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Dipltaxis Rocket Flowers with Pollinator

Wild Arugula; Delicious Low-Water Beauty

  What edible plant takes little summer water, contributes color to the landscape and adds flavor to salads, pestos and more? Answer; Common Arugula’s louder, brighter, cousin “Wild Rocket”. This assertive member of the mustard family, Diplotaxis tenuifolia, is also known as Sand Rocket, Italian Rocket, Rucola Sylvetta and Rustic Arugula, depending on who you ask […]

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Tokyo dome iris river

Inspiration; Five Favorite Japanese Gardens

I just returned from Japan and saw so many beautiful gardens and landscapes that it’s difficult to contain myself.  Visiting after the legendary cherry blossom season is over drives home the concept that a skillfully designed garden doesn’t need to rely on flowering plants to create a thing of beauty. Although it certainly doesn’t hurt. […]

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water wise lavender hedge

No Lawn in California Landscaping? Change is Good

Lose the lawn? No problem. More and more people are getting on board with lawn-less gardens in California. Of course, historically low rainfall and state mandated water conservation are the reason for the change of heart for many people. But losing the lawn can make room for re-thinking what you want in your landscape to begin […]

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johnny jump ups vertical

Fields of Flowers; Past and Present, Native and Not

Call it a ritual or a pilgrimage or just an old habit. Whatever you call it, every spring I must get eye-level with as many flowers as I can manage. For me personally, if comes from my childhood – where my family took, what we called “Sunday Drives”, in the spring. We loaded into the family […]

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tulips mixed colors

Spring in Motion; Potted Tulips I Have Known

“Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.” – Maya Angelou. As spring approaches, tulip buds emerge from the folds of nurturing leaves. They slowly rise above the verdant embrace, standing ever taller, like a dancer allowing a green shawl to drop away from her shoulders.     Filled with the turgid vigor of youth, the tumescent […]

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belgian fence espalier summer

Edible Garden Art; The Truth About Espaliers

It’s time to talk about espaliers. Not only because winter and early spring is the best time of year to consider planting or making one – but also because I’ve noticed a couple of mis-conceptions about this useful garden form among my design clients, so I think it’s time for an overview.     A review […]

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glazed ball with phormium closeup

Marsala in the Garden; How to Use the Color of the Year

“A naturally robust and earthy wine red” that’s how the color “Marsala” is described by the Pantone Color Institute when introducing their 2015 Color of the Year. “Dramatic and at the same time grounding…it’s red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness”, says the Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman of color #18-1438.     This warm shade compliments almost […]

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stipa grass fronds as Christmas Deco

Holiday Deco: From the Garden and Back Again

I just can’t seem to do it.  I don’t know why. I just can’t get rid of the dried blossoms and seedpods and various decorative, but slightly dusty, remains of summers beauty.     I just can’t throw out the flowers that have dried so nicely or the sculptural seeds and stems, even when I […]

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Glory Vine window

Fall Color; East vs West

I’ve been eager for a double-dose of fall this season. It’s probably because I feel like I’ve missed out somewhat by traveling to the southern hemisphere during October or November in recent years.   I’m not complaining, but it has made me extra appreciative of changing leaves and seasonal hues as the days get shorter.   […]

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High Line grass views

The High Line; What Makes a Garden?

The best landscapes enable us to see something new or to see something familiar from a new perspective.     That is certainly the case with New York City’s High Line.  Famously created from an elevated rail line and opened to the public in 2009. The story of how this unusual garden went from an […]

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