Friday, February 8, 2013

Cool Products on Display at New England Grows

What better way to spend this pre-storm Friday afternoon than to write about some cool items I saw at New England Grows this past week.  New England Grows is our regional trade show for gardeners, landscapers, designers/architects, horticulturists, educators, nurserymen and others in the field.  They had a great educational program and miles of items on display.  I agreed with many people I ran into during the show that the items on display continue a trend of being less than inspiring.  Of course, that doesn't mean there weren't some fun and interesting products.

Click on the company names to visit their websites.

Fancy Fire Pit

What a fantastic idea!  Recycled carbon steel tank tops, turned upside down and designed into whimsical fire pits.  I have seen a lot of fire pits, and many only big enough for a couple of logs and some that looked as though they may fall over in a heavy wind.  These monsters (size and weight) allow you to have a nice, roaring fire in a safe and sturdy vessel.  The steel develops a nice rust patina that gives it wonderful character.

The 'Corona' has no design but is beautiful in its simplicity and bulk.  It reminded me of the pot in which Yosemite Sam tried to boil Bugs Bunny.

The 'Blaze' is by far my favorite with the lapping flames cut out of the heavy duty carbon steel.

Joy, the owner who I met at the show, said that they will also create a fire pit based upon your individual design.  While they are not inexpensive, at least shipping is free for a very heavy item.

Christopher Oberg - Nantucket Metal Works

Beautiful color and structure added to terrace
This was by far my favorite 'find' at this year's show.  I had to sit down after walking for a while and I gave the furniture a good 10 minutes as I spoke with Chris and learned about his 'industrial art' furniture.

They are very comfortable, and he also has some nautical themed cushions if you want to go that route.  If you don't want his cushions there a companies that can make custom cushions.

He has lots of colors for his furniture but can also do custom colors.  He is an engaging person who also has a garden design/build business on Nantucket.

Corner seat can be part of a 'sectional'
Bench or coffee table
I spent some time in this very comfortable armchair

Bar Harbor Cedar

This company has been around for a while and you can find their products in a number of local retail nurseries.  I highlight them here because they provide simple products with good materials and solid construction.  It is sad to say that this is not the norm in the industry, so when you find good, solid products you want to remember them.

They offer a wide range of products: Trellises, containers, boxes, furniture and gardening structures.  While they only sell to wholesale, you can always go to a local nursery and ask if they carry Bar Harbor products and they may directly order for you.

Wall Container, I like this small display
Some different and well-crafted containers

Freedom Greenhouse - Maine Garden Products

8x8 Solar-powered cedar.
Maine Garden Products has been around for about a decade and this recent introduction of a solar powered, cedar greenhouse is wonderful and sturdy.  Having worked with Hartley Botanic, where greenhouses cost well into the 5 digits and that doesn't include hardscape work and construction, it is nice to have an affordable greenhouse not made out of plastic.

The genius is that the ventilation motor and irrigation are automated and run by solar power.  Someday I will have a small greenhouse and unless I hit the lottery it will be something like this simple and efficient design.

Hopefully something here has inspired you or at least taken your mind off the fact that our local government says we will be arrested and fined if we go out on the road during the storm.

I also like that each of these products is made in the USA.

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