Personal Garden Coach

The Motivational Gardener at Large

A Summer Summary Garden Tour October 2, 2013

Except for one freeze that lasted two days this last winter, here in the greater Seattle area you could safely say that ours was the winter that never happened. Consequently, between the release of Fine Foliage in the spring, my own business and my nursery work, there was no real need for me to update much of my garden for spring and summer this year, it was looking pretty darn good.

Then, in the waning days of August, I received a call from a magazine wanting to come and shoot in my teeny-tiny garden and my containers in 10 days! Scurry, scurry, scurry, rally the troops, plant, plant, plant, clean, clean, clean!

It turned out better than I ever imagined and we celebrated with an impromptu party on a lovely August evening that coincided with my birthday. It couldn’t have been a more perfect gift!

Now as autumn has placed its boot firmly in the rain and mud, this short burst of wild activity, color and enjoyment of the garden is now at its end and I trudge damply toward the clean up and pre-winterization of the garden and containers.

The one thing I did promise myself however, was that I would post a summer wrap-up of the finished (When is it ever finished?) garden for this season to share all of the hard work my friends and I put it in, in such a short time frame.

My special thanks go to Heather Little Bradley and Ryan LaPointe for their invaluable contributions in such a mad-cap few days!

Now, as it fades into the cool, low light of the shorter, wetter days of fall, I can move on to appreciating it in a whole new way. At least until chaos reigns again this spring. Plans are already brewing! :-)

Enjoy the wrap-up! Click on photos to enlarge.

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I hope this end of summer garden wrap-up tour inspired you to plan for spring and summer in your own garden for 2014. Unfortunately there are just too many plants here to list them all by name, but if you want any specifics, I am happy to oblige.

If you would like to look at more photos like these, join me on my Facebook page by clicking here.  We have fun there learning all kinds of stuff!

 

Wordless Wednesday – Pure H-O-T Drama! January 30, 2013

July 2011 Longwood 450 copy

 

“Fine Foliage” Book Preview Debuts in Fine Form August 1, 2012

Lush, rich, textured, bold, detailed, soft, feathery, spiky, romantic, elegant, sophisticated, dazzling, artistic, and dramatic are just a few of the many adjectives for the leaf. Or was that the needle? Or the blade? Or the branch? Foliage has a multitude of facets that I could NEVER be tired of it. I find it more technically alluring than most flowers. I think that’s the A-type in me though. It’s just the rich diversity of combinations that seems to be a design an itch I can never fully scratch.

In order to scratch that itch just a bit, I am thrilled present Fine Foliage published by our beloved St. Lynns Press.

The book that I am so proud to Co-Author with Karen Chapman of Le Jardinet is packed with the most stunning photography by our Principal Photographer, Ashley DeLatour of One thousand Words Photography. Our goal is to give you a book that you want to curl up with in winter and drool over pictures that give you ideas to day- dream over and a tool to use in spring to help you choose how to make that dream a reality.

When we first sat down and brainstormed this book, one of the very first thoughts that I had was to be able to explain “Why This Works” on every one of our 60 colorful combinations. I wanted to take the dreamy, artistic photos and make them an achievable risk for any level of gardener to take when armed with enough good information. We’ve taken extreme care to cover many areas of the country in different Hardiness Zones as well as design esthetics. As well as including annuals, perennials , shrubs and trees too in a simple and sophisticated format.

So who are these “Foliage-a-Holics” in Fine Foliage? I will quote Karen Chapman from her own blog here because I can’t write this any better :-) “I’m a container garden and landscape designer, serious plant-aholic, garden writer and public speaker for all things gardening. In other words I’m usually covered in a layer or two of soil, I drive everywhere with a large tarp for impromptu plant purchases and I’m truly passionate about sharing the joys of gardening.”

As for me, I would say that if you have read any of my posts you might have a fairly good idea for who I am The Personal Garden Coach, but here is the thumbnail: I’m a container designer, garden coach, garden writer, speaker and foliage-a-holic who loves to teach and see the light bulb go on when a gardener suddenly “get’s it”. I adore the entire Horticulture Industry and revel in helping others feel the same passion that I do about plants.

We have been so fortunate and honored to have the support of such respected authors  “Fine Foliage is a visual treat that will inspire you with dazzling combinations for containers and gardens. This is a great user-friendly design resource as Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz explain why each combination works, bringing artistic design within easy reach of all gardeners”. - Debra Prinzing, author of the 50-Mile Bouquet  This just makes it all the sweeter.

