Thursday, January 7, 2021

There's no Place Like Home. Explore the Promise of a Better 2021: How to Live the Good Life with Exterior Design, Gardens, Cocktail Culture


I am willing to bet that most of us wouldn’t argue that making those 2020 predictions at the start of last year never, ever imagined what was about to careen into our worlds… 

So you might find it a wee bit bold or a fool’s errand that I’m even considering sharing a Trend Predictor or Forecast for 2021.

And yet. 

My belief is that rather than all the recent mea culpas by the professional prognosticators who claim that heretofore we’ve all taken things like health, family, and home for granted, (and then go on to promote their products or services…)  I am convinced we all know that is emphatically not true. I double-dare anyone to prove that that was the case. 

We’ve long cherished our family and friends.

I suggest that instead, what we crave is the normalcy that comes with scheduled regimes.  When that’s upended, we’re at a collective loss.  

We need our routines. Our disciplines.  

Therefore, my first forecast for 2021 is we will relinquish the sense of self pity. Let’s stop whining about the life we had before coronavirus. Moreover, there are far, far too many of us who have lost family and friends to this covid. Let's honor them. And recognize there have been pandemics previously - throughout history. Isolating and staying at home this time is way more connected than any previous catastrophe. 

I say buck up. Learn from those who suffered in true isolation. 

No less than Nelson Mandela who endured the most egregious form of isolation, noted that there was “no end and no beginning; there is only one’s own mind which can begin to play tricks.”  I read that he established routines. His integrity demanded courtesy and manners. Plus, he found peace in his garden on Robben Island. 

Gandhi (who was also jailed in South Africa...) found solace in cooking. He organized to gain permission (for his fellow Indians) to cook their own food. Gandhi helped in that food preparation and cooking; and twice a day distributed the food. 

In addition, these moral icons read like there was no tomorrow.

There are countless others who have much to teach us. 

In this spirit of learning from the past rather than a fake nostalgia for a life that was “before pandemic,” I share what a pragmatic future can look like for those who still pursue an artful piece of the world that embraces my favorite genres: Gardens, Homegrown Food, Tablescapes, and Garden-to-Glass Cocktails. 

I've always appreciated the determination and optimism of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and refer often to her quote, “If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with… There’s no place like home.”

Come Explore the Promise of a Better 2021 

When you first read about “pods” did you think it was relatable to you? 

As a horticulturist, I just thought it was a fruit or seed case… Ha, ha (smile).

In this new world order, it refers to those in your immediate, “small, self-contained networks of people who limit their non-distanced social interaction to one another—in other words, they're the small group of people with whom you share air without using breath-control precautions such as masks” (!) 

How to Form a Pandemic Pod | Greater Good

Trends For 2021

  • The Glory of Gardens as Home Entertainment Spaces

In the new Pandemic Portal of Hope, Entertaining in the socially distanced world we now inhabit with our global friends and family, I forecast that even more homeowners and renters, will create home-based Entertainment spaces outdoors.  

I’ve already designed a drive-in styled Garden Theater space.  

And GrillScape Gardens 

Why not home concert venues?  

You might enlist private bands or musicians -- or dancers - to host and entertain you and your guests: socially-distanced, of course. 

I can design garden rooms to amplify and embrace music. 

Second Life Marketplace - LOVE - Outdoor Concert/ Venue  Concert, garden, fairy lights, summer nights, music, backyard, intimate by  Asako M. Photo stock - Snapwire

Think fairy lights.  Blankets, Pillows. Plants. Magic.

Outdoor Entertainment is doable most of the year, in most every temperate zone. 

As a garden designer, I’ve always created garden spaces for my clients that reflect their lifestyle, including outdoor kitchens, edible gardens, and fragrance gardens.  

I see even more of a desire for that in 2021. 

You don’t need an estate or even a suburban yard.  Rooftop gardens or terrace gardens with container or raised bed gardens work their magic too.

parterre tower.jpgparterre-planter-in-situ.jpg

I saw that Pennoyer & Newman added a Parterre Planter Collection. Readers know I adore Virginia and her custom planters. I recommend them to my clients. 

The planters are recreated and cast from originals that accessorized the great gardens of the world.  There are many lightweight, beautiful planters in their collections that will add drama and enduring good looks to your terrade or rooftop or patio or pool area.  

I also recommend Brooklyn-based Opiary. I’ve reviewed and written about them previously. 

At the same time, there are many other sources. I see some good looking pots on Etsy. You can also make Hypertufa or cedar containers or ones using reclaimed wood. 

You can also support your local artists: look for a link in your online community. There are many folks who will create a container design in the medium of your choice: wood, ceramic, concrete (you can paint these pots as I have for clients), or re-purpose cans, jars, shoes, or wagons!

Make Recycled Shoe Planters » Dollar Store Crafts9 Ways to Use Old Shoes as Planters

Last year, I wanted to add something special to the three raised beds for Gina & Ted, a special garden design client, in time for their wedding.  

I was inspired by the two golden tractor tires, at the Paris Opera, titled Les Saturnales, that were used to create such an astonishing illusion. When describing the work, Claude Lévêque said, “They galvanise, for me, the organic and mechanic aspect of the symmetrical, ornamentally-charged architecture of the Palais Garnier, which is a call for performances.”

A pair of golden tyres at the Opéra Garnier in Paris provokes public ire |  The Art Newspaper 

Moi aussi!  Garden Art has long been referred to as the “slowest of the performing arts.” 

Knowing Gina and Ted are committed recycle advocates, I figured they were game. 

I selected the tires, spray-painted them gold, and voila!  Three “rings” for the wedding. One topped with a “jewel” of an heirloom vase that is Ted’s Mother’s.  Creativity is liberating.  

Now, the tires are all-season planters. We all love what Gina and Ted have added to the look this past year.  Did I say cosmos, marigolds and more sunflowers? 

  • Home is now the undisputed place where we dine and entertain.  

I’ll be looking to design more diverse outdoor garden rooms that feature cozy and relaxed entertainment centers; more seating.  

2021 will be the year you will want to add more quality outdoor seating to the various garden rooms, in addition to adding modular seating furniture that will allow you to distance and get cozy, depending on the Pod.  Munder-Skiles offers ravishingly beautiful garden furniture. 

10 best sofas and outdoor seating for summer | London Evening Standard  15 Ways to Arrange Your Porch Furniture

Frontgate, Ballard Designs, and Wayfair, to name a few resources, will provide you with lots of options.  And ask your garden designer!  

