What Really Worked – My Favorite New Plant This Year

I suppose I should have amended that title to include “New to ME This Year” because many of you will say “What? – I’ve had that one for years!” It’s not really a new plant on the market at all. Its been around a while. But, I just haven’t warmed up to STOKESIA ‘Peachie’s Pick’ (or the Stokes Aster), until now.

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I think it was the foliage pairing that did it. And me being the “Fine Foliage” girl that I am, well…ya know! The fat lavender blooms looks so great with that soft coral edge of the Acalypha wilkesiana that it just made me fall in love. What a fantastic bloomer it’s turned out to be in late summer.

Here is some information to learn more about that fabulous Stokesia.

Now for more eye candy from other wonderful garden designers on what their favorite new plant was this season. Be sure to click on their links too and learn more!

Asbell-SiamQueenhttp://www.therainforestgarden.com/

Benderhttp://thedailysouth.southernliving.com/category/the-grumpy-gardener/

Carolynhttp://www.cowlickcottagefarm.com/blog/

Chrishttp://fromthesoil.blogspot.com/

Helenhttp://gardeningwithconfidence.com/blog/

Jennyhttp://www.jpetersongardendesign.com/

Kyleehttp://ourlittleacre.com/

Shawnahttp://shawnacoronado.com/

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Sunset On A Garden – Stacie Crooks Landscape

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If you Google Stacie Crooks, you will automatically realize what a powerhouse designer you have just found if you didn’t already know about her. Stacie Crooks is a nationally recognized Seattle-based garden designer and educator. Her work has been published in the Seattle Times, Sunset magazine, Horticulture, Seattle Homes & Lifestyles, Seattle Metropolitan and Fine Gardening. Stacie’s work appears in books written by Valerie Easton, Julie Moir Messervy, and Marty Wingate and several Sunset books.

As if that weren’t enough, Stacie also served on the Board at the historic Dunn Garden for 10 years and is currently serving as a trustee for the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island.

Stacie’s affiliation with these additional organizations is impressive indeed: Northwest Horticultural Society, Pacific Horticultural Society, Historic Dunn Garden, Bellevue Botanical Garden Society, Northwest Perennial Alliance, Garden Conservancy, and the American Horticultural Society.

Now Stacie is preparing to enter a new chapter in her life and this means selling her home and garden of over 20 years, and moving on to an exciting opportunity to start over in a new location. She doesn’t yet know what this new adventure looks like yet, but she says “No matter what, I am going to have a pool!”

I was VERY privileged to be invited to join a small group at Stacie’s home recently for a yearly garden soiree’. Generously, Stacie allowed me to come and visit her garden early for an opportunity to get photos on a warm sunny evening. So, I took advantage of the late day light and got as many pictures as I could.

The mature garden is fat and fluffy, sophisticated and serene. But, above all, its low maintenance and drought tolerant, one of Stacie’s signature design esthetics. Below are some of my favorite shots from that wonderful evening.
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The abundant look of the borders is carefully color coordinated and yet casually elegant.

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As the sun began to set and I was losing my light, my focus was no longer on the garden but on the beautiful and amazingly talented group of women at this soiree’.

Soiree July 2013

L-R: Stacie Crooks, Christina Salwitz, Nita-Jo Rountree, Marty Wingate, Gillian Matthews, Debra Prinzing, Janet Endsley, Tina Dixon

Lucky for me, I got to meet new friends, say farewell to an amazing landscape and look forward to having the opportunity to see the sun rise on Stacie Crooks new adventures.🙂

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Garden Designers Roundtable – Maintenance

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Does this garden look low maintenance to you?

As The Personal Garden Coach, one of the TOP things that clients ask for most frequently is a “Low Maintenance” garden. My job is to ask a lot of questions, delve into the sometimes hidden meanings of key phrases and find out what this means to each individual gardener. It can have a HUGE number of variations.

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The idea of maintaining our landscape has different meaning to different people, depending on what your experiences and soft spots might be.  Here are a few of the hidden meanings behind this phrase “I want a LOW Maintenance landscape or garden.”:

1) My parents made me weed and mow the lawn as a kid, I don’t want to be in a position tobe “forced” into hard labor on my valuable weekend ever again.

2) We just removed a giant juniper and an over grown rhododendron that I’ve been hacking back now every year for the last 10 years and I don’t want to deal with THAT again.

3) Does it bloom? If so, I don’t want to deal with it.

4) I have a dog/deer that eats my landscape, I don’t want to deal with that.

5) I want my mow and blow guys to deal with it.

6) ***My personal favorite – Why can’t I put that 20 foot shrub/tree in the garden? I can just machete it to three feet right?

Once we have determined what exactly your specific “issues” are with maintenance, then we can get down to the nitty-gritty of the topic. HOW MUCH maintenance time are you willing to put into your landscape?

20 minutes per day after work with a glass of wine or a beer in hand?

Quickie weekend mowing, edging and catch a weed here and there?

One day per month, filling the yard waste bin and planting?

Full blown weekend warrior with projects like installing a terrace of pavers and
building an arbor after visiting the nursery in the morning?

It’s