So where can YOU buy the book you ask? :-) St. Lynn’s Press have listed the release date for Fine Foliage as March 1st 2013, but it will be available in time for the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, Seattle in February. At the show you’ll have the opportunity to hear Karen and I present a fun seminar based on our love of designing with foliage which will be followed by a book signing.

If you simply can’t wait until February and want to save a few $$’s then be sure to pre-order Fine Foliage through these fine booksellers.

Amazon

Barnes & Noble – coming soon!

Powell’s Books

Indie Bound

For the daily action though, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We will endeavor to post THE most luscious and yummy photos and information that we can muster to hold you until your copy is available!

 

Wordless Wednesday: Container Garden Season is OPEN! May 23, 2012

 

AM Snow and PM Spring in the Garden Today March 23, 2012

Other than the sounds of snow thawing and water draining out of the unbelievably soggy lawn, you would never know that I woke up to snow this morning at 7:30am. It was a winter wonderland. Not an altogether happy one on my part, having just come back from a month away, where it was 70 in Philadelphia for 2 weeks and then 80 in Houston for almost another week. But, considering it is March in my beloved Seattle ‘Burbs, I know better than to whine. Much. :-)

Here are some pics from the garden today. Clearly, my Euphorbia’s of ALL flavors are glorious in their Pre-Easter nodding fashion. The Hebe’s  and Heuchera are pulling their weight too, and my winter container designs are quite striking in the early spring sun. I’m not sure how much of a hurry I may be in to trade them in just yet. Enjoy!

 

String Gardens and Terrariums Win Crowds at Philly Flower Show March 22, 2012

This jaded, cynical designer has a short attention span for the same old same old. I am frequently yearning to see something new and inspirational in the world of gardening. So, one of the things I look for when I spend time at a large garden show like the Philadelphia Flower Show is a creative new discovery. I was fortunate to have stumbled on more than one AND HOW, at this show!

The “String Garden” or “Kokedama” was one of the hottest  trends that I saw at the show. To be accurate, anything you could hang with a plant and a string was HOT!

One fantastic vendor, City Planter is a very popular urban garden store in Philadelphia. They had a funky booth selling this latest whimsical trend among many others that made them a hot destination at this impressive 10 acre sized show.

The City Planter shop featured these stylish string gardens for customers to see right out at eye level. Essentially, these are a moss ball with a simple single plant featured on top and wrapped to hold together with fishing line or wire then simply suspended with a strand of string. I’ve seen them hung from jute twine, wire or a waxed twine as well.

Plants options in the string gardens were varied to accommodate your light and moisture requirements, from succulents and herbs to ferns and polka-dot plants. If you would like to see a demonstration of how these are made, this post has some great directions.

String Gardens were originally brought to us by Dutch artist Fedor Van der Valk. You can read more about the artist and see some fantastic photos of his creative suspended gardens in 2 articles from Garden Design Magazine written by Claire Lui. The first article posted in January of this year and then highlights posted again here in March 2012.

I was impressed at how varied the options were in the plants that they were offering in the string gardens. String Gardens are a fun and creative option for a plant craft to try that won’t cost a fortune. Imagine the possibilities of plants that you could try!

This popular show shop also offered some of the most sophisticated little glass terrariums I’ve ever seen. A rectangular glass box with an opening at the top for planting and a tiny hole in back to hang from a nail. They had added some decorative rock in showy layers, some ornamental moss and a few air plants, voila! Any beginning gardener could easily keep this alive and in style too.

Also among the fashionable offerings from City Planter were the extremely popular Moss Rocks by David Spain, as seen on Martha Stewart recently. Irregularly shaped, small ceramic rock shapes, glazed in trendy colors, sport a little tuffet of moss on top like a miniature crew cut. These charming, colorful living sculptures are an adorable little bit of Zen for your desk, counter top and coffee table.

Chive.com offered a beautiful and sophisticated booth featuring simple design that shows off the beauty of the flower. Hanging vases on a string were a very popular item as well as the ceramic 60’s style throwback hanging vases.

Cloches were also everywhere at the show, next to Terrariums these were one of the trends at the show that would draw the most passionate response that I would over hear from attendees. Cloches are easy to create and change a look on a table top in moments on a whim.

This lovely little cloche display was on only a small part of the charming and popular shop at the Philly Flower Show set up by Jerry Fritz and his team from Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, Pennsylvania.

