Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Peter Smith is already wellknown for his ultra hip urban garden shop - City Planter - in Northern Liberties. Now, he's become the kokedama guru. Koke-what?



Peter Smith is already wellknown for his ultra hip urban garden shop - City Planter - in Northern Liberties. Now, he's become the kokedama guru. Koke-what?

It's an interesting and highly decorative way to hang houseplants. But there are no pots. Plants are inserted into a mud ball - now we're talking fun - the ball is covered with sheet moss (live or dried), tied every which way with twine or string and hung from the ceiling.

Peter made this kokedama for our recent visit, but he has several others hanging in the shop. You'll be hard-pressed to find someone to teach you how to do this - Longwood Gardens had one workshop in March and won't have another till 2014. Peter plans one on June 7 at City Planter (cityplanter.com).

This planting technique originated in Japan, but in the last few years a Dutch floral designer has come to own the concept. Fedor Van der Valk calls his creations "string gardens" and he uses crazy things like azaleas and fruit trees. Very dramatic, but not especially practical for over the sink.

Peter's designs are much more accessible. He uses succulents, ferns and other plants that are pretty and readily available. Perhaps you saw his kokedamas at the flower show this year or last. Peter says they sold well. They're a happy project - a bit messy - and the plants can last about a year if you water properly. That involves soaking in a bucket or sink, so this is only for the truly committed.

But think of the possibilities ... hanging gardens on your patio this summer!

Story coming on Friday in the Inquirer's Home & Design section.

Inquirer Staff Writer
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About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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