rochelle

We’ve been in Belgium for two weeks now – filling our time slowly with the treasures of the region.  We are staying in Brugge, and I’ve been fascinated with often seen medieval houses that usually have a name and number printed on the side.  These ‘Godshuizen’ tend to also have pretty little gardens attached, so I spent a day riding my bike to all that I could find here and made a study of them.

Godshuis in Brugges by rochelle greayer www.studiogblog.com

Literally translated, Goshuizen would mean ‘Houses of God’ but this translation is a little misleading.  They are not churches or places of worship but rather they are houses for the poor and needy.  They are in fact housing for the poor, needy, elderly and widows and widowers that were built by rich families and corporations as early as the 14th century.   Sometimes the houses were constructed by corporations or guilds, for their members who had lost their income or were unable to work because of illness, handicaps or other mishaps.

Goshuis garden in brugge belgium by rochelle greayer www.studiogblog.com

Most of the time these houses form a complex around an inner courtyard where the inhabitants can get their water and grow vegetables in little gardens (though most of the ones I saw, contained many more flowers than edible crops).

goshuis garden in brugge belgium by rochelle greayer www.studiogblog.com

They also typically have also have a chapel where the people are supposed to pray for the souls of their benefactors – but this is the only religious obligation.

Godshuis in Brugges by rochelle greayer www.studiogblog.com

Many of these remain today and many of them have the sweetest most charming gardens.

ehinops and goldenrod garden by rochelle greayer www.studiogblog.comClick through the gallery below to see more!

-Rochelle

image by rochelle greayer

Did I mention I am in Brugge, Belgium?  Yes, I am here with my family on a much needed vacation.  But PITH + VIGOR’s indiegogo campaign doesn’t rest, so I am checking in regularly; working on all the behind the scenes networking that goes along with making this campaign successful, every morning before my people wake up and we head out across the low countries on our bikes.

(And I am taking lots of garden pics to share later)

But here is the big news:  WE ARE MORE THAN 25% OF THE WAY THERE!  Which is very exciting, but as great as that is….we still have 75% left to go.  Can you help out?

Of course if you haven’t already subscribed yourself – please do.  This is an exciting project that I truly believe will benefit every gardener in some way or another.  A strong community-building publication will be enjoyable to everyone with a copy, and it will help small businesses and local establishements thrive, and it will make the resources for all gardeners more accessible and successful.  Everyone wins!
Subscribe to Pith + VIgor Newspaper and Digital Magazine

If you are able to help out even more though, we have some additional incentives:

If you can refer more than $400 worth of contributors from your own network we will send you a signed copy of my upcoming book.  

or

If you are a business (or a blogger, or a Non-profit, or whatever…) and can refer $400 worth of contributions then we will give you a free directory advertisement in the first issue. (and if you can double that, certainly a much bigger ad is in order!….we will discuss)

Please help us spread the word - a community newspaper like this is best when it grows from grassroots support.

Share it on your social networks, send it in an email, blog about it – if you need help with ideas, images or content, let us know – we will send you whatever you need!

Here is how the referral works:  

First – Make sure you are logged into your indiegogo account.  When you are logged in, use the share buttons or if you prefer, you can copy and paste the web address of the campaign (so long as you are logged in when you copy) and either will allow us to track the contributions that come from your contacts in the indiegogo campaign monitor.  

Can you help us over the top?  

I appreciate everything you can do! – Rochelle

You win some you lose some.

I’ve been focussing too much lately on where I am losing (I beat the woodchuck in my veg garden, only to have a bunny from hell move in). I also had a solenoid in the sprinkler break and I realized too late to save some sun-singed plants in that section.  I’ve also been considering writing a ‘bring out your dead’ style post – this past winter was brutal and my list of lost plants is easily twice as many as any year in memory…I could go on with my laments….

But instead, today I’m choosing to focus on the positive and as I looked around the garden — I realize that many of my biggest success were entirely unexpected, accidental, or the result of a hurried and thoughtless decisions. Figures.

