Tuesday Terrace: A Swedish terrace


To my surprise, roses thrive in the northern latitudes of Sweden and Denmark where their foliage is blemish-free due to the lack of humidity and cool summers. The Swedes evidently love them as they often graced the front entrances of homes especially in the college city of Lund, a hour away from Copenhagen, Denmark. Here a standard tree-rose has been tucked in at the right corner, and the yellow flowers are complementary to the pale blue door. Without question, one would smile coming home as if flowers are liable to brighten our expressions.  ~ Eric

Tuesday’s Terrace: A streetside box of spring color in Philadelphia


During a warm spring walk in Philadelphia last year, I happened upon this planting generously crammed with tulips of bright hot colors that literally sang against the faded brick building. The morning light enlivened the emerging foliage of the ginkgo and the translucent petals of the tulips, making me at the promise of longer summer days ahead. ~ Eric

Tuesday’s Terrace: Holiday Style


We close this year out in true Plinth et al. holiday style with our last Tuesday’s Terrace of 2015, a fountain piled high with festive greens in a Spanish courtyard.  Out came the running water and in went the evergreen branches and all the trimmings to celebrate the holidays. We raise a glass and toast and celebrate with you, to all of your successes, travels and joyous occasions of this year and  wish upon you many more in the next one. We also take this time to wish for and perpetuate more peace,  joy and understanding in the World.

It’s important for us to say thanks to you too, our readers and compatriots in this ongoing conversation about art and horticulture and for continuing the conversation with us.  Each of your comments, likes and shares always put a smile on our face, as it is a reflection of your taste and what subjects suit and interest you most.    Thank you for a wonderful 2015!

We will continue sharing interesting articles and tidbits that we come across but will be back in the New Year with our regular posts and some new and exciting subjects too.  Stay in touch with us and follow some of our shenanigans here too, Eric and James .    See you in 2016!

Thank you and Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday’s Terrace: Barcelona




Barcelona, Barcelona, Barcelona… It’s been a few years since I last visited this city so I thought it appropriate to share with you a few terraces that I have been seeing on my trip.  This visit is for a bit of fun and work, as I am keeping an eye out for inspiration for a new terrace I am designing back in Madrid.

Barcelona has more moisture in the air due to the Mediterranean Sea and is less dry than centrally located Madrid.  This first terrace is a lush green haven, protected in part by the fact it is on a second and third floor of an old corner building in the Eixample neighborhood of Barcelona. I look at this terrace and see lots of wonderful greens to cut for inside the house. A lush and tropical green paradise in a sea of stone buildings.

The  second terrace is viewed from a tower of the La Sagrada Familia and as we climbed higher and higher up my sites turned to scanning rooftops for private gardens.  There weren’t many to see due to my limited view but loved this one terrace below, on the right.  I could just imagine creating something wonderful with that empty canvas and the the small structure in the center. Pergolas covered in grapes, fountains, with the church being the main vista for the garden.  Or there is the other terrace on the left which made me smile, for it’s use of astroturf  large purple and mustard yellow fountain, seemingly it’s most important feature of the terrace. Or maybe it’s a pool? Either way, it’s always enjoyable to see how well, or not, others use their terrace and garden spaces.  Enjoy.. –  James (Instagram)



Tuesday’s Terrace: Brooklyn revisited


It’s been a long time since my last visit home to NYC, so this week’s image for Tuesday’s Terrace is a current photo of my old Brooklyn Garden (featured here before). I have been back in Madrid only a week now but 3 years ago was the last time I visited friends and family at home in New York.  Spending time in this garden of my creation was just as important to me, for a number of reasons.  When I created the garden there was no water source out there, the soil was poor and I wanted to choose tough plants that could handle their own once I got them established,  so I was very curious to see how my planning panned out.  Surprisingly everything had filled in beautifully, looked tough as nails, and had seemed as if it was growing there for a lot longer than it was, I first starting planting it about 6 years ago.  After moving away, my two good friends took over the apartment and garden. Between all of us, the garden has hosted many visitors and happy times, quiet times, parties, barbecues, dinners and most recently, a good friends wedding, with which we used some material from the garden for in our arrangements.  It was such a pleasure seeing it all come full circle.  Though the world works in a funny way though, where change is the only constant. Just a few days after returning to Madrid, my friend living there messaged me that the landlord has just put the building up for sale, its fate soon to be determined.  Hearing this news was like a punch in the stomach, what would happen to my old garden, would it disappear.  Only time will tell, but I do know that I will always remember that garden as one that taught me a lot and brought many smiles to many faces proving the powerful tonic of a green space full of wonderful plants.  – James

Brooklyn Garden

Tuesday’s Terrace: Hydrangeas and Petunias in Greece Part II


This terrace planting is gunning for boldness in the bright magenta flowers of Hydrangea macrophylla and the colorful froth of petunias on the right. The contrast is made more striking by the pale walls and stucco roof of this otherwise ordinary Greek residence. One can see what is a productive vegetable garden with cucumbers and tomatoes in the front. Utility and beauty can be best to describe the dual aims of this Greek terrace.  ~ Eric

Tuesday’s Terrace: Brooklyn

Brooklyn Garden, plinth et al.

Feeling a bit nostalgic this week so I decided to reach back to my days in Brooklyn, NY for this weeks Tuesday’s Terrace.   Situated next to an old church in BedStuy, this Brooklyn garden was 700sq feet of pure joy for me.  What started as a blank canvas in the beginning turned into this dense garden over the course of just 2 years.  With one side of the garden bordered by the church and its stain glassed windows, it felt a world away from NYC, which is a next to impossible feat.  I wanted the mood of the garden to be a bit wild, as if encountering a garden that was left unattended for many years, but still thriving.  It was difficult in the beginning because there was no water source in the garden and everything needed to be hand watered, but I let that problem help define my plant palette, and chose plants that could withstand drought once established.  I often wonder what it looks like now and how much it has filled out.  Below is a before and after.  – James (link)


Tuesday’s Terrace: Eric in Greece

Greek Gardens, pelargoniums

Analogous colors of reds from pelargoniums and roses brighten this downstairs terrace of a Greek dwelling in central Greece. A gardenia in full bud to the left promises olfactory sensation later in the warm Grecian summer. – Eric

   (Here’s more of Eric’s stunning images of his current trip, click link to follow him here: @ehsu2003 )

Tuesday’s Terrace: Oporto, Portugal

 Praca de Lisboa green roof in Porto, Portugal

Bringing a Mediterranean touch to Tuesday’s Terrace is “Praca de Lisboa” in Porto, Portugal. This green roof utilizes the large area with a simple but effective mix of olive trees, Olea europaea, and a large expanse of lawn. This combination turns it into the perfect urban oasis a world away from bustling city streets below, where a spot of green is a welcome sight and escape amidst a sea of orange terracotta tiles.   – James

Tuesday’s Terrace: Espaliered Hibiscus


I was walking through Graduate Hospital, a neighborhood in central Philadelphia, this past weekend when I momentarily froze in front of this Hibiscus syriacus (rose-of-sharon) beautifully fan-espaliered against the wall of a corner rowhouse. The owner had painstakingly pruned and spread the branches, pruned off extraneous shoots, and kept the bed tidy (except for an Agastache beginning to emerge from the right). Such visual treatment forces you to rethink and admire a rather humdrum shrub not always given its admiration out of flower. ~ Eric