Category Archives: Gardening

The Garden After A California Rain Or Two


When last we left California, a long drought prevailed. (I wrote “reign” at first, but we will eschew the puns today.) Happily, in December, and January, the rains came. We’re in recovery. Long-term drought still running, 40% of the state still deep in, but the short-term is OK, and snowpack above average. We’re all cautiously […]

The Complex Peace Of (Northern California) Winter Gardens


I guess a lot of places have one season shorter than the rest. When I lived in New Jersey, spring passed in a bright flash. One minute we were cold, then, “Wait, wait, I can show my legs, where’s my skirt no where’s my cardigan, oh drat! Hello summer. Everybody sweat now.” Autumn is Northern […]

Evergreening Your Garden, With Not A Pine Needle In Sight


What if a genius landed in your garden, but, only stayed a couple of days? Last week, Jeff S., he who designed my yard 15 years ago, came to visit. He lives in Seattle now, working by word of mouth for clients who share his aesthetic and philosophy. He comes to visit us Californians every […]

How To Grow Your First Rose Garden, 13 Simple And Somewhat Philosophical Steps


The other day I Googled “grow your first rose garden.” The results made me want to quit, right now, despite my bed of 8 happy white rose bushes. “Roses are very hard!” shouts the Internet. But this is rarely true. Most of you will be fine. Wait, do you want a rose garden? I think […]

Plant Of Desire: Pieris Japonica, Occasionally Known As “Mountain Fire Lily Of The Valley”


For the most part, I prefer my garden to my plants. I’d rather plant something I find boring by itself, for garden design, than a thrilling specimen that disrupts the big picture. Except, I’m really fond of my Pieris Japonica, particularly the cultivar called Mountain Fire. My best friend thinks it’s weird. You see it  […]

The Colors Of A Coastal Southern Californian Garden


I went down to see my mother and stepfather this weekend. Although I’ve shown you most of her house (here, here, here), I thought some of you might like to see just a few shots of the garden. Southern California’s very different from the North. We’re a big state, 800 miles from north to south. […]

Putting A California Garden To Bed In Late Summer


Snow does not fall in my back yard. The last time it snowed, and hit the ground and remained, was probably 1960. So the seasons do not put our gardens to bed. Instead, we do it ourselves. And, our dormant time, whether the vegetation knows it or not, is late summer. When the lavender is […]

A DIY Project For Really Lazy People With A Sense Of Humor Who Like Beauty


It’s hard for me to finish projects that involve working with my hands. Because, impatient. Because, bad small motor skills. But perseverance, humor, and community work miracles. Anyone remember the “I want gold leaf for Christmas” idea? No reason you should. How about “I am dreaming of fuchsias?” Oh how the stars align. Here we have a […]

Object of Desire: One Fuchsia In A Pot


Fuchsias. First of all, notice the spelling. Fuch-See-Ya. Even though it’s pronounced Fyusha. One of the most frequently misspelled words in the English language. Second, nod to Aussie blogger extraordinaire, Faux Fuchsia. I appreciate her consistent authenticity and her authentic consistency. Third, and the project for today, think about planting the actual plant. Oh, wait, […]

In Northern California, It’s Hydrangea O’Clock


America’s collective consciousness knows the crocus, emerging from snow. We wallow in roses and peonies, come summer. And hydrangeas? In my part of California, the time is now. Drought brings burn. So be it. Lacecaps always show a little more decay than other varieties. With variegated foliage, Or straight green. I like to hide the classic mopheads, showy and homogenous as they are, […]