Post Tag: Natives

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 (if you don't subscribe, you can read about it here in their online version). While the folks at Sunset did a fantastic job capturing the drought-tolerant aspects of this garden (the homeowners reduced their water bill by 40%!) I thought I'd go into a little more detail about using the very-gray colored Dymondia margaretae as a lawn substitute, and the [read more]
I'm over-the-moon with excitement to announce that my new book, Refresh Your Garden Design with Color, Texture and Form is officially finished and will be available in bookstores next month - Oct. 20th, to be exact! After seeing a review copy for the first time last week, I can honestly say that I'm immensely proud of this book for many reasons.  Not only did Christy, the book designer, do an incredible job making it stunningly beautiful, and not only were [read more]
There's something magical about a winter garden, and I never pass up an opportunity to visit one - especially one that's known for looking it's best during the bleakest months of the year.  While attending a family wedding in Seattle this past weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting the J. Witt Winter Garden in the Washington Park Arboretum.  I can't emphasize enough what a treat it was to see such unexpected beauty on a cold and drizzly day. The [read more]
Cornerstone Garden Grasses
Sonoma's Cornerstone Gardens is one of my very favorite public gardens to visit any time of year.  In my opinion, though, the fall is the best time of all. Not only are the summer crowds long gone but the colors of fall are just beginning to explode.  No longer filled with grapes, the surrounding vineyards shimmer with shades of gold and red, and fall's soft and slanted sunlight peeks through the olive trees. And to top things off, the grasses [read more]
The natives are coming, the natives are coming!    Each passing year brings more and more native plants to our California nurseries, and I couldn’t be more pleased. In response to this growing demand, even the smallest nursery these days seems to have a section dedicated to native plants. However, there are some clients who are still a little hesitant whenever I suggest using a native plant for fear their garden will begin taking on an different aesthetic, look ‘too [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]
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 [read more]
Sure, it's tempting to title this post Deer-Proof Plants or something of that nature but truth be told, deer will eat just about anything when they're hungry.  And not only that, they're some of the craftiest animals around when it comes to sneaking into your garden.  The second you leave your gate open, they let themselves in and prune your roses to the ground. Instead of fighting this constant, never-ending battle with deer I've found it much easier to accept [read more]
I don't think I've ever been as rude to another designer as I was when I saw this garden. A few weeks ago I visited my good friend Debra Lee Baldwin who graciously introduced me to a wonderful landscape designer, Frank Mitzel of Aesthetic Design.   Frank kindly took us to see a garden that he and fellow designer and contractor Randy Laurie created in the Mission Hills district. After meeting Frank in front of the house and exchanging a little [read more]
I think the official number of tourists who visit Lake Tahoe every summer is something like a zillion, give or take a few.  Getting from one place to another on the lake means you'll be driving along beautiful highway 89, most likely looking at (you guessed it) the lake.    However, sometimes if you turn your head the other direction, you can see the most beautiful things! One of my very favorite beaches on the West Shore is Meek's Bay Resort, [read more]
While visiting my friends in Connecticut last week I couldn't help but fall in love with the massive Dutchman's Pipevine that seductively draped over their arbor. It's giant heart-shaped leaves seemed to glow from within when backlit by the setting sun. The tendrils gently coiled downwards, adding an almost ethereal appearance to this cozy space. (more…) [read more]
No, this isn't a scene from Teletubbies.   Last night I attended an APLD meeting in San Francisco to listen to Alan Good, the Academy's Landscape Exhibit Supervisor, give a fascinating presentation about the building's green-roof infrastructure and its plant life.   While I found the specific construction of the roof interesting, it was the little stories and odd facts he told us that really caught my attention. (more…) [read more]
Today I'm participating in a massive, worldwide blogging event called Blog Action Day, where the topic we'll all write about is Water. As any California gardener knows, water is our most precious resource.  In this post, I'm going to share a few tips to help you create a lawn-and-chemical-free meadow garden teeming with life, color, scent and natural beauty.   And the best part about meadows?  If the correct plants are chosen, they're very drought tolerant, requiring very little water outside [read more]
. It's close to Halloween and it's the perfect time to introduce you to one of my favorite places to visit - Virginia City, Nevada.  Why is it one of my favorites?  I can't explain why, but for the past 40 years or so, I've been infatuated with this place. For those of you who aren't familiar with it (okay, I admit that's probably most of you) it's an abandoned silver mining town hidden away in the barren, inhospitable Nevada [read more]
I can never seem to manage a truly 'wordless' Wednesday post, so I'll try again to be brief. I took these photos last week while vacationing in Lake Tahoe.  This naturally occurring meadow was just a few miles from Tahoe City, and the Lupines and yellow Monkeyflowers were at their peak. I was counting my lucky stars I had my Nikkon with me as I overheard someone mention there hasn't been a bloom like this in years. . . . [read more]
One of the perks that goes along with being a garden writer is the chance to meet the most amazing gardeners. Visiting these gardens are always such a treat, as I feel like I'm getting a sneak peek into the gardener's soul.  You can almost feel the blood, sweat and tears that went into the garden's creation.   I'd like to share some of these people and their gardens with you as part of a series I've created, called Gardeners and [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,  [read more]
. With most of the country being hit so hard this past month with unusually frigid weather I thought it might be a bit rude to talk about the blooms that are currently in my Northern Californian garden.  Yes, I know that's the whole purpose of the Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day event, (a wonderful monthly celebration of gardens, created by Carol over at May Dreams Gardens) so instead, I thought I'd show a different type of flower that's blooming in [read more]
In love with my Rogers Red grapevine, that is.   Vitis californica 'Roger's Red' is a California native, grows with very little water, quickly reaching a massive 30x30 - growing 3 to 6 feet per year!  It produces TONS of grapes which are filled with seeds, so while they're not the first choice for a quick snack, they're great for the birds or for making grape juice. Okay, enough about the specifics - let's get to the real reasons I [read more]