Monet’s Passion

Monet’s Passion: Ideas, Inspiration & Insights from the Painter’s Garden By Elizabeth Murray

Monet designed this gracefully arched wooden bridge—a prominent feature of the water garden—to span a narrow part of his pond. The 18-foot structure was inspired by one of his Japanese woodblock prints. In 1911, following the devastation of major storms and flooding, he repaired and enlarged his water garden, adding the iron arbor. He planted the white Chinese wisteria on the lower handrails and the long lavender Japanese wisteria on the arbor; when in bloom, they create a canopy of lace. The reflections of the bridge are magnificent in the pond below.








Excerpt from Chapter One The Garden Monet Created “This is where Claude Monet lives, in this never-ending feast for the eyes. It is just the environment one would have imagined for this extraordinary poet of tender light

Continue reading … Monet’s Passion

The View from Great Dixter

The View from Great Dixter; Christopher Lloyd’s Garden Legacy Fergus Garrett, long faithful Great Dixter gardener, writes in the Preface: This book is centered around one incredible man and his way of life. Christopher Lloyd was born and lived most of his life at Great Dixter. He was an extraordinary character, a kind, generous, intelligent man who loved people but at the same time didn’t suffer fools gladly. His garden has remained a place of pilgrimage for adventurous gardeners throughout the world and his spirit and style lives on here and in his writing. He was undoubtedly one of the greatest garden writers and gardeners of all time and his influence is immense. His words in print remain his legacy and his influence is immense. His words in print remain his legacy and his influence burns bright in all of us he breathed life into. He changed our lives and

Continue reading … The View from Great Dixter

Succulent Container Gardens

Succulent Container Gardens By Debra Lee Baldwin With their colorful leaves, sculptural shapes, and simple care, succulents are beautiful yet forgiving plants for pots. If grown in containers, these dry-climate jewels — which include but are not limited to cacti — can be brought indoors in winter and so can thrive anywhere in the world.

In this inspiring compendium, the popular author of Designing with Succulents provides everything beginners and experienced gardeners need to know to create stunning container displays of exceptionally waterwise plants. The extensive palette includes delicate sedums, frilly echeverias, cascading senecios, edgy agaves, and fat-trunked beaucarneas, to name just a few. Easy-to-follow, expert tips explain soil mixes, overwintering, propagation, and more.

Define your individual style as you effectively combine patterns, colors, textures, and forms. Discover how top designers interpret the dramatic options, in ideas ranging from exquisite plant-and-pot combinations to extraordinary topiaries and bonsai. Expand

Continue reading … Succulent Container Gardens

Texas Peach Handbook

Texas Peach Handbook By Jim Kamas and Larry Stein An up-to-date guide for commercial and residential Texas peach growers . . . With an estimated one million trees producing almost fifty million pounds of fruit per year, Texas is a leading producer of peaches, and several popular seasonal festivals highlight the widespread enjoyment of and interest in this delicious, versatile fruit. In addition, a recent rise of interest in edible gardens and home fruit production has led more people to think about planting a peach tree in the yard — or paying closer attention to the one they already have. Jim Kamas and Larry Stein, drawing from their many years of experience and the best current research, provide authoritative advice for those who want to improve peach production, whether in a large commercial orchard or on a single tree in the back yard. With discussions ranging from site selection to

Continue reading … Texas Peach Handbook

Heirloom Bulbs for Today

Heirloom Bulbs for Today By Chris Wiesinger and Cherie Foster Colburn For those tired of high-maintenance and short-lived plants, Chris Wiesinger, “The Bulb Hunter” shares his knowledge of versatile, sustainable, and low-maintenance bulbs. Heirloom Bulbs for Today introduces the best of the bulb world, addressing common questions and explaining the characteristics, history and ways to use each bulb, whether in the landscape or the home. Chris teams with landscape designer and award winning author Cherie Foster Colburn (Our Shadow Garden) to offer an innovative look at old-fashioned flower bulbs. While most garden guides simply tell the culture of the plant, Heirloom Bulbs for Today also tells the culture of the people who grew the plant, unearthing each bulb’s past and those who loved it.

Gorgeous botanical illustrations and vivid photographs by South African artists Loela Barry and Johan Kritzinger add rich flavor to featured bulbs found flowering with abandon

Continue reading … Heirloom Bulbs for Today

The Texas Tomato Lover’s Handbook

The Texas Tomato Lover’s Handbook By William D. Adams A garden-grown tomato sliced and laid across a grilled hamburger … Sweet, plump cherry tomatoes in a crisp, green salad … Sauce made from fresh tomatoes, ladled over a steaming bowl of pasta … Spicy tomato salsa … Savory tomato soup … Mmm, can’t you just taste those luscious tomatoes?

Is there any single vegetable as mouth-watering as the tomato? And yet, as thousands of people tired of mushy, half-green, and tasteless tomatoes bought from supermarkets have discovered, much more is involved in growing your own than simply putting a plant or two in the ground and expecting to harvest juicy, red tomatoes a few weeks later – especially in Texas!

