Say hello to the modern Tipi Trellis and Tomato Cage

Posted by Terra Trellis on July 27, 2014

After several years in the making, we couldn’t wait to debut our most recent trellis designs, the Annabel Tipi Trellis and the Geo Tomato Cage, at Dwell on Design in Los Angeles. This was our third year exhibiting at this giant design event, the ultimate indoor/outdoor playground for people sourcing modern living products, innovations, and ideas.

Design lovers, design pros and design journalists (over 30,000!) flock here each year for a dose of inspiration. The feedback we received on our modern tomato cage and tipi trellis was beyond positive! Over the course of the three-day event, we often found visitors of all ages taking respite under our Annabel Tipi Trellis. 

Though drastically different in size, both of these new sculptural trellises do a super job at supporting climbing ornamentals and edibles. Many people commented how rare it was to see sculpture in the garden used so efficiently.

Our Geo Tomato Cage can corral tomatoes like nobody’s business, all while juxtaposing the structure’s modern lines and bright colors with the wildness of the plant’s branches, growth pattern and earthy colors. The Geo Cages are stackable and sold in pairs.  They will be available  in trios for tomatoes or other veggies that might outgrow the traditional tomato cage.

Besides the wonderful mentions from revered design and lifestyle blogs like Lonny and Casa Sugar  (thank you!) we received some fantastic press from the Los Angeles Times Home & Design section which featured the Annabel Tipi Trellis below in their gallery of photos from Dwell on Design.   

A couple of weeks later, Los Angeles Times contributor Debra Prinzing featured our Annabel Tipi Trellis in a story about tips on gardening during a drought while keeping landscapes beautiful.

We always come away from Dwell on Design inspired by the palpable creativity—from our peer innovators to new clients and design professionals we meet. We want to especially thank the talented design team at Shades of Green Landscape Architecture who’s inspired vision and execution of the entire Dwell Outdoor space make our products shine at at the show each year. Looking forward to doing it again in 2015!

 

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Our garden hero: the Bee

Posted by Terra Trellis on April 16, 2014

At TerraTrellis we have a serious case of garden fever. It’s April, after all. Things are blooming, the weather is warming, and every time we check our inbox we’re reading about spring gardening tasks and swooning over garden landscapes, spring plants, and the upcoming edible bounty.

But, let’s face it. Gardening is hard work, and it takes more than a few weekend’s worth of tilling and digging to get the garden up and running every growing season. A garden’s success relies on an army of support staff, including the insect kind.

photo by Christine Casey, UC Davis                                    photo by Christine Casey, UC Davis 

This post is about the unsung heroes of the garden. Yes, often honey bees get all the glory: socializing, colonizing, and literally dying for their queen. But native bees, some of them solitary, have an equally important role in the garden.  Native bees, including the bumble bee and the carpenter bee, pollinate the flowers we fawn over and the fruits and vegetables we bring to the table.

                                      photo by Daniel Schwen

But new research suggests that bumble bees, one of more than 4,000 native bee species in the United States that supports our agricultural economy, are threatened, according to a report by the Nature Conservancy.  And as the natural phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder continues to threaten and shrink the honey bee population with a deadly combination of virus, pest, and bad agricultural management within a monoculture environment, it’s more important than ever that we pay attention to pollinators like native bees.

Commercial farmers are implementing new techniques, or revisiting traditional farming practices, to offset the effects of Colony Collapse Disorder, as reported in a recent New York Times article. Home gardeners can also do simple things to support these important pollinators. The least we can do is create a hospitable environment for them and entice them to stick around in our yard.

Before native bees can get busy in the garden, they need a place to nest.  We created our Bee Bungalow to support the native bee habitat with hand cut reeds and hollowed branches where they build their solitary nests. A native bee’s lifecycle is short, but our Bee Bungalow is in the garden year round, providing a safe place for generations of native mason bees to rest and nest and do their thing.

                                                        photo of TerraTrellis Bee Bungalow by Rob Wilson/Silas Tom

Even our other trellises like the Mira Garden Trellis and Akoris Garden Tuteur “support” native bees with their functionality. Flowering vines and climbing veggies, when grown on a garden trellis, elevate the colorful blossoms that they are drawn to.

Besides our Bee Bungalow, there are several other ways in which we can attract and retain native pollinators like native bees in our backyard.

Create a diverse plant palette

Diversity in the garden means that no one plant will throw off the garden’s ecological balance. Providing a smorgasbord of plant pollen and nectar with a variety of flower landing pads and pollinator receptacles welcomes a variety of pollinators. Consider plants like California poppy, wild mint, bush anemone, and zinnias. Mix it up with varieties, colors and textures of all kinds.

Avoid Pesticides in the garden

Every time a pollinator lands and feeds or drinks from a flower that has been treated with some form of chemical, that chemical is carried back to its nest and spread to other pollinators.

Plant perennial shrubs en masse

Many pollinators are more productive when they have a wide swath of flowers from which to forage. They’re also more likely to revisit your garden if they have a large area to cover. A flowering shrub, like rosemary or sage, is ideal.

Year-round bloom

Depending on the climate, some native bees begin emerging as early as January. Early blooming plants like manzanita provide pollen and nectar once they emerge. Even late fall blooming annuals can support native bees until they die off. The important thing is to provide plants that can support the different types of native bees for as long as possible.

