Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Check it out: Leaf Magazine
Andrea Bellamy |

Leaf Magazine preview issue cover featuring a garden designed by Topher Delaney and photographed by Saxon Holt.

Today marks the launch of Leaf Magazine, a brand-spanking-new digital publication created by fellow garden bloggers Susan Cohan (Miss Rumphius’ Rules) and Rochelle Greayer (Studio G).

The free (yes, free!) publication is focused on “Design Outside and Outdoor Style,” and despite the already-overwhelming number of garden- and design-related blogs and magazines I subscribe to, I’m pretty stoked about Leaf. It’s not just that Susan and Rochelle have amazing design sense and style (which they do), but also that they’ve set their sights high. Really high. Leaf‘s mission statement includes this fabulous line: “Leaf Magazine operates at the intersection of great design and the great outdoors.” (Trademark that one, ladies. Love it!)

They’re aiming for “a fresh approach to outdoor style that is both aspirational and accessible,” thank goodness. I hope to see some ideas and products that are truly affordable for those of us with more dreams than dough.

Sign up for your free subscription here.


Succulent wreath
Andrea Bellamy |

succulent wreath

I snapped this photo at my mom’s the other day. It’s a wreath (duh) she made by tucking hardy succulents such as echeveria and sedum into a moss-filled wire frame. I just love the colours and textures. Maybe it’s just because succulents are so hot right now, but I can imagine this wreath fitting in with any number of architectural and garden styles, from cottagey to modern.

Succulent wreath detail

Here’s how to make your own.


Lime green in the garden

lime green umbrellas

I love green in the garden. Who doesn’t? It’s the colour of new growth. Photosynthesis. Good health.

But that’s not the green I’m talking about here. I’m talking lime green. Pucker-yer-lips, jolt-to-the-system lime.

My back patio

I used lime green cushions in my back patio to add a punch of colour to an otherwise subdued palette. The lime of the pillows is echoed by the bright, bamboo-like foliage of Northern sea oats (Chasmantheum latifolium), which you can see peeking out on the left side of this photo. Lime contrasts so nicely with red cedar, as well as charcoal gray stone (or Sunbrella fabric, as the case may be).

Looking for other lime green accents? Here are some of my faves.

Green garden hose

Green hose clothes from Dirt Couture.

Bali garden

Green ceramic stool (similar to this one). Photo by David Tsay.


Panier side table from Hive Modern.

Freakshow 2

Lime green gravel! Photo by Sassy Gardener on Flickr.
Bauer Jardiniere

Classic jardiniere from Bauer Pottery.

Nicotiana x sanderae Perfume Lime

And then there are plants, of course. Like this lime green nicotiana. Photo by scott.zona on Flickr.

Heuchera 'Key Lime Pie'

So many lime green heucheras! This one is Heuchera ‘Key Lime Pie’. Photo via The Plant Directory.


Allium porrum

leek flowers

No, it’s not the latest ornamental allium – they’re leek flowers. Pretty, eh?


Pothole gardens

pothole garden

What the? Flowers in the road! Image via

Look: pothole gardens! Not sure how I missed this unique guerrilla gardening/art concept when it first popped up on the interwebs several years ago, but it’s awesome.

It seems people plant potholes for various reasons. UK artist Pete Dungey planted a series of potholes across England to highlight “the problem of surface imperfections on Britain’s roads.” A group of California College of the Arts students greened a San Francisco intersection to provoke discussion around the “road-centricity of our urban setting.”

pothole garden

A sweet little pothole garden by Steve Wheen at Photo by Allison Moore.

Steve at started potting up potholes to highlight the problem of bad local road conditions, and, as a landless gardener, to satisfy his urge to plant.

planting a pothole

Planting a pothole. Photo by Allison Moore.

tijuana pothole garden

Marigolds bloom in Shannon Spanhake’s Garden of Convergence.

Shannon Spanhake created a project called The Garden of Convergence in Tijuana, inviting the community to take part. In an interview, she relates that “the most interesting response [from the community] has been the way vehicles carefully avoid this space, as if the lines on the street have changed – they turn slowly and the passengers peak their heads out to see what it is. And how when pedestrians walk past, they stop to look and ask each other questions. The pothole really changes how people move through the space and their actions while in it.”

