Trending on Gardenista: New Year’s Day

A look at the greatest gardening hits of 2015. Read more

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11 Money-Saving Remodeling Strategies from a Hollywood House Flipper

Over the course of 25 years of remodeling, actress turned designer—and pro house flipper—Amanda Pays has figured out how to get exactly what she's after without ever breaking the bank. Read more

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Remodeling 101: The Viking vs. Wolf Range

If you're considering a professional-style range for your kitchen, chances are Viking and Wolf, the two American-made standard bearers, are on your radar. Similar in price points, features, and cooking power, they seem more alike than different. How to choose? Read our primer with firsthand opinions and insights from Remodelista editors. Read more

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15 Ideas to Steal from Vintage Kitchens

Sometimes we're so busy looking into the future that we forget to revisit the greatest hits of the past. Here are 15 ideas from old-fashioned kitchens worth incorporating into your own setup. Read more

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Before & After: The $350 DIY Kitchen Overhaul in Two Weekends

What do you do when you're not at work? Ceramic artist Suzie Ryu and painter/furmiture designer Kana Philip both have busy jobs by day and create things for their online design shop, Trollhagen & Co., by night. As for the weekends, they can be found in upstate New York, making a dent on their DIY house remodel. Take a look at what they were able to accomplish in four days. Read more

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16 Tricks for Maximizing Space in a Tiny Kitchen, Urban Edition

A roundup of ingenious kitchen spaces, some no larger than a closet, that are minuscule yet functional (and full of ideas to steal). Read more

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Secrets from the Swanson Kitchen, SF Edition

With the launch of her third cookbook, “Near and Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel,” our friend (and NY Times best-selling author) Heidi Swanson gives us a tour of her San Francisco kitchen. Aside from her musings on marble, a confession to a knife obsession, and an apparent disinterest in appliances, she also clues us in on what to do with the bean stragglers left at the bottom of a jar and reveals an ingenious solution to amping up the volume in the kitchen. Read on for details. Read more

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10 Easy Pieces: Food Storage Containers, Plastic-Free Edition

All of us at Remodelista have been trying to banish plastic from our lives for a while now, some more successfully than others. But without succumbing to containers with plastic parts, how best to stow leftovers and kitchen staples? Here are our editors' picks. Read more

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Before and After: Expat Gillian Carson’s English Garden in Portland, Oregon

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When we moved our family of four from Bath, England to Portland, Oregon in 2012 little did we know that we would spend the next three years transforming a disused rose garden into an English kitchen garden, complete with vintage-style greenhouse.

It was a big move for me, not least in family terms but in gardening terms too. I was leaving behind a walled kitchen garden where I had carefully trained espaliered apples and fan-trained peach trees. I was looking for a place where I could re-invent my old garden and add more besides.

We found a house in Portland that stood on 0.6 acres. It was quite unusual to find a house with so much outdoor space close to the city, we were told! The problem was that the garden, though once beautiful, hadn’t been tended for roughly six years. The old rose garden was knee-deep in blackberries, the fountain was full of dirt and weeds, a crabapple sat sadly enveloped in Old Man’s Beard, and we found three ponds that we didn’t know were there. There was a lot of work to do.

Photography by Gillian Carson.

Above: The old rose garden became my new kitchen garden. We felled a dying tree and asked a local greenhouse maker (SturdiBuilt) to build a bespoke wooden frame (measuring 10 by 16 feet) to sit on a red brick base. I wanted it to look as much like an English greenhouse as possible to remind me of home.

Above: I brought this Haws watering can with me from England. It’s quite simply the best watering can I’ve ever had. The design is called ‘Peter Rabbit’. (N.B. A red Peter Rabbit Watering Can is $89.99 on Amazon.)

Before

Above: When we arrived, the fountain was in disrepair and full of dead plants. Weeds choked the old roses and blocked the pathways.

After

Above: Brick paths edged with box give the vegetable beds structure and provide evergreen interest during the winter months.

Above: I raise all of the vegetables and herbs in the kitchen garden from seed in the greenhouse.

I planted some apple trees (Ashmead’s Kernel and Liberty) along an east-facing wall and trained them as espaliers. I also added a fan-trained Peach (Q18) which is resistant to peach leaf curl and does very well, even in our wet climate.

Above: I like to shell peas outside my greenhouse next to a grapevine trained along the fence.

Above: Luckily, I had decided to ship all my tools from the UK, even though I had to scrub each one with disinfectant to comply with US import laws. It was worth it because I felt like I could get started on the garden immediately.

Above: The first thing I added to my greenhouse was a length of Union Jack bunting. Since then I’ve added mirrors, antique boxes, and vintage terra cotta pots.

Above: One of the pieces I brought with me from England was this rhubarb forcing pot. It’s fantastic for making long, sweet, pink rhubarb stems. I’ve also used it to force sea kale in the past.

Above: I love old terra cotta pots and galvanized tubs and try to use them whenever I can.

Above: The design of the old rose garden lends itself well to growing vegetables. Each year I plant vegetables and herbs in a different pattern radiating out from the central fountain, which we cleared out and repaired.

Above: I mix vegetables with flowers. Here a delphinium mingles with the grapevine.

Above: The benefit of having a fully stocked kitchen garden is that you can use the produce to give as thank-you gifts. This is a vegetable box that I made for one of our neighbors who gave us a bike.

Above: I love to grow the un-buyables: unusual or interesting varieties of artichoke, heirloom tomatoes, and peppers saved from seed.