You can also make pallet furniture  Pallet Garden Seating Furniture | Pallet Furniture Plans  

And modularize as needed. 

When you create your outdoor Entertaining Garden Rooms, consider how these spaces can not only readily accommodate social distancing but how much you had been dreaming you wanted these looks and experiences. It’s not that you have to but that you want to create these home spaces.  Now, there’s no reason to put off the design. 

  • Outdoor Dining. Upgrade from the picnic table. Unless it looks like this! How to Style an Outdoor Dining Table | DIY (DIY Network)

20 DIY Ideas for Outdoor Dining Spaces • Picky Stitch (picky stitch)

Some other outdoor dining tables to consider with social distancing options:

Large Round Outdoor Dining Table - Ideas on Foter

I’m thinking the best outdoor dining tables are those that are most adaptable. Ones that accommodate your Pod.  These squares, for example, can be socially-distanced and later ~ when the corona risk is diminished (we need that vaccine!) - you can put the fours together to make a big table for all your beloved guests. 

I so love dining tables with the water or garden feature in the center. I saw one at the Architectural Digest Show - remember when we could attend design shows? Gosh, all those people crowding the aisles. The shows surely fed into my innate curiosity and sense of adventure, discovering artisans and craftspeople dedicated to enhancing our lifestyle. But hey, they are still there! You can read my previous posts (and linked here) for more inspiration. Those designers need us more than ever. 

Awesome Cool Ideas For with Outdoor Dining Furniture Live-edge Redwood

  • The Outdoor Cocktail Lounge is the ultimate fantasy. This will trend. 

You can create your own Tiki Bar.  Or an English Pub. Or an Amalfi Coast inspired cocktail area

 Win a four-night stay on the Amalfi coast | The Sunday Times Summertime Seascape Amalfi Coast Positano Beachitaly Stock Photo - Download  Image Now - iStock

Or a French Bistro Look: 

Gravel Patio. French style gravel patio with stone garden walls. Gravel  patio… | Gravel patio, Pea gravel patio, Backyard patioThe Uptown Acorn: Acorn Cottage Uptown {Backyard Furniture} (uptown acorn)

Garden ideas - small garden ideas | House & Garden (

You can design a space that gives you a sense of getting away. A fantasy corner. 

Position your Outdoor cocktail lounge furniture in the garden if you have the space. If you’re short on the real estate, pot up some evergreens, topiaries, and/or some fragrant herbs to drive the illusion and fuel the imagination. 

Classic Courtyard with French bistro style white garden furniture and  simple clean styling. Elega… | Courtyard gardens design, Outdoor dining  room, French courtyard

  • A trend that will continue to surge for 2021: for both outdoor and indoor mixology, is the snazzy, effervescenti Bar Cart. It serves as both the bar and the Happy Hour’s stylish focal point, adding glamour to the space. Keep it simple and elegant: stock your favorite spirits, mixing tools, glassware, ice bucket, and cocktail napkins. For a full how-to, visit my Garden Glamour post on How to Curate & Style a Home Bar Cart: The Essentials and the Glamorous Accessories.



  • We can also look forward to increasingly sophisticated Outdoor Kitchen rooms that include such built-in modular features as a pizza oven, refrigerators, sinks, trash compactor, lighting, countertops, rotisseries, herb planters, and more.  The Outdoor Kitchens can include seating, a bar, big-screen TV, a spectacular sound system for concerts, a fire pit and outdoor heaters, to really expand your living space.  If you have to shelter-in-place, might as well make your home the resort you once traveled to, to get away from it all.  Now, you're getting it all, but no traveling. Just open the door and walk to paradise!  Again, if real estate is at a premium, you can make it work with fewer modular components; a table-top grill, a few potted herbs for grilling, and a few candles. Make the Magic... 

Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Outdoor Kitchen

            (See my Architectural Digest and Grillscape Gardens links above for more details.) 

  • I see more outdoor Zen gardens for yoga, pilates, meditation

  • Likewise there will be more Home and Garden Gyms and Exercise rooms 

  • Another stay-at-home trend I forecast is more garden rooms dedicated to Pod-friendly sports, including Boules or Pétanque. We have this pretty silver set: 

It’s a fun sport for all ages and easy to stay socially-distanced while playing the game. 


Likewise, Horseshoes. There wasn’t a family summer party where the horseshoes weren’t set up and enjoyed over many rounds of beer and cigars. It was mainly the Dads who threw the horseshoes back then.  Smile… 

Best Horseshoe Set in 2020 | Own The Yard(Own the Yard)

No room for tossing the horseshoes? Go with a table top.Tabletop Horseshoe Game for Kids | Highlights Your Child & You (Highlights) 

  • All these expanded home entertaining areas will inevitably lead to the need for more Garden accessories; statues, tuteurs, sundials, bird baths. And for Entertaining or serving outdoors: more sophisticated glassware, plates, and cutlery. Higher-end washable or compostable. Not one-time use products.  

  • There will be more Community Gardens. In every locale. Folks who gather to nurture their shared gardens - at a social distance - also share recipes, conversations, support, and more.  

  • Bird Watching  This is an ever-fascinating pastime. Last year during the pandemic, bird-watching increased ten-fold in some areas.  The number of bird species in a person’s surroundings correlates to happiness, according to a study reported in “Birdwatching.” Birds increase happiness! We’ve seen some exotic birds in our yards, including owls and eagles this past year. We love watching the blue jays and cardinals on our bird feeder and all the diverse avians who bathe in our bird bath. With its solar-powered fountain, it’s like having a spa shower for the birds. Ha. I signed up for the National Audubon Society’s mobile App. It’s a great resource.  Get yourself a good pair of binoculars and enjoy the show! You’ll be delighted watching the hi-jinks of the native and the migratory birds.  Which brings me to the next trend:

  • Native Plants and Healing Plants. With more and expanded gardens ~ from terrace to backyards, you can enable a more sustainable environment. The National Audubon Society has a page that will link you to a Native Plant database to help feed the birds (and other pollinators) in your zip code.   Healing Plants are not only beautiful, but their medicinal powers will increase our physical and emotional health and well-being. If you sign up for the Garden Glamour blog, I’ll send you a free top-ten list of Healing Plants - for indoors or for in the garden. (The email subscription is right below my bio) 

  • Plant Decor. More of us will use indoor and outdoor plants as part of decorating our homes and gardens.  Hot spicy colors will excite our senses while the cool blues and pinks will soothe us.  You can match your plants’ color palette to the room’s wall paint and furniture.  Likewise, outdoors in your newly expanded exterior design. While Pantone has named Ultimate Grey as one of their Colors of the year for 2021, I’m over most grey at this stage.  I’m more for the vibrancy and comfort of their Illuminating as “a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power.”  That sounds like a happy addition and one that will mix with soothing greens.

