Dove down an internet rabbit hole of small ceramic planters inspired by all the recent succulent propagating projects… and discovered Cumbuca Chic - the shop of ceramicist Priscilla Ramos out of São Paulo, Brazil! Her naturally inspired small ceramics pieces are adorable! There are CAPYBARAS! And ANTEATERS! As well as adorable foxes, and the cutest, tiniest birds on mini pots. But seriously, i didn’t even know i wanted (or could find) ceramic capybara planters… and now i can’t get them out of my head. She sells through her website and Cumbuca Chic Etsy Shop - and you get a peek behind the scenes on the Cumbuca Chic Facebook Page. I can’t wait to see more of the Sloth she’s working on. Take a peek at my favorites on the next page…
Entries tagged with: plants
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Conical glass cloches! Perfect for succulents and toys! This is one of the best late night impulse buys i’ve had in a while… they just arrived from Anthropologie, and are even lovelier in person! They are actually Capri Blue Cloche Candles - in small (white - Marine), medium (robin’s egg - Orchid Mint), and large (blue - Volcano). While they do smell lovely, in all honesty, i’m excited to burn through the candles to use them for succulents! They have such lovely details - from the lasered bamboo tags on leather… to the way the bases are cast (the bottom is surprising!) Take a peek at them on the next page.
It’s here!!! I’m so giddy to get to present our latest NOTlabs experiment, Plant Experiment #1 - and we’ve decided to make an extremely limited edition of them since friends have already been asking for some!
Plant Experiment #1 is a limited edition trio of walnut planters. Shawn and I designed them right here in NOTlabs, Los Angeles. Every piece is CNC milled (on the Roland Modela Pro II 540s we recently unboxed) from a single block of walnut and hand finished (by Shawn and I!) Inspired by our love of succulents, Lego®, a surprising Target sponsorship and the need for projects to get to know the CNC better - these square planters are Lego®-compatible and the perfect size for small and medium succulents, seedlings, and other plants. Each piece has drainage holes to keep your plants happy. You can also get creative and build up, down, and all around them turning them into mini worlds on your desk, pen/paintbrush holders, candy dishes… a little bit of each… and more.
The trio contains one 12x12, 8x8, and 6x6. Only 10 sets will be made. Each set will laser numbered on the base of each piece. Take a detailed look at Plant Experiment #1 on the next page - and pop over to the store if you’d like a set.
A magical thing happens when plants get legs. They take on a whole new character! While dividing up some overgrown succulent pots, i was hunting for just about any vessel that could be a new home for the little guys… and when i came across some Android Rainbow Minis that had been rescued/adopted after some casualties at comic-con long ago, drilling a quick drainage hole or two made them the perfect bodies for these little succulents! They even get posable arms! And would probably be pretty fun as a desktop/planter army. This got me researching what other clean, simple, little vessels give plants legs - so take a peek at some of my other favorites found on the next page!
Every now and then, you need to be your own client. And there’s nothing quite as mind clearing as manual labor… or as satisfying as making something you love and get to see and experience daily! So Shawn and i recently decided to set aside some time and energy and be our own clients working on a redwood gate and bench/top for our triangle that matches the fence we made! Somehow starting this all… also turned into reorganizing and sprucing up the garage shop (with the help of Bucky the trusty shop dog, of course!)… acquiring some new tools… and enjoying the jacaranda’s purple flowering season! Even as we started working on it all - it has quickly become our favorite spot to have coffee, relax, and grow a few new experiments! Take a peek at what we’ve been sharing on the NOTlabs Instagram on the next page!
Inspiration comes from the randomest of places… including turning on the garden hose and finding this amazing little ring of lush mossiness! I’ve been fascinated at staring at its growth… curious to see how it decides to spread. I suppose it helps me remember that slowing down… incredible surprises can pop up.
