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Jewels of the Cactus and Succulent Show

Succulent enthusiasts flock to the annual Cactus & Succulent Society Show at the Los Angeles Arboretum mid-August. It’s the largest of its kind in the US. Judges award ribbons and trophies based on how well a specimen is grown, its rarity, and how well it’s “staged” in its pot. Pots aren’t merely containers, they’re works of art, and may be more valuable than the plant. Below are what caught my eye and photographed well, but represent only a fraction of the unusual and beautiful succulents on display.

Agave victoriae-reginae

Above: Agave victoriae-reginae, named after England’s Queen Victoria. Continue Reading →

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A Wild Vacation

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I have been on vacation.  No gardens.  No professional camera.  It was wild – which is where I learn the best lessons for gardening.

If you have never been to Yellowstone National Park, put it on your bucket list.  Sure there are lots of people there during the summer season, but there are grizzly bears too, so it is easy (and only a bit risky) to go on trails where most folks don’t go. Continue Reading →

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Micro-Gardening: How It Transforms Philadelphia Into An Urban Jewel

Green roofs and walls, urban agriculture, planting trees, and large swathes of native plantings are what most gardeners discuss when the topic of gardening in urban areas arises.

What often goes unnoticed is small space gardening – window boxes, containers, and entryways.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a celebration of color with a variety of plants that intermingle or shades of green that create a calm and stately presence.

These tiny areas of plants – what I call micro-gardening – bring beauty, community, and peace to a city like Philadelphia.

Micro-gardening transforms Philadelphia into an urban jewel. A tapestry of texture and color.

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Window box gardening near Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia

Micro-gardening transforms Philadelphia

Window box gardening in Philadelphia

Continue Reading →

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Site of the Succulent Celebration

Will you be at the Succulent Celebration and book launch June 7-8 near San Diego? I’d love to see you there! To entice you, here are a few glimpses of the nursery that’s hosting it, Waterwise Botanicals.

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Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’, in pots and on the hillside, is one of the succulents that the nursery sells a lot of. Continue Reading →

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Photos on the Road

Should you even try to take pictures when the light is horribly wrong ?

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This is the dilemma of any garden photographer when traveling or going into a garden that you may never get to see again.  How do you get some kind of picture worth sharing, something beyond the snapshot that serves as a memory jog?

It is easy to tell students to wait for the good light or to plan a visit in the early morning or late afternoon, but there are times you have no choice but to see a garden when the light is difficult. Continue Reading →

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