Pothole gardeners recognize that their work is fleeting – even more so than most guerrilla gardens, which are often temporary. And while I would worry that planting in the middle of the road would cause serious driver distraction, pothole gardeners have a technique for that, too. They plant bright flowers, which act as a hazard sign, alerting drivers to the potholes.


Garden-themed birthday party
Andrea Bellamy |

cupcake with bugs!

For Lila’s second birthday, we had a garden-themed party. Of course. What two-year-old doesn’t prefer gardening to Dora or dinosaurs? (Actually, Lila is way more familiar with turning the compost (she loves worms. Parenting success!) and picking greens than she is with cartoon figures. She still refers to her preferred (Dora-branded) toothpaste as the one with “that girl” on it. (Another parenting success!).)

But seriously, until she has a strong enough opinion on such things, I get to choose. And so she’ll go out for Halloween dressed as a beneficial insect, and her loot bags will include soil.

more party favours

Yep. I gave a bunch of kids dirt.

party favour close up

Here’s the close-up, and a recipe for a garden-themed “loot bag”:

1 small container (we used biodegradeable Fiskar’s Eco Pots, which come in really nice, muted colours.)

2 children’s gardening tools (we bought a couple sets of five tools from Lee Valley and broke them up. These are great kid’s tools – plastic, but really sturdy.)

1 bag of container soil (packaged in a plain, 1lb coffee bean bag – ask your local coffee shop for some.)

1 packet of seed (we used purple bush beans – easy and fun to grow – and packaged them in pretty paper envelopes made using a template found online.)

1 wood tongue depressor, stamped with child’s name.

cupcake overview

The cupcakes were fun to make too. I love to bake, but rarely get beyond my basics: cookies, scones, muffins, and biscuits. Birthday parties offer a nice change, and a challenge. I made simple chocolate cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream or chocolate frosting, then topped them with fondant flowers.

Now, I am not the type of person to casually whip up a batch of fondant. In fact, fondant – which is basically really, really stiff icing that can be rolled out or molded like plasticine – has always seemed out of reach for a kitchen novice like myself. It’s supposed to be difficult. Tempermental. But I have a two year old, I thought. I can work with that.

fondant flower cupcakes

Now, if only I could master child-rearing in an evening.

Lila, me, and Helena

We held the party at Little Nest, an awesome child-friendly cafe in our neighbourhood.

Lila and Tayler

A good time was had by all.

Birthday girl

Happy birthday, sweetheart.

Thanks, Naise, for the photos.


A truly portable garden
Andrea Bellamy |

truck garden

Found growing in the bed of our much-maligned but never-fail ’89 Nissan pick-up: one seedling of unknown creed, enjoying the leaf mulch being created as last fall’s leaves break down. Nature makes neglect a beautiful thing, no?

If we didn’t use the truck for hauling manure and moving friends’ boxes, I might consider helping nature along and turn the truck into a mobile garden.


My first week on the Cure, plus some inspiration from Pad Outdoors

Pad Outdoor POD Aluminium Planters

My husband and I are attempting to (re)decorate our living room. (I’m not sure whether we’re decorating or redecorating. We’ve lived here for almost four years, and the living “room,” which is part of an open plan kitchen/dining/living space, is completely dysfunctional.)

As an attempt to finally wrangle the beast, I’m reading—and following—a book called Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure. It’s written by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, creator of the massively (and deservedly) successful Apartment Therapy blogs. It’s an  inspiring, energizing book that steers you through an eight-week rehab program for your home. (That’s right. I’m having an intervention with my living room.)

My goals?

1. Pull together the jumble of styles (mid-century modern meets what I can only describe as cabin chic… then they both meet toddler.)

2. Acquire some vital missing furnishings, such as the area rug (which we got rid of once we realized the deep, cream, wool shag was not compatible with ground-in bunny crackers), a decent lamp, and some art for the walls.

3. Be able to manage clutter better.

But this is a gardening blog. So why am I talking about home decor? Because I like these  Pod Aluminum Planters by Pad Outdoors and wanted to share them with you.

