Archives for posts with tag: Home and Garden

This outdoor furniture is constructed from 100% recycled materials, the garden benches, chairs and plant stands are made from an assemblage of vintage wood, tree roots and found or discarded objects. The ‘carpenter’ Dave, carefully and patiently builds each piece by hand.

Garden Chairs

Take a look at this garden seat, you’ll see some old tools incorporated into the design.

garden seat made from recycled wood, rusty chain with tools such as trowels incorporated into the design

Garden seat made from recycled wood and chain.

Dave has been making this yard furniture for about six years and is self-taught. He got started when his girlfriend asked him to build her something and he produced a small bench. From there he went on to create sheds, fences, gazebos and sculpture.

Garden furniture, a chair made from scrap wood with a curved back

Beautiful chair with curved back


Garden chair made from reclaimed wood with a back of interwoven branches and sticks.

Garden chair – a puzzle of re-purposed wood.

This chair is one of my favorites (below) because it seems to be blown and buffeted to the right by the wind.

artisan-made garden chair with the appearance of being blown to one side by the wind

A windswept chair

The furniture may look delicate but it is resilient enough for outdoors. As Dave says “Everything I make is solid, you can sit on the chairs.” While out foraging for material, Dave sometimes gathers all the ‘found pieces’ together and assembles the furniture on the spot, then brings it back to the store.

Large garden chair with a high back made from branches, the seat is made from re-purposed wood

This large garden chair is a sheltered nook – the back forms a decorative screen and it has a small open ‘roof’.

Plant Stands and Planters

This garden planter has several shelves for potted plants (below). The looped tree root is a great place to hang a wind chime, a sign or whatever else suits your garden. The up-recycled green and white glass plate provides visual balance.

A rustic garden shelf for the backyard or garden. It has several shelves for plant pots or ornaments. Made from recycled wood, vine and tree roots

Plant stand made from tree roots and vine

This is stand out piece, beautiful as is. Or use it as a display area for potted plants, bird houses, ceramics or small sculptural objects (below)

Add some vintage style to your garden with this plant stand / shelf

This plant shelf would look great against a brick wall.

Picture this plant stand with a potted fern in a shady spot on the deck. Or in full sun with a ceramic container of colorful, trailing plants such as nasturtiums – gorgeous!

A wooden plant holder suitable for a potted plant, for outdoor use, by backdoor on on a deck. Constructed from driftwood and scrap wood.

The perfect piece for the back door area or patio.

A table with a tabletop of discarded glass, framed by various pieces of worn wood (below).

Country-style table made from up-cycled items. The top is a piece of discarded glass, the frame and legs are constructed from driftwood.

Sturdy table for the porch.

Garden Benches

The back of this bench is a reclaimed window screen. (below).

A piece of hand-made outdoor furniture made from up-cycled wood and a mesh window screen.

There are traces of red paint on the seat.

Twisted, intertwined tree roots form the back of this garden seat (below). Dave searches for materials locally and recycles everything he sees. He uses grapevine, apple vine and yard sale ‘treasures’. Dave especially enjoys using roots because of the curvy shapes and because they sometimes twine around interesting objects such as old bricks (manufactured centuries ago by the Hudson River brick industry).

Old wood and tree roots are reused to create a county-style chair for the patio

Chair made from up-cycled wood and tree roots.

This is one of Dave’s first pieces, he calls it the ‘Tiny Tim’ bench. It does have that old Dickensian feel to it (below).

small wooden, decorative bench, constructed from reclaimed wood which has been varnished.

Small bench (about 3′ long) constructed from reclaimed wood with a varnished finish.

Garden Sculpture

Here’s a decorative windmill (below). I can image it as a centerpiece in a flower bed full of unruly wild flowers.

A decorative, wimisical, garden windmill, created by NY folk artist in the Hudson Valley, NY

Windmill with re-purposed, old broom.

Poised and focused! Ice hockey is a popular sport locally because there is an ice arena in town. Dave donates furniture to local fundraisers to benefit local schools and churches.

A small, humorous sculpture of a child ice hockey player made from reclaimed wood, the figure is holding a real hockey stick.

MVP – Saugerties Youth Ice Hockey!