                                                          photo by Christine Casey, UC Davis 

Want to learn more?

The Xerces Society has a Pollinator Conservation Resource Center that includes a state-by-state resource list including bee-friendly plants. It’s a collaboration with the University of California, Davis, which is one of the country’s leading academic institutions on native pollinators. The university’s Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, has an open-to-the-public Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, provides a wealth of information on native bee habitats and honey bee habitats. 

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The beauty of a winter's garden

Posted by Terra Trellis on March 07, 2014

As a large part of the nation continues to be blanketed in snow, we here on the West Coast are reminded of our easygoing climate, year round planting opportunities, and perpetual state of renewal.  But there’s something to be said for the unique beauty of winter’s dormant nature as the soil quiets itself in a slumbering stillness.

                                                                 

We recently received correspondence from a TerraTrellis customer and we were awestruck by the beauty of her photos and words, describing her historic Pennsylvania farmhouse garden still covered in snow. Her photographs and prose remind us that our artful trellises, though striking when interwoven with vines and blossoms, can be just as impactful when placed thoughtfully in a landscape, snow and all.                                

We’re inspired by her love of her garden, her hopefulness and anticipation for the seasons to come. In her own words: 

Dear TerraTrellis,

I have enclosed some winter photos which highlight how your structures add beauty and interest to an otherwise bare garden.  In the first photo, you can see the tops of the tuteurs peeking over the fence in front of the barn, hinting at something interesting beyond.  The photos below show the structure of the garden beds and how I incorporated the tuteurs and the Toki bubbles as well as copper arches (used to support row covers and repeat the oxide color of your structures) and galvanized metal fence panels (which repeat and emphasize the color of the metal balls on top of the tuteurs).  Although covered with snow and bare of plants, my view into the garden gives me hope that our seemingly never-ending winter will not last forever...

    

We live just outside Philadelphia on a horse farm.  The structures on the property date back to 1790.  We are only the sixth owners of the property, and as far as we know, it has always functioned as a small family farm with crops and livestock.  These days our crops are limited to those grown in the kitchen garden, and our livestock consists of horses, chickens (for the eggs) and a fledgling hive of honeybees.  The barn and house have been updated to accommodate today's necessities but retain much of the history and charm of yesteryear.  We have several perennial gardens throughout the property as well as the kitchen garden.  My goal with the kitchen garden was to create a space that combined my appreciation for art, my passion for gardening and my love of cooking.  It includes a series of raised beds and growing structures containing espaliered apple trees, blueberry, blackberry and raspberry bushes and permanent beds for asparagus and strawberries.  We rotate our favorite spring and summer herbs and vegetables among the other beds and attempt to grow everything organically with very limited use of chemicals as they are harmful to our bees.  I love the challenge of finding the right combination of plants that compliment each other's structures and needs.  We gladly share the bounty of our farm with our neighbors and preserve much of our harvest to enjoy during the remainder of the year.  

By the way, the ladies from my garden club love your products as much as I do and I have passed your information on to them.                     

Think spring!

-Cindy 

 

XXX

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Where flora & fauna meet design: creating an artful mini ecosystem with the Gracie Modern Arbor

Posted by Terra Trellis on September 20, 2013

One recent fall morning, photographer and digital media producer Adam Grossman looked out his kitchen window to admire his vine-covered Gracie Modern Arbor in the morning light. 

Just a few minutes later a visitor appeared; a bird of prey taking a bath and enjoying the peaceful shelter of the arbor.             

The solitary visitor was likely a red-tailed hawk a species that live in the nearby Santa Monica Mountains.

                   

Later that day, Adam encountered a different creature of prey, a juvenile mantis taking respite under the same Gracie Arbor. The mantis is considered by many to be a beneficial insect and a welcome visitor to the garden. 

We love to see our sculptural trellises bringing together wildlife and art. Right in our own front yards.

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The Horticult dishes up delicious dirt, design and culture.

Posted by Terra Trellis on September 01, 2013

 

Horticulture, art, design, music, fashion, food and drink. These "best things in life" intersect in a life well-lived, right? They also happen to intersect online, in the wonderfully inspiring blog The Horticult. This beautifully presented site is the creation of the horticulturally-hip and sartorially-savvy couple Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit. As they put it:

The Horticult is where we experiment with our space — and also crash other people’s gardens and get inspired. It’s a place where we eat, drink and loosen rootballs, where flora, fauna and culture intersect in unexpected ways.

We were lucky enough to be recently featured in The Horticult and thrilled (but not at all surprised) when just a few weeks later, Chantal and Ryan were discovered in A BIG WAY by the New York Times (see the three page feature Marriage is Yard Work in the Home & Garden section).

Ryan's own design skills are as impressive as Chantal's writing and interviewing talents. Check out Ryan's website Ryan Benoit Design and Chantal's own site ChantalGordon.com to see what we're talking about. 

The curiosities Chantal and Ryan explore on The Horticult are influenced by their shared obsession with design and horticulture....and passion for living the good life.  We look forward to seeing more of their adventures blossom on The Horticult! 

 

photos by Ryan Benoit

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