I think there was a collective gasp when this book slid across our desks – which sometimes happens when we stumble upon something good. Cute plants and TINY! In vintage containers! Yes. That many exclamation points. Since we’re all friends here, I’ll confess that I don’t have the greenest of thumbs. I really really want to be one of those grand dames of gardening, but I can’t even seem to keep a succulent alive. (Those succulents in that New York Times story? All dead) I’m not totally giving up on myself. Instead I’m going to blame it on the light and humidity (or lack of) in my apartment. The tininess of this book appealed to my shaky gardening confidence. That, and the fact that everything is in vintage containers. I might be able to grow anything, but I can hunt down a vintage container like nobody’s business. Stylist and design Emma Hardy created a book, Teeny Tiny Gardening, perfect for the novice gardener. Everything is broken down into simple steps, which makes it feel more like a DIY project than a gardening chore, which for me, is a very good thing! -Amy Azzarito
Design*Sponge: How did you start gardening?
Emma Hardy: My mother was a keen gardener and I shared her enthusiasm from quite a young age. As a child, I loved going to the garden centre on a Sunday afternoon with her and choosing plants. It was quite a while before I got my own garden, but I have always loved visiting other peoples gardens and have amassed quite a pile of gardening books that I have read avidly over the years.
All Photographs from Teeny Tiny Gardening by Emma Hardy, Photography by Debbie Patterson CICO Books, $21.95; www.cicobooks.com
Design*Sponge: What are some of your first gardening memories?
Emma Hardy: The first thing I remember planting was snowdrop bulbs. I remember being rather frustrated that nothing happened for a long time but was very proud when they finally emerged!
Design*Sponge: And why teeny tiny? What about this project appealed to you?
Emma Hardy: I am currently starting a new garden having moved recently and although I am very excited by it, I am also impatient to get it done and slightly daunted by the amount of work that we need to do. Making tiny gardens satisfies my need to grow without the need to cultivate large areas of ground. Making miniature gardens are a great way to use the plants that you love when you don’t have much space or simply want to brighten up an area like a terrace or window sill or even a dining table. They are also a very cost effective way of creating something beautiful and definitely require less time on maintenance!
Design*Sponge: One of the ways in which your book really appeals to me, is through unusual containers that you use – from egg shells to suitcases. How did you get started using such unusual garden vessels and why is that such an important component of the book?
Emma Hardy: I love the idea of using unusual containers for planting and once you start looking around for containers, just about everything becomes a potential planter! I am an avid visitor to flea markets and like nothing more than buying an old tin, bucket, suitcase, basket etc.. for next to nothing and transforming it into a beautiful garden. I have a collection of containers (old troughs, buckets and baskets) that are packed with herbs and flowers outside my back door, which look wonderful throughout the summer and can be chopped and changed to create different arrangements.
More of from Teeny Tiny Gardening and Emma’s interview after the jump!