Showing by category: Favorite Shops & Nurseries

Tantalizing Tillandsias
There's something about tillandsias that makes my heart sing.  Even just saying the word is fun.  Maybe its due to their seemingly endless array of colors, shapes and textures.  Maybe its because of their somewhat freaky appearance.  Or maybe its because they're one of the easiest ways to make a really creative statement in your home. Actually, for me it's all of the above - plus the fact that I'm a sucker for anything that asks so little from me.  I've got enough in my life demanding my attention and the last thing I need is a fussy, high-maintenance houseplant! read more
Having three good friends and two of my favorite clients going through various stages of cancer right now, I'm particularly aware of kindhearted people and companies who are making an effort to help others.  Which is why I've become a huge fan of Glassybaby. While very well-known throughout Seattle (seen on the tables of at least half of the restaurants I visited, and on countless windowsills everywhere) these little candleholders are making their way throughout the entire country. And I'm honored to add a few to my own windowsill.While recently visiting Seattle, I was lucky enough to tour this read more
Hooray for Heucheras! An interview with Terra Nova Nurseries
Heucheras (aka: Coral Bells or Allum Root) are one of my favorite perennials in the garden, whether adding spots of color in the front of the border, massed together in drifts or nestled into a container.   I'd be lost if I couldn't use these little treasures in my designs, as their foliage comes in just about every color imaginable, they reliably return year after year and they're even somewhat deer resistant. The folks at Terra Nova Nursery (located in Canby, Oregon) have long been regarded as some of the top heuchera breeders in the country, introducing us to some read more
With Mother's Day fast approaching, I've been giving a lot of thought about what to give my own mother.  My mom is an incredible gardener but can be pretty picky, so finding the perfect gift is always a bit challenging. Which means I'm always on the look out for something a little out of the ordinary. While I'm not going to say what I plan to give her (she does occasionally read my blog, after all) there are a few things I've found over the past few months that I bet the Mama in your life might appreciate. (more…) read more
Kniphopfias (aka: Red Hot Poker or Torch Lily) are one of my very favorite flowers to add vertical interest to the garden.  Seeing their snake-like stalks rise from a clump of lush leaf blades is always a joy to behold as they stretch their long necks what seems like several inches a day. I don't know why, but they're really not planted enough around here (IMHO!) While visiting a client's garden a few days ago, I was amazed at the size of these kniphofia uvarias.  I planted them last year from tiny little 1-gallons and now they're at least 3-feet read more
 I'll admit it - I haven't included annuals in a design in a long, long time. Maybe even never. I'm not talking about the drool-inducing annuals over at Annie's Annuals.  I'm talking about the tried and true (some might say 'boring') ones that have been used over and over and over again. Now, it's not because I'm a plant snob, but simply a result of living in a mild climate.  Here in Northern California, many perennials are actually semi-evergreen, and overall it's much less of a challenge to have a garden that looks fantastic year-round than it is in many read more
Last week I spent a few days with Jeanette Sinclair (of Woodside Images) in Southern California's charming little town of Santa Paula, visiting Ball Horticulture's Spring Trials to see what new treasures they had to offer the plant world. For those of you who aren't familiar with Spring Trials, Jeanette compares it to New York's Fashion Week.  And if that doesn't clarify things, then maybe their website's description will help: During the course of a week, the world's prominent plant breeders, propagation specialists, growers, marketing professionals and plant enthusiasts present, share and discuss the floriculture industry's bounty at several open read more
Flowers in February? Absolutely!
