By almost any argument, living in an apartment is good for the environment. By compacting our living space, we’re using less resources, reducing our footprint, and discouraging car culture. Sure. Okay. But where’s the garden? No matter how nice our pad, public parks and apartment complex courtyards don’t measure up to having a back yard, which is where this next bit of gift guide list comes in, presenting indoor garden alternatives to augment our kitchen potted plants and tiny windowsill flower boxes.
Air Plants: Like fresh air but don’t have the knack of keeping plants alive? These weird, bizarrely wonderful plants grow on anything, in any direction, even upside down, and require little to no watering. I first encountered them at Paxton Gate, where dignified arrangements of them were hanging flat on the walls on square planks of wood. Distinctly odd, that, and terrific. Etsy is an excellent place to find a whole spectrum of terrariums with air plants inside. Steampunk vases exist, as do sleekly modern vases, vases in the shape of cute teapots, faux jellyfish, and miniature arrangements.
Wooly Pockets: First spotted over on Apartment Therapy in June, these vertical garden eco-planters have been spreading to design sites everywhere. Created by the same couple responsible for the SmogShoppe, the greenest event space in California, they’re lightweight, made from recycled bottles, suitable for indoor as well as outdoor use, and positively elegant, as both an object and a solution. The only drawback is that they’re a little pricey. Pockets start at $39 and go up from there.
Which brings me to..
DIY Windowfarms: Vertical, hydroponic, modular, low-energy, high-yield edible window gardens built using low-impact or recycled local materials that generally cost about $30 to start. They’re not as chic as the Woolly Pockets, but for a similar thing, they have a higher yield for far, far cheaper. Instructions on how to make your own are available on their site as free PDFs and starter kits will be available for purchase soon. (If you live in NYC and are feeling especially short on time, you can commission a team of windowfarm experts to come make you one.)