Pod Aluminum Planter grouping

Despite having no talent for houseplants, I would love to find a place for a really great-looking plant in my new living room. Obviously, choosing the right planter is key. A bit of a splurge at $175 each (and extra for the stands), these spun aluminum planters make me happy.  They’re going in my “style tray,” as the Apartment Therapy book prescribes.

There are so many great options for indoor plants/containers, so I’m going to continue to explore and share my discoveries/living room decor possibilities with you. Check back often this month, and help me create a home I love (please?!). I’ll be eternally grateful.

PS: Yes, I’ll post some “before” photos. Soon.

PSS: Check out my only other online foray into decorating with Lila’s nursery on Flickr.


Thimble gardens
Andrea Bellamy |

resurrection fern's thimble gardens

How much do I adore these sweet, sweet thimble gardens over at the gorgeously eclectic Resurrection Fern. SWOON.

I’ve also never seen snails look so beautiful.


Top 10 Highlights from the Northwest Flower and Garden Show 2009

There’s always so much to take in at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, and this year’s – possibly the last ever – was no exception. But where to focus your energy? Here’s what stood out for me.

viburnum new dawn

1. Japanese fusion. There’s something so very Pacific Northwest about modern minimalism-meets-Japanese tradition. One could almost say it’s a cliche. But it’s not to the point of being overdone, so let’s refrain from dismissing it just yet. And personally, I love this look. Click, the display garden by Shapiro Ryan Design is a gorgeous example of this garden style done right. Not only are the physical structures of this garden beautifully constructed but the colour echoes in the plantings are stunning yet subtle. In the top photo, Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ stands out against a backdrop of Anemanthele lessoniana (New Zealand wind grass).


Love the cedar boardwalk. So Pacific Northwest!

Rebecca Cole garden

2. NYC rooftop lust. Rebecca Cole’s Sky’s the Limit gave me serious garden envy (I wasn’t the only one lusting, apparently; this garden won Best in Show.) I love the innovative seating – both the structure, created of wireframe-enclosed logs – and the bold modern fabric of the cushions. She’s also created “area rugs” of hardy succulents – under the coffee table, for example. What a great concept. They’re permeable water-holding areas, slowing down rain water runoff and looking great in the process.

Rebecca Cole green wall

Sky’s the Limit makes a big impact with a limited colour palette. Love the Mondrian-esque greenwall.

modern shed

3. Fab Prefab. Modern Shed has been making waves in the design community for its minimalist prefabricated sheds. Their Studio Shed was featured in this display garden by Serene Scapes Seattle.

Smith and Hawken booth

4. 200 square feet of cool, clean modernism. The unofficial award for best sales booth goes to Smith & Hawken. Green wall panels (modified from the ones they sell, perhaps?) framed the area, while succulents and orchids spilled from oversized containers. The flooring was an attractive – if a bit unstable – mix of wooden decking and faux sod.

rainwater harvesting

5. Fresh water. This waterfall (by Mark the Pond Guy) is fed by rainwater harvested from the metal roof and stored in a cistern under the patio. Neat.

Poly pots

6. More succulents than you could shake a stick at. Poly Pots had a lovely display of cool-toned pots, along with a fantastic selection of rare succulents and other plant oddities. I only wished I could bring a few back over the border.

glass mushrooms

7. Doing shrooms. Fungi is hot this year. Fungi Perfecti was there, of course, but mushrooms were also popping up as garden art. Could we be seeing some cross-pollination from the popularity of the woodland theme in fashion and interior decor?


8. Citrus reign. Splashes of citrus dominated many of the display gardens. Here’s lemon yellow in a display by Pots2Go in the container garden gallery.

sunglo greenhouse

9. Compact greenhouses. Okay, so it’s not the sexiest thing in the world, but it’s seed starting time and I’m liking the compact nature of this “space-saver greenhouse” by Sunglo. Still too big for my space, but we’re getting there.

Willi, Lila and I

10. Going live. Seattle local Willi Galloway from Diggin Food met up with me and my family at Vios, a hopping Greek deli in Capitol Hill. It was great to meet in person after so many virtual exchanges. And as other Seattle garden bloggers have suggested, next time (and I have a feeling there will be a 2010 show) we’ll have to set up a garden blogger’s meet up.


Older Posts >>