Gossip in the Garden

Harmony in the Garden's Chattier Side

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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]
The New York Botanical Native Garden
I was so happy to finally have the chance to visit the New York Botanical Garden, during their 125th anniversary no less!   I blocked out the entire day to explore as much as I could of this massive, 250-acre garden in the Bronx, and while I wasn't able to see everything, I did manage to cover a lot of ground. The 3-acre Native Garden was nothing short of spectacular, designed by Oehme van Sweden Landscape Design.  Over 100,000 native plants [read more]
My February Garden
Thanks to the El Nino weather pattern we’ve been experiencing here along the West Coast (lots of rain followed by unseasonably warm temperatures) my garden is exploding with blooms much earlier that it ever has before. I’m a bit worried that my poor plants are being tricked into thinking spring has arrived, only to be given a dose of harsh reality with a late freeze or two, but no use worrying about it, right?  Instead, I’m just [read more]
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]
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]
The French Laundry’s culinary garden and a sweet little house
Rounding out my Napa weekend, the Tanners treated us to a morning of impromptu garden tours.  The first stop, a visit to the incredible culinary garden of the valley's crown jewel - The French Laundry. Located directly across the street from the deceptively demure looking restaurant is this impressive 3-acre garden.  Open to the public, the garden not only supplies a large part of the restaurant's produce, but also acts as the chef's test site. Even though spring had barely [read more]
Spring in my garden
While walking around my garden the other day my friend excitedly commented 'I totally get what you're doing here - you write all about this in your book!'  Curious as to what she meant, I asked her to elaborate.  She then began to excitedly tell me how I combined this texture with that, placed this color to echo that color, put the upright form here, etc. It was definitely a pinch-me moment to have someone not only explain the  [read more]
Proven Winners Spring Trials
I love attending the annual Spring Trials, as it's a chance to see firsthand the latest and greatest from well-respected growers around the country. And even though the plants won't be available for purchase until 2015, it's exciting to know what we can look forward to.  The temptation to grab a few and run is sometimes overwhelming, as I can't stand to wait an entire year to try them in my own garden.  It's sort of like peeking under your [read more]
Spring’s One-Hit Wonders:  Flowering Quince, Forsythia & Spirea
The other day I overheard two women talking about their spring gardens and one of them stated matter-of-factly that she'd never plant a flowering quince since it blooms for such a short period and then just sits there the rest of the year.  While its true that it blooms only once, in my opinion that's not reason enough to ban it from the garden. Or forsythia, for that matter, or bridal wreath spirea, or any other of spring's magnificent 'one [read more]