New Hellebore Flowers Hold Their Heads High

April 17, 2012 4 comments

I’m a big fan of hellebores, since in my rainy climate so many flowers are dashed to the ground at the first rough rain shower. Plus, some types of flower and color just don’t stand out boldly enough to be visible from a window. Hellebores are tough as nails and shine brightly in the winter […]

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The Color of the Year, Adapted for Deer: Tangerine Tango in the Landscape

December 12, 2011 31 comments

Pantone’s just released their top pick for 2012 color of the year – Tangerine Tango – so given the Garden Designers Roundtable topic for the month is deer – it seemed a perfect excuse to talk about Bright! Orange! Plants! for the deer-resistant garden. While selecting a color of the year is an obvious marketing […]

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Prune Your Hellebores: A Public Service Announcement

August 14, 2011 3 comments

Lenten roses, Helleborus orientalis, are gorgeous in winter. They’re gorgeous in spring, too. But if you don’t deadhead them once they’re done blooming, they stop being gorgeous and start looking ratty. Then, they turn into spawning hellcats, dropping masses of seeds that sprout into masses of tiny, slow-growing, hard-to-remove seedlings that, yes, could theoretically turn […]

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Deer Resistant Gardening Made Easy: a Book Review

July 12, 2011 4 comments

Ruth Rogers Clausen, author of 50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants, has some straightforward advice for dealing with deer, and selecting beautiful plants that will go well together in deer country. I share some of her advice for dealing with deer over at the Christian Science Monitor, and give an in-depth review of her new book there […]

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Deer-Resistant Plantings You Can’t F*** Up

June 22, 2011 8 comments

Planting for deer can be hard sometimes. You read all the books, buy “deer-resistant” plants, and the buggers still munch everything to the ground and give you that blank-eyed “what? I’m a deer!” stare when you shake your fist at them. No, it doesn’t always go as smoothly as the books would have you believe. […]

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Deer on a Diet: Deer-Resistant Gardening Tips

June 15, 2011 6 comments

Let’s be clear: gardening with deer can be frustrating. You read all the books, plant all the right plants, and those hungry mowing machines just tear through your new deer-resistant plantings like they’re candy! And then leave poops on your lawn to further taunt you. They’re cute; I’ll give deer that. But they’re creatures of […]

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

May 5, 2011 24 comments

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 […]

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Plants to Love: Gaultheria mucronata or Prickly Heath

February 25, 2011 3 comments

Like the barely-fragrant Stinking Hellebore, Gaultheria (formerly Pernettya) mucronata has been given a somewhat undeserved and unfortunate common name, probably by some delicate-skinned maiden who’d never heard of gardening gloves.

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Ferns for Every Garden

February 1, 2011 11 comments

As we settle more deeply into winter, I’ve been really noticing the beauty of all the ferns in the landscapes I care for. They’re low-care, often have great winter interest, and seem to go with just about every type of plant or style of planting. The neat thing about ferns is they look great both […]

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Plants to Love: Rainbow Drooping Leucothoe (Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’)

September 10, 2010 2 comments

I know you’re wondering, so let’s get this out of the way: it’s loo-kow-thow-ee. You only have to say the name once though, when you’re looking for it at the nursery, and then you can call it anything you like. “That gorgeous variegated thing” is what most people call it. Andrew of Garden Smackdown suggests […]

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