Bath Bouquet

This Spring fill your space with the refreshing scent of Eucalyptus harvested from the forest, or found at a local florist or farmer’s market. Freshly cut fragrant branches of Blue-Gray Eucalyptus are scentsational and striking in a vase on their own, and country chic mixed with other botanicals displayed as a garland. Hang a cluster as a door decoration to create a scented welcome for guests. Or turn your bathroom into a do-it-yourself personal spa by hanging an aromatic bundle from the shower head!

To make the bundle, gather the stems together and simply wrap them with natural twine, then hang the bunch upside down in a spot where it won’t get directly sprayed with water. The steam from the shower will help release the aromatherapy essential oil power of the plants, and carry the scent through the entire room. It’s that easy! A powerful medicinal pick-me-up with its rejuvenating and antiseptic attributes, good for the mind, body and spirit. You can also create Bath Bouquets with Lavender, Rosemary, Mint & Lemongrass stems to improve the room’s air quality, while adding a pretty touch of bohemian Green. #savourthescent

Be More Tree

Be More Tree: A Journey Of Wisdom, Symbols, Healing, And Renewal, by Alice Peck (Author), Melissa Launay (Illustrator), Published by CICO Books, September 2016.

Discover how all trees can mirror us, teach us, and heal us. From author Alice Peck who reflected on the Maple tree in her backyard, and began to notice and then study its intricacies and changes, which became her regular meditation and inspiration. In Be More Tree Alice sensitively and eloquently shares what she has learned from that Maple tree, and from the trees all around us. Every tree tells a complete and ongoing story -from its powerful taproots to the birds that alight on its fragile high branches. Trees reflect our lives through their perseverance and seasonal rhythms -always changing yet consistent. They evolve along a much more protracted timetable than humans. Like us, trees feel and react to their environment, and communicate with us in subtle but distinct ways.

Here readers are invited to investigate and cherish trees from four perspectives: their roots -wisdom and understanding; their branches -symbols and rituals; their leaves -healing and science; and their seeds -transformation and spirituality. All of these elements show us how, although they live outside us, trees offer a path to our inner selves. From the Bodhi Tree to the Garden of Eden, the Druids to forest monks, medicines to tire swings -people have always received physical, psychological, and spiritual sustenance from trees. Filled with insights from botany to poetry, ecology to mythology, and herbalism to sacraments, Be More Tree explores the ways these grounded yet soaring entities can steady and move us, teach and transform us, inspire and comfort us. #fortheloveoftrees

A wonderful book for readers interested in the intersections of nature, folklore, and spirituality. Beautifully written and illustrated with an inspiring ecological point of view, that includes fervent prose, meditations, mantras, and prayers to help deepen the reader’s relationship with themselves, nature, and the interconnectedness of all things. This is the book The Artful Blog wanted to write! For more tree magic mystery and lore see previous posts: Art Of The Tree & Book Of Trees.

Flower Lovers

plants

This is that magical window of quiet time that comes during the darkest month of Winter. In New England, February is a great time to cozy up by the fire, reading and sketching out big dreams and garden plans for the year ahead. It’s a welcome opportunity for a fresh start that The Artful Blog looks forward to every season. #wintertherapy

botanical_journal

As ideas grow and seed catalogs start pouring in it’s easy to get caught up in flower fever! Leafing through the glossy pages is an annual ritual that gets gardeners through the Winter with dreams of growing something new and wonderful for the next season. That said, it’s important to keep in mind how much room you actually have to plant and what you can afford after you consider irrigation and compost and other critical supplies. That’s why it’s important to take the time at the beginning of the year to make a master plan. The planning process will help you refine your goals, identify necessary supplies and schedule all of the important dates and tasks to have a successful flower growing season. Some ideas to get you started might be to create: Garden Specs Worksheets, Cutting Garden Wish List, Garden Supply Shopping List, Garden Design Sketch Pad, Seed Sowing Schedule, Field Notes, Sample Cutting Garden Plan, and a Botanical Materia Medica Journal. #botanicalbeginnings

