wednesday walls – a cor-ten steel fence…

Ok. We are bending the rules just a touch today with this fantastic image. Not strictly a wall, today’s post is all about a fence. Constructed from cor-ten steel, the fence has a beautiful rusted appearance and allows it to blend rather beautifully with its location whilst still being a modern take on a fence.corten steel

Designed by Mikyoung Kim, the fence mimics the patternation of the oak leaves which are found on the site of this private residence in Massachusetts. The use of the cor-ten steel means that the structure is still fully stable even with the rusted appearance and does not require any coatings or paint. Even though using a weathering steel such as cor-ten is not the cheapest of options for a project, there is little ongoing maintenance required for the material which is protected by the outer ‘rusted’ layer, which cuts down on both cost and time implications.

It also gives a very lovely shifting colouration which is hard to get in metal but often found in wood, allowing it to feel as natural as possible. It is quite an acquired taste however, with some feeling that cor-ten steel just looks like rusted steel (which of course, it is), but we think that it is a highly versatile material.

And there is nothing wrong with a little rust eh?

(image via

SPOTTED – the first winter violas – chocolate cake with edible flowers…

We had a day off yesterday for the Bank Holiday, when, of course, it rained, but at the weekend we had our village fair in the dappled sunshine which was excellent. It is lovely to meet up with neighbours and friends and have a good old chat on the village green with a slice of something decadent from the cake stand. I did, however, miss out on grabbing a slice of the cake I made – a chocolate cake with edible flowers – with the first of the new winter flowering violas and pansies.

chocolate cake with edible flowers

We love using edible flowers in our recipes – in salads in summer, and in ice cubes, but the best way is to top a dark and lush chocolate cake with edible flowers.

Plus, the dark chocolate ganache of the cake sets the colours of the flowers off beautifully. We chose violas and pansies, which have a beautiful range of colours, shapes and sizes and look very sweet on the cake. The purple also goes very well with the chocolate (and the scattering of purple edible glitter too).

We used both violas and pansies on the cake, including the smooth variety and the new ‘ruffled’ pansies, which gave a bit more interest. And if you pick the flowers, they will produce more, so do not hold back for edible decorations for your cakes.

Fancy something else for your own chocolate cake with edible flowers? Why not try (the very last) rose petals, both wild rose / japanese rose or your own from your garden, or perhaps a bright and brash fuchsia ballerina flower – or the fruit pods?

And don’t forget lavender, which is simply stunning on (and in) any cake…

(photo by claire potter)

weekend colour inspiration – purple and greens…

We quite often bang on about how you can find inspiration anywhere, and if you can’t, look again (which is also the title of one of our favourite books by Paul Smith). Well, for our weekend colour inspiration this week we have a photo that we took whilst in the rather magnificent Arundel Castle Gardens – nice combo of purple and greens in these lovely Cobea flowers…

purple and green


But what to do with such a palette? Purple and greens are often seen in exterior spaces, and are actually two of our favourite shades, but for an interior? Well, they are both rather strong, so perhaps think about using them sparingly on a few accent pieces, such as throws and cushions.

Our favourites are the traditional Welsh blanket geometric designs by the wonderful Melin Tregwynt, which have been proudly woven in Wales for the last 100 years, which come in a huge variety of colour combinations – including purple and greens.

Their St David’s Cross design is one of a collection in the ‘cassis’ group which feature great combinations of the colours.

A lovely way to bring a bit of purple and greens into an interior…

(top photo by claire potter, lower photos via melin tregwynt)

SPOTTED – structures in Arundel Castle Gardens…

Last week we had a very rare day off to visit Arundel Castle for the medieval tournament (which was fantastic) but as well as watching the most magnificent jousting and sword fighting, we also had a very lovely tour of the gardens. We have already spoken about the inspired allium and lavender planting combination that we spotted in the cutting garden, but today we are looking at a few of the structure in the Arundel Castle Gardens

First up is this wonderful green oak arch / walkway that features in the Collector Earl’s Garden, which is beautifully simple, yet also a very accomplished piece of timber structuring.

arundel castle gardens 1

Framing views, the archway and dome provide both focal points and a touch of shade in the otherwise exposed Italianate styled garden. This is a key top tip for spaces of any size – if the eye sees everything at once then a space can feel uninteresting or even a great deal smaller than it actually is. By framing views and breaking up the expanse you create increased interest in any space, whilst also having the opportunity to direct a focus in any direction you choose, such as towards a sculpture or even the view beyond.

