Gossip in the Garden

Harmony in the Garden's Chattier Side

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Top 15 Favorite Orange Plants
It's that time of year again when our homes and gardens are decked out in orange and black, and mine is no exception. And what better occasion than Halloween to talk about one of my favorite colors in the garden - orange!  Awhile ago year I wrote about my favorite black plants, so it only fits that this time I talk about orange. In all the years I've been designing gardens, it goes without saying that orange is, hands-down, the [read more]
Drought Tolerant Superstars for the summer garden
I’m finally able to catch my breath after my big move, and now that the suffocating summer heat has passed and I can think and write clearly again!   It’s been a hot, hot summer with temperatures averaging in the 100’s for weeks on end (definitely not the norm, locals assure me, as they see me slowly begin to lose my mind.) And while some of the plants that I hauled all the way up here have melted away [read more]
Monarch Mayhem: joy and heartbreak in the garden
Remember last year when I wrote about my daughter’s newly found passion for monarch butterflies? Well, I recently received this text from her: “Guess who’s back!’ Emily was thrilled to find two more emerald chrysalises hanging from her front door – a repeat performance of last spring!  (can you spot them?  It's the teeny tiny bright green dot at the very top of the door.)   Remembering the Butterflyweed (asclepias tuberosa) that had at one point re-seeded and grew [read more]
Drought tolerant superstars for the fall garden
After a lifetime spent gardening throughout California, one thing I've learned is there's drought tolerant, and then there's drought tolerant. Many plants that claim to be low-water might do okay for the first year or two, but soon cry uncle when blasted with year after year of unrelenting drought. As a designer, it's a constant challenge to find beautiful and unusual plants that don't just eek along in these difficult conditions but to discover those that actually thrive. And that's [read more]
My February Garden
Thanks to the El Nino weather pattern we’ve been experiencing here along the West Coast (lots of rain followed by unseasonably warm temperatures) my garden is exploding with blooms much earlier that it ever has before. I’m a bit worried that my poor plants are being tricked into thinking spring has arrived, only to be given a dose of harsh reality with a late freeze or two, but no use worrying about it, right?  Instead, I’m just [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]
California Carnivores
  While visiting Sonoma earlier this summer, I told my husband that I just had to see a nursery located in Sebastapol, just a few miles away. He groaned, assuming that once again he’d be stuck wandering alone through the aisles of yet another nursery while I quickly disappeared, only to return an hour later with a cart full of plants. He’d be wrong. When we pulled into California Carnivores I could see his face light up. No [read more]
Tantalizing Tillandsias
It's no secret that this past year has been a whopper for me.  During most of my chemotherapy treatments I was able to continue writing and public speaking, but it became increasingly more difficult as time went on. After my mastectomy (and a few 'hiccups' along the way) I just needed to hibernate for awhile and take a break from everything - including my garden. While my garden continued just fine without me (though a bit unruly at times) my [read more]
Scent in my late winter garden – my favorite top 5
Here we are in the early days of February, and my zone 9 garden is filled with heavenly fragrance. There's still a few leaves hanging on to deciduous branches for dear life.  But with each gentle breeze these dying leaves quickly lose their grip and leave behind one skeletal shrub after another. Thank heavens for the evergreen shrubs in my garden, as they can finally take their turn on stage.  And with them brings another layer to the garden - [read more]
Camellias in my garden
This is the time of year when camellias, the workhorses of my winter garden, get their moment in the sun (so to speak). I haven't always been a huge fan of camellias, but over the years one of my favorite gardening friends has successfully enlightened me. Thank heavens I've seen the light as I now have dozens of camellias in my garden. When its cold and bleak outside I'm so thankful for these bright spots of color. (more…) [read more]