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Archived Blog Posts

Best Flowering Groundcovers for Full Sun

The term “groundcover” was new to me when we moved to the USA over 25 years ago. My English gardens never had any bare earth showing, every conceivable space both horizontally and vertically being planted in casual layers of annuals, perennials, edibles, shrubs, and more. There was no additional earth that needed to be covered!…

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Surprising Melt-Proof Annuals

Seattle is better known for its rainy climate than searing temperatures, and it’s a local joke that our summer begins on July 5th (the day after we huddle around bonfires to stay warm as we celebrate Independence Day). So when we hit well over 100’F for several consecutive days last week there was an initial…

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Connecting Garden Beds with Color

We all have areas in our garden that pose a significant design challenge. Such is the case with this bijou bed adjacent to our main patio. It is seen from the kitchen windows year-round yet is part of a 5-acre landscape with much larger sweeping borders. Measuring approximately 12 feet square with a central container…

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Flowers & Foliage – My Favorite, Easy-Care Shrubs

Here in the Pacific Northwest the ubiquitous rhododendron are doing their thing with oversized, luscious blooms in every shade from purest white to deepest purple. They are positively seductive – until suddenly they’re not. The sad reality is that a garden filled with these has only a limited season of interest, after which there’s just…

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Garden Renovation; a Phased Approach

Some projects take on a life of their own, and what began as a simple request for a consultation to brainstorm privacy ideas for a back garden quickly evolved into a discussion about much bigger problems: crumbling retaining walls, lack of a sitting area, waterlogged grass better suited to ducks than children and the most…

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Dreary Rental to Secluded Retreat: Front Garden Transformation

Renovating a neglected rental property into a functional and comfortable home was a significant challenge, but one that that these young homeowners, Katie and Evan were up to. Both trained as architects, they knew what to look for, what they were getting into, and understood that this was going to be a long term project.…]

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Family garden makeover

2020 had many of us re-defining what was important. With movements and social interactions severely reduced, our homes became far more than just a place to eat and sleep, but also an office,  a home schooling center, and often a necessary oasis from the chaotic world beyond our borders. When a lovely family in Snohomish,…

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The Art of Spring Bulb Displays

Spring is season of promise. Cherry trees and magnolias are in full bloom, baby lambs and goats frolic in green pastures, and our favorite spring bulbs put on their annual display in a rainbow of colors. I recently enjoyed a visit to a client’s garden that was a true delight with hundreds of daffodils, species…

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When good plants go bad

I have always loved the pristine white bark of the Himalayan white birch (Betula utilis var. jacquemontii) and it was an obvious choice to anchor the far end of our island bed  where it was highly visible from many vantage points. When a colleague offered me two more I created a small grove of these,…

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Color-Changing Evergreens

Funnily enough, no-one has ever asked me to design a high maintenance garden, yet there is a common misconception that low maintenance translates to an endless row of boxwood or a border entirely devoted to rhododendrons. While these may be easy care they certainly won’t win any design awards. Yet evergreen trees and shrubs are…

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