When it comes to the big boys of retail, there's something so ingenious about the styling at Urban Outfitters (and its kid sister Anthroplogie). Maybe it's the mix they do so well: old/new, street/chic, raw/refined. The materials are humble, simple and economic: plywood, tin, plaster, pegboard and steel. Now, pair that sensibility with an assortment of products ranging from statuaries to stationery, exotic plants to pendant lamps. House it all in a century-old greenhouse, and it's the kind of place I'd wander through for hours, gathering inspiration for how to garden—and live—more beautifully. Terrain is the name, and in a quiet town just outside of Philadelphia, it's breaking new ground.


On the approach, meandering the aisles of the nursery, I fell in love with this unusual double clematis. A loose arrangement on the mantle, wispy and a little unruly, would be beautiful.


Genius at work: Wood and clay strike a circular balance in a layered vignette as pretty as it is practical.


Inside, the magic grows, deepens, recalling the jewel box shop of another master gardener in Chicago. (We'll be seeing her soon, and all of you, I hope, in June.) The greenhouse of old has been updated and shaded, like a beautifully tented event on a floor of timeworn slate.  


In another carefully orchestrated vignette, bottles abound, stacked one upon the other. Galvanized steel racks on a slatted wood wall hold stationery and cards.   


This fountain I loved for its stately shape, dreaming of its place on a porch or a sunroom perhaps, planted with ferns.


Running water and a living wall can inspire even the least green-thumbed among us. 


Take root, inside and out. Surround it with modern chrome chairs, made new again.


My obsession of the day: a faux bois pitcher with a grey-over-white glaze and a handmade feel I love. Can't live without, really.


Pack you up, take you home. A pretty little package, all its own. I think I'll fill you with lilacs, their purply hue a vivid companion to your muted grey. If you're anywhere near Terrain, go, I tell you. 


Now to the garden I go, for flowers…