Gossip in the Garden

Harmony in the Garden's Chattier Side

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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 of the best.  I absolutely love this place, not only because of the impressive and enduring pioneering spirit of the people buried here, but because Sacramento’s garden community has helped to create a horticultural treasure.GreenBar

 

A few weeks ago I re-visited this cemetery, taking advantage of one of the last cool and cloudy days I’d see in awhile!

I decided to explore a bit and wander to the other side – it’s huge, don’t forget – 30 acres!

And while I’m pretty familiar with the well-known Historic Rose Garden, I was shocked to discover the most impressive  California native garden I’ve ever seen, in addition to a pretty amazing mediterranean perennial garden.   Join me, and you’ll see why…

 

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Previous Articles:
Decorating with Plants – book review and giveaway
I first met Baylor Chapman almost a decade ago when researching gardens for my first book, Garden Up!  (remember seeing these beautiful succulent shutters, below?  They’re Baylor’s.) I’ve since written about her floral design studio, Lila B. Design, and the fantastic shared courtyard where she lives (click on the links to read more.)   Well, when I found out Baylor had a new book coming out, Decorating with Plants:  What to Choose, Ways to Style, and How to Make Them Thrive, I was thrilled not only for myself but for my daughter, Emily, as she has recently read more
Visiting Chihuly’s Garden and Glass
After spending several days at Seattle’s Northwest Flower & Garden Show, with all the glorious display gardens and spring blooms around every corner, I was feeling pretty antsy for spring to finally arrive.  It’s been a whopper of a winter, and while I’m not complaining (after all, last night’s news said California is officially out of our seven-year drought!)  I must say, I’m feeling pretty starved for garden tours right now.  Name a gardener that isn’t feeling this way, right? As luck would have it, I happened to have a free afternoon, so my read more
Takeaways from the Northwest Flower & Garden Show
I recently returned from a fantastic whirlwind week in Seattle, where my mother and I attended the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. In between my presentations, including a riveting 'Container Wars' challenge (yes, that's me showing off my blue ribbon!!) I had plenty of time to wander through this year’s display gardens, the theme being ‘Gardens of the World’. I wanted to share with you three display gardens that felt were particularly stunning this year and takeaway ideas that you might implement in your own garden. “NOTTING HILL MODERN ENGLISH GARDEN” Designed by Folia Horticultural & Design, this is read more
Multi-Purpose Mediterranean
  While most of us are still recovering from a punishing few weeks of winter weather, longing for the first days of spring,  I thought I'd share with you another 'Before-and-After.' As you may remember, in my last post I showed a transformation that involved removing my client's pool and replacing it with a beautiful and functional garden. Today I'll show you an entirely different scenario where the pool is actually a cherished part of the 'garden' (I use that term loosely - you'll see why in a minute), requiring us to create various spaces throughout that would enhance read more
Good-bye Pool, Hello Garden
  Wow. I can’t believe my last blog post was seven months ago! I’ve thought about blogging so many times over the past year, but I just couldn’t seem to make it happen. This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of my father’s death, and despite my best intentions, the only thing I could manage this past year was to withdraw completely. All I wanted was to be with my mother and my family, seeking as much stillness as I could find.  It’s been an important part of healing my broken heart, but as this year read more
Design your Garden Toolkit – a review, a story, and a giveaway
  Recently my good friend, Michelle Gervais (who was also the former garden editor of Fine Gardening magazine for many, many years) asked me to take a look at her new book ‘Design your Garden Toolkit.’ I jumped at the chance, knowing that her years of knowledge and down-to-earth approach would make for a fantastic book. But it’s so much more. Michelle makes learning about the fundamentals of garden design easy to comprehend (perfect for new gardeners out there). She not only simplifies garden design into bite-sized segments but also profiles 128 plant selections (not too few, not too many read more
I’m back from a very long journey
Where do I begin? It’s been so long since I’ve written but believe me, I’ve thought of you all so often and have so many things I want to share with you during the coming months. I needed to check out for a while so I could be with my family as we navigated the dark and murky waters of my father’s unexpected blood cancer diagnosis. As you may remember, we moved to Granite Bay almost a year ago to be closer to my parents.  Shortly after we moved into our new home, however, my dad read more
