Historic Columbia Foundation will host a greenery workshop Saturday at the Robert Mills House and Gardens.
Local experts will demonstrate old-fashioned decorating with fresh holiday greenery. Participants will also create their own decorations to take home.
The workshop will be 1-3 p.m. The cost is $15 for Historic Columbia members and $20 for nonmembers. Call (803) 252-1770, ext. 24, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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"Avant Gardeners" just might shake up your perception of green spaces.
The book focuses on 100 surprising landscapes created by designers who set out to make a statement. The landscapes exemplify what author Tim Richardson calls conceptualist landscape design, a method that uses a central concept to define an outdoor space and combines natural and man-made elements to give the space a modernist and often witty twist.
The result is landscapes such as Place Youville in Montreal, a shady residential plaza featuring a geometric pattern of sidewalks reminiscent of the many walkways that traverse the city; Heiner-Metzger-Platz, a water garden in Neu-Ulm, Germany, with curtainlike sheets of water that appear to be suspended from metal rods; and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in London's Hyde Park, an engineered granite channel that continually changes the flow of the water and the resulting effects.
"Avant Gardeners" is published by Thames & Hudson and sells for $34.95 in softcover.
Wouldn't you like to have some fresh ideas, month after month, for projects and plants to try in your garden or home landscape?
All sorts of garden magazines offer color photographs of model gardens, articles on topics ranging from specific plant profiles to general how-to advice, and plenty of sources for decorative elements and supplies that gardeners need.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Horticulture: The Art & Science of Smart Gardening, www.hortmag.com. Glossy photos and well-known writers make some interesting reading. William Cullina's feature on native grasses in the current issue is insightful.
- The Herb Quarterly, www.herbquarterly.com. This publication, with cozy watercolor illustrations and photos, has been published since 1978. Herb and edible-flower growing, recipes, use and lore, and garden reviews are included. The current issue's feature "African healing herbs" covers unusual plants including neem and nutmeg.
- Fine Gardening, www.finegardening.com. Its far-reaching Web presence is amazing. It include blogs, contests and a discussion forum, and there are how-to videos, including how to prune conifers, and an audio-based pronunciation guide for Latin plant names. The savvy, in-the-moment feeling extends to the print magazine. The current issue features "Conifers for shade" and the attention-grabbing "Ants aren't your enemy."
- Back Home: Your Hands-On Guide to Sustainable Living, www.backhomemagazine.com. This bimonthly magazine is filled with "why didn't I think of that?" ideas. You can learn about creating art by "flower pounding," coping with wildlife damage and blackbird cacophony, and building a cheese press and making your own cheese. Useful and fun ideas for making the most of your landscape and garden.
Black in the garden
Welcome to the dark side.
This is where the other plants grow, the ones that defy the cheery kaleidoscope of nature. They're black plants, some with names that underscore their eerie appearance - names like Dracula orchid and bat flower, voodoo lily and mourning widow.
They're odd and striking and, as Paul Bonine puts it, "They're really weird."
Bonine, a nursery owner with a penchant for these horticultural curiosities, celebrates them in the new book "Black Plants: 75 Striking Choices for the Garden" (Timber Press, $14.95).
Black plants lend an aura of mystery to a garden, but they also provide a dash of sophistication, Bonine said.
He argues that black plants bring to the garden what a black granite countertop adds to a monochromatic kitchen or an ebony necklace to an uninspired outfit - a bit of panache that sets off whatever's around them.
Black plants aren't purely black but rather have exceptionally dark red or purple flowers, leaves or fruit.
Some black plants are particularly striking. Chinese cobra lily (Arisaema concinnum), for example, has a showy black-and-white-striped spathe, a curved bract similar to a jack-in-the-pulpit's. Large wild ginger (Asarum maximum) has fuzzy petals with a furry white ring at their base.
Others are flat-out creepy. The petals of Vampire's Dracula orchid (Dracula vampira), for example, are veined with black and white lines and surround a light pink pouch that resemble a little coffin. Voodoo lily (Dracunculus vulgaris) has a black spike in the center of a spathe the color of raw meat and the foul odor of rotten flesh.
Your garden might never be the same.