Updates from the Understory | February 2018

Dear Design Wild Friends & Loved Ones,
Can you believe spring is almost upon us? In just a few weeks we will arrive at the spring equinox. Days will start to stretch out longer than nights and our hemisphere tilts back towards the heat of the sun. In March here in the Northeast, it feels like the world is awakening, shaking off its winter sleep and crouching, ready for spring. The trees, leading the way, are jumping into action, sap flowing up from their roots. Up, up, in some cases hundreds of feet into the air. Put your ear to their trunk, can you hear it? They are awake and preparing for spring growth and a full canopy of new leaves.

In the horticulture world, we also ready ourselves for wild growth, busy planting and the bursting of life. After our quiet and introspective winter full of planning and strategy, spring is the season of all-out growth and action. Like the trees, we are ready and waiting for sunshine so we can launch into action…any day now. If you haven’t already, now is the BEST time to plan your garden or design a new one. Prepare your plan of action so that everything is ready to go in the coming months. The crocus and snowdrops are already blooming, the tulips and daffodils are on their way along with the cherry blooms, magnolias, dogwoods and so many more! Get ready, set… here we go.

See you in the garden,



Design WIld has its roots in agriculture and its heart in landscapes, and luckily some projects allow us to do both at once! We installed this garden two seasons ago and are excited to see how it's been growing. A horseshoe garden shape provides lush green texture and a beautiful wild space for the household's children and dogs to play. The side yard's vegetable garden has been growing herbs, greens, tomatoes and other delicious foods. Blueberry, strawberries and even a growing grapevine feeds the family, the neighbors who walk by, and the song birds. Read more...

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Design Wild has been working with the Hudson Yards Hell's Kitchen Alliance to design and develop public space plantings throughout the new Hudson Yards/Hell's Kitchen district. If you've been through the area lately, I'm sure you've noticed the new towering construction, and there's a bunch more to come. Design Wild has been working to make sure the streetscapes are safe, beautiful and verdant with some of our signature plantings. Stay tuned for more updates as this project unfolds this spring! Read more...




Design Wild recently had a blast participating on a panel at the City College Graduate School of Architecture. We were excited to be in conversation with some wonderful leaders who are working in community to mobilize change. From listening to a longtime community gardener talk about her work organizing markets, cooking and education programing; to hearing from the founding members of Made in Brownsville and Brownsville Community Culinary Center Job Training program, we were inspired excited to learn from these leaders about what is needed in our new vision of a resilient, regenerative city.

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In these current times, there is an even greater need to stay AWAKE, INSPIRED and JOYFUL. We are paying special attention to people, places, and work that lift our spirits and we wanted to share some of them with you. Here are just a few of many...

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Spring is arriving here in NYC. We made it!  The very first flowers to show their little heads are the Crocus and Snow Drops and you can find them already blooming in these first days of March. Daffodils and tulips are not far behind. Although it's too late to plant these spring-flowering bulbs, now is a great time to order summer bulbs. Summer bulbs include tropical garden additions, flowering onions, and the most wonderful lilies! We like to source our flower bulbs from our friends at Brent & Becky's Bulbs. They are a family-owned, over 100-year-old biz located in VA and their bulbs are wonderful. Check out the selections on their website


Tylea is a crucial - though behind the scenes - member of the Design Wild team. You won't see her out in the garden, but she is busy keeping our books and dollars in order. For this we are wildly grateful. But she is so much more than that! Tylea is the Founder and Chief Executive Shit Talker of an amazing company called Thundress.They make awesome 'choochie friendly underwear.' She believes that 'what is good for the cha chas is good for the planet, and visa-versa'. How cool is that? So visit Thundress and buy some awesome undies for the health of your coochie (or a coochie you love) and our planet!

One of our lifelong friends and amazing women in the world, Zoeanne Murphy, collaborated on this story, Sin Luz: Life Without PowerThe piece shows some of the deep realities and personal stories in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Zoeanne's work reminds us that climate change and its effects are not a distant idea that the next generation will battle; it's a very present and devastating reality for people across the globe, as well as for our very own American citizens. Read and Watch this story online. I am endlessly proud of this spirit sister and the work she is adding to the world.


This month, Kate from Design Wild went on a pilgrimage to see the Monarch Butterfly migration overwintering spot in Michoacan, Mexico. These incredible creatures fly over three thousand miles south every autumn, completing one of the longest and most miraculous migrations in the world. We have so much to learn about resilience, the beauty of migration, stewardship and environmental justice from these wise, winged friends. Read more of Kate's reflections on the story of the monarchs and why we need it on our WILD Log.