floret_01

One of the places The Artful Blog draws inspiration from is the beautiful Floret Flower Farm -a small family run flower farm in Washington’s Skagit Valley that specializes in growing unique, uncommon and heirloom flowers. Known in the industry as a thriving research and education farm dedicated to giving flower lovers the tools and information they need to grow the gardens of their dreams. In addition to maintaining the farm, they also teach workshops for fellow farmers, designers, and flower lovers so students can explore their fields, and learn their tried and true farming methods, as well as how to arrange with local, seasonal material. And for those who aren’t growing their own flowers, they’ve developed a worldwide network of growers, Floret’s Farmer-Florist Collective, through which you can access locally grown blooms, wherever you live. #fortheloveofflowers

floret_02

All of this has led to the soon-to-be-released book “Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Seasonal Blooms,” which gives step-by-step details on how to cultivate your own flowers in any size space. The book shows off some of the most stunning varieties they have ever grown on the farm, many of which are primarily available to wholesale growers. But because they wanted folks to be able to grow the same flowers you see in the book, this last year they developed their latest offering: the Floret Seed Line. In the online shop, they offer more than 100 hard-to-find flower varieties sourced from the finest seed breeders in the world, plus dozens of Dahlias, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tools & supplies, and paper goods. Including a gorgeous 2017 Garden Journal & Daily Planner The Artful Blog picked up earlier this year. Brimming with loads of helpful advice and gorgeous photography. #blissfulblooms

floret_book

Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms, by Erin Benzakein (Author), Julie Chai (Author), Michele Waite (Photographer), March 7, 2017.

From Erin Benzakein, a leader in the locaflor farm-to-centerpiece movement and owner of internationally renowned Floret Flower Farm, Cut Flower Garden is equal parts instruction and inspiration -a book overflowing with lush photography of magnificent flowers and breathtaking arrangements organized by season. This beautiful guide to growing, harvesting, and arranging gorgeous blooms year-round gives readers vital tools to nurture a stunning flower garden and use their blossoms to create showstopping arrangements. With irresistible photos of Erin’s flower farm that showcase exquisite blooms, tips for growing in a variety of spaces and climates as well as step-by-step instructions for lavish garlands, airy centerpieces, and romantic floral décor for every season, Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden informs and entices gardeners of all skill levels.

For more garden & flower inspiration see previous post Art Of The Seed about the Hudson Valley Seed Library, known for artful seed collections featuring original artwork that celebrates the beauty and diversity of heirloom gardening.

Color Of The Year

greenery

Pantone Color of the Year 2017 Greenery 15-0343.

According to the Pantone Color Institute -the global authority on color, Green will be everywhere in 2017. Not just any old Green, of course: Pantone 15-0343, colloquially known as Greenery, a refreshing Yellow-Green hue with distinct character. A shade that evokes the first days of Spring when nature’s Greens revive and restore, symbolic of new beginnings. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, Greenery is nature’s neutral, described as “a combination of warmth and a certain cool.” An attempt to distill and forecast this year’s prevailing mood into a single tone. #colorforecast

greenery_01

Pantone Color of the Year 2017 Greenery 15-0343.

Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize. Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose. ~Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute

pantone_04

Pantone Colors of the Year 2016 Rose Quartz 13-1520 & Serenity 13-3919.

Last year, Pantone took the seemingly radical step of choosing two colors, Serenity and Rose Quartz to reflect the gender-bending move toward “equality and fluidity” taking place across society and fashion. That said, The Artful Blog’s immediate impression was more “He’s A Boy” and “It’s A Girl,” and although sweet and light, restful and Zen, too baby-hued somehow undermined credibility and likeability. Pantone recovers this year with more adult and aesthetically pleasing Greenery that resonates both literally and metaphorically, even universally. “There’s a Japanese concept called ‘forest bathing,’ which says that when you are feeling stressed, one of the best things to do is go walk in the forest,” says Eiseman. “But if you can’t do that, what can you do? Bring Green into your environment. Put in on your body, or in your house or near your desk. That symbolic message is very important.” #fortheloveofgreen

greenery_02

Pantone Color of the Year 2017 Greenery 15-0343.

