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Showing posts from February, 2016

Marin artistry

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Of course, the ultimate garden art is the plant itself: and fortunate are gardeners like those in coastal California who can grow staghorn ferns on their walls. Our hosts the last few days have a garden brimming with beautiful plants, grown to perfection. Robin owns an extensive nursery with five hundred species and thousands of taxa of Geraniaceae: to try and capture all that in a blog is daunting. But I have admired the various pieces of garden art (mostly mounted on the walls of their spacious home) and realized that these tell a tale: I suspect all of our gardens do this as well. The plans and the symbolic tokens we choose to accompany them...


Seeing this you might not be surprised to learn that the Master of the house is an enthusiastic birder who's traveled the ends of the earth to enjoy birds in their wild habitats...


Both occupants of this home come from that "Sunburned country"--so the omnipresent, ubiquitous solar effigies are no accident...



I have always admi…

Heroes of my Habitat!

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Everyone needs a hero: I happen to have two! I was attracted to horticulture due to my obsession with plants, but people keep finding their way to me and into my heart: in the last two years this extraordinary couple have become two of my dearest friends and professional colleagues. Lynn (on the left) is a keen gardener and her husband Don Ireland (on the right) is a powerhouse "doer": he makes things happen. They live in a condominium complex of over 250 units: Don became president of their homeowner's board, and has helped them save unbelievable quantities of water (and money) by bringing state of the art conservation indoors and out--we're talking MILLIONS of gallons a year. In the process these two have replaced the tired, "clean and green" landscapes of overgrown junipers and threadbare bluegrass with literally acres of spectacular water-wise plantings.



This rather bleak expanse shows one of the "showier" flower beds that the Irelands inheri…

Snow in the summer, memory in winter...

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We've been looking at snow for months this winter: ironic that I'm waxing nostalgic for a plant that goes by the common name of "snow in the summer"--but nostalgic I am. And with good reason...as you will see anon. As snooty plantsmen, we're supposed too look down our noses as annuals (particularly COMMON annuals), and not many plants are commoner than this. Common in the sense that it is widely sold by seed catalogs. I have seen it in cottage gardens in Kazakhstan, in Europe and even in South Africa. And there was a time it was common in nature...


For years I would drive on the "Boulder Denver Turnpike" (as we called it back then--and old timers still do: it's Highway 36 to most folk now).  Come to think of it, really old timers called it the Denver Boulder Toll Road (prophetic words those). Anyway, I commuted weekly on this for decades, and year in year out there would be these extraordinary billow mounds on one side of the road. I'd crane m…

Colorado! or bust (Mementos from EXACTLY five and a half years ago...)

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Blame the Ratzeputz gang--a half dozen or so keen nurserymen/seedsmen/designers from around the world who swoop in on Colorado every few years and twist my arm (ever so willingly) to show them around. I show these pictures because these are the sorts of things you will see if you sign up for the North American Rock Garden Society's SPECTACULAR annual general meeting that will take place just north of where these pictures were taken, with many of the same plants and vistas: just click HERE and you can find out about that meeting (120 people are signed up already--better sign up too before you are SHUT OUT!)

 A breathtaking garden of one of the Ratzeputz near Carbondale: Tom is a landscape architect by training who ran a nursery in the Appalachians for years before moving to Colorado in the late 1990's: he is a force to be reckoned with!

I may come back and drone on about the plants: but I don't want to delay these images from you: check back in a week and you can hear me c…