Using Faux Bois in the Garden

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While visiting the Nashville Antique and Garden Show this year, faux bois was one of the key items featured in the garden dealer booths. These items were all sold early on Friday, proving their popularity. All these were made of concrete, included moss patina, and most were brought back from Europe by the dealers. Faux bois details are great in many gardens for this contrast of cottage and modern. There is also many different ways you can add it to your garden.

Collection of antique Faux Bois planters seen at the Nashville Antique & Garden Show - More images and details at Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

CONCRETE FAUX BOIS

One of my favorite garden containers I own is the faux bois planter next to our back door. It is my favorite for a few reasons. First the story of when and where we found it. (It was on a detoured state route in rural Wisconsin on our trip back from the PPA symposium in Minneapolis, MN. It caused us to u-turn in the middle of the road and strapping down luggage to get it back to Ohio.) It is also my favorite for the mix natural wood graining in the rough and raw texture of concrete. The fact it needs leveled with pennies, missing a small chuck in a foot, and an amateur repair on side adds to its charm.

Faux Bois Planter over the season - how to incorporate faux bois into the garden - more at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Our container at home at a few different seasons. This is placed at our back porch against the black portion of our home which makes both the container and plantings pop.

 

Faux Bois fiber cement table top planter filled with succulents - more at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

This is a small concrete planter belonging to a client that is planted with succulents. The smaller sized containers look great on outdoor or indoor tables and do not require a crew of people to move.

 

Faux Bois planter filled with ferns seen in Preston CT. - More on Faux Bois at Thinking Outside the Boxwood

We saw this faux bois planter in Preston, CT over the summer filled with ferns. Something this size is extremely heavy but its heft is scale and weight gave it the realistic feeling of a carved out tree trunk.

 

Outside of planters, faux bois can be added to the garden in furniture. There is antique furniture and contemporary designers still crafting in these designs today. Carlos Cortes is the most recognized craftsman, (see article from Martha Stewart here). Other designers include Branch Studio, Husson Studio, and  Marcella Marie.  Outside of using concrete you can also find cast iron benches with faux bois details.

 

RESIN FAUX BOIS

Besides our concrete planter, we have had a wood stump planter that was painted at one time to look like a real wood stump, but over the past few years has chipped off. This is a much more manageable size to use and moves around from inside to outdoors. This one is made of a mystery resin and was purchased a long time ago at auction with no maker marks. Even up close this planter looks very realistic compared to the concrete versions.

Using Faux Bois in the Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

CAST IRON FAUX BOIS

Cast Iron Faux bois is another antique item you can use to add to the garden. From benches, hitching posts and ornaments, the cast iron stands up to wear and tear. Oddly enough we saw no cast iron faux bois while at the Nashville antique and garden show.

Faux Bois in the Garden - Cast Iron Hitching Post at Moss Mountain Farm. More at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

This cast iron hitching post is from Moss Mountain Farm, the home of P.Allen Smith. Painted black it is the perfect fix of form and function.

 

Using Faux Bois in the garden - Metal Edging that evokes bent branches. More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Here are two runs of metal edging that evoke the look of bent branches. Adding these are a subtle nod to natural elements in the garden while serving a function creating edges to different areas.

 

 

SEWER TILE FAUX BOIS

Another antique faux bois planter belonging to my in-laws collection is made by sewer tile craftsmen. These are made from the same material as the tile, so have the color of the red clay used. These are American made but are equally expensive as their European counter parts for their rarity.

Using Faux Bois in the Garden - 20th Century Sewer Tile Faux Bois Planter - More examples on Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

This planter is about 2 feet tall and 3ft wide and crafted using clay used to craft sewer tiles. This planter was purchased in Southern Ohio and was most likely made by a Ohio craftsman.

 

 

BOARD FORMED CONCRETE

Finally, the most contemporary way of adding faux bois to the garden is using board formed concrete. This could be in retaining walls or in fireplaces, really any were you would use poured concrete. These are created using wood boards that have been sandblasted to bring out the graining in the forming process. HERE  is a great post about how it is accomplished.

 

Faux Bois in the Garden - Board Formed Concrete from Howells Architecture +Design from Dwell. More uses at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

A board formed concrete wall from Howell Architecture + Design via Dwell.com This method can be used for fire pits, walls and raised beds.

 

 

Here is a round up of some faux bois planters that don/t require visiting antique shows , France or farm auctions.

Using Faux Bois in the Garden with containers - More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

(1) Martha Stewart for QVC 19 inch Planter

(2) Capital Garden Products Driftwood Planter

(3) 910Casting Concrete Faux Bois Planter

(4) Pennoyer Newman Tree Hallow Planter

 

I ordered the Martha Stewart QVC 19” planter, and will let you know what I think about it when it arrives in March. Also, this spring I am planning on selling some of our antique garden items. I have held on to stuff for too long and it’s time to pass along and make room for new items. Will keep you posted, but I know metal edging is going to be up for grabs.

 

Spring in Miniature, RH + Branch Studios, Plant Obsessed and The English Garden Revivial

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I know “round ups” for blogs normally are posted on Fridays, but lately I have only been able to devote snippets of time to pleasure reading. Just in case the gardener’s spring to do list also has you busy, here are some quick hits of stuff you might find interesting.