Things have been quieter here as we’re working on some design/development upgrades (SO exciting to bring some features to all of you that we’ve previously had only in our editor’s view) and toying with a lot of secret material experiments and design projects I can’t wait to share with you too! (Hint: Lasers! Leather! Reflectiveness!) Realizing and remembering that real world design, development, prototyping, etc is far slower than the jetset ‘see - shoot - share’ pace of digital. And it feels great to take the time to iterate over the little details and obsess over finding the best solutions along the way. So more to come on all of that shortly… but for now - how awesome is this mossy ring? See more pics on the next page.
The 17th edition of Designersblock as part of this year’s London Design Festival at the The Old Sessions House, an 18th-century courthouse on Clerkenwell Green. The best use of the space was the Glowing Oak from Plumen found on the top of four flights of stairs! They transplanted a whole oak up there magically illuminated… breath taking! And on the way there, of course the courthouse was filled with quite the contrast of stunning, playful modern designs inspiring us throughout… see all the beautiful details on the next page!
Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.
Today the The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are launching a new exhibition, Intoxication Season. All about mind altering plants and fungi, the month long program offers a chance to discover how plant chemicals can be used as medicines and intoxicants, with some socially acceptable (coffee, tea, alcohol, aspirin), yet others seen as socially unacceptable “drugs” (cannabis, opium and a host of others!). These mind-altering drugs span across cultures and have shaped our lives, founding the basis of entire economies. The same plant chemicals that can be used to create medicines and save human lives can also lead to addiction and death in the wrong doses. The exhibition and series of talks and seminars throughout the season explore these seeming contradictions in our relationship. See it all on the next page.
Justine reported back with so much gardening inspiration in her post about Grow London… and i have been fixatedly curious about those giant tea bags!
So it turns out the giant tea bags are Old Mucker Fertilizer Tea Bags - the hessian bags (most of which “are sourced from a coffee supplier and recycled”) are filled with various chemical free solutions to make magical muck to feed your plants. You steep the giant tea bags over night and feed your plants! There is Triple N: Nourishing Nettle Nectar - since Nettles are packed with naturally occurring nitrogen. Triple C: Classic Comfrey Cultivator - Comfrey is packed with potassium, the essential plant nutrient needed by flowers, seeds and fruit. Triple T: Trusty Tomato Tonic - Sheep muck is packed with potash, the very thing tomatoes, beans and root crops love. Triple M: Mighty Muck Marvel - Horse muck is packed with nitrogen and potassium, the very things that help roses to thrive. Yes. It’s basically manure in a bag… Manure Tea! Fun idea, lovely packaging concept, and great booth display - check out more pics on the next page!
p.s. I wish i had some to try for my avocado tree - it’s finally bearing fruit for the first time, they are nearly golf ball sized!
Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.
Last week we attended the garden party preview of Grow London, the contemporary garden fair at Hampstead Heath. While we love the tradition of Chelsea, Grow promised contemporary new solutions for urban gardeners and we were excited to see what it was all about! The preview supported the Garden Museum and offered a fun mix of installations, contemporary garden products and more unusual items like fertilising tea!
Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!
This year we were back at the Chelsea Flower Show, which brings together stunning displays of uniformity and diversity through selective breeding, as well as showcasing some incredible design. On a hot, sunny May morning, many plants were flowering early and the displays and show gardens looked incredible. More show highlights including a barbecue-lover’s dream garden, Chelsea pensioner sheep and more on the next page.
Valentine’s day is around the corner, and the Kraken Rum just surprised us with a V-day card, adorably mini rum, and a black rose! For their Kraken vs Cupid campaign, the lucky folks in London have a chance to pick up a bouquet of black roses paired with a bottle of Kraken (vs champagne)! How do they do it? “The black roses for sale are created by placing dark red roses in vases filled with a Kraken’s ink in place of water. This ink is then transported up the stem, via the xylem, to the leaves and petals turning them black, a scientific process that will also be showcased in the space. For dramatic effect some of the flowers will also be turned black using special floristry dyes.” and they will be paired with “… Calendula Lily Eclips and Queen of the Night Tulips, both darkest purple in colour looking visually black to the human eye.” Take a peek at details of the gorgeously dark surprise we received on the next page! And if you’re in London, visit the Think Ink Florist on Feb 14th!
Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.
As we move into late summer, fruits and nuts seem to be forming everywhere in all sorts of shapes and colors. While walking through London, these oddly-shaped green acorns caught my eye, with their ridges, knobs and slightly sticky appearance. On closer inspection, most of the acorns were covered with these intricate, ridged growths, called Knopper Galls. The galls result from a chemical reaction in response to the gall wasp (Andricus quercuscalicis), which lays its eggs on the developing acorns. The shapes and textures of the resulting galls are fascinating (and quite variable). The degree of ridging on the gall is thought to be related to the number of larvae competing within the gall and we found as many as three separate galls on a single developing acorn. Their name “Knopper Galls” comes is thought to be derived from the English word ‘knop’, meaning “a small rounded protuberance, boss, stud, button, tassel or the like” and German ‘knoppe’ meaning “a kind of felt cap or helmet worn during the 17th-century”.
Galls like the ones we found occur on the Pedunculate or Common Oak tree (Quercus robur), but the wasp also requires a second oak species, the Turkey Oak (Quercus cerris) in order to complete its life cycle. Like aphids, the wasp undergoes both a sexual and asexual components of its life cycle. The knopper galls we observed are part of the agamic (female only) generation. Only adult females will emerge from the Knopper galls in the spring and these females will go on to lay their eggs on the catkins of the Turkey Oak. It is from these small conical galls that a sexual generation of male and female wasps will emerge, mate and produce further knopper galls. As a result, knopper galls are only found where both Common and Turkey Oaks grow. While galls have a negative effect on the reproduction of the trees, they don’t appear to harm other aspects of the tree’s health and in a typical biological twist, the wasps themselves are also often parasitized by a number of hyperparasites! You can find out more at ARKive, The Wildlife Trusts and Hedgerow Mobile, but for now see more pics (and my dissection) on the next page!
Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!
This morning, we got a sneak preview of the upcoming IncrEdibles: A Voyage through Surprising Edible Plants festival at Kew, celebrating the some 30,000 different edible species grown at the royal botanic gardens. The festival includes some incredible installations, including a fruit salad boating lake, Alice in Wonderland style botanical dining table, bouncing carrot tops and more. The centerpiece of the festival, was “Tutti Frutti” from Bompas & Parr. You can never be sure what to expect from duo, but when I heard that they were bringing together rowing, pineapples and fruit salad at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, I knew it would be no ordinary installation! Take a peek at all the epic madness on the next page!
One of the most incredible aspects of flowers shows like RHS Chelsea is amazing range and breadth of both wild type and cultivated plants. Leaves and flowers come in such a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors and textures and even closely related cultivars can look strikingly different. Yet, cultivated varieties are bred to consistency and this simultaneous diversity and uniformity are highlighted at shows like Chelsea where large stands are filled with nearly identical blooms of each variety. More photos from Chelsea on the next page.
My highlight of this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show was this incredible “Fruit of the Tree” display from Kent-based East Malling Research, who were celebrating their 100th anniversary alongside the prestigious flower show. The centrepiece of the display was a delicately extracted apple tree, showing off its incredible structure both above and below the ground. The striking display was designed in collaboration with Physical Pixels, who have been behind a few of our other favorites too (including, the Big Egg Hunt!). More photos on the next page!
