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Great Repetitions at Steven’s Gardens

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At the Laguna Beach Garden Club recently, a young woman came to the book-signing table, introduced herself, and invited me to a nearby nursery where she works. I took her up on it mainly  to see the succulents, and didn’t expect such an impressive array of pots. Big ones, little ones, vivid ones, pale ones, and everything in between. Plus ceramic orbs, for which there seem no purpose, other than to do the same thing in the garden as glass globes (which I don’t understand either). Continue Reading →

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City In A Garden

I’ve always thought of Chicago as a great American city where urban greening, ecological landscaping, and beauty for beauty’s own sake matters.

The Lurie Garden, Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago’s immense park system and green roof program are enough to make any nature lover’s heart sing with joy.

Chicago - City In Garden

Lurie Garden In Millenium Park

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Carmel – A City Overflowing With Flowers

A Flower Filled Church Garden

The Church of The Wayfarer Garden

When friends heard that I was visiting Carmel for the first time, they couldn’t say enough about what a lovely, artistic town it is. What they forgot to tell me is that it is a city overflowing with flowers.

City Overflowing With Flowers

Containers Filled with Flowers

As I wandered the streets ~ in front of and next to shops, as focal points in walkways, and just about everywhere else ~ flowers and colorful plants abound. They’re used in containers, raised beds, window boxes, and draping on walls.

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Potting Workshop with GGW Winner Bonnie B.

Garden designer Bonnie Barabas was the winner of the one-on-one succulent potting workshop in my giveaway here on GGW to celebrate the release of my latest book, Succulents Simplified. Bonnie drove to Escondido from Santa Barbara recently to meet me at Oasis Water Efficient Gardens nursery near my home, bringing with her several containers to pot up.

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This one had a coir liner that was a bit shaggy, but since we didn’t have a new one to replace it with—and we agreed it looked a lot like a nest—we decided to keep it. In it was a large Aeonium nobile rosette, which I pulled out and set aside. Then we hunted for succulents that look like feathers. A surprising number do…like watch-chain crassula, for example. We agreed that Aloe variegata (which has the appropriate common name “partridge breast aloe”) was perfect, and positioned several of the plants in the container so they’d suggest wings. Bonnie has chickens, so I left it to her to select filler plants, because I couldn’t quite envision a chicken. She chose Echeveria ‘Black Prince’ and Crassula ‘Baby’s Necklace’. Continue Reading →

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7 Benefits of Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ – Why I Changed My Scathing Review

Several years ago I wrote an article titled ‘ Why I Won’t Plant Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia‘ again : A Love Affair Gone Awry.

It was about how I fell in love with a Golden locust some 2o plus years ago when I first saw it in London.

How I knew I was going to find a place in my garden for it at the right time and was able to do so after a major renovation.

How I was swept away by my vision of what the end result would be.

How I knew that the benefits of Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia‘ would be numerous. Within a year after buying these 2-3′ tall leafless sticks from Gosslers Farms Nursery, the first 3 Robinias had become stars of the garden.

What started out as 3 Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ on the top level of my garden, within a few years grew to 6, and then 9 .

Robinia entryway Chanticleer

Robinia pseudoacacia ‘frisia’ – entryway at Chanticleer

The shortcut version of the story is that after 5 years of marveling at their early spring green ovate leaves, followed by fragrant white pea like flowers, the chartreuse/yellow foliage in summer, then a vibrant yellow into the fall before dropping their leaves, the Golden locusts had become problematic.

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