Showing posts from March, 2021

My Garden Tip Interview with Christy Wilhelmi of Gardenerd

Last week I was interviewed by Christy Wilhelmi on her podcast for Gardenerd. She has a great website and says that  Gardenerd is designed for people who have a healthy sense of humor about their obsession with organic gardening, and who have a thirst for knowledge.  Christy Wilhelmi - host of Gardenerd Her audio interviews feature  a wide variety of garden experts and are quite wonderful. I am honored to be among her guests!  If you want to hear our conversation about gardening tips  please click here : My  Audio  Interview with Gardenerd

The Famed Yellow Magnolias Bred in Ossining N.Y.

'Elizabeth' Magnolia was bred by Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Ossining, NY.   I love yellow-flowering magnolias. The cover of a Garden Design Magazine features one and it makes my heart skip a beat. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden introduced the yellow-flowering magnolia to the world. BBG  launched the breeding program in 1953 at its R&D facility, the Kitchawan Research Center, in Ossining, New York (the town next door to me). They bred eight magnolias before the program shut down at Kitchawan in 1991. These BBG hybrids are still available today. These beauties flower between mid-April and mid-May. Magnolia  x ‘Elizabeth’ One of my favorites is  Magnolia  x ‘Elizabeth’  which was introduced in 1977. It is a cross between  M. acuminata  and  M. denudata.  Dr. Evamaria Sperber, who helped start BBG’s breeding program bred this tree. It is valued because it flowers before the leaves come out which makes an elegant display on bare branches. The creamy-yellow flow

My new book, Floratopia, is Out Now!

My new book Floratopia is out! I am so happy to finally be able to share flower garden design ideas with everyone. I have been working with annual and perennial flowers in all my landscape projects for decades and yet I wrote about everything but flowers.  Odd. Well, that has now been corrected. I have amassed a collection of flower tips accompanied by my photos and categorized them in 6 sections in the book.  Osteospermum Serenity Series Why did I write this book? Here is an excerpt from my introduction: "Flowers are such an important part of our living world—offering food and habitat to our threat-  ened pollinators such as bees, birds, butterflies, and more. That is why I chose to write about  flowers and flower garden design. I have worked with flowers as a landscape designer and  horticulturist all my adult life, and I know how wonderful it is to open the door to the sight of  colorful blooms in the garden. More important, I believe we need flower gardens—our pollinator  have

Getting in the 'Flow' by Gardening

" How do adults recapture that feeling of joy that children get from play?" This is what psychologist  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  wanted to know. He is a Croation-born professor of American psychology at the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA and has spent years studying the state of being that he calls  "flow." Flow is what we feel when we are totally absorbed in an activity for its own sake.  This does not refer to a game where you win or lose or to watching a game.  "You don't get much out of the passive consumption of pleasure," Csikszentmihalyi* says, "compared to enjoyment which is much more active and creative and self-directive."   Gardening is a great example of an activity that is creative, self directed and gets you into the flow.   You lose yourself when outdoors, planting, deadheading, weeding, edging watering or even raking the gravel (!?)   Well, maybe you don't actually rake gravel but

A Few Deer Resistant Perennial Flowers to Consider

Coreopsis loves hot sunny areas and lights up a garden - photo Jan Johnsen In my part of the world, deer are rampant. Walking down the streets of my village, chomping on our plants like a free buffet. The situation is so bad that it makes a plant lover sigh with resignation.  But - with a little knowledge and some design ideas - you can have a lovely garden that deer avoid, or at least, not chew on. These suggestions are from my new 2021 book - Floratopia: 110 Flower Garden Ideas for Yard, Patio or Balcony  . In this post I am going to look at a few perennial plants (those flowering plants that come back every year) that deer rarely damage. You can create a deer resistant garden with blooms from spring to fall.  Coreopsis -shown above-  is a sun lover and is easy to grow because it is drought-tolerant and needs no fertilizing. Deadheading spent blooms can encourage more flowers throughout the summer. Tough perennial! Catmint 'Walker's Low'   -   photo Jan Johnsen   H