Category Archives: Gardening

A Couple Of Dumb Lessons From My California Winter Garden


Gardens are such obvious teachers we might wave our hands in dismissal. “Oh,” with an additional shake of the head, “We knew that already!” But in these days of information and calculation, dumb lessons dog us. Imagine a California garden in winter, for example. Palm trees, surfers and tropical flowers may come to mind. Nope. […]

The Kind Of Garden Just About Anyone Can Grow


Of all my retirement projects, my container garden may provide the most small and bubbling happinesses. I started it back in July, from seed. I planted Grandpa Ott morning glories, sweet alyssum, purple basil, and delphiniums. If you are hypothesizing that this led to an all-purple extravaganza, you are quite right. But it took time. […]

Planting Under An Oak Tree, Or, California Natives In A Suburban Wasteland


I’ve shown you my California Mediterranean Cottage Garden, out front, and the Wish I Were A Woodland, out back. But, as we used to say, there’s moooooore. Behold The Blasted Wasteland. Sigh. Here’s a story. Although somewhat specific to Northern California, I suspect that the plot elements, i.e. a need for privacy, a particular climate, […]

In Praise Of Shy Hydrangeas


Traditional Landscape by Dc Metro Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Katia Goffin Gardens (via Houzz) Above you see what I think of as Classic Hydrangea. A community, massed in uniform volume, vegetable origin a distant memory. Transmuted from plant to decor. All well and good. But there’s another mode of hydrangea to consider – the […]

Flowers In The House, Lace Cap Hydrangea Edition


It’s Monday, these are flowers, so it must be time for Flowers In The House! In Northern California, we’ve moved to hydrangea season, accompanied by Thank You Very Much For A Second Bloom white roses. And a few stalks of lavender. Here, in a red carpet closeup. And here, on the table, where they waited […]

A “Mixed” Border With Only 3 Plants


A glorious mixed border is one of the most beautiful but daunting sights in gardening. The British make it look so easy, a shrub rose here, some tall foxgloves there, flowers and foliage in just the right mix of color and height. None of it dying, apparently. (The one above is in Scotland, to be […]

Welcoming Houses And Gardens To The Party, Or, Saturday Morning at 7:44am


  Well hello everyone. Coming up on 3 weeks before our blue dry summer’s longest day, it’s my favorite time of year in Northern California. Kind of the Thursday night of seasons – full bacchanalia in sight, but just far enough away that you can pull your enjoyment forward now and feel it twice. You […]

Why I Love My Suburban Rose Bed, Or, Saturday Morning at 7:46am


That’s my rose bed. To say I have a white rose garden sounds so English, so glamourous, so artistic. In truth, I have a raised suburban bed of white rose bushes. With one fellow that was planted accidentally, closed buds opening to reveal peach. But I love my rose bed on beyond zebra, as per […]

Gardening In Retirement, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:30am


I’ve been gardening a lot lately. By which I mean I’ve been doing everything from mowing my front lawn to weeding paths to conversing with a bed of white roses. While I love the activity of gardening, the hobby itself is a little, odd. By which I mean the hobbyists, myself included. We mutter. We […]

25 Ways To Maintain Your Shape At 50+


I have been asked several times, recently, for a post on how I maintain my shape. I’ve written about it before, tongue-in-cheek, in 11 Sneaky Tricks Of The High WASP Diet, and here, earnestly, in the Building Attractive series from last year. But maybe I haven’t yet answered the question usefully enough, so here’s another […]