Gossip in the Garden

Harmony in the Garden's Chattier Side


The Sacramento Historic Cemetery’s Native, Perennial, & Rose Gardens
I can't believe it, but I'm coming up on the 2nd year anniversary since moving up north to Granite Bay from the Bay Area.  During the past two years, I've been having so much fun touring lots of public and private gardens in the area. It seems like a lot of my favorite gardens are linked with historical sites, which is no surprise since I live in the middle of gold rush country. The 30-acre Sacramento Historic Cemetery is one [read more]
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 Rock Stars of My Garden (or, how your garden can survive a blistering beat-down)
As most of you know by now, I've had a heck of a year.  Not only has my body taken a beating, but my poor garden has as well. Just a few days ago I completed the last (knock on wood) of my 5 surgeries this year and I can't wait to get back out into my garden again. As I spent this morning wandering through my neglected garden, I was shocked at how well it's hung in there without [read more]
Pyracantha Pandemonium
Today started out just like any other January day. For the past week, I had been admiring one of my favorite shrubs growing in my side yard - the humble pyracantha. I had been wondering to myself why more people didn't love this shrub as I do. Don't they realize all the seasonal beauty it freely offers the gardener?   First, in early spring, I’m rewarded with a spectacular show of slender branches cloaked in cascades of dainty white [read more]
Captivating Coprosmas
When spotting the smooth and shiny foliage of a colorful Coprosma, it's only a matter of seconds before my client asks 'What IS that plant?' Commonly known as a 'Mirror Plant', a Coprosma's foliage looks like someone meticulously shellacked each perfectly shaped oval leaf.  Yes, they're that shiny. Finding foliage with smooth and reflective surfaces isn't always easy, which is just one of the reasons why I'm such a fan of these evergreen shrubs. Contrast the mirror-like foliage with [read more]
Euphorbia euphoria
This weekend my garden will be one of several featured during the 5th annual Garden Bloggers Fling Garden Tour. Am I nervous having my personal garden shown to 75+ of our country's most amazing, talented, and influential garden bloggers?  Uh...YES! So every day this week I've been working in my garden, trying to keep up with what Mother Nature has been dishing out (crazy winds, rain, and 100 degree temps - all within a single week)! While my roses are [read more]
The grasses at Cornerstone Gardens
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]
Knock-out Kniphofias
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 grass-like leaves is always a joy to behold. As the flowers emerge, sometimes seeming to grow a few inches a day, the colors slowly begin to reveal themselves.   While visiting a client's garden a few days ago, I was amazed at the size of these kniphofia uvarias.  I [read more]
I was talking with another gardener last week when she told me she never plants rosemary in her garden because it's so common. Huh? Of course, everyone has a right to their own opinion, but not planting something just because it's common? Oh well - we all march to our own beat. I happen to loooove rosemary in the garden and incorporate it into as many designs as I can. Whether it's the upright 'Tuscan Blue', mid-size 'Ken Taylor' or [read more]
Heavenly Hellebores
  Hellebores are fairly easy to grow here in Northern California, requiring partial shade, well-draining soil, and moderate irrigation. They come in a staggering range of colors, from the deepest maroon to the palest ivory.  They're typically categorized as either having upright blooms on tall stems  (aka: caulescent) or no real stems at all, with downward facing blooms (aka: acaulescent). The tricky part, in my opinion, is placing those with downward-facing blooms where they can be best appreciated.  One solution [read more]