The Cultivation, Issue 3
Updated: Oct 21, 2020
May 19, 2020
The Cultivation by Staghorn Living is a new weekly newsletter offering expert insight for garden-filled living. Here you'll find ideas and hands-on guidance for everything from planting tricks and patio decor to the tools and tips we treasure.
Mid-May means the heart of springtime and my birthday, which I always celebrate with a good book-buying binge. One of my favorite things to do is peruse the tables and shelves of the bookstores at the New York Botanical Garden and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Their selections have a way of awakening interests in me I never knew I had. (Why, yes, I do want to learn about the history of wooden baseball bats!) I always walk away with a season's worth of reading material. In the spirit of that inspiration, I’ve put together a smattering of favorite reads. And just like the book selection, a bit of pragmatism and a bit of fun is what this week’s issue is all about. Enjoy.
Book Club: Our Spring Picks
Already finished Becoming? Need a break from Jonathan Franzen? Here are three of our favorite reads for the season.
Leaf Supply: A Guide to Keeping House Plants Happy, by Lauren Camilleri and Sophia Kaplan
Equal parts helpful houseplant reference guide and gorgeous coffee table addition, this book would make a great gift for anyone who loves anything leafy.
The Secret Wisdom of Nature by Peter Wohlleben
This fascinating dive into the intricacies and connections between plants, animals, and the natural world — it's the third installment in Wohlleben's Mysteries of Nature trilogy — will give you a whole new perspective on the meaning of interdependence.
The Kitchen Garden by Alan Buckingham
Spring is the perfect time to start your herbs and veggies. We love Buckingham's book for its straightforward approach and ease-of-use.
Now is the time to get ahead of the weeds before warming temperatures send them into overdrive. If it feels overwhelming, start with a small section of the garden. Then move forward in segments. There are two schools of thought on weeding: Cut down to the base or pull out by the roots. We're firmly in the pull-out-by-the-roots camp* as we find it the most effective in the short- and long-term.
Helpful Tools + Tips:
Save your knees. You’ll look like an earthy Power Ranger, but they make a huge difference. Or use a knee pad.
Keep a basket or leaf-collection bag on hand.
Use a hori hori or spade to remove especially stubborn weeds.
Put down mulch (pine bark or gravel, it all helps).
*One exception: If you’re facing a large invasive plant takeover — Japanese knotweed, for example — it’s better to cut these down to a few inches from the base to keep them from flowering or, worse, going to seed. This kind of trimming is a very helpful first step in eradication.
Indoor: Fresh Flowers
A fresh bouquet feels like a lovely indulgence whether you’ve had one delivered, picked one up at the grocery store, or snipped from your own backyard. Cut flowers are also a great way to enjoy all the offerings of the season. Our current favorites are truly the queens of the garden — peonies, irises, and Oriental lilies.
Two national purveyors we adore are The Bouqs Co. and Urban Stems. Some local florists are still partially open and arranging for contactless delivery or pickup. Check their websites and Instagrams for details.
Longevity Tips: Clip stems at an angle, remove some foliage so leaves are not submerged, and change the water frequently — it makes a big difference.
In the Garden: Summer Muck Shoes
There are countless muck shoes out there, but our clear favorite is the tried-and-true Slip-On Rubber Moc by L.L.Bean.
Classic, comfortable, and relatively cool, these waterproof wonders are also lightweight and long-lasting, which means they're ideal for warm-weather gardening, general yard work, or walking the dogs when it’s wet outside. If you’re doing lots of shovel-digging, or will be in high grass/weeds/brush, we suggest switching to something with a hard sole (for the shovel work) or better coverage (for the tall grass).
(Despite having a very heavy heel strike, Kat has worn hers since spring of 2015 and they’re still going strong.)
We hope you enjoyed Issue 3 of The Cultivation. Since our biggest goal with this newsletter is to provide content that captivates, educates, and inspires you, let us know if there's something you'd like us to include next time. Please send your thoughts by emailing us here. See you next week.