Category Archives: essay

letter from sagehen creek field station

(Shirley Watts’ series of symposia entitled Natural Discourse, bringing scientists and artists into botanical gardens to make site-specific work, has taken on an even fiercer urgency seven years after its inception in 2012, as scientists and artists grapple with the … Continue reading

Posted in artists, climate, essay, MB Maher, photography, science | 4 Comments

plants and rocks; the basics

If your idea of a good life means being surrounded by plants, chances are you love having a few rocks around too, even if only in a haphazard, barely intentional way. Perhaps small rock mementos from travels naturally seem to … Continue reading

Posted in agaves, woody lilies, climate, creatures, design, essay, MB Maher, succulents | 5 Comments

High Line jeremiad

Some interesting Sunday reading to be found in another nuanced, contrarian view of the High Line Park in New York City. I know, not another post on the High Line! I can’t help it, I’m utterly fascinated by this subject. … Continue reading

Posted in design, essay, garden travel, garden visit | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments


I will be forever indebted to *Eric Liu and Nick Hannauer for coining the word “Gardenbrain” in their op-ed in the 7/10/12 edition of The New York Times “The Machine and the Garden.” I’ve always had one. Turns out our … Continue reading

Posted in books, essay, pots and containers | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hazel White: Aesthetics of Inundation

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden’s symposium “Natural Discourse” held February 10, 2012, has been constantly in my thoughts this past week, whether riding the train, driving freeways, staring at the garden. I’d never visited UCBG before and found the physical location … Continue reading

Posted in agaves, woody lilies, design, essay, garden travel, garden visit, MB Maher | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

fertilizer and its discontents

My dainty coronilla reminds me of Cytisus battandieri a little bit, which is another member of the vast legume family. All legumes have the ability to convert and “fix” atmospheric nitrogen, making it available to plants as a natural fertilizer. … Continue reading

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“Gardens: An Essay” by Robert Pogue Harrison

Strange how, even in the most unlikely places, thoughts can still turn to gardens. Jury duty last week had me confined for a good part of Friday in a large, drab room full of strangers, all of us potential jurors … Continue reading

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Arguing With A Bad-Tempered Gardener

What an odd concept, to separate enjoyment of gardens from the process of garden-making. A garden magazine article a couple months ago introduced me to this astonishing notion, when it profiled the owner of a complex garden who spoke intelligently … Continue reading

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Geared Up

Apart from tools, very little gear is required to garden. It can be done in your bathrobe, coffee cup in one hand, spade in the other. No special shoes are required. Hats and style of clothing mostly depend on how … Continue reading

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Unnamed Future Garden Project

Yesterday started out great. I won a pair of boots from Plant Talk. I’m purposely avoiding my typical over-reliance on hyperbole because there are simply no words to adequately describe this event. Thrilling? Way beyond thrilling. In this case, thrilling … Continue reading

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