At the crest of every hill in San Francisco, there is a new idea in full bloom. The latest comes from a group of friends who started Bloom That, a flower delivery service that delivers in a pinch. Featuring a curated selection of options with prices starting at $25 (they cut out the delivery fee entirely like a long, thorny stem), Bloom That dares you to leave showering the one you love with flowers to the last minute because you can. Well, 90 minutes to be exact.
Working with local florists, these on-demand bouquets are designed with style, sustainability, and simplicity in mind. Yes, the flowers are colorful and the company is green. Arrangements are wrapped in recycled burlap that have been donated by the coffee roaster, Weavers. And if that didn’t suit your eco-conscious conscience enough, flowers are hand-delivered to your door by San Francisco bike messengers. Whether you desire an array of succulents or a wild surprise from the flower market, Bloom That is the newest and quickest way to bring nature to your door.
Happy Friday! Now that the workweek is through, why not fix yourself a cocktail? Our friends at the Four Seasons, New York suggest their take on the New York Gin Cream, using only ingredients found within 100-mile radius of the city––part of a worldwide program to showcase local ingredients. What better way to welcome the weekend? Cheers!
New York Gin Cream
By Simon De Swaan, Food and Beverage Director, Four Seasons Hotel, New York
1½ oz Fox’s U-bet Vanilla Syrup (made in Brooklyn)
1½ oz Whole Organic Milk (local farm stand or Whole Foods)
Club Soda or Seltzer water to taste
Combine ice, syrup, gin and milk in a large martini shaker. Shake and pour drink mixture (without ice) into a tall soda fountain glass. Top with seltzer or club soda to get a frothy/bubbly finish on top of the mixture. Garnish with a black and white cookie and a straw.
The Lore of the Egg Cream:
Egg Creams have been a part of the soul of Brooklyn for years––whether chocolate or vanilla they are dear to many New Yorker’s (mostly Brooklynite’s) hearts. This sparkly-sweet drink has been around for more than a century and we’ve added our own twist using Greenhook Ginsmith’s Brooklyn Gin to make our own version called the New York Gin Cream––Four Seasons Hotel New York’s 100-mile cocktail.
There are many stories of how the Egg Cream got its name, but one story goes that it was first created by a Jewish candy-store owner, Louis Auster, who opened a legendary shop on Second Avenue and Seventh Street in the 19th century. From then on, many soda fountain jerks have recreated the coveted Egg Cream as well as laid claim to being the inventors. Regardless of origin, the Egg Cream is one traditional all New Yorkers can get behind.
It’s edible garden weekend at San Francisco’s Flora Grubb Gardens. If you’re an SF resident (like me) you won’t want to miss Saturday and Sunday’s workshops featuring Christopher Shein on Edible Ecosystems and Clarke de Mornay on Vegetables in the City.
This is a great time to start thinking about cultivating a sustainable food supply in your very own backyard. Whether you’re a green thumb or an aspiring one, don’t let that pesky fog belt discourage you! Both Shein and de Mornay know the ups and downs of permaculture in the Bay Area. Perma-what?
According to the Permaculture Institute, “permaculture is an ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor. It teaches us how build natural homes, grow our own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities and much more.” Eager to know more? Well, it’s time to learn because wouldn’t it be great to have your backyard be the farm in the farm to table dynamic? I think so. See you in the garden!
Longwood Gardens is surely one of the best and brightest botanic gardens in the U.S. Known for their artistic endeavors and research rigor, the garden is also a force in the cultural conversation around community, as well as climate.
Today, I’ve been asked to speak at their Garden Educator’s Forum, “Changing the Conversation - Communicating Climate Change.” Not because I am as well versed in the science. My fellow speakers Steve DelGreco, Acting Chief of The Climate Services and Monitoring Division at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center (whew) or Caroline Lewis, Founder and Director of The CLEO Institute are taking care of being the experts. Rather, I am here because of my past as a digital advertising executive, someone whose job it was to help big brands engage people in online spaces from Facebook to search engine optimization. I hope to inspire and educate the leaders of America’s best public gardens on how social media can help educate their communities, as well as those on the fence about climate change.
