Green Acre Lucky #13: From Trash to Treasure

SOMETIMES, AND BY THIS I mean almost daily,  the design pages of the New York Times provoke me to scream, Are you out of your minds!?
And I say this fondly, being an ex-New Yorker, born and raised and schooled and—to demonstrate my street cred—once able to tell at a glance a real Gucci bit on a shoe from a knock-off, and consider this essential information.
I am looking at a planter by designer Huy Bui, who wears what might impolitely be called a shit-eating grin in the photo that accompanies the interview, as well he should. It’s really a terrarium and it’s constructed of oak strips that you mount yourself, “like Lego blocks,” he says, on a charred wood base, whatever that is. Part of his “Homemade Collection,” it can sit on your tabletop for $850.
I think, I’m in fact sure, the parts for something like this are lurking in our garage, or possibly the basement. Maybe the attic.
For your outdoor space, Mr. Bui suggests various planters, including one with “deep asymmetrical ripples,” called the Babylon. Designed by Harry and Camila for Dedon, “it comes in four sizes, the largest more than three feet tall—ideal for a tree.” It costs $1,385 and is made of polyethylene.

Green Acre: Have a Finger? Grow a Plant!

JULY 6, 2016


Tradescantia pallid. / Above and cover photo by Stephanie Cavanaugh.

I JUST FLIPPED through 42 Googlets on the care, feeding and propagation of spiderwort—or, as my Jewish grandmother called it, wandering jew. This is the plant least likely to require any instructions whatsoever.
I have been growing tradescantia pallida (as it’s more haughtily called) since 1972, or thereabouts, when Stan and Betty Gottlieb gave me a sprig snipped on a trip to Jamaica or Trinidad or Aruba. I stuck it in one of the many potted avocado plants that lined the windowsill of the New York apartment I shared with my husband once removed (the Pre-Prince), and it grew.
Avocado plants raised from pits (stick a couple of toothpicks into the sides and balance on a glass of water until roots emerge) do not usually fruit, at least in northern climes. They are useful as screens, however, in this case softening an unglamorous view of Columbus Avenue (except when Robert Redford, in all his Butch Cassidy glory, was playing tennis across the street). They are also fine starter plants for budding gardeners since the process is so stupidly simple.