Gardeners Champion Nature's Cause from the City

Lisa Lee Benjamin wants you and everybody you know to get excited about the bugs that live in your city. Through the invention of urban lands, she hopes to make space for the flora and fauna we desire for a healthy environment — and encourage people to”grapple with where they draw the line between rampant insect and neighbor.”

Urban Hedgerow is a group of San Francisco”instigators” and musicians, formed by Benjamin and horticulturalist Jason Dewees, aimed at creating public awareness of the outstanding — and necessary — environmental processes happening around us every day. By creating pockets of nature deep within the city, they hope to redefine what makes a landscape great.

Urban Hedgerow

Urban Hedgerow team members reuse urban legends to make wall-mounted shelters for pollinating insects and even migratory birds.

Hedgerows were initially used in farms as property divisions and lane lines. To Urban Hedgerow, a traditional hedgerow is”a row of shrubs and trees in the margins of state spaces, one that people gently manage and partly neglect. It is a space that attracts and harbors wildlife also offers people wind protection, enclosure and pest management.”

The classic hedgerow is a clear interaction of the wild and managed landscape — darkened trees beside closely planted farm areas. In a similar way, Urban Hedgerow installations like this one bring fragments of the wild into the city, redefining the fringe.

Urban Hedgerow

Public awareness and support are all critical to Urban Hedgerow’s achievement, so the team aims to create pieces that are appealing, possible and fun.

This weapon of foraged and recovered substances designed and built by Benjamin and Kevin Smith hangs at Flora Grubb Gardens at San Francisco. This art piece and possible habitat invites us to inquire just how willing we are to invite nature into our domestic arenas, even in a subtle way.

Urban Hedgerow

This Urban Hedgerow prototype is designed to hold bundles of foraged twigs and plants for bug habitats. It was exhibited at the Farmer’s Block exhibition at San Francisco.

Urban Hedgerow

Benjamin and collaborator Moose Curtis made an Urban Hedgerow installment at London’s 2012 Chelsea Fringe Festival. It focused on building awareness of 2 species of a neighborhood blossom: Vanessa cardui and Vanessa atalanta.

In an installment titled”I Love Vanessa,” Benjamin tagged countless street plants and weeds with butterfly-size tags identifying them as critical butterfly habitats. Being presented with sidewalks as hosts to the beautiful Vanessa blossom, passersby may rethink the value of”weeds” and what they mean to animals.

Urban Hedgerow

Curtis power washed images of the butterflies on walls and sidewalks surrounding the installation as an additional reminder of the wild animals that occupy spaces that are managed.

Urban Hedgerow

Take a look at a map of butterfly image places. The installation will stay intact in Chelsea until the artwork naturally weathers away.

Urban Hedgerow

Many things go into the choices of places chosen for Urban Hedgerows. Public spaces are significant, because they optimize exposure and enable pedestrians to take note and ask questions. Proposed habitats in San Francisco match critical avenues for migratory birds.

“Reclaim Market Street!” (shown here) was made as a temporary green space in the center of San Francisco’s Civic Center. By simulating a native habitat in this political and pedestrian center of San Francisco, designers, artists and plant experts were able to talk about their expertise and collaborate with the public on a communal stage.

Urban Hedgerow

Nesting birds and insects can find shelter inside this habitat built with Green Roof Shelters. Native plants and collected organic materials like wool and bark are tucked within recycled and reused construction materials.

While Benjamin works with artists to make attention-grabbing shelters, the real needs of nesting birds and bees still must be met. Even after that, the end result is not always foolproof. “I watched a bee go straight into a screw hole following a week working on a hand-crafted sand concrete panel for nesting bees,” Benjamin says.

Urban Hedgerow

Little hedgerow prototypes, such as this, empower portability.

There is still a lot left to be found about the lasting importance of these mini urban habitats. The environmental benefits that humans receive from indigenous plants, bugs and insects is undeniable — pollination, decomposition and carbon removal are only a couple. Benjamin believes that consciousness at the personal level will determine the way we influence our environments moving forward.

“The pests will well survive without us, but we will not survive without them,” she says. “Overall we are just a different animal, so we should begin behaving like one.” Pay attention to what is happening right around you and respect what is there, she says.

Urban Hedgerow

Rolled burlap, twigs and other organic materials cost small and create vibrant and textural habitats.

Benjamin suggests leaving some areas of your backyard organic, or planting host or pollinator plants. Think about backyard”problem” regions differently. If considering your hedgerow, Benjamin reminds us to to be creative, intentional and resourceful with materials. Ask yourself if they were in your place, exactly what the animals would select.