Explorations in 3D printing + growing wearable = Xuedi Chen’s Invasive Growth! We’ve been curiously following along on instagram for some time now… and the project is now live! I love that it’s “…inspired by my fascination with cordyceps, a fungal parasite that attacks arthropods. Once infected, the fungus slowly takes control of the insect both mentally and physically. Before the insect dies, the fungus makes it climb high onto a branch and grip on, giving it an advantageous place to spread spores. Once the insect is dead, the cordyceps protrudes out, breaking through the exoskeleton.” And the final pieces play with moss growing on wearable neck/head pieces… imagine a day when you need to water your jewelry regularly? Take a peek at the process and details on the next page!
This post is part of the NOTlabs Laser Challenge: The ground rules are: Shawn and I are alternating days with executing and sharing a Laser Cutter involved experiment! And most importantly - we’re supposed to have fun, explore ideas, and it’s less about a fully formed product/concept at the end of the day, but more about seeing where the experiment takes us!
For #11, Shawn decided to start saving our beans in progress… that were starting to grow and flop a bit. In order to make the garden a bit more fun, he prototyped an idea for modular plant scaffolding ~ in wood, since scraps were around ~ but we were imagining doing different ones in plastic or coated wood/metal ~ and we are also imagining larger ones for our tomatoes! Basically they slot together and have zip ties to strengthen the set up… and you can build up up and away in any way you want (or in the way your plants want to go)! Take a peek at the making of and details on the next page…
p.s. If you have ideas, or want some laser cutting done, or want to play with us… feel free to use the contact form or leave a comment! And if you’re curious about the laser cutter we’re using, here’s the unboxing.
It’s that time of year already, where everyone’s designs for Milan Design Week are flooding the design world… and the latest from BD Barcelona and Jaime Hayon have made me far too giddy today! The Gardenias Garden Collection is just so playfully Hayon, and with the stunning LA weather and all the work i’ve been doing in my garden, i can’t help dreaming up where i’d put some of these! Take a peek on the next page at the outdoor furniture, watering can, pots, and more!
Rootcup - love this simple, elegant solution to growing plant cuttings! Designed by product development firm, good3studio of Michael Good in San Francisco. The root cups are molded from a flexible elastomer that’s highly UV resistant, nonporous, and water proof, and have such nice details! The flexible lid helps protect the roots from light, holds the cutting’s leaves above water, captures evaporating water, and has a slot to help easily remove cuttings when ready for planting… and it now comes in a BIGrootcup as well… or it nearly does, their kickstarter campaign just successfully completed for the big ones! See more details of both sizes on the next page!
From kickstarter to my mail box! My Seed Money by Leafcutter Designs just showed up today, and they are even cuter than expected. Lovely attention to detail with the packaging and coin faces. Basically, they had custom pressed paper filled with seeds, then letterpressed and cut out as coins! So you can tip with them, share them with friends, pop them in pots and poof! Plants!
As they describe it, “Seed Money looks like the real thing - pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters - but is far more valuable. Use it to solicit surprise and smiles from friends and strangers alike, and then tuck these paper coins in soil to grow colorful flowers and delicious vegetables. It’s tender for tending! Seed Money is hand-illustrated and letterpress printed in Nebraska on thick custom papers embedded with seeds. Available in rolls for sharing and spreading the wealth, these lightweight, whimsical - and practical - coins will slide easily into a purse or pocket.”
As for what grows from them - Pennies: Mix of wildflowers including Black-Eyed Susan, Spurred Snapdragon, Shirley Poppy, White Tarrow, and Sweet Alyssum. Nickels: Herbs including oregano, dill, parsley, basil, chive, thyme, and sage Dimes: Root crops including carrot, parsnip, and turnip. Quarters: Salad greens including bibb, Black Simpson, Salad Bowl Red, radicchio, and endive. And the special Buffalo Nickels: Bee Balm (aka Lemon Mint).
See all the fun details (including some “special” pennies) on the next page!
The latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.