The color of the year is a bit of an assist to the fashion, beauty, interior design industries, and product and graphic design, all of which can use it as an organizing principle and marketing tool. Greenery makes for a lovely pop of fresh color woven into a sophisticated botanical print with other neutrals or in monochrome, and sings smartly in tandem with complementary colors, sartorially speaking, however The Artful Blog cautions a light hand. Just as Rose Quartz and Serenity conjure Pink Flamingos along the shoreline, Greenery, as a single note, veers toward Kermit The Frog if not tempered judiciously. #sesamestreet

We The People

we_the_people

Contemporary street artist Shepard Fairey well-known for his Obama Hope illustration in 2008, has designed a series of beautiful illustrations called ‘We The People’ in protest of Donald Trump’s inauguration. The posters feature women of minority: Muslims, Latinas and African-Americans, the three groups in Fairey’s view that have been most criticized by Trump and may be the most marginalized and vulnerable in a Trump administration -a sentiment many of us share and fear. The posters were made available before the historic Women’s March on Washington January 21 st, 2017, and all five illustrations are still available for high-resolution download from The Amplifier Foundation -the art machine for social change here. #artinaction

On Fall Splendour

splendour

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

~William Wordsworth

Season Favorites

fall_favorites

It’s October’s end and a feeling of lasting crispness is in the air and that means pumpkin spice and all things Fall-friendly and nice. Sharing The Artful Blog’s Fall Favorites, everything from Naturopathic Fortified Honey to artful artisanal decor to a quintessential Vermont country Inn escape. Echoing Autumn leaves and earthy Amber hues of the natural world, inviting a sense of warmth and wonder and comfort to enhance your seasonal outlook, in tempting Artful Blog style.

chantecaille

Chantecaille Lion Guardian Collection

Chantecaille Protect The Lions Collection was created to bring awareness to the groundbreaking work of the Lion Guardians -a conservation group based in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park that uses a solutions-based model, whereby people who were once Lion killers are transformed into lion protectors. The Lion Collection makeup was inspired by the colors of the beautiful coats of Lion cubs and the African landscape. A mesmerizing set that enhances all eye and skin colors, each limited-edition case is embossed with a Lion, a symbol of strength and pride. A key interest for Chantecaille is to be a company with a platform to draw attention to important issues of global sustainability, and to fund a foundation that supports related initiatives. Educating a broad audience and engaging people in bringing about positive change. Past and present causes and collections include: Elephants, Sea Turtles, Tigers, High Sea Whales, Wild Horses, Monarch Butterflies and Honey Bees. #powertomakeadiffernece

kaufmann_01

Susanne Kaufmann Organic Treats

Susanne Kaufmann’s eponymous, holistic skincare range is hand-finished in Austria’s Bregenz Forest Mountains -a unique valley in the Alps where the knowledge of the healing powers of nature are passed down from generation to generation, using the intensive effect of the Alpine plant world in a modern manner for beauty, health and comfort. Working from her spa in Hotel Post Bezau -a special place with a long, dynamic history now run by the fifth generation of Kaufmanns, each Suzzanne Kaufmann skincare product is produced with the greatest care, formulated for targeted results, and packed with organic, energy-rich oils and locally sourced active plant ingredients -including Chamomile, Sage and St. John’s Wort, recognized for their nourishing, regenerative effects. #alpineluxury

sundance

Sundance Catalog Picks

Favorites from the season’s Sundance Catalog founded by Robert Redford. Clothing with character, distinctive and handmade artisan wares, finely crafted and curated in the spirit of heritage: Legends of the Forest Coat, Flower Spirit Boots and the Morgan Backpack. Pretty, practical, and timeless, with all the feels of Fall. The Sundance Catalog -The Artful Blog’s favorite place to shop for the last two decades, having recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, is a company rooted in the American West, with a strong historical commitment to the artisan community, that creates a unique environment for artists and craftspeople to reach a broad audience of enthusiasts. Now with plans to continue its retail growth with stores targeted across various locations nationwide, from a small operation run out of the attic of the old Sundance Village Firehouse, Sundance Catalog has grown to become one of America’s preeminent lifestyle retailers. Offering a thoughtfully curated mix of unique examples of authentic American heritage, embracing the spirit of creativity and fostering individuality and independent expression, in a classic style. #heritagespirit

