Old-World Meets Modern at Groundworks

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Linda Silich at Groundworks @Hrens in East Hampton.

By Natalie Brooks

Walking up to Groundworks @ Hrens Garden Center in Amagansett, one is greeted by grounds overflowing with an abundance of flowers and shrubs and garden decorations artfully dotting the landscape. Entering the garden center itself, home decorations and giftwares including candles, essential oils, coffee mugs and decorative dishtowels are interspersed amid an enormous selection of curated supplies designed to turn the novice into a master of his own landscape.

Groundworks also showcases a number of outdoor living showroom and garden displays — featuring masonry materials from Turkey and quarries in Pennsylvania, colorful Adriondak chairs and even outdoor kitchen spaces, each venue carefully designed with plantings that compliment the overall landscape. Linda Silich, who co-owns Groundworks with Andy Silich and Kim Hren, curates the center with a transitional style combining modern and classic elements. “Most of our decorations have a modern feel, but we also have some Old-World items,” Linda Silich said.

A living wall at Groundworks.

This season, Silich says trends are leaning towards streamlined and modern low-maintenance landscapes. “Cactus and succulent gardens have been very popular this year as many people have veered away from traditional gardens involving mixed flowers and grasses,” Silich said. “Instead, a lot of people are requesting a single item, like a small boxwood, or a single hydrangea, surrounded by Japanese river rocks that cover the mulch and create a really modern feel.”

These types of modern gardens require less irrigation and maintenance while creating a cleaner look with a modernist sensibility. The muted tones of the succulents also add to the uniformity and simplicity of the garden, instead of the more traditional brightly colored flower-based gardens.

The succulents and cacti are also commonly used for indoor decoration, and do not have to be repotted often. Another indoor plant popular for home decoration is the ZZ plant. “The ZZ plant is one of our most popular indoor plants,” Silich said. “It has a succulent feel with glossy, long leaves and does not need much maintenance or light.”

One do-it-yourself trend that has emerged this year, Silich said, is creating a “living wall,” which she describes as “a floor to ceiling garden that can be placed indoors or outdoors.” The living wall is made by filling the pockets of an over-the-door shoe organizer with soil and seeds and then growing the plants out of each of the pockets so it appears that the plants are growing out of the wall. “It looks complicated, but it is actually really easy to make, and it looks very impressive on a wall inside of your house,” Silich said.

While many people move from colorful floral gardens to the muted tones of succulent gardens, fun, brightly colored outdoor decorations have recently grown in popularity. Some of the best-selling items at Groundworks include Adirondack chairs, hammocks, and colorful, large vases. “The Adirondack chairs don’t break down over time because they are made from recycled milk cartons, and they come in custom colors,” Silich said. Some people order them in the colors of their favorite sports team, and we sold a lot of red, white and blue chairs over the Fourth of July.”

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