Leaves still turn in 72 degree weather!

Who doesn’t love Autumn in New York? But when it remains in the 70′s 2 days before halloween WOW. But the best of all is that the leaves still remember to change, despite the temps.

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Fall…in love with fall gardening

I think gardens in the fall are at their peak.  That last gasp of of green growth before hybernation.  An entire garden in my favorite color, orange, bathed by the BEST light of the harvest sun.  What is it about the sun in the fall?  It seems to burst with orange fire.  I find that after years of designing gardens, that the test of a good design is how it looks in the fall.  It’s easy to make a garden look good in the summer…so much color, so many vibrant shapes and lush greens.  But to make a garden look good in the Fall means that the architecture and textures of the garden must be rich and full.  There is little cheating in a fall garden design.

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Where have all the flowers gone?

I’m trying to assess this year’s Valentine’s day. Is it just me or were there a lot less roses curled under the arms of sweet men rushing home from work last weekend. We sure felt it here. Maybe that sexest, ridiculous show The Bachelor has made giving roses as silly and passe´ as the mohawk or ‘jeggings’. That is totally unfair to roses and flowers in general. I love receiving AND giving flowers. The problem is the have become so upsurdly arranged and wrapped in the most tacky paper, stapled to within an inch of their lifes and held together with rubble bands and twisty ties. The process of receiving flowers has become a burden. How do you cut them, remove the leaves, arrange them. We need to give simple, hand-tied bouquets like they do in Europe. and we need to give them often so the become as common as egg, cheese and bread! We would be a happier country, I promise.

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It’s been a while since we talked…..

I missed talking to you.  Maybe you could have reminded me how crazy it would be to open a store in the middle of a recession.  It’s been a few months now and I finally have time to process all the changes.  Funny, we simply moved across the street from our loft office/showroom but it feels like we moved into a whole new town.  After years of being in the Fur District we’re finally meeting all our Furrier neighbors.  But it was our own recent fur aquisitions that really made us neighborly…..enter my Min Pin Mutt rescue, Rambo and Raquel’s, French Bulldog, Benson Froggly.

Our in store Personal Shoppers

Our in store Personal Shoppers

I have a feeling we will be carrying dog beds soon.  My cement sofa is sufficing as dog-lounger now but it’s not quite right.  The GreenGrids nestled into the deck in the middle of the store are now hiding more than a few dog bones!  No extra charge!

Dog bones buried in GreenGrids next to lounger

Dog bones buried in GreenGrids next to lounger

So come on by and bring Spot, Rambo and Benson,will be happy to show you and your mom or dad around.

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Garden lovers without a garden

If you love gardens but live in an apartment or condo without an inch of land to your name fear not. I have made it my mission to find the coolest stuff you don’t have to water, fertilize or take care of in any way. I have always been a big proponent of using garden accoutrement to indoors. My own living room has a life size cast stone statue of a goddess of the garden peaking over my modern olive green curved armless sofa. Not only is it beautiful and whimsical, it takes away some of my resentment that the only greens growing in my backyard are the weeds creeping throught the cracks in the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel.

Some of my favorite things are the aluminum dragonfly and ginko leaf trays made from recycled hubcabs! How fun are they?

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GROWing a store

Smack dab in the middle of a recession, the middle of a flaundering block, in the middle of New York City I decided it would be fun to open a store with a HUGE sign in bright neon green that read GROW.  I had a sneaking suspicion that other designers and architects had discovered the fantastic Deco loft buildings being vacated by a the furriers who were going out of business, like I had, and moved their businesses into their beautiful open spaces.  My hope was, that being close to the flower district, but not in it,  we might attract the folks GREENING their apartments, terraces and backyards as well as the pros in the biz.  The best part of moving onto the same street our offices have been on for 3 years is that we are finally meeting our neighbors…landscape architects, interior designers, structural engineers, building contractors, architectts, lighting designers…and that’s just on this block!  So my dream is coming true.. I wanted to open a store/showroom where the GROWing industry of urban living, green roof gardening and organic home design merged and I wanted to be on a block that was growing.  ANd I think we did it.

Come on down and see us sometime.  Til then…

keep GROWing



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The Design Worked better in San Francisco

It is always interesting how much different a project looks in real life than it does on paper.  The funny thing about designing roof gardens is that you design them from inside to look out unlike most garden where your designing them from afar to look in and around it.  When I entered these two garden show I was told by those who had done it before DO NOT LET PEOPLE WALK THROUGH YOUR GARDEN. Well, I knew I would have no garden to look at if people did not walk into it.  In San Fran, the stairs could be positioned in the the front of the Penthouse which allowed the path to draw focus directly to through center.  Mark Campbell was also able to build out the narrow section of the roof floor about two feet which really opened up the garden.  This simple adjustment made the garden much more open and balanced in San Francisco.

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The Design Process

When I first agreed to enter the Garden Shows,  my intent was to do a roof top garden as green as it could be.  I wanted to tie in all the cool green building products I could think of.  But most of all I wanted to design a garden that was functional AND beautiful.  I wanted some interior space to show the seemless transition of inside to out.  I want a comfortable lounging area and a dining table large enough for a family.  I knew I wanted an easy path thousands of people to walk through the garden.  I hate going to garden shows that have no access into the gardens.  I can’t imagine not exploring the layers and secrets planted within a garden. 

The truth is I desigend my dream garden.  If I had the money,  I would build this garden on the in the middle of Manhattan,  design my clients gardens from my penthouse office,  drink wine with friends nightly on the cement sofa and have Sunday brunch for girl friends only.  The shape and size was dictated by the Garden shows first and the concept of a skyscraper second.  I want a standard rectangle but given the fact that I had enter the shows so late in the came there were no rectangles left.  All this to say the positioning of the penthouse was dictated by the shape of the space.  The rest of the layout was like a puzzle so I actually made little pieces that represented the cement sofa,  the log dining table and a few stools and chairs.  I wanted a large carpet of the green grid in front of the penhouse so I marked that off limits right away.  It took a bit of finagling to fit the large peices of funiture but I was determined to use large pieces as I believe smaller spaces will feel larger with larger furniture and trees.  I spent the first two weeks  of the design process without a plant or container in sight.

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After all this building…let’s talk design

I thought it would be possible to write daily or at least often about the progress of this project.  But, alas, I was wrong. I thought the 200 one day make overs I did on Discovery with Surprise By Design would have prepared me for the intense build for this show but it didn’t.  I’m not sure if it is the competiion of a show that drives us all,  or the fact that it is on of those few times designers have no client, no compromise other than money and time  I just was not able to write about the process during the process.

So now I will take my time and explain the process.  Starting with the end…I wanted a beautiful space, sustainable and green as it could be and still a little edgy.  the results tonight, the process tomorrow.

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We Win Golden Gate Cup (Best in Show!)

Still can’t write…no time to talk but I promise I will soon.  Just reporting WE WON!  Talk to you all soon.

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