The ‘Bird Sanctuary’ – a three dimensional collage of driftwood from the banks of the Hudson River (below).

A sculpture designed for wild birds, includes a reclaimed bird house

Dave tells me he’s seen birds popping in and out of the bird house.

The bird sanctuary includes an upcycled bird house complete with miniature deck and hand rails.

Reclaimed bird house with miniature deck and hand-rails.

Reclaimed bird house, painted the traditional red of a Hudson Valley barn.

Dave selected this piece of driftwood because it resembles an eagle. Golden Eagles are a common sight because they feed on fish and there are many large bodies of water in the area, including the Hudson River, of course.

A piece of driftwood that resembles a bird for prey such as an eagle.

Eagles, ospreys, hawks and vultures are often seen in the Hudson Valley.

Dave explained it takes many hours to place each piece in exactly the right spot.

Sculpture made from driftwood

Intricate pattern of driftwood

This rustic garden furniture reflects Dave’s love of history and his appreciation of art. Each piece has a story behind it. This is authentic, hand crafted, Hudson Valley folk furniture.

small, decorative garden fence, hand-made from driftwood.




fall decorations from a farm

Fall Colors in the Hudson Valley

Traditionally, farm produce such as pumpkins, squash, hay bales and corn stalks are used to decorate houses and gardens.

There are still many small, family farms in the Hudson Valley that supply this produce at farm stands, local stores or farmers markets.

Fall decor - pumpkins and corn

Pumpkins and corn from Boice’s Farm in the Hudson Valley

One such farm is Boice’s Farm which is located in Saugerties. Their farm stand is on Kings Highway and they have a great selection of seasonal fruit, vegetables and flowers.



They also have decorative pots and ornaments for the house and garden. All the flowers are very well-tended and look great even this late in the season.

millet grass

The farm house at Boice's Farm

The farm house at Boice’s Farm

They have a field of sunflowers next to the farm house and they sell the cut blooms.

A field of sunflowers

Sunflower field at Boice’s Farm

A sunflower in bloom

Late summer beauty

A dried sunflower full of seeds

A dried sunflower full of seeds is a great decorative item. Or hang it up outside for the birds to enjoy

Sue, the Manager of Boice’s Farm Stand explained that their farm started in 1947. In the beginning, they had problems obtaining the seedling plants for the farm so they built a greenhouse and started growing their own. This expanded into growing cut flowers. They also provide chrysanthemums for the Saugerties ‘Mum Festival’ and make Kissing Balls for the holidays.

Sweet corn growing in a corn field

You can’t beat local corn – so fresh and sweet!

There are about seven bee hives in the fields and Sue confirmed that there is an improvement in  the pollination of the pumpkin and squash due to the bee hives. “Bees have been around forever so why not keep them around?”.

Decorative fall items from a farm - chrysanthemums, squash and cabbage

A classic combo – chrysanthemums, squash, pumpkins and decorative cabbage

Boice’s Farm stand is open weekdays and weekends.

Buy local and support our family farms!

Decorative pumpkin, sweetcorn and chrysanthemum flowers

Corn, pumpkin and “Mums”

Hydrangea flowers, green squash piled up on a hay bale

Hydrangea flowers and green squash piled up on a hay bale

antique_painted_ gathering_garden_

Hand-made blue rice-gathering basket from Tibet. Made from bamboo and reeds

Rayann’s Creative Instinct is a store in the village of Saugerties in NY. It is chock-a-block with antiques from the Hudson Valley, a rural region of New York State, about 100 miles north of NYC.

The owner, Rayann Fatizzi has decades of experience procuring vintage furniture, decorative tchotchkes and antique sculpture from local sources and overseas. She also creates unique jewelry and pictures from recycled trinkets, fabrics and graphics. Here in the Hudson Valley, vintage items and historical artifacts are used as decorative items in gardens – there is a unique Hudson Valley style.

Garden Sculpture

I love sculpture in the garden because it provides interest even when the flowers and plants die back in the Fall. It provides a focal point in areas where it is hard to grow plants, such as dry shade.

In the winter  protect outdoor sculpture from the severe weather and low temperatures (click here for advice) or bring it inside.

This marble statue of a smiling monk is from Tibet.

A sculpture of Buddha

A stone sculpture of the head of Buddha. The stone contains marine fossils and is very heavy!

