Saturday, December 29, 2007


A little bar I love in Williamsburg, Oulu, on N. 4th street... The facade is an extensive greenwall! I'll be by next year to take some shots of how it takes winter.

Dwell did an article on it after it was installed & they have the facts:
The succulents are planted in 35 or so panels of soil, each less than three inches thick, which are screwed to the wall. A hidden watering system gives them a steady spritz. A living wall can easily be planted on a residential fa├žade, Marni says, at a cost of about $50 a square foot. Interior walls are roughly $30 more per square foot because they contain tropical plants, which are more expensive.

bits and pieces

My niece, Ava, makes us wonder what holidays were before she was around! She is two and the most beautiful little cherub! One evening after work I was walking in Manhattan and happened to pass a toy store displaying the "Inchworm" in the window... I was jolted back (not going to say how many years) to my early childhood when I had an inchworm, and it turns out that this is some sort of revival toy! I went in and it said for ages 2-5 so I got it for Ava... Carrying it home on a crowded evening subway garnered many amused looks!

Needless to say, it was a huge hit! What can I say - I understand a child's mind...

Kevin reminded me that there were no shots of the love shack on my Dad's property, so here it is! And yes, we had a beautifully white Christmas! That is "the bench" knee deep in snow to the left.

This is a little nest Ben and I came across in a little tree outside of the Sherborn Inn, one of our favorite (and the only one in such a small town) watering holes. We love the micro brews on draft, bar stools on casters and big screen tv that shows sports (ok, ok, he loves the sports, I ask annoying questions about the sports!)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Another great bench

I don't know exactly why I obsess over garden benches, but I do...

This one is in front of the love shack, is rotting and missing an arm and is absolutely divine!

Nature walks in Vermont

My Dad and stepmom just built a new home in Woodstock Vermont. It's in the middle of nowhere and will be a land trust as soon as he cons one of his neighbors into letting him buy a couple more acres. We have always taken extensive family hikes, walks, adventures, so of couse, Ben and I were taken on an intensive exploration of the property line (and a lot in between).

We found a bunch of these mushrooms growing on rotting tree stumps - my guess is "Coral" Clavariaceae mushroom family. Danger: some are edible, some are NOT!

The above fern is a mini! growing out of the steps of the "Love Shack" on the property (it's an old hunting/camping structure with a heart shaped window in the door). I don't know exact species on this one... however...

Below is a killer stand of Maiden Hair Fern "Adiantim pictatum" I love I love I love this fern.

Above: Actaea pachypoda (Doll's-eyes, White Baneberry) finding these undisturbed native colonies is like pirate booty!

Someone (Ben!) knocked some lichen off a log, so I decided to transplant it somewhere else in the woods... I do not know if this is really something that can be done by simply placing the lichen on another stump... But I'd like to think it is that way! Grow lichen grow!

Happy Winter Solstice!

In my pagen heart I am all for celebrating the days getting longer! YAY! Darkness at 4:30 can be a bit much... It's also that amazing sense that everything is constantly changing and that's just how it is - and I love that - no control. The only constant is change.

"the sun rules the day,
and the moon rules the night,
and the stars bring light to the darkness"
Something I borrowed from Luke from Miss Lulu's myspace page...

Invierno (winter), 1573 
Giuseppe Arcimboldo 
Musee du Louvre

"Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the year. It is from this point that the days begin slowly to become longer and longer. The sun is at its most southeastern point over the Tropic of Capricorn in the northern hemisphere and has no apparent northward or southward motion. In the time of the ancient tribes this was a time of celebration, for it meant the turning point of winter and the eventual return of spring."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow in the garden

Sorry I've been so slow to write lately... work and life have been taking their tolls. I am looking forward to my last week of work until March, my company goes on unemployment and those of us who have been busting our asses get to travel, indulge, get some sleep...! I had taken everything down in the garden except for this echinacea who would just not stop blooming!

We do a lot of evergreen arrangements this time of year so our clients have something to look at other than pots of dirt and bare branches! These boughs are sprayed with an anti-dessicant to keep them from drying out.

Friday, October 26, 2007


While cleaning out a closet recently, I came upon my Amaryllis stash... blooming! I was a little bit startled because at first I didn't recognize what it was, since it was completely chlorotic ("The yellowing or whitening of normally green plant tissue because of a decreased amount of chlorophyll, often as a result of disease or nutrient deficiency.") having been put away in a cool, dark place as is the norm for forcing these bulbs... It was creepy!

Rock gardens on a rooftop

I came across an interesting collection of rock plants on a rooftop on the Upper West Side recently... This is a co-op's community roof and it seems one of the residents is a rock gardener! Great containers!

Especially nice with this view of the park in the background!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Jon's bench

My friend Jon is an amazing artist. He can take a completely empty space and turn it into something stunning. He is a wiz with found materials... Last summer when we planted his yard in Williamsburg, he built this amazing bench out of timber *borrowed* from some street repairs... I love it! Jon is so creative, he really makes me think twice... And the bowling alley bar he built isn't so bad either...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Angelica archangelica

This Angelica was planted last year at my boyfriend's brewery, and then, as a biennial, was just a really pretty, leafy specimen... This year it bloomed! In complete shade none-the-less!

Angelica is used to flavor liquors and is taken as an herbal immune stimulant. I'll have to collect those seeds! In this picture is also Abutilon "flowering maple" on the left and Coleus "Inky Fingers" on the right...

