Gossip in the Garden

Harmony in the Garden's Chattier Side

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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]
Garden therapy in the midst of trauma – a story and a giveaway
  I've been home from my trip to New York for ten days now and have been excited to share with you some of the gardens I visited but life seems to have gotten in the way - for now, at least. On the last day of my trip, I received a phone call from Dan, my ex-husband, letting me know that he was in a terrible biking accident and has been in the hospital's ICU for the past ten [read more]
Pumice versus Perlite – Q & A
I was recently introduced to the dynamic brother/sister team, Lexi and Austin Petelski, who own General Pumice Products.  These young and dynamic gardeners have recently acquired ownership of two California pumice mines and are here to help explain the differences between pumice and perlite. Those of us who garden in El Nino's predicted path will find this information particularly useful, as pumice not only helps absorb and slowly release water, but it helps aerate the soil at the same [read more]
Without a doubt, fall is my favorite season of the year.  Once I spot the first signs of pumpkins and squash adorning grocery stores and farmers markets  I'm like a kid in a candy shop.  And don't even get me started on my obsession with glass pumpkins! I've admired succulent-topped pumpkins ever since I first saw Laura Eubanks' to-die-for gorgeous creations a few years ago. When I was asked to lead a workshop for the Polk County Master Gardener's Fall [read more]
Mixing flowers and succulents
There's no doubt about it, Debra Lee Baldwin certainly knows her succulents.  But when visiting her Escondido, CA garden again a few months ago, I was struck by something else - the flowers.  Not the flowers of succulents (which are amazing enough), but regular ol' perennial, annual and native flowers that casually grow throughout the garden. My very favorite gardens tend to have a creative and unusual mix of 'styles', filled with unexpected, unique and breathtaking touches - which is [read more]
My impromptu succulent cutting tower
Last month I dismantled one of my favorite garden beds so we could finally finish painting the house. A year ago we had our house painted, but I wouldn't let them paint one remaining wall, as my bougainvillea was in full bloom and there was no way I was about to cut it back prematurely! Luckily, I had the world's best painters who completely understood how crazy we gardeners can be, and were willing to come back in the early [read more]
There's something alluring about beautiful plants that have a bite to them. In fact, I just attended a fascinating talk by desert-designer-extraordinaire Scott Calhoun, who believes our fascination with plants that make us bleed is akin to the Stockholm Syndrome - ha! While I don't go out of my way to design gardens that will intentionally impale or poison people, I also don't go out of my way to avoid plants that might have potential for pain.  Just like lots [read more]
I've been wanting to write about this garden for a long time, and have finally found the perfect opportunity with today's Garden Designers Roundtable topic 'Focusing on the Details'.  (Warning:  lots of photos for this one!) While touring gardens last year with Debra Lee Baldwin, she insisted I meet her good friend, Jim Bishop.  And, if I was really lucky, I might even get to see his garden.  Thank heavens it was my lucky day.  Jim Bishop is pretty amazing [read more]
While driving around Pasadena early the other morning, I had a few hours to spare before the Huntington Gardens opened. Imagine my surprise when, while looking for a coffee shop, I accidentally stumbled upon this treasure!  Tucked away in the middle of a residential neighborhood is one of the most exciting public gardens I think I've ever seen. This 3-acre garden (open every day of the year) is a collaboration between the McKenney family, the City of Pasadena and Pasadena [read more]
I can look at succulents all day long.  I never grow tired of their colors, shapes and forms and the infinite number of ways that creative gardeners use them in their gardens. A few months ago, while rushing to get to the airport, my friend insisted we stop at Corona del Mar's Sherman Library and Gardens, since I hadn't been there in at least 15 years.  Holy Cow how things have changed!  While the quaint and charming building was the same, [read more]