Friday, February 26, 2010

Delighted to receive this note from Rick Darke, whom we profiled in the March issue in Groundbreaker:

Truly a handsome magazine. Glad to see you're maintaining high production values. Especially enjoyed the piece on forcing. We arrived home from Asheville to find the Corylopsis (pictured) we'd cut from the garden a week ago in full bloom on our dining room table. I look forward to seeing the image gallery when posted.
Best, Rick
Note: Stay tuned. We're on the verge of posting a lovely gallery of Rick's photos along with his observations.
The story Rick is referring to is called Bringing into Bloom: Spring-flowering trees and shrubs can be pushed to blossom indoors early, written by Jenny Andrews and photographed by Jon Whittle and featured in the March issue of GD. Get a sneak peek with this gallery posted online.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Swarthmore's New Greenhouse

At the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College, called "the most beautiful campus in America," Archer & Buchanan Architecture has just completed a 5,200 sf jewel of a building - the Wister Education Center and Greenhouse. Despite the snow, the new greenhouse is blooming with plants and programs for the horticulturally-inclined.

The building itself is seriously sustainable. Designed to respect the context of its setting, Wister is the most far-reaching sustainable building on campus and serves as a model for integrating green design with the function, mission and architecture of the institution. It will earn LEED silver and possibly gold, according to architect Dan Russoniello.

Friday, February 19, 2010


It isn't every garden story that hovers near the top of the "most e-mailed" list day after day. But this one has.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Awards Program!

The 2010 Nature Hills Nursery Green America Awards are designed to give national recognition and $5,000 in plants to community groups and organizations that are improving their local environments. The annual award, sponsored by Omaha-based Nature Hills Nursery, will be presented in April 2010 to groups and organizations that are literally “greening” their communities, parks, schools and public spaces by planting trees, shrubs and other plants.

The winners of the 2010 Nature Hills Nursery Green America Awards will be those nonprofit groups and organizations that truly are making a difference in their local neighborhoods.
The Grand Prize winning garden project will receive $2,500 in plants from Nature Hills Nursery. The First Prize winner will receive $1,500 in plants from Nature Hills Nursery, and the Second Prize winner will receive $1,000 in plants. The plant materials can contain any combination of trees, fruit trees, bushes and shrubs, perennials and vegetable seeds that Nature Hills Nursery offers.

To apply for the 2010 award online, visit this website and click on the Nature Hills Nursery Green America Awards logo.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An Italian garden that's good for you, too

Planted between 1875 and 1890 by the renowned German botanist and landscape architect Ludwig Winter, the historic garden at the Borgo Storico Seghetti Panichi is situated on a hill along the valley of the River Tronto, not far from from Ascoli Piceno with spectacular views of the Adriatic coast and the Sibillini mountains.

Winter was an experimenter famed not only for his beautiful designs but also his love of rare tropical plants. Visitors can admire a great variety ‘monumental’ plants – there are trees planted more than 150 years ago, rare species of palm trees and some remarkable examples of exotic Asian plants. Due to the introduction of these rare plants, many bioenergetic areas were designed in the Borgo’s garden, which makes it the first of its kind in Europe.

A bioenergetic garden is a green space, where certain areas offer particular benefits to the surrounding environment. These benefits are produced by the interaction of the natural electromagnetism of the setting with the plants. With the help of an innovative technique therapeutic areas can be identified. These bioenergetic areas take our guests through a natural journey of well-being and relaxation. The beneficial electomagnesium generated has excellent effects on many organs of our body and specifically the liver, heart, stomach and kidneys, but also generally on the immune, nervous and cardiovascular systems.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Moving the Outdoors INdoors

(Post by guest blogger Anne Robert, founder of

The past few years have been about abolishing the frontier between outdoor and indoor looks and designs. I think it is now commonly accepted that designers have successfully developed a huge selection of items to match both spaces. The next few years will see the rise of a new challenge: allowing those outdoor items to come back indoors and look absolutely spot on. My bet is that this will happen sooner and faster than anticipated.

In the current economy we all feel that any purchase should be an investment even if a little expensive on day one. Outdoor designs are no exception. Just two examples of basic outdoor items all patios or gardens have: Planters and lights

Planters have become stunning statement pieces offered in a zillions shapes, colors, materials and sizes. They were however doomed to stay put once outside because of their weight. This is no longer a challenge. Designers such as are developing pots and planters on wheels that are either apparent or concealed (lower image).