Zinnia self seeded from last year! I think they can't help but grow at the brewery because Shane loves them so much!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Chelsea Sculpture Garden

One of my big design projects, this sculpture garden for an international art gallery network, has finally been installed! We were delayed several months by problems with the brand new building which is covered with a fancy new plastic panel product from the Netherlands... They had to go back and do a lot more water sealing!
But anyways, these are zinc coated boxes with 5'-6' Arborvitaes, 56 trees exactly! They will form a consistent green hedge which will block out all of the distracting ugliness around the terrace and be a nice backdrop to the outdoor sculpture.

Looking West

The black tubing and wires hanging out of the planters are the lines for the irrigation and lighting, which will be finished this week.

Looking East

Do you see how there is a section that pops out? This was designed to hide the utilities and massive flood lights situated in this corner of the terrace. Two of the planters are on heavy duty casters so that they may be pushed aside for any maintenance to the equipment.

The hidden utility equipment

Paulo, my coworker and dear friend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The community garden

I really can't explain what's going on here... nature?

This is some yummy parsley

Okra! not mine, but an amazing bloom!

when good trees go bad...


Who said dare!? Why is it always the furthestmost, out-of-reach bugger who has to cause a problem? Why? This Arborvitae decided he just couldn't go on... So I got to figure out how exactly to remove him from his perch over the pool (5'-6') deep. It was 3"x10's, screwed together with a bit of carpet foam underneath to keep it from slipping out from underneath us and/or, scratching the granite coping. The pool had been empty until the day before when the pool guys filled it to make sure it was properly sealed!

I think the new tree makes the middle tree look a little bit... ashy...

Japanese Maple, South/west corner, to the right of the outdoor fireplace

Magnolia, opposite Maple, in the "kitchen"

More great annual vines

Cardiospermum halicacabum ("Love-in-a Puff") is one of my all time favorite vines... It has tiny little white flowers, and makes these balloon-like seedpods. Inside is...

A round back seed with a perfect white heart! The heart is created by where the membrane of the seedpod attaches itself to the seed, and is regardless, a feat of nature!

Also blooming at the brewery is a "Cardinal Climber" Ipomoea sloteri, beautiful ferny foliage, vibrant red blooms and a delicate, climbing nature...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I am so ashamed...

My front garden went to the dark side... During the heat and humidity of high summer I couldn't deal with it... and was away... and made up a whole bunch of excuses! The weeds were out of control! I had to do something! There were homeless plants that had been sitting in old soil bags for weeks, and watering of the whole thing was spotty at best!

The cucumber vine, who's race horse name is "Wild Abandon", had 2 monsterosa cucumbers stashed away in the privet hedge.They are pictured here on my stoop with a regular/largish cucumber... Freaks.

So I ruthlessly tore out, cut back, planted & transplanted. Spread a little soil conditioner as mulch et voila! So much better! And yes, I store my hose on my boxwoods...

I have 4 large nursery pots full of stones (and one antique door knob) I excavated while gardening. I am wondering what I might do with them...

I planted one of my seed started scarlet runner bean vines next to the neighbor's stoop and have been guiding it into and around the ironwork of their railing. I didn't ask them about it, but they didn't complain! It's blooming and stunning right now with the luminous purple pods popping out all over!

This job is finished and ready for a party

I'm so shocked at how perfectly these banquette benches came out! The fabric is Sunbrella outdoor marine grade and beautiful! I had the cushions custom made by Foam and Futon (they were near my office on Houston, but have recently relocated to west 12th - and they are great to work with!) out of outdoor safe (non moldy/mildewey) water repellent foam. And I can't get over the fact that they fit absolutely dead on. Even the piping on the seams is fantastic! The occasional furniture, several ottomans that can also be tables are from (yikes!) Target online. The lanterns are from Pottery Barn, they have LED bulbs and batteries, so they can just be switched on or off. The lanterns are just for the party since they would be messed up in the wind there on the 13th floor.

Another view, this time South/West towards Central Park, in the bottom corner you can see one of the buffet units I designed, this one holds a refrigerator and trash, the other is all storage. The kicker with these custom units are the beautiful granite tops, they match the color palette of the furniture fabric exactly! The fountain is a silly spitting lion, it took some finessing to figure out the right proportion of water so that it's not just dribbling and also, not too much so that it shoots out past the catch basin! Below is a swatch of the granite from Red Hook Marble, there were some beautiful streaks of a rusty-peach as well...

This is a picture of problem solving... The problem was a gaping hole where an AC was once housed... Long gone, the hole had been patched with a yucky old board and some caulk. This is where the speaker wire needed to come out from inside the apartment, so I pried off the board and had a really ugly situation to deal with (one that had to have an 8" x 8" access panel for the speaker stuff). I asked the carpenter to frame out a piece of lattice and hang it over the whole thing and then I mounted a really beautiful 4' copper window box on it. Unfortunately the box can't be seen in this picture, it is all covered by a silk ivy and hydrangea arrangement I did for the party. You can catch a glimpse of the access panel middle right.

So my client was having a huge party to celebrate her son's engagement, and decided to use the other half of the rooftop, which is property of the building. Thursday night she had (another) nervous breakdown, this time because she realized there was no lighting in this space... This is where the caterer and half a dozen cocktail tables would be set up. I had the lighting tech whip out a rental proposal for the night, but she decided she didn't want to spend $3,000 for an evening... So she informed me at noon, the day before the party, that this was my problem to solve. She didn't care what it looked like, just so long as people could see and would not trip and sue her. she repeatedly called me to remind me how bright it needed to be. I went to a fancy upper East hardware store and bought 20 clip lamps and 150 watt clear bulbs and a zillion feet of extension cord and worked it out...