  • Growing Edibles  Last year we saw a dramatic increase in folks wanting to grow their own food, especially lettuces, herbs, all kinds of vegetables, potatoes, and fruit. We grow a lot of garlic, arugula, peppers, and asparagus. That trend will continue unabated.  If you haven’t already ordered your seeds, hop to it. There will be shortages again this year.  

  • I see an increase in DIY Home Products because they are safer and less irritating. We can readily make products such as laundry detergent, dishwashing, and body soaps; using vinegar to clean; and even Spray starch with scents. It’s utterly hilarious that I never owned an iron, yet the last few years I’ve taken to ironing our bedsheets, linen cocktail napkins and placemats because I crave that crisp look and scented experience. 

    • It’s an easy recipe:   2-3 tablespoons cornstarch to six ounces of water. I add drops of lavender to mine for a restful, meditative scent. But you can mix in any of your favorite herbal scents.  Which leads me to another 2021 Forecast: 

  • Aromatherapy. There’s an incredible benefit to using essential oils, including managing pain, improving sleep quality, and reducing stress and anxiety. I have different kinds of diffusers for use in a number of our rooms: bedroom, bathroom, office. The oils can also help fight bacteria and virus. That’s a good thing. 

  • Homemade Bitters and Simple Syrups. Along with the spike (!) in at-home craft cocktails due to covid, there will follow an increase in making our own simple syrups and bitters. You can customizel the taste you want in your drinks and - if you’re growing all those herbs and spices - why not mix up your own essential elements that make a great cocktail. It’s an artful project that makes your Happy Hour all the more delightful. Cheers to that. 

  • Tablescapes Even if we are not entertaining the way we used to and prefer ~ with family and friends, I recommend dressing up your table decor for a holiday, for the season, or when your mood wants a change. Initially, when the stay-at-home started, I wasn’t feeling it…. Then, after some time, I couldn’t resist making our diminished world more glamorous. I think we need to create pretty, inviting tablescapes more than ever.  Make every meal an event. It’s theater!  Inspired by nature or things you have in your jewelry box or on your bookshelves, approach your tablescape like you are telling a story. Layer in items that bring you joy: candles, flowers, souvenirs from past trips, photos. Re-purpose items. It’s fun! Then set the table. And revel in your personal dining experience. 

  • Volunteering.  I have to believe that volunteering for local organizations will increase. Not only do some folks have more time, but clearly they see the need to help those who’ve had a bad go of this epidemic... Whether it’s helping seniors, donating food, running errands, teaching, look up what you can do within your community. It will make you feel good and strengthen the fabric of our society.  

Now, get out there and live.   Enjoy this new world and its obstacles and challenges. 

Let’s see how many of these 2021 forecasts come to be in this year filled with hope.  

And thank you for reading my blog. I am most grateful.  If you don’t already subscribe, please enter your email and it will be sent to you. And/or share with a friend. 

There's no place like home...

Cheers to you and a bit of glamour for 2021.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Holiday Gift Guide: Part 2 ~ Curated List of Artisanal Music, Books, Cocktails & Herbal Christmas Drink Recipe, Zoom Fashion & More


Welcome back! This is part two of my curated Holiday Gift Guide for this most bedeviling year: 2020.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed part one. The first chapter of the guide is more of a plant-based, green-theme to help you create a home oasis. A sanctuary. We all need a wee bit of that now more than ever…

As a kind of addendum, I just read that a national florist has named the sunflower as the flower of the year and the Red Maranta Prayer Plant as the plant of the year.

Cheerful and sunny is always cause for joy. And the prayer plant ~ well, who doesn’t need more prayers this year? The plant’s leaves fold at night looking like hands in prayer.

Plus the red and green leaves are just so perfect for the holidays.

In my previous Holiday post, I highlighted gifts for your home or loved ones that are high-quality and appropriate for this most uncommon “moment” in world history. Who wouldn’t appreciate plants, advent calendars, food, memberships in noteworthy, world-class cultural institutions - both local and international? And please forgive me, I am offering these gift guides to those who are not in that unfathomable circumstance of not being able to pay their rent or have access to food...

Moreover, I have to correct an oversight. I am embarrassed that I neglected to add City Harvest as a noble community effort to support; they pioneered food rescue in 1982. Mea Culpa. Most disconcerting as I am proud to be a City Harvest volunteer for many years. Please contribute and help if you can? Food security has never been more poignant.

Gift Guide 2020 ~ Part 2:
I think we all recognize this is not the year for the same old kind of gifts.

The world has changed. So too, should your gifts. A tie? I don’t think so. Socks. No. A fruitcake? Well, maybe. If you make it… I’m more drawn to panettone, just for the record.

Now, we are all feeling how much home and the celebration of family, nesting, and carving out our smidgen of glamour means right now ~ in this time of unprecedented pandemic and protest. We crave serenity. Peace. Beauty....

Here, I will expand my previous holiday gift list to include some unique, bespoke, artful items including music, cocktail culture, books, toys, and fashion. Cultural pursuits bring us joy and brighten our moods. And we all need more of that right now.

I got to thinking, what did I treasure this past year? What resonated? And what helped get me ~ and you ~ through this wild year? I follow so many great influencers on social media. You inspire me…

Blame it on the Bossa Nova is pretty much spot-on. Music affects our mood, changes our perceptions and elevates our well-being. My research shows that music touches us in a most pronounced, literal way. According to the Max Planck, Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, “Scientists have... found that touch is perceived differently depending on the music being played. Think about that sexy Bossa Nova score and the more sensual experience when we dance or grab a lover. Music can evoke a positive group feeling, too.

Musical medics
According to Arnold Steinhardt, a founding member and first violinist of the Guarneri String Quartet, chamber music audiences nearly always include many health care practitioners, "Everything from podiatrists to psychiatrists, since there seems to be a mysterious and powerful underground railroad linking medicine and music. Perhaps music is an equally effective agent of healing, and doctors and musicians are part of a larger order serving the needs of mankind. Perhaps they recognize each other as brothers and sisters."

Is there a doctor in the house?
Yes. Yes, there is. If you are passionate about your music but don’t know your G Clef from your Treble Clef. Further, if you’ve been despondent about missed concerts and performances, I have The perfect, artful gift that will have you humming a new tune.

