Garden arts and crafts
This story appeared in Buffalo Spree's Annual Holiday Shopping Guide, an annual supplement distributed to all of Spree's subscribers.
Ask any gardener what the two hottest DIY trends are for their hobby; it would be very surprising if you did not hear “concrete and terrariums” or some variant. This is interesting because both have been around for some time, but the current resurgence is impressive and all-pervasive. Fortunately, we have two down-to-earth how-to books from Timber Press that will enable beginners to get started right away with these attractive crafts. They’re excellent gifts for almost any gardener—even if he or she has never heard of either technique (unlikely), they soon will. We also recommend what is probably the last of a limited edition Buffalo garden-related gift.
A crafty garden water globe
Though most of the Buffalo-related snow globes created by artisans at Avalon Designs are sold out, their Botanical Gardens lighted Water Globe is still available at The Floristy, Jenss Decor, and the Burchfield Penney Museum Shop. Here’s another great idea for the gardener in winter. It’s also a timely reminder to visit the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical gardens for a lovely cold weather respite. It’s as close to the tropics as you can get without the hassle of air travel.
Terrarium Craft by Amy Bryant Aiello and Kate Bryant
Remember terrariums? Remember the seventies? Maybe not, and maybe it’s just as well, but these are not your mother’s or grandmother’s terrariums. Twenty-first century terrariums have leapt to the forefront of the fine art milieu; a terrarium installation by Paula Hayes was recently exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art. She calls hers “biomorphic containers”; you can too, as long as you design them right. For that, you’ll want to refer to Terrarium Craft by Amy Bryant Aiello and Kate Bryant. (Timber Press, 2011.) The important elements for a terrarium are containers, the soil combo, and the plant choices. Light also plays a role. Once you’ve got everything in balance, a terrarium can last for years with practically no maintenance. Another book I highly recommend here is Tovah Martin’s The New Terrarium. (Clarkson Potter, 2009.) It too, has all the basic instructions as well as some drop-dead gorgeous terrarium photography. This is the perfect winter garden craft, which makes it especially appropriate for Western New York.
Concrete Garden Projects by Camille Arvidsson and Malin Milsson
The earthy, rustic look of concrete containers provides a classic, non-distracting backdrop for plants. This book instructs how to make such vessels, as well as a large and ambitious range of other projects, such as stepping stones, birdbaths, small ponds—even benches. Working with concrete is much easier than you might think. All it takes is the ability to read simple instructions, and the willingness to experiment—and perhaps a certain insouciant attitude about making a mess. As with any newly-acquired skill, failure is part of the process, but concrete is a remarkably forgiving medium. As the book demonstrates, there is no limit to what you can create, as long as you can devise the mold. The book is written by designers Camille Arvidsson and Malin Milsson. (Timber Press, 2011.)