Bill Adams, former Harris County Extension Agent draws on more than thirty years’ experience to provide a complete, step-by-step guide to success in the tomato patch. Growing good tomatoes requires

Continue reading … The Texas Tomato Lover’s Handbook

Preparing the Gardener for the Garden

The light breeze, blue sky and plenty of sunshine are inspiration to tackle any job outdoors. Get ready, set, and go! The gardening season is soon upon us in full swing and the urge to be outside in the garden is strong. Heed a warning for over-exuberant gardeners who like to jump in with both feet (and arms and hands). Before starting your work – prepare the gardener for the garden. The consequences of over-exertion can be quite painful and result in a dimming of the gardening spirit. An entire medical encyclopedia could be filled with the consequences of gardening. They include: blisters, strains, sprains, sore muscles, sun burn, back injuries, allergies, cuts and scrapes, rashes, hearing loss, eye damage, and broken bones. Most of these can be avoided with a few precautions.

Get ready for the physical exertions of gardening by doing some warm-up activities. This is particularly important

Continue reading … Preparing the Gardener for the Garden

Fall Rains

Let the Rain Fall

Our recent deluge of rain seems to be taking revenge for all those beautiful clear, sunny days of the previous summer. Being rain-free for so many days was a joy for gardeners, golfers, travellers or anyone wanting to spend time outdoors. Now we are all paying the price as low-pressure centers hover overhead and drop liquid precipitation on our gardens. As much as we complain about our dislike for the disruption and inconvenience of wet weather, it does have some benefits for plants.

Water is great in the fall to give broad-leaved evergreens a better chance of making it through the winter (alive and preferably also healthy). Broad-leaved evergreens are the plants that keep their leaves all year round (under normal circumstances). Hollies, euonymus, boxwood, cotoneaster, English ivy, kalmia, mahonia, pachysandra, pieris, pyracantha, rhododendrons, and vinca all fit into the general classification of broad-leaved evergreens. These

Continue reading … Fall Rains

Winter Weather and the Garden

Winter Garden Concerns How is this unseasonably warm weather affecting plants that are trying to hibernate in the garden? The sunny, warm temperatures are delaying some plants from getting fully ready for the winter. The importance of plants getting preparing for the upcoming winter should not be underestimated. Winter is a harsh season.

Early winter ice storms won't harm this pansy flower but other plants may be damaged

Unseasonably low temperatures within the next couple of weeks will damage plants that are not fully “hardened-off” or those that are marginally hardy. This is particularly true in our area of unreliable snow cover. Gardeners cannot be guaranteed the insulating protection of snow.

Other situations that might cause havoc on plant health this winter are a quick thaw in January or February resulting in flooded areas over the frozen soil. A quest to keep roads and paths clear of snow and

Continue reading … Winter Weather and the Garden

Drought-proofing Your Annuals

The drought in Texas is continuing as they approach 60 days of triple digit temperatures so far this year. A heatwave finally descends on the Northeast United States after a colder and rainer summer. Will the weather ever cooperate again? Seems that the garden is having a tougher time than ever before. And annuals are one of the first to feel the brunt of hot and dry weather.

Dealing with drought doesn't mean resorting to all drought resistant succulent plants as seen here at the Idea Garden at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA.

Annuals in beds and containers are the first plants to show signs of stress from lack of water. Newly planted annuals have very small root systems that are poorly suited for the task of reaching out in search of water. When planting, annuals still need to be given additional water even if their roots were wet.

Continue reading … Drought-proofing Your Annuals

Leaving Your Garden Behind – Taking a Guilt-free Vacation

Leaving the Garden for a Guilt-free Vacation

Even though gardeners have a strong bond with their garden, there are occasions when it is necessary to spend time away from home – visiting other people’s gardens is always a good excuse for me to travel.

Ready to leave the home garden far behind.

Summer is one of those times when the cottage, camp, road or even the airport beckons many of us to leave. Leaving a garden is not as simple as leaving the pet goldfish in the care of a neighbor. Finding a gardening friend to take the responsibility of watering your treasured bonsai twice a day may be almost impossible. To achieve a guilt-free vacation away from your garden some preparation and planning are in order.

For outdoor plants, do a thorough garden clean-up a week before you leave. This is similar to cleaning the house just

Continue reading … Leaving Your Garden Behind – Taking a Guilt-free Vacation

Creating a Tropical Oasis in a Northern Garden

Hardy Plants to Create a Tropical Looking Garden

Tropical-looking, but hardy and native Poke in a Philadelphia area garden (warning poisonous if eaten)

One of the hot trends in gardening for the last couple of years has been to create a lush, Southern tropical oasis right in your own back yard. Transforming a ho-hum garden into a tropical paradise by using masses of brightly coloured blooms or attractive berries set off by a rich tapestry of foliage is possible to achieve, even in northern climates. Combining colour and selecting plants for their strong architectural value allows gardeners to create dramatic scenes in the garden giving the image of a tropical paradise from far, far away.

Tender variegated ginger and 'Dragon Wing' begonia in an Oklahoma garden

The trend toward creating exotic, tropical gardens around northern homes has been made become popular by gardeners who want to create a

Continue reading … Creating a Tropical Oasis in a Northern Garden