Exhibitions & Events

I have a couple invitations for you today –The first is for Boston locals and the other is for garden bloggers. I’m going to be at both events (the details of the garden bloggers event to come in a second post) so shall we hang out?

cool globes invite by shepard fairey via www.studiogblog.com

On August 15th the Boston Common will host the opening of Cool Globes ‘Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet’ which is a traveling public art exhibit designed to raise awareness about global warming.  It is a family event that will feature the art of over 30 international and local artists as well as kids events and music – all to share ideas about how each of us can make changes to reduce global warming.

Shepard Fairey designed the promo materials (I sooo love his work!) and one of my favorite local bands – Bellas Bartok will be playing over the lunch hour (yes, the same raucous stars who played my barn for my birthday party!) (official festivities start at 11:00 near the Brewer fountain).   There will be lots of to see and do…so if you work in city, make sure you take an extra long lunch …or if you are off for the summer…take advantage of lazy days and go enjoy the sun and art on the common on August 15th….see you there.



Are your phlox blooming yet?  In new England we are not quite there yet….but in Japan, well that is a different story.

Hokkaido Japan Higashimokoto Flower Park via www.studiogblog.com

This is Higashimokoto Flower Park in Hokkaido, Japan and this is what it looks like from mid May-mid June.  I came across it today as I was looking for more information about moss phlox.  It is quite a spectacle and it reminds me of  countless earthen reservoir dams….wouldn’t this be a fantastic way to replant after the earthworks?

Hokkaido Japan Higashimokoto Flower Park via www.studiogblog.com

The park was started and mostly built by one man, Chubachi Mr. Sueyoshi.  He began in 1947 after the war with just one plant which he built upon, spread and managed.  My Sueyoshi died in 2009 but the park is still open to visitors and creeping phlox currently cover over 10 hectares.  You can read more about it here.

images Kimi Tour Guide and Tumblr via oddity central.


Do you know what a physic garden is?  I have to admit that until I attended design school at the Chelsea Physic Garden, I had no idea what the term meant either.  So in case you don’t know, a physic garden is a special kind of herb garden whose purpose is to grow medicinal plants.   
urban physic garden
The  first known physic garden was started by Matthaeus Silvaticus in Salerno, Italy in the 1300’s and many more followed as the main suppliers of medical apothecaries.  With the use of modern medicine and the loss of a collective knowledge of the healing and medicinal powers of plants, it is rare to see a new Physic Garden so that is why the Urban Physic Garden is particularly exciting.

moss wall urban physic garden

medicinal plants at the urban physic garden via www.studiogblog.com

The Urban Physic Garden, which in its original home was a pop-up space in Southwark, London, is currently a travelling exhibit that is making its way through Asia (anyone want to help me see if we can bring it to the states?).

gastro plants from physic garden

The Garden, which hosts a variety exhibits, a cafe, and lots of related arts and science events, is organized into wards – just like a hospital so you can learn about plants as related to their medical application.

urban physic garden via www.studiogblog.comThe most clever part is that the kitchen for the cafe is in a converted ambulance and it is called the Rambulance Cafe (get it, rambling and abulance cafe….cute right?).

medicine cabinet via www.studiogblog.com

medicine cabinet via www.studiogblog.com
(click on the images above for a bigger version where you can read more about some of these elixirs)

I have made cocktails with mint and other herbs but despite a few lessons from a friend who is very good with this sort of thing…I don’t think to head outside or garden my way out of a headache.   I think this is a lost knowledge that we need to regain for the benefit of better understanding our world and how to make sure that our pharmaceutical companies are serving us well.

I’m curious if you use any plants from your garden to treat ailments?   And If you do use plants medicinally, I would love to hear your remedies and methods. 


images from Urban Physic Garden

Do you ever have weeks where you you look back and just have to ask — what the heck just happened?  I had one of those last week.

strawberries and bartok via www.studiogblog.com
Little more than a week ago, my family arrived for a visit.  We made things, we fixed things, we cooked, we drank bourbon.  And then we had a party.  And it was a fantastic party.   I have lots to share from that — but here is a little taste:  (patience…it loads slowly)

Yes, the party was for my birthday — 40th. Which, I guess, might explain a few things… like how I am only just now feeling like I might be getting close to recovered from all the excitement.

barn peony bellas bartok and coachella via www.studiogblog.com

So as I catch up (I promise to be more on track with regular posts this week.) –  you ought to check out Bella’s Bartok (and on soundcloud)  Its hard to pick, but I think my favorite songs are Mother and So Calm, Relaxed — which is anything but.

tattoo and barn via www.studiogblog.com

They are the coolest band to ever play our barn (ok – so far they are the only band to ever play our barn….they won’t be the last, but I’m not sure we will ever have better).

I’m curious, have you ever hired a band to play a private party?  I love supporting local music and amazing talent…I will certainly do it again!

video by rob greayer, images: 1, 2, 3,, 5, 6, and rochelle greayer



The Chelsea Flower Show is wrapping up today and for the first time in a long time ever I am not terribly excited to write about it.  I’ve pondered if my feelings are due in part because I wasn’t actually there this week, but I think not….it is something more.


This year I feel let down.  I am let down by design heroes like Ginny Blom, whose work I generally adore.  Her garden for  Prince Harry is just about the ugliest thing I have ever seen.  The myriad of patterns in subtle soft colors all look like a cheap model came to life.  I honestly want to say something nice about it….but nothing is coming to mind, so I will move on.

