Tag Archives | gardening

Behind the Scenes with my Succulents 2014 Calendar


While compiling photos for my Succulents 2014 calendar, I looked back through hundreds of photos I’d taken in 2013. I evaluated them in terms of composition and how they might illustrate a specific month. For January, I think of aloes in bloom. But these photos say more to me than that. When I look at it the photo at lower left, I remember the garden I visited and how lovely it looked that day. It’s in San Diego near the airport, and the designer is Randy Laurie. Continue Reading →

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South African Adventure

One of the great things about being a horticulturist specializing in succulents is that I’m part of a worldwide community of like-minded enthusiasts. Case in point is an email I received this week from Jeremy Proctor, who lives in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. He had visited South Africa and sent me a link to a Picasa page with his photos of the marvelous succulents he saw. Below are some of the highlights, with his comments and then mine in italics.

“A kokerboom tree (Aloe dichotoma) — the first of many I saw up-close on this trip.”

And it’s in bloom! People may not realize that there are succulent trees. This one grows well in Southern CA, too, if given excellent drainage. Continue Reading →

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Terrariums on the Skybridge in Seattle


At Seattle’s Northwest Flower & Garden Show last week, I shot photos of succulent container gardens on the skybridge, a glass-enclosed walkway. It wasn’t until I downloaded the images that I realized most included terrariums. The display “Portholes in Time: Gardens on a Minor Scale” created the pleasantly weird feeling of viewing a window on the past, complete with old-time music that fit the show’s “Floral Symphony” theme.

The exhibit resembled a sea shanty, and through an open porthole, visitors could glimpse a workshop with objects from the 1930s. The designer (Cultivar LLC) accessorized with antiques, yes, but also liquid-filled bottles, which you’d find in someone’s home but never in a second-hand shop. On a shelf was an early edition of the Sunset Western Garden Book. (Back then it was Sunset’s Complete Garden Book.) Terrariums had an undersea theme, which succulents and tillandsias lend themselves to nicely. Continue Reading →

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How To Re-ignite Your Passion In The Garden

Gardeners are perfectionists. We give ourselves high marks for weed free, mulched, pruned, and manicured gardens.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love to flip through the pages of a glossy magazine gazing at magnificently coiffed gardens as much as anyone.  Who doesn’t?


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Starting Over

For several years now, I’ve talked and written about how living with ambiguity is an integral part of the creative process. My book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, touches upon this subject in more detail.

 I want to share a personal story with you that once again reminded me that learning to live with uncertainty is an emotional strength, a muscle to be flexed in order to experience a more meaningful and creative life.

redrosesonbacksouthernwall  Continue Reading →

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