Vertical Garden

I just love these vertical garden boxes (I guess that’s what you call them?!).  They look like a piece of hung art work.  This one below is from Flora Grubb Gardens and it’s gorgeous.

I’m also digging all the green pots, in their various shades.

And how fabulous is this one from SmithBuilt.  I love the texture of the frame.

I recruited my FIL to build a box like this one from Sunset Magazine. To fill it, I followed the Sunset directions, and now I’m just waiting for it to take hold so we can hang it. This one is pretty small – about the size of a shoebox, but he did make us a much larger one (2×4′) that I’m excited to experiment with.  I haven’t had the greatest luck finding the array of succulents that are displayed in finished boxes, but haven’t looked that hard yet.

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Itching for a Trip

I absolutely am obsessed with Terrain at Styer’s.  If you haven’t been and live in some proximity to the Wilmington, De/Philadephia area you need to make a trip.  It’s owned by the folks at Anthropologie and has all the fabulous touches of the innovative decorative touches of the clothing stores, but it’s a functioning nursery, with a small cafe.  They have a great line up of events, but sadly we’re just a bit too far away to make the journey for them.

If you’re in the area, and looking for a little inspiration make the trip!  In the meantime, you can shop at or check out pictures on Flickr of the space.

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Groundcover – The Great Experiment

We’ve been experimenting with different ground covers, attempting to grow them between the bluestone/flagstones for the past few years.  Some successful, some not-so successful.  Here’s our abbreviated list that’s worked for us:


This forms a dense carpet, about 2″ high that supposedly can tolerate heavy foot traffic and even an occasional mowing.  It sends out runners and spreads quickly.  Although I do wonder if it will quickly become a nuisance, simply because it has spread so quickly.

Check here for additional pictures on the Web.

Corsican Mint

This is the stuff used to flavor crème de menthe.  For such a small plant the aroma is wonderfully powerful with tiny, green round leaves.  It’s done well in our space in a spot that gets morning sun and afternoon shade.  This is by far my favorite and despite our Zone, it’s come back this year and spread.  Most likely because I planted it close to the house.

Check here for additional pictures on the Web.

Creeping/Wooly Thyme

We haven’t had the greatest success growing this between pavers.  Not sure if it has to do with the soil content between the pavers, or the shifting sun.  One downside to the Thyme is that when it’s flowering it tends to attract bees.  It’s taken in some spots though, but it’s been mainly in our stone wall.


We’ve had luck with both Scotch and Irish Moss.  This year it’s booming.  One thing though, we’ve had a hard time keeping track of which is which type.  Another Moss variant we’ve had success with is propagating it ourselves in batches.  The recipe we’ve used is rather loose:

  • 1 clump of moss
  • 1 beer
  • 1 cup of water
  • Mix all three together in a blender and then you can spread/pour in desired spots.

For other ideas on what to grow that can tolerate foot traffic, I found these sites particularly helpful.  Although I do think much of it is trial and error.

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Vermont Flagstones

I had this little fantasy once we moved into our place that eventually we would replace the grass in the garden, with a flagstone patio.  Creeping Thyme would meander between the stones.  A high school friend’s parents had a fabulous flagstone patio and pool, with Thyme growing between the stones and I never shook the image.  The summer after moving into our place, on a trip to Vermont we impulsively bought a pallet of stone and had it delivered to my mom and stepfather’s house.

We spent about a year slowly bringing the stones back each time we made a trip north.  I know, we’re nuts.  It was a bit sentimental for me, having grown up in Vermont and now living an urban life, to have a piece of Vermont in our house.  One drawback to our back garden is that we don’t have street access so any work done in the back needs to be hauled through the house.  As you can imagine it creates quite the mess.  Slowly bringing the stones back seemed like a good solution.  Initially we thought we would build the patio, but at the end of the day we hired a great contractor to install it for us.

In addition to the patio, he did a good amount of drainage work, which was a HUGE help, as our ground level had been flooding.  Note the all the furniture precariously balanced.


We  opted against ‘cementing’ them in, thinking that we might want to build an addition on to the back of the house and I still had that vision of Thyme bouncing through my head.

You can see more recent photos over at Apartment Therapy.  Next up:  what to plant between the flagstones that will thrive.

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Hook, Line and Sinker

We’ve been in our brownstone in the Hamilton Park neighborhood of Jersey City now for about five years, but trying to find this place involved many months of searching.  Either the places that were within our budget needed to be completely gutted and renovated, or had been renovated and were simply too small.  We did venture to look at a few condos, but the taxes were too high.  One big requirement for us was outdoor space.  A necessity.

This was one of my favorite places, the light was great and the back yard had a little shed and it was completely landscaped.  But, at the end of the day it was a condo and we really wanted a single family home.  It was a serious contender and I still walk by the building wondering who’s living there now and what it would be like for us to be there.

This is where we ended up – for some odd reason I saw tons of potential.  This was way back when and since purchasing we’ve done many renovations to the exterior, which I’ll share down the line at some point.

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