Garden by rochelle greayer www.studiogblog.com

My favorite part of the garden right now is what I call the finger bed (so-called because it is shaped like an obviously giant finger).  I love grasses of all sorts and set out to create a great mix of them in this bed.  My intention has not turned out so great — I have a lot of grasses that can often all look too similar to be interesting.  But my boring overuse of grasses has been saved with some of my haphazard thoughtless planting choices.   candy oh roses, miscanthus, and dappled willow by rochelle greayer www.studiogblog.com

Proven winners sent me a couple of Candy Oh! roses a few years ago to try out…and when they arrived this bed was brand new and empty. Lacking a plan and generally needing to fill space, I plopped them in.  I have to admit, I wasn’t enthusiastic about them at the time – back then I was still in my ‘I hate roses’ phase (from which I have mostly recovered).  I look at them now and I can’t imagine how dreadfully boring this garden would be without them.  Oh, and that Hakuro Nishiki Dappled willow was a plant I bought sight unseen through the local conservation plant sale – and I hated them (I had bought three!) when they arrived.  Garish and ugly were the thoughts in my head. Now I think bright and beautiful….just what is needed to break things up, offset the red flowers, and balance out all the dark brown and black buildings and tall pines around here.  What do I know? – I’m just a garden designer….

Candy Oh roses

I can however pat myself on the back for one thing (that worked way better than I expected).  Last year these roses were decimated by Japanese beetles.  They turned into ugly skeleton bushes in a matter of a week.  I also had a terrible infestation of grubs and moles.  These are all related of course (moles eat grubs, grubs kill grass and become beetles,  - if no grubs, then no beetles, and no moles).  I bought a huge box of milky spore powder early this spring and spread it accordingly.  It is clearly working.  The squishy mole ridden grass has gone away and you can see there isn’t a Japanese beetle in sight (look at those pretty healthy leaves!).  Score one for the gardener.

dianthus black adder and geranium rozanne by rochelle greayer www.studiogblog.com

I noticed another happy accident that I am going to have to help along.  Is it me or do Geranium ‘Rozanne’ look really great with dianthus black adder?  They aren’t really mixed at the moment….but I am really loving the light purple and inky near black so I am going to have to give those dianthus seed heads a good shake around the geranium.  I suspect some silver leaves might really make things sing….We will see how this looks next year….

How about you — got any unexpected or accidental winners?

images by rochelle greayer

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Proven Winners.  I am not an employee of Proven Winners and all opinions are my own. See the other posts in this series

 

 

I’m having a flash back.  Today feels just like a launch day from back when Susan and I were publishing Leaf Magazine.  We would work all weekend and maybe even days before that and feel tremendously tired and stressed to finally arrive at the moment where it was time to push that final ‘publish’ button.  That moment never came easyily (and I never expect it will) – With each release we put together something that was compelling and interesting and that we poured our hearts into; so releasing it to the world felt huge and it always came with at least a little hesitation.

After months and months of planning and refining an idea, I pushed the ‘publish’ button again today.  But this was a little different than an with an actual magazine.  This is for a crowdfunding campaign (but geez – getting it together was a lot of work!!).

The publication will come later if this is funding is successful. Would you like to see another publicaiton like Leaf? I would – and that is what I promise to deliver with PITH + VIGOR.  The actual first issue will release later this year (September 2014).
I could not be more excited about this project. I have so much to tell you about it, but since I spent the last few weeks making this video (to do just that), I’ll let it (me) do the talking.

In order to get a copy of PITH + VIGOR, you will have to subscribe (This time around it simply can’t be free – it must be sustainable). Right now, the only way to get your subscription is through the indiegogo campaign ($25 gets you a whole year’s worth – 4 issues). Will you subscribe? – or perhaps even consider supporting at a greater level?

For your support, I simply cannot express my gratitude enough. Warmly – Rochelle

Go to the Indiegogo Campaign to Subscribe to PITH + VIGOR

p.s. if you have any thoughts, or questions about PITH + VIGOR – fire away – I am happy to answer!

Once upon a time, my shed/ chicken coop used to be cute.  But then I messed with it, and then I wrote a book and I ignored it, and now I have a big fat mess.

Here is what it used to look like:

rochelle greayer studio 'g' garden studio g digitalis foxglove daylilies orange door.I was into orange like crazy, the foxgloves were happy, and I hadn’t yet given up on the bloom-less wisteria (it was replaced with a climbing hydrangea that hasn’t gotten tall enough yet to train over the door).

Last year I decided to paint the door to freshen things up and try something new. I opted for green and I will be the first to admit my mistake – it just didn’t have the magic I was going for. Green isn’t really the most exciting backdrop for garden plants and if you want to make a splash, you have to be a bit more brave. (shall we all agree to ignore the out of control weeds that took over and choked out my foxgloves while I sat inside writing?)
P1020221

So over the weekend I thought I’d try something new. I had high hopes for this lavender raisin sort of color, but once I got it on, I was shocked to see that it had no contrast to the rest of the dark brown shed and really just looks like a washed out version of siding. Yuck!

