Book Feature: ‘Living Floral’

It was so lovely to work on this shoot with Flower Magazine for their Sept/ Oct 2018 issue. ‘Talent at the Table’ captured outdoor autumn entertaining at an 1840s estate, nestled within Northwest Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Valley Park. I got to design with dahlias from Laura Symes Andrews, florals from Liberty Plants, and foliage foraged from around the property. Everything was sourced from the northern edges of the city, giving us a hyper-local glimpse of early October in our watershed.

Everything was captured beautifully by Alison Conklin photography, and all the shots can be viewed on her blog. I found out after the shoot that our collaboration would also be included in a book! Living Floral: Entertaining and Decorating with Flowers, by Margot Shaw, is now available from Amazon or your favorite local bookseller. It’s chock full of visual inspiration, personal stories, and tips for infusing daily life with the richness of flowers. Snag your copy today:

Living Floral: Entertaining and Decorating with Flowers

Easter 2017

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Whether you are setting the table, or bringing a hostess gift, an Easter gathering wouldn’t be complete without botanical beauty! Lunaria can provide floral arrangements, bouquets, plant packages. Order early – supplies are limited! Contact [email protected] with any questions.

Pickup/ delivery schedule:

Friday 4/15
10a-noon: Awbury Arboretum Agricultural Villlage, Germantown, Philadelphia
1p-7p: Lunaria Gardens nursery, Roxborough, Philadelphia; possible custom delivery

Saturday 4/16:
10a-noon Chestnut Hill Farmers Market, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia
2p-4:30p Free Library Central Branch, Parkway District (evening pickup available for The BUZZ event attendees)

Easter Sunday 4/17
Pickup points or custom delivery

 

Premium bouquet

 

philly plants organic nursery

Plant availability list

 

Small mixed succulents, $7 each, 3 for $20

 

Tropicals (contact for availability and pricing) or houseplant gift boxes available

 

Mid-Atlantic Native Food Forest Polyculture for Rain Gardens & Wet Sites

On June 6, 2015 at Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery, I taught a workshop on Creating Native Food Forests. We discussed our woodland biome & the cycle of ecological succession, contrasted the outputs of wilderness with conventional agriculture, and detailed some possible direct and indirect uses of edible forest gardens. We then looked at some agroforestry case studies, like Mark Shepard’s 100+ acre New Forest Farm, Fields without Fences in Frenchtown, NJ, Eric Toensmeir & Jonathan Bates’ 1/10 acre Paradise Lot, and Steven Gabriel’s ‘De-slugging the Woods‘ maple-mushroom-duck polyculture.

It seems that everyone has a downspout or some greywater that could be redirected into a rain garden, so I pulled a selection of Edge of the Woods plants favoring moist to wet soil conditions. I wanted to highlight how these native species could produce nuts, fruit, berries, vegetables, tea, and medicine, as well as ecosystem services like nitrogen fixation, pollinator habitat, stormwater management, and watershed quality improvement.

mid atlantic native food forest polyculture rain garden

Species List (roughly from largest to smallest mature size)

1. Pecan / Carya illinoinensis / 70-100′, delicious nuts, high value timber

2. Pawpaw / Asimina triloba / 10-40′, most commonly 20-35′, delicious fruit (improved seedlings and grafted forms available), deer & pest resistant, host to zebra swallowtail butterfly.

3. Downy serviceberry / Amelanchier arborea / 15-25′, species within the Amelanchier genus go by many names and have varying sizes and habits, but all have highly ornamental white spring blossoms, followed by small, flavorful berries, and burgundy fall foliage. Not very picky about soils, serviceberries offer a nice alternative to acid-loving blueberries.

4. Hazel alder / Alnus serrulata / 12-20′, nitrogen-fixing, high wildlife value, glossy, ribbed leaves tinged with red, winter interest.

5. Spicebush / Lindera benzoin / 6-12′, a graceful shrub providing lemon blooms in early spring, glossy red berries, and yellow-gold fall foliage. Aromatic twigs and leaves can be used as tea. Host plant for spicebush swallowtail.

6. American black elderberry / Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis / 6-12′, insectary umbel blooms and dark purple fruits, usually stewed and consumed as cordials or cough medicine. Several ornamental cultivars are now available, featuring varied foliage and flower color, or improved fruit quality. Self-fruitful, although a pollinator will improve fruit set.