Above: Picking is a huge part of what I grow. Whatever we don’t eat gets preserved for another day.

Above: Each year I let at least one vegetable go to seed. I’m always surprised at how many beneficial insects the flowers attract. It’s great for the garden and fascinating to my children.

Above: In the evening there’s nothing better than taking a last look around the garden, closing the gates, and putting the tools away, until tomorrow.

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10 Easy Pieces: Best Succulents

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Are you sick of hearing that succulents are “easy” when the only thing yours do reliably is die? The solution is to get the right succulent for the job.

For instance. If you are trying to grow succulents indoors, buy plants with bright green leaves (instead of gray, blue, or purple leaves). When you pot succulents, remember they need better drainage and soil aeration than thirstier plants; use a cactus soil mix and add a layer of gravel to the bottom of the pot. If you put succulents in the garden, dig in some sand to improve the soil’s drainage before planting.

Here are ten of our favorite succulents (and the secrets to keeping them alive):

Black Rose

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Above: Photograph by Gwen’s Garden via Flickr.

Native to the Canary Islands, aeoniums thrive outdoors in similar Mediterranean climates—with hot, dry summers and rainy winters. Aeoniums come many colors—including green, striped, and gray—but we particularly love the black varieties such as Black Rose (above). They create a dramatic counterpoint to blue- and gray-leafed plants in the garden.

Aeonium ‘Zwartkop‘ has long, delicate leaves that taper to a point; a plant in a 1-gallon pot is $12 from Cycadpalm.

Burro’s Tail

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Above: Photograph via Cereal Magazine.

Extremely delicate leaves will fall off at the slightest touch, so place Burro’s Tail in a spot where it won’t be disturbed. A Sedum morganianum has bluish green leaves and, when it blooms, tiny red flowers. A bare-root Burro’s Tail in a 4-inch pot is $7.99 from Succulent Babies via Etsy.

Aloe Vera

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Above: Photograph by Justine Hand for Gardenista.

Hardy indoors or out, aloe is your friend. Of more than 250 species of aloe, the one known as “true aloe” is aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis). Probably because of its amazing ability to cure sunburns. Aloe vera’s leaves ooze a soothing substance that makes a fine hand lotion. An Aloe Vera Medicine Succulent Plant is $14.95 from Cactus Limon via Etsy.

If you, like Justine, keep a potted aloe indoors and snip off the tips of leaves to use for medicinal purposes, you can make your supply go further by propagating the plant’s offsets. Follow Justine’s lead in DIY: Propagate the Plant of Immortality.

Pencil Cactus

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Above: We have good reasons for calling the pencil cactus The New ‘It’ Houseplant. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

Happy to be a houseplant, Euphorbia tirucalli hails from Africa and earned its Pencil Cactus nickname for the shape of its branches. Give it a sunny spot and don’t over-water it, and this hardy plant could grow as tall as 6 feet. A Euphorbia Tirucalli in a 4-inch pot is $12 from Pernell Gerver.

String of Pearls

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Above: Photograph via A Home Full of Color.

A good choice for indoors where you can control its climate, slow-growing String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) likes bright, indirect light—and to be left alone. Let the soil dry thoroughly before watering. Its trailing stems can reach lengths of up to 3 feet. A 6-inch hanging pot of String of Pearls is $12.99 from Hirt’s.

Paddle Plant

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Above: A pink-tinged paddle plant. For more, see Steal This Look: An Indoor Succulent Garden.

An exception to the “bright green leaves only” rule, kalanchoe will thrive indoors in indirect, bright light. One of my favorite succulents, a Kalanchoe Luciae looks like it’s wearing lipstick on the edge of its leaves. The rosy edge makes it a good candidate to combine with other red or purple-leaved succulents. A rooted cutting of Kalanchoe Luciae is $7.95 from Bkyard Paradise via Etsy.

Hens and Chicks

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Above: A variety of Sempervivum. For more, see Steal This Look: An Indoor Succulent Garden.

Growing in tight clusters that look like rosettes, Hens and Chicks spreads quickly to fill a container or a bare, sunny spot in a dry garden. There are thousands of varieties of sempervivum with leaf colors ranging from deep green to pale blue to purple-tinged; an assortment of 11 Sempervivum Succulents is $22.40 from Rainforest Rose via Etsy.

String of Bananas, Lady Aquarius, and Perle Von Nurnberg

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Above: Three hardy succulents for a container garden. For more, see DIY Container Garden: 3 Tough Beauties That Won’t Die.  Photograph by Meredith Swinehart

For a container garden that won’t wilt in the heat, we consulted our favorite succulent expert, Robin Stockwell, who owns Succulent Gardens nursery in Castroville, California. The recommendation: combine trailing blue-green String of Bananas (Senecio radicans); the ruffled rosettes of ‘Lady Aquarius’ echeveria (Crassulaceae echeveria cv. ‘Lady Aquarius’) that are blue edged in pink, and smooth rosettes of pale lavender ‘Perle Von Nurnberg’ echeveria (Crassulaceae echeveria cv. Perle von Nurnberg).

A String of Bananas plant is $10.99 from Succulent Beauties via Etsy. An Echeveria ‘Lady Aquarius’ in a 4-inch pot is $8.95 from Annie’s Annuals. A collection of three Perle Von Nurnberg Echeveria plants is $22.45 from Succulent Babies via Etsy.

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