Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Modern Gardens


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Hey all! I’ve had modern gardens on the brain lately, rounding up images from the interwebs and dreaming that my backyard wasn’t a mosquito-infested jungle. Here are a few standouts.

The dramatically high artificial green wall emphasizes the vertical and serves as a lush (appearing) contrast to the sleek white Richard Schultz furniture. I love the way they restricted the palette to almost all green, white and black — it makes the space appear larger and it’s very calming.

Rees Roberts + Partners LLC

In this New York City townhouse, clipped hedges and a crisp edge along the pool create minimalist lines.  The result is a serene oasis. Please note that you should not plant bamboo unless you have a very controlled space like this; it will spread like wildfire. Even in a space like this, the roots should be controlled by planting it in a container beneath (and often it will manage to jump that as well).

Saul Zaiks Fort House 1962 - photo by Lincoln Barbour

Originally built in 1962, this mid-century home was designed by Saul Zaiks. It recently underwent a renovation by Mosaik Design. The home has a wonderful relationship to the site, nestled into the landscape and enjoys views through large windows to the outdoors. A small wood deck floats over the concrete deck, and the plants soften the edges in the courtyard.

by Little Miracles Design

This modern patio mixes squares and rectangles, and warms things up with rich wood. The furniture is clean-lined yet comfortable. Best of all, there’s a fantastic fire pit for getting toasty on cool nights.

photo via Flickr member Philip Lench

Finally, this beautiful garden seems to take its inspiration from Europe and the Japan, reinterpreting the elements into an artful modern scene.

How are our outdoor spaces shaping up for summer? Please share your plans with us in the Comments section.


Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Imaginary Worlds Wows at The Atlanta Botanical Gardens


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This month I took a visit to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, one of my favorite spots in the city. What was extra exciting about this visits is that artists from Montreal were assembling the amazing mosaiculture creatures for the upcoming Imaginary Worlds exhibition (it starts officially on May 1 2014). It was so cool to see how they decorate these living sculptures with beautiful colors and patterns completely composed of live plants. 

Here is one of the artists at work.

This amazing lady welcomes at the waterfall. When I walked by a few days later, her hair was all planted in waves of colorful plants. Sorry, I didn’t have my camera on me, but I plan on returning when it’s all done! By the way, this waterfall used to be the entry drive into the gardens and the former asphalt patch has transformed into one of the loveliest attractions there.

I especially loved the way the water fell through her hand.

I’ll be interested to see what they do to cover up the supports underneath, like on this vibrant butterfly piece.

A graceful horse grazes near the orchid house.

The best action was watching the frog being placed into the pond via a large crane and some men in the pond sporting waders.

This guy still needed his head put on. I loved seeing how they made his eye close up:

Watching them work on the cobra was really interesting. You can see how the holes in the netting will hold the plants in place. It really shows how intricate the process is and how much work is involved in putting together each creature. When they are done, you won’t see any of the structural support or the netting at all.

Here’s a start on the back of the cobra’s head and the artists serving as unwitting scale models. It was a bit unnerving to walk between the two giant snakes on the path.

Two intertwined fish rotate in the fountain at the entrance to the great lawn:

Stay tuned, I’ll continue to post photos from my fair city’s beautiful botanical gardens on Instagram. Speaking of, we’re pretty new to Instagram. Please stop by and say hi when you get a chance.


Monday, August 5th, 2013

Stunning Vertical Gardens


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The vertical garden trend has gone from small painterly compositions on interior walls to giving modern skyscrapers a hanging gardens of Babylon look. We’ve been following it closely and pinning our favorites on our Vertical Gardens Board. Here are a few of the most stunning ones we’ve found, all using different ways to bring life up a wall.

Image via VertiGarden

This wall unit is by VertiGarden in the U.K. the composition of flowers and leaves in an array of purples and greens ties the exuberant arrangement together.

This otherwise blah concrete stairwell got a pop art-like treatment with colorful flowers in aluminum pots, arranged in a modern way (Even with image reverse searches, I haven’t been able to find credit for this photo beyond the Pinterest/Tumblr rabbit hole, please add the credit to the comments if you know where this is/who designed it/who took the picture!)


This ingenious system makes something useful out of otherwise discarded plastic bottles and turns them into something beautiful; a stunning installation that adds life to a stucco wall.

