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]
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]
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]
Scent in my late winter garden – my favorite top 5
Here we are in the early days of February, and my garden is filled with heavenly fragrance. In my temperate Zone 9 garden, there's still a few  leaves hanging on to their deciduous branches for dear life.  But with each gentle breeze these dying leaves quickly lose their grip and leave behind one skeletal shrub after another.  Thank heavens for the evergreen shrubs in my garden, as they can finally take their turn on stage.  And with them brings another [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]
Winter berries in the garden
Even though it's the middle of January, my garden is humming with activity. As I write this, I can see dozens of birds of all types eating from my bird feeders, taking baths in their freshly filled birdbaths and gorging themselves on the various types of berries my garden provides. Clearly, my garden is a re-fueling station for many of these birds, and I'm happy to see them taking a break from their winter migration. Trees and shrubs that offer [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]