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Archived Blog Posts

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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Garden Design: Mimicking Nature

I’m a firm believer that gardens should be experienced – not just observed. They should invite exploration and contemplation, pique our curiosity in some way. On my recent trip to the Hudson River Valley, I visited three public gardens that really spoke to me because they achieved this so well and did so, not by…

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Heligan: History, Romance & Adventure

Forget Hallmark movies for the Holiday feel-good factor. I’ve got a better story for you: The Lost Gardens of Heligan. Once upon a time, there was a vibrant estate in Cornwall, England called Heligan. The original Heligan Manor had been built in the 1200s, with Heligan House built in the Jacobean style in 1603, then…

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Pears & Parrots in Paradise

Tucked away down a dusty rural lane in the Franschhoek Valley, South Africa is one of the hidden gems  we visited on our recent tour. In all fairness, we arrived shortly after unseasonably heavy rains had caused devastating landslides so visitors would normally have a much less adventurous arrival! Le Poirier is a small farm…

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South Africa Highlights: Part 1 of many!

Where do I start?! This was truly the trip of a lifetime. The gardens, the people, the wildlife, the wines…..how can I possibly recap all of that in just a post or two? Hopefully you were able to follow along through my Facebook posts because thanks to my husband Andy there are some remarkable photos…

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Deer-Resistant Bloomin' Easy Favorites

It’s always exciting to visit nurseries where great plants are grown so it was a special treat to be invited to the 50th Celebration of Van Belle Nursery, the home of Bloomin’ Easy plants in Abbotsford, British Columbia recently. I first visited as a consultant in 2014 when I taught a container design workshop to…

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