Square Stems & Other Botanical Curiosities

Studying taxonomic classification and “keying” out the physical characteristics of plants almost 18 years ago was incredibly absorbing, but the detailed vocabulary has mostly slipped from memory from disuse. Still, it’s a rare occasion that I look at a salvia without noting their square stems and opposite leaves. Salvia madrensis must have the squarest stems […]

A Summer Afternoon

Photograph entitled “A Summer Afternoon” by Olivia Parker.

That plane shadow could be the DC-3 that flies over our garden twice a day, bringing supplies to Catalina Island. The leaf shadow, Arundo donax. Looking at this photo, I feel I’m in my garden as much as looking out the window on the garden in […]

Dinner at Dustin’s

A word of advice. An invitation to dinner at Dustin’s should never be passed up. Yes, he is a wonderful cook (Salade Niçoise with salmon, chocolate ganache torte). But prowling around his garden to see what he’s been up to is the real treat. Take this sapote tree, for instance, with resplendent floodlit trunk gleaming […]

Palms & Lawn

I’ve had a very interesting past couple of days. (Interesting in my usual narrow, horticultural sense of the word.) Thursday I finally made it to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to check out up close the new Eli Broad wing built by Renzo Piano and landscaped by artist Robert Irwin, conceived of principally […]

Foreword to Piet Oudolf Landscapes in Landscapes

I didn’t dare take this beautiful book on the recent camping trip, so it sat waiting in a quiet house. A couple pages behind the cover’s brisk Helvetica type is this arresting foreword by Robert Hammond, co-founder of the High Line in New York City, which is as far as I got into the book. […]

Into The Fog

Every August we head for mists and fogs, usually those that creep on cat’s paws and shroud the coastline of Oregon. But this year, squeezed by budget and time constraints, we took the advice of Far Out Flora and Gardenbook and opted to give the much-closer Northern California coast of Mendocino a try as a […]

Foliage Follow-Up August 2011

Thank goodness Pam at Digging hosts a Foliage Follow-Up to May Dreams Gardens Bloom Day. The blooming lineup in my July Bloom Day post can stand in with very little revision for August. Holding down the fort and keeping the hummingbirds and insects happy in August is the same bunch of long-blooming salvias, gaura, knautia, […]

Inter-City Cactus Show & Sale

I went to the show, had my mind blown, took some pictures. In other words, a typical succulent show…except that I introduced myself to a best-selling author on succulents in the landscape and containers and then gushed and fawned and stammered and…oh, the shame!

But the plants loved being fawned over. What utter showboats.

I’m […]

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 about his garden, knew every inch of it, but had it all designed, constructed, planted, […]

Devils in the Details

I’ve been pestering MB Maher to shake loose some more video work, and he keeps telling me the coffers are empty at the moment, that he’s hard at work on a new series on designers tentatively titled Field Studies. However, he agreed to make a trailer for AGO readers of a piece in this series […]