Urban Hedgerow

Urban Hedgerow invites everybody to effort and collaborate together on their own for”the unseens that fuel our existence,” Benjamin (revealed ) says. “I hope soon we could only be a place for people to give all the fantastic things they find to inspire each other to create.” Check out Urban Hedgerow to Learn More.

More:
9 Flowers That Draw Butterflies

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1970s Style Finds Groove Today

I recently took a drive along with my husband the coast and we played a Name That Tune sort of game. He knows his music, and his favorite music genre is ’70s rock: bands whose songs I know but whose names — Little River Band, Eagles, Bob Seger, Credence Clearwater Revival — elude me. We had a California retro moment driving up the coast in our van, ’70s music playing along with palm trees everywhere.

What do you envision when you consider taking a drive in the ’70s? Do you have postcard imagery in mind of joyful people forcing in convertibles with palm trees and tie-dyed tops?

While my husband beat me at Name That ’70s Song, I recalled my living room from the ’70s and decided to examine some retro-inspired spaces to see how performers are bringing the colour and fun of those times into new insides for today.

Grace Blu Designs, Inc..

When I was a kid in the ’70s, my area had pink and orange polka dots. This chamber just made me laugh as it inspired a flashback. The only thing missing is the bright yellow doughnut telephone I had with a long, curly cord. It used to get tangled following hours of talking on the telephone.

UBERDESIGNHOUSE

Remember those rainbow bumper stickers everybody used to have in their cars? This ’70s-inspired rainbow wall along with arc lamp look ideal for a game room or basement hangout. The comfy chairs are great for relaxing with friends while playing a few rounds in an Atari.

Ninainvorm

The pillow designs along with the patchwork rug remind me with some of jeans that I had when I was a kid. The ’70s aesthetic was all about primary colours.

Anthony Baratta LLC

Even though there are a few midcentury chairs blended in this, the designs and wall art are legendary ’70s. Notice all the different geometrics blended in together with uniquely shaped furniture.

More primary colours, a love-inspired stencil with a quilt on mattress. This Bohemian space is completed by A Moroccan pouf.

Simone Alisa

A silver upholstered bed with mirrored nightstands and a grey shag rug — now that’s disco!

Roger Hirsch Architect

The very first time that I saw a dialogue pit was in a James Bond film from the ’70s. To this day that is my notion of a great entertaining layout.

Integrated

This distance looks like Marcia Brady’s room, with large flower-power wall art, hanging bubble pendants along with a white shag throw rug.

Vintage Renewal

A vintage Bohemian-style barrel chair sits boldly with primary colours. See illuminates the pillow on the chair.

A vintage pattern on homemade-looking curtains coordinates using an orange macramé wall hanging.

maison21

A bright orange Malm Lancer fireplace brightens up the mood in this ’70s-inspired living room in Palm Springs. Malm Lancer fireplaces have been first first produced in the 1960s in Sonoma County, California. This style gained fame in the ’70s and still looks fresh today.

Anthony Baratta LLC

More rainbow colours and geometric patterns have been blended fearlessly by Anthony Barrata in this living area. Note the orange, yellow and red blended with mirrored furniture.

Inform us : What’s your favorite ’70s-inspired style?

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Lofty Living in the Heart of the Randstad

On a few of the most renowned shopping streets in town of The Hague stays this top-floor flat in three-story building dating back to the early 1800s. Its inside is a cozy blend of traditional and East Asian styles, with loads of diverse charm. With a subtle colour scheme and well-placed furniture, this loft-style apartment is a balanced composition of both new and old.

Owner Peter Blom is located in Switzerland and visits his home in The Hague a few times a year. While it was heavily under construction, the property was bought by him from 2004. His prior home was a large property in rural Utrecht, and he was looking to buy something less isolated. He was instantly attracted to The Hague for its upscale yet quiet way of life. The building also houses a store on the ground floor and an apartment on the second floor.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Peter Blom
Location: The Hague, South Holland
Size: 130 sq.-meter, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, living/dining room, kitchen, office, rooftop terrace.

Holly Marder

The exposed wood beams are an original feature of the house and give the room a critical wow factor. Not only can they radically increase the size of their room, they also allow ample light to enter through the large placed windows looking out on the rooftop terrace. Painted at a coat of black, the beams tie in beautifully with the neutral palette of this room, working especially well with bits Blom bought from Asia.

