Showing posts from 2017

Summer Garden Decor - Extend the Day

Summer is here...the magazines tell us to lay back, relax, go to the beach....

well, some of us have to work and for us, the back yard garden is our summer retreat.

so in honor of those who are home, puttering away, here are a few ideas to Decorate Summer Style..

Flikr - joyeux artiste - a bird cage with herbs within..try this as a decorative deer protector for susceptible plants!

Cox and Cox - Ice White LED Tree Lights

Transform your garden into a fairytale in the evening with 250 pinlights.  These are on the lovely Willowleaf Pear. Also ideal for using indoors to decorate an entire room. Love the gate.

Plow and Hearth
Hang curtains on simple tension roads around your patio or deck...Use sheers for a luminous effect.

Candle Lanterns Cox and Cox
These fire-retardant paper bags are punched with a star shaped graphic to create a soft romantic glow. Place battery tea lights inside (weigh down with a bit of gravel in case of breeze) and line them along borders and paths or dot them all over …

Looking Forward to New England Grows Nov 29- Dec 2!

Do you know about New England GROWS?

 It is the largest and most popular horticulture event in the Northeast.   It is a great place to go to connect with  other nursery, landscape and tree professionals and find out the latest in the garden and landscape world.

who attends?
Landscape Contractors
Landscape Architects
Landscape Designers
Commercial Arborists
Lawn Care Operators
Hardscape Contractors
Greenhouse Growers
Garden CentersGroundskeepers
Nursery Growers
Irrigation Contractors
Golf Course Superintendents
Tree Wardens
Park & Recreation Managers
Property Managers
Sports Turf Managers
Utility & Line Clearance
Municipal Personnel / DPW
Plant Health Care Technicians
...and more!

They also have top experts speaking - see their exciting roster of speakers!  And leading suppliers from across the country and around the world will be displaying their good.

I spoke at New England Grows a few years ago and was struck by the professionalism of  the organization and …

Stone Slab Steps

In my book, The Spirit of Stone, I have a chapter on stone steps.  They add such character and durability to a garden.  You can use stone slabs to create a series of steps as shown here.

Go to the local stone yard and see what they offer. Stone slabs are not inexpensive but two or three can add such a wonderful  accent to your backyard haven.

You can add gravel behind them, as I did here. The gravel absorbs water and is a good way to intercept stormwater that flows down a hill... I used stone to border the steps and planted hay scented ferns for a feathery effect next to the hard stone.

These slab steps that we installed here are wide and inviting. Leading up to a pool gate. The boxwood border is in place of a cheek wall or stones. 
For more stone step ideas and photos check out The Spirit of Stone.

Awash in Hydrangeas

Summertime is synonymous with hydrangeas in my mind. Here I planted Strawberry Sundae white-pink hydrangeas  behind the blue ones...added pink begonias and more.I did this all on a steep slope. Slopes are like a canvas to plant a colorful, exuberant picture if you want. Use rocks to retain the plants, if needed. And of course water!

Gardening Know How - Interview about Rocks in the Garden

This interview was published on July 18, 2017 on the great blog Gardening Know How. You can see it and much more - click here

Q & A with Jan Johnsen, author of ‘Spirit of Stone’Share Article

Paul Cezanne- quote on Light


Have You Heard about Cucamelons?

Have you heard about Cucamelons? Also called mouse melons? 

 This tiny watermelon look-alike from south of the border is grape-sized and tastes of cucumber with a hint of lime. They are going to be very popular soon, kind of like the 'ipad mini' of the vegie world...
Why? because they are pest free, drought tolerant, easy to grow, and a vigorous climber/trailer that produces masses of fruit throughout the summer! 

Its botanical name is Melothria scabra and it comes from Mexico/Central America where it is called sandita de Raton (little mouse melon). They have been grown there since Pre-Columbian times and need a sheltered sunny spot to grow. 

