New-Small-House book tidbits: Planted roofs

Drought-tolerant sedums are a popular choice for planted roofs.My new book for The Taunton Press, tentatively titled The New Small House, is well underway. We've been busy selecting houses to feature, scheduling photo shoots, and beginning to create the content that someday (hopefully) you will find on a shelf in a store near you. As the book takes shape, I aim to share here some tidbits of what I'm learning along the way. 

A few of the houses in the book feature planted roofs, which provide insulation and an effective away to mitigate storm-water run-off, all while beautifully complementing the landscape and the air we breathe. A New-England homeowner I interviewed mentioned that Motherplants was her source for planted-roof inspiration. One visit to the website, and you'll see why. I have to admit I pondered if someone like myself, who doesn't have a planted roof, might order a planted pre-grown mat to place in her garden/yard as a starter-garden of sorts. (Keep in mind, I'm a bit of an idjit gardener.) The planted mats are simply that lovely. Give it a look, and consider where you might incorporate a planted roof. I've already proposed one to a client for her backyard retreat...

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Posted on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 4:59PM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in , | Comments Off

Design snapshot: Flower bed

Here's another clever object-turned-planter à la the planted bench that I posted not long ago. What's especially brilliant about this intervention is that the bed frame isn't actually planted. It's merely placed such that the plantings appear to emerge from the frame and spill over like generous bed clothes. Our expectations of what a bed is and how its frame might be planted enable the gardener's slight of hand.

Plus, it's fun to see a well-realized pun flourish.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Posted on Monday, July 21, 2014 at 8:41AM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in , | Comments Off

Summer 2014 garden tours

I've been lamenting how I haven't had time this spring to post my usual list of recommended upcoming New England garden tours. Then, today, much to my delight, I discovered that WBUR's The ARTery did much of the work for me. Follow The ARTery link to plan your garden tour outings for the 2014 season. I'll be headed to the Newport Secret Garden Tour on Saturday and hope to see you there.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 2:57PM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in | Comments Off

Continuing education: summer 2014 abridged

vertical succulent planter (in-the-making) from Avant Gardens workshop last summerI typically suggest workshops that meet weekly or for a full week or a full weekend in hopes of encouraging you to take a prolonged break from your usual pursuits in order to concentrate intensely on a new creative endeavor. But this summer is different. My schedule is a bit crazy, and I'm thinking yours may be, too. So this summer I'm suggesting a continuing education opportunity that meets for a mere two hours. But they should be blissful hours spent engaged in a new creative undertaking. I took a similar workshop last summer at Avant Gardens that focused on creating vertical succulent planters. This summer's offering looks equally enticing and rewarding.

Succulent Wreath Class (living wreath)

Instructor: Kathy Tracey
July 12, 2014 2-4 pm
Class size limited to 10 participants
"Create an amazing living 12" wreath that can be mounted on a south facing door or wall. Using a sphagnum moss wreath base, you will "plant" dozens (hundreds?) of succulent cuttings which over the next several weeks take root. By September you will have an exquisite living wreath for your south facing door or wall.  Includes all materials. Bring clippers if you have them."

(Class and schedule are subject to change, so check program website for updates.)

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast
Posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 5:59PM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in | Comments Off

Design snapshot: Potted garden bench

I have a weakness for re-purposed objects in the garden. Years ago, one of my favorite features in my mother's garden was my grandfather's antique side chair that my mother transformed by replacing the tired seat upholstery with a planted seat of moss and meadow flowers. This sweet bench with curvy arms, curvy back, and a curvy heart cutout punctuated by five offset terra cotta flower pots strikes a similarly charming chord. (BTW I spotted this bench at The Victorian Inn in Edgartown, MA.)

Re-purposed garden objects sited outside the garden can also be a delight. You may recall the wheelbarrow planter I featured some time ago.

There's simply something about the garden that invites us to play with expectations -- by transforming an object that's generally found indoors, into a strictly outdoor object, or re-imagining something meant as a work tool into a decorative display piece. What object might you transform as a foil for your garden? I'm thinking an old, galvanized watering can might make for a nice planter; just remember to drill drainage holes in the bottom. Drop me a note with your ideas over at the KHS Facebook Page.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 1:18PM by Registered CommenterKatie Hutchison in , | Comments Off