James Popik, the talented, gifted, grammy-nominated musician - and I’m so proud to say, my favorite brother, has launched a timely gift site on Etsy. 
His MusicOfNote celebrates the long lost art of seeing our music in the fine art dimension. On paper. Perfect for framing. 
It's a music premiere! It's a Garden Glamour featured debut! In fact, you can say you "heard" about Music Of Note here first!  

Besides his first posted collection, he does custom pieces. Ask James to render your favorite, such as your wedding song, your child’s first concert, a lullaby, your engagement song or your dream song or your alma mater's school song… You get the idea.

Music marks our memories.

It’s really incredible to now have the ability to see your music as a printable, frameable piece of art. This is a classic way to celebrate a memory; a love; a hope…

James’ detailed, hand-drawn musical notes and scales are intoxicating. The printed art pieces are endlessly fascinating to view on your wall, as your own personal stationary, a calendar.

And just like every art of note (did I just write, “note?!” ha.ha.) In this case, it’s a musical note. A love note.

As James explains in the Etsy shop: “Handwritten musical scores are works of art. In the age of computer printing the hand drawn musical score is more and more rare. Take a close look and see the fine details and flow and shape of the whole work. Custom works done by request.”
Order your custom musical love notes and you’ll have your friends and family “singing” your praises…

While I wave my collectible bookmarks to recommendations from my trusted sources -- there are those endless top ten lists, the “Best of” lists and more. 
My list here is personal - meaning the books I’ve selected to highlight are written by my talented friends and colleagues, and those that have enchanted me with their stories and their timeliness this past year when escape and fantasy were more salient than ever.

As an author and writer, it won’t surprise you that I read every chance I get. And it’s never enough. My ultimate fantasy would be no deadlines and just an infinite amount of time to read.
I do that on my iPhone while mobile. I read on my Kindle while kinda’ mobile and in bed. I always buy hardcover cookbooks and garden books. And almost every book in our home library is autographed by the author. I’ve always considered that a sublime luxury.

Further, I cling to Cicero’s quote: “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need…”

Elevate your reading

Here’s my book recommendations:

Glenn Kenny: Shhhh, I purchased the latest of Glenn’s books best selling books for a sweetheart. You won’t believe it when I tell you that Glenn graciously and immediately agreed to send me an autographed signature that I can insert into the book’s title page, making this book even more special. (I’m not suggesting that Glenn can do this for everyone ~ the book is special enough ~ believe me.) I know and respect Glenn; I worked with him during the apex of the consumer electronics’ heyday. (Another time, ask me about dancing on the bar in Tokyo as part of an editorial press tour of manufacturing facilities… smile)

Glenn is a film and music critic. He’s been described on the book’s editorial review page by no less than Brian Koppelman and David Levien, screenwriters of Ocean's Thirteen and co creators of Billions as "... a scholar and a writer, and every bit the literary hit man that Tommy DiSimone was in real life." So exciting.

The Book of Two Ways, Jodi Picoult. Actually, I’m reading this novel now. The writing is incredible! I find myself re-reading paragraphs just to indulge in the beauty of the author’s words. And the story is about life-changing choices. And who among us hasn’t considered those kinds of questions especially in this this life-altering year?

Jordan Grace Robinson: Jordan is an artist with so much talent it doesn’t fit neatly into one genre. Here, her anthology of poem books: Like Flowers We’ll Bloom Again, and Melancholy Mey Zee remind us why we need poetry and hope. While exquisite unto themselves, Jordan’s artful offerings also include her textile designs, handbags, and more.

Richard Powers, The Overstory of Trees, I worship this book. And the author’s telling of a “climate-themed epic,” and “the wisdom of trees.” I always knew it…

The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben, narrates how these majestic creatures feel, communicate and live. Technology has allowed us the first opportunity to better understand and document their heretofore secret world. The book “explains that trees use scent to talk, ‘agree’ to bloom together and take communal action against pests.” Again, I always knew it. I am in awe of these tree books (see a pattern?!); they are akin to being the Rosetta Stone of these plant sages.

Bloom, The Overthrow, Kenneth Oppel. This book is a fantastic, terrifying thriller; a plant-based sci-fi adventure. It’s also about friendship. This YA novel is for kids of all ages. And the first in a trilogy. Can’t wait for Hatch. I have it on pre-order.
Code Girls, Liza Mundy. I liked these brave and smart dames so much, I recommended the book to my 95-year old Mother, Virginia, who got her copy in large print from our library. Mother would’ve made a stellar World War II code breaker. As it is, she signed on to be a registered war nurse.RN.
Screamers, an action thriller and fantasy, authored by my friend, Frank Vizard
Next Year in Havana, Chanel Cleeton
Barkskins, Annie Proulx 
The Leopard, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

One audio book: H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine,” as read by the incredibly verbally animated, Kelsey Grammer.
Weather, Jenny Offill. The novel features Lizzie Bensen, a librarian, who has stabilized some family issues, who gets a request from her former mentor, Sylvia Liller who has “become famous for her prescient podcast, Hell and High Water, and wants to hire Lizzie to answer the mail she receives: from left-wingers worried about climate change and right-wingers worried about the decline of western civilization” and climate chaos.

Speaking of Podcasts I find they are an excellent audio storytelling platform: topical, compelling, and easily digestible (no pun, as most of my Podcasts are, not surprisingly, related to food and drink.)

Podcasts work especially well when I’m knee-deep in my client’s gardens. I can multitask while listening.
I like them all the more because the storytelling in some ways can’t help but remind me of all the bedtime stories my beloved father would create and tell me…

Overall, downloads of podcasts were up nearly 50 percent at the end of October, according to Podtrac. I see no signs of this trend abating.

Some of my favorite podcasts are: Radio Cherry Bombe, Blindspot -The Road to 9/11, Modern Bar Cart, Soundstage by Playwrights Horizons, A Taste of the Past, The Sporkful, The Splendid Table. Wish I had more listening time. The stories are so great. 

I can’t leave the book category without mentioning my latest book! Indulge me, thank you.
Art of the Garnish.

Art of the Garnish is such a lovely, charning, and dynamic book; I am forever honored to have been asked to write it. Thank you, Cider Mill Press and your spectacular team.
In addition, special thanks to: Doug Young, the brilliant photographer who worked tirelessly over two days to capture some of the best images featured in the book.
Incredibly, I shot many of the photos included in the book ^:^ ; you can see our home backdrops in some of those styled cocktail compositions.
Also, I very much thank the brands and mixologists who so generously contributed their drink creations, as well as their very professional photo images.
The cocktails and their glamorous garnishes resonate with every season.