More often, outdoor lighting is incorporated into furniture or pots. The trick here is to pay attention to the materials, as some do not age well outdoors. And, choose more forgiving colors than white. Another good way to make your selections is to go for pieces that are specifically designed as part of an indoor/outdoor collection. I love these very sculptural planters (top) by Italian brand 21 St LIVINGART.

Read more by Anne Robert at

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Paula Hayes Hamptons Lecture: Garden in a Bottle

(Post contributed by guest blogger Cara Greenberg.)

Artist Paula Hayes, Brooklyn-based creator of fantastical landscapes large and small (some so small they can be worn as necklaces), is speaking in the Hamptons this weekend on a wonderful winter subject: terrariums.

Sunday, February 14, 1PM; Madoo Conservancy, 618 Sagg Main St., Sagaponack, N.Y.; For information: 631/537-7440; $25

Hayes, best known for her blob-like silicone planters but also an accomplished designer of quirky gardens for art-world clients, builds delicate horticultural universes, often including crystals, in biomorphically shaped, handblown glass vessels.

Having heard Hayes speak before, I don’t suppose this Sunday’s talk will be a homey how-to on making terrariums as a winter hobby – probably more of an artist’s ramble “questioning the idea of living plants as authored artworks,” as the write-up for the event puts it. But I expect to be inspired, and I have an old pickle jar under the sink and a bag of potting soil all ready to go.

To read more about Paula Hayes’s terrariums and see additional pictures, go to

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hot Valentine's Gift: Beautiful, Green and Romantic

by Nicki Collett

This whimsical dish is made from 100% recycled aluminum materials. Cans, yogurt lids and hubcaps are melted down, and after earning the FDA’s stamp of approval, it takes shape and can be delivered to your loved one’s doorstep. “We were so excited to find out about this recycling process,” says Cole. “And this really does make the perfect green gift!” This 8” keepsake dish comes with either pink roses and lisianthus or green ranunculus and lady’s mantle. $85 plus shipping,

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lecture: The Organic Garden at Royal Family's Highgrove: by head gardener Debs Goodenough

Says Kate Blumm from Brooklyn Botanic Garden, "I was just given the green light to send around news of this lecture, upcoming in a week, which we’re all terribly excited about. It's not so often that someone so intimately connected with these particularly exquisite (and highly progressive!) gardens comes around!

Three Decades in the Garden at Highgrove
A lecture by Debs Goodenough, head gardener to 
TRH the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall; Thursday, February 11, 6:30–7:30 p.m.
2nd Floor Conference Center, Auditorium
Goldman Sachs, 32 Old Slip, New York City

Join us as Debs Goodenough tells the story of Highgrove, a 37-acre estate that Prince Charles began to garden organically long before the value of sustainable principles was widely accepted.

Appointed in 2008 to her present position as head gardener at Highgrove, Debs Goodenough has previously coordinated the restoration of the 300-acre Osborne House, the country home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She has also gardened at Denver Botanic Gardens; the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and Ventnor Botanic Garden on the Isle of Wight.

$9 for BBG members, $15 for nonmembers
Space is limited! Please reserve your seat today.

Purchase Your Tickets

For more information on the event, please call Christopher Shannon at 718-623-7248, or email him at

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Alhambra's Generalife gardens, reported from Spain

(Contributed by guest blogger Cara Greenberg who is reporting from Spain.)

The fabled Alhambra, last stronghold of the Muslim rulers of Spain, has been on my bucket list for ages. Last week, I finally made it there, and I wasn’t disappointed. High above the modern city of Granada, the 13th century citadel, extraordinarily intact in all its spectacular decorative detail, is surely one of the world’s aesthetic wonders.

A gentle climb away from the three royal palaces is a peaceful area called the Generalife (from the Arabic Jennat al Arif, or ‘Garden of the Architect’), used by the sultans as a cool summer retreat. Surrounded by pools and fountains, the terraced gardens were re-landscaped in the 1920s and ‘30s in formal French style, with topiaried cypresses and myrtle-edged parterres.

I love the look of the paving here on paths and patios, though it’s not comfortable to walk on. Made of river pebbles laid out in patterns -- some scroll-like, others geometric -- it’s a technique you see all over the city of Granada, part of the Muslim decorative legacy.

At the moment, the Generalife gardens look “a bit dull,” our guide kept apologizing. In May, he told us, there’s an explosion of roses that lasts through November. The greenest section in winter is the pool court, where sunken gardens in the Islamic style contain lavender, thyme and other herbs, irises, and pomegranates…

To read more about the Alhambra and Generalife and see more pictures, go to

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