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How to get your green on early in the season

Times being what they are, I’m naturally eager to get my green on early. Nature being what it is, my little corner of the world isn’t quite ready for full-on, dirt-under-the-fingernails gardening.

Until the weather does co-operate, I’m content to gather inspiration from The Kinfolk Garden—How to live with nature, a beautiful coffee-table book that explores the outdoor world, the home, and how they intersect. The latest in a lifestyle series from John Burns, also editor in chief of quarterly, Copenhagen-based Kinfolk magazine, it focuses on interesting and unusual gardens that function as places to work, play, and entertain.


A lush greenhouse in a quiet corner of Turkey. Excerpted from The Kinfolk Garden by John Burns (Artisan Books) © 2020.
Photograph by Ekin Özbiçe

Thirty well-told tales about gardeners, florists, and homeowners around the globe are accompanied by pictures of these special places, which include a private palm “museum” in Marrakech, a sustainably-designed glass house in the California desert, and a home nestled in a boulder-strewn Mallorcan mountain grove.

The book is also a reminder of how well nature can be echoed in the home with simple gestures, like those London, England-based botanical artist Yasuyo Harvey makes with spare but striking floral sculptures, collages, and assemblages.  

Bringing nature indoors can be as simple as plopping a houseplant in a holder. Winnipeg-based home retailer EQ3 has simple, elegant, and affordable options, including Dover planters — hand-made from terracotta, a porous, clay-based ceramic that absorbs moisture and helps keep soil healthy.

Hardy Hanging Planters are made from poly-coated paper that look a bit like artfully-crinkled brown bags and which soften with use. They’re a nice touch in casual, unfussy spaces. Another option—slip a potted plant into EQ3’s Faris basket, made of braided jute, and which can either stand upright or have its edges folded down to frame a plant.

Online plants sales have soared, as has the demand for locally-sourced product. In Vancouver, for example, the family-owned  Plants Vancouver sells local, sustainable, eco-friendly flora at accessible prices to its Metro area. Mass retailers like Home Depot tout connections with 32 Canadian growers, adding that the company is seeing rising interest in vegetable and herb gardens, and outdoor spaces that incorporate native plants for pollinators. 

There are also easy ways to incorporate a garden feature into even the most space-challenged backyard, including  the Algreen 32.5-inch vertical planter from Rona, which can hang on a fence, deck, or wall. It holds integrated, customizable slots for three planters. Inside, it could serve as a seasonally-flexible indoor plant feature, possibly in the kitchen.

Even simpler: load the top of a bar-cart with plants and a pretty watering can, and tuck tools, pots, and gloves on the bottom. So portable, it can be easily moved throughout the year to catch the sun—even onto a balcony for spring/summer—making it extra-sensible for small spaces.

The feature pic is the cover of The Kinfolk Garden by John Burns (Artisan Books) © 2020 Photo credit: Sarah Blais.

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