Gossip in the Garden

Harmony in the Garden's Chattier Side

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New Year, New Changes!
January has been a busy month for me, full of exciting changes (including a new look for my website and blog.)   And, in addition to my landscape design business, and writing for Horticulture magazine, I’ve also accepted the position of Seminar Manager for the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show. For the past few months, I’ve been working away lining up some fantastic speakers, (click here to see!)  This year, the show runs through March 16-20 at the [read more]
Pumice versus Perlite – Q & A
I was recently introduced to the dynamic brother/sister team, Lexi and Austin Petelski, who own General Pumice Products.  These young and dynamic gardeners have recently acquired ownership of two California pumice mines and are here to help explain the differences between pumice and perlite. Those of us who garden in El Nino's predicted path will find this information particularly useful, as pumice not only helps absorb and slowly release water, but it helps aerate the soil at the same [read more]
Tantalizing Tillandsias
It's no secret that this past year has been a whopper for me.  During most of my chemotherapy treatments I was able to continue writing and public speaking, but it became increasingly more difficult as time went on. After my mastectomy (and a few 'hiccups' along the way) I just needed to hibernate for awhile and take a break from everything - including my garden. While my garden continued just fine without me (though a bit unruly at times) my [read more]
Heavily Pruned
Today my mother and I took a little field trip to Palo Alto’s Elizabeth Gamble Garden. Even though it’s still early spring here, with our unseasonably warm weather, we couldn’t wait to see what early surprises we might find. As was expected, there was plenty to see in this early-spring garden. Like the Easter-egg drifts of 'Lilac Wonder' species tulips that seemed to carelessly meander throughout the garden...   Or the brightly colored flowers of this chorizema [read more]
Planting bulbs in a warm climate plus a HUGE Cyber Book Party!
I'm honored to be participating in Fran Sorin's Cyber Book Party (complete with two grand giveaways!) celebrating the updated 10th Anniversary Edition of her groundbreaking book Digging Deep - Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening. I've had the privilege of getting to know Fran personally over the years, believing our styles of gardening, designing and the way in which we view life to be in lockstep with one another. I've read her book several times and each time I re-read [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]
NYC summer wrap-up
As summer comes to a close, I thought I'd share with you the last gardening tidbits from my summer in New York. They might seem a little random, but they're interesting nonetheless! 1.  Guy Wolff Pottery I've long been a collector of Guy Wolff Pottery, but when Smith & Hawken closed their doors (moment of silence, please) it became much harder for me to find the pots. So while visiting my friend in Connecticut, she insisted we stop by his studio. [read more]
Five ways to warm winter garden
A few days ago I spoke to my friend who lives in Boston, and when I complained that my garden was taking a beating during a recent week of unrelenting 28-degree temperatures, he was shocked - in California?   Yes, even in the land of sunshine it often dips below freezing on a cold winter night, surprising out of town visitors as much as it surprises our succulents, bougainvillea and citrus. One of my favorite vignettes in my garden is [read more]
Heavenly Hellebores
  Hellebores are fairly easy to grow here in Northern California, requiring partial shade, well-draining soil, and moderate irrigation. They come in a staggering range of colors, from the deepest maroon to the palest ivory.  They're typically categorized as either having upright blooms on tall stems  (aka: caulescent) or no real stems at all, with downward facing blooms (aka: acaulescent). The tricky part, in my opinion, is placing those with downward-facing blooms where they can be best appreciated.  One solution [read more]
Many of my clients love tulips, wanting them planted in their gardens to enjoy for years to come.  They hand me catalogs filled with ear-marked pages of the tulips they want: frilly parrots, fancy long-stemmed varieties, or carefully selected color palettes to place throughout their garden. Unfortunately, I have to be the bearer of bad news when I tell them that these beauties don’t usually do well in our mild climate and might be best considered as annuals, after [read more]