I had to update this Post after I read the feature about the elixir Chartreuse in yesterday's Times. 
I have long been intrigued by this spirit. Curiously, Chartreuse has been made by a very ascetic order of Catholic monks for more than 900 years from a recipe they perfected from an "alchemist's ancient manuscript for a perfectly concocted medicinal tonic of about 130 herbs and plants: the 'Elixir of Long Life,'" according to the Times' reporting.  Further, and astonishingly, there are only two monks who know how to make the full 130-ingredient recipe. Scary brand trust... 
I love that it's made with local herbs and plants. And oh, that vibrant green color!  And the taste is unique ~ very herbally. A bit spicy.  How to describe it?  I love this characterization: the Times notes that in "Brideshead Revisted," Anthony Blanche compares it to ingesting a rainbow. And a Baltimore bartender, Brendan Finnerty, says it tastes like Christmas in a glass." 
In that spirit of holiday cheer, I offer you a recipe gift from my Garnish book, contributed by the London-based mixologist, Valentina Carbone, at Nobu Berkeley St, London. She named it English Rose. The featured ingredient is the magical Chartreuse. Perfect for a Christmas in a Glass!

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 1 oz rose simple syrup
  • 1 oz yuzu or lemon juice
  • Barspoon of Chartreuse 
  • Slice of Lemon, lime, grapefruit 
  • 1 Strawberry, 2 Blueberries, 2 Raspberries

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. 
Strain into a cocktail glass. (I prefer this drink in a Coupe)

Garnish ~ Finishing Touches:
Rose petals.  The rose petals are also medicinal.  Rose petals are mildly sedative, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-parasitic. They're also mild laxatives, a good supportive tonic for the heart, and great for lowering cholesterol.
A big plus for this garnish? The Red Roses is a symbol of love... 

If you would like a signed copy as a Holiday gift, please email or DM me and I will send you an autographed book.
Which brings me to:

Cocktail Culture:
Clearly, we are all spending more time at home and so what better pursuit than to embellish our cocktail carts and bars and cosmopolitan cocktail-inspired home designs?
Did you view or participate in my Spring Facebook Live cocktail parties. If not, you can see the garden-to-glass cocktail parties on the Garden Glamour Facebook page

For some classic cocktail culture, think Nick and Nora and their equally iconic, martini-swilling pooch, the loyal Asta in Dashiell Hammett’s “The Thin Man” series that chronicles the boozy detectives.
Then, there’s the classic Topper film starring Cary Grant (later a TV series).
George and Marion Kerby ~ a rich and reckless couple are ghosts who emerge from their car wreck (see, drinking and driving don’t mix) determined to free their friend, Cosmo Topper, a bored bank president who buys George’s flashy sports car after the accident. Soon he meets the ghosts of his dead friends, and immediately they begin to liven up his dull life with drinking and dancing, flirting and fun.
Trust me, it’s a classic adventure, filled with boozy antics. Shake up a cocktail or two and watch the film - it’s a perfect pairing. And it will transport you from the pandemic.

What to sip those fabulous cocktails in? For you and/or that cocktail-loving aficionado on your list, look to It’s Not Just Cocktails. I’ve happily purchased their vintage barware and decor that celebrates the cocktail culture. Available directly, on Etsy or Pinterest, you can even find a superb collection of curated cocktail glasses to delight every drink ~ even those hard-to-find, Nick and Nora glasses!

Earlier this year, I wrote and posted on the blog, How to Curate and Style a Home Bar Cart: The Essentials and Glamorous Accessories. It was extremely popular and I thank all of you who read, shared, and gave feedback. I raise my glass to you.
Since that posting, I added a Le Bois Lélė Swizzle Stick to my cocktail at-home bar collection on the recommendation of one of the key contributing mixologists to my book, Art of the Garnish.
He is Los Angeles’ Josh Suchan, Ice and Alchemy. Josh is not only incredibly talented and knowledgeable but fun ~ and a very good teacher ~ with abundant style and respect for the art of the cocktail.
When Covid first landed, he quickly pivoted to offer virtual online cocktail classes.
I immediately signed on.
Bill and I loved our sessions. Josh’s online classes are fun and the next best thing to sitting at your local watering hole.
Honestly, while we are so blessed to have a truly gorgeous home bar, entered by a secret door to our downstairs speakeasy, that was designed by moi after ones I’d seen ~ and dreamed of ~ after I visited Havana. (I’ll showcase it soon in a Post.)
And now, Lucky you! Because you can gift a subscription to Ice & Alchemy Zoom lessons. 
Or treat yourself.
I promise you that your Ice & Alchemy cocktail “classes” will be hands-on instructive and oh-so-fun. You can ask as many questions as you want.
Further, it’s a real pleasure to meet the other “students”/aficionados on Zoom. You can talk to them too. Next best thing to sidling up to the neighborhood bar.
It’s even fun getting the ingredients ready in anticipation. Josh sends you an ingredients and prep list beforehand.
You can sign on via Josh’s Instagram: @ice_and_alchemy or online at Eventbrite, as well as the link I provided above. You can order a subscription for dates and times that suit you and/or your giftee. It’s an extraordinary value. You will be richly rewarded.

No matter your home space, an at-home bar design offers a glitzy fantasy and a sense that you’re not just filling a wine glass or pouring a drink at home. A kind of counterintuitive cocktail…
I believe the point is that you should consider a space that allows you to indulge in the art of the making of the drink vs. or as opposed to just pouring or having a drink. It’s more about the experience..

The cinema references I noted above made the cocktail hour glamorous just because the setting was sigh-worthy; the process of shaking, stirring and sipping - over elevated cocktail conversation, of course.
The glamour of the accessories, and the accompanying conversation made the time special.

As I note in my Art of the Garnish book, cocktails not only have their own “time of day” but their own “rooms” and furniture, including the cocktail table, cocktail chair, couch, and carts.

So what if your cocktail bar is a repurposed closet?
The bar cart can be everyone’s go-to home decor essential now.
There are a myriad of looks to suit every budget.
Gifting one is, well, so very thoughtful this year… The carts range in price from modest to monied.

Further, there are more bar accessories than you can shake a cocktail shaker at.
Please ask me if you have a specific question, after reading the May Post.