Christopher Bradley Hole also failed my high hopes.  He created a garden that to my eyes looks un- finished (I can’t help but see the frame of a new house being built among a complicated garden that technically might be interesting, but is nothing that inspires me).  It does make me wonder if it might be one of those gardens where you ‘had to be there’ to really get it and appreciate it…. maybe pictures just don’t do justice?  But when he didn’t win best in show (an award he has deservedly won in the past) he moaned…loudly and publicly.   It was in poor form to say the least…even if he might have started a conversation about judging that is worth having.

Then there was the series of metaphorical missteps.  I’m putting the Seeability garden in this group.  It conceptually represents  four different sight conditions – cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma – but somehow it isn’t really for blind people…what the what?

Seeability Garden  Chelsea 2013 photographed by by Martin Pope \

Also — there is this garden — whose description reads:  “Disease and death pervade this garden, which is themed around the threat that diseases, pests and invasive species pose to British trees and plants. Features include a grove of dead trees in one corner, and a striking lonely ash sapling on its own island.”  Again, I don’t see it.

fera garden Chelsea 2013 photographed by by Martin Pope

Many of rest were nice but not remarkably different than gardens past.  I’ll spare you my critique because I am tired of complaining.  There are bright spots though.  I really did love the best in show garden and am so happy for the Australian team who built it.  There are some other nice ideas that I will share in time.  But in the interim…I am curious if you have any opinions or feelings about this years show?


Images are courtesy of Adam Woodruff.  (All rights are reserved.) except where noted.  Seeability garden photo and Fera Garden by martin pope from the telegraph.

flexible compost aerator
If you are anything like me, your compost heap is a work in progress.  It is an effort in pure do-gooder hopefulness.  Mine has been active and getting larger for probably 4 years, but since I have never turned it and I have never tried to take anything from beneath the new stuff that gets added to the top, I have nothing to show for my efforts (but I keep piling it on…).  I am intrigued by Burgon & Ball’s flexible compost aerator which is really just a giant wine bottle opener.   But the idea is that you screw it in, getting air to the middle so that the process speeds up.  Seems like it has potential and I would be interested to give it a try.

bamboo gardening gloves via www.studiogblog.co

Do you have any clothing made of bamboo?  I have heard of it but never seen anything that I actually might buy.  But apparently is it an organic and sustainable resource that doesn’t even require irrigation. Products made with bamboo also biodegrade faster than synthetics and they are naturally better at controlling skin temperatures, wicking away moisture and they have a soft feel and built-in antibacterial qualities.  These gloves from Town and Co. look the same as my old gloves so I can’t think of any reason not to give them a try.

Tall garden cloche vie www.studiogblog.com

Do you use old frames or cloches?  I haven’t used either, but I am interested to try the later.  I just find them so charming.  Access Garden products was shortlisted for their newest version of the cloche.  It doesn’t have some of the charming styling of others, but it does look like it might be a whole lot more useful (because it is taller) and studier – because it is made to work and not just look cute.

There are 13 products on the short list for ‘best new product’ and they are all interesting.  Since I have this tendency to disagree with RHS judges, I will be sharing all the the nominees for best new garden product all week and at the end of the week will post a survey on Facebook so that we can choose our own favorite.

Check out the other contestants:

images burgon and ball, town and co and Access Garden Products.

Trailfinders Garden presented by Flemings Nurseries Chelsea Flower Show 2013 image Images are courtesy of Adam Woodruff.  All rights are reserved www.studiogblog.com The medals have been posted for the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show.  There are lots of great gardens to share, but I am going to start with those that won best in show for their category.

Dicksonia antarctica - treefern - an iconic Australian species, evergreen; one of the hardiest treeferns. Trailfinders Garden presented by Flemings Nurseries Chelsea Flower Show 2013 image Images are courtesy of Adam Woodruff.  All rights are reserved www.studiogblog.com

The Aussie team behind the Trailfinders Australian Garden presented by Fleming’s has been awarded Best in Show. I can only imagine the hoopla that rose out of that lively team of builders.

Australian Native Planting  in Trailfinders Garden presented by Flemings Nurseries Chelsea Flower Show 2013 image Images are courtesy of Adam Woodruff.  All rights are reserved www.studiogblog.com

This was Wes Fleming’s, head of Fleming’s Nurseries, ninth and final attempt at the show….and his team took the top honors for the first time.   It is always so great to see someone go out on top.

Insect hotel in Trailfinders Garden presented by Flemings Nurseries Chelsea Flower Show 2013 image Images are courtesy of Adam Woodruff.  All rights are reserved www.studiogblog.com

The garden was designed by Phillip Johnson and it presents a sustainable habitat complete with monolithic stone gorge, running waterfalls, a studio structure and billabong.

Waterfall and Billabong Australian Native Planting  in Trailfinders Garden presented by Flemings Nurseries Chelsea Flower Show 2013 image Images are courtesy of Adam Woodruff.  All rights are reserved www.studiogblog.com I had to look up what a Billabong is (besides a surfer supply company).  Here is what wikipedia says:

Billabong (pron.:  bil-ə-bong) is a Wiradjuri word that is used for an isolated pond that is left behind after a river changes course. Billabongs are usually formed when the path of a creek or river changes, leaving the former branch with a dead end. Billabongs, reflecting the arid Australian climate in which these “dead rivers” are found, fill with water seasonally and are dry for a greater part of the year.

Australian Native Planting in Trailfinders Garden presented by Flemings Nurseries Chelsea Flower Show 2013 image Images are courtesy of Adam Woodruff. All rights are reserved www.studiogblog.com

More Winners ahead….

I’m so sad to not be at the show myself, but Adam Woodruff  is Studio ‘g’s man on the ground.  He has taken pictures of the show for us all to enjoy.  Thanks Adam!

Images are courtesy of Adam Woodruff.  All rights are reserved.