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Archived Blog Posts

Before & After: Evolution Of A Transformation

Do you enjoy those instant makeover TV shows where a crew shows up and magically transforms an uninspiring garden into a magazine -worthy showcase in seven days? Well guess what – that is NOT the reality for most homeowners, and neither is it always the best solution. Not every garden renovation is quick but allowing…

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Chelsea Flower Show 2022: Favorite Garden Overall

Every detail spoke to me: the rich yet restrained color palette, the clear geometry bringing order, the use of the diagonal axis to expand perception of space, the layering of plants and of materials and the exquisite metal design used both for the pavilion and rill.  I stood trying to absorb it all for at…

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Chelsea Flower Show 2022: Favorite Sanctuary Garden #3

The Stitchers’ Garden , designed by Frederic Whyte and built by Champain Landscapes and Brampton Willows won a silver medal at the Show. The theme is intriguing. It was sponsored by the charity Fine Cell Work, which teaches prisoners needlework, the idea being that this skill will nurture their self-worth and encourage them to lead…

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Chelsea Flower Show 2022: Favorite Sanctuary Garden #2

Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. Had I read the background on The Boodles Travel Garden , designed by Tom Hoblyn ahead of time I’d have struggled to comprehend it on that level, trying to determine which plant represented which country for example. Even now, truthfully, the written concept does nothing for me other than indicate…

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Chelsea Flower Show 2022: Favorite Sanctuary Garden #1

I had to stop and pinch myself more than once. I was actually here – at the one and only Chelsea Flower Show, with a coveted Press Pass no less, enabling me to photograph all the gardens with fewer crowds (although dodging the BBC cameras mounted on enormous booms was a challenge at times!) Although…

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Woodland Garden Updates – Ideas Needed!

This spring has seen some major changes in our woodland border – the long-overdue removal of three large Bradford pear trees. We inherited them and used them as a starting point for this entire border, underplanting with Japanese maples, adding columnar Swedish aspens and planting the banks of our seasonal stream with moisture loving favorites.…

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Before & After: Creating an Inviting Entry Garden

Who needs a sign that says “KEEP OUT!” when your front garden requires a machete to reach the door? As I carefully navigated my way past the mature stand of bamboo, keeping a watchful eye out for any lurking pandas, I could understand why I had been called to this lovely home in Redmond, Washington.…

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Early Spring Container Refresh

It’s the shoulder season here in Seattle. Sometimes I need a long-sleeved T-shirt + fleece vest+ puffer jacket. Other days I’m too warm in short sleeves. For my container gardens that means things can start to look a little winter-weary, yet it’s too soon for my favorite summer annuals and frankly I don’t have much…

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Climate Change and the Average Gardener: Reality Check

I took a walk around the garden a few days ago, making a mental list of what needed pruning or moving this weekend and was horrified to see so much winter damage on my broadleaf evergreen shrubs and even some evergreen perennials. Many of these plants have been in the garden for 7 years or…

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The New Forsythias

My dog-eared  copy of Dr. Hessayon’s book Trees & Shrubs (1983 edition) states that “Gardens are brightened each March and April by the masses of yellow flowers on the leafless branches [of forsythia].” It then goes on to warn of its two enemies; birds who eat the buds and gardeners who hack the shrub to…

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