7. Ostrich fern / Matteuccia struthiopteris / 3-6′, ornamental fern producing edible fiddlehead vegetable of early spring. Will spread via stolons, and foliage will die down by mid-summer.

8. Swamp verbena / Verbana hastata / 2-5′, ornamental candelabra-like blooms, insectary, ‘cure-all’ medicinal, usually consumed as tea.

9. Goldenrod ‘Fireworks’ / Solidago rugosa / 3-4′, top herbaceous insectary species according to Douglas Tallamy. Ornamental golden sprays in late summer/ early fall. Medicinal/ tea.

10. Hoary mountain mint / Pycanthemum incanum / 2-4′, native, insectary mint. Medicinal, tea, potherb.

11. Nodding onion / Alium cernuum / 1-2′, ornamental flowers, insectary, deer/ pest resistant, all parts edible and used like scallions

12. Labrador violet / Viola labradorica / 4-6″, groundcover, ornamental and edible purple foliage and lavender flowers. Host plant for fritillary butterflies and seeds are favored by cardinals & other songbirds.

 

Related posts:

Lunaria Gardens Nursery

#SavetheBees: ‘Queen of the Sun’ screening and pollinator panel discussion, Doylestown, PA

Photos from Forest Gardening workshop at Fields without Fences

Notes from Edible Forest Gardening Workshop with Eric Toensmeier

 

Contact Kristen Jas Vietty

Photos from Forest Gardening Workshop at Fields without Fences

I was recently lucky enough to attend a forest gardening design & installation workshop led by Sean Walsh, on June 28, 2014. I first met Sean over Memorial Day weekend, 2013, where we both attended a permaculture water systems workshop with Andrew Faust, and then teamed up to create a design proposal for the workshop site, Green Light Plants. I was impressed with his knowledge and experience gained since his time at the Conway School of Landscape Design, and now he’s leading Appleseed Permaculture’s New Jersey franchise.

The workshop was held just outside of Frenchtown, NJ, at Fields Without Fences, operated by Johann Rinkens & Lindsay Napolitano. This 10-acre commercial food forest project is just in their second growing year, and it’s amazing how far the site has come in that time. They have an excellent website that describes the history of the degraded land, and how they are restoring the ecology – do check it out. Fields Without Fences’ products can be purchase through a New Jersey based farm distribution service, Zone 7.

I’ll just tell the story of the workshop in photos below:

Appleseed Permaculture's Sean Walsh, introducing forest gardening concepts and showing us some site assessment examples.
Appleseed Permaculture’s Sean Walsh, introducing forest gardening concepts and showing us some site assessment examples.

 