Head of Buddha – a calm presence in the garden.

Baskets and Containers

Vintage basket made from corn cobs hanging in the window of the shop

Vintage basket from New Hampshire hanging in the window of the shop.

This basket includes two rows of dried corn cobs. Rayann noted “This is a rare basket, I’ve never seen one like this before”.


Perfect for your garden tools – a hand-made wooden tool caddy.

Use wooden boxes and containers for garden storage or display as decorative items.

Gorgeous hand-carved wooden 'baskets' with smooth finish

Gorgeous hand-carved wooden rice gathering baskets from Tibet

Garden Furniture

Rocking Chair

Rocking Chair

According to Rayann “This Shaker rocking chair is over 100 years old, originally from Massachusetts. The basket is an apple gathering basket from a local farm in the Hudson Valley.”

The wooden rocker is a traditional piece of furniture on a porch. I love the faded zigzag woven seat and back.

Dark blue mini cabinet with drawers

Dark blue mini cabinet with drawers

Rayann provided some interesting history “This piece was hand-made by a gentleman in Kingston who repaired lamps. He worked in his home-shop. The drawers were made from vintage cheese boxes.”

For the gardener, this tiny cabinet could hold small tools, packets of seed and all those snippets of string and twine.

Vintage couch made from bamboo

Vintage couch made from bamboo

Relax in style! This beautiful bamboo sofa would look lovely on an enclosed deck where it would be protected from the elements. Rayann told me it came from the estate sale of a woman who collected Asian furniture.

Vintage Pepsi drinks cooler

Vintage Pepsi drinks cooler

A little rusty, but still brings back memories of happy summer days – this Pepsi drinks cooler could be refinished to it’s original paint scheme or left as is, depending on your preference.

Garden Lanterns

Pretty painted lantern

Hand made painted lantern with pressed glass side panels. Shabby Chic!

Light up your yard during the warm evenings of summer and fall.

Red oil lanterns

Red oil lanterns

Railroad workers used these red oil lanterns to send signals. (There was a huge rail system in New York State because people and goods traveled to and from NYC by rail. The system was dismantled in the 1970’s and now only two routes remain. Many of the routes were converted into ‘rail trails’ for walking)

Rayann mentioned “These lanterns are great for camping. In the summer people put them on their porches or hang them from a shepherd’s crook in the yard”.  Take a look at Jill Ruth’s wonderful blog for inspiration (below)

vintage oil lantern and galvanized tank used as flower bed

Vintage lantern as garden accessory. The large galvanized tank is a ‘raised bed’ planted with pretty annual flowers, cleome and african marigolds.

Tin lantern, country syle

Tin lantern, country style

Add a candle or tea-light to this tin lantern and enjoy a peaceful evening outside.

Garden accessories – Galvanized Steel or Rust?

Milk container from a Hudson Valley farm

Milk container from a Hudson Valley farm

Rusty milk container from a local farm.

Galvanized containers

Galvanized containers

Nowadays galvanized metal containers are very popular as decorative items and as planters for flowers and succulents. Galvanization is the process where  steel or iron items are coated with zinc to prevent rusting. These tubs and buckets were basic utility items on local farms, used for washing vegetables, laundry etc.

Here’s a collection of galvanized watering cans in a Hudson Valley garden – they are becoming harder to find as collectors snap them up (below).

vintage galvanized watering cans and buckets

Vintage galvanized water cans, buckets and oil cans in Hazel’s garden in the Hudson Valley

Rusty milk can

Rusty milk can

Out and about in the Hudson Valley, you’ll see a lot of these milk cans used as garden ornaments or bases for mail boxes. Here’s a newer one at Platte Creek Farm (below)

Milk can (with bird's nest!) at Platte Creek Maple Farm in Saugerties NY

Milk can (with bird’s nest!) at Platte Creek Maple Farm in Saugerties NY

Rayann explains “the milk cans often the have the name of the dairy on them.”

black vintage milk can with 'Southern Dairies Inc.' painted in white lettering

milk can from Southern Dairies Inc.

More rusty chic…

Wrought iron wall hook

Wrought iron wall hook

Hang a  small wind chime from this hand crafted wall hook.