Possibly one of my favorite finds at the whole Philly Flower Show however was the booth from Twig Terrariums. They not only had the String Gardens but the Terrariums and Miniatures were literally the ONLY ones in the whole market/vendor portion of the show and they were simply WOW!

Each little world was depicting actions and characters not only in a terrarium environment, but in a completely new, contemporary light. I have truly never seen anything like it. It was enchanting to say the least. I’m not sure the pictures do it justice. Yes, I LOVED them THAT much. :-) If you want to read a great book about Terrariums, this one is beautiful!

Small wonders were abundant at this ginormous show in the unusually warm spring of 2012. Even this old designer found out that there really ARE new things out there that still make this gardener’s heart flutter. :-)

 

Glass + Art = Landscape Jewelry February 26, 2012

Art in the garden is just one way to express your own statement of style and personality. As a designer who is like a cat attracted to shiny objects, glass is very difficult for me to resist. Many of my clients have budding collections of glass garden art and I have to admit my jealousy. I endeavor to have my own collection someday too. :-)

Luckily for me, I have a friend, Barbara Sanderson of Glass Gardens NW and she graciously allows me to have fun designing with her glass frequently. Barbara’s art has been recognized across the country in magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens and Fine Gardening, blogs and at large shows across the country including the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

This year at the 2012 Northwest Flower and Garden Show, Barbara created a custom design for an award winning display garden, created by Sublime Garden Design where she made a flickering glass fire, one of the focal point pieces in the display. They were gorgeous!! I could see those in someones home where a real fire might not be feasible, but the ambiance is desired.

Here is what it looked like in the display- very elegant!

The Glass Gardens NW booth was bedecked in garden jewelry! Here are some pictures of what was being snapped up during the four day extravaganza where gardens and art collide.

Glass Flowers

Glass Flowers

Icicles lit up from within and Glass Leaves

Truly Garden Jewelry! Water Features- SO pretty

Birdbaths, Flowers and Water Features

HOT sellers- Birds and Cattails!

Containers designed by The Personal Garden Coach with Glacicles and Leaves

Below is a slide showing the “Fiddlesticks” that are so popular for Glass Gardens NW in a container that I designed.

Fiddlesticks in Spring fresh colors!

Here is a peak at some glass art from Glass Gardens NW in containers by The Personal Garden Coach. :-)

Left is a brand new design for 2012 "Glacicles"

Colorful glass leaves!

 

Glacicles in the snow!!

Now THAT is some winter color!

 

I hope you enjoyed this little bit of Garden Jewelry, for more information, you can also reach Glass Gardens NW via Facebook too. Go “LIKE” the page!  Be sure to look for more great Garden Art ideas coming soon from my visit to the Philadelphia Flower and Garden Show!

 

 

2012 Northwest Flower and Garden Show – Miniature Gardening Craze February 21, 2012

The Miniature Gardening craze is finally getting the recognition it deserves. You must know that I am quite biased on this topic as I have connections to THE BEST in Miniature Gardening in the form of my friend Janit Calvo, owner and designer at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center.

Janit and I partnered on our Container Garden Display at the 2011 Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Our theme, “Eat, Pray, Love” was a big hit! Janit displayed all three parts of the book/movie in Mini-Container Gardens! I designed the accompanying tropical themed larger containers for our backdrop themed in Thailand.


This year at the 2012 Northwest Flower and Garden Show, Janit took the Fairy Themed Gardens in her display to a whole new level of fantasy! Many of you may not know that Janit is a trained artist far beyond what anyone would guess-she’s amazing! She had some great fun embellishing the containers in her display. Little gems and glitter were everywhere in this cheery display on the Skybridge of the Seattle Convention Center. This lovely little spot was a magnet for people to spend few minutes, admiring and analyzing new details with every pass. In the evening was when it really came alive, with twinkling lights and sparkle bits, though I had a  hard time capturing that light with my camera to show you here.

Janit and her husband Steve ran a delightful little shop booth at the show too! They sold a serious quantity of everything you can imagine needing to create your own Mini-Garden of ALL shapes sizes and style. From plants to miniature Robots, if you couldn’t find something to fit your gardening personality in small form at this booth- it isn’t out there!

 

Be sure to look for Janit Calvo’s book on Miniature Gardening to come out from Timber Press in the Fall of 2012. Janit is THE authority on the topic and has been an expert for over 10 years. This book is going to be a huge hit! Until then, if you want to talk Mini-Gardening with the GURU, you can find Janit’s wonderful Two Green Thumbs Page on Facebook.