 

SEEING: Spring in Miniature

We only had a few warm spring days so far this year, which has delayed any large showing of spring colors. Luckily there are a few bulbs poking through, even if they are on the petite size. I am so excited to see the first sights of spring, even if it means crouching down to appreciate.

firstsignsofspring

 

 

BUYING: Restoration Hardware collaboration with Branch Studios

Susan Cohan shared the scoop a few weeks ago on Deborah Silvers collaboration with Restoration Hardware and her Branch Studio containers. We have used her containers at client’s homes and they are as beautiful as they are durable, containers that will be around for years to come.  You can see the complete Restoration Hardware collection in the new Outdoor catalog, but currently you can only order the fountain. Congrats to Deborah and the entire Detroit Garden Works team, your work is visionary.

Restoration Hardware Deborah Silver containers

 

 

PLANTING: Camouflage™ Variegated Japanese Aralia

While reading the latest issue of Garden Design Magazine, I found a new plant that I am obsessed with, Camouflage™ Variegated Japanese Aralia. Introduced to North American by Dan Hinkley in 2008, the shrub is now distributed by Monrovia Nursery. Currently unavailable, the irregular variegation of the yellow, lime and green leaves on the distinct foliage shape makes it a focal point in any garden design. If I could get my hands on one, I would start with using it in a container and then place in a design once I can get at least three plants. Let me know if anyone has one!

camouglage variegated japanese aralia_02 camouglage variegated japanese aralia for Dan Hinkley and Monrovia Nurseries

 

 

WATCHING: The Great British Garden Revival

Over the winter I got hooked on watching season one episodes of The Great British Garden Revival off YouTube.  The hour long programs follow two different gardens types and provides the history, impact and how-to tips that both the novice and experienced would find valuable. I have not been able to locate any of the season two episodes online, but for those lucky Brits episodes are airing now.

Annual trip to Detroit

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Last weekend I made my semi-annual trip up to the northern suburbs of Detroit for work and inspiration reboot (there are lots of photos to share). I have posted about this trip before, but I find new inspiration each time I go. Detroit is in the news mainly about the post apocalyptic state and mass exodus of the city proper residents. However those who can invest in the city and outside in the suburbs, really are investing, building and taking pride in their area. I am not one to go into the politics of the situation, but I do advocate visiting Detroit. We ate very well, explored very different areas and met with passionate gardeners. The Pure Michigan commercials really are true.

 

One of the main reasons for the timing of our trip was to take part of Detroit Garden Work’s annual Garden Cruise benefiting Greening of Detroit. I believe Deborah Silver and the folks at Branch and Detroit Garden Works are true artists, craftsmen and really just pure genius. When we drive around, you can spot Deborah’s work instantly in either container design or the form she creates in a garden. I really wanted the chance to tour her gardens from more than the street, and the pleasure of touring her own garden at home. There were six gardens featured, some all by Deborah others were a combo of her and the home owners.  Here are photos from the gardens on the tour:

 

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The containers are Branch Studio designed and were planted well over 10 feet tall. The photo does not do the scale justice.

 

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

The next house on the tour was a smaller Tudor style with a silver front yard and pure green structural back yard.

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

This home featured a front bed planted with three pure silver plants, that provided a calm palette with movement and texture. See the photos below for the whole layered design.

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The home also featured branch studio window boxes planted with:

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The sphere and water features are both designed by Branch Studio via Detroit Garden Works.

 

Another house on the tour featured an elliptical shaped garden and a border of perennials- but the true show stoppers were the twin fountains flanking the central walkway.

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Our final stop on the tour was Deborah’s home. The show stopping feature were the home’s original containers (featured below) and her bubbling water feature. Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodAnnual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Work's Garden Cruise, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Since our trip was to pick up some containers from Detroit Garden Works, Here are some photos from the store. They create and import some of the finest garden containers and decor. Always worth a visit to see the unique.

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Works, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Works, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

This water feature was insane. It was created by welding all the individual rods by men swapping every 20 minutes to ensure a random pattern.

Annual Trip to Detroit,  Detroit Garden Works, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

We also made our first visit to Urban Detroit Gardens and Fleur Detroit which is just down the street from Detroit Garden Works. Honestly kicked ourselves for never stopping on previous trips. The shop blends the entire garden lifestyle with outdoor, interiors and flowers/events.

Annual Trip to Detroit, Urban Detroit Gardens and Fleur Detroit , Thinking Outside the Boxwood Annual Trip to Detroit, Urban Detroit Gardens and Fleur Detroit , Thinking Outside the Boxwood Annual Trip to Detroit, Urban Detroit Gardens and Fleur Detroit , Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Our Trip also included a visit to Cranbrook Educational Community Campus in Bloomfield Hills and Greenfield Village in Dearborn. The sprawling Cranbrook campus includes k-9 schools, collage and two museums.

Annual Trip to Detroit, Cranbrook Educational Community Campus , Thinking Outside the Boxwood A water feature at the Cranbrook Art Museum. There was so much more to take photos of, but we had rambunctious kids, so taking photos was limited.

 

Annual Trip to Detroit, Cranbrook Educational Community Campus , Thinking Outside the Boxwood

This was the Corten landform at the entrance of the campus. Corten has yet to make its appearance in Columbus, but you see it all round in Detroit’s landscapes.

 

Below is are garden at an 1600’s English cottage at Greenfield Village. We spent a full five hours touring the buildings, playing and riding the train. What Henry Ford created was almost like the Disney World for historical life. Buildings from across America and England were transported to the village to compile a 300 year view into working and living experiences.

Annual Trip to Detroit, Greenfield Village , Thinking Outside the BoxwoodAnnual Trip to Detroit, Greenfield Village , Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

So there was our Trip to Detroit in a 20 or so photos. I could add a few more must see places, so if anyone is interested in my complete list of places to see while in the area send me an email or comment. I feel like an unofficial ambassador for Southeast Michigan.