While visiting the garden of one of my favorite clients yesterday I was really pleased with how it looked in the middle of February.  When designing, one of my priorities is to create a garden that looks good throughout the year.  Luckily, living in Northern California's zone 9, this is a very attainable goal.  However, so many clients think I'm exaggerating and doubt that it'll really look good in January and February. Even though we get temperatures that dip into the low thirties (sometimes even into the twenties) and we get zero rainfall in the summer, it's still possible to 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, I don't remember their succulent garden looking anything like it does now.  Designed and maintained by Mathew Maggio, these succulents read more
One of my favorite Christmas gifts was given to me by my husband Tom - this handmade birdhouse from L'Atelier Vert. My garden wouldn't be complete without all the birds that visit and raise their babies here (see here, and here, and here!)  so I'm hopeful one will find a new home this spring.     I think I'll get my wish since I've already seen a few snooping around this new addition. Fingers crossed!   read more
A few weeks ago I paid a visit to Baylor Chapman, at her gorgeous floral studio Lila B. Design.  While I've written about her shop before (you can read it here), this time I'm writing about the building across the street.  Yep, it's the giant green one which you can see out of her storefront window. The building is called The Allied Box Factory, and Baylor just so happens to live there. It's one of the great old timber buildings of San Francisco, that's been converted into an artists live-work space. Originally built in 1907 as the Allied Box & read more
A few weeks ago I spent an afternoon at Flora Grubb Gardens as I needed a little inspiration for some upcoming container projects.  Flora never lets me down!  It was a beautiful fall day when the sun's gentle rays allow everything to glow just a little bit brighter. For those of you not familiar with this San Francisco nursery, suffice it to say Flora does an amazing job of providing the most beautiful specimens of Mediterranean plants artfully paired with her collection of jaw-dropping containers. Color, texture and form are perfectly echoed in both the plants and their containers. Who, read more
If you love clematis, edibles, succulents and everything in between then Cottage Gardens of Petaluma is nursery you MUST visit! Many already know this nursery as one of the best sources around for unusual varieties of clematis. But Bruce Shanks, the owner, has clearly been bitten by Succulent Fever.  Everywhere I look there's unbelievable specimens of succulents - and if you know me at all, you KNOW I love succulents. (more…) read more
If you're a gardener who loves succulents, contemporary design, chickens, canning, birds, living walls and books, then this Northern California garden shop is the place for YOU.  Just over a year old, DIG a much needed refuge from the more ordinary and commonplace garden shops which dot the coast. Cara and Will Meyers (who also own 'Hidden Gardens Nursery' just a few miles down the road) have not only created a to-die-for garden shop, but they hold seminars, book signings, and will soon be building a coffee shop right next door.  Does it GET any better? Having just finished co-authoring read more
This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending a Saturday afternoon in San Francisco with Debra Prinzing, Susan Morrison and Baylor Chapman of Lila B. Design.   The purpose?  To not only have fun, but to get a behind the scenes tour of Baylor's unbelievably cool floral design studio.  Join me to see what this innovative artist is creating…. (more…) read more
It's time for our annual trip to Palo Alto's Art Center to buy  a glass pumpkin (or three).   Picking out which glass pumpkin to buy is like picking out pansies - I can never decide because each one is prettier than the last! Will we go for the traditional colors of oranges and yellow-   or will it be a cooling shade of green-   or maybe a cheery candy-colored pumpkin - the kind you wish would grow in your vegetable garden?   Will we choose one in muted earth tones?   Or maybe it'll be the pumpkin sprouting Easter read more
. Do you ever walk down a busy street and you see a hint of something cool peeking out from the doorway of a building, and you just KNOW something good is about to happen?  Well that's what happened to me the other day when I was in San Jose and stumbled upon Green Design Indoor and Outdoor Plantscape. , First of all, anything that says 'Green' in the title grabs my attention, coupled with the word 'Design' - and I'm all theirs.  After finding and chatting with one of the owners (a sweet Vietnamese woman - one of 7 read more
By now, many of you know what an amazing nursery Annie's Annuals is.  The sheer amount of unusual and super-cool plants for sale is staggering, and the stuffed-to-the-brim planting beds provide enough eye candy to let you feast there for hours. I was fortunate enough to attend a little soiree there last spring, in celebration of wrapping up a long, rainy day of filming an episode for the critically acclaimed PBS series, Growing a Greener World.  As I looked around, I began to notice a few things about this place that many of you may not know...   (more…) read more
Earth Day is April 22, and I've been invited to participate in a blogging event hosted by Jan Huston Doble's blog Thanks For 2 Day, where garden bloggers are writing about ways in which we're making 'greener gardens'. I've decided to write about two of my very favorite organic garden products:  Haven's Authentic Brand Soil Conditioning Tea and John & Bob's Soil Optimizer. . . (more…) read more
Warning:  This is not your grandmother's typical garden shop.   Welcome to Artefact Design and Salvage, located at the Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma, California, and it's just the thing to clear out the cobwebs of winter and kick-start your imagination!   (more…) read more
(besides dead bodies, paper towels, Mad-Libs, and a flashlight) read more