The Sill

Edward Scissorhands-Worthy Topiaries

We recently re-watched one of our all-time favorite movies, Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands, and now we can't stop thinking about topiaries…. and Johnny Depp. 

The term topiary refers to both the horticultural practice of training live perennials by clipping their foliage to develop and maintain defined shapes -- and the plants which have been shaped this way. See some of our favorites below, along with some ES movie trivia! 

Edward Scissorhands Movie Trivia 

  • Depp reportedly spoke only 169 words throughout the entire film 
  • The story is based on Burton's own teen angst while growing up in Burbank, California 
  • The movie wasn't filmed in Burbank, but instead in a suburban town east of Tampa, Florida 
  • 50 houses were rented out and painted for the movie (the actual residents temporarily moved into a local motel) 
  • Edward's dark and overgrown mansion however was built on a Fox set 
  • Edward's suit was made of latex, leather, and an old sofa from Burton's first apartment 
  • At the time of filming, Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp were engaged 
  • Siskel and Ebert gave the film two thumbs down (what do they know anyway?) 


NYC Summer Series: Get Your Hands Dirty III


WEEK OF 7/21 


If you have a spare night:

Watch Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands for free on the rooftop of the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center in the West Village. There's only room for 50 people - so arrive early! The doors will open an hour prior to the 8:15pm screening time.

If you have a spare hour:

Have a great meal for a fraction of the price. New York City's official Restaurant Week is back - today through August 15th. Summer diets are overrated anyway. 

If you have a spare minute:

Give your green thumb a bit of a workout and vote for your favorite finalist in Gardenista's 2014 Considered Design Awards. There are 7 categories in total - and 5 fabulous finalists for each (narrowed down from a whopping 5,000 entries).



Our #1 Plant Care Tip: Be Picky!


Plants are awesome. They add style, purify air, boost productivity, and reduce stress. But like people, plants have different temperaments. Picking the right houseplant for you and your space is key. There are two significant factors to keep in mind when choosing a plant:

1. The amount of sunlight your space receives - bright light, moderate light, low light
2. The amount of attention you can provide - every day, every week, every month


left to right: ZZ plant, snake plant, bird's nest fern, philodendron silver, baby rubber plant


The plants pictured above are perfect for a New York apartment and a New Yorker's schedule. 

  • ZZ plant - tolerates low light and tolerates neglect 
  • Snake plant - tolerates low light and tolerates neglect 
  • Bird's nest fern - prefers moderate light and a weekly check-in 
  • Philodendron silver - prefers moderate light and tolerates neglect 
  • Baby rubber plant - prefers moderate light and a weekly check-in 

View more of our favorite easy care houseplants, and learn about the amount of light and attention they require to thrive, here



NYC Summer Series: Get Your Hands Dirty II

Week 7/14 

If you have a spare day: 
Grab a white cheddar grilled cheese and a classic martini at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Zagat-rated Roof Garden Café and Martini Bar. Relax and enjoy some of the best panoramic views of Manhattan.
If you have a spare hour: 
See Jeff Koon's 37-foot topiary Split-Rocker (2000) at Rockefeller Center. The sculpture, inspired by a child's rocking horse, is described as half toy pony, half toy dinosaur, and comprised of 50,000 flowering plants with their own internal irrigation system. Reactions have been mixed from New Yorkers and tourists alike.
If you have a spare minute:
Read a brief history of terrariums on Water Daily, the green thumb blog of our friends The Horticultural Society of New York, and be inspired to make a Wardian case of your own.


NYC Summer Series: Get Your Hands Dirty

We're excited to announce our summer series 'Get Your Hands Dirty'. At the beginning of each week we'll share three fun things to do in and around New York City.

Week Of 7/7


If you have a spare day:
Visit The New York Botanical Garden's Groundbreakers Exhibition - a celebration of Great American Gardens and the Great American Women who designed them, including an evocation of the private Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Seal Harbor, Maine, in the Garden's Haupt Conservatory. 

If you have a spare hour:
See New York sculptor Rachel Feinstein's Folly installation, her first public art exhibition in the U.S., at Madison Square Park. "Having this setting, a hidden natural jewel situated within the tall skyscrapers of yesterday and today, will be the perfect backdrop for my theatre," says Fienstein of the location that will exhibit her largest sculptural works to date.  

If you have a spare minute:
Read a brief history of the term "tree hugger", whose origins can be traced back to the early 1700s when men and women belonging to the eco-friendly Bishnois branch of Hinduism died while protecting their village trees from being harvested for building material. 




Happy 4th of July!

5 Things You Didn't Know About July 4th 
  1. The Continental Congress declared independence on July 2nd, 1776. In fact, John Adams expected July 2nd to be our national independence day. In a letter to his wife, Abigail Adams, he wrote: The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. 
  2. Thomas Jefferson was not the sole author of the Declaration of Independence. A five-man team - Ben Franklin, Robert Livingston, John Adams, and Roger Sherman - as well as the full Continental Congress, helped to draft and edit. 
  3. The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 different people over a six-month period. Most of the delegates signed on August 2nd, 1776. 
  4. The Liberty Bell did not ring in American Independence. If fact, the bell received its moniker in the early 19th century - abolitionists used it as a symbol of the antislavery movement. 
  5. Betsy Ross did not sew the first American flag. It is not known who did, but Francis Hopkinson, a Continental Congress delegate, claims to have designed it. 

(via The Washington Post


July 04, 2014 by The Sill

Currently Coveting: Palm Print

Living in New York City, one can't help but get a little excited over palm trees. 

