Shops We Love: This Landscape Designer’s Boutique Is A Breath Of Fresh Spring Air
The works of landscape designer Meredyth and Brad Hilton of Artistic Gardens have been chronicled for years on H&H pages. Meredyth opened Design Department in Toronto as a shop full of vintage finds and plants, but also as a resource for customers who wanted to learn how to DIY their own garden. Here she shares insider secrets, discusses how one-of-kind vintage pieces can inject soul into spaces and dishes on indoor plant trends.
The shop is located on Mt. Pleasant in Toronto, and features finds from Meredyth, an avid antiquer. An array of live plants, such pots of rosemary, succulents in terrariums, and trees (a favorite is the ficus Danielle, which is less maintenance than the notoriously fickle Fiddle Leaf Fig) is mixed in with botanical art and vintage items Meredyth sources at big antique shows. “Vintage is great, it’s good for the environment and the items often have a rich patina,” she notes.
Plants are interspersed with delicate pieces of jewelry, framed botanical prints, and other curiosities. “Raw elements are not always that easy to find, which is why people are so drawn to plants and wood. It makes a nice balance in a contemporary setting.”
Vintage German education botanical posters printed on linen are a rare find due to their age and excellent condition, but the graphics make them chic and modern. Another way to create uniqueness is through vintage fabrics. “We have a limited amount of cushions slipcovered in a small-run fabrics from Africa and India that you won’t see again since they only produced a few yards.”
What’s catching her fancy now is feathery asparagus ferns. “It’s so cool the way this plant grows, in a mixed arrangement it looks like a forest canopy. Blue wave ferns are also popular, but aren’t as easy to care for.”
In a jewelry showcase, vintage accessories are scattered in amongst bracelets and necklaces. “If you think about it, plants are almost like vintage pieces themselves as in every one is unique,” says Meredyth.
Meredyth loves the charm of vintage pottery, like these examples in a mid-century teal hue (right, floating shelves) which is having a major resurgence. “You just can’t get that kind of detail from something mass produced. I sourced some vases from an old pottery place in Medicine Hat. I have a lot of McCoy and Shawnee pieces, but I had never heard of this place.”
One of Meredyth’s two lovebirds (they are dubbed G & T), keeps her company in the shop and provides birdsong to bring a bit of the outdoors in.