Don’t overlook one of the best gifts ever and always, including: bottles of wine, spirits, bitters, and simple syrups. My list of recommendations on this include so many brands ~ most often sourced from local, artisanal makers and the spirit makers I adore. MacchuPisco is at the top of my list. I recommend Modern Bar Cart for a curated collection of mixers and tools. And they have a great Podcast ~ I was honored they scheduled me as a featured guest! (see above.)

Zoom Fashion
This is the year that’s allowed most of our others to “zee” us on Zoom from just the waist up.

While I did buy a few pairs of shoes early in the pandemic, I figured that shoes, as much as I love them, could be put on hold until after May (Given the early reports, I thought we’d be out of the coronavirus’ worst times by September…)

But now, I’m past that kind of schedule and thinking tops. Whether it’s “Tops” or “Blouses” or Shirts, I think this is the year to give you or someone you love a fabulous Zoom-worthy Top.

One that can take you from business casual to friends and family time. Please, please say goodbye to sweats. Never a good fashion choice.
As a fashion enthusiast, and former fashion careerist; (I earned my AA at the American College of Lucerne in Switzerland. Please indulge me when I share that it’s one of life’s true pleasures to still be friends with this group of special, fashion-talented men and women.)
I was a Bergdorf Goodman buyer. I owned and managed a boutique. I still ooze fashion ~ even if much of my wardrobe is now yoga and gardening looks. (wink)

Back to the fashion on Facebook Live or Facetime or Zoom because this is how we live and communicate now, I recommend flattering, non-revealing tops/shirts/blouses (no cleavage, boys and girls, unless it’s your Covid Cocktail friend’s Happy Hour), and at that, a look that your ringlight will amplify.

I’m partial to the romanticism of Ralph Lauren. I’m smitten by lace blouses and tops right now. I also favor off-shoulder, or traditional button down shirts that are very ironed or organically dry-cleaned, turtle-necks and mock turtlenecks, v-necks, and one of my favorites: the cowl neck.

Go big on makeup! And your hairstyle. Mitigate the severe pulled back ponytails or man-bun. 
Go for a true hairstyle. A professional approach. For men, you can indulge in that facial hair look that you’ve been considering. Ladies have tried some colorful hair colors (pink?! blue!) if your profession doesn’t frown on it. Let’s all just have some fun with this moment. Trial the look, please, before you Zoom :) 

And lipstick for Zoom is an indulgence we love, especially as face coverings all but obliterates the chance to embrace one of life’s true pleasures.

While you undoubtedly have your favorite brand and color, I’m just all supportive and giggly about SHESPOKE, a makeup brand that “represents the freedom, playfulness and joy that comes from using makeup as a tool of self-expression.”
We all feel like we’re that kid again, playing dress up. 
Plus, the best part is SHESPOKE creates a custom, one-of-a-kind lipstick color. It’s so you!

Earlier this year, pre-pandemic, I was sent a pair of amazing 4 carat Diamond Veneer stud earrings. 
I confess that I’ve pretty much worn them every day since then.

Most everyone can agree with the maker, Diamond Veneer, that many women (and some men!) stay away from wearing Cubic Zirconia jewelry because CZ is so white it looks too fake. But Diamond Veneer solved that issue with a revolutionary process of treating cubic zirconia with a veneer of carbon diamond particles, crystallizing around the entire stone, which results in a flawless “G” color on the diamond color scale! Now you can wear diamonds every day with no worries about the faux. I appreciate that I can wear them gardening and working and not worry. They are beautiful.
The CZ earrings are a perfect stocking stuffer, too.

Games and Toys
Home games ~ think Monopoly, yoyos, Slinky, Mr. Potato Head. Did you know that Mr. Potato Head was the first toy advertised on television and, not coincidentally, it sold a million kits in a year? At 98 cents. And you supplied the potato...

At this point in the pandemic, I think we all know that Jigsaws are good for stay-at-home fun. Early in March, I was considering what activity would be best for my Mother. Learning Bridge? Too other-dependent, I determined. Then, shazam. I thought of jigsaw puzzles. We ordered a few modest ones online and purchased a few at the local pharmacy. I thought I was the lone wolf on this. It wasn’t till May that news reports were touting the overwhelming popularity and increasing shortage of jigsaw puzzles! I now see why. It can be a solitary or shared activity,

But did you know, there’s a dopamine hit every time you put puzzle pieces together.“

Could puzzles be better for you than CBD?

My Mother has become our “Puzzle Princess.”

Jigsaws are also a kind of art. We’ve framed some of Mother’s recent puzzle completions
We’ve alo appreciated getting re-purposed puzzles from neighbors and my garden clients .
My niece Lauren has gifted us artful puzzles that when completed, we’ve framed. We also love the the special ones from Rifle Paper Company And Ravensburger’s Krypt Series

Stocking Stuffers:
Straight away, please consider seeds.
So many sources were completely sold out by April this year due to you know what…
It seemed everyone wanted or needed herbs and vegetables,so for Mother’s Day, I decided to put together a gift package that folks could order from me and I’d send via the Post or hand deliver.

Therefore, in anticipation, and In order to avoid any disappointing lack of seeds in the spring, why not gift this most popular, sought-after home item now? You can source from:
John Scheepers, Grow at Seed Balls

There was also an acute lack of garlic. We shared some of our treasure with some garden clients we love. We have always sourced our variety of garlic from the Maine Potato Lady. The best source.

And I know you love food (especially if you’ve read this far) so if you are a foodie in or near the Chapel Hill, Greensboro area in the Tar Heel state, or have family there, be sure to order Holiday meals from the award-winning Beau Catering You will not only delight in the “Beau Show” but will also sink into a scrumptious food coma … and resource.

In my last Holiday Gift Guide post, I noted the happy note cards with seeds embedded in them ready for planting, from Hydrangea Home. What could be better?

And then, from KinkaNYC I got these incredible seed-bearing Lollipops!

If you didn’t know, KinKa curates THE best plant, food and art gifts.
After receiving such an extraordinary gift package, including the seed-bearing lollipops, I fainted with pure joy. Pick me up off the floor.
Sourced from Amborella Organics, the treat is to enjoy the simple pleasure of the lollipop - we all surely need more of this childhood pleasure now.
Then you plant the biodegradable stick in the soil and watch your garden grow!
I will be joyfully growing marigolds from the peach and marigold pop candy, sage from the sage and marshmallow (plus I’ll be harvesting my homegrown marshmallow root!), Baby BLue Eyes hibiscus from the vanilla and hibiscus pop, and the favorite: basil from the strawberry and basil treat. The plant-based ingredients live on long after the last lick. #EatPlantLove

I hope you enjoy and appreciate my heartfelt and personal list of suggested, curated gifts for this most unusual yet blessed holiday..

