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green eucomis with friend

Greenery; The Color of the Year

Greenery; An often-used word when discussing gardens or landscape or nature. This year it’s the name given to Pantone 15-0343, and chosen as the Color of The Year.  In a call for “rejuvenation and connection”, The Pantone Institute names a color for 2017 that every gardener already  knows and loves; that soul-quenching bright green of new […]

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garden iris close

In Memoriam; Honoring Fleeting Beauty

We’ve said goodbye to many important public icons this past year and I’ve lost personal dear ones as well. It certainly feels like the passing of an era. Words fail me, in an attempt to honor those that are gone, but I am comforted by a passage from Mindfulness In The Garden, by Zachiah Murray;   Beautiful […]

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Pinnacles Mimulus trail

Celebrating Our National Parks; Inspirational Landscapes of the West

You could say that America’s National Parks changed the course of my life. So I want to add to the chorus, in celebration of 100 years of the U.S. National Park system. I don’t have the most beautiful pictures of our National Parks. In fact, none of my old personal photos, with their poor composition and […]

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dusk at Suisun Marsh

Warm and Cool Together; Finding Balance in the Garden with the Color of the Year

For 2016, the Pantone Color Institute made waves for selecting not one but two colors, for the first time ever, as their Color of The Year. Both  Rose Quartz, a warm pink, and Serenity, a soft blue, were chosen this year and Pantones Leatrice Eiseman explained that together these colors create  “an inherent balance…reflecting connection […]

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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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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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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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succulent wreath

Succulents; Adapting Big Ideas to a Small Space

Even if we don’t all have the means to take advantage of succulents on a grand scale, like some of the West’s famous estate gardens, most of us can find a pocket of space to enjoy a bit of nature’s drought-tolerant botanical-sculpture. The lack of rain in California makes this a good year to have fun with water-wise plantings but even […]

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Paving with Pebbles; Timeless Inspiration

There is a picture of me in the gardens of the Alhambra, in southern Spain, many years ago. There are multiple elements of classic design in the photo, although my permed hair and leashed sunglasses certainly don’t qualify. The view of this iconic hilltop palace and garden contains, among other things, an arched hedge to […]

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