Shop: Eve Heels - Charlotte Olympia; Palm Playsuit - Topshop; Palm Tree Necklace - Roberto Coin; Green Floral Pillow Cover - Etsy; Lady Planter Green Suit - The Sill; Palm Tree Socks - J.Crew; Endless Summer Poster - Etsy; Venessa Arizaga Beach Bum Bracelet - Shopbop


Looking for a palm of your own? These 3 make for great houseplants: 

1. Areca Palm - Dypsis lutescens 
Bright Light / Moderate Water 
2. Reed Palm - Chamaedorea seifrizii 
Low Light / Moderate Water 
3. Kentia Palm - Howea forsteriana 
Moderate Light / Moderate Water 



How to Prep Your Indoor Plants for Vacation

Going away this summer?

Whether you'll be spending a long weekend at the beach or a full month abroad, we're sharing our top tips for prepping your plants before your departure.

1. Maintain Moisture 

- If you'll be away for a week or less, a good soil-soaking before departure should be sufficient. While you shouldn't regularly overwater your plants, this is an exception to the rule. Make sure to let your potted plant drain before you're on your way - so the soil is soaked but your plants aren't sitting directly in a saucer of water, which could attract pests.

- If you'll be away for more than a week there are a couple ways to prepare your plant - try one tip or a combination, depending on the length of your trip and the variety of plant.

  1. Add mulch, rocks, or wood chips directly to your plant's soil to help hold moisture. We've heard damp newspaper can also do the trick. 
  2. Water your plant thoroughly and then cover with a clear plastic bag, creating a makeshift greenhouse. Make sure to cut a couple slits in the plastic to allow for air circulation. Use birch sticks to hold the bag up and way from the foliage. Do not cover the planter's drainage holes. 
  3. Line a shallow tray with small rocks and fill the tray with water almost to the top of the rocks but not quite. You don't want the base of your planter to be sitting directly in water, but instead resting atop the rocks. 
  4. Transport your plants to your bathroom (provided you have a window) or another small room and group them together. The smaller the room the easier it is to maintain humidity. 

2. Tweak Temperature 

- The more sun your plant receives, the more thirsty it will be. Most plants are likely to wilt if placed in direct sunlight for an extended period of time, especially if there's a sudden lack of water. Because you won't be around to keep a close eye on them, move your plants that are usually kept on a sunny sill to the center of the room, or a spot lit by indirect sunlight, while you're away. This helps to keep the soil from drying out and the leaves from burning. Once you return, you can move your plants back to their usual spot.

3. Forgo Fertilizer 

- If you use fertilizer, hold off on it until you return. You want your plants to grow as slowly as possible while you're gone. Prune off flowers, too, which require more water.

4. Please Prune  

- In addition to pruning off any dead or dying foliage, prune off buds and flowers, which require more water.

* Remember, the tips above do not apply to your drought-tolerate and sun-loving cacti and succulents. If you are an avid traveler - those are the plants for you.

Whatever preparation you decide to do, give yourself a big pat on the back when you return to a healthy and happy houseplant. It missed you, too. Have a tip you'd like to share? Comment below. 


Summer In The City


Celebrate by following our summer-inspired Pinterest board


Caring For Your Houseplants During The Summer

Did you know plants face dehydration and sunburn during the summer just like we do? It is important to tweak your plant care routine during the hot months ahead. With some proper precautions, the summer - a time for growth and regeneration - can be the best season for your houseplants. Here are our top tips for keeping your plants healthy and happy.

(Pictured: Jade, Pothos, Moon Pilea)
1. Water your plants more than usual to make up for both the increase in heat and plant-growth that happens during the summer months. The best time to water is early morning or early evening when it is cooler and the water is less likely to evaporate.

2. Help your plants retain moisture by adding mulch, rocks, or water-retaining crystals to the potting soil.

3. Mist plants lightly with water to increase their level of humidity and hydration (avoid on African Violets, Begonias, and other flowering plants that don't like to get their leaves wet!).

4. Keep a closer eye on your plants. If they begin to wilt - water more frequently.

1. If you keep your plants on a windowsill or in direct sunlight, draw a sheer curtain during the day when the sun is strong or move your plants more towards the center of the room, to avoid leaf burn. Ouch!

2. Rotate your plants so each side gets equal sun exposure and they do not lean towards the window.

3. If you're unsure if the light your plant is receiving during the summer is too intense, put your hand in that same area. If it is too hot for you - it is probably too hot for your plant.

1. Don't blast your AC when you're not home and don't place plants directly by the air conditioner. Added bonus, you'll save a little on your electric bill. Most houseplants prefer a warmer more humid climate. An exception to this rule is succulents and cacti - dry heat lovers. But they prefer the AC off as well.

2. Increase humidity by grouping your plants together and/or moving them to a more humid room like the bathroom. If you don't mind the look aesthetically, you can place them on pebble filled trays allowing you to add water to the bottom of the tray without over-soaking the plant's roots.

3. Invest in a humidifier for your plants - and your skin!

Prune & Fertilize
1. Regularly prune off dying or unnecessary foliage, which uses up nutrients and water - and can attract pesky insects. Do not allow dropped leaves to collect on top of the soil, this also increases the chance of pests and diseases.

2. If you use fertilizer, slightly increase the amount. Plant-growth increases during the summer season.

Move Outdoors
1. If you're one of the few New Yorkers with a coveted outdoor space, consider putting your indoor houseplants outside for the summer. Most plants can be invigorated by a summer outdoors. Just be sure to make the move gradual to avoid shock - i.e. don't move a plant from a dark corner to a reflective rooftop in a single go.

2. Place them in a shadier spot first, followed by light conditions similar to what they enjoyed inside. Never put them in direct sunlight. A north or west-side exposure is usually a good bet.

3. Make sure they have drainage holes incase of heavy rain, or place them where they won't be soaked, which, like overwatering, can cause root-rot.

Plant care questions? Shoot us an email at and we'll be happy to help.