Category: Design Tips

Freeland & Sabrina Tanner’s Unforgettable Garden freeland sabrina tanner

Freeland & Sabrina Tanner’s Unforgettable Garden

I’m re-writing this post (originally written over 12 years ago!) to introduce my newer readers to the unforgettable garden of Freeland and Sabrina Tanner.   After a several-year absence, I recently revisited this garden, and while I didn’t think it was possible to get any better than it was – boy was I wrong.  There are […]

Designing with Spire-Shaped Flowers spire shapes

Designing with Spire-Shaped Flowers

When designing a garden, one of my favorite flower shapes to include is spires. Spire-shaped flowers are typically triangular, with a broader base that tapers up to a point (similar to a cone or a rocket shooting into space). Those who have read my blog for some time probably know how much I value shrubs […]

One Window Box for Four Seasons window box design

One Window Box for Four Seasons

I love designing seasonal window boxes.  Not only because window boxes provide yet another opportunity to plant, but because they’re a fantastic way to add vertical interest in the garden. When standing in line at the grocery store, I can easily pass by all the fashion magazines, except for articles like ’10 Ways to Wear […]

Refrigerate Peony Buds for Months of Blooms refrigerate peony buds

Refrigerate Peony Buds for Months of Blooms

Before my mother moved last spring, we picked loads of her peonies to take with us.  The photo, left, is just a small sampling of how many bouquets we picked! Knowing we were too busy to thoroughly enjoy them, I thought I might try my hand at refrigerating them. I’ve read about this technique before, […]

Geraniums and Pelargoniums in My Garden geraniums pelargoniums

Geraniums and Pelargoniums in My Garden

Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’ Geraniums and pelargoniums may look fragile and delicate, but they’re actually some of the hardest working plants in my garden.  Why? They’re ignored by browsing deer, they take our never-ending drought with a grain of salt, and I even have a some in our zone 6 Lake Tahoe garden that don’t mind […]

Transforming a side yard from Blah to Beautiful Transforming a side yard

Transforming a side yard from Blah to Beautiful

I originally wrote this post eight years ago, but am re-writing it in honor of my friend who created this magical side yard, and who unexpectedly passed away two weeks ago. I often highlight this garden in various presentations, and it’s always a HUGE hit with the audience.   In fact, this garden receives bigger reactions […]

Designing with Ornamental Grasses Designing with Ornamental Grasses

Designing with Ornamental Grasses

I’ve been designing with ornamental grasses for decades and consider them an indispensable staple not only in my own garden but in those I design. However, when meeting with new clients, I’m always amazed at how often I hear something along the lines of ‘I really like grasses, but I’m not sure how to use […]

Lupine Meadow at Lake Tahoe lupine meadow

Lupine Meadow at Lake Tahoe

Every few years, when the conditions are just right, this meadow is filled with thousands and thousands of lupines. I just so happened to be visiting Lake Tahoe during this magical time and wanted to share these photos with you.    This naturally occurring meadow is located just a few miles from Tahoe City, and […]

Proportion and Scale in the Garden Proportion and Scale in the Garden

Proportion and Scale in the Garden

You know that feeling when you walk into a garden, and you instantly feel relaxed and calm, like everything is okay with the world?  Well, that WASN’T the case when I moved into my new home a few years ago.   In fact, it was the opposite. But as I’ve lived with the space, I’ve realized that […]

Adding Height with Flowering, Towering Plants Adding height with flowering, towering plants

Adding Height with Flowering, Towering Plants

I can’t get enough of tall, flowering, towering plants, whether they’re perennials, grasses, or shrubs.  In fact, when wandering through a nursery or reading a garden magazine, the words ‘oversized variety’ is my kryptonite. I just can’t resist any variety that grows taller than the others.  I love walking outside and feeling embraced (and even […]

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