Showing posts from February, 2015

Cut ornamental not forget.

Cutting ornamental grasses makes them healthier and better looking.
Remove all dry, old growth so new growth will get sunlight and air. 
Use sharp-bladed tool to do this (large masses - electric chain saw).
Do not trim it any lower than 5 inches from the ground.

Fothergilla - a Favorite Shrub

I adore Fothergilla gardenii Mt Airy. (wonderful photo of fothergilla leaf from Quercus Design blog)

Fothergilla is native to the Appalachians, is deer resistant and sports fragrant, honey scented, early spring flowers before the leaves come out.

The flowers are white, short bottlebrush spikes that light up a sunny to partial sun woodland corner. The flowers are followed by blue green, heavily textured foliage.

Photo from Robs Plants Website -

photo by Laura McKillop
'Mt Airy' is a dwarf form and got its name from the Mt. Airy Arboretum in Cincinnati, Ohio. When compared to the native species, Mt. Airy Fothergilla has more vibrant multicolored foliage in shades of yellow, orange and red in October through mid-November.

This fall color is the best! It is spell binding in the garden....

 Photo for Monrovia by Doris Wyjna

Photo by Plant Introductions, Inc
 I like to use 'Mt Airy' in combination with fargesia, 'Manhattan' eu…

Ken Druse - Real Dirt - 'Heaven is a Garden' Interview 2-20-2015

This week I was thrilled to be interviewed by the one and only Ken of 19 books (with another one out soon!)   Ken's website is Real Dirt .

His last, beautiful book was done in association with my friend, Ellen Hoverkamp. It is called 'Natural Companions' 

The interview is on a podcast and you can listen to it anytime. It is based on my book, Heaven is a Garden, and Ken, of course, is an excellent interviewer and the questions were wonderful.

 I am honored that he asked me for an interview.

Click here to go to REAL DIRT website and the podcast.

Cha Cha Cherry Penstemon - ooohhhh.....

I love Penstemon, an annual flower in my part of the world. A perennial in USDA 7 - 9.

I was introduced to it back in the 1970s.

 I worked for a French gardener on the grounds of a well known resort hotel, Mohonk Mt. House, in NY and they had won the award for the best hotel grounds in America the year before.

He loved Penstemon and always said it was his favorite flower. We grew it from seed and planted it out on May 20...always May 20, no matter what.  Now they come in plugs, so much better!

Now, of course, the varieties and sturdiness of Penstemon have improved remarkably.

The one I am very interested in is the new variety from Terra Nova Nurseries, Cha Cha Cherry Penstemon.  It grows about 24" tall,  has dark cherry-red flowers and an upright bushy habit. It blooms from spring to late fall! And the dark seed heads are great for arrangements.

Plant lust strikes again.....

Garden Photo of the Day - Echinacea 'Salsa Red'

A new series of Coneflower bred for sturdy and compact plants featuring very large, single flowers with bright red overlapping petals surrounding a large brown cone. 

Ideal for sunny borders. Attractive to butterflies. Excellent for cutting. Coneflowers begin blooming midsummer and continue for months if faded flowers are regularly removed. Keeping some dried flower heads on the plants in fall will provide food for wintering song birds. 

Dried seed heads also add interest to the winter garden.

Beauty as well as Bread - Garden Photo of the Day

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul." - John Muir  

Hospital Makeovers - Healthcare in the Garden

There is a lot out there on healing spaces....
When architects and sociologists and others look at what it takes to create healing environments (what I term 'Hospital Makeovers') they end up describing a garden.
 Not really in those words, of course....
Actually they call it 'Healthcare without the Institution'
It is an exciting development to see architects list the physical criteria required for healing spaces because it sure sounds like a garden to me.

Jack Lenor Larsen's Long House Reserve
In a pdf of a slide show given to public health architects, (Public Health Group of the International Union of Architects, November 2009) Zdravko Trivic & Dr Ruzica Bozovic‐Stamenovic & Dr Limin Hee say hospitals should look to shopping centers for inspiration...(click below to see slide show)

Multi sensory Healing : Learning from Seductive Design of Contemporary Consumption Spaces

but after looking at the slide show (click above) I say they should skip the shopping ma…

Tomorrow February 13 at 2 pm - 'Heaven is a Garden' PowerPoint Webinar.

I have ways been fascinated by the relationship between outdoor space and its effect upon our peace of mind.  This was the impetus for my book, Heaven is a GardenDesigning Serene Outdoor Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection(2014, St. Lynn’s Press).

I will be presenting a great PowerPoint based on the book, tomorrow -  Feb. 13, 2015

You can register for the webinar by going here (click on the word 'here').

The good thing is you don't have to be at your computer for this - 

if you cannot attend the live event they will send you a link and then you can download it and watch it anytime you want! FREE.

If you want to see their line up go here:

Heaven is a Garden - Designing Serene Outdoor Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection

taps ancient traditions and modern ideas to show you a new way to create a  place of peace and contentment outdoors.  

In this webinar I will be speaking about the three characteristics of a serene outdoor space…

The First Rule of Sustainability - Garden Photo of the Day


Design for Wellbeing - Start with Trees

Dr. Richard Jackson, Chair of the School of Health at UCLA, and former head of the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says that how we shape our environment impacts our health.

He notes that our built environment in part, contributes to our current epidemics of asthma, obesity, diabetes, and depression. But unfortunately, he says, we are not working to prevent these problems but instead are “looking at the end of the pipeline,” the medical effects.

“We are now medicalizing the problems people are experiencing with their environment. We are no longer creating wellbeing.”

For example, when ground-level heat goes up, ozone levels (from cars) also rise. Ozone is a leading contributor to asthma, a chronic disease that disproportionally impacts inner-city areas. “Any place where we can cool the air, we can improve health.”

So less ground-level heat and less cars will lower asthma rates! In Atlanta during the Olympic Games, peop…

New England Grows - Speaking there tomorrow

If you are around Boston tomorrow Feb 5 please stop by!  11 am click  here for Link

Small is Beautiful - Garden Photo of the Day

"I have no doubt that it is possible to give a new direction to technological development,  a direction that shall lead it back to the real needs of man,  and that also means: to the actual size of man. Man is small, and, therefore, small is beautiful.”  E. F. Schumacher

Pineapple Lily - Garden Photo of the Day

The pineapple lily grabs the eye with its wide, long leathery leaves and profusion of detailed, waxy flowers on a upright 12" spikes that, together, resemble a pineapple.  

This exotic plant, grown from a bulb, adds a tropical flair to a garden. It is native to southern Africa, USDA Zone 7 - 10.  It tolerates sun to some shade. 

Cultivars of pineapple lilies include the “Sparkling Burgundy,” which has leaves that stay purple for about two months. The “Tugela Ruby” also has dark foliage but is larger than the “Sparkling Burgundy.”   The plant is great in large containers, in beds and as a focal point. Bulbs go dormant during the colder months and stay healthy as long as there is no frost. Blooms appear in late spring through summer.
Check them out at Brent and Becky's Bulbs.