Gossip in the Garden

Harmony in the Garden's Chattier Side

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Pyracantha Pandemonium
Today started out just like any other January day. For the past week, I had been admiring one of my favorite shrubs growing in my side yard - the humble pyracantha. I had been wondering to myself why more people didn't love this shrub as I do. Didn't they realize all the seasonal beauty it freely offers the gardener? First, in early spring, I’m rewarded with a spectacular show of slender branches cloaked in cascades of dainty white flowers. [read more]
Cornerstone Garden Grasses
Sonoma's Cornerstone Gardens is one of my very favorite public gardens to visit any time of year.  In my opinion, though, the fall is the best time of all. Not only are the summer crowds long gone but the colors of fall are just beginning to explode.  No longer filled with grapes, the surrounding vineyards shimmer with shades of gold and red, and fall's soft and slanted sunlight peeks through the olive trees. And to top things off, the grasses [read more]
Kniphopfias (aka: Red Hot Poker or Torch Lily) are one of my very favorite flowers to add vertical interest to the garden.  Seeing their snake-like stalks rise from a clump of grass-like leaves is always a joy to behold as they stretch their long necks what seems like several inches a day. I don't know why, but they're really not planted enough around here (IMHO!) While visiting a client's garden a few days ago, I was amazed at the size [read more]
I was talking with another gardener last week, when she told me she never plants rosemary in her garden because it's so common. Huh? Of course everyone has their own opinion of what they like and don't like, but not planting something just because it's common?  Oh well - we all march to our own beat. I happen to loooove rosemary in the garden and incorporate it into as many designs as I can.  Whether it's the upright 'Tuscan Blue', [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]
Have you ever toured a garden, when the moment you stepped through the front gate you were instantly transported to another time and place?  That was the case with Lecia Davis's magnificent garden in Laguna Beach, California. I had the opportunity to visit this exquisite garden a few weeks ago and was completely caught off guard.  I lived in Laguna Beach 18 years ago, and had forgotten just how beautiful this area is. Lecia's home and garden reminded me of [read more]
A few weeks ago I spoke at the Laguna Beach Garden Club, and was thrilled when my host insisted we walk along the coastline before catching my flight home. The aloes were in full bloom, the sun was shining, artists were painting, hummers were humming, dolphins were swimming - in short, I was in heaven. Laguna Beach, be still my beating heart   (more…) [read more]
Sure, it's tempting to title this post Deer-Proof Plants or something of that nature but truth be told, deer will eat just about anything when they're hungry.  And not only that, they're some of the craftiest animals around when it comes to sneaking into your garden.  The second you leave your gate open, they let themselves in and prune your roses to the ground. Instead of fighting this constant, never-ending battle with deer I've found it much easier to accept [read more]
A few weeks ago I was a lucky, lucky girl and had the distinct honor of touring Debra Lee Baldwin's own garden - and what a garden it was! Debra is known by many as the 'Queen of Succulents', thanks to her amazing books, Succulent Container Gardens and Designing with Succulents and the many talks and presentations she gives all over the country. So while I assumed her garden would be fabulous... I wasn't prepared for just how fabulous it [read more]
I don't think I've ever been as rude to another designer as I was when I saw this garden. A few weeks ago I visited my good friend Debra Lee Baldwin who graciously introduced me to a wonderful landscape designer, Frank Mitzel of Aesthetic Design.   Frank kindly took us to see a garden that he and fellow designer and contractor Randy Laurie created in the Mission Hills district. After meeting Frank in front of the house and exchanging a little [read more]