farmhouse

Farmhouse Pottery Yellowware Collection

A modern take on an American classic, each decorative white band is hand painted by master potters at Farmhouse Pottery on their new Yellowware Collection. Bowls and pitchers perfect for serving, baking or as decoration, beautiful and functional as they are timeless. Farmhouse Pottery handmade pieces are household essentials that bring pleasure to everyday utility. Wares tastefully crafted in a neutral palette that appeals to The Artful Blog aesthetic, so that food and flowers are the center of attention, with no distraction. Handmade in Vermont by New England natives and Farmhouse Pottery founders Zoe and James Zilian, who have created a welcoming home pottery studio, workshop, and store with a modern farm aesthetic that represents farm-to-table values infused in traditionally crafted designs with authenticity and character. #classiccraft

naturopathica

Naturopathica Soothing Balance Fortified Honey

Naturopathica’s Wildflower Honey -a staple of the 19th century herbal medicine chest, is infused with Passionflower, Chamomile, Lavender and Rose Blossoms, ancient medicinal herbs prized for their ability to relax and soothe symptoms of anxiety, calm the nerves and rebalance the mind. Enjoy a spoonful daily right out of the bottle or add to beverage or drizzle over oatmeal or toast to nourish the body. From Naturopathica‘s new Herbal Remedies Collection, using the restorative powers of plants to bring wellness full circle, working with the body’s natural processes to promote skin radiance, relieve stress, restore sore muscles and enhance vitality. Crafted by Naturopathica founder Barbara Close, wellness innovator, author, educator, and lifelong practitioner of the healing arts with a Master’s degree in Therapeutic Herbalism. The lovely Naturopathica East Hampton Healing Arts Center & Spa was founded in 1995, where Close began developing products and rituals that empower well-being, establishing Naturopathica as a trusted resource and leader in the 21st century wellness industry. #wellnesswisdom

big_picture

Big Picture Farm Goat Milk Caramels

Started in 2010 by Louisa Conrad and Lucas Farrell, Big Picture Farm is a small hillside Goat dairy and farmstead confectionery and creamery located in southern Vermont. Their award-winning Goat Milk Caramels and farmstead cheeses are made with fresh, raw, creamy Goat’s milk from their herd of 40 healthy and happy, free-ranging companions. An Animal-Welfare-Approved farm, the health and happiness of their animals is the center around which the farm and farm products revolve. Their mission is also to integrate agriculture and narrative in a fresh way that properly evokes the place, animals, and work in order to bring to life the exciting and unpredictable evolution of their products, farm, and lives. The goal is spelled out in their name: to provide customers with the rich context surrounding their products “the big picture.” Louisa Conrad remains simultaneously entrenched in a parallel career as a photographer and illustrator, marrying art chores with daily farm chores in an effort to generate a living archive of the farm over the course of its life. #fabulousfarmlife

coral_tusk

Coral & Tusk Table Linens & Decor

Founded in 2007 by Stephanie Housley together with her husband Chris Lacinak, Coral & Tusk designs –The Artful Blog’s favorite textiles, are inspired by a love of animals, travel and adventure. First enchanted by the natural world during childhood trips to the Eastern seaboard, Stephanie’s frequent travels now span the globe. Magical experiences everywhere from Wyoming to Nepal inform the imagery and humor behind Coral & Tusk’s designs. A RISD-trained textile designer, she first creates her cheeky scenes and irreverent characters as original pencil drawings before she painstakingly redraws them stitch by stitch using special computer software. Finished by hand in Coral and Tusk’s Brooklyn loft, every machine-embroidered pillow, table linen, and artwork retains the story-telling spirit and hand-drawn allure of the original illustration. A mix of smart design, magic and mischief is at the heart of every Coral & Tusk embroidery. #naturalworldwhimsy

