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.

Although hard to choose, here are my 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

Transforming a Garden Shed into a Sanctuary
Recognizing the increasing interest and demand for all things eco-friendly and green, I 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 DIY “Lawn Chair” (above) was made from salvaged fencing to which he added a sod seat. It contributed some whimsy to the project, and I love 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 the 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, and 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 the opening between the two sheds; finding the exotic piece of reclaimed wood for the shelf; unearthing some old garden pots and wiring them up for my pendant lamps…and general heavy lifting support!
• Victoria Lyon’s assistants for their help in measuring the raw space, helping to draw up an initial floor plan, and 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!


  1. Victoria said:

    Lovely post! Thank you!

    — November 19, 2010 @ 09:13

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  6. Julie said:

    I love the lawn chair. I bet my cat would too! I don’t know what my cat would think of the moss cats though….

    — August 10, 2011 @ 18:30

  7. Glenna said:

    I love all of the different innovative ideas to create lovely pieces for the outdoors!

    — August 11, 2011 @ 11:35

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