Their taste is unusual in that - first it tastes like cucumber but the aftertaste is something tart.. Karen Bertelsen of the blog 'The Art of Doing Stuff' describes it this way:
"When you bite into the mouse melon the first flavour you get is cucumber, but then your salivary glands do that weird thing where they kind of burn and cl…

The Story of the Gertrude Stein statue in Bryant Park, NYC

I once had a landscape client named Dr. Maury Leibovitz. He was an older gentleman and asked me to create a perennial garden for him in his large property in Greenwich, Ct. 

We had a lot of fun doing it. He enjoyed it greatly. During that time he gave me a tour of his estate's grounds and shared stories of  the magnificent sculptures that dotted the landscape.

 I learned that he started out as an accountant for  Occidental Petroleum Corporation and became an associate of the the corporation's late chairman, Dr. Armand Hammer. Leibovitz and Hammer shared a love of fine art and together purchased Knoedler Galleries and Publishing in 1971.

Maury shared stories of how he found certain artists. And one sculpture in particular he loved - Gertrude Stein by Jo Davidson.  He and I stood there  and admired it, set in a pastoral setting, and I listened to his stories. I told him that his gift was to share great art he found with the world. 

A few months later he passed away suddenly.  I was …

'Millenium' and 'Summer Beauty' Allium flowers - deer resistant!

Plant 'Millenium' or 'Summer Beauty' Alliums in the spring or summer.  Both of them provide gorgeous, butterfly attracting flowers starting in July -  deep green foliage, profuse display of pink to purple flowered globes.  Tough, reliable and deer resistant!

Allium 'Summer Beauty' really is a summer beauty with light pink-purple globe flowers in mid-July through mid-August. The leaves are slender and deep green.  It is hardy from Zone 4-9.

Allium 'Millenium' blooms about a week later and has slighter deeper purple blooms and is a bit shorter,to 12-20” tall. It is less hardy - Zones 5 - 8.
Allium 'Summer Beauty' and 'Millenium' are fool proof, blooming plants that look great with many other summer perennials like helenium and globe thistle as in photo above. 

The Glorious Sunflower - the Fourth Sister in a Native American Garden

In one of my earlier blog posts I wrote about the Native Americans'Three Sisters Garden (corn, beans and squash ) 

but I neglected to tell you of the Fourth Sister...a very important member of this family!
This is from Hubpages
"Fourth Sister, didn't look anything like her other sisters, although she was as tall and as slender as First Sister (corn) . That seemed fair to all, because Third Sister and Second Sister shared similar but different features. They could climb and run, while their other two sisters were forced to stand tall and proud."
Mother Sun explained that each sister had her job and each had to benefit from and protect one another.  But Fourth Sister's job was most important of all -- for she was the guardian of the North, planted firmly, to protect others from the robbers who soon would come.

The fourth sister was the elegant sunflower.

The Sisters are known to the Native Americans as the “mothers of life”  but they all need each other to survive.  C…

Ruby Slippers Oakleaf Hydrangea - A Great Plant!

So you want to plant a native shrub that tolerates half shade (shade in afternoon), has big blooms  in the summer and has great Fall color?

Oh yeah, and it should be compact, fairly minimum maintenance and grow to -20 degrees F.

And it should be reddish/pink.


Its 9" long flower clusters start out white, then gradually change to pink and then red, growing above the beautiful oakleaf foliage, which also turns an amazing mahogany red in the fall.   It grows to just 3 1/2 ft. by about 5 feet wide.  Zones 5-9.

Developed by the U.S. National Arboretum in McMinnville, TN in 2010, the compact Ruby Slippers is a cross between Snow Queen and PeeWee hydrangea and does not grow higher than 4 feet.

It is perfect for small residential gardens (such as mine). 

It also does well in planters and containers - perfect for balconies and decks!  And if you have a larger area, you can use them in a mass planting, as a striking hedge and in mixed borders.