Star anchor weights

Star anchor weights, some have been painted white and blue

These rusty cast-iron ‘star anchor weights’ were used to strengthen brick walls in old  buildings. How about using them to decorate your shed or deck?  According to Rayann “The stars in my shop came from Texas where they are nailed on barns for decoration. A friend had a country store in Texas that she closed up and I bought them from her. They are known as ‘Barn Stars’ down there.”

They can still be seen on the walls of industrial buildings in the Hudson Valley (below).

Anchor weight stars in a brick wall

Anchor weight stars in a brick wall

Bird Houses made from recycled materials

Cute bird house

Cute bird house

As Rayann explains “I designed this bird house and my husband built it – I pick out the bits and bobs and he nails them in place. There are two vintage tiles from the 1940’s on the roof of this bird house.”

Here’s the back-story behind the tiles. “My husband’s friend was a renovator and was working on a 1700’s stone house. Underneath the house he found hundreds of tiles, some were from the 1940’s and some from the 1700’s. I think the previous owners re-modeled their kitchen in the 1940’s and chucked the 1700’s tiles under the house. Then the kitchen was re-modeled again more recently and the 1940’s tiles were left under the house, which is where we found them”

A recycled cowboy boot made into a bird house.

A home in the country!

Reuse, recycle – this old cowboy boot is now a bird house. Re-purpose and provide habitat for birds!

Decorative Weather Vane

Rooster weather vane

Rooster weather vane

Looking for something for the garden shed or garage? This reproduction primitive metal rooster is a reference to the American farm-yard. Check out the spurs on his legs!

The Shop

The 'Rayann's Creative Instinct' store in Saugerties NY

The ‘Rayann’s Creative Instinct’ store in Saugerties NY

Rayann’s Creative Instinct is the place to go if you are looking for a real piece of Americana and Hudson Valley history.

* Thank you Rayann for taking the time to share the stories about the treasures in your shop *

Rayann's Creative Instinct antique shop, vintage

The bricks and mortar shop

Rayann’s Creative Instinct is located at 105 Partition Street, Saugerties NY 12477

(845) 246-4492 or  More finds on Etsy and Facebook.

Check out the excellent blogs from Empress of Dirt and Jill Ruth for ideas on recycled items for the garden. What vintage items do you use in your garden?



Inside – the tulips are blocks of color that pop. Outside – two foot of snow, sheets of ice and sub-zero temperatures.

The Spring Garden shows at Adams are held every March. The shows are setup inside and last for one week. There is a different garden show at each of the four Adams stores (Kingston, Wappinger, Poughkeepsie and Newburgh).  Adams is a family business which developed from a 1900’s farm stand where they left a ‘cigar box’ for customers to leave payment for produce.

  • The shows in Newburgh and Poughkeepsie are usually scheduled for the last week of February
  • The shows in Kingston and Wappinger are usually scheduled for the first week of March
  • check store websites for details!
Wooden sculpture, black bear with blue jay,

Hand carved wooden sculpture of a black bear holding a blue jay

Phil Burley, the Garden Center Manager at the Kingston store was kind enough to explain how the show is produced.

“The Poughkeepsie Landscape Design team create the show. The Kingston staff, including Jason Becker, the Nursery Manager, clear the space and help with the planting, installation and finishing details. People really appreciated this year’s concept – the rustic Adirondack look.”

Weeping cherry tree,

Weeping cherry tree at the side of a ‘creek’ surrounded by spring flowers

“The bulb stock comes from a grower, when the plants arrive they are in the ‘tight bud’ stage, ready to bloom during the Spring Show.  They are placed in the flower beds still in their pots which are covered with mulch.”

Stream with waterfall,

Creek with waterfall

The show includes both natural and artificial stone, a fork lift is used to place the large boulders. There is usually a water feature, this year it’s a natural looking miniature creek with a waterfall.

Fish fountain with sparrow,

Fish fountain – the water flows into the creek

Water always attracts wildlife and there was a pair of sparrows flitting round the fountain. (Previous shows have included Mallard ducks)

Bird sculpture with pansies and chrysanthemums,

Bird sculpture with purple pansies

Fox sculpture,

Red Fox, often seen in the Hudson Valley

Wildlife sculptures are dotted among the flowers.

