Ten Fave Features From Our Creative Garden Retreat

November 18, 2010 by


Back room of the garden retreat. Photo by Robin Plaskoff Horton.

Urban Gardens was honored to be invited by friend and blog follower, Victoria Lyon of Victoria Lyon Interiors, to design Conversing With Nature: A Creative Garden Retreat at the recent Shippan Designer Show House.  In past posts here you may have seen some of those design features of particular interest to urban gardeners or those with small spaces.


Video produced by Nancy Moon

Although hard to choose, here are out ten favorites:

• A compact vertical garden wall utilizing a pocket system from Plants on Walls
• Cubico Cottage self-watering containers from Lechuza
• Life-size dog and cat topiaries from one of my favorite garden shops, Digg in Brooklyn
• Unusual metal hyacynths from PatinaPosh
• Recycled tire planters from DuchessCraft
• Vintage wire birdcage and Robin’s Egg blue metal watering can from Bluebonnet Fields Junk Shop
• Pendant lamps fashioned from upcycled garden pots
• Mural of moss birds inspired by moss graffiti artists
Danielle Mailer’s rusted iron dancing girl sculptures
• Salvaged wood reused as a rustic shelf


Video produced by Nancy Moon

Transforming a Garden Shed into a Sanctuary
Recognizing the increasing interest and demand for all things eco-friendly and green, we used the space to demonstrate how to recycle and repurpose ordinary objects into new and improved ones, and also to show how to transform a utilitarian potting shed into a vibrant and innovative enclave.


Storyboard collage by Robin Plaskoff Horton.

Great Finds From Near and Far
The garden retreat featured the work of some innovative artists who created “living art” pieces using plants. Brooklyn’s Kate Hill Cantril created a “living frame” of succulents, Hoya, mosses, and barnacles.


Kate Hill Cantril’s Living Frame. Photo by Robin Plaskoff Horton.

Los Angeles artist Kara Bartelt’s “Living Lamp”, an orb sprouting air plants, lit up the potting table, bringing a glow to the room as the ambient light began to fade toward the end of the day.


Live lamp by Kara Bartelt uses Fuschii V Gracillis Tillandsia air plants. Photo from artist.


Lawn Chair by Bob Horton. Photo by Robin Plaskoff Horton.

My husband’s own “Lawn Chair” (above)–a chair made from salvaged fencing with a sod seat—contributed to the whimsy and my own particular interest with plays on words.


Perfect pets: No feeding or care required. Cats gazing up at one of the moss birds. Photo by Robin Plaskoff Horton.


Front room potting table lit from above with upcycled pendant lamps. Kara Bartelt’s live lamp is on table. Photo by Lily Lyon.

Special thanks to:
Nancy Moon, seasoned buzz creator and connector, for getting the word out to all her long established contacts which brought us visitors! For suggesting and creating the videos, then uploading them so those unable to visit could experience the space; for her photos, for her support and encouragement.
• Eden Farms Nursery, Stamford, CT for contributing plants and planting the greenhouse and vertical garden
Greenwich Property Management for creating and framing opening between the two sheds; for finding the exotic piece of reclaimed wood for the shelf; for unearthing some old garden pots and wiring them up for our pendant lamps…and for general heavy lifting suppport!
• Victoria Lyon’s assistants for their help in measuring the raw space, drawing up an initial floor plan, doing some schlepping
• Lily Lyon for some of her wonderful photographs
• Franco Grimaldi, of Talent Resource Centre, for producing the show house
• Everyone we forgot to thank!

For more green creative inspiration, check out Victoria Lyon’s “Cocktails at Sunset”, the glamorous, eco-friendly sun porch she designed for the show house. It was the perfect spot for sipping a drink while gazing out at the water. One of my favorite details was the faux-finished wall infused with specs of mica–it sparkled.

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