Gossip in the Garden

Harmony in the Garden's Chattier Side

.

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]
Trial Plant review (aka: Drought Tolerant Superstars for the summer garden)
I’m finally able to catch my breath after my big move, and now that the suffocating summer heat has passed and I can think and write clearly again!   It’s been a hot, hot summer with temperatures averaging in the 100’s for weeks on end (definitely not the norm, locals assure me, as they see me slowly begin to lose my mind.) And while some of the plants that I hauled all the way up here have melted away [read more]
Drought tolerant superstars for the spring garden
As I write the latest installment of my drought-tolerant series, yet another storm is heading our way.  Its been a soaking wet, record-breaking winter this year, with most counties having now lifted their mandated water restrictions. But there's still a few cities that realize this annual rainfall won't last, and continue to mandate strict water restrictions. Santa Barbara, for example, has recently banned watering residential lawns to help achieve their city-wide goal of 40% water reduction. (Click here to read an [read more]
Drought Tolerant Superstars for the Winter Garden – Part II
The other day someone asked me if I thought California's Governor would declare we’re no longer in a drought.  And if so, would I continue to focus on creating low-water gardens. While I’m rejoicing with all the rain that we've had, with our overflowing reservoirs and abundant snow-pack (as is every other gardener in the state), the question caught me by surprise. Of course, I’m going to continue with my low-water designs! For me, gardening with the [read more]
Drought tolerant superstars for the winter garden
I’m excited to share with you the second installment of my drought-tolerant seasonal superstars. Winter is the time when I tend to receive the most emails from past clients, who are surprised and delighted with how their gardens look during this typically bleak time of year. Even though our Bay Area winters are mild compared to the rest of the country, we do get consistent temperatures that dip into the mid-twenties, along with bouts of heavy frost. Luckily, many  [read more]
Drought tolerant superstars for the fall garden
After a lifetime spent gardening in California, one thing I've learned is there's drought tolerant, and then there's drought tolerant.  Many plants that claim to be low-water might do okay for the first year or two, but soon 'cry uncle' when blasted with year after year of unrelenting drought. As a designer, it's a constant challenge to find beautiful and unusual plants that don't just eek along in these difficult conditions but to discover those that actually thrive.  And that's [read more]
The Bold Dry Garden – a review and giveaway
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to attend a party celebrating Timber Press's new release, The Bold Dry Garden, written by Johanna Silver (who is also the garden editor for Sunset magazine). The event was held at one of my favorite places, The Ruth Bancroft Garden (appropriate, as that's the subject of the book!)  Not only did I get to spend the morning in a beautiful garden, but Ruth herself was there (no small feat as she's 108 [read more]
The mystery of the monarch
Throughout my daughter’s life, I’ve tried just about everything I could think of to pique her interest in gardening. And while she’s always appreciated playing in a beautiful garden, I realized early on that getting her excited about working in a garden just wasn’t going to happen. But, I figured if I can get her to enjoy eating from the garden, growing weird things in the garden, finding bugs, and watching birds in the garden then [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]