I’ve also never seen snails look so beautiful.(11)
I’ve also never seen snails look so beautiful.(11)
Is it just me, or is moss everywhere these days? I love all the new applications designers and artists are finding for the lovely green stuff. Like this prototype moss carpet by designer Nguyen La Chanh.
The base is constructed of a foam called plastazote, which is soft and retards the growth of mold. Each piece of moss sits in a different cell so if one needs to be replaced, it can be done easily. The designer also chose traffic-resistant mosses, but reminds us, “of course, this carpet is not meant to last a year in your bathroom.”
More art piece than everyday functional object, but I love it regardless.
Behold the awesomeness of the North American Wild Life series by Kelowna BC-based ceramic artist Paige Russell.
Consisting of four archetypal North American vehicles, the vessels are handmade of matte white glazed stoneware.
Perfect with your 60s rec-room inspired decor or ironic mustache.
Buy them here.(4)
Check out the Boskke Sky Planter. Yep, that’s it, hanging upside down there. Actually, it’s not upside down – it’s designed that way. (Another art school grad project! Thank goodness for design students. Without them, the world would certainly be less bloggable.)
Using an internal reservoir system, the Sky Planter feeds water directly to the roots of the plant, so no water evaporates or drips. The soil is locked in (I wondered, too) so there’s no mess.
There’s a lot I like about the Sky Planter. It uses up to 80% less water than conventional planters. You only need to water once a month. It saves floor space. And it certainly is a talking point.
But wow, that palm (at top) is bizarre looking! I don’t think I could pull it off in my home. And I wonder about the plants: do they thrive? Don’t they try to right themselves? (I’m thinking of that palm again.) What do you think?
Voila! I have for you the perfect election hangover cure: I just discovered Cup of Coco, the blog of artist/creator/interior designer Jennifer Talbot of b.delicious. Hot damn, that girl is talented! I was originally drawn to this birch tree she created for a client’s room – beautiful, isn’t it? Look closer:
It’s made out of fabric – felt, perhaps? I totally thought it was an actual birch trunk! Jennifer says, “The piece is meant to be quiet and compliment the room’s existing color story. The little orange bird can be removed from the hole in the tree.”
Then I discovered that Jennifer had created a little girl’s room with a woodland theme (which is also what we chose for Lila’s room). Please, please, go check out the photographs – this is the most amazingly sweet room – sure to rid you of any residual snarkiness.(3)
My houseplants are the neglected siblings of my outdoor plants; they get a raw deal when it comes to care and attention. As a result, they’re pretty pathetic specimens. This year, I’ve resolved to be ruthless with them: either they shape up or ship out.
Of course, it’s me who has to do the shaping up.
My rubber plant got me thinking about that aerosol leaf shine spray so favoured by malls and dentist’s offices. Out of curiosity, I googled something like “organic leaf shine” and found myself reading about the things people wipe on their plants: milk, the insides of banana skins, lemon juice, and even mayonnaise. Wow. I had no idea.
The other thing that kept coming up was neem oil. Gardeners were raving about the stuff. Seems its naturally-occurring insecticidal, anti-fungal properties help to control and prevent houseplant pests like scale, all while repelling dust and adding a natural shine. Cool, I thought. I’m sold.
Then I discovered a product called BotaniWipe. BotaniWipes are biodegradable leaf wipes infused with organic neem oil and lavender that do triple duty as a leaf polish, a nutritive, and a mild insecticide fungicide.
BotaniWipes really did wonders for my long-suffering houseplants. I’m sure they would have looked better even just with a quick wipe with a wet cloth, but I figure, if you’re going to do that, you may as well take care of the nasties (disease, pests) and give them a boost at the same time. They come in a convenient “baby wipe” format but are completely biodegradable (even flushable), and they left my plants looking pretty damn fine.
I was impressed with the results, but curious about this neem stuff. Could it really do all the stuff it’s purported to do? So I asked Andrew O’Brien, founder of BotaniWipes, to tell me more. Turns out Andrew has a lot of experience using neem. As the manager of a small organic flower farm in California, he used neem oil to control disease and improve plant health.
“Neem oil is pretty amazing,” says Andrew. According to him, neem has properties that are beneficial in treating and preventing pest infestations, molds and
mildews in plants. As well, amino acids in neem oil act as a nutritive and natural antibiotic. Combined with the anti-fungal,
anti-bacterial, anti-insecticidal properties of lavender oil, these oils, “in appropriate mild
amounts, really promote plant health,” says Andrew. And unlike conventional leaf sprays, the oils in BotaniWipes won’t clog the plant’s stomata (pores).
I was curious: how does someone come up with an idea like BotaniWipes? “When my son was
born I looked up at a dirty, distressed houseplant while wiping his
bottom,” Andrew relates. Ah. There’s hope then: maybe a brilliant business idea will come to me one of these days too!
According to Velocity, “GroBal is plant care evolved no green thumb necessary. With its unique
self watering system, and stylish design by Karim Rashid, Grobal keeps
your house plants lush, green, and looking sharp.” Okay, so it’s a planter for the masses. Perfectly in keeping with the Karim philosophy – er, Karimanifesto. And let’s face it, houseplants can be trying, even for those of us with purportedly green thumbs. But here’s where it goes a little bit Jetsons:
“Grobal draws water and nutrients from the reservoir into the soil in
the top chamber. Just check the water level through the water level
indicator and refill when needed through the Nutriport… Each GroBal comes with 1 GroBal Soil disk and 3 GroBal Food 7.5 ml hydropaks.” (Emphasis mine.) I can figure out what a “Nutriport” is. And yes, even a “soil disk.” I can guess what’s in a 7.5ml hydropak of GroBal Food, but I’d really like to know before I buy. Something tells me it’s not compost tea.
Lately, I’ve noticed that more and more designers are having fun with indoor planters. From miniature pink flamingos for your cacti to “treehouses” for your ficus, decorating your houseplants is definitely big.
Then there are containers that make more of a statement than any terracotta pot could dream of. (Remember the IV plant pot from Vitamin Living?) The newest – and possibly baddest – kid on the block is the Park Planter from Science & Sons.
Drawing inspiration from the bonsai, designer
Tristan Zimmermann created the Park Planter “to
elevate the common household plant to the status of full grown tree.
The potted plant becomes the backdrop for an urban park scene.” Scenes include both the innocuous – dog walkers – and the sketchy – flashers and muggers. No two scenes are alike. Park Planters will be available sometime in spring 2008.
I’ll never go back to forcing bulbs pre-Christmas. I appreciate my little pot of paperwhites so much more now that the rush of parties and family gatherings and excess baking is over. The house is filled with glitz in December, anyway – it’s nice to have something that I can enjoy now in this quiet, introspective month.
Okay, I guess it’s two last things: When they’re finished blooming, I plant the bulbs in my boulevard garden. They’ll bloom again in two years.