I sincerely wish you and your loved ones a healthy, safe, holiday season.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Home Decor & Curated Gift Ideas to Make The Holidays Special & Easy on the Budget

Nesting at home for the Holidays doesn’t need to feel like you're being deprived.  

It should most assuredly feel like you’re pampering yourself ~ treating beleaguered you and your family to those little luxuries that you may have overlooked this past year due to the barrage of never ending, relentless mal.  

This year, give yourself permission to revive long-held cultural or familial holiday traditions.  

And start new ones to fuel your own hygge - create a comfort and style that suits your spirit.  You’ll look back in years to come happy that you threw off those “onesies” or what I’ve read are a preponderance to wear “sweat pants” or pajamas (please say it ain’t so).  

**Years ago, I was asked to speak to incarcerated women about going for that first job interview and my counsel to them was to look good. When you feel and look your best, you can’t help but ooze  confidence. So start dreaming good thoughts.

I suggest you start with a personal kind of advent wreath for you ~ and your family.  

To get you started I thought I’d share a bit of background about what exactly is an Advent Calendar and why you’d want one.  

The history of Advent Calendars dates to 1851, Germany.  There, a lucky Gerhard Lang’s mother (why she doesn’t get her own moniker reference besides, Mother?!) 

Anyway, that was then.  And Mrs. Lang/Mother ~  wanted her son to experience that sense of anticipation that only the joy of Christmas can bring on. 

Mrs. Lang must surely be respected as one of the forerunners of a kind of Martha Stewart genius and creative DIYers when she crafted a calendar with 24 candles - one for each day leading up to Christmas. 

Sleuthing the history of the Advent Calendar, I found this reference at The Cottage Journal, that chronicled how young Gerhard’s Mother worked more than a Christmas miracle: “Lang grew up to operate the Reichhold & Lang printing company where he printed the first Advent cardboard calendar with 24 little pictures. A few years later, the company printed the first calendar with the little doors that everyone loves to open.” 

Advent Calendar

So three cheers to good parenting and inspiring the children to become artful entrepreneurs based on their family experience.  Who knows what future CEOs you might jump start… 

Today, you can certainly use your creative juices to craft a personal, meaningful Advent Calendar for the countdown to the big day, and to foster the “expectation journey” of better things to come…

How can you make an Advent Calendar? 

I’ve seen shoe holders artfully repurposed, with embroidered “days;” paper ones with doors that open to service or acts of kindness that we can perform. 

Consider making or getting a calendar with LED lights (safer than those original candles) that you can open each day. OurWarm Christmas Advent Calendar for Kids, 2020 24 Days Felt  Christmas Tree Countdown Calendar Flip Pattern and Number for Home Holiday  Christmas Decorations: Home & Kitchen

There are felt calendars that allow kids to easily reach for that star at the top of the tree.  

I found a font of possibilities on Etsy. I’m partial to the wine, chocolate, and book-themed creations. Don’t forget a calendar for your pet! STAGDESIGN offers dog treats. 

And who wouldn’t love a Santa “Claws” treat for your cat? Lily’s Kitchen offers lots of tasty feline treats. And for dogs, too. 

You can also purchase an advent calendar - I found ones that are true to the Victorian pedigree as well as more modern ones.

Plants as Gifts

While those of us living in zones that (used to) bring snow, (now, not so much… ) it is nevertheless a time to stow the trowel till spring.  But there are lots of garden-inspired gifts to give to your family and friends. Or gift to you! 

The quintessential holiday plant to gift or decorate with is the poinsettia. Today, this pretty plant has more to offer than the traditional red bracted Christmas stalwarts.  There are white, pink, spotted, and more color nuances than a box of crayons.

I keep my white poinsettias front and center in a lovely composition all year long.  

But as ubiquitous as the poinsettia plant is, its history is rather murky. I remember sharing the story when a group of us were clutching our hearts at the incredible poinsettia Christmas display at Longwood Gardens.  I thought most folks knew all about the plant coming from Mexico and being introduced to the US by our first ambassador to Mexico, a Mr. Poinsett. Yet, recently, the subject came up again on our Slack conversation with fellow NYBG landscape design alumni group.  So, I figure this Christmas story needs re-telling! 

According to sources, the poinsettia plant was native to Mexico;  the poinsettia was used by the Aztecs as a source for purple dye and medicine for fevers, according to the American Phytopathological Society. It was introduced to the United States in 1828, when the first American ambassador to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett, noticed the luscious red plants flourishing there.

Being an avid horticulturist, Poinsett sent some of the plants home to his greenhouses in Greenville, South Carolina. He also shared the plants with fellow growers. 

But poinsettias as we know them today, became associated with Christmas thanks to the savvy marketing of a German immigrant family, the Eckes. The family settled in California, in the 1900s. Albert Ecke noticed wild poinsettias growing along roadsides in the winter, thought they would make good Christmas flowers and set about growing the plants as an off-season crop.

The true marketing came into play in the 1960s, when Paul Ecke Jr. began to give poinsettias away to TV hosts such as Johnny Carson and Bob Hope. He also managed to incorporate his plants in women’s magazines’ Christmas photo shoots. This media savvy caused poinsettias to be accepted as a necessary holiday decoration.

The Eckes had a monopoly on the poinsettia industry until the 1990s, thanks to a technique that caused their poinsettias to look much fuller than competitors’.  In 2002, Congress passed an act that made Dec. 12 National Poinsettia Day in honor of Paul Ecke Jr.’s contributions to the poinsettia industry. Dec. 12 was chosen because it’s the day Joel Poinsett died in 1851.

Lovely plant story, isn’t it? 

Seed This 

Closer to home, you can take seeds from your own garden to gift. 

Gather the seeds from the plants you’re bringing in or pruning back for the winter. 

I was the lucky recipient of some poppy seeds from a dear garden design client and friend, Gina & Ted.  I, in turn, gifted some of the lode to my brother, the musician, James Popik.

As an auxiliary aside, the plant lore of planting poppy seeds is to sow them on or near Veteran’s Day to honor our military heroes, and the beautiful flowers will bloom on or near Memorial Day, to honor those fallen heroes who died for our freedom…

Poppies can also be a symbol of imagination, messages delivered in dreams, beauty, success, luxury, extravagance, and even peace in death. 

