Jetson Green gets to the bottom of recent news that the Passivhaus Institut has severed ties with its American arm, Passive House US (PHIUS). Writes Passivhaus honcho Dr. Wolfgang Feist in an open letter sent to PHIUS: "[R]ecent actions by PHIUS have culminated both in breaches of contract and good faith, unnecessarily reinforcing false divisions within the Passive House community. In light of PHIUS’ disregard for its standing agreements with PHI, we are left with no other choice but to suspend all standing contracts.” 

The Wall Street Journal puts the garden gnomes and birdbaths in storage for a look at the newest craze in lawn ornamentation: bottle trees. Gardening author Felder Rushing tells the WSJ's Wendy Bounds: "Bottle trees are the modern pink flamingo. People are bored of the plantings we have. And you can only have so many naked goddess statues out there." Great, but don't tell that to Norwood Young.

TreeHugger digs "Parasite Farm," a nifty, if unfortunately named, indoor vermicomposting and growing system from German designers Charlotte Dieckmann and Nils Ferber. 

The New York Times talks shop with Britta Riley, the greenthumbed, space-strapped Brooklynite who co-developed Windowfarm, "a Rube Goldberg-esque contraption with plastic water bottles, hoses and an air pump that can be hung in an apartment window to grow herbs and vegetables."

The Los Angeles Times heads to the Valley for a most excellent low-impact residential landscaping project in Sherman Oaks where a homeowner replaced traditional, water-sucking turf with a host of attractive, drought-resistant plants. 

The Globe and Mail critiques the winning design in the Architect Barbie Dream Home Design Competition. Writes Lisa Rochon: "There are bamboo floors and a roof garden with natural irrigation. But even those tiny eco-design gestures cannot offset the fact that Barbie gets to hog a massive house on three acres of pristine West Coast beach. Sorry, girlfriend!"

Re-Nest attempts to explain the principles of the Canada-born "Slow Home" movement as they apply to bedrooms. It all seems a bit Feng Shui meets the totally obvious but, hey, it's nice to, err, slow down and think about these things every so often — Re-Nest has been running with the Slow Home concept all month. 

Dwell takes one last ogle at "Seven Great Outdoor spaces" before summer comes to an end and "furniture is packed away for the winter." Ugh. Please don't remind me.

... And on the topic of Dwell, Curbed picks the brain of Dwell Media president Michela O'Connor Abrams, asking "what's next?"for the San Francisco-based shelter magazine in the wake of the recent departures of both longtime editor-in-chief Sam Grawe and creative director Kyle Blue. 

Inhabitat opens with some broad Hamptons stereotypes — "glitz, glam, mega mansions" — in a post about a large (6,400-square foot) but efficient East Hampton abode from MB Architecture that's partially buried underground. 

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Playing catch up: Breaking up is hard to do
This week: A big split in the world of green homebuilding and the aftermath of departures at a major shelter magazine. Plus, bottle trees, windowfarms and wormy