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Archived Blog Posts

Vacation-Resistant Plants

I held my breath as we pulled into our driveway fearing the worst. During our month long absence the local temperatures had been in the high 90’s for extended periods with 80’s the norm and no rain. I had designed our garden for both drought tolerance and deer-resistance but this would truly be a test…

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Gleaning Inspiration

In just a few days I head off to England again to lead this years tour Great Gardens of Devon and Cornwall. Prior to each tour we offer a virtual get together as well as an in-person gathering (for guests who live within driving distance of us). These provide an opportunity for guests to get…

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A Collector's Garden

Be warned. Gardening can become addictive! Jeanine Smith can attest to that. I recently met Jeanine at the annual conference of the American Rhododendron Society where I was a speaker. I was immediately drawn to her fun-loving personality as we chatted, so was delighted to be invited to visit her garden in Woodinville, WA while…

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Spring Celebration in the Woodland

My woodland garden has three seasons of color with spring and fall being the most vibrant and summer being a cooler oasis of green. Since I rarely venture out into that part of the garden during winter I haven’t included things specifically for winter interest although there are plenty of evergreen conifers, shrubs and perennials.…

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Spring Ideas from RHS Harlow Carr

I’m just back from England where I spent two weeks visiting very special friends. It was wonderful to spend quality time together,  bumbling around my favorite villages and towns, hiking in the Yorkshire Dales, swimming in the Solent, and drinking lots of  ‘proper’ tea. While in Yorkshire my friend Jill suggested an outing to RHS…

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Zinnias: how to grow and use them

It’s not too late to grow zinnias from seed! Which is just as well because I goofed. Let me explain. Zinnias hate cold, wet weather almost as much as I do. In the Seattle area we need to wait until night temperatures are stable at 55’f or above before planting out – which is typically…

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Creating Abundance: Lessons from Great Dixter

If there is one word that sums up traditional English gardens it is “abundance”. You won’t find individual plants separated like little islands by oceans of bare earth. Nor will you see the extensive use of groundcovers that we are so accustomed to in America. I often describe English gardens, especially cottage gardens as “friendly”:…

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Two Daisies to Know and Grow

As new plants are introduced into the marketplace we often lose sight of some of yesterdays reliable performers. That is due in no small part to the declining number of retail and wholesale nurseries nationwide and the pressure on available display space in those that remain. Just like you, I enjoy experimenting with new varieties…

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Inspiration for Dry, Sunny Gardens in Temperate Climates

Yes, I know it’s the rainy season, but I’ve been working on my presentation  Water-Savvy Garden Design , which sent me digging back through my photo library. While my seminar covers dry shade and seasonally wet conditions, the section for “hot, dry conditions” is always of great interest to audiences, especially those who are from…

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Garden Screen Solutions

We all want to hide something whether it’s the neighbors or the trash cans, but before you rush off to the nearest box store for a generic screen  – or plant a row of arborvitae ask yourself a few key questions: 1. How high does the screen need to be? Is this viewed from inside…

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