Showing posts from 2020

ZOOM TALK - GARDENTOPIA June 9 - 6 pm est


June 9 at 6 pm EST  Sponsored by the Los Angeles Association of Professional Landscape Designers - Go here:

Join award-winning landscape designer and garden writer Jan Johnsen to discuss the concepts in her latest book, Gardentopia. About this Event“Gardentopia is that rare marriage of the art of landscaping and the technical knowledge of how to compose a landscape―boiled down to readily understood and easily executed actions. This book puts you in the driver’s seat and shows you how to chart the course to your own personal garden utopia.” - Margie Grace, Grace Design Associates

Any backyard has the potential to refresh and inspire if you know what to do. Jan Johnsen’s new book, Gardentopia: Design Basics for Creating Beautiful Outdoor Spaces, will delight all garden lovers with over 130 lushly illustrated landscape design and planting suggestions. Ms. Johnsen is an admired designer and popular sp…

'Ruby Slippers' Oakleaf Hydrangea - a native, compact flowering shrub!

So you want to plant a native shrub that tolerates half shade 
(shade in afternoon), 
has big blooms  in the summer 
and has great Fall color?

Oh yeah, and it should be compact, fairly minimum maintenance 

and grow to -20 degrees F.  And it should be reddish/pink.


is the answer. 

Its 9" long flower clusters start out white, then gradually change to pink and then red, growing above the beautiful oakleaf foliage, which also turns an amazing mahogany red in the fall.   

It grows to just 3 1/2 ft. by about 5 feet wide.  Zones 5-9.

Developed by the U.S. National Arboretum in McMinnville, TN in 2010, 
the compact Ruby Slippers is a cross between Snow Queen and PeeWee hydrangea.
It does not grow higher than 4 feet.

Beautify Your Vegetable Garden with These Ideas.....

The French have long understood that vegetable gardens can be places of beauty. They located their traditional potagers, or kitchen gardens, outside their kitchen windows and included vertical structures, flowers, and artistic plant groupings designed for aesthetic appeal.  Flowers look beautiful and attract the all important pollinators to your garden. Read the wonderful article I have linked here for learning how to include beautiful flowers and more in your veggie garden. 

Milk Carton Gardening - Build those Memories

Now More than Ever - Lets Get Kids Gardening - 

When did we abandon the simple pleasures of growing carrots in milk cartons, planting hollyhocks along old fences or having fragrant lilacs at the corner of a house? 

Let's reclaim this as part of our ordinary life...

We all have such memories - even city kids like me...
It might be the 'weed' that smelled like licorice (anise hyssop), 

or the buttercups that you put under your chin, 

or the honeysuckle that you could suck a teeny drop of 'honey' from, 

the sweet smell of roses as you walked past a certain house, 

or the bright yellow daffodils in early spring that sprang up overnight it seemed.

I would like us to revive 'garden memories' - to bring flowers, plants and gardens back into our lives.

This kind of knowledge has been cast aside in favor of math and physics but I say children can learn those disciplines better through understanding the phenomenal natural world around them.

So plant those sunflower se…

Praise for the lowly Dandelion

Every year I reprint this at dandelion time where I live-  

The dreaded Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), for which we spend tremendous amounts of weed killer money to eradicate, has been prized over the years for its medicinal and nutritious properties.

In fact, dandelion roots, flowers and "dandelion greens" (leaves) are all edible!

Dandelions are a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. And in traditional medicine, dandelion roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. Native Americans used dandelion decoctions (liquid made by boiling down the herb in water) to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and stomach upset.

• Dandelion roots can be roasted as a coffee-substitute, or boiled and stir-fried as a cooked vegetable.

• Dandelion flowers can be made into a wine.

Heeding the Signs...a timely thought

Just as a forest is connected by an underground fungal network, enabling individual trees to communicate with each other, and can warn each other of danger by releasing chemicals into the air, so are we all connected together deep within, sharing the wisdom and knowing of the Earth, our common home.

 And this network is sending us warning signs, that our present way of life is not only unsustainable, but over.

 Even when this pandemic comes to an end, we cannot afford to “return to normal” for very long. This present crisis can awaken us to the reality that we need a new way of life, one that is truly sustainable with the Earth and Her “other-than-human” inhabitants. 

This virus can be heard as a part of the cry of the Earth—calling to us to change, adapt, awaken from our dream of eternal economic growth, 

the nightmare that is destroying so much of Her fragile beauty and wonder.

-Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

go here for the entire post -

Pixie dust....


'Being There' - Garden Wisdom for the Ages

One of my favorite movies is "Being There," a 1979 film starring Peter Sellers. 

It was directed by Hal Ashby, adapted from a novella by Jerzy Kozinski.

 Sellers plays Chance, the gardener, who tends the grounds of an estate in Washington, DC.  

Chance has the mind of a child (the role is a forerunner to Forrest Gump) and knows only two things:  gardening and TV.

  He is reclusive and illiterate and has lived and worked on this property his entire life. 

When his boss, the Old Man, dies at the beginning of the film he finds himself on the street and is soon inadvertently walking the halls of power and prestige. 

His encounters with highly placed people are very funny. They are charmed by his simplicity and honesty. 

They think 'Chauncy Gardiner' is a wise and profound man who uses metaphors of the garden to answer deep and thorny questions, when, of course, gardening is all he knows.

He quickly rises to public prominence and becomes a media sensation. The film  exposes a soc…

My wonderful story about Organic Soil

On April 29, 2010 Anne Raver of the New York Times asked:
"How does Tony Avent, the horticultural mythbuster, grow so many plants successfully in his garden? Rule No. 1: he uses the same mix of 40 percent native soil, dug on his own land, and 60 percent compost for every plant.

''The soil for every plant we have is prepared exactly the same, whether it's a pitcher plant or an agave,'' ....
After he switched to organics, he said, ''it took about a year before everything started jumping. Our insect problems disappeared. It was just amazing.'' ...."
(Tony Avent runs the wonderful Plant Delights Nursery - offering an incredibly diverse collection of plants and the catalog is a collectors' item) This observation took me back to 1972 when I was a landscape architecture student at the University of Hawaii and also minoring in tropical agriculture

The university farm was in Pearl City ( next to Pearl Harbor) and it was divided into one large se…