dreaming of the newest spring perennials

nandina
hellebores

The closest thing I have to color in my garden right now is Nandina berries, but that hasn’t stopped me from dreaming of spring plantings. After a quick seplace online, I found plenty to get excited about. Four new Coreopsis varieties, which require less water than a lot of perennials; a chartreuse-leaved Bleeding Heart; almost a dozen new Helleborus (Lenten Rose), which although slow to get going, are a great solution for shade beds; and eight new Heuchera (Coral Bells), another old-fashioned shade plant. You can find photos and info on the varietals I mentioned on Perennial Resource, as well as the rest of their new for 2011 list. — Sarah L.

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sweater weather: olek’s crocheted charging bull

Olek Bull
New York based artist Olek put her crafting skills to use this holiday season as she worked through the freezing Christmas night crocheting a cozy sweater for Manhattan’s iconic Charging Bull sculpture. The guerrilla art is so bright and cozy (especially against the gray of Wall Street) that I can’t help but fall in love with it. Alas, the neon pink greatness didn’t last long — the park’s caretaker reportedly tore it apart early Sunday morning. No matter, according to Olek, the sentiment stands. She told CNNMoney.com that, “This crocheted cover represents my best wishes to all of us. It will be a great, prosperous year with many wonderful surprises”. – Katie D.

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christmas is over, but we’re leaving the lights

winterlights

Journalist Nancy Nall had an interesting proposition on her blog the other day. I’m not sure she’s even adhering to it (sounds like her husband is a hard sell), but she suggests that we take down the obviously holiday-related Santas and such, but leave the lights up to get us through this bleak time of year. She explains:

The idea is to say, Christmas is over and we’re not going to depress anyone by leaving Santa on the lawn until April, but it’s a long few weeks before we start to see anything approaching the softer light of spring, and so we’re going to let the candle of civilization burn in the dark a while longer. Until Valentine’s Day, say. Who’s with me?

I am, Nancy! I am! The tree is long down, the wreaths are retired, the Rudolphs are packed away for another year. But the blue and green twinkle lights above our deck? I’m calling them “outdoor cafe chic.” The pink lights by our front door? A salve against winter’s chill. Anyone else? — Mary T.

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five things we learned last week

fivethingssnowlamp

1) While not great for kids, we’ve got measuring spoons that are both adorable and actually usable. ModCloth has our number with these Scoops of Flower spoons planted in their own handy pot. DJ says: “Very sweet. I am reminded of the “florist” measuring cups at Anthropologie, but those don’t look too functional, as they have an inner line for the measurement. These spoons look as if they would be functional as well as pretty.”

2) When it comes to New Orleans, you know your food joints. Katie D. asked for recommendations and you had many. Brenna says: “Just spent the holidays in New Orleans and I’m pretty sure all we did was eat…. Highlights were: Stanley’s, Acme Oyster House (go early to lunch to avoid waiting in line), and a finish at Commander’s Palace. A native of NOLA recommended Dominica, but we just ran out of time, and we also wanted to try to the sister restaurant to Stanley’s – Stella’s. Happy Eating!” Where do you eat in New Orleans?

3) We love Windsors, including West Elm’s new take on the style. Ellie says: “Gasp, I do have West Elm Windsor love. I actually scrolled back and said, “Wait, what?”
I do totally love this, I wonder how the construction is though, no West Elm nearby. I am doubting that it has that same engineering that allows real quality Windsors to have strong tighter spindles, especially in the legs, over time.”

4) Gray can be exactly what the doctor ordered. Sarah C. shared her room redesign and her new gray walls are reader-approved! Kimberj says: “Beautiful transformation. Now you just need some art on the walls and you’ll be set. With that soft grey you’ll be able to use vibrant color to bring life into the room. A rich tone of any color will do Love the pintucks by the way!”

5) Art on our iPhones? Yes, please. Brainpickings and Society6 are making it happen. Ellie says: “Oh awesome. Cheaper than the etched bamboo ones I was looking at before Christmas and more durable than the old standby skins.”

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blogwatch: where we’ve been clicking this week

bananas

We are going bananas over these salt and pepper shakers spotted over at Whorange. They are very appealing, yes?

The right basket could make or break an entry way or bathroom. CasaSugar helps narrow it down with this wire basket roundup so we can get to the organizing already.

Speaking of baskets, if green is more your shade of style, how about a basket fashioned from an up-cycled garden hose? Via Re-nest.

BLDGBLOG has a fascinating post about the concept of cryptoforests, and how feral landscapes are reclaiming ground in the urban sphere.

Brita, meet your better-designed sister: the Mavea pitcher, at NOTCOT.

DIY beach glass in four hours, for mosaics, paving, or just for fun. Awesome — thanks, Evil Mad Scientist!

Healthy, spicy, and satisfying : sounds like the perfect moderate winter meal! These cold noodles with peanut sauce from David Lebovitz are definitely on the menu this weekend.

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