along nicely.
Above: Our beans began to sprout too.
Above: Garlic greens can actually be harvested to add a bit of flavor to future soups and stews.
Above: Here come the beets.
Above: Here is our whole garden after about three weeks. We're going to keep it going.
Above: As the kids admire their new garden, I'm thinking that I've secured two new recruits to help with the real thing this summer.
N.B.: If we're still looking for another way to cheat winter with a little indoor cultivation, next month I think we'll try this Edible Garden on Wheels.
What makes a perfect brush? We think it is one that is made from natural materials, hard working, and great looking. Our ideal potting shed has a kit of brushes that can tackle a variety of duties. Here's our collection.
Above: Made of sustainable wood and natural bristles, the Nutscene Flowerpot Brush is shaped for cleaning compost, roots, and other unwanted remnants from flowerpots with ease; $18 CAD at Tinder (flat fee shipping to US and in Canada).
For more options, see our earlier post Garden Shed Essentials: Flowerpot Brushes.
Above: The Garden Dustpan and Brush is made for use outdoors in the garden or in the garden shed. The dustpan is powder-coated steel with a wooden handle and a leather hanging loop. The brush features strong tampico bristles perfect for sweeping up dirt and gardening debris; $58 at Brook Farm General Store.
Above: A miniature broom to keep your bench, pots, and tools tidy, the Palm Fiber Bench Brush is $13.95 at Kaufmann Mercantile.
Above: S-shaped to comfortably fit your hand, the Redecker Scrub Brush is crafted in Germany of rugged natural palm fibers for tough scrubbing. It is a generous 8 inches long and 2.25 inches wide; $4.95 at Crate and Barrel.
Above: Designed for jewelers' benches, the Natural Bristle Washout Brushes are handy for cleaning crevices, shelves, and other skinny spots; $14.95 at Rio Grande.
Above: Made from natural cereal root, the Iris Hantverk Washing Up Whisk is a sturdy scrubber most often found in the kitchen, but well suited for cleaning tasks in the garden workroom; $11.99 at Flotsam and Fork.
Above: Sweep your potting surface (and underneath) with a classic Dutch style handbroom. The Dutch Brush is handwoven with sweetgrass and red twine; $18 at Brook Farm General Store.
Above: I use the Round Vegetable Brush for brushing dirt clumps off my bulbs. It's also perfect for cleaning your freshly picked vegetables. With a comfortable beechwood handle and natural tampico fiber bristles, it's $12 at Brook Farm General Store.
N.B.: Looking for kitchen brushes? Michelle rounded up our 10 Favorite Vegetable Brushes.
Above: Every bench needs a flat bench brush to clean dirt, dust, and debris from the surface. The Iris Hantverk Dust Pan Brush is made in Sweden of oiled beech and horsehair; $25 at Ancient Industries.
Above: Gardeners need a good nail brush at hand. The Iris Hantverk Wood Nail Brush is made from oil-treated oak and tampico fibers; $19.95 at Williams Sonoma.
It takes a certain brand of stick-to-itiveness to make it through a New England winter. Just when you think it's over, it covers April's daffodils with a dusting of snow.
Luckily, there are places where weary New Englanders (and visitors alike) can find a respite from all the snow and ice. Justine has been helping assuage our Seasonal Affective Disorder with visits to the Lyman Estate Greenhouses in Waltham, MA (camellias have never looked so good), and today we have a special trip to the lauded gardens at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. On winter's nastiest days, it's a comfort to know that somewhere nearby flowers are thriving.
Known to many as one of New England's most important art collectors and philanthropists, Isabella Stewart Gardner is not as widely recognized for her horticultural contributions. But since construction of her Fenway Court museum was completed in 1903, an interior courtyard at the building's heart has played host to an inspiring collection of lush plantings to complement Gardner's fine art collections.
Today, a staff of five horticulturalists maintain the lush Victorian courtyard garden with plants grown onsite in a contemporary greenhouse and an offsite greenhouse nearby. Famous for hanging nasturtium displays in April and single-stem chrysanthemums displays in October, the courtyard plantings are the product of careful research and attention to detail.
Above: Archival images help staff horticulturalists plan courtyard plantings. Photograph by Siena Scarff.