Hotel Ushüaia in Ibiza

This amazing wall of succulents in terracotta pots serves as a living wall and a sound barrier at a hotel in Ibiza. We especially like the way the curved wall works with the Vitra New Panton chairs, though those insects are a bit terrifying! Image via flores del sol

image via

The Spaniards really have the whole vertical garden thing down. This one has the interesting look of typical horizontal garden plots. The grid makes it modern while the different textures and masses enlivens the wall.

Photo by Paúl Rivera

At the Tori Tori restaurant in Mexico City, diners sit at sunken tables in an abstracted urban jungle, beneath this massive and lush vertical garden.

by Fytogreen Australia

Finally, you can try this at home. Try a small framed out area using Wooly Pockets or hire a specialist for installation. If you are installing indoors, I recommend getting help from a pro so that you can figure out how to irrigate your living wall installation without damaging walls and floors.

Have you tried vertical gardening? If so, please let us know with a comment. We’d love to see a photo too!


Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Guest Post: Designing a Succulent and Herb Garden on the Patio


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Elana Joelle Hendler of EJH Brand made it her summer goal to shape up her patio along her patio along the Venice, California canals just in time for summer. Here’s how it went down:

The goal: Decorate my beautiful flagstone patio with lively green colors, fresh herbs and fragrant aromas.
Theme: West Coast casual chic.
Additional goal: Appease my utter obsession with succulent decor by adding arrangements lining the house and in accent pots.

Succulents: When I moved to Venice, I was so inspired by the succulent decor you can find practically everywhere around here that I started incorporating it into the branded look for my business, including a live EJH succulent wall. I haven’t looked back since. They are an excellent patio choice because visually, they are fascinating, offering a variety of shapes, textures, colors, and sizes. They are also very low maintenance.

How I used them: First, I bought large pots in three different sizes to create a sense of high and low. This is a great way to break up the monotony of a space. I planted several different types of succulents with different shapes and colors to create elements of a dynamic dessert garden on my patio. Then, I used the same varieties and planted them on the border of the house and covered the dirt with red and white rocks to hide the dirt and add texture.

Herbs: By complete coincidence, I choose plants that are actually accounted for as essential oil candles in my EJH Signature Candle Collection. When shopping the nursery, I was immediately drawn to the Greek sage. From a distance, it looked like lavender but as I came closer I could see the beautiful soft and fuzzy texture of the leaves with pretty purple flowers.

Benefits of sage: Beautiful seasonal flowers, pretty leaves, medicinally used for centuries to cure so many ailments from skin to memory loss and is also great for culinary enthusiasts. Grab a few leaves and throw them into your fresh soups and meat dishes. If you’re not going to cook, you can always just enjoy how lovely they look on your patio on a warm summer day.

Next, I headed over the rosemary and lavender.  There is no better way to make your patio feel like a spa retreat like lavender. Not only does it add a chic rustic look, they smell wonderful and promote calm. Cut off a few sprigs and tie them together with a string and place them around the house next to the bathtub.

Table Top: Last, I planted some fresh oregano and chocolate mint leaves in shiny silver pots to decorate the patio table. I’m not one for overly ambitious patio table decor, so for me, the fresh herbs and a lavender candle to light on summer nights is all I need to enjoy the summer at home, in style, on my patio!

What’s on your patio this summer?

Shop all of Elana’s creations at EJH Brand

All photos by Elana Joelle Hendler


Friday, April 5th, 2013

Make Weekend Plans That Celebrate Spring Gardens


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I know this has been a pretty wacky week for weather across the U.S. this week, but for some of us it will be warming up and it’s time to start planning some weekend activities to celebrate spring. Why not check out your local botanical gardens? If it’s too cold, check out the conservatory instead.

During the nicer weather a week and a half ago, I hit the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and the tulips, crocuses and pansies were in full glorious bloom. So were camelias and Japanese anemones and a few more plant names I forgot to scribble down. It was a great way to get excited about spring gardening in the upcoming weeks.

Do a quick search for botanical gardens in your city and make plans. Also, check out how much a membership costs. If you plan on going two to three times per year, you usually save money, and many gardens that are open to the public have reciprocal memberships.

You should also start planning for Garden Tours. Many of these take place in the spring and tickets are available now. botanical gardens, garden clubs, museums and other organizations put together great peeks into some of the greatest gardens around. These are usually fundraisers and could be your only chance to see these spectacular gardens. Get online and start figuring out the best times to go. Often early birds or members can snag discounted tickets as well.

Finally, while you’re on your spring weekend field trips, take notes! Make plans for your next field trip to be to the nursery, so you can begin gardening season off with new inspiration.

photos by Becky Harris