wreath

The Wreath Recipe Book

The Wreath Recipe Book: Year-Round Wreaths, Swags, and Other Decorations to Make with Seasonal Branches by Alethea Harampolis & Jill Rizzo. From the women behind San Francisco’s beautiful boutique flower shop Studio Choo and authors of the widely popular Flower Recipe Book, and in the same successful format, The Wreath Recipe Book provides 100 “recipes” to make with flowering and leafy branches. The book is organized seasonally, with dozens of projects to make throughout the year. In the Fall, wreaths are created with magnolias, rosemary, and pears, and gourds are used to create an unexpected garland. Winter highlights cedar, pine, and juniper, yielding unexpected table settings and unique wreath shapes. There are detailed ingredient lists and hundreds of step-by-step photos as well as chapters covering basic techniques, sourcing, and care information. #artofhandmade

pitcher_inn

Pitcher Inn Warren Vermont

The Pitcher Inn, a Relais & Châteaux member since 1997, is about as country chic as it can get full Fall foliage in all its glory. This luxurious gem is the sister property to Winvian Farm in Litchfield County Connecticut. The Pitcher Inn sits in a beautiful spot, offering relaxed refinement in the heart of a romantic Vermont village, surrounded by the Green Mountain National Forest and the Mad River Valley. A delightfully elegant hotel in which each room has a Vermont theme yet designed and decorated to be distinctly different. Intellectual curiosity is celebrated here, as is culinary excellence, with a delicious menu influenced by French and Italian cuisine. Set in the framing of a magical rustic barn, the eight rooms and two suites decorated by 14 different designers, feature everything from vintage resort signs to antique skis, which helps to bring Pitcher Inn history to life, in New England style. #countrychic

Perennially Precious

piet

Piet Oudolf Lurie Garden Millennium Park Chicago

Piet Oudolf the most influential garden designer in a generation, has radically redefined what gardens can be, moving them well into the realm of art. In the new immersive documentary, Fall Winter Spring Summer Fall: Five Seasons With Piet Oudolf, viewers gain a rare and poetic look at the creative process of this revolutionary figure, including intimate discussions across all fours seasons in his own private garden, and on visits to his signature public works in New York, Chicago, and the Netherlands, as well as to the far-flung locations that inspire his genius, including desert wildflowers in West Texas and post-industrial forests in Pennsylvania. Threaded throughout the film, Oudolf designs, installs and then opens a major new garden at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, a work Piet himself calls his best yet.

Fall Winter Spring Summer Fall: Five Seasons With Piet Oudolf Documentary Trailer 2016, A film by Thomas Piper. One of the films that will premiere in the 8th edition of the New York Architecture & Design Film Festival which runs 28th September through 2nd October, 2016 at Cinépolis Chelsea. The nation’s largest film festival devoted to celebrating the unique creative spirit that drives architecture and design. For an A-Z list of selected films see here. With a curated selection of films, events and panel discussions, ADFF creates an opportunity to entertain, engage and educate all types of people who are excited about architecture and design.

oudolf_04

Piet Oudolf’s artful garden landscapes throughout the world, all of which are designed with a low-maintenance philosophy, are simply magical, in every season.

oudolf_01

Oudolf believes that his work has intellectual depth, which it does in that it is beautifully thought through all of these levels, but it is also about a feeling. And this is why his landscape designs touch so many people. He also believes it is important to use plants that have an “afterlife” and are good once they are over, which in turn makes the plantings better for ecology and insect life.

oudolf_05

Mother Nature may make meadows, but Oudolf perfects them with seasonal sweeps of vegetation, including Sicilian Honey Garlic, Rudbeckia, Coneflowers, Joe-Pye Weed, and ‘Shenandoah’ Red Switchgrass. “Structure is the basis of all planting combinations, but traditional gardening has a lot of dogmas. I prefer to let things go their own way,” Oudolf says.

