This is one wonderful store. Oh yes, I could have spent HOURS there and probably spent my entire credit card limit.
You want it…they’ve got it. It’s certainly not a matter of need: no it’s retail lust at its finest!
At least, if you are into home and garden accessories and, because you are here reading this blog, I’m pretty sure you are into these things.

The assortment of garden containers was nothing short of extraordinary. Indoors, outdoors, rustic, refined, colorful or neutral: they have it all.
Lotions and potions: many, many brands and most were new to me.
Textiles: such an array of tabletop goodies.
For your photo styling projects: there was something for every occasion.
The lights and strings of sparkling stars is amazing.

A few weeks ago we were up in Philadelphia and on my wish list for that trip was a visit to Terrain (aside from my pilgrimage to Chanticleer!)  I’ve been following the store for many years…since it was called Styers and was basically a gardening emporium and before it became part of the Urban Outfitters/Anthropologie monolith.  Yes, it is just that cool !



See the container above and below? Just one of the many things I came away with. I’ll be showing you my other purchases in the near future!




Three cute little glass jars: it was hard to choose the colors! You will be seeing more of these for sure..

If you’re not local to the Philadelphia/Wilmington area this is not on your radar, I am guessing. But not to worry. You can shop on line for each and every thing I saw. They are also in Westport, Connecticut if that works for you…

You can read more about the store and its history in this very complete interview from Sight Unseen. Here they are interviewing Melissa Bartley, Field Visual Manager of Terrain at Styers.



Final Signature



So you have some really gorgeous hydrangeas in your garden. You’ve cut some to bring inside. You put them in nice fresh water and what????? Within a day they are wilted and looking more than half dead. Has this happened to you?

Let me show you how to make these beautiful flowers last much, much longer!


  1. Cut your flowers when it’s fairly cool outside: morning or evening. Avoid the hot sun. Try, if at all possible, to put them in a bucket of water right away. At the very least, keep them out of direct sun.
  2. Bring them inside and cut each stem, diagonally,  to the desired length. Smash the end of the cut stem: I use a small hammer.
  3. Immediately put it in boiling water. Not just hot….but boiling hot. Yes, do this! Keep them there for at least 30 seconds.
  4. Trim off ALL leaves that will be below the water line.
  5. Put them in the vase/pitcher of clean cool water.

The boiling water helps to stop the sap from running (which will inhibit the absorption of water) in the stems. And smashing the end of the woody stem allows more water to be absorbed as they sit in the vase. Make sense?





I cut this arrangement two days ago, following the above steps.

If your cut flowers are already drooping, try submerging the entire stem (flower head included) in a bucket of ice cold water and leave for several hours.This may well revive them for another day or two!

Another suggestion is to dip the cut stem in alum powder. You can find it in the spice aisle at the grocery store. I’ve never done this, but have heard it works beautifully!

Let us know if you have any other tips and, if you try these, how they work.

Final Signature




It’s difficult to know where to start in describing my visit to this magical place!

The weather was perfect. As in P E R F E C T.  Pure sun, warm but not unbearable, a nice breeze and low humidity. I could not have asked for a better day.

Chanticleer is different from so many other “public” gardens in that it is just that: a garden. They don’t host events i.e. weddings, meetings etc. so their energy is focussed on the gardens. They are not a “typical botanical garden” nor are they a museum. Chanticleer had been the private residence of Adolph Rosengarten (1905-1990) who called it “a pleasure garden.” It truly is.

Unlike so many other established gardens, they  believe, and it is part of their mission, to innovate and experiment. All the gardeners who head up each section are encouraged to experiment. And it shows.

The variety of topography lends itself to a diverse kind of garden. Mind you, this is 35 acres of garden!

I arrived at 10 AM, just as they opened the gates. While they offer tours both for groups and individuals (which include the interior of the house), the individual tour is only offered on Fridays and Saturdays. I was there on Wednesday, so this was not a possibility. But actually, I wanted to take my time and just wander and take it all in…and, of course, take pictures. I used both my iPhone 6 and my Canon Rebel EOS T3. I don’t usually carry the Canon outside of my house and village as I find it’s just too cumbersome. I am continually amazed at the great quality of the iPhone! It sort of feels like cheating to only use it; but then again, it takes amazingly fine pictures.

Rather than show you lots of stills, I put together this slide show.
Lots to see and I hope you enjoy!

hint: once the video starts to play, click the small box at very lower right of the video screen and you can see it FULL screen on your computer. So much better!

Miscellaneous flower shots:

Chanticleer Flowers_wm


Bell’s Woodland Bridge
This is one fabulous bridge! This entire area was totally “rebuilt” through soil remediation, constant weed and invasive plant removal and attentive detail to each and every tree in this heavily wooded area. The years of work show: it is so natural and seems to have been part of this property forever.

Bells Woodland Bridge_wm


The almost endless lawns. Of course, at this time of year they were so green and lush!

Chanticleer Lawns_wm

As I finished my walk and was back by the “Teacup Garden”, having come full circle, I met up with Dan Benarcik, one of the principal gardeners at Chanticleer.  I recognized him right away (I’ve studied this garden very well!) and went over and introduced myself. He has been at Chanticleer since 1993; so this is a man who knows all the ins and outs of this place. Thank you, Dan, for being so gracious and informative, answering all my questions, and making me feel right at home.

I’ve thought a lot about my visit and why it meant so much to me. What is it that each of us comes away with after visiting a garden like this?
I feel I’ve only just begun my journey: I have only been interested (fascinated/addicted?) with “gardens” for the last five years or so. Yes, I have always loved flowers and have grown them since I had a house of my own…but that’s different from wanting to see the large “estate” gardens.
This is part of my takeaway:
I leave with a feeling of community.
I am overjoyed with the exuberance of color and texture and form.
I am in awe of those who make this happen.
I am encouraged to experiment in my own garden.
I learn something(s) new each and every time.
I see, once again, that gardening is an on-going project. There is no end to it. Well, maybe that could be frustrating for some people, but for me it is a life long effort. It’s not based on “success”; no, it’s based on a love of doing.

We would all love to hear your thoughts on gardening and what it means to you.
Won’t you join in?

Final Signature