Garden wall made from stone,

Circular stone wall

Stone patio,

Stone patio with metal garden seat

This patio is constructed with broken blue stone and boulders. The grass in the cracks was planted by hand – one of the many finishing touches that makes the show so impressive. The larger plants are added on the Monday before the show and the bulbs are added last.

Cedar garden structure,

The rustic ‘log home’ is constructed from red cedar logs.

Wooden sculpture, bear and salmon,

Hand carved wooden bear sculpture

In front of the log home is a wooden sculpture of a grizzly bear holding a salmon, this is a hand-made piece. A local folk art tradition, bears are carved with axes or chain saws.

Daffodils and Lilac,

Daffodils and Lilac

You would not believe how lovely the fragrance is! Flowering shrubs such as lilac and small evergreen trees  were put in place about one week before the show opens.

“It’s the temperature that makes the shrubs and plants flower. Mark Adams (son of the owner of Adams Stores) runs five acres of wholesale greenhouses behind the store in Poughkeepsie where he grows some of the annuals used in the spring shows.  The landscape crews sets up small greenhouses in the larger poly house to force the trees and shrubs to bloom just in time. Over the years Mark has gotten the timing down to a science.”

Pieris Shrub in bloom,

Pieris Shrub in bloom

I asked Phil if he had any advice for gardeners in the Hudson Valley:

  • “At this point, it requires patience, it’s not a good idea to do too much work when the ground is very muddy because the soil can become compacted, forcing out air and water pockets that plants need. In Vermont they call this the Mud Season!”
  •  “The prolonged cold temperatures have caused White-tailed deer to be more of an issue this year. The snow has prevented them from finding food and they have traveled and browsed more than usual.”
  •  “The cold winter wind increases transpiration. This and the extra cold temperatures means the roots cannot supply moisture fast enough to the plant, which can cause single branches or possibly the entire plant to die. After determining this, it’s a matter of pruning and removing the dead material.”
  • “Local people are concerned about GMO crops and absence of pollinators such as butterflies and bees. Many seed companies stated that their seeds are ‘GMO free’ this year. Adams stores do not sell GMO crops and offer organic and traditional produce. They source from local farms wherever possible and the Adams family supports many local organizations and charities.”
rock sculpture and vines,

Rock sculpture in the creek with wild grape vines behind

I love the Spring Shows at Adams, to me they are a welcome sign that spring is on the way – keep an eye out for the Adams Spring Shows in 2015!

My morning started with a giant donut in the backyard, powdered sugar everywhere.

Snowy day in the garden. Source:


River stone pillar in the garden. Source:

Pillar covered in stone from the Hudson River

Decided to leave my garden and walk down the road

Catskill Mountains and oak trees in the snow, Hudson Valley, NY. Source:

The snow on the Catskill Mountains turned pink in the morning sun

America Robins in a tree, Hudson Valley, NY. Source:

I saw a flock of about 50 American Robins eating berries in a tree

Bird bath in a snowy garden, Hudson Valley, NY. Source:

Their bird bath was not functional today

Garden sculpture in the snow, Hudson Valley, NY. Source:


The low temperatures make everyone shiver

Garden furniture in the snow, Hudson Valley, NY. Source:

Tea anyone?

Too chilly for breakfast ‘al fresco’ today

Back indoors for a cup of tea, thinking about how the snow makes the familiar look so different.

* With grateful thanks to the gardeners of Saugerties for allowing me to photograph their snow scenes *

Old stone farmhouse with maple trees, hudson valley NY

The red pointed structure to the right of the farm house is the original well cover.

Last summer, my friend Liz introduced me to her friends, Deb and Peter, who live in a stone farm-house built in the 1800s. The house was abandoned for many years and has been reclaimed and repaired by them.  The stone walls are beautiful and the north facing wall is covered in lichen.

stone wall with lichen

The colors and textures serve as inspiration for the owner’s art and design work.

The builders of this house incorporated fossils into the walls.

fossil coral, Hudson Valley, NY

These marine deposits date from before the time of the dinosaurs.

These fossil corals are from the Early Paleozoic era, 550 to 350 million years ago when shallow, warm seas covered New York state.

