Gossip in the Garden

Harmony in the Garden's Chattier Side

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Kubota Garden – lessons in form and shape
One of the many reasons why I love visiting public gardens is that each one tells a unique story:  why it was created, who was the driving force, the inspiration behind it, etc. Seattle’s Kubota Garden is no exception. Located in the middle of a quiet suburban neighborhood, it’s somewhat of a surprise to find this secret gem nestled among its residential neighbors. Immediately I was intrigued. In the garden is a memorial stone dedicated to the creator [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 – Part 1
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]
Going, going, gone
When the garden begins to shut down and take on its melancholy tones this time of year, I often think of my grandmother. I don’t know why, exactly, but one of the things I often remember is her empathy for fading flowers, in particular roses, that are just a bit past their prime and barely hanging on. ‘Oh, don’t prune that one quite yet – it’s still so pretty’ she’d say as I’d help her clean [read more]
The Getty Museum’s Central Garden
Two days ago I flew to LA for the day to visit my daughter, and on a whim decided to visit the Getty Museum's Central Garden. While I've been there before in the spring and summer, I've never visited in the fall and was excited to see the seasonal changes. The Central Garden differs from many of the other public gardens I've written about in that it was specifically created to be a permanent piece of living art for the [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]
Bellevue Botanical Garden
As we ease into fall here in Northern California, I thought I'd share with you one of the most beautiful late-season perennial borders that I've seen in a long time, located at the Bellevue Botanical Garden. Tucked away on the east side of Washington's Puget Sound, this 36-acre horticultural gem is one that I will always regret not spending more time exploring. By the time I arrived, I was only able to spend about an hour wandering through the garden, [read more]
How your garden can survive a blistering beat-down
As most of you know by now, I've had a heck of a year.  Not only has my body taken a beating, but my poor garden has as well. Just a few days ago I completed the last (knock on wood) of my 5 surgeries this year (FIVE!) and as usual it's taken its toll on me.  But the good thing is that since I'm not able to work in the garden for a few days (either my own or [read more]
Camellias in my garden
This is the time of year when camellias, the workhorses of my winter garden, get their moment in the sun (so to speak). I haven't always been a huge fan of camellias, but over the years one of my favorite gardening friends has successfully enlightened me. Thank heavens I've seen the light as I now have dozens of camellias in my garden.  When its cold and bleak outside I'm so thankful for these bright spots of color. (more…) [read more]
Lessons from my mother’s fall garden & another holiday giveaway!
If you've read many of my past posts on this site or heard me give one of my presentations, you probably know that I think my mother is an amazing gardener. I'm always telling her she's one of the best designers I've met (which she never really believes). Even after I show her why a certain planting combination in her garden is pure genius, she still just shakes her head and says "hmm.....if you say so, dear." My parents [read more]