Category Archives: Gardening

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, […]

A Pair Of Crocs For Every Doorstep

This is my front entry. Old school doormat from our local hardware store, basic Crocs. Minimalist, with a little earthy texture for good measure. And in fact, feng shui says that sandy yellow and black are good for my northeast facing front door. Bonus points! I like a heel band, and holes in the body for […]

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