Let’s face it – the new reality is here evidenced by the change in gardening zones to the effects on our food cycle and extreme weather such as Sandy. Each region in the world, the U.S. has and will face its own unique challenges, but the innumeral long term effects to our biodiversity are a global concern.
What does this all mean for you? At the micro level, it might change your idea of how and what you plant. It’s been so interesting thus far to consider questions about planning in lieu of climate change. For example, as DelGreco pointed out, “Should someone in the Northeast be replacing a fallen maple tree taken out by Sandy? Probably not with another maple tree.” There’s also been a lot of talk about the small things gardeners can do to make a difference in preparing and also, slowing down climate change.
It’s easy to get lost in the big headlines and old school talk centered around things like recycling. Take a step back and really learn about what climate change means. You can also watch PBS’ Earth, The Operators Manual. Pretty fantastic. For gardeners, check out The Climate Conscious Gardener, which outlines small things that you can do that can make a big impact.
I am pleased as punch to be part of this conversation today. I need to start thinking about what I’m going to do, because honestly – I’m not doing my part… yet.
Since writing a post about ducks in the garden, I’ve had my ears and eyes out for more animal-based horticultural good-doing. This week, I got wind that a herd of goats have started grazing phragmites (an unruly invasive plant that colonizes wetlands) in Fresh Kills park, Staten Island, NYC. Fresh Kills is a little bit of a miracle in and of itself, sans invasive-species-destroying goats. Once the largest landfill in the world, it is now the largest restoration project in NYC, replacing acres of garbage with huge expanses of beautiful coastal habitat. The grazing goats emit far less methane than the machines conventionally used to control phragmites, are able to access the often tricky areas phragmites likes to grow, and correctly managed, their waste provides free fertilizer! Although goats have been used to control exotic weeds on the rangelands of the American west for many years, this urban experiment in NYC is one of the first of its kind! Read more about it here.
Occasionally, Wilder posts on international boutique Opening Ceremony’s blog. Our recent post features an interview with Bill Dilworth, caretaker of THE NEW YORK EARTH ROOM, a 35-year-old installation maintained by the DIA Art Foundation. Set on the sixth floor of a New York Soho loft, the installation is literally made of earth – 250 cubic yards, 3,600 square feet, 22 inches of depth. It’s a bit unbelievable. My favorite quote from Bill:
New York is a wild place––a lot of commotion. And this is in contrast to that. New York is always changing; this is radically unchanging. I think to be surrounded by all of New York City makes this a very poignant and healthy place. And it has given me that sense of balance in my own life. The time tells the story there. The interesting thing is that Dia supplies the time for this to be here––for decades.
Wild edibles can be found almost anywhere, even in the middle of Manhattan. If you live in New York city and want to learn what edible plants can be found growing around you, sign up for the 2 hour tour guided by foraging expert “Wild Man” Steve Brill on April 28th. Brill is the author of “Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plant in the Wild (and Not –So-Wild Places)” and “The Wild Vegan Cookbook”.
Bring plastic bags for collecting wild edible “shoots, greens, herbs and roots” and paper bags for mushrooms.
Not in New York? Don’t worry there is a “Wild Man” Steve Brill app for IPhone and IPad.
“In truth, the art of natural dyeing has been near dead since the mid-Victorian era. Yet in Ms. Duerr’s experience, the last couple of years have seen a new bloom of interest in growing botanical dyes.
In a formerly derelict lot in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, a new dye garden and Community Supported Agriculture program will begin this spring. The Textile Arts Center, which is helping to start the garden, will offer not just plant material, but a workshop and access to its Gowanus studio. All 10 of the offered shares sold out in mid-March.
Natural dyes exist all around us, said Isa Rodrigues, 26, who organizes the center’s Sewing Seeds program, yet “people are not aware of them.” Colors can come from common flowers (like dahlias and marigolds); tree leaves (Japanese maple, sweet gum); berries (blackberry, elderberry); herbs (mint, rosemary); nuts and shells (acorn, black walnut hulls); and barks (birch, madrone).”
Necessity is the mother of invention. And with more and more city dwellers taking an interest in growing their own food, numerous ideas have emerged to conquer the limited space that plagues urban green thumbs. Enter, the potato barrel. It’s the spud’s version of a city skyscraper. Plant your taters down deep in an old whiskey barrel (Or a bucket. Or a garbage can. Or a stack of old tires) and flip the container over at season’s end to harvest. The barrel minimizes space, mess, and time spent growing and preparing your crop. An excerpt from Scott Meyer’s ‘The City Homesteader’ explains how to make your own here.
