Drift Roses, the Dwarf Knockout Relative

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As an organic landscaper, I’ve long been annoyed by those weakling, disease-prone roses that are pesticide junkies from day one. Yet when roses are done right, the colors, fragrance, and luxuriant flowers are hard to resist. They have that old-fashioned, secret garden-type appeal that makes me feel kind of warm and fuzzy inside. That’s why […]

Plants for Damp or Wet Shade

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(Click any photo to view larger.) Gardening in soggy soil can be tough enough without the added challenge of shade. While the usual suspects in such conditions – ferns, iris, astilbe and hosta – are beautiful, if you’re looking for a more interesting or architectural planting, it can be tough to find varieties that will […]

Variegated Rhododendrons Liven Up the Shade

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My latest post over at the Christian Science Monitor garden blog Diggin’ It is about my favorite types of variegated rhododendrons. I’m lucky enough to have a rhododendron specialty nursery in my community, so in addition to the horrible, boring rhodies seen in parking lots, we also have access to some exotic varieties with glossy […]

Gardening Under Redwoods: Dealing With Dry Shade, Acidic Soil, and Root Competition

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Humboldt County’s known for its majestic redwoods, and many of the gardens that I design and care for have a few towering specimens setting the scene. But lovely though they are, gardening under redwoods presents some serious challenges. Shade For one, redwood trees cast some fairly dense shade. This isn’t such an issue if you […]

Amy and Gen Tropicanna the Garden: a Giveaway!

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***Giveaway below*** Outside of the garden, I’m attracted to cool, subdued colors, like purples, blues, blacks and greys. But lately, in the garden? Give me some color! Wild, exuberant color, that shocks the eyes and cheers the soul. So when the kind folks out at Tesselaar Plants offered to send Amy Stewart and I some […]

Golden Conifers Brighten Up Winter

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With the winter doldrums in full force, I went to my local rhododendron nursery the other day to pick up spring color for a few jobs. Usually, I’m blown away by the blooming rhodies or the summer-flowering heathers. But this visit, what really struck me was the conifers. Specifically, the golden conifers. They just looked […]

The Ten Best Native Plants for Coastal Northern California Wildlife by Peter Haggard

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On the heels of our recent Garden Designers Roundtable on Inviting Nature Into the Garden, I wanted to share a resource that I’ve been finding incredibly helpful in recent months. While we all know that planting natives is a good way to attract more life into our gardens, if we only have space for a […]