 

Choosing Winter Foliage That Says WOW! October 31, 2011

How do you choose your foliage palette for your garden? Does it vary from season to season or do you keep it a tight color scheme of just a couple of colors year round?

When I’m shopping and designing for a client in the Fall and Winter, it takes on a completely different feeling than in the abundant and effervescent summer when you can nearly throw a dart out in the nursery and hit combinations of plants that will play well together.

This time of the year I have to think much more about the textural effects and the vivid or subtle nature of foliage colors together. This raises my passion for this process to a whole new level. The challenge and yet sometimes the utter simplicity of this task when all is said and done are among my highest highs.

Recently, I had the fun opportunity to put together a couple of custom containers for a client to sell at a charity auction. I was short on time and even more short on plants at the ready. I made a special shopping trip to get a bunch of colorful options to go with the particular color of pots I had in mind.

The client’s only request was that they look very fall’ish. I was very pleased with the result, but even more so with the ease with which they went together. I based it on what I call my “Garanimals of Fall/Winter Plant List”. You can read more about this here. 

Carex 'Cappuccino', Leucothoe 'Rainbow', Heuchera 'Electra', Selaginella 'Aurea', Coprosma 'Tequila Sunrise', Euphorbia 'Helena's Blush', Creeping Wire Vine, Hebe

Now I’m onto another Fall and Winter design using foliage as the focus. I picked up a whole bunch of plants the other day and as I unloaded them from my car, I was tickled at what a great start I had from just the plants sitting in the driveway in boxes!

Tomorrow I go to get another load to go with them, since I have to get enough large-scale plants for three large containers. I’ll be looking for Nandina, Leucothoe, Choisya and maybe an Aucuba if I can find a good one.  I have some great colors and textures to riff on. The flowers from the Hellebore will be fantastic in late winter. I love how they’re happily spitting out a few blooms now too!

Of course you know I’ll get some good shots of the pots when I’m done so you can see how they turn out.  :-) I would love to hear how you see foliage in the garden working for you and how you choose them for various areas and focal points.

 

Garden Designer’s Roundtable – Getting From Here to There September 27, 2011

Path: Definition – Course or Way. Synonyms: aisle, artery, avenue, beat, beaten path, boulevard, byway, cross-cut, direction, drag, footpath, groove, highway, lane, line, pass, passage, pathway, procedure, rail, road, roadway, route, rut, shortcut, street, stroll, terrace, thoroughfare, track, trail, walk, walkway.

You can certainly look at getting from here to there from the broad perspective OR in close detail. Enjoy the collages of pictures that I gathered for you to look at getting from here to there from a few different vantage points. :-) 

Sometimes getting from here to there means focusing on the short ends of coming and goings like entrances and exits. 

More home landscapes are trending toward emphasizing the street view of the front garden with very unique and interesting entry paths and gardens. 

Creativity and artistry are shown with different materials for gates and railings that help to define the personality of the garden or homeowner’s style. 

The wide variety of path and walkway selections for materials are as vast as your imagination can envision. From decomposed granite, ground covers, brick, wood, lawn, mulch, cork, slate tiles or log rounds, you can create a path that defines your personal style and suits your environment. 

Adding beautiful places to pause and appreciate craftsmanship and artistic expression make the walk even more enjoyable! 

Repetition by using design cues and long visual lines carry the viewer along the path.

Details can make or break the design and stick in the memory of those enjoying the garden. Decorative, dramatic and unique elements make a garden memorable. 

A viewpoint at the end of a path is a dramatic and memorable component of getting from here to there. 

Grand paths create vista points in large gardens. Pull over and take a picture! 

Exits and entry’s can be unforgettable even for a casual garden. 

Sometimes a hidden garden is on the other end of the path!

Getting to this quaint seating area is a lovely experience with this well-groomed informal pathway. 

Please take some time to read and invest a comment or two in blog posts (links below) written by other Lords and Ladies of the Garden Designer’s Roundtable and most especially our esteemed guest posters Debra Prinzing and David Perry

Debra Prinzing & David Perry:  A Fresh Bouquet

Pam Penick : Digging : Austin, TX

Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In The Garden : Los Altos, CA

Jenny Peterson : J Peterson Garden Design : Austin TX

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

 

 
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