Plantings are started and nurtured in light-filled greenhouses and then transported into a museum climate controlled for fine art preservation. Taylor Johnston, one of the staff horticulturalists, who works under the museum's chief horticulturalist, Stan Kozack, explained the challenges of growing plants for life in the museum courtyard. The particulars require a special horticultural finesse: the staff needs to know at exactly what stage of development to bring the plants inside the museum, how much water they'll need, and when they'll need to be watered. Adding to the challenge, the staff practices sustainable horticulture techniques, and doesn't rely on pesticides to maintain the health of the plants.
Above: Designed in reaction to the dark, mausoleum-like buildings housing most of the country's art collections, the light and flower-filled courtyard has been a part of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's design from its inception. Photograph by Siena Scarff.
Above: Single-stem chrysanthemums were nurtured first in the museum's offsite greenhouse and later transported to the museum for display. Photograph by Taylor Johnston.
Above: Plantings in transit. Photograph by Taylor Johnston.
Above: Gigantic single-stem chrysanthemums in the museum courtyard. Photograph by Siena Scarff.
Above: Trimming nasturtium vines in the museum greenhouse. Photograph by Taylor Johnston.
Above: Terra cotta pots filled with nasturtium vines destined for the museum courtyard. Photograph by Taylor Johnston.
Above: Staff horticulturalists train the nasturtium vines to grow from 25 to 30 feet long. Photograph by Taylor Johnston.
Above: To see the trailing nasturtium displays for yourself, plan your visit to the museum for the month of April. Photograph by Siena Scarff.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is open from Wednesday to Monday from 11 am to 5 pm; Thursdays until 9 pm; closed Tuesday. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $5 for students with a valid ID.
The ongoing "Ask the Gardener" program allows visitors the chance to chat with a staff horticulturalist; first and third Fridays of the month from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm beside the historic courtyard, free with admission. Also not to be missed: the museum's Monk's Garden, a contemporary garden designed by Michael Van Valkenburg as a way to link the historic museum and the contemporary greenhouse and wing designed by Renzo Piano in 2012.
Not ready to venture outside? Browse our archive of Garden Visits until you get your courage back.
Potted plants are life affirming and full of joy, especially when they pop up unexpectedly, mounted on an interior wall. The difficulty is figuring out how to attach the cylindrical shape of a pot to the flat surface of the wall. Thank goodness for the wire pot holder.
Above: After we posted photos of these clever wall mounted potted cacti in the London offices of online design magazine Dezeen (see our recent post Dezeen: An Office and a Watch Store), one of our readers wrote to ask for help sourcing them. Photograph by Luke Hayes.
Above: Similarly potted plants liven up the stairwell at The Book Club, a bar in Shoreditch, London. Photograph via Home Girl London.
Above: A Panacea Wall-Mounted Flower Pot Holder from Ace Hardware has a ring for the pot and a flat metal plate that attaches to the wall; $8.99.
Above: The Anthracite Single Wall Pot Holder from UK-based Podington Garden Centre acts as a basket to hold the pot; £4.49.
If you, like us, are not enamored with the way new terra cotta pots can have an orange tinge, see our DIY on how to Transform Terra Cotta Pots into Instant Antiques.
Although they're inherently practical, there's something romantic about garden sheds and outbuildings. As extra spaces, they're not required to meet the basic needs of a main home. As demonstrated here, a shed can really be whatever you want it to be.
Collected from the Gardenista Gallery of nearly 4,000 images, here are some of our favorite sheds and outbuildings:
Above: Author Tricia Foley sets up shop as The New General Store several times a year in a small barn near her 1820s summer home on Long Island. It's an idyllic country setting for her idyllic country wares. Read more about Foley's venture in Shopper's Diary: The New General Store by Tricia Foley, and take a look at 28 charming Summer Homes in our gallery.
Above: A rustic shed on Beetlebung Farm, a haven of organic produce and communal dinners near Martha's Vineyard. Read more about the outdoor soirees in A Starlit Greenhouse Dinner, Martha's Vineyard Edition. We love the part-practical, part-nostalgic artwork pinned to the shed's walls; find more like it by browsing Botanical Art in our gallery.
Above: One of our all-time favorite sheds is this plywood and oak masterpiece in North London that functions as a workspace and library complete with retractable doors that open onto the garden. Read more about it in A Writing Shed in the Garden and browse 41 more images of Work Studios in our gallery.
