Gossip in the Garden

Harmony in the Garden's Chattier Side

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Taking ‘gardening is therapy’ to a whole new level
  At one time or another, most of us have said 'gardening is therapy,' right?   But seeing an actual therapeutic garden work its magic right in front of me is a whole different experience. Recently, my mother and I visited my mom’s cousin, Carol, to see the incredible garden she helped create for her adult daughter, Karen. Karen has nonverbal autism, in addition to being blind since she was nine years old. A few years ago, Carol enlisted [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]
A Jewel Box Courtyard that’s Wheelchair-Friendly
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 was this small (27'x 21') with so many challenges. And, as if [read more]
A luscious, lawn-free rock garden in Denver
Don’t you love the feeling you get when pulling up to someone’s home for the very first time, and the moment you see their garden you just know you’re in for a treat? That’s how I felt when my taxi slowly crept along the street, looking for the address of Sheila Schultz. This past May I spent a week in Denver filming an instructional video for Craftsy (click here if you'd like to watch it!) and [read more]
My day with P. Allen Smith
  I’ve just spent the past few days at Moss Mountain, (in Little Rock, Arkansas) at the beautiful home and farm of P. Allen Smith. Twenty three bloggers from around the country were invited to participate in this 3-day event, called Garden-to-Blog. The goal of this event was to help bloggers meet industry leaders, discuss new gardening trends, become inspired with new ideas, and to take a step back from what we do day-in and day-out. As P. Allen [read more]
The art and soul of Freeland Tanner
What do you get when you combine a pile of twigs, sprinklers, and watering cans with the right side of the brain that just won't quit? It's not what you get, it's who you get - Freeland Tanner. I've written about this exceptional man and his equally impressive wife, Sabrina, many times before (here and here), as well featuring their garden in both of my books. Some of you might even think I'm a bit of a stalker (debatable). But [read more]
Texture reigns supreme in the Testa-Vought garden
Welcome to Andrea Testa-Vought's garden, a textural paradise designed by the amazing Bernard Trainor. As you'll see, this garden is truly a feast for the eyes.  But more importantly, it's also a lesson in the subtle but powerful effects texture can have in the garden. I first visited this garden in December, on what was one of the coldest days of the year.  After experiencing a week of unrelenting, below-freezing temperatures, I thought Andrea's garden might look a little worse [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. In today's post, I thought I'd talk about another aspect of this garden - using the very-gray colored dymondia margaretae as a lawn substitute. And not just the ground cover itself, but the tricks I use to keep the color looking lush. But first, a little background and a few before & afters... (more…) [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]
Mixing flowers with succulents in Debra Lee Baldwin’s garden
There's no doubt about it, Debra Lee Baldwin certainly knows her succulents. But while visiting her Escondido, CA garden again a few months ago, I was struck by something else - the flowers! Not succulent flowers, but perennials, annuals, and native flowers that are planted throughout the garden. Sure, she's known as an expert and authoritative figure on everything succulent-related. But does that mean her garden has to be 100% succulents?  No! Debra takes a casual approach with her garden.  [read more]