Johann, Sean, & Lindsay orient us with the Fields Without Fences site.
Johann, Sean, & Lindsay orient us with the Fields Without Fences site.
Lindsay fields without fences forest gardening
Lindsay describes their approach to raspberry management. She describes observing brambles growing in wildflower fields, so they pair raspberries with Echinacea/ coneflowers. The flower’s sturdy stems hold the berry canes upright, negating the need to build trellises.
A shot showing a glimpse of the many polycultures utilized at Fields Without Fences. I spy a young pawpaw, comfrey, bolting lettuce & sorrel, and allium flowerheads.
A shot showing a glimpse of the many polycultures utilized at Fields Without Fences. I spy a young pawpaw, comfrey, bolting lettuce & sorrel, and allium flowerheads.
Lindsay called the elder the iconic plant of Fields Without Fences, and it was, appropriately, in full bloom during the workshop. They sell the aromatic elderflowers as well as the berries.
Lindsay called the elder the iconic plant of Fields Without Fences, and it was, appropriately, in full bloom during the workshop. They sell the aromatic elderflowers as well as the berries.
A closeup of an elderflower, as well as some developing berries.
A closeup of an elderflower, as well as some developing berries.
Fields Without Fences has a small annual vegetable production area, where the polyculture approach is still utilized.
Fields Without Fences has a small annual vegetable production area, where the polyculture approach is still utilized.
The main pond collects runoff from this previously waterlogged site. Since this photo was taken, the pond now is home to a couple of ducks.
The main pond collects runoff from this previously waterlogged site. Since this photo was taken, the pond now is home to a couple of ducks.
Most of the site is cover cropped with a seed mix heavy in red clover. The farmers leave it in place, fixing nitrogen in the soil, until ready to plant. Also shown are some of the many currant bushes featured throughout the polycultures.
Most of the site is cover cropped with a seed mix heavy in red clover. The farmers leave it in place, fixing nitrogen in the soil, until ready to plant. Also shown are some of the many currant bushes featured throughout the polycultures.
Pollinators are a vital part of the farm ecosystem, and there are 2 meadow areas for winged friends. Pictured is a hive housing the European honeybee.
Pollinators are a vital part of the farm ecosystem, and there are 2 meadow areas for winged friends. Pictured is a hive housing the European honeybee.
Closeup of honeybees a the hive entrance.
Closeup of honeybees a the hive entrance.
Here are some yarrow and alfalfa flowers attracting the attentions of the honeybee.
Here are some yarrow and alfalfa flowers attracting the attentions of the honeybee.
A beautiful permaculture design plan for Fields Without Fences was displayed. Click to zoom in and read about all the different zones and systems.
A beautiful permaculture design plan for Fields Without Fences was displayed. Click to zoom in and read about all the different zones and systems.
Over lunch, attendee Roman Osadca shared some delicious garlic scape pesto from his homestead, Valley Fall Farm. As of 2014, Roman grows over 290 varieties of garlic!
Over lunch, attendee Roman Osadca shared some delicious garlic scape pesto from his homestead, Valley Fall Farm. As of 2014, Roman grows over 290 varieties of garlic!
A glimpse of Fields Without Fences' plant nursery & propagation area.
A glimpse of Fields Without Fences’ plant nursery & propagation area.
A small cattail pond with the northwest field beyond, which has been shaped into additional raised bed production area since this photo was taken.
A small cattail pond with the northwest field beyond, which has been shaped into additional raised bed production area since this photo was taken.
Johann and Lindsay describe their goals for an Africa-shaped bed we'll be designing.
Johann and Lindsay describe their goals for an Africa-shaped bed we’ll be designing.
We broke into 3 groups to come up with design possibilities for the Africa-shaped bed. Here I am with my team, presenting our design proposal. [Photo: Sean Walsh]
We broke into 3 groups to come up with design possibilities for the Africa-shaped bed. Here I am with my team, presenting our design proposal. [Photo: Sean Walsh]
Sean and Lindsay amalgamate the groups' designs into a final plan. The polyculture includes (from canopy to groundcover): butternut, river birch, pawpaw, blueberry, spicebush, sunflower, catnip, and green & gold.
Sean and Lindsay amalgamate the groups’ designs into a final plan. The polyculture includes (from canopy to groundcover): butternut, river birch, pawpaw, blueberry, spicebush, sunflower, catnip, and green & gold.
In preparation for planting, we began  sheet mulching by rolling out round bales of straw over the grass.
In preparation for planting, we began sheet mulching by rolling out round bales of straw over the grass.
We continued to spread straw over the bed.
We continued to spread straw over the bed.
A view of the bed completely sheet mulched with the straw layer.
A view of the bed completely sheet mulched with the straw layer.
Then Johann used the tractor to dump loads of leaf mulch to spread over the straw.
Then Johann used the tractor to dump loads of leaf mulch to spread over the straw.
After all the topsoil was spread, we started planting. Here, left to right, are Jose, Johann, & Sean planting a young butternut tree.
After all the topsoil was spread, we started planting. Here, left to right, are Jose, Johann, & Sean planting a young butternut tree.
Finishing up planting.
Finishing up planting.
A group photo after planting, however, some folks had to leave before we got this shot.
A group photo after planting, however, some folks had to leave before we got this shot.
A panorama of the farm, including the newly-planted bed, and a wildflower meadow. [Photo by Sean Walsh]
A panorama of the farm, including the newly-planted bed, and a wildflower meadow. [Photo by Sean Walsh]

 

Workshop: Edible Forest Gardening / Doylestown, PA

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 In a couple of hours, learn how you can be harvesting fruits, nuts, vegetables, mushrooms, & medicine from your land, WITHOUT tilling, seeding, planting, & weeding year after year.

Join the March meeting of the Ladies Homestead Gathering of Central Bucks County, where Kristen Jas Vietty of Lunaria Gardens will be leading a workshop on edible forest gardening!

