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]
Going, going, gone in the Fall garden
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. Roses, in particular, 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]
Lessons from my mother’s fall garden & another holiday giveaway!
If you've read many of my past posts on this site or heard me give one of my presentations, you probably know that I think my mother is an amazing gardener. I'm always telling her she's one of the best designers I've met (which she never really believes). Even after I show her why a certain planting combination in her garden is pure genius, she still just shakes her head and says "hmm.....if you say so, dear." My parents [read more]
Central Park’s Conservatory Garden
Without a doubt, one of my very favorite places in New York is the Conservatory Garden in Central Park. This was my first time visiting this garden, and I wasn't in much of a hurry to do so as I mistakenly thought it would be yet another formal garden filled with the predictable evergreens, fountains and acres of lawn.  Pretty, but probably not the most inspiring. Wow, was I ever wrong.While, yes, it is a formal garden (complete with [read more]
Replacing a lawn with a garden –  Part 3
  Here we are at the end of May and I'm happy to share with you the final phase of my front garden re-do! As you may recall, in January I finally decided to remove my little-used front lawn and replace it with a low-water garden (you can read about it here and here). After moving around my new little plants at least a half a dozen times each, most of them have finally found their permanent homes. Going back [read more]
Spring in my garden
While walking around my garden the other day my friend excitedly commented 'I totally get what you're doing here - you write all about this in your book!'  Curious as to what she meant, I asked her to elaborate.  She then began to excitedly tell me how I combined this texture with that, placed this color to echo that color, put the upright form here, etc. It was definitely a pinch-me moment to have someone not only explain the  [read more]
Creating harmony in the fall garden
There's something magical about fall colors in the garden, isn't there? My favorite time of year is the moment I open my front door and see my Japanese maples and Crepe Myrtle trees have turned their fiery shades of yellow, red and orange. These colors signal the calm before the storm (the storms from both winter, as well as the holiday crush!) While it's easy enough to have a maple tree, burning bush, or viburnum provide fall color, but with [read more]
Transforming a side yard from Blah to Beautiful
In honor of my new book, Refresh Your Garden Design, I'll be spending the next few months writing about the many different aspects of color, texture and form. Whether its gardeners I've met who have embraced these design principles to the fullest, simple solutions you can use to transform your own garden, or perhaps  specific plants that serve double (or even triple!) duty in the landscape - my goal will be to inspire while showing how the smallest changes can [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]
Mixing flowers with succulents in Debra Lee Baldwin’s garden
There's no doubt about it, Debra Lee Baldwin certainly knows her succulents. But while visiting her Escondido, CA garden again a few months ago, I was struck by something else - the flowers! Not succulent flowers, but perennials, annuals, and native flowers that are planted throughout the garden. Sure, she's known as an expert and authoritative figure on everything succulent-related. But does that mean her garden has to be 100% succulents?  No! Debra takes a casual approach with her garden.  [read more]