Archive for the ‘Outdoor Living’ Category


Modern garden accessories

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Chiasso carries a number of items that will interest gardeners with a modern minimalist aesthetic. These botanic vase bookends merge my top two passions: gardening and books, while these aluminum planters would solve my container crisis. And just check out birdie in his swanky pad! Love it.

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For want of a pot

Spring has definitely sprung here in Vancouver. It was a glorious, sunny weekend, and I finally got started on my garden plans. The first order of business, I decided, was to buy some new containers for the soon-to-be kitchen garden right outside, well, the kitchen. Since this is a highly-visible location (on our front patio) I wanted all my containers to have a similar look that would unify them.

Admittedly, this was inspired by a gorgeous display using AW Pottery at the NorthWest Flower and Garden Show. So, rejecting my usual jumble of terracotta, galvinized aluminum and “found” planters, I decided that a matte black ceramic would be perfect for this sophisticated townhouse.

Several trying hours ensued as I set off to find said containers. I tried my local nursery, Figaro’s Garden. I tried David Hunter, Moe’s, Bloomfields, and even Home Depot. The only result was frustration. I saw tons of planters, but every store seemed to carry the same ho-hum designs (except Bloomfields, which had gorgeous stuff but seemed targeted to the grossly rich. $50 for a 4″ pot? Do I look like I’m INSANE?). Okay, there are still a number of nurseries I can visit, but why is it I can say “yes!” to the first wedding dress I try on, but can’t find a damn pot? Is there some secret container shop I don’t know about? Or should I just have a yard of soil dumped on the patio?

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Edible birdhouses

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How neat are these edible birdhouses? A wee bit more sophisticated than those pinecone feeders we used to make in Brownies! From Atelier Oi, an online portfolio of architecture and design.

Via Moco Loco.

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Container water gardens


There are three – count ‘em – three ponds where I live now (mind you, it’s a half-acre property). I love the ponds. I love the sound of the waterfalls, I love the waterlilies that bloom in the summer, and I really love the koi. Kids get such a kick out of feeding them; some of the bigger guys are so tame, they’ll eat out of your hand!

So, when I become a city girl once again, I’m contemplating the addition of a small water garden. I won’t be able to keep koi, but I look forward to growing some water plants. Unfortunately, most plants, especially those gorgeous waterlilies, want sunshine – and lots of it. I doubt I’ll get the required six-hours daily to keep them happy.

But I’ve read that there are some water plants that do well in shade and are also small enough for a container water garden, such as floatering water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), sweet flag (Acorus calamus), water mint (Mentha aquatica), Parrot feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum), and broad-leaved taro (Alocasia or Colocasia spp.) for example.

Oh how I love a gardening challenge!

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Horsetail in the home
Andrea Bellamy |


In what seems to be a glorious moment of serendipity, I’ve discovered Livinglass, laminated architectural glass that can be used in furniture, doors, partitions, floors, countertops and more. Described as “inspired by the colors and textures of nature,” Livinglass “captures organic materials within luminous sheets of clear glass.” Perfect for gardeners, n’est pas?


I mentioned serendipity because Ben and I were discussing the fact that, except for the fireplace, the back wall of our new living room is floor-to-ceiling window.

“But fireplaces are supposed to have art above them, not windows,” I whined uncreatively. “Although, the extra light will be nice.”

Livinglass’s Sutra collection, one of five, would provide the perfect solution.


Although it’s a menace in the garden, I love horsetail when it’s enclosed in glass!


Via Inhabitat.

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Solar powered fountain

This solar-powered fountain makes so much sense. Not only is it eco-friendly, it’s also practical. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has faced a lack of electrical outlets in the garden! Not to mention the Problem of Cords.

This particular design isn’t really my style so doesn’t make it to my wish list, but is nevertheless a fabulous invention.

Via Treehugger.

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Leggo my Eglu
Andrea Bellamy |

I absolutely must have an eglu. Pleasepleaseplease, sweetie? I need it. And so will you, when you check it out. Here’s what the omlet website has to say:

The eglu is a coop for the 21st century, featuring spacious open plan living for 2 – 4 medium size chickens or up to 5 bantams, it is a stylish and practical addition to any garden. Designed to be comfortable for the chickens and effortless for you, the eglu makes keeping chickens rewarding and fun.

The eglu offers a standard of living not seen before in chicken house design. It is fitted throughout with wooden roosting bars and an integrated nesting box with privacy screen to preserve your chickens modesty when laying an egg. The chickens are kept warm in the winter and cool in the summer, thanks to modern twin walled insulation. To make collecting your eggs easy, the eglu has an eggport which gives access to the nesting box

Available in five fantastic colours you can make a statement in red, be pretty in pink or keep it subtle with an eglu in green.

Upkeep of this fantastic chicken coop is made easy via the innovative slide out dropping tray and fully removable lid. Made from energy efficient polymers using modern construction techninques the eglu will last for years and at the end of its life can be 100% recycled.

Absolutely brilliant!

Via Horticultural.

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Fall container no. 2

It’s not as exciting as the other planter I made up at the same time, but I like the simplicity of this one (also with 50% off perennials from David Hunter Garden Centre ).

Clockwise from left: Hebe glaucophylla ‘Variegata,’ Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’ (Dwarf Fountain Grass), Chrysanthemum Showmaker™ grandiflora amor, Brassica oleracea acephala (ornamental kale), Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’ (Golden Variegated Sweet Flag), and Viola (Pansy) ‘Trick or Treat mix.’

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Even the world’s smallest balcony…
Andrea Bellamy |

Wouldn’t this be the perfect this for those teeny Juliette balconies appearing in new developments all over Vancouver? (Yes, Degan, yours too!)

The Leopoldo City Vegetable Garden is kind of a modern version of a window box or hanging basket, but waaaay more stylish. I like the double-decker styling, which provides more growing room for your buck.

Via Treehugger.

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Feed the birds
Andrea Bellamy |

…Tuppence a bag… (now see if that lovely Mary Poppins song doesn’t get lodged in your head).

It’s officially autumn. Crisp air greets us in the morning, the leaves are blazing red and orange, and the koi are looking a little sluggish in their pond. It’s also time to be thinking about feeding the birds during the winter ahead. The Canadian Wildlife Federation’s excellent website, Wild About Gardening, has a wealth of resources to help you attract wildlife to your garden. And it’s not just about birdseed and squirrel-repellent feeders, either. There’s advice on meeting the needs of bats, bees, and birds through planting, providing a water source, shelter, a pesticide-free space, and just basically meeting the needs of wildlife.

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