Garden Design for Four Seasons

Garden design for four seasons is crucial in a northern climate.  Winter is long.  If you don’t plan ahead for its arrival, then it will be dull indeed. I get to watch people shop at my nursery.  The really great gardeners are easy to pick out.   They choose plants for their appeal over a long… [Continue Reading]

Victoria and Vancouver Island: Butchart Gardens

The Pacific Northwest is blessed with many special gardens and sites, but among the most dramatic are those on Vancouver Island, near Victoria, B.C.  First and foremost is Butchart Gardens.  This 55 acre garden with it’s famous sunken garden built in an old rock quarry is meticulously planted and maintained.  Whereas I often tell clients… [Continue Reading]

Summer Plant Shopping

As any nurseryman can attest, most of the plants purchased in a given year are purchased in a 4-6 week period as soon as frost is no longer expected.  We plant our containers and at the same time do most of the planting of new material. People shopping in May simply miss some of the… [Continue Reading]

Winter Interest

Now that is officially winter, it is time to look at some plants for winter interest.  Many plants provide structure and definition in the winter garden.  When the snow is deep, the plants of interest tend to be the trees, shrubs and evergreens that hold the snow and display it well.  In a great winter… [Continue Reading]

Santa Fe Botanical Garden

The Santa Fe Botanical Garden offers inspiration to those of us living in a cold and dry climate.  Though they got more rain than us last summer, most years we’re nearly the same and given their 7000′ elevation the winter is cold much like ours (though they have considerably more sunshine).    What do we… [Continue Reading]

Rock Placing: Setting the Stage

Rock placing is a key and early element in constructing a landscape.  First is remove eyesores/trash, second is to do major earth moving and tree removals, and then we get to the rock placement. This can be done with a variety of tools, but none more impressive than the big rock placing trucks.  They can… [Continue Reading]

Flower Bed design: Contours

There are many factors in flower bed design, one of which is the contour of the beds.  Other key factors include placement, materials used and scale of the bed, but today I’ll talk about contour. I start by laying out the form of the bed.  Unless you have done hundreds of gardens, it is a… [Continue Reading]

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer

Silver is not just the Lone Ranger’s horse or Maxwell’s favorite tool, it is a fantastic color for the garden.  Although not universal, most plants with silver foliage will be adapted to full sun, drought tolerant and deer resistant.  Of course, Brunnera ‘Looking Glass’, Japanese painted fern and Pulmonaria ‘Excalibur’ are examples of silver plants… [Continue Reading]

Moonlight Gardens

  One of the easiest, but also one of the most fun gardens to make is a moonlight garden.  A garden is most pleasing when there are distinct rooms created.  If you circle round the hedge and find a room filled with cream, silver and white, you’ve stumbled into the Moonlight Garden, so named because the… [Continue Reading]

Double Shot, Baby

The idea “if one’s good, two’s better” will get you in trouble with prescription medication, but most of the time with plants, it’s “If one’s good, five’s better.”  The simplest landscape tip, and perhaps most important, it to plant multiples.  Most plants simply look stunning in mass, or repeated in the landscape.  Formal gardens such… [Continue Reading]