What I’ve Been Doing (When I Haven’t Been Here)

It’s been a busy summer with a lot of new adventures, and while I haven’t been blogging as much as I would like, if you’ve kept a sharp eye out you’ve probably seen me in some other publications. If you’ve been missing your North Coast Gardening fix, here are a few of my favorite articles that have gone live recently!


Fine Gardening magazine

Fine Gardening October 2013In my landscape maintenance business, pruning ornamental grasses is one of the things I get asked about most. Ornamental grasses come in such a wide array of varieties, shapes, and habits that the same pruning technique doesn’t work for all of them.

However, there are a few simple rules of thumb to keep in mind when approaching your grasses to make sure you’re pruning them properly, and I cover those concepts in the latest article I’ve written for Fine Gardening magazine, entitled “Stop! Don’t prune that grass“.

The article splits each general type of grass (large and goes dormant, large and evergreen, small and goes dormant, etc.) into its own section and covers the techniques to use on each. Not only are there ample photographs of me pruning different types of grass, there are also illustrations which make it easier to understand how to approach each type of plant.

It’s out on newsstands now in the October 2013 edition, and the rest of the issue is no slouch, either, with some great articles by Niki Jabbour, Billy Goodnick, and others on designing with hydrangeas, getting your edible garden set up now for an abundant winter harvest, using vegetable raised beds in a designer way, and more.

Garden Design online

garden designI was unsurprised when Garden Design magazine folded earlier this year, and felt a combination of sadness and irritation that the magazine had never really lived up to its promise. With a name like Garden Design, I always expected to get tips and ideas that I could benefit from and present to my clients โ€“ but the old Garden Design featured a lot of giant estates full of lawns and hedges, profiles of historical figures that didn’t have any practical takeaways, and things that were kind of fun to read, but didn’t really apply to my own garden or my work as a designer.

That’s why I was so thrilled to learn that Garden Design is under new ownership and is being reinvigorated as an online publication. There’s a spirit of approachability and helpfulness in the new direction they are taking with the articles, and I’ve found a lot to love there already. Check out the interview with Karen Chapman of Fine Foliage fame about designing successful container combinations, or this fun profile of a Washington garden.

My contribution? I was honored to get to interview Debra Yates and Benjamin Burle to learn more about their signature style, a colorful yet restrained look they call subtropical modernism. Yates and Burle are true artists, and since interviewing them I’ve certainly been thinking about color and shape in the garden in a much different way. And that’s what Garden Design magazine should be about! Inspiring ideas from professionals and real people that you can use to think about your own landscape with a fresh set of eyes. I’m excited to see the metamorphosis occur, and I’m thrilled to be a part of Garden Design’s new beginning.


The North Coast Journal

gen x and yOur beloved local author Amy Stewart (you’ve read The Drunken Botanist and Wicked Plants, right?) has had a gardening column in the Journal for some time, but as she’s moved into the cocktail and other realms, her writing has shifted away from gardening and onto other fun topics.

So when I heard the Journal was looking for a few good gardening geeks to pick up the torch, I was happy to join up. While the first few columns will be reprints of some of my most popular articles here on North Coast Gardening, beginning in November “Down and Dirty” will have a variety of gardening tips and rants, plus a monthly to-do list for those of us right here on the North Coast. My first column is live now, and is entitled, “Gen X- and Y-Gardeners: Can we quit worrying about this, please?“.


What else I’ve been growing

new little oneLastly, while many of you already know my news, my biggest new adventure is this: Trevor and I are expecting our first baby in about a week, a son! I’ve been used to working happy 12-hour days on my landscape maintenance business, landscape designs, and all of my garden writing projects, but being pregnant has given me a bit of a wake-up call about knowing my limits and choosing projects and priorities carefully (it’s also given me a new understanding of why flowering and fruiting plants need a base of good health and energy to create all of that abundance!).

While having a newborn probably won’t affect what I want to write about, I’m looking forward to having a new member of the family to enjoy the sunshine, fresh peaches, and chicken antics in the backyard with me, and in a few years perhaps I’ll have a gardening sidekick who enjoys bug watching and getting muddy just as much as I do. If posting is a little sporadic over the next few months, I hope you’ll forgive me, and know that I’ll be back to regular writing as soon as the little one learns all about napping and how fantastic it is.

18 responses to “What I’ve Been Doing (When I Haven’t Been Here)”

    • Awww, thanks Lauren!! I think YOU’RE awesome, and I can’t wait to read your next book or enjoy your next project, whatever that may be.

  1. Congratulations!!! As a gardener and mother of 5, I know parenting will make it more challenging to garden, but at the same time, more worthwhile!

    Hope all goes smoothly!

    • Thanks, Eileen! I’ve been really enjoying reading about your garden’s transformation (what a “wow” project), and it’s great to see how your kids have been enjoying both the construction project and the new space! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. That is one great news! I can’t wait to read about your baby, and congratulations of the upcoming motherhood, it is the most amazing thing you can do in life, raise a child.

  3. Congratulations! If your son is like mine, give it two years and he’ll be happily pulling “weeds” with you in the garden.

    Enjoy this magical time.

  4. It sounds like you have been very busy this summer!

    I look forward to reading your article in Fine Gardening. I will also take another look at Garden Design, which I have thought was a waste of pine trees before.

    • Thanks, Jim, and yes – definitely check out the new Garden Design, and keep checking. It’s evolving daily, and they’re open to your suggestions on how to improve.

  5. Congratulations again, Gen! I’m so very, very happy for you and Trevor. AND for your unborn son – he’s going to have the best mom around!! Yay!! And I’ve been meaning to tell you how much I enjoyed your article in FG. I’ve already shown it to a few clients and it’s helped them with their pruning chores. You’re the best – keep up the good work and don’t forget to take care of yourself!

    • Thanks, Cindy! His name is Talvi Iveagh – Talvi is Finnish for winter, and Iveagh is an ancestral family name of Trevor’s. He’s been a lovely baby and we just adore him. ๐Ÿ™‚