Potting about…

"Magic" by Christine CaccamoThe Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge MA annually celebrates the best of gardening and gardening ideas.  This summer is no exception.  “Down to Earth: Architects Redesign the Potting Shed” features six sheds created by local architects and contractors are scattered throughout the garden.  Where are your tools?

Berkshire Botanical Garden toolshedThis wonderful structure lives permanently at the Garden.  Each summer there is a new combination of planting in the window.  Called “Magic”, this year’s collection was designed by Christine Caccamo, Head Gardener, and combines Colocasia ‘Black Magic, Euphorbia graminea ‘Diamond Frost’, Impomoea batatas “Sweet Carolina Raven’, Solenstemon “Big Red Judy’ and ‘Freckles’.  What’s inside?

All tools in a rowTools! And more Tools!

Andy and Peggy MatlowAndy and Peggy Matlow of the Great Barrington Cottage Company envisioned a bright and airy structure using recycled materials from early 19C homes.  This could be a lovely retreat rather than a potting shed.

John CharchediSolitude in nature is the focus of this potting shed that suggests a Japanese teahouse.  John Carchedi of JAC Design emphasizes restraint and simplicity.  One can see it with cups of tea more easily than messy bags of compost.

Jonathan KeepAn open-air potting palace called the Vine Lovers Potting Shed by Jonathan Keep.  Inspired by the Asian gardeners in Boston’s South End, the wire trellises of this shed are clothed in Asian vining vegetables like white bitter melon.

AgaveA quirky and slightly impracticable potting table holds a large agave plant and is surrounded with log seats, with an artful tumble of pots below always ready to be planted.

Pots, shells and eggsOn the table is a charming still-life of pots, shells, eggs and a nest.

Clark and Green IncThe most elaborate and arresting of the potting sheds is the project of Clark and Green Inc with Allegrone Construction.  A rather intellectual exercise of nine nine-foot cubes, the shed is called 9 Square Potting Shed.

Cubes within cubesFrom the back, more of the cube matrix is apparent.  In the open areas, the nine foot cubes are subdivided by three foot framed growing sections.  The bright red sliding doors animate the design made from natural rough cut and distressed pine.  Steel cables run vertically for vines.

Stone-filled gabionsAt the eastern end is this rather curious tower of stone-filled cubes called gabions enclosed in wire mesh which add a very different texture.  Unfortunately they have subsided a bit so they look a little heavy and precarious.

"Cuttings" the BBG magazine Another delightful potting shed is at the home of Bunny Williams who wrote the accompanying article in “Cuttings” the bulletin of the Garden.  As she says, “I am always drawn to the working areas of the garden – the areas where the utensils, the pots, the fertilizer are all stored.”

Tools a la JuliaMe, too.  “Show me the stuff.”  Look at this wonderful tool wall, surely inspired by Julia’s pots and pans, in the potting shed of Stonecrop in Garrison NY.



About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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