Image shot by Sandy Austin
For those of you in New York on March 16th, the Horticultural Society is hosting a conference on urban farming where folks like Erika Brenner (Dekalb Farm), Annie Novak (Growing Chefs), Phyllis Odessey (Randall’s Island Park), and Britta Riley (Windowfarms) will be in attendance. A bit more about the event:
“While the potential of urban farming is huge—NYC alone has some 25,000 acres suited to it—this potential remains largely untapped. We will explore urban farms that have made it in NYC, as well as discuss hurdles to further development, promising avenues for activists, and what role we can expect urban farming to play in the larger food system. Whether you’re new to the concept, have been scratching city dirt for decades, or hope to make your mark on our food system, this conference will put urban farming in a “big picture” context with something for everyone.”
For more details, head on over to The Hort’s website.
Photograph taken by Jackie Snow of Annie Novak for Wilder Quarterly Winter 2012
Designer Matt Singer has teamed up with Rivendell Mountain Works to create a limited-edition backpack to benefit the Million Trees NYC initiative. Their goal is to plant and care for one million new trees across the City’s five boroughs over the next decade. Planting trees is one of the most beneficial and cost-effective ways to help clean New York City’s air to reducing the pollutants and cool the city.
The bag is handmade in the Washington Cascades with the impeccable sturdiness and quality that Rivendell made its name on back in the 70s. The backpack is available in limited numbers, so if you want, it best go get it now. If you live in New York City and want to support Million Trees inititviae by volunterring, you can get in touch with them here.
City parks are more than just places to walk your dog and catch a few rays of sun. Vestiges of natural habitats that once flourished before human populations expanded, parks serve a conservation purpose, too. In San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, a little plant known as the white rayed pentachaeta thrives amidst mostly non-native neighbors. An endangered relic from the park’s past life as a serpentine barren, the population growing on the San Francisco peninsula is one of the last of its kind.
The plant puts on a fantastic show in early spring, covering drab wintry hills with countless heads of nodding white and yellow flowers. In the megatropolis known as New York, similar sights can be seen at this time of year too as ephemeral wildflowers raise their heads for the briefest of moments before diving back down into the urban soil.
Image shot by Sage Ross
A roomy windowsill? A south facing ledge? Throw in some soil and the right plants, and you’ve got what it takes to start your own urban garden. To begin, measure the amount of direct sunlight your spot gets. It might be tempting to fill your space with edibles, but most herbs and vegetables need at least six hours of sun to flourish. Select durable containers that maximize space and won’t rot, like ceramic troughs or oblong planters, and fill with a good potting mix like Fafard ®. Make sure the planters’ drainage remains unobstructed by placing a piece of broken crockery, or a stone, into each of the holes before filling with earth. Soil should be tamped down into place to prevent later compaction and sinking.
A garden grown from seed works best as a jubilant tangle. Sow seeds in spring, after the danger of frost has passed, and barely cover with soil. Nasturtiums and lettuce are good edible selections for the usual, part-shade fire escape garden. Purple ageratum paired with pale lavatera give height and structure to the display.
For the lucky gardener with ample sunlight, salvia is the word! Salvias come in every shade of blue, red and pink, are tireless bloomers, easy to grow from seed and highly drought resistant. Potted plants require dedicated daily watering, so cut down on your work time by pairing salvias with tenacious succulents that you may keep nestled indoors like aloe, stonecrop and hen and chicks.
Image shot by Winona Barton-Ballentine
Emmett Zeifman is the photographer behind this stunning photograph of Barcelona’s overgrown architecture, which appeared in our debut issue. He’s also an architect and one of the editors of Project Journal: “Project argues for the potential of critical and sustained ideas in architecture, investigating the possibilities that exist for architects to develop and articulate a project.”
Through the rabbit hole of Emmett’s blog, I landed on Capriccio Log . Capriccio Log is a Tumblr of architecture musings – photoshopped images of inspiration. There’s some amazing images where the imagination of : 1 / 2 / 3. Enjoy.