Archive | Great Gardeners RSS feed for this section

Chanticleer – A Tour With Dan Benarcik – Part 2

In the first video, Dan took us on a tour of the Entryway and Tea Cup Garden.

In this video, before leaving the Tea Cup Garden, Dan shows us one more silver element, rosemary willow – Salix elaeagnous – a small tree or shrub.

Dan cut it back hard this year to re-introduce light, heat, and air circulation into the garden. He likes it because it’s green on the top side with a silver effect on the underneath – which in the wind and breeze creates an interesting two tone effect.

In the video below, Dan is in the Lower Courtyard where he has created an environment that is lush and formal. He shares his thought process in designing this magical piece of art.

Dan also offers up some pearls of wisdom for both the garden and life.

To view the Courtyard and Tea Cup Garden Tour, click here.

To learn more about Chanticleer Garden, click here.


Comments { 8 }

Piet Oudolf – An Interview

With the publication of Piet’s latest book in collaboration with Noel Kingsbury, Planting: A New Perspective, I thought it worth re-visiting a 3 Part Interview about Piet that I wrote in 2009. Fran Sorin

Bonn 3

When I first saw Piet Oudolf’s work several years ago, it startled and provoked me. Since that time, I’ve bought every book that he has written, and I return to them time and time again for inspiration and his unique understanding of plants. So, when planning a trip to Holland last spring, I was hopeful that I’d be able to visit Piet and his gardens and interview him. Continue Reading →

Comments { 22 }

How A Child’s Passion Grew Into Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

 I’ve been following the growth of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Catalog for years. When ordering from them this year, I read about Jere Gettle, the founder, and in a split second knew that I wanted to interview him. He’s an innovator and visionary in the world of gardening. Fran Sorin

1.    You planted your first garden at age 3.  Do you come from a gardening lineage? 

My great uncle was one of the first organic farmers in California.  Many family members were market gardeners over the years.  I remember planting with both my parents and grandparents in their large gardens.

Flower Zinnia Will Rogers 592 wide text

2.    How does a 3 year old go about planting a garden?

I started by tagging along with parents and grandparents as they worked in their gardens.  When I began poking my own seeds into the ground, excitement and amazement grew along with the plants as I watched the flowers and fruits that came from those seeds.

Continue Reading →

Comments { 43 }

Margaret Roach’s Backyard Parables



Self-described “garden enthusiast” Margaret Roach, author of the newly released book, The Backyard Parables: Lessons on Gardening, and Life, is someone whom I wish lived and gardened near me instead of on the opposite side of the continent. Margaret’s wit and humor entertains with information that’s valuable and insightful. She draws us into the natural world (her world) with vivid metaphors and unforgettable sensory descriptions.

I want you to hear Margaret’s voice for yourself, so excerpts follow. I can do this without violating the copyright because this is a review. But please be respectful of her words; if you share them, do credit her and the book.

Margaret is a former garden editor of Martha Stewart Living and editorial director of Martha Stewart Omnimedia’s magazine, book, and internet division. The New York Times described hers as the “best garden blog.” Thankfully, the envy I feel about that is ameliorated by great relief at not having Margaret’s woodchucks, which make my gophers seem harmless as hamsters.

Margaret writes of a flower-loving, nongardening friend to whom she gave paperwhites one year:
I had the best of intentions, I swear that I did.
     ”Why don’t I have flowers yet?” Erica’s phone call started, a little ashamed and also somewhat panicky, but with just the touch of gift-horse-in-the-mouth undertones. “Why do I just have all this white spaghetti growing up out of the soil?”
Oh dear…and then some. I guess I forgot to tell her which end was up. Continue Reading →

Comments { 8 }

Why Mien Ruys Is Thought Of As The Leader of The New Perennial Movement

**This article first appeared in Gardening Gone Wild, November 2010.

Mien Ruys, whose garden has influenced generations of well known designers, including Piet Oudolf and Jacqueline van der Kloet, is considered by many to be the leader of the ‘New Perennial Movement.”

Continue Reading →

Comments { 19 }