Holly Marder

The apartment looks out on the Denneweg, one of the oldest streets at The Hague. The first building in the road dates back to 1390, once the street sported wooden houses that ran all the way to the North Sea.

Today, the Denneweg is in the heart of The Hague’s shopping scene, even while being one of the last truly upscale areas from the”Randstad” (the region encompassing the major Dutch cities of Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague), and boasts beautiful houses and boutiques.

Holly Marder

Blom had the furnishings for years; things were picked up by him in China on a business trip. The mix of traditional furnishings and Asian accents, as well as several parts of quirky art, make this home an eclectic treat for the senses.

Holly Marder

Nothing about this apartment’s interior has been designed in any particular way with any particular purpose; the things are both old and fresh yet harmonize perfectly with one another. “What is significant is that it fits together, but naturally, that’s an issue of taste,” Peter says.

Holly Marder

The flat has been dotted with interesting art pieces, from quirky to more traditional fashion oil paintings, to bronze decorations and vintage world maps. The art comes from all over the area, but one artist, Ronald Habraken, is featured several times through the house. Habraken has been commissioned by the owner to paint some 30 paintings through the years, many of which are now in the operator’s home in Switzerland. Though the works aren’t all in the exact same manner, the artist’s distinctive flair is clearly identifiable. When asked about his preference for this particular artist’s creations,” Peter said,”I like paintings in the design of Corneille and Herman Brood.” That is evident when looking at the modern, imaginative functions that enhance the flat’s diverse feel. “It is more important to me that I am touched by [the art] than when it is by a renowned artist.”

Holly Marder

The vintage map prints featured in the dining room area are of places that the proprietor has lived, such as Switzerland, South America and Utrecht. “Maps always have to have a meaning for me. I really don’t just buy maps,” Blom says.

Holly Marder

In the lounge area, two sizeable beige linen arm chairs placed side by side are paired together with the caramel-hued leather sofa. The coffee table, using its Asian-style legs, injects a Far-Eastern feel into an otherwise traditional distance.

Holly Marder

Blom bought the little assortment of eyeglasses beside the IKEA bookcase roughly 40 years ago. The large oil painting of Amsterdam, was bought some 20 years ago. These cherished things add historical appeal to the home.

Holly Marder

Perhaps Blom’s favorite piece of art is that the large bronze hen by Peter Peterson. The artist draws his inspiration from the surrounding character, often using typical Dutch creatures as models. This chicken was fashioned for the homeowner.

Holly Marder

The ladder at the center of the living room leads up to a tiny attic study nook overlooking the flat’s living area and the Denneweg below. During the construction, Blom asked the builders to put a window at the slanted ceiling to permit light to input and views of The Hague to be seen. While the analysis is at the primary area of the house, it’s surprisingly private.

Holly Marder

The small kitchen features marble counters atop white matte doorways, although small, has ample storage area — not to mention amazing views on the fashionable Denneweg below.

Holly Marder

The building right opposite the flat dates back to 1898. It is a 3-story exclusive fashion boutique, and undoubtedly one of the most attractive buildings on the road.

Holly Marder

The hallway seems to zigzag its way from the entrance all the way to the bedroomdown the front end of the flat. The hallway is adorned with more art by Ronald Habraken.

Holly Marder

This freestanding cabinet in Blom’s bedroom is just another item he discovered in Asia. “I started at Hong Kong and finished up in Beijing, and somewhere along the way I bought some bits to return to the Netherlands,” he says. This bit sets the scene at the master bedroom.

Holly Marder

The black fold-out chairs with cane seats increase the Asian feel and tie in nicely with the rest of the area’s décor, as does the cane chest at the base of their mattress.

Holly Marder

In the hallway, a varnished wooden staircase winds up to the rooftop terrace. The terrace, formerly the roof itself, has been divided to create a quiet outdoor distance away from the hustle and bustle of the city below. The door to the left leads into a huge storage area, and the big windows to the right look directly into the living area below.

Holly Marder

Though the terrace is practically unused because of the cool weather and the operator’s absence for most of the season, it has enormous potential to become a great spot for hosting late-night soirees at the summer months and also get-togethers year round. Plonk a brazier down, decorate seats with comfy cushions and spend a romantic night gazing up at the stars…

Though Blom is away out of his inner city flat for the majority of the season, he really enjoys returning to it. “I really like the high ceilings, the simple fact that it is rather spacious, the roof terrace, the storage and I love that it is at the center of the nicest aspect of The Hague.”

More Tours:
Eclectic Coastal Home at Holland
Early 20th Century Meets Contemporary

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