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Indoor Vertical Gardens
Our Own Invention: Thigmotrope Satellite


In February 2009 Flora created a vertical garden for the Bardessono Hotel in Yountville working with Seth Boor of Boor Bridges Architecture and Kevin Smith of SmithBuilt. This project had some tough requirements, with a quick turnaround. The folks at the Bardessono were  fantastic to work with – and we were thrilled to be involved with this LEED Platinum-certified hotel.


ABOVE: The tillandsias thrive in the bright light of the lobby. We think they look like fireworks – or a mass of sea creatures – or an invasion of friendly aliens.

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ABOVE: Flora and Baby Greyson enjoying the Bardessono Hotel lobby

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After the Bardessono garden appeared in the New York Times, we heard from people all over the world asking how they could make their own. So Seth and Flora created Thigmotrope Satellite!

Thigmotrope Satellite is a vehicle for cultivating nature in otherwise impossible-to-reach places: that smooth wall in the living room, the little area next to the bathtub, or just above the kitchen sink.

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Thigmotrope Satellite is simple to install and makes caring for tillandsia air plants equally easy. It screws directly into a mounting surface such as painted drywall or a wood plaque. If you pre-drill, you can even screw it into a concrete or masonry surface. Its three prongs gently cradle your air plants, allowing for effortless placement and removal for watering and rearrangement.

We’re got Thigmotrope Satellites here in our San Francisco store, and also in our Web Shop. We also have an enormous collection of tillandsia air plants to create your own unique garden with.

Composed of solid welded steel, it’s made right here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

So what’s with the name Thigmotrope? “Thigmotropism” refers to the instinct of certain organisms to turn toward touch, as for instance the roots of an air plant embrace the bark of a tree, or a vine wraps its tendrils around a twig.

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 See a Thigmotrope Satellite backdrop for Flora and Seth’s portrait at Sightglass Coffee in SF’s South of Market district.

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Using our own Thigmotrope Satellite invention, our designer, Daniel Nolan, created this dynamic indoor vertical garden for one of our clients.

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Studio O+A brought in our designer, Patrick Lannan, to create a vertical garden of tillandsia air plants for Evernote’s headquarters in Redwood City. The wall-size arrangement using our Thigmotrope Satellite expresses the star shape of individual plants composing it. See more here.

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Photo by Jen Siska

ABOVE:  Few of us find a place for plants in our kitchens; tillandsias can be your exotic green friends mounted on Thigmotrope Satellites out of the way of your cooking. See more from Flora’s Kitchen.

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ABOVE: Thigmotrope Satellites mounted on a wooden panel: a great DIY project for your home or office.

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The Big Thigmotrope Satellite is a bigger version that you can use for composing with larger tillandsia air plants, like xerographica, duratii, and harrisii. It works like the original – it’s just bigger. Mix it on your wall with the standard-size Thigmotrope Satellite. We created Big Thigmotrope Satellite because we wanted to place large tillandsia air plants securely on vertical surfaces to create simple, dramatic settings.

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