The Vertical Greengrocer

•June 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The inspiration of eminent botanist Patrick Blanc may soon hit the supermarkets… If marketing execs from Carrefour and other hypermarkets attended the latest version of Paris ‘ Jardins Jardin in the Tuileries Gardens, then we will soon be plucking our lettuce, still growing, from tropical walls. Blanc succeded in astounding the general public with his plant walls, convincing us that plants can indeed grow vertically. In doing so, he invented an entirely new method of urban gardening, all the way up. From the walls of his Pershing Hall and Quai Branly to the stalls of Whole Foods is but one small step. Here the young horticulturalists of OMA édition have taken inspiration from Blanc’s work and conceived a sort of garden shelving system that would excite inveterate ubanites to pluck produce from supermarket walls….

To be relished and replenished,



All that glitters…

•May 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The most headline-catching Chelsea garden was the Ace of Diamonds by David Domoney. At exactly the same spot as the controversial plasticine garden of 2009, the crystal garden welcomed £20 million of real diamonds and 300 kilos of bodygards. But despite all the hype, the dynamic combination of amethyst and lavender was an eye-catching mix of organic and mineral material…


•May 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The Champs Elysées became a true field this weekend, with over 150 different species of flowers and plants from all around France, planted in parcels along the full kilometer of this famously traffic-clogged avenue. The weather was perfect and 2 million Parisians turned out to enjoy the wheat, lavender, hops and roses, as well as four separate forests, orchards and animal farms…

1000 workers, mostly young farmers and horticulturalists, began installing the gigantic gardens on Saturday night, wheeling out metres of grape vines, colza, lupines and apple trees.

Visitors began arriving early Sunday morning including, of course, President Sarkozy, who came to reassure France’s worried farmers, who are concerned about their future, for many reasons… The conceptor, Gad Weil (who planted a full avenue of wheat along the Champs Elysées 20 years ago) and the landscape architect Laurence Médioni explained that their primary goal was to get the public involved and sensitive to farming and environmental issues. Each parcel of land in the enormous garden patchwork was sponsored by private companies, such as the Guerlain scent garden, and on Monday evening the plants were sold off to the public and donated to charities, dispersing a bit of France’s agricultural heritage to each of Paris’ arrondissements.

Though the traffic lights were set on red for cars, they would have been more inspiring as Go Green for plants,



•May 18, 2010 • 2 Comments

Fresh from Courson, three noteworthy flowers to amaze and inspire… The first is the “Honey Dijon” rose, from the Rosiers de Saint-Aubin. In the feast of colour that is Courson, it is particularly eye-catching due to its stunning lack of colour: it seems to be a sepia print of a rose…

The second is a particularly lush and lippy dogwood blossom, the Cornus Kousa ‘Venus’ from Eberts.

And last but not least, the most enormous protea I have ever seen: the Protea cyranoides “little prince”. Far from little, it measures 1 foot, or 30 centimetres across.

Three continents–Europe, Asia and Africa–in three flowers!

– Lisa

The Campana-Cliquot Garden

•April 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Upon arrival in Milan, one of the first points of entry was the Veuve Cliquot space designed by the Campanas: a vertical garden (of course) and a pergola design in orange metal wiring based on their Corallo chair (below):

This highly successful chair for Edra was first translated into a tiny pergola model:

Then created by hand in their atelier in Sao Paolo.:

The “Gloriette”, as the Campanas call it, is destined for the lawn outside the Hôtel du Marc, the private hotel that Veuve Cliquot is restoring with the help of an international group of designers. The idea is to be able to taste their champagne al fresco, under an inspiring structure…

In France, this type of structure is also called a “folie”, which can be translated as a “folly” , or a crazy piece one would make and enjoy on a whim. In Milan, the Campanas multiplied the craziness by including mirrors, which brought the Gloriette into infininite directions…

And the champagne did taste better underneath…


Postcard Architecture

•April 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

In researching Edouard François’ Eden Bio public housing project in Paris’ 20th arrondissement, I came upon this photo. The model reminds me of the postcard gardens of my previous post:

Which does NOT mean that François is a master of Postcard Architecture: his work is remarkable and gives plants prime position in his urban constructions. But it does mean that the Postcarden concept makes a great architectural model for green projects. Here is another one, the “city” version.

Now that spring has finally arrived in Paris, I will report from the real Eden Bio later this week…

Horticulturally yours,


Postcard Garden

•April 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

For busy urbanites living in small places, creating a growing green space in the home is a bit of an ideal. And growing your own vegetables, if you do not have a balcony, is practically impossible.

This postcard garden, or Postcarden as it is called, is a clever and very tidy solution:

Exhibit A: The garden upon arrival in your letterbox:

Exhibit B: The postcard unfolded, with seeds in the bottom. You just add water:

Exhibit 3: approximately one week later, your garden is ready to harvest and toss with a vinaigrette.

Without being too much of a gimmick, this mini-garden is part of a macro-trend to consume as locally and organically as possible, as well as to create something fresh and new by hand.

The how-to video is very well done–check it out here.

Bon appétit,