The poppy has long symbolized peace, death, or even sleep. 

The Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians connected poppies with sleep because of the sedative nature of its sap. In particular, the Greeks related the flower to Morpheus, the god of sleep.  Remember the Wizard of Oz scene where Dorothy and her friends were lulled to sleep just before getting oh-so-close to Oz?

Don’t have seeds to share? 

Consider bulbs as Garden gifts. You can tie up some bulbs in a fetching bag and pretty ribbons or plant them in a pretty bowl or now to gift later this Spring bulbs can be “forced” indoors for an intoxicating container display.  Especially those fragrant, Paper White Narcissus.  I adore them.  


And who better to get your bulbs from than my go-to bulb source: John Scheepers. 

I love them; as do my garden design clients who almost weep with joy at the beauty of the spring bulbs.  

I also have suggested to those Yankees who’ve migrated south to live and then bemoan they can't enjoy their revered spring bulbs bloom displays to think about potting up those glorious bulbs in containers, a la forced bulbs. And in terrariums, too. 

Here’s the Scheepers’ bulb experts tips  

Can’t get better advice anywhere.  

As I’ve noted in the past and even with my NYBG landscape design alumni community, the dedicated pros at Scheepers are completely dedicated to your success.  

Oh, and Margaret Roach was a great comfort to me a year ago when there was an inexplicable bulb debacle with one of my clients.  God Bless, Margaret. She shared her and Martha’s challenges with the same bulb… Ask me… 

If you don’t already subscribe to her Away to Garden or her podcast ~ please do sign on and gift to a garden friend.  It’s engaging, educational, and downright “dirty” fun that we can all relate to.  Margaret is most knowledgeable. And generous. 

Well, I hope I don’t need to put too fine a point on the fact that we are all spending more time indoors, so let’s just move on to the happier, healthier, living-well tip that indoor plants refresh and clean your indoor space. Plants heal us. Period. 

Further, indoor plants are so very easy to grow. Even in low-light situations. Caring for plants in a soul-enriching experience, especially for seniors. 

Want to be a plant parent? 

Here are a few recommendations for easy-care plants (Yes, even those of you who swear you have a brown thumb. Brown is the color of soil, after all. So you’re good!) 

  • Ferns ~ there is an almost limitless variety of beautiful ferns to suit your style and decor. The only fern I have found that is at all finicky is that diva, the Maidenhair.

Otherwise, you can expect big rewards growing this family of green beauties. 

I love my Lemon Button Fern. 

And i find it so delightful and curious why so many common names of ferns are named for animals and birds: Rabbit, Crocodile, Kangaroo, and the cool-looking StagHorn Fern:

as well as the Bird’s Nest Fern. 

I grow many Christmas and Boston Ferns, too. They add so much to a room’s decor.  I often pot up diminutive ferns or succulents in re-purposed “pots,” including tea cups, crystal cordial glasses, and votive candle holders to use in a variety of tablescape designs.  

  • Pathos/Devil’s Ivy or Silver Pathos is another easy-sneazy plant to gift and grow

  • Right now we could all use more peace ~ so growing the storied Peace Lily feels so right 

 Calming Grace Peace Lily Plant – Beaudry Flowers

  • My Polka Dot plant is just too cuteHippo® Pink Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya 'Hippo Pink') in  Denver Arvada Wheat Ridge Golden Lakewood Colorado CO at Echter's Nursery &  Garden Center

  • Heart-Leaf Philodendron - sometimes referred to as a Sweetheart Plant because of its leaf shape

 Heart Leaf Philodendron - Easiest House Plant to Grow - 4" Pot - Live  Plant: Grocery & Gourmet Food

Where to get your indoor plants?

If you don’t grow your own plants, I suggest you garner plants from these, my revered, superior horticultural, floral designers and herbalists.  I love having a network of trusted plant artists, don't you?

  • Kinka for plants, garden art, floral design, edible gift sets and more.  This is truly a unique and bespoke source that you can call a friend… I do. Kinka is owned and operated with TLC by an incredible husband and wife team ~ both artisans. He a fine artist, she a garden and floral artist as well as a ceramic creator and so much more. The authenticity and beauty of their collections is unsurpassed.
  • And then there is the unique greeting cards that I was introduced to by my Homegrown friend, Nancy Twardowski-Vallarella ~ a food writer at Edible, her "What's Cookin? Long Island" and more, and in turn, her Northport, Long Island friend at Hydrangea Home offers a variety of rich, detailed, botanical art cards (along with lots of other curated, homemade, and irresistible artful things from across the country. Plus they ship everywhere. The lucky recipients of the cards I sent were nothing less than gobsmacked. Plant a card! Double the plant love.

  • Julia Rosa Artistic Floral Decorator ~ from fashion to floral design to edibles to dreamy gift baskets.  

  • Greenery Unlimited. I met (re-met) one of the owners, Rebecca, last year at the annual  Metro Hort “Plant-O-Rama” and not only discovered we worked at BBG at the same time, but upon learning my Art of the Garnish book had been published, she invited me to present a garden-to-glass workshop and book-signing at their shop. While that never happened due to the corona virus’ March madness, the Greenery remains a fabulous source for plants and accordingly, “They believe that bringing the natural world into your home, office, or outdoor space will increase your quality of life.”  Amen. 

  • The Sill describes themselves as “a modern plant destination for the modern plant lover.” They offer a constellation of plants for every plant dream.  I love their plant humor too ~ welcoming you to their Plant Parenhood!™

Stocking Stuffers for the Moment

And I sure hope you’re thinking globally and locally when it comes to giving a Membership to your local botanical garden. These cultural institutions and museums of plants offer more than just beauty. They curate plant exhibitions, they sponsor scientific and environmental research; they offer incredible online courses aplenty to choose from. My short list from which to gift a membership includes: The New York Botanical Garden, the Mt. Cuba Center, Virginia’s Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (where one of my dear cousins got married), and the John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden. I also belong to the Garden Conservancy. Your membership here helps to preserve and celebrate America’s garden art and gardening traditions.” I’m paraphrasing a bit from their mission, but you get the idea. I have a weakness for botanical gardens that began their life as pleasure gardens and you can’t get better than Longwood Gardens and Chanticleer. Membership in these incredible institutions will give you back culture, education, and beauty. Same for National and local art museums. I just renewed my Metropolitan Museum of Art membership. You don’t need me to remind you that your membership goes a long way to keeping our unique cultural values and sustaining our artists.

Up Next: More gift ideas for the bar, fashion and tablescapes. Cheers.