Cistus Nursery

The second installment of my recent visit to Oregon and Washington (or How I Mispronounced Botanical Latin for Six Days While Touring Gardens and Nurseries of the Pacific Northwest). My own peculiar zonal filter can’t help but color these posts; for example, I did feel a special affinity for our next destination, Sean Hogan’s nursery […]

summer 2012 road trip: Pacific Northwest

I find vacations in the Pacific Northwest have a lot in common with Chinese food; after being home for a few days, you’re hungry for another serving of Puget Sound, please. I’m sitting at a table in my garden in Southern California, staring up at a piercingly blue sky, like a child’s crayon drawing of […]

a week in the PNW

Day one of a week touring gardens and nurseries in the Pacific Northwest. Here’s a clue to our first stop after landing in Portland, Oregon.

Still stumped? More clues…

Obviously, this can only be Loree’s incredible garden (the Danger Garden), which we toured the day after it appeared in Apartment […]

The Low Line (really)

Credit goes to New York for currently being the city with the most moxie, ingenuity, and brass-balled chutzpah in creating new public parks. (See Frank Bruni’s 7/14/12 piece in the NYT’s Sunday Review “Our Newly Lush Life.”) New York’s recent success with parks illustrates two important points: Where space is at a premium, look again […]

Bloom Day July 2012

I’m taking the last few weeks of July off work, which means sitting at a computer is the last thing I want to do. But miss a Bloom Day? Never! Since I’m heading out on more adventures this week, I’m going to rush through a few photos of my garden and then add in a […]

Natural Discourse at UCBG opens 7/14/12

For the past several months, I’ve been following the development of Natural Discourse, the collaboration of artists with the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley, and now we can see the outcome of their efforts at the official opening this Saturday, July 14, 2012. Not to be missed if you’re in the Bay Area […]


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 economy needs one too. One of the best reads I’ve had in weeks. Rather than […]

talk to me about the weather

When I was a callow youth, a period of uncertain beginning and dubious ending, if all you could talk about was the weather, you had my sympathy. (Possibly you also had my barely concealed disdain as well as sympathy. I was that callow.) Weather conversation was a fallback adults used to avoid discussing all the […]

Lotus jacobaeus’ nonstop summer concert

a summer garden is a lot like an outdoor jazz concert, the surprising improvisations and unexpected solos. I checked past Bloom Day posts, and this nearly black-flowered lotus started its nonstop performance back in January. This short-lived perennial for zones 9-11 is endemic to the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of West Africa, islands […]

salvias, large and small

Two salvias new to my garden, both in bloom this first week of July.

Looking at these photos, I can easily imagine a response of: You’re kidding. Those washed-out things? So what? Why I find certain plants appealing is a perpetual mystery, but a possible clue is the element of surprise that reseeders add to […]