Archive for the ‘Winter 2011’ Category

Do You Plant Pansies In Your Roof Garden?

We’re so excited to see showy annual plants back at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. These pansies and the smaller-flowered violas were for sale by Phillip’s Farms on Saturday. I see many Brooklyn gardeners growing pansies in this early spring period and then pulling them out by May. We’ll probably put some violas in the pots on our stoop. Pansies — part of the Viola family, as are violets — thrive in cool weather and die back in the heat of the summer.

I’m not sure if we’ll go to the expense of putting short-lived annuals up on the roof. Pansy season will be over before it is consistently warm enough to spend much time on the roof. Still, we’ll probably pop a few in our roof garden since we’re too excited for spring.

I love this detail from Tulsa Gentleman: Superstitious American pioneers thought “a handful of violets taken into the farmhouse in the spring ensured prosperity, and to neglect this ceremony brought harm to baby chicks and ducklings.

Learn more about pansies on


How To Start A Simple Roof Garden

Roof gardens can quickly become complex and expensive. Some people will talk about irrigation systems, fancy furniture, changes to the roof structure, plus plants. Start simple, I say. Make sure your roof can support the weight. Then put some containers up there. (And like you see in this photo – splurge on a sturdy, large umbrella!)

Many new roof gardeners are hunting for advice on how to start. This short article could be a great starting place for your roof garden.

image: Sunset Magazine

Two Trends in One: Stacking Giraffe Planters from Anthropologie

I hear that all things “figural” are hot. Plates passing as otters, teapots turned into top hats . . . so why not stacking planters that looks like giraffes?

Stacking planters are also super popular right now. The stacking trend seems to come from at least two inspirations: trendy succulents do well in stacking planters + stacked pots help us space-challenged city gardeners to give more plant a home. It is a bummer that there are not drainage holes in these $128 pots. If you want to embrace the figural trend, but aren’t up for all the color, maybe you could try the taupe version of these stacking planters?

Urban Big Box Gardening: Round Containers and Solar Lights at Target

Last summer we searched for low glazed pottery container under $100 for our succulents.  We didn’t find much and ended up with a plain terra cotta pot from Home Depot. (These succulents didn’t make it, but we want to try it again.) Well, look what R* and I found at Target yesterday! Pretty great right? These are my favorite item we’ve found while cruising NYC’s big box stores for gardening items — before they all sell out. Why didn’t I buy a couple when I was there? I hope they don’t sell out too soon. (Don’t tell anyone else about them, okay?)

How great are these old-school webbed lawn chairs in Americana colors plus margarita lime? These instantly brought back memories of early childhood trips to the Catskills and my grandparents buying kits to re-web their old lawn chairs.

The affordable solar lights are another draw at Target. We didn’t buy any on our first trip out, since we’ve found that our target does a pretty good job keeping these in stock all summer. Plus shoppers can find something very similar in Home Depot.

One more thing to keep an eye on: Target now owns the Smith and Hawken brand and sells the exclusively. They didn’t have many of these items in our store, but we’re looking forward to seeing more Smith & Hawken come in as the season moves along. I found this set of tools and a carrier online. I hope they keep the quality up on these items.

I can’t be the only one stalking these big box stores for garden fun. What are your best finds so far?

Urban Big Box Gardening: Cheap Stackable Planters (and Swans!) at KMart

Now is the time! If you want to pick up cool, inexpensive gardening items at big-box prices, city gardeners need to watch these stores closely. You have to shop early and shop fast. Much of the good stuff (like the solar lights at IKEA, my favorite Target pots) goes quick and is not evenly replenished. I’m determined not to miss it this year. Earlier this week, I lunched at the Astor Place Kmart looking for gardening inspiration.

Stacking Planters at Kmart

Pretty slim picking so far, but I thought some city gardeners could have fun with these two stackable planters. Has anyone ever used this Stack-A-Pots?

I like how the house plants are in the back of the lower level of Astor Place Kmart. They get to sit there, watching the 6 trains zoom up and down the tracks all days. This part of the store always makes me day dream about an underground jungle hiding out in NYC.

Happy Almost Spring!

Wow! Stunning Manhattan Roof Garden

Head over to Apartment Therapy to tour this stunning Soho roof garden dreamed up by Andrew Wilkinson of Wikinson Architects.

Roof Gardening Class at Brooklyn Botanic: Booked!

Oh bummer. I just found out about this roof gardening class at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and it is already all booked up. If you happen to be attending this class, please let me know how it goes!

Midwinter Inspiration from Shane Powers for West Elm

Is it spring yet? R* and I miss the roof garden so much. We’ve been trying to bring some garden style inside with some cut flowers and a few houseplants that don’t need much light. The new indoor gardening collection by Shane Powers for West Elm is just the inspiration we need. Read more about the collection at Apartment Therapy and shop the new line at West Elm.

(Image: Cut Clay Cylinders at West Elm)