arundel castle gardens 4

The timber structures in the space continued with a quite incredible wooden folly, decorated with antlers.

arundel castle gardens 6

And also the fantastic Oberon’s Palace, which featured fountains and sculptures and was surrounded with large terracotta pots filled with cool coloured Agapanthus.

arundel castle gardens 5

But the structures continued into the cutting and edible gardens too, with the imposing green oak arched walkway being reflected in an apple archway, which not only provided a productive architectural element to the second part of the gardens but visually tied these very different spaces together.

arundel castle gardens 2

Covered with (we think) Ashmead’s Kernel, the apple archway also allowed framed views of the historical buildings of Arundel…

arundel castle gardens 3

The Arundel Castle Gardens are all accessible within the entry level ticket and, in our opinion, are one of the huge highlights. There is a stunning amount of variety, and at this time of the year, they are also abundant with flowers and fruits. Plus, the Head Gardener and team are out and about – and were very pleased to impart their knowledge of the space and the gardens to the visitors. We were even given a small bunch of sweet peas.

A wonderful gem of an attraction in Sussex – the Arundel Castle Gardens are beautiful, slightly bonkers and varied. Which in our book is quite a winning combination.

(photos by claire potter)


SPOTTED – the Hookie Planter…

We do love a bit of internal planting here on the Ecospot, especially when it is hanging planting. Plants really can make the space come alive, plus it can help to soften an otherwise hard interior design scheme, especially if you are going down the industrial styled route, as we often are. Add in the air cleansing qualities of plants and you are onto a winner. So when we saw these new Hookie planters, we were, er, hooked. hookie

Founded by Finnish industrial designer Niko Laukkarinen, the Hookie was borm out of the idea of supporting multiple plants from one single fixing point. It is also rather sculptural, which is an element that we particularly like.

And you can also support the project itself, as it is currently looking for funding here.

Play Hookie With These Hanging Planters in main home furnishings  Category

(images via Hookie funded by me page)

SPOTTED – a few lovely public landscaping details in Berlin…

Ok – we are still talking about our recent trip to Berlin, but hey – there was loads of great stuff to report about. Rest assured, we will be finishing our Berlin series this week… But, before we do, we are dedicating today’s post to a few fantastic little bits of public landscaping that we spotted while we were there.

bikini berlin landscaping 1

As we reported yesterday, the whole area of Bikini Berlin, which encompasses both the new concept mall and the 25hrs hotel has undergone a serious amount of regeneration of late. The new concept mall is on three levels, with the top level stores opening out onto the public roof terrace – overlooking the monkey enclosures of the zoological garden again.

What was lovely about this space was, firstly, it was publically accessible – too often the lovely pieces of landscaping that surround buildings, or sit above buildings are closed off to the general public. Not so here – there was plenty of space to sit and take in the views of the tiergarten or the city either on one of the cafe areas or on the public seating, which hooray, there was also an abundance of.

bikini berlin landscaping 2

These large bench seats, which were colour matched to the soft green of the metalwork inside the mall were also fitted with a very simple and very clever back rest adjustment system, so you can decide which way to face. Very nice.

The detailing on the terrace was also rather nice – the geometric wave set into the railings that looked over the zoological garden mirroring the angular rooflights that floods the mall below with light.

bikini berlin landscaping 3

Also, the front of the hotel entrance carried on this angular public landscaping, with stepped planters rising out of the flat paved areas – creating both visual interest and a planting depth to allow larger specimens without the planter being blocky. It was also – as I discovered – rather good to sit against.

A very lovely example of cool, contemporary, angular landscaping – and not just for the private office and workspace users of the area – for the public.

Long may it continue.

(photos by claire potter)

join us on our Chelsea Fringe edible city foraging walk this saturday…

Hello everyone. Apologies for the few posts that have disappeared over the past few days, we have been experiencing a bit of a tech melt down… but, we are still here (actually, we are in Berlin at present with Fixperts, but more of that next week) and we will also be getting ready for our Chelsea Fringe event this coming Saturday!

Chelsea Fringe 2014 Flyer merged

Last year, we ran a very popular guided foraging walk in Brighton, so we have decided to keep to the theme and are running another three – this time in the centre of Brighton, starting in the landscape behind Brighthelm on North Road. This will be a bit of an intro to what you can find in the city which can be easily foraged.

We will be starting at 11, with each walk taking about an hour, including a free foraged cordial drink at the end and a free copy of our very special and very new map of Brighton which you can customise yourself with the icon stickers…

Spaces on the walk are FREE but VERY limited, so please get in touch to reserve a space on one of the following time slots:

11.00 am walk / 1.00 walk / 3.00 walk – email us on to reserve a space, or use the booking form on the right of this page…

In between times, we will be at our little stand in Brighthelm selling copies of our Edible City pack (map and stickers), plus copies of our limited edition A-Z of British Apples prints, so please do pop by and say hello! If there are any spaces left on the day you will be welcome to join one of the walks but we cannot guarantee that there will be any left!

Oh – if you have previously got in touch about reserving a space on the walks, please get in touch again – we have lost a lot of emails in our recent tech fail…

We look forward to seeing you!

weekend colour inspiration – landscape details…

Today, as it is of course, the week of the Chelsea Flower Show, we are looking at a nice landscape detail we spotted on Pinterest…

landscaping lines

We are big fans of creating lines in the landscapes that we design, both in the detailing and the layout, so we thought that this particular piece of detailing was rather lovely. The grass strips linking into the paving, linking into the cobbles and paving beyond is a very good example of bringing interest to even the smallest of areas.

This sort of design can be used to navigate around an area, designating the walkways, or even areas that you are not supposed to travel within. It can also help to link borders into walkways by allowing planting to drift into the paving areas.

So – not strictly a colour inspiration, but hey ho.

(photo via Pinterest)

Monday musings – this years Chelsea Fringe event announced…

Well, well, well. Where exactly has this year gone? We honestly cannot believe that it is a year since we did our Edible City foraging walk for the Chelsea Fringe festival last year. So – what are we planning on doing this year Another Edible City foraging walk, but this year, we are planning a few little extras, which we will be revealing over the next week or so…

Chelsea Fringe 2014 Flyer merged

Yep. A foraging walk, a free map and even a foraged drink at the end…

Extra details coming very soon…

SPOTTED – the Brighton Artist’s Open Houses – the Fiveways trail part 2

For our second part of our jaunt around the Fiveways section of the Brighton Artist’s Open Houses we found a lovely little selection of garden ceramics and illustration. In fact, so far we have found quite a few great examples of exterior ceramics this year – all taking references from seed heads or petal formations, but each with their own twist.

First up was the beautiful exterior ceramics of Frances Doherty, which are currently on show at 31 Havelock Road, number 9 on the Fiveways trail this year. They look like massively enlarged close ups of flowers, giving the ‘bugs eye view’ that Doherty looks for in the pieces she creates. The colours are intense and beautifully formed and would look great in a flower bed to give extended interest, particularly in the winter months. 
frances doherty 1

Next we tripped over to 28 Florence Road (which is actually part of the Beyond the Level trail, but hey ho) to see a wonderful range of both painting, illustration and sculpture. We were very taken with the printing and illustration of Jonny Hannah, which had a very voodoo type styling, playing with the iconography of tarot cards in bright and brash paintings. We loved the ‘welcome to dark town’ prints, which each had a different back illustration.

jonny hannah 1

The tarot style painted playing cards were displayed in a large grid formation above the fireplace, which, in itself was very striking, but each one is actually available to purchase individually. Framed up, these little cards would bring a real injection of colour and character to a tiny room. Stunning work and we had trouble choosing our favourite.

jonny hannah 2

Last up, we ventured into the garden, with our pot of fresh coffee and cardamom coffee cake and carrot lime cake (highly recommended!) and enjoyed sitting beneath a fully blossomed tree in the sun, taking in the view of the gorgeous walled garden and the sculptures that were on display from Si Unwins.

si unwins 1Taking another view of the stylised naturalistic, these sculptures were created using centres of carved wood with bent, verdigris patternated copper nails creating the main seed head elements of the piece. Available in a variety of sizes and styles, these sculptures both blended with the surrounding foliage and created a real impact once you spotted them.

A great set of garden ceramics and illustration and definitely something for everyone…Especially if you like cake too. Which we do.

Check back at SPOTTED next Tuesday for the next instalment in our travels around the Artist’s Open Houses in Brighton…

(photos by claire potter)