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SUSTAINABLE LIVING: GARDENING

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow 
– Audrey Hepburn 

Originally planted during World War I and World War II, victory gardens offered food security, reduced pressure of the food supply, and encouraged morale during wartimes. They have made a resurgence amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with many citizens of communities across the world going “back to the land” and planting in everything from a balcony window box to a tilled plot in their backyard. Monday was World Plant a Vegetable Garden Day, and to continue the theme of gardening, we are sharing resources, inspiration, tips, and stories all about getting back to the land and Mother Earth.  

Sow a Seed 

Sourcing organic cotton seed to grow our own and seed bombing around our community, we believe in quality and natural materials and ingredients. If you are looking for heirlooms, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds out of Missouri has a wealth of seeds and interesting varieties (over 1350) and a beautiful annual seed catalog. Look further into heirlooms with Seed Savers Exchange to find seeds, along with resources to grow, save, and share yours. Chef Scott Peacock is on a “plant safari” at his Alabama home. He’s been growing and saving indigo and other extremely rare seeds over the past few years. And Row 7 Seed Company offers all organic seeds that have been developed in partnership with chefs to create great tasting food. 

In The White Gardens (and others)  

If you visit our studio or tour The Factory, you will notice the walls and tables are painted a statement white (Sherwin Williams Westhighland White to be exact). It’s not too warm, not too cool. It allows the space and its contents to be the focus. Natalie continues her love of the reflective “color” as the color palette in her home, and it extends into her home flower garden— #inthewhitegardens. Her flower beds are filled with white irises, gardenias, viburnums (her grandmother called them snowball bushes), roses, peonies (Shirley Temple), cleome, and yarrow. Varieties that have been carefully collected and planted over the years. Each planting has a story and is intentionally placed in her beds, creating a beautiful and modern landscape design that, along with her vegetable garden, complements her outdoor living space. 

Many iconic artists are known for their gardens, and some of our favorite #womenartists have gardens that are still thriving and being cared for today: Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul. (Frida inspired our 2017 Collection.); sculptor Barbara Hepworth’s Trewyn Studio home, which is now a museum and sculpture garden in her name; and Georgia O’Keeffe’s Abiquiú Garden at her New Mexico home and studio, which is also overseen by the museum in her name. 

Slow Flowers 

Local flower growers are making names for themselves at weekly farmers markets. Many even offer a CSA program similar to the traditional, offering up a floral arrangement each week during season. If you have access to fresh flowers, whether from your own garden or a local grower, the Heath Ceramics Bud Vase is the perfect vessel. If you are looking to create your own cut flower garden or practice your floral design (or simply look at beautiful pictures of flowers—because who doesn’t), The Flower Recipe Book breaks down arrangements as if they were recipes, listing the ingredients. Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden and A Year in Flowers provide guidance in growing and celebrating sustainable flowers. Deborah Prinzing’s Slow Flowers Podcast is a great listen that highlights the American floral industry.  

Tools of the Trade 

Our friends, Alabama Sawyer, make the most beautiful compost bins (along with other products) from fallen trees. We never thought we’d call a compost bin beautiful. They use urban wood that is diverted from landfills to create modern, environmentally sustainable products from their studio in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Our friend Erin from Reading My Tea Leaves recently wrote about kitchen scrap gardens. These tiny gardens can be grown in glass jars. Weck Jars are our favorite glass canning jar, but everyone knows and loves Ball mason jars, and to get your plants rooted, you don’t have to get fancy. 

As a stylist, Natalie became accustomed to wearing a tool belt for her styling tools. When you’re working in the garden, that translates to a garden tool belt. Wheeler Munroe Leather Co. in North Carolina makes leather belts that hold pruners, snips, a phone, and more. Grow Organics has everything you could need to grow, weed, prune, irrigate, and harvest a garden—you name it. And if you are looking for expert advice, the legendary Alice Waters shares tips for growing your own fruits and vegetables. Happy planting. 

Images from the lovely Rinne Allen, who documents the natural world so beautifully.  

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