Learn how to mimic the eastern woodland ecosystem in your garden, to provide not only diverse harvests, but also benefit soil life, watersheds, native pollinators, & wildlife. These natural, regenerative food forests can improve the value of your home while requiring relatively little maintenance over time.

The workshop will be held at Doylestown Fresh (home of Veg-E systems) on Thursday, March 27, 2014, from 6:30 to 9:00pm. The evening is open to all women, and the suggested donation is $10 general, $5 LHG members. Membership signup will be available at the meeting, and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. RSVP on Facebook!

If you want to hear about these kinds of events, subscribe to receive a monthly(ish) email!

Related post: Notes from Forest Gardening Workshop with Eric Toensmeier

INTERVIEW / Tiny Terra Ferma / Manayunk, Philadelphia

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Tiny Terra Ferma is Manayunk’s new ecological landscape design studio & garden shop, opening this Friday. Below is my interview with owner-designers Jeff Lorenz and Annie Scott, followed by details about the Spring Opening Party. [All photos courtesy Tiny Terra Ferma.]

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Lunaria Gardens: Tell us about the evolution of Tiny Terra Ferma & the new space.

Jeff Lorenz: Annie and I have been working on urban garden projects for the last few years with Ivy Ridge Green, an organization she co-founded in 2009. From the get-go we connected over a love for native plants and the possibilities of gardening and food production in our small backyard spaces. With my 15 years as a horticulturalist, designer and business owner, and Annie’s experience and masters in landscape design and planning, we both had the expressed desire to create a design company and local hub for gardening and urban green space.

Annie Scott: This past year we started working on design projects together and planning our company. Our space is now in a repurposed garage on Main Street in Manayunk, that was abandoned for over 30 years. I had often walked by it and thought about how much potential the space has. We have both put in long hours working on the space – its really exciting to see it become our garden shop and design studio.

A vertical pallet planter at Tiny Terra Ferma.
A vertical pallet planter at Tiny Terra Ferma.

Lunaria Gardens: What are some common problems that you’re aiming to solve for the urban grower?

JL: Urban gardening is challenging and multifaceted, but in order to leverage its potential, it must be affordable, accessible and attainable. That is our mission through our design service and garden shop.

Lunaria Gardens: How does your vision relate to larger food issues in the Philadelphia region?

AS: Our goal is to enable people to grow their own food in both large and small spaces. Through proper design, it is possible to grow an abundance of food in tiny rowhouse backyards. We aim to educate, inspire and empower people to grow food themselves.

Closeup of herbs, greens, & succulents potted in the vertical pallet planter.
Closeup of herbs, greens, & succulents potted in the vertical pallet planter.

Lunaria Gardens: What other events do you plan on hosting in the coming year?

AS: We will be hosting various classes on garden related topics. We envision our space to be an educational forum and a hub for potential neighborhood greening.

Lunaria Gardens: What design project would you love to encounter?

AS: Projects that serve the client and nature. I love the challenge of fulfilling the client’s goals while serving nature, and creating food sources for both humans and wildlife through the use of native plants. I have done this through design on 40-acre farms, 400-square-foot backyards, and window boxes. I’m excited about any new design challenge that provides the opportunity to create beautiful spaces in both form and function.

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Lunaria : Give us a little background on some of the other folks involved with the First Friday opening.

JL: The great accordionist Dallas Vietty, of Musette Project, will be performing selections from the French Musette and Gypsy Jazz musical repertoire. Our Manayunk neighbor, Ryan McNeely, will provide guitar accompaniment as well as bossa nova compositions.

Lunaria Gardens: Can you give us a sneak peak of some cool plants or tools that will be available April 5th?

AS: The plants we carry are functional – native, edible, extremely drought tolerant, and beautiful. We have adorable 5” baby fig trees, kale and swiss chard starts, herbs, blueberries and native plants. We also have a selection of quality garden tools and accessories.

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tinyterraferma_logoTINY TERRA FERMA, 4324 Main Street, Manayunk, Philadelphia, PA, (267) 237-1489
Spring hours: Thursdays – Sundays 11am – 7pm

Spring Opening Party: First Friday, April 5, 2013
5 – 9pm drinks & light refreshments
6:30pm music by Dallas Vietty & Ryan McNeely
RSVP on Facebook