Fossil coral reef, Hudson Valley, NY

Fossil coral reef

Fossil fern, Hudson Valley, NY

Fossil fern leaf

While working in the garden, Peter pushed this rock over with his tractor and saw the fossil fern on the surface. He thinks it may have been intended as building material because this rock has similar building marks to those seen on the rocks in the house wall.

Bamboo in front garden


There are several different species of bamboo in the garden. Peter spotted this bamboo on the back of a truck in NYC, stopped the truck and purchased two bunches.

Bamboo and American Basswood tree, front garden

Bamboo – with the heart-shaped leaves of an American Basswood tree above

Bamboo may be invasive, to prevent this, Peter suggests planting it in a rubber trough which will contain the root system. It can take five years or so to establish then grows rapidly.

Rhubarb against stone wall in garden

The stonework is beautiful in its own right.

Ornamental rhubarb is growing against a sunny wall of the house.

Rhubarb and Yucca, side garden

The yucca grows well in this area (USDA zone 5)

Yucca intermixed with ornamental rhubarb.

plants in pots, front garden

Tender plants in pots in the front yard

In front of the house the tender plants thrive in the dappled shade from the maple tree. That’s Ruffian on the lawn, keeping an eye on things.

Euphorbia and tradescantia in front garden

The purple creeping plant is Tradescantia Pallida Purpurea

This fantastic stick-like plant is the ‘Pencil Cactus’ Euphorbia schimperi. Peter plucked a small stem from a nightclub (which charged $5.00 for a glass of soda!) and it has rooted and grown quite large.

Euphorbia pachypodioides

I think this spiky one is Euphorbia pachypodioides

spiky stem of Euphorbia pachypodioides


Euphorbia in pot

Until seeing this collection, I had no idea that the Euphorbia genus includes such a variety of forms – many plants that I thought were ‘cacti’ are actually Euphorbia.

a cultivar of Euphorbia lacte

This cultivar is usually grafted with another Euphorbia because it’s difficult to grow on its own roots.

This is a cultivar of Euphorbia lacte.

A rare euphorbia, in the family Opuntia

A rare Euphorbia, in the family Opuntia

Agave x Manfreda Bloodspots

Pretty agave with red spots, called Agave x Manfreda Bloodspots.

Agave paryii 'Truncatum'

In the background, Agave paryii ‘Truncatum’ which has long spines at the tips.

Monkey Puzzle tree, Araucaria araucana

‘Monkey Puzzle’ tree, Araucaria araucana

While growing up in London UK, I saw this 130′ tree growing in the tiny front gardens of Victorian terrace houses. We called it the Monkey Puzzle’ tree and seeing it here in New York brought back memories. It took Peter and Deb 14 years to find this one. Now rare in its native habitat, South America.

phalaenopsis orchid

This Phalaenopsis orchid was a gift from a friend. This 40-year-old plant bloomed with 19 flowers during the year that Peter was very ill. Prior to this, it had not bloomed for 22 years. Unfortunately their friend recently passed.

plant, flowers smell of carrion

The carrion-like scent of the flowers attracts insect pollinators

Deb affectionately calls this one the ‘Stinky Plant’ because the flowers smell a bit iffy.

Hoya Kerri

This Hoya ‘Kerri’ with heart-shaped leaves is also known as ‘Sweetheart Hoya’, from south-east Asia.

Prickly Pear cactus

A drought tolerant Prickly Pear cactus – one of several cacti that can survive the New York winters.

This palm tree has been in the garden for almost two years and is hardy to -10 degrees F.

This palm tree has been in the garden for almost two years and is hardy to -10 degrees F.

I was very surprised to see a ‘Windmill’ palm tree Trachycarpus fortunei. To protect the tree during the winter, a layer of mulch is applied, followed by a burlap cover and a layer of red bricks.

Red clay bricks in garden

Red bricks found on the property (cameo appearance by Liz’s dog)

Brick from the Washburn brick yard on the Hudson River NY

Brick from the Washburn brick yard on the Hudson River NY

Check out this Saugerties Times article for a little more info on Washburn local history.

Rugosa rose in back garden

Rugosa rose in back garden

Rugosa Rose with pink blooms

Chinese preying mantis insect on rugosa rose bush in back garden

Spot the bug…

This Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis) originates from Asia and it usually stays a while on the rose-bush. The insect was introduced into America in the 1800s, perhaps it prefers this shrub because the Rugosa rose also originates from Asia and it is a ‘home from home’.

