Dark Designs: Black Foliage in the Garden


With Halloween around the corner, what more appropriate topic for the Garden Designers Roundtable to tackle than darkness? Specifically, dark and black foliage. Black is dramatic. Unexpected. It’s all about contrast – between dark and light, living and dead. Like a glittered Day of the Dead skeleton, there’s a playfulness there, along with a somber […]

Amy and Gen Tropicanna the Garden: a Giveaway!


***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


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 […]

Color Echoes: Variegated Dwarf Weigela and Clifford Moor Red Catchfly


These two plants are easy to grow and take little care to look their best. Variegated Dwarf Weigela, Weigela florida ‘Variegata Nana’, is a sturdy shrub to about 4′ tall and wide. It loses its leaves in winter, but comes back with fresh growth and masses of flowers each spring. Clifford Moor Red Catchfly, Silene […]

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


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. […]

Forget Halloween: Try These Dark Beauties Year-Round

I always wanted to be a goth girl –  wearing all black, dying my hair purple, and listening to moody music while pondering the deeper mysteries in life. Sadly, I had three strikes against me: I’m a total wuss, so piercings were out, I’m ridiculously cheerful, and since I started my landscaping business when I […]

Best of the Web: New Shade Perennials, Gardener’s Hide-a-Key, Veggie Gardening, and More!

Brrrr!!! In rainy Humboldt County, February’s usually the month my garden assistants turn to me in shock and say – “uh, I think the weeds are stuck!” The first time I tried to pull frozen, crystallized weeds out of the ground, I was pretty surprised, too. This year, February’s been glorious – a bit wet, […]

Cheerful Conifers: Some Year-Round Stars (With Photos)


To finish up my Fall Planting for Winter Interest series, I’m excited to share some of my favorite conifers that look awesome in winter. Conifers are one of the strongest evergreen elements in a garden. They’re usually fairly tough once established, and there’s an enormous variety in textures and colors – from stately and stiff […]