Above: A stone barn in Chester County, Pennsylvania dating from 1820 was stabilized and outfitted with a new cedar shake roof, wood siding, and windows. Read about the restoration of all four buildings on the property in A Stone Barn Saved from Subdivision, and browse 124 gallery images of Stone in gardens indoors and out.
Above: We love this all-white house, patio, and pool pavilion in Charleston, South Carolina so much that we sourced the elements in Steal This Look: A Charleston Pool Pavilion with an Outdoor Shower. Inspired by the clean slate? Browse 461 images of all things White.
Above: These cedar sheds frame a view of the backyard garden, and store firewood and outdoor equipment (including kayaks) for a family of four. Explore the project in Before & After: A Brooklyn Townhouse with a Double-Wide Garden, then browse our robust gallery of design projects with Wood, indoors and out.
It might be rare to see the original oversized French garden cloches protecting delicate winter greens in the outdoor garden, but glass cloches still have their place on mantelpieces and bookshelves inside. Whether you use your glass cloche to protect an african violet or a delicate maiden hair fern, here are ten options for your indoor garden:
Above: This handblown Glass Bell Cloche with a glass tray is among the largest in the group at 14 inches high with a diameter of 9.75 inches. Available from Terrain for $128.
Above: A round cloche with glass base, this Glass Cloche with Tray is $17.99 from Amazon. It measures 7.25 inches tall with a 7-inch diameter.
Above: At 15 inches tall and 9.5 inches in diameter, this Jumbo Glass Cloche is the largest of the bunch. It comes with a glass base; $43.99 from Amazon.
Above: Designed to cover a candle, we think this small glass Candle Cloche from Farmhouse Pottery could be just right for a diminutive plant specimen. Made with a pottery base; $65 from Madesmith.
Above: A Smith & Hawken Glass Dome Cloche measures 8.8 inches by 11.5 inches and has a metal base; $23 from Target.
Above: If you prefer your cloche without a knob on top, the Glass Cloche with Galvanized Metal Plate might fit the bill. It's 7.5 inches tall with a diameter of 4.5 inches and is $40 from The Garden Gate.
Above: Another knobless option, 1920s French Glass Cloches have wooden bases and come in three different sizes; from $69 to $99 at Restoration Hardware.
Above: For a labware-inspired cloche, the Cone Cloche is available on sale from Wisteria for $89.25.
Above: For a cloche with a little breathing room, try the Glass Cloche by London Garden Trading; $29.97 from Not on the High Street.
Looking for what you can do with your new cloche? See Gardening 101: How to Make a Closed Terrarium and Shopper's Diary: Tiny Worlds Under Glass at Twig Terrarium.
We spotted a most springlike winter kale salad via our friends Nathalie Myrberg and Matilda Hildingsson, the Swedish graphic design team (and excellent cooks) at Babes in Boyland.
They've created visual step-by-step instructions for making it (see below) and offer this explanation for how they came up with the recipe: "Black and red cabbage, beetroot, orange, apple and pomegranate are some of the great vegetables and fruits that are in season right now. Perfect ingredients for a winter salad. The salad can vary, of course, depending on which vegetables and fruits you have at home and what you like."
See below for a list of ingredients:
Photographs via Babes in Boyland.
Above: "The different tastes blend well together, especially the sweet beetroot with salt feta cheese and honey," say Nathalie and Matilda. "The oranges and the pomegranate give the salad a freshness. The cabbages and the baby spinach are full of good stuff."
Above: Kale and apples are key ingredients.
Above: Core and thinly slice apples. Cut slices in half.
Above: Tear kale into bite-size pieces.
"Buying organic groceries can feel obvious for most, but it's absolutely something worth mentioning. For us it’s a given, both for the environment and our bodies’ sake," say Nathalie and Matilda. "So let’s boycott the fruits and vegetables with creepy chemicals and enjoy some real food in a reinforcing salad."
Above: Slice a head of purple cabbage in half.
Above: Slice the halves in half, and then tear apart gently into bit-size pieces.
Above: Cut red onion in half and slice thinly.
Above: Peel oranges and slice thinly.
Above: Cut a pomegranate in half and separate seeds from the pith; add seeds to salad.
Above: Peel a beet and slice thinly.
Above: Sprinkle feta cheese on top.
(Quantities may vary to taste)