Guest Post: The Leslieville Flea on Container Gardens

With spring on the way (hopefully?) people are thinking about gardening. Planning an outdoor garden is wonderful if you have lots of space, but many people only have small yards...or even just a balcony or terrace.  

Even if your footage is tiny, there are still plenty of ways to create a green space. Container gardening has increased in popularity as a great way to add some colour and life to your yard, deck or balcony. The Easter Sunday Leslieville Flea is a great place to find the right container for your garden! And Cubits Organics will be their selling their fantastic varieties of organic, rare and heirloom seeds.

When thinking about container gardening, keep in mind the look of your home and your own personal style. Bringing your inside aesthetic outdoors is a great way to create flow and harmony in your home. For example, if your taste is modern, choose planters in solid colours that have clean lines and strong architectural lines. 

If your style is traditional or eclectic, choose containers that reflect your personal taste.

Think outside the box for the types of containers to use as well. Old wooden crates, vintage tin containers and even metal trunks can make interesting and functional planters. 

Here are some how-to tips when creating a container garden:

• If the container itself doesn’t have built in drainage (hole or holes in bottom) make sure to line the bottom of your container with a few inches of gravel or stones. This will help drain the excess rainwater away from the roots and prevent root rot.

• Group your containers together for visual impact. To add extra interest, try using varying heights and sizes of containers, or using placing some containers on top of objects to vary the heights (pic of varied heights of grouped planters).  

• Just as choosing a container is key, what you put into it is equally important. Soil choice is critical. Choose a very good quality soil that has peat in it as well as some sort of particulate to aid in aeration and drainage—most garden centers will sell a soil that is specifically made for container planting.

• Plan your plants! Choose flowers and foliage that will complement each other in scale, colour and bloom cycles. It’s always nice to have something blooming just as something else is dying off. Picking plants that are drought resistant is another good idea—especially if you are prone to not spending enough time with them (as I am guilty of). Succulents are a great choice (think hens and chicks and sedum) because they store water in their plant bodies and will thrive even in dry conditions.

• You can also create several different zones or clusters of containers in your space. A kitchen garden with herbs for cooking or small tomato plants set near your back door will provide a handy resource for your cooking! Nothing tastes quite like something grown in your own garden.

•You really can have a fantastic green space even if you don’t have much space to begin with. Plants add much- needed life and colour to any outdoor area. Play around with container gardening...the best thing about it is that they can easily be rearranged and you can experiment with new ideas without too much commitment.

We here at Covet Garden are pleased to have Chris Roberts and Brigid Elmy, founders of the Leslieville Flea, as guest bloggers. Visit their blog for regular news and style ideas. And and keep checking this space for more of their insights on incorporating vintage and handmade finds into your decor.


We Covet: A.J. Donahue's Winnipeg Chair

[Arthur James Donahue's Winnipeg Chair from Issue 44 photographed by Donna Griffith]

The current issue of Covet Garden features home owner Alexandra's rare example of Canadian modernism architect Arthur James (A.J.) Donahue's Winnipeg Chair (aka The Canadian Coconut chair).

Donahue (1917 to 1996) was born in Regina, and educated in Minnesota and later attended Harvard where studied with Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius in the 1940s. It was at Harvard where he began to explore the modern applications of traditional techniques of bent wood furniture construction.

Donahue eventually landed in Ottawa, working for the National Housing Commission and the National Research Council. In the post-war era, pre-fab consreuction was all the rage. When Donahue moved to Winnipeg to teach architecture, he brought all of these experiences with him to develop the Winnipeg Chair, his sexy, low-slung lounge, in his basement with the assistance of his students.

The chair is a simple plywood shell, supported by metal rod legs and covered in textured textiles. It originally sold for $35 at the Hudson's Bay Company. It's called the Canadian Coconut because of its resemblance to George Nelson’s Coconut chair—which wasn’t introduced until 1955. Donahue was ahead of the curve in many other respects. He is credited with designing the Monarch Life and the Faculty of Architecture buildings in Winnipeg and the Confederation Building in Charlottetown, P.E.I. He later relocated to Halifax, and many of his modern masterpieces can be found across that city. 

While his work moved away from furniture design, his buildings share a similar modernist philosophy as well as a love of wood and other natural materials. If, like Alexndra, you ever come across one of these beauties, treasure and enjoy it!


Best of Etsy: Blue Valentine

[image: Donna Griffith]

The Covet Garden team has always been a little obsessed with indigo dying — especially when the rich blue hue is paired with ancient techniques such as shibori. It is a slightly messy process, so we've been waiting for months for the weather to turn warm again so we can work outside. Check out the DIY in our current issue to see some of our past projects.

As we look forward to warmer days, we've searching Etsy for vintage and handcrafted to get our indigo-inspired fix. The following images are just a few of the picks that we've assembled for our list of favourite finds. Check it out and spread the blue cheer around.

[XSilk Indigo Ikat Dot Shirt]

[Papatotoro Large Indigo Laundry Bag]

[Jo Design Co. Indigo Lampshade]

[Lucky Red Bat Antique Japanese Indigo Cloth]



Issue 44 is Now Live!

[Issue 44: cover image by Donna Griffith]

It’s not often that we get the chance to snoop around inside an actual curator’s home, so we were super excited to get a chance to explore Alexandra’s space and collections. Not only is Alexandra super knowledgable about fashion, textiles and just about anything else, we love her wit and her welcoming nature. The home, which she shares with her sons Wyndham and Hugo, is full of amazing objects, but the inviting living areas are the opposite of institutional. We think you’ll agree.


Sneak Peek: One of a Kind Show Spring Show & Sale

[Bookhou bucket tote, $60]

Like a guy who starts wearing shorts when it’s only 5°C outside, we can’t contain our excitement about the One of a Kind Show Spring Show & Sale which starts today at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place. First of all it’s always an amazing opportunity to score great treasures because it brings artisans and designers from across the country to one place. This year 150 makers will be displaying their wares at the show.

As always, we are keen to discover new makers as well as visit with old favourites. Each year, too honour folks who have helped build Canada’s current scene, a One of a Kind veteran is inducted into the Hall of Fame. This year, the show is recognizing John Booth and Arounna Khounnoraj of Bookhou (and from our January 2012 issue).

[Etsy seller SHIiliconfETTI's Cloud pastel pillow, $50]

As for the new, One of a Kind has created distinct market places to showcase new and undiscovered artisans. The diversity of First Nations contemporary craft gets a showcase at the Thunderbird Marketplace while the Etsy Section will highlight the talents of online entrepreneurs.

[Matter Company Mom belly jelly, $19]

What else can we tell you? There are craft workshops to help you get your creative juices flowing. If you can’t make it during the day, there’s a late night shopping extravaganza on Thursday. And on Sunday, Jessica, Lynda and myself will be talking about our favourite conversation pieces from the show.

[Tissage Magély Weaving pastel-coloured blankets, $80 (small) to $155 (large)]

[Etsy seller Embroider{wee}embroidered art, $15-$20]

[Mad Batter Bakers cookies, $3.50 to $4]

And of course, there's yummy food. 

The show runs until Sunday, so come on down and discover your next new favourite artisan or object!