Check out these great pictures of cacti and succulents in an Italian garden on ‘The Pink House’ blog!

December in the Hudson Valley, time to sip hot chocolate and look at the snow outside. Chocolate… got me thinking about Lucky Chocolates an artisanal chocolate store. This summer (it seems like a long time ago now) I was on my way to Lucky Chocolates when I glanced up and noticed some large planters at roof level; the owner Rae, explained there is a roof garden above the store and she obligingly let me take a peek.

Roof Garden Lucky Chocolates Store

Lucky Chocolates. The best!

The roof garden is connected to a spacious rental apartment on the second floor of the 19th century building and was built three years ago when Rae lived in the apartment and wanted some outdoor space. At the entrance to the roof garden there is a raised deck area which provides privacy and shade.

Roof Garden Deck

View of the roof garden terrace from the deck

The deck was built by Nick Gugliametti who also constructed the bamboo screens.

Roof Garden furniture

A place to eat ‘Al Fresco’

Roof Garden Bamboo Screens with Boston Ivy

Boston Ivy growing on bamboo screens

Boston Ivy Parthenocissus tricuspidata grows up the screens from the alley below, stems are attached to vertical surfaces by sticky pads at the ends of tendrils.

Roof Garden  with Boston Ivy berries

Boston Ivy foliage and berries

In summer, tiny green flowers bloom followed by small black berries (food for birds).

roof garden, mint growing in a recycled container

A useful herb, Mint

Mint flourishes, growing in a reclaimed drinks cooler.

Roof Garden Plastic Pots with Sedum plants

Plastic pots are a lightweight choice for a roof garden

These vintage white pots contain various Sedum plants.

Roof garden deck

The deck from the terrace

Stepping down from the deck, the terrace is covered in pea gravel, a lightweight material that weighs less than soil and grass.

Roof garden lawn in raised bed

Mini Lawn!

However there is a small lawn in a raised bed, usually kept neat by hand-trimming with scissors! Roof Garden Chair and pea gravel The sides of the deck are enclosed by metal railings which are integrated with wooden box planters, custom built by carpenter, John Malloy.

Roof Garden Marigolds in Planter

Marigolds – lovely hot colors

The box planters have an 8″ layer of soil and are suitable for heat tolerant annuals such as marigolds, cosmos and zinnias.

Roof Garden Marigolds and Zinnias

Marigolds and Zinnias

Roof Garden Annuals in Pots

A pretty mix of annual plants

Rae explains “It’s been a good year for the annuals and there are lots bees up here. It’s nice to have lots of flowers because the bees are dying out and we need bees for pollination.”

Roof Garden Lantana in a pot

Pink Lantana flowers

Rae especially likes the Lantana “Lovely small blooms and leaves, exotic unusual fragrance.” Like many gardeners, Rae is concerned about the natural environment and the roof garden does have several environmental benefits.

  • Provides wildlife habitat
  • Storm water runoff is reduced (rain water is absorbed by plant material)
  • The roof temperature is lower (sunny roofs may be heat traps)
  • The roof surface is protected which increases the longevity of the roof
Roof Garden Japanese maple in a box planter

Japanese Maple foliage glows in the sunlight

Larger box planters contain 2′ of soil and are lined with rigid foam with foil on one side, this  insulates the soil from temperature extremes. The Japanese maple tree is thriving in one of these planters. Rae uses store bought lightweight organic soil and adds seaweed emulsion or organic plant food once a year, also Miracle Grow as needed.

Roof Garden Sempervivum succulant plant

Sempervivum grows at the base of the Maple in the planter

Rae has seen hummingbirds and squirrels on the roof garden and would like to add a water fountain for the birds. Future plans include a drip irrigation system. This roof garden is a private place to relax and enjoy nature and at the same time, provides a habitat for wildlife.

Roof Garden view of maple trees

A view from the deck – Maple trees look spectacular in the fall

Roof Garden Lucky Chocolates Sign

Follow the signs…

Lucky Chocolates is located in the village of Saugerties historic district at the top of Partition Street.

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