Frost Against the Panes

It is in the dead of winter that the greenhouse is at its best, for then is the contrast of life and death the greatest. Just beyond the living tender leaf — separated only by the slender film of the … Continue reading

Ephemerality

  Since June the tropical plants that winter in the greenhouse have been enjoying the summer weather outdoors. They are quite spread out — some in the orchard, others on the back terrace, the pool terrace, the parterre garden. Today … Continue reading

Lessons from English Gardens for Americans #7: Using Water Successfully

The seventh in a continuing series of design articles… Walk into any box store or garden center these days, and you’ll find an entire section devoted to water gardening. Tubs, pumps, basins galore; fish, tubing, filters and more — water … Continue reading

Lessons from English Gardens for Americans #6: Go Big, or Go Home

The sixth in a continuing series of design articles… Outdoors, it’s all about scale. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of the vignette in small gardens. In large gardens, on the other hand, small features have … Continue reading

Lessons from English Gardens for Americans #3: The Power of the Vignette

The third article in a continuing series… Little is big. That’s it. That’s the lesson. You can stop reading now. But seriously: that is essentially the lesson. As gardeners we tend to think in broad strokes, and that’s fine, generally. … Continue reading

Lessons from English Gardens for Americans #2: 3-D Gardening

The second in a continuing series It’s very easy when gardening to get stuck in two dimensions. After all, most garden plans are in two dimensions; as humans we tend to think in two dimensions; pictures, television screens and computer … Continue reading

A Tall, Dark Stranger

I have a romantic story to tell you, of a tall dark stranger that first appeared in European gardens almost a millennia ago – althea rosea, the hollyhock. But not just any hollyhock, the dusky mysterious one the Spanish called, … Continue reading

Garden Renovation Primer: Building a Sunken Garden

Under the old mantra that you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs, we are about to break a few dozen in starting our new sunken garden. Why, you may ask, build a sunken garden in the first place? … Continue reading

Hydrangeas

Plant enthusiasts have a tendency to use language rather floridly, if you’ll pardon the pun, when they describe their favorite plants. But hydrangeas are one of those species were the word “remarkable” is truly no exaggeration. How many plant families … Continue reading

The Garden Renovation Primer: In the Beginning There Was… A Lovely Old House

So many of you have asked me for advice on how to renovate old rundown landscapes over the years that I thought I would start a new series of postings taking you through the process step-by-step with one of my … Continue reading