Biodegradable Containers

March 4, 2009


We are all familiar with those plastic containers that plants are sold in. You know, plant your garden and you’re left with a pile of plastic containers. What do you do with them? In the past huge amounts of plastic plant containers have ended up in our landfills. At Phillips Garden we have done our best to reuse those containers ourselves or give them back to growers so they could reuse them. Fortunately, a couple years ago a recycling program was started by the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association. Now all of our plastic containers and trays are recycled.

While the recycling program was a good first step, at Phillips Garden we are always looking for better choices when it comes to a more sustainable and responsible way of doing things. That’s why we were excited when our friends at Rush Creek Growers started using a new biodegradable container  for all of their annuals and herbs. They are pretty nice looking containers (see photo above). The pots are made from mostly rice hulls as well as bamboo and straw. Everything is bound together by a water soluble starch based binder (say that 3 times fast). They are made to last 18 months for growing purposes and then can be thrown into the compost pile. Pretty cool. We applaud Rush Creek Growers for their commitment to this.

Rush Creek Growers

MNLA Recycling Program


Real. Beautiful. Roofs.

February 9, 2009

For anyone interested in pursuing a green roof, now may be the time. Soon there may be an additional financial incentive to install a green roof on your new or existing structure. This is on top of all the other wonderful benefits of a green roof.


[January 30, 2009] Senator Maria Cantwell from Washington State introduced the Clean Energy Stimulus and Investment Assurance Act of 2009 (S.320) legislation on Monday January 26 that, if adopted, would provide financial incentives for commercial and residential green roof installation. Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the American Society of Landscape Architects worked together to help draft the section of the bill that is focused on the green roof incentive.

For more info see: American Society of Landscape Architects or Green Roofs for Healthy Cities or contact us at Phillips Garden

Time Lapse Photography

January 27, 2009

One Year in 40 Seconds, by Eirik Solheim.  It’s lovely isn’t it!…


December 24, 2008

Phillips Garden is the proud recipient of 2 ‘Grand Honor’ MNLA awards for Excellence in Landscape Design.  The MNLA is the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association.  The awards we were given were frontyard design and backyard design.  This post shows our two winning projects.  Beginning with the backyard:

This first project is our backyard design.  The challenge of this project was working in a small space with great change in elevation.  The success of this site was in turning a challenge into an opportunity.  Playing with different elevations and materials was the main focus of this backyard.


Before (above)




after ( 3 above)

This next project was our front yard design winner.  This site, also in St. Paul , was completely redesigned from the stairs, to to the walkway… fences and of course the garden planting.


before (above)




after (3 above)

Phillips Garden Studio Space

December 18, 2008

Phillips Garden studio has a great history .  A gas station transformed into a design studio.  Not only is this space a great example of reuse but the space is downright beautiful.  Ed Burke, the owner of Phillips Garden, designed and built the studio from the ground up (with the help of others).  In 2005 a second floor addition was added.  Below is a photo journey of the studio space and all its transformations…

The original structure for what is now Phillips Garden

beginning the construction

a fish sculpture was built out front by artist (and professor) Jeff Millikan


In time the fish was removed and would be replaced by a new sculpture (you will see below), Jeff Millikan is still a good friend of Phillips Garden and comes has coffee with us from time to time.  We all miss the fish a little…

at one point Phillips was also a coffee shop, now this space is closed to the public but still open for staff use.  It’s awesome.

the downstairs studio…

after the fish we got a new sculpture by Su-Chen Hung, a San Francisco based artist

It is a large bamboo windchime with the beginnings of a blanket of thyme on the ground

In 2005 a second level weeHouse was added to Phillips Garden studio

… with a crane

it looks great on the inside too

we love it

our studio today – 2008

Roberto Burle Marx

December 15, 2008

On this cold, snowy, winters day we thought it would be nice to visit a warmer, more tropical climate.  What better place than Brazil!?  The following works were created by Landscape Architect Roberto Burle Marx. Burle Marx was born in 1909 in São Paulo Brazil and died June 4, 1994, in Rio de Janeiro.  He was known as a modern nature artist and a public urban space designer. Burle Marx was fascinated with the natural world and was said to have spent a great deal of time within Brazil’s rain-forests studying the plant communities and structures to inform his design decisions.  It is said that  all of his time spent in the rain forest let to the discovery new rocks and plants; at least 30 plants bear his name.

plant from Roberto Burle Marx’s estate

Roberto Burle Marx’s estate

Roberto Burle Marx’s estate

museum of modern art, Brazil

Roberto Burle Marx’s design of the Copacabana boardwalk in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


National Congress of Brazil, Brasilia

museum of modern art, Brazil

Website Update

December 11, 2008

The first run of our ‘staff page’ is up.  Check it out!