IMG_4971

Back to the drawing board!!!  I am so grateful to Sherwin Williams and their online tool to try out colors on a photo that you upload.
I plan to re-stain the shed — to make it true Black (this is happening to our whole house too) and I used the tool to darken up the dark brown to look more black so I could get a good contrast.
I also thought that maybe if I added some of the white paint that I have on hand I could save a few dollars and lighten the color I just bought to something a little more lavender/grey. I think it is better (see the left)….but still not bold enough.

Screenshot 2014-06-09 14.56.54Screenshot 2014-06-09 16.23.33
I’ve been toying with the idea of blue, so I edited out the lavender to try light blue (on the right) and I think I am finally on to something. Would you agree? Blue is better?  Am I the only one who struggles with this?  I am really wondering why I messed with a good thing! 

Now I just need to spend a day ripping out bunch of creeping charlie and the gooseneck loosestrife that has taken over. The dwarf mounding weeper that I have hated since we moved in is going to meet an untimely death by chainsaw and I think I am going to replace it with a few more pretty blue hydrangeas (my existing one took quite a beating this last winter but survived – you can see I still need to cut down the dead canes in the foreground).
You can hardly tell, but there are a couple of baby aspen trees in there and the foxglove simply needs to be reintroduced – I love it – and I think I will try white this time. This is going to take a little effort (and time), but now that I have the backdrop sorted out I think we can start to move forward…unless you have a better idea for a door color….because I obviously haven’t tried everything….yet. ;)

Sherwin Williams paint is available at Lowes. 

Images by rochelle greayer

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lowes.  This is a series that I am doing through the end of the year.   I am not an employee of Lowes and all opinions are my own.  See the other posts in this series. 

LCI-Sum14-BloggerBadge-200x200

My dad’s latest engineering feat has been to install a hydroponics growing system in the spare bedroom of my parents home. Yes, they live in Colorado, no, they don’t seem to have new snack cravings or large sums of cash flowing in — this is a straight up tomatoes, lettuce and peppers operation (and hopefully strawberries to come). (I mentioned the origination of this project at the new year in my weekly column on Apartment Therapy)

Here is a little before and after of the progress….

Taken April 3rd, 2014

hydroponics garden www.studiogblog.com

(my mom started these little guys from seed in March)
hydroponics garden www.studiogblog.com

Taken May 5th, 2014

Hydropnic

Note how not only have the tomatoes grown immensely in just one month (hydroponic growth rates are nothing short of amazing!!), but that there is also a whole other rig?  This is how these things go in our family (I think it’s an engineer dad thing) — in addition to this, a trellis growing system has been built-in the basement for peas and other vining plants — you see how these things spin right out of control…right? ;)

I’ve been working with Ebay to help promote their collections and I used the tools to gather Hydroponics related gear as part of a campaign related to Fathers Day.  As hobbies go— this is one for the engineering, tinkering types of dads with the side effect of getting great produce as part of the bargain. Check out the collection here.

And if this isn’t quite right….maybe the music lovers collection I created (As inspired by my husband) is more apropos. My guy is teaching himself to play the guitar and the banjo (the playing of instruments all started with the purchase of a toy store ukulele a few years ago – things have a way of spinning out of control in this house too — we now have a wall full of beautiful instruments…). Thinking of father’s day gifts, I know he will appreciate anything in this set.

 

This blog post was written as part of my collaboration with eBay. All images taken by my dad. 

tree sketches by rochelle greayer www.studiogblog.comHey! – I need some help with a project.

It is secret, but I can tell you this….it will be big, it will be beautiful, lots of people will see it and and it will be very, very cool.  I can also tell you that I will eventually reveal what this is all about (a few months from now).

So do you want to be part of a big, beautiful, wide-spead, cool thing?

I need you send in pictures of trees (illustrative not photographic).  You can take a picture of your drawing and instagram it (if you do this tag it with #studiogtree) or you can send  your drawing (or painting or sketch or doodle or whatever medium you choose) via email to me at rochellegreayer@gmail.com with the word studiogtree in the subject.

Let’s see your rendition of your favorite tree in your favorite season, or maybe its just the tree right outside your window, or the tree you just planted….whatever it is lets see it.

All the submissions that come in before June 15th will be shared here with links back to your site, but some of them will additionally be used in that other big, beautiful, wide-spread, cool secret project.

Thanks!!

x – Rochelle