Urban Gardens | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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My fascination with gardens takes me to a constant research to find innovative solutions for my clients and for my garden as well. I do gardening and grow the food I like to eat as a form of relaxation and as another way to get closer to Mother Earth.

I came across this new idea called “Urbanana” created in Paris by French practice SOA Architects. The building of Urbanana sits between two residential buildings in the middle of the city and it is an open glass space dedicated to a cultivation of most bananas species, especially the type that is no longer available in Europe.
Inside of the building, on the bottom floor, there is an exposition area, a restaurant and even a boutique. There is no flooring above the exposition area, where the plants are growing, but a system of bridges fill the interior spaces to provide access to each section and to give maximum daylight to the plants. In this giant green house, artificial and natural lighting help plants maturing naturally, following the succession of seasons.

(All Urbanana images belong to SOA)
Transformed Mason Jar Herb Garden from Camille Styles
Vertical Garden photo Associate Press
Haricot Vert and Hanging Sun-dried Peppers photos ©Valentina Cirasola

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This is a superb initiative and I hope more people will come up with similar models to reproduce many types of vegetation. Looking at the bird’s eye view picture, all those banana trees add a feeling of a tropical island in the middle of a busy city. I can smell the banana scent in the middle of Paris!

For homegrown food, we can take this model to make a less imposing structure and still produce natural food with only natural light, water and love. Vertical gardens can be attached anywhere in the outdoor space, on walls, on heavy fences, or made as freestanding structures. This has been my goal since several years ago, when I decided to become a weekend city farmer and turn my backyard into a healthy source of tasty food my way.

I have made wreaths of tomatoes and peppers to dry under the sun. In a few days the will be turned into sauces and compote for the winter. My winter table promises well and my friends will be really happy. Ciao,
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola has been in business as an interior designer since 1990. 
She has helped a variegated group of fun people realizing their dreams with homes, offices, interiors and exteriors. 
She designs landscape concepts as a complement to the residential design concept.
Check out her books on 

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0

Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Planting Food, Beauty And Relax | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Photo ©Valentina Cirasola

Photo ©Valentina Cirasola

Yesterday was a beautiful March day, I wanted to take advantage of the sun, the warm day and my good disposition. It was the right time to think of planting seed for new food. In many European countries is still snowing in March and is the same in Italy, but here in California, in the climate zone 7 and 8, March is the perfect month to plant. My family in Italy is getting jealous!

March is the right time to start feeding houseplants again and repot when necessary. Get the soil tested if you are planning to do some serious food and fruit trees planting. This is the month to start seeds indoor, prune trees and shrubs and get all the garden tools ready for your Spring planting. If you have wet soil in the garden, it is better not to walk on it, use stepping-stones. In my garden, I have many rows of them around plants and vegetation, they are  decorative and don’t get your feet wet or dirty.

I started with Turbo onions, which is a lovely round onion that stores well and the Red Baron red onion, strong-tasting which produces a heavy crop.
I planted shallots, a more delicate onion, which I use more for fish dishes and some other delicate dishes. I want some asparagus and started some crops indoor, such as aubergines the kind called Diamond, originated in the Ukraine. It crops relatively quickly from a sowing in March.

Started cauliflowers, cabbage and tomatoes. Tomato seeds also do well indoor. I got the gartenperle type, small, cherry size, sweet and tasty, grow in beautiful colors as pink-red, deep ruby-red, pink to rosy red. They are great for containers and even hanging baskets. I make a lot of fast and delicate sauces with them. Tomatoes are always a big surprise, they either come out in overwhelming large quantity, or nothing at all.

In mid March plant some early potatoes if the weather where you are permits it, I will.

I bought a few packets of mixed salad-leaf seeds, can’t do without salad in my garden, it’s so easy to grow and need not much care. Put a few seeds on to the surface of your compost and don’t cover them with a thick layer, they need to breathe.

Towards the end of March when the soil has warmed up, I will want to plant some climbing French beans. I have already prepared the soil and placed cane poles in place. Later I will make two holes at the base of each pole and a couple of seeds per hole. Then, I need to be patient.

Between my food I also plant some beauty. Some begonias, dahlias, dusty miller, geraniums, impatiens, marguerite daisies, marigolds, all annuals to beautify my crop.

Photo ©Valentina Cirasola

Photo ©Valentina Cirasola

While thinking of food crop, I was also thinking of cooking in the garden. I made a very simple outdoor cookery device out of a clay pot and bricks.
No cement or mortar, the bricks are just laid one on top of the other in a circle, the clay pot sits inside of the circle. Inside of the pot more bricks form a flat surface for the wood chips and a grill sits on top of them. Food will be placed on the grill. A clay cover with a whole in the center to allow the steam to escape will keep the food cooking for long time.

This is slow food at its best and I am prepared for relaxing weekends, a good time for writing more books and more blogs, or having some friends over.
I really don’t care what goes into my car, but I really care what I put in my stomach.
Please leave a comment below, I can help you with any of your design challenges, including landscape too. I now offer design consultations on-line and without going outside my office I can create an “outdoor room”  for you, or the most beautiful space of your dream.  Ask me for details. Ciao,
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola has been in business as a designer since 1990. She has helped a variegated group of fun people realizing their dreams with homes, offices, interiors and exteriors. She designs artistic landscape as a complement to the residential design concept as a unity. Author of three books available on:
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 


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