Trial Plant review (aka: 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 in the heat, the vast majority patiently remain in their containers, waiting for me to find a permanent home for read more
Saying goodbye to my garden
One of the smartest things I’ve ever done is to give myself a long, long time to say goodbye to my garden.  In just a few weeks I’ll be leaving it forever, and I can honestly say that my heart is at peace. I’ve given myself plenty of time to sit still and absorb as much as I can, filling my memory bank to the point of overflowing. I’ve given myself time to cry and mourn the fact that time marches on despite our best intentions of keeping it bottled up, and to embrace the hard read more
New adventures, new gardens, and new memories
Last year, Allen Bush (a Garden Rant contributor) wrote an article about growing weary in the garden; one which resonated deep within my heart: ‘I thought of an interview with the writer Reynolds Price. Price...was asked what his greatest gift as a child had been. He said his favorite gift had come from his grandmother. She had told him a story. Reynolds Price’s grandmother compared life to a traffic light. She explained that the light stays green for a long time, but eventually it turns yellow, and you have to slow down. And then the light turns red, 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 with abandon in her garden (and how it was the main food source of the monarchs), she quickly began hunting 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 interesting interview about our drought, conducted last week by the New York Times). Why am I telling you this?  Because read more
The birds in my garden (plus a HUGE plant giveaway from Sunset!)
  I simply adore the birds that visit my garden. Here one moment and gone the next, their fleeting presence and sweet, sweet songs never fail to cause my heart to skip a beat. And the entertainment they've provided over the years has been priceless, adding so much joy to our lives. Recently, someone was seeing my garden for the first time and wanted to know why I had so many birds when they had so few - what was my secret? There's no secret, of course, but while I showed her around my garden I noticed just how many read more
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 of this magnificent garden, with the following inscription: ‘Fujitaro Kubota was born in 1879, in Kochi Prefecture on the island of read more
Drought Tolerant Superstars for the Winter Garden – Part II
The other day someone asked me if I thought California's Governor would declare we’re no longer in a drought.  And if so, would I continue to focus on creating low-water gardens. While I’m rejoicing with all the rain that we've had, with our overflowing reservoirs and abundant snow-pack (as is every other gardener in the state), the question caught me by surprise. Of course, I’m going to continue with my low-water designs! For me, gardening with the drought in mind is a way of life. The fact remains that we live in a summer-dry climate where water read more
Drought tolerant superstars for the winter garden
I’m excited to share with you the second installment of my drought-tolerant seasonal superstars. Winter is the time when I tend to receive the most emails from past clients, who are surprised and delighted with how their gardens look during this typically bleak time of year. Even though our Bay Area winters are mild compared to the rest of the country, we do get consistent temperatures that dip into the mid-twenties, along with bouts of heavy frost. Luckily, many of my favorite plants handle these temperatures just fine and are indispensable in carrying the garden through these colder months. read more
Going, going, gone
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, in particular roses, 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 up in the garden. Or, if I’d begin to tidy up an older bouquet of flowers, she wouldn’t read more
The Getty Museum’s Central Garden
Two days ago I flew to LA for the day to visit my daughter, and on a whim decided to visit the Getty Museum's Central Garden. While I've been there before in the spring and summer, I've never visited in the fall and was excited to see the seasonal changes. The Central Garden differs from many of the other public gardens I've written about in that it was specifically created to be a permanent piece of living art for the museum's collection by the artist Robert Irwin. Before visiting a garden for the first time, I always try and do  read more
My Top 10 Favorite Black Plants
One of my all-time favorite colors to use in the garden is black.  While it can be tricky to find plants that have true black foliage (most are closer to maroon or deep purple), here are some of my favorites that come pretty close. And just in time for Halloween, too! (more…) read more
Drought tolerant superstars for the fall garden
After a lifetime spent gardening in 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 the key word here, having a garden that truly thrives. As we're coming to an end of our 5th year read more