oudolf_03

Best known for establishing enchanting, inspiring and resilient landscapes utilizing bold movements of perennial plants and grasses, Oudolf’s style is one of texture, fragrance, and color, with a particular interest in seasonal variation, plant life cycle, and transformation over time.

oudolf_02

Piet Oudolf has done for perennial gardening what artist Leonard Koren did for the concept of wabi-sabi: popularized and modernized an under-the-radar movement. Oudolf’s approach to planting extends beyond the technical to concepts of composition, time and temporality, repetition, and contrast. His goal is to create “dreamscapes.”

About

Piet Oudolf, the influential Dutch garden designer, nurseryman and author, is the leading figure of the “New Perennial” movement, known for using bold drifts of herbaceous perennials and grasses which are chosen at least as much for their structure as for their flower color. Working primarily with perennial plant varieties, Oudolf practices a naturalistic approach to gardening. Taking a cue from architectural design, Oudolf prioritizes the seasonal life cycle of a plant over decorative considerations like flower or colour, focusing primarily on structural characteristics, such as leaf or seed pod shape, present before and after a plant has flowered. He explains: “A garden is exciting for me when it looks good through the year, not just at one particular time. I want to go outside and for it to be interesting in all weather, in early Spring and late Autumn.”

The stability of perennials after planting are key to Oudolf’s designs. Unlike self-seeding or bulb-based plants that spread and require division each season, perennials remain in established formations. The result is gardens that persist in their planned state years after being planted with little deviation from Oudolf’s hand drawn maps. An overall approach to planting with a painter’s perspective informed by ecology.

Of the eight books the designer has co-authored these three are The Artful Blog’s favorites to date:

oudolf_01

Designing with Plants by Piet Oudolf (Author), Noel Kingsbury (Author), Timber Press, 1999. Trained as an architect, Oudolf values plants as much for their form and texture as for their color. He is the founder of New Wave Planting, a spectacular naturalistic style of landscape design. Oudolf stresses the importance of choosing plants that “live well and die well,” so that from birth in the spring through the crescendo of Summer to the stark beauty of Autumn and Winter the garden presents continuing drama and interest.

oudolf_02

Planting: A New Perspective by Piet Oudolf (Author), Noel Kingsbury (Author), Timber Press, 2013. Essential resource for designers and gardeners looking to create plant-rich, beautiful gardens that support biodiversity and nourish the human spirit. An intimate knowledge of plants is essential to the success of modern landscape design, and Planting makes Oudolf’s considerable understanding of plant ecology and performance accessible, explaining how plants behave in different situations, what goes on underground, and which species make good neighbors. Extensive plant charts and planting plans will help you choose plants for their structure, color, and texture as well as the way they perform in the landscape. A detailed directory with details like each plant’s life expectancy, the persistence of its seedheads, its tendency to spread, and propensity to self-seed, this book is a beautiful and invaluable resource.

oudolf_03

Hummelo: A Journey Through a Plantsman’s Life by Piet Oudolf (Author), Noel Kingsbury (Author), The Monacelli Press, 2015. An intimate look at the personal garden of the Dutch landscape designer. Hummelo -near the village of the same name in Gelderland in the Eastern Netherlands, is visited by thousands of gardeners seeking inspiration each year. It is Piet Oudolf’s home, his personal garden laboratory, a former nursery run by his wife Anja, and the place where he first tested new designs and created the new varieties of perennials that are now widely available.

Hummelo tells the story of how the garden has evolved over the past three decades since Oudolf and his family moved onto the property, with its loamy sand and derelict, wood stove-heated farmhouse, in 1982. Text by noted garden author and longtime personal friend Noel Kingsbury places Hummelo in context within gardening history, from The Netherlands’ counterculture and nascent green movement of the 1960s, to prairie restoration in the American Midwest, and shows how its development has mirrored that of Oudolf’s own outstanding career and unique naturalistic aesthetic.