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 […]

Plants to Love: New Zealand Wind Grass (Stipa arundinacea/ Anemanthele lessoniana)

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New Zealand Wind Grass is a stunning low-maintenance grass that keeps its glowing orange foliage all winter long. I occasionally have to prune out some dead bits here or there, which I do by grasping a small clump of dead foliage and cutting it out at the base so you don’t notice it’s been pruned. […]

Plants to Love: Rozanne Hardy Cranesbill (Geranium ‘Rozanne’)

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Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (USDA Zones 4/5-9) is a lovely tumbling plant that gets between 4 and 5’ around, and about 2’ tall. She’s been the darling of the landscape designer crowd since being introduced a few years back, and even though we all plant her all the time, we’re sticking our fingers in our ears and […]

Bulletproof Rhododendrons: Rhodies for Sea Coast Wind and Other Tough Conditions

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Rhododendrons are tough performers in our Pacific Northwest climate, and have become a standby for landscapers looking for a plant that’s sure to thrive. But not all Rhodies are created equal; some are more suited to tough conditions than others, as evidenced by the horrible-looking Rhodies in so many local parking lots. Finding the right […]

Plants to Love: Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima/ Stipa tenuissima)

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This waving blonde grass is a great way of bringing a sense of movement to your garden. It looks great massed, and brings a beachy feel to the garden with its bleached straw-colored seedheads. Nassella tenuissima does need to be cut to the ground once a year, but I’ve had great luck doing it at […]

Coastal Gardening: Screens and Hedges for the Sea Coast Garden

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If you’re gardening on the sea coast, the wind can make it hard to enjoy being outdoors. Using fast-growing hedges or screening plants can help you block the wind and enjoy hanging out and working in your garden. How to use hedges and screens successfully to block wind: First, think of what direction the wind […]

Coastal Gardening: Groundcover Plants for the Sea Coast

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Using groundcovers in sea coast gardens can give you easy low-maintenance color. I love to use ground-covering plants in masses because the waves of color kind of echo the broad waves of the ocean. Planting groundcovers also avoids a lot of the issues found when planting individual shrubs or trees. When planted in masses, the […]

Plants to Love: Purple Catmint (Nepeta faassenii)

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Simple, lush, gorgeous. This sun-lover attracts bees and beneficial insects, resists deer, takes salty seacoast wind, and looks great with any number of plants. All it asks in return is good drainage and full sun. I love it with just about any ornamental grass, pink or yellow roses (it attracts the beneficial bugs that eat […]

Coastal Gardening: Shade-Loving Plants for the Sea Coast

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Sea coast gardening is challenging enough in full sun, but choosing wind- and salt-tolerant plants for the shade can be downright daunting. Most shade plants didn’t evolve in unprotected, windy zones – they are used to the shelter of trees. Not to worry – there are a few beautiful plants that can help give your […]