While most of the rest of the country is caught up in the Apple Harvest, we have a slightly more unusual harvest at this time of year, chestnuts. Chestnuts aren’t everywhere in the city, but where they are, they can’t be missed. Native to Japan and China, some of London’s tree are over 400 years old, having been planted primarily as decorative trees. The trees are heavy with nuts, which start off in tennis ball green balls of excruciatingly sharp spikes that mature into a mellower brown and when that happens, there’s a bit of a frenzy. Not just from human collectors (of which there are a fair few!), but also from squirrels, parrots and other wildlife as the trees unleash literally tons of food!
Processing chestnuts is by far the most time-consuming, labor-intensive and absurd culinary activity we’ve ever taken on (this from a couple that make their own marshmallows and ice cream from scratch), but it’s also one of the most satisfying transformations from tree to delicacy I’ve ever attempted!
Spotted at 100% Design today, here’s the Console O, an elegant side table from London-based JiB design studio. It integrates mushroomed ceramic pots (the tops have a greater diameter than the base) sit loosely into the tray of a table with oak lids that match the structure of the table. They look adorable with plants, and are great knick-knack holders and work as a tea table with all the lids on! And you can mix and match what you use them for, and/or what you hide in them. See more photos on the next page.
Currently in Venice exploring the Architecture Biennale, and on memorable projects, AL AIRE (between air) was designed by architects Jose Selgas and Lucia Cano of Selgascano (see their bio) along with biologist Joesp Selga and Agronomist Juan Laureano, in the Spain Lab definitely sticks in my mind!
The installation was designed specifically for the Spanish Pavilion’s solar conditions. It maximizes the exposure to each plant tube by taking advantage of a terraced effect. Since each tube is also on a pulley, adjustments are easy. Even the trees can move up and down to accommodate for growth, giving them a great effect of floating. Every tube has a drip irrigation system that delivers water directly to the plants root system, maximizing efficiency and preserving resources.
The perforated material isn’t just aesthetic, it is designed to get light to the roots of the plants as well as air and space to grow. When the roots grow towards the light and reach the edge of the plastic tube, the cones guide the roots through the hole. This leads to a subtle dehydration of the root system which encourages lateral root growth. Basically when the root gets to the edge of the soil it begins branching from its base. The result is a very robust, fibrous root system.
The system is so fun, i’d love to see how it handles over time ~ take a peek at all of the details on the next page!
Just back, and the project definitely worth seeing in person at Siggraph 2012 comes from Disney Research - Botanicus Interacticus turns plants into human-computer interfaces… caress, grab, approach the plant to change the visualizations! Plants as interfaces seems to be a growing trend. This reminded me of Mathieu Lehanneur’s 2010 Once Upon A Dream bed that we saw in Milan, where you barely touch the plant hanging overhead to activate the light dimmer. Also, NOTCOT.org just highlighted Viktor Kölbig’s Aura, which turns a plant in a glass of water into a light, and you touch the plant to change colors. However, Botanicus Interacticus, using Disney Research’s Touché technology takes those concepts even further, being able to sense various gestures, such as sliding of fingers on the stem, touching, grabbing, and even proximity to the plant as well as the amount of touch and more! In fact, they created an amazing tactile feedback (accidentally!) with the orchid example, where when you touched it - you’d feel tingling vibrations! (Which they said was from speakers beneath.)
Botanicus Interacticus comes from Disney Research’s Ivan Poupyrev in collaboration with Philipp Schoessler, Jonas Loh/Studio NAND, and Munehiko Sato. Can you imagine the interactive possibilities? The spaces you could create? Be it an interactive theme park space you explore… or dimming the mood lighting in your living room… controlling your music… sounding an alarm? Things you could hide in your garden? A replacement for botanical garden information cards next to plants? The options are endless, and a great example of ubiquitous computing becoming reality! However, i can’t help but wonder, how this will evolve to accommodate how careful you need to be when watering the plants, or they start to grow?
Take a look on the next page to see their display at Siggraph, the 4 examples they set up, video, and more information on Botanicus Interacticus!