Jack Breier’s University City garden is far from the typical suburban variety, where one might find a few well-manicured yews and flowering annuals in pretty pots. Rather, it’s more like the Missouri Botanical Garden in miniature.
When St. Louisan Julie Longyear founded Blissoma, her holistic skincare and apothecary company, 10 years ago, she was met with some resistance for her all-natural approach. “People asked, Why would I want to do that?” she recalls. But these days, natural skincare is more than just a fringe movement, and the job of educating the public on its benefits has gotten a lot easier. We recently caught up with Longyear to discuss the evolution in the industry.
Potted plants soften the edges of hardscape, mute street noise, and create a lush, colorful backdrop. One of the beauties of container gardening is that plants may be moved around to find the ‘best’ spot for their culture.
• KEEP IT CONSISTENT. Many times, we're asked to do outdoor areas where we get involved with everything—fireplace, hot tub, outdoor kitchen… It's nice to have one designer or company design the whole thing. That way, you can use all the same stone for the entire area.
All St. Louisans know—it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. Either way, summers in the city are scorchers. Cool down and unwind with a dip in one of the area’s top pools, for the afternoon or all summer long.
Part of the joy of gardening is the daily surprise. Sometimes, conditions conspire to make a garden look tired and worn, such as extreme summer heat compounded by drought. Those days, while disappointing, must be endured. However, on other occasions, gardeners may draw a lucky had when strange combinations of conditions bring about splendid moments. This year, for example, the long, cold soil temperatures slowed down the early varieties of spring bulbs; then good moisture and warm sun brought out the late-season kinds right on schedule. After the winter of death, we needed a break.
Grace Your Table with South African Splendor
Another production year in the fields is winding down at Claverach Farm, but there’s a lot to look forward to in 2014 and beyond. For many years, Claverach Farm has had a presence at area farmers markets and as a produce supplier to a few of St. Louis’ popular restaurants, including Sidney Street Cafe, Stellina, Oceano Bistro and Farmhaus, just to name a few. But in more recent years, operations on the Eureka farm have grown and expanded, with great promise for the future.
Our gardening romance with the most exotic and tropical-looking South African plants has very deep roots. Some 250 years ago, Scottish botanist Francis Masson was the first of the global plant explorers from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, to study these plants. Masson brought to horticulture more than 400 species of South African plants such as the king protea, geranium, cineraria, calla lily, bird of paradise, red-hot-poker, Agapanthus and Amaryllis belladonna. He deserves many thanks for his contributions to our garden world!
The cool, crisp fall weather is perfect for sampling St. Louis’ signature outdoor festivals. Follow this guide to your next autumn adventure.
Five Bistro started out in the Grove but moved to The Hill a couple of years ago, where its reputation as one of the most creative and innovative local eateries has been solidified. The name of the restaurant comes from the five senses Chef Antony Devoti and his staff strive to stimulate with their fare. Devoti is a well-known adherent of the doctrine of nose-to-tail cooking, and he uses most every part of the animal in his dishes. He's also a champion of local producers and his creations are full of ingredients from area farms and purveyors. Five also has an impressive garden behind the building that yields many vegetables and herbs for the kitchen, and the staff is happy to give guests a tour of the rows.
Perfection takes time, this Ladue family moved into this home five years ago. Their garden has it all: a pool, dining areas, seating surrounding a fire, and a large lawn for the kids—all enhanced by beautiful plantings.
St. Louis restaurants were well represented on the Opinionated About Dining's Top 25 Midwest Restaurants list that was recently released. Niche took the No. 2 slot; Sidney Street Cafe was No. 8; Stone Soup Cottage was No. 11; Brasserie by Niche came in at No. 12; Farmhaus garnered No. 13; and Tony's landed at No. 20; and Harvest rounded out the list at 22. Well done!
A reverence and respect for water is a universal theme, found in cultures from ancient Greece to the remote Pacific Island of Vanuatu. The ritual significance of water spans across the globe to include the Native American rain dance, Christian baptismal font, the gleeful splashing of the Songkran water festival of the Dai New Year and the solemn funeral pyre on the Ganges. Learning to manage water, whether it is a lot or a little, is an important part of our shared community. Well-handled water can be cleansing, refreshing, energizing. Out-of-control water has the power to drown and destroy, to wash away with time even the greatest of mountains.
With warmer days upon us and the return of the ruby-throated hummingbird, it’s time to start thinking about creating an outdoor space that is not only pleasing to our feathered friends, but to us, as well. Fortunately, it’s also time for the Webster Groves Herb Society’s 40th annual herb sale, which takes place Saturday, April 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at First Congregational Church of Webster Groves. With more than 10,000 plants and 320 different varieties of both culinary and ornamental herbs, as well as heirloom vegetables, there is sure to be something for everyone, including our friend, the hummingbird.
Feeling a little green-eyed towards someone else’s green thumb? MoBot horticulturists explain how can homeowners achieve formal gardens in St. Louis backyards.
Salish Lodge and Spa is one of those places that the travel gods sometimes reward you with. Booked at the tail end of a driving tour of the Northwest, I wasn’t expecting much. Boy, was I surprised!
In the world of professional gardening, winter brings on different tasks. Hopefully, most of these jobs will be indoors when the weather is at its worst, as snow-shoveling and ice-chipping rank near the very bottom of our favorite jobs list. About the only things lower on that list are cleaning up the bird messes under the seed feeders, mucking out the pond on a cold spring day or spreading ripe manure in the heat of the summer. Gardeners usually use the winter season to plan future plantings, research new materials, order specialty items and peruse plant catalogs.
It’s a true garden oasis with a brick-and-mortar backdrop at 4605 Olive St., the urban home of Bowood Farms. And amidst the lush vegetation of a nursery and gift shop and two abundant gardens, diners can enjoy seasonal fare at Café Osage.
We love giving gifts of plant products to friends near and far. One of my favorite treasures to send is maple syrup from our relative’s farm in New Hampshire. It takes 100 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, but don’t look for the romantic image of draft horses hauling a sleigh of sap. Today, sap is extracted from trees with a web of plastic tubing and a giant vacuum cleaner. You can find the result in gift-sized cans or bottles at many local retailers.
One of the greatest joys of having a garden, indoors or out, is to prepare your own delights from the good earth’s bounty. Whether you grow it yourself or get the freshest produce at the local market, nothing makes the holiday season more special than ‘homemade.’
As I start the planting plan for my new Chinese-themed garden at our home, I have been using the Missouri Botanical Garden Flora of China, free and online at efloras.org. This technical compendium is a handy resource for identifying plants that I have seen in gardens and might want to use here. The Flora of China project, co-edited by my husband and spanning 25 years of international cooperation, is almost complete, and has given me the chance to know and love the gardens and plants of this amazing country.
Not all foods are created equal. At least, not when it comes to nutrition. The average American diet remains lacking in nutrient-dense foods, and most people continue to consume more than enough processed food products, stripped of nutritional benefits and full of empty calories.
Growing up in the ’60s, Linda Pilcher had the good fortune of having a mother who was a really great cook. And beyond that, she actually made healthy, fresh things, like her own yogurt and granola. “That’s the tradition I grew up with,” recalls Pilcher, owner of Something Elegant Catering. “But in the sense of what is happening today, it was not quite the same because people really didn’t think so much about locally grown and produced foods. It wasn’t in our vocabulary.”