Gossip in the Garden

Harmony in the Garden's Chattier Side

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Multi-Purpose Mediterranean
  While most of us are still recovering from a punishing few weeks of winter weather, longing for the first days of spring,  I thought I'd share with you another 'Before-and-After.' As you may remember, in my last post I showed a transformation that involved removing my client's pool and replacing it with a beautiful and functional garden. Today I'll show you an entirely different scenario where the pool is actually a cherished part of the 'garden' (I use [read more]
Good-bye Pool, Hello Garden
  Wow. I can’t believe my last blog post was seven months ago! I’ve thought about blogging so many times over the past year, but I just couldn’t seem to make it happen. This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of my father’s death, and despite my best intentions, the only thing I could manage this past year was to withdraw completely. All I wanted was to be with my mother and my family, seeking as much [read more]
Designing a garden for Sunset magazine.  No pressure…
A few weeks ago, Johanna Silver (Sunset Magazine's Garden Editor) reached out and asked if I would be interested in designing a garden for a forthcoming article, with the emphasis on using plants from Sunset's new Western Garden Collection. Hmmmm....tough decision.  Let me get this straight, I thought, design a garden for Sunset?  Where I can use any plant I want from their collection?  As many as I want?  That's like asking a kid if they'd like to spend [read more]
Jewel Box Courtyard
I'd like to introduce you all to my friend and client, Judy Minium.   Three years ago our local newspaper ran a story on our (then) new book, Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces.  Within 24 hours I received a phone call from Judy, who was in desperate need of transforming her tiny, overgrown courtyard into one that appeared spacious, bright, lush and tranquil. Judy had always loved gardening, but didn't quite know how to tackle one that [read more]
Goodbye Lawn, Hello Garden –  Part 3 (plus a giveaway!)
  Here we are at the end of May and I'm happy to share with you the final phase of my front garden re-do! As you may recall, in January I finally decided to remove my little-used front lawn and replace it with a low-water garden (you can read about it here and here). After moving around my new little plants at least a half a dozen times each, most of them have finally found their permanent homes.  Going back [read more]
Goodbye Lawn, Hello Garden – Part 2
Phew - I've been busy!  As promised a few weeks ago, here's the next phase of my front lawn-removal project. After deciding on the materials and final shape of the pathways, the next step was to remove the lawn.  A physically grueling task to be sure. Enlisting help from one with a much stronger back than I, we (the British 'we', that is) removed it by hand, making sure to dig deep to remove any stray lawn roots that might [read more]
Goodbye lawn, hello garden  – Part 1
It's a new year and with it comes the oh-so-familiar new year's resolutions.  And while I rarely keep the ones I make, this is a resolution that's long overdue and one that I'm thrilled to undertake: getting rid of my unused front lawn. With California's lowest recorded rainfall in its history (that's over 160 years!), the timing is perfect to practice what I preach.  Even though I remove lawns for many of my clients, I just haven't been able to [read more]
Shades of Gray in a No-Lawn Front Garden
I'm thrilled to announce that one of the gardens I designed for a client is featured in this month's Sunset magazine. While the folks at Sunset did a fantastic job capturing the drought-tolerant aspects of this garden (the homeowners reduced their water bill by 40%!) I thought I'd go into a little more detail about using the very-gray colored dymondia margaretae as a lawn substitute, and the tricks I use to keep the color looking lush. But first, a little [read more]
Transforming a side yard from Blah to Beautiful
In honor of my new book, Refresh Your Garden Design, I'll be spending the next few months writing about the many different aspects of color, texture and form.  Whether its gardeners I've met who have embraced these design principles to the fullest, simple solutions you can use to transform your own garden, or perhaps  specific plants that serve double (or even triple!) duty in the landscape - my goal will be to inspire while showing how the smallest changes can [read more]
This month my office is being featured in Sunset Magazine (my copy just came in the mail yesterday and I’m so excited I can hardly breathe!) I’ve literally grown up with Sunset in the house, whether it was magazines, how-to or garden books lying around my mother’s and grandmother’s house.  So imagine the pride that I feel seeing one of the most meaningful places in my life featured right there on page 49!     And imagine [read more]