Robin Horton

Design, Lifestyle, and Travel Writer / Publisher, Urban Gardens

United States

As the publisher of the award-winning and Webby-nominated blog, Urban Gardens, I have developed a loyal following of over 263,000 readers and social followers. My blog and freelance writing cover home and garden design, indoor-outdoor living, home improvement, sustainable lifestyle, product innovations, trends, and travel including "garden tourism," a travel niche that bridges nature, design, culture, and heritage.

Visit Urban Gardens @urbangardens on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Contact me at robin[at]urbangardensweb.com

Portfolio

TRAVEL / GARDEN TOURISM

Kellogg Garden Organics™
A History of New Orleans Gardens

New Orleans is always in bloom. Despite its intermittent searing heat and stifling humidity--and the knowledge that a hurricane can and has at various times destroyed much of New Orleans--locals in the Big Easy always find a way to regroup, restore, and replant.

Urban Gardens (sponsored by City of Girona, Spain)
Girona, Spain's Temps de Flors Festival Blends Horticulture & Art

The history of Girona, Spain is as colorful as the ochre and coral-toned buildings lining the banks of the Onyar river that flows through this ancient city. Gustave Eiffel built a bridge there ten years before designing his eponymous tower in Paris. Jews and Arabs once lived side by side in harmony within the city's medieval walls, and legendary Tour du Monde cyclists take advantage of Girona's mild weather and varied terrain to train there.

Urban Gardens (Sponsored by Visit Winston-Salem)
250 Years of Heirloom Vegetables and History in Old Salem

From Winston-Salem's vibrant contemporary urban center, Old Salem is just a 10 minute drive, yet it's centuries away. Visitors to the North Carolina historic town travel back 250 years to experience 100 of America's most authentic and comprehensive collections of eighteenth century restored homes, buildings, and gardens.

Trivago
Art of the City: An Elegant Clash of Old and Nouveau in New Orleans

New Orleans The festivities begin as soon as I step into the streetcar. I sit next to a woman wearing a large hat adorned with flowers, illuminated by tiny, white lights. This might seem a bit odd anywhere else, but I'm in N'awlins, where nobody needs a reason to don a costume or have a parade.

Trivago
8 Romantic Getaways for Empty Nesters Rekindling the Romance

We could begin the day slowly and leisurely with no plans other than to focus on being together as we hadn't been in years. Spontaneous trips out of town, a staycation at the local B&B, or just indulging a bit beyond what previous parental limits would typically allow with kids back at home.

Urban Gardens (Sponsored by Modenus BlogTour)
Tour a Secret Venetian Palazzo and Garden

From the street, one would never guess that hidden behind centuries-old plaster walls and a set of wooden doors marked 3201, there stood a magnificent narrative of Venetian history, art, and culture. Pass through the entrance and you step back centuries into the Palazzo Capello Malipiero Barnabò, the Countess Anna Barnabò's sumptuous antique-filled palace with verdant gardens that spill onto Venice's Grand Canal.

Urban Gardens (Sponsored by Arkansas Dept of Parks and Tourism)
Road Trip in Arkansas! Roadside BBQ, Ghosts & Gardens

Before my recent two-day road trip through Northwest Arkansas, I had visions of Ma and Pa Kettle-type folks sitting on front porches strumming banjos while drinking moonshine and smoking corncob pipes. No, the Arkansas I experienced was nothing like that. Northwest Arkansas Pig Trail scenic byway. Photo via The Crescent Hotel and Spa.

Urban Gardens (Sponsored by City of Girona)
Feasting on Botanical Cuisine Prepared With Foraged Flowers and Herbs

Like the nearby open fields where La Calendula's owner/chef Iolanda Bustos forages for flowers and herbs, her restaurant's exposed kitchen resembles a verdant theater in the round, a center stage surrounded by the colorful bounty she gathers every day between lunch and dinner seatings.

Urban Gardens
Walking La Promenade Plantée: French Ancestor of New York City's High Line Park

The model for its contemporary American cousin, The High Line, Paris's Promenade Plantée--also known as the Coulée Verte or "Flowing Green"--was the world's first and only elevated park before its New York relative spawned numerous followers, including Chicago's Bloomingdale Trail, Philadelphia's Reading Viaduct, Rotterdam's Hofplein station, and [...]

Urban Gardens
A Tiny Secret Garden In London

You won't accidentally stumble onto Gibbons Rent, a tiny narrow cut-through between Magdalen and Bermondsey Streets in London SE1. Tucked away in the shadow of the towering spire-like skyscraper known as The Shard and close to the busy London Bridge train station, the garden is so obscure that even my taxi driver could not easily locate it with the GPS.

Urban Gardens
Report From Paris: Hidden Gardens, an Urban Vineyard, Smelly Cheese and a Bottle of Rosé

Although I have lived in Paris and visit every year, there are neighborhoods I've not fully explored. So when my friend Anne offered me her apartment in the posh 16e, well, I couldn't refuse. The place had two terraces and a view of the Eiffel Tower through the kitchen window. I've never met Anne except on Twitter, but I consider her a friend–a generous one. (Who says social media is impersonal?) 

Urban Gardens
02/16/2021
Hope Floats This Year For Mardi Gras in New Orleans

For Mardi Gras in New Orleans last year, I donned a pair of gold lamé pants, a feathered hat encrusted with shiny sequins and a colorful mask (not the kind we're all wearing today), then joined my neighbors and other revelers to cheer as the parade of floats, dancers and marching bands passed by.

HOME AND GARDEN

Burpee
What Is a Potager Garden, and How Can You Design One?

Do you long for a food garden that's both productive and beautiful? You may be envisioning a potager, an ornamental French kitchen garden that blends design with function. During medieval times, monks in French monasteries cultivated "potagers" for growing the ingredients for a thick soup called potage.

Burpee
How to Cut a Bouquet of Flowers

Store-bought flowers can't match the freshness and cost-effectiveness of seasonal blooms picked right from your own cut flower garden. Draw inspiration from floral designers on how to cut a bouquet of flowers to add color, style, fragrance and beauty to any environment.

Burpee
Night-Blooming Flowers to Plant for an Evening Garden

When most flowers tuck in for the night, others only open their petals after dark. After the sun sets and the moon rises, night-blooming flowers put on a pageant of bright-white and silvery or pale-colored blooms, their petals reflecting against the moonlight to set the garden aglow.

Family Handyman
05/26/2021
Essential Indoor Gardening Tools

Whether you have a few pots or a house plant jungle, you'll need some essential indoor gardening tools to maintain a flourishing indoor garden.

Burpee
What Is Urban Gardening? Your Guide to Gardening in a City

Densely populated cities have limited space for cultivating gardens. But despite the constraints, you can still live in a city and take advantage of one of these opportunities for exercising your green thumb. Urban gardening is simply the process of growing plants within an urban environment.

Burpee
How to Design a Fire-Resistant Garden

With changing weather patterns, the new normal appears to include increased droughts and major wildfires, conditions that cry out for designing a fire-resistant garden. In wildfire-prone areas with low rainfall and dry vegetation, it's essential - and often enforced by local ordinances - to create more resilient landscapes with fire safety in mind.

Burpee
How to Work With a Small, Narrow Garden

A small, narrow garden presents some challenges, but by embracing the footprint and employing some narrow garden design ideas, you can turn those challenges into opportunities. Susan Morrison, landscape designer and co-author of "Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces," believes narrow spaces can actually become the most interesting gardens.

Burpee
Small Fruit Garden Must-Knows

Don't despair if your garden's footprint isn't huge - a small plot or patio is enough space for growing a variety of small fruit plants. A fruit garden may require a little patience as many fruits don't provide the near-instant gratification that most vegetables do.

fix.com
Grow Your Own Garden-to-Glass Cocktails

As interest in edible gardens continues to grow, a creative culinary cocktail culture has emerged and with it, the cocktail garden - the liquid offspring of the locavore and the farm-to-table movement, bolstered by the growing popularity of craft distilleries. "Garden-to-glass" cocktails include herbs, fruits, and vegetables freshly plucked one moment and the next becoming part of a cocktail.

Kellogg Garden Organics™
Companion Plants for a Dye Garden

Ever wonder why purple is traditionally the color attributed to royalty? Throughout most of history, only the royal families could afford to purchase the indigo (Indigofera tinctoria) dye that produced a deep vibrant bluish-purple—in fact, indigo became so valuable that for a time people traded cubes of it as currency.

Burpee
Landscaping With Stones and Plants

Natural stone has a place in every garden. As a complement or counterpoint to plants, stones and rocks add depth, dimension, texture and color to the garden. When landscaping with stones and plants, draw inspiration from how many global cultures use stones and rocks in their landscaping design, from Zen sanctuaries to Mediterranean gardens.

Burpee
How to Make a Garden on Your Deck or Patio

Don't let a small footprint keep you from producing a big yield. Learn how to make a garden on your deck or patio that will not only be beautiful but will also provide you with a bountiful harvest in a limited amount of space.

Burpee
Tips for Growing Fruits and Vegetables Together in Your Garden

Variety is the spice of life and that goes for growing fruits and vegetables. If you've been growing vegetables in a raised bed, plot or pot, you can easily add in some fruits to diversify your harvest. You can incorporate many fruits right into your existing vegetable beds, interplanting them with herbs and flowering plants.

Burpee
Growing Trees in Pots: Everything You Need to Know

A potted tree defines an entryway, brings nature to an urban space and provides a focal point in any garden. Growing trees in pots restricts their growth, making them perfect for small spaces or indoor gardens. Although some trees grow better in the ground, many thrive in containers.

fix.com
5 Steps to Building a Backyard Fire Pit

From the earliest of times, people have communed around the campfire, telling tales and sharing personal stories. Gathering around the fire brings us together, and a backyard fire pit is the perfect spot to kick back and relax. Fire pits provide ambiance, warmth, light, and a place to gather and entertain.

Burpee
How to Store Fresh Herbs From the Garden

You've pruned, pinched and picked basketfuls of aromatic herbs. Now you have an overabundance and need to preserve some of those fresh herbs from the garden so they'll last through the winter.

Burpee
How to Create an Herb Wall

Imagine pinching off your favorite herbs from a vertical herb garden outdoors just steps from your kitchen or patio table. With its spectrum of colors and textures, a productive and aromatic herb wall will provide months of fresh culinary herbs and also double as ornamentals.

Burpee
Best Gifts for Gardeners

Dig into our list of the best gifts for gardeners of every level. A cultivated selection from seed to after harvest, we've selected gifts for vegetable gardeners and flower lovers alike, from essential tools and accessories to garden experiences and courses that educate and inspire.

Urban Gardens
How To Bring a Dull Dorm Room to Life With Plants

With college dorm move-in day around the corner, it's time to think about how to personalize this space. Maybe you've already snagged colorful bedding, a rug, and some colorful wall decor. Now bring your dull dorm room to life with potted plants and some of these über cool indoor garden pieces.

Urban Gardens (Sponsored by ShedPlans)
09/21/2020
12 Creative Backyard Shed Makeover Ideas

The continuing pandemic has a lot of folks rethinking how to manage life in the new normal. Planned vacations have become staycations. The commute to work for many remains a walk from the bedroom to the kitchen table, and some dining rooms have morphed into classrooms. Living and working in the same space leaves many yearning for an escape pod.

fix.com
Matrix Gardening

With an increasing interest in biodiversity and sustainable gardening practices that rely on natural pest-control methods, naturalistic approaches to gardening are growing in popularity.

Easy Digging Tools
Garden Weeds | The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Like the uninvited houseguest that never leaves, weeds can stretch the limits of your patience and have you dreaming up creative strategies for getting rid of them. The common conception is that they are all bad and unwelcome, but do they have any redeeming qualities?

Black Gold
Succulent Container Gardening: Potted Xeriscaping

Succulents, a broad group of arid plants that store water in their leaves or stems, are perfect for busy, forgetful, or novice gardeners because they're easy to grow and don't require much water or maintenance.

Family Handyman
06/23/2021
What Should I Put In the Bottom of My Planter?

Learn what to add to the bottom of your planter to promote aeration without adding weight or expense - plus some things to avoid (including gravel!). Filling up a large pot with potting mix is expensive and makes for a really heavy planter.

fix.com
Partitioning With Plants

Backyards, patios, decks, and terraces can benefit from creating separation to establish different outdoor rooms. Think it of it as creating multiple living experiences.

Urban Gardens
Urban Gardens Valentine Gift Guide

Valentine's Day is a good excuse (not that we ever need one) to celebrate a significant or sorta-significant other, and don't forget dear friends. Stay home, break out some bubbly and raise a glass to those you appreciate and love.

Easy Digging Tools
How to Naturally Control Garden Weeds

You're down on your hands and knees engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the weeds, sweat pouring down your neck as you pull them out one by one. It's getting tiresome, but you know that yanking them out by the root is one of the best ways to ensure the suckers won't return.

Burpee
How to Dehydrate Vegetables for Your Winter Soups and More

That generous bounty of fresh vegetables harvested from your garden won't last forever. Learn how to dehydrate vegetables, a simple and affordable way to extend the life of your yield and fill your larder for the winter. Properly dehydrated vegetables will keep in the pantry for six months to a year.

Kellogg Garden Organics™
The Dry Facts: How to Dehydrate Fruits & Vegetables

Drying food has become an ever more popular method of preserving one's homegrown harvest. Drying foods is simple. Start small and experiment with your various homegrown fruits and veggies to find the ones you like best.

Kellogg Garden Organics™
Winter Lawn Fertilizer

Most people think about fertilizing the lawn in spring. However, as the weather begins to cool in autumn, applying fertilizer will prepare the grass for winter and the following spring, Known as winterizer fertilizers or winterizers, these fertilizers serve a different purpose from spring fertilizers.

Urban Gardens (Sponsored by DutchGrown)
02/05/2021
A Tasteful Dish of Edible Tulips

After a year we would all like to forget, colorful spring-blooming tulips will be a welcome feast for the eye as well as the palate. From the same botanical family as onions and garlic, tulips are one of many edible flowers.

Urban Gardens (sponsored by Studio Shed)
Ins and Outs of Working From an Indoor-Outdoor Home Office

Ah, the elusive dream of working from home. No more commuting, no more "business casual," no more overpriced lunches scarfed down in ten minutes standing up. Along with this comes the freedom to make your own schedule, wake up when you want, work in your pajamas if you feel like it, and travel at any time as long as you have your laptop.

Urban Gardens (sponsored by Kellogg Garden Products)
04/18/2019
How to Design a Contemporary Bohemian Garden

As a traveler with lifelong wanderlust, I can really appreciate the Bohemian or "Boho-chic" style, a carefree and spirited aesthetic adopted from the Romanis (as self-described), a nomadic ethnic group most refer to as "gypsies."

fix.com
Growing Food Indoors with Hydroponic Gardening

Hydroponics is a form of agriculture where plant roots grow, not in soil, but in nutrient-enriched water. It's a great method for growing food indoors and in small spaces. With the addition of automatic controls, it can be nearly maintenance-free.

fix.com
Kids' Gardening: Cultivating Food and Life Lessons

Just as with learning to walk, children learn best by doing rather than by watching. Gardening with kids is filled with exploration, education, and fun, allowing them to experience things firsthand and participate in active learning. Working in a garden inspires creativity, develops nurturing skills, and empowers kids to make choices, thus giving them a sense of pride in their accomplishments.

Urban Gardens (Sponsored by Deelat Industrial Products)
Cool Sustainable and Stylish DIY Ideas For Outdoor Solar Lighting

Solar power is everywhere––solar-powered clothing and backpacks that charge your gadgets on the go, solar-powered camping tents, Tesla's solar roof shingles, and even keyless solar bike locks that alert you if someone tries to nab your wheels.

Kellogg Garden Organics™
Canning Methods to Preserve your Harvest

Stock your pantry with preserved foods like salsas, vegetable relishes, fruit jams and jellies, pickled vegetables and fruits, soups, and much more. Besides canning, there are a few other methods for preserving fruits and veggies-freezing, drying, and salting-but in this post, we'll cover home canning methods.

fix.com
Insect Hotels: How to Design a Dwelling Place for Your Anthropod Friends

At any given time, your garden might contain over 2,000 species of insects. Some of these are pests, the kind you don't want in your garden because they destroy your flowers and vegetables. But many others are beneficial insects, the kind you want to attract because they work with you to control pests and pollinate flowers.

Urban Gardens
03/26/2021
This Modern Aquaponics Furniture Design Mimics the Natural Environment

March 26, 2021 by Robin Plaskoff Horton Mimicking the natural environment, EVA is an aquaponic planter system and light fixture designed as a modern piece of indoor furniture. Although robust enough for use in restaurants, Hong Kong designer Francois Hurtaud designed the planter for novices as it assembles easily with no tools other than a pair of hands.

Urban Gardens
DIY Pendant Lamps From Clay Garden Pots

Here's a great way to extend and blend the boundaries between indoors and out. For a designer show house where I helped convert a potting shed into a Creative Garden Retreat, I upcycled ordinary terra cotta garden pots into cool pendant lamps. It was easy: We reclaimed a few used pots, turned them upside down, added [...]

Houzz
Concrete Ideas for Patios and Decks

Time for some outdoor games. How about mixing it up with these concrete slab puzzle tiles interspersed with grass? They're chic and witty and let you play on the patio.

Fiskars
DIY Indoor Hanging Herb Garden | Fiskars

You don't need to have a large garden space to grow fresh herbs. Modular pocket planters are an easy way to design your own ornamental or edible living wall by planting up instead of out.

Family Handyman
06/11/2021
What Are Air Plants and How Do They Grow?

Hardy, soil-less air plants double as home décor. Discover air plant facts, good options to start with, how to care for them and more. Air plants don't require soil or even containers, just a supportive spot to hang out. Relatively easy to grow and maintain, they are a great choice for those not endowed with a green thumb.

LIFESTYLE / GENERAL

Urban Gardens (Sponsored by Eye of the Day Garden Center)
The Storied History and Enduring Life of Terra Cotta

You've likely strolled through garden centers stocked with hundreds of ubiquitous terra cotta nursery flower pots in the usual shapes and sizes. But did you know that this simple pottery is descended from ancestors who played a significant role in human history dating back to the [...]

fix.com
A Guide to Farmers' Markets

Both casual cooks and celebrity chefs flock to their local farmers' markets to avail themselves of the freshest locally grown produce straight from the farm. In addition to produce, farmers' market visitors will also find regional and artisanal items such as baked goods, dairy products, grass-fed meats and free-range eggs, locally cultivated flowers, prepared foods, and even local crafts.

Urban Gardens
06/27/2020
Lawn Mowed Into Checkerboard Becomes Natural Social Distancing Space

The novel Cornavirus has inspired some novel ideas. From personal glass greenhouses at an Amsterdam restaurant, stuffed pandas occupying chairs in a Bangkok eatery, to pool noodle hats at a cafe in Germany, people are exercising their collective creativity to maintain social distancing and make it safe to go out again.

Urban Gardens
07/30/2020
A Hidden Greenhouse Garden in Mexico City Abandoned Factory

Hidden within a 6.4-acre botanical garden in Mexico City's Santa Marîa la Ribera district lies an abandoned factory transformed into as a vast greenhouse garden filled with aromatic native plants. The disused space is on the grounds of the botanical garden surrounding the city's Vasconcelos Library, an imposing steel and glass building designed by Mexican architect Alberto Kalach.

Urban Gardens
09/02/2020
AI Platform Turns Empty Office Spaces Into Smart Urban Vertical Farms

As the global pandemic continues with many people still working from home, large amounts of urban office space remain empty. To offset consequential disruptions to the food supply chains, a group of Finnish digital agtech entrepreneurs has come up with a novel idea for turning these spaces into smart urban farms. The folks at iFarm [...]