the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 9 – mini cacti from Hi Cacti…

There is something rather wonderful about having living things around you. It is simply not natural for us to only inhabit spaces that are synthetic – man-made buildings, interiors and structures where the only thing that is alive is us. Fortunately, many designers are realising the uplifting and positive benefits of having life in our buildings and biophilia, the integration of natural light, natural materials and plants is gaining more practitioners. Unfortunately, many people think that they are just not blessed with green fingers, so steer away from green companions in their spaces. This does not have to be the case. There are plenty of plants that require very little care and attention – it’s day 9 on our Eco Gift Guide and we have the rather fantastic little cacti of Hi Cacti…

Concrete Planter, Cactus/ Succulent Plant Pot, Handmade, Turquoise, Tall Size- Includes Cactus or Succulent

With a very TexMex feel, the hand cast concrete pots of Hi Cacti feature contrasting bands of colours and metallics, perfectly complimenting the different living inhabitants – each one chosen specially to match the pot itself by cactus queen and owner, Sabina Palermo.

With pale blues to deep blacks and warm coppers, there is definitely a cactus for anyone. Plus, by their very nature, they thrive on almost no care and attention at all. A light mist of water now and then, and barely anything in winter, cactus are the most forgiving of all the plants you could choose.

Concrete Planter, Cactus/ Succulent Plant Pot, Handmade, Cream White, Tall Size- Includes Cactus or Succulent

And they LAST. At this time of year, the shops are stuffed with all manner of plants that are bold and brash, covered with glitter or apologetically seasonal. Whilst these fellows will brighten your life for a short spell, cactus will be a chum for life, with just a little love.

Concrete Planter, Cactus/ Succulent Plant Pot, Handmade, Copper Bronze, Tall Size- Includes Cactus or Succulent

So, if you want to give someone the gift of life this Christmas, why not consider the lovely little fellows at Hi Cacti?

*** PS – we have a little selection of the Hi Cacti range at our Artists Open House – last weekend 10/11th December, 11-5! ***

(images via Hi Cacti)

Wednesday walls – espalier apples, alliums and box…

Today on Wednesday walls we are giving you a very brief peek at our new studio, which is finally taking shape and will be open very soon for the Brighton Eco Open Houses tours in the middle of this month. It is an old public toilet that we have converted into a new design studio (in keeping with our upcycling obsession), and as well as having a lovely interior space, we have a lovely exterior space too – which we are filling with fruit and herbs, including espalier apples, alliums and box. espalier apples alliums and box 1Now, you may be thinking where the wall aspect comes in today – well, with our south facing studio we have two walls which are perfect for fruit trees – and specifically, espalier trained apple trees.

The espalier trees not only benefit from the support of the wall (they will be tied into supports on the wall), the fruit will benefit from the heat that the bricks will store.

espalier apples alliums and box 2We have chosen two espalier apples for the front of the studio, which have now been underplanted with Purple Sensation Alliums, Box (which will be trained into spheres) and lavender, to aid pollination. The rest of the planters are now filled with more bulbs, grasses, herbs and fruit – plus there will be seasonal vegetables planted too over the coming months.

As well as the side walls, we have the front facade of the building, which will soon have a kiwi fruit scrambling up the front and a green wall planted above the cycle racks…

So – make the most of your walls for planting – and get fruity!

(photos by claire potter)

 

which witch hazel is our favourite?

There are always plants which designers use more than others – those which they know work well, how they partner up or simply just adore. One that is always on our adore list is the beautiful Witch Hazel family, or to give them their proper name, the Hamamelis.

As we mentioned in another recent post, the winter garden can be pretty bleak and bare, but there are a few plants which can be utilised for their beautiful structures and scents.

In our opinion, the witch hazel falls nicely into both the stately shape and great scent boxes.

ruby glow witch hazelComing in a smattering of varieties in reds, through oranges to yellows, each bloom seems to cling to the bare branches like dripping wet spiders trying to dry out. Their scent is sweet and the branches can be brought into the house to offer winter scent, but in all honesty we would rather appreciate their beautiful shapes in the semi shady parts of a garden, with something dark behind them to offset their flowers.

And whatever you do, do not crowd a Hamamelis. They look best as solo dancers.

And our favourites? Well, we love the reds, so Ruby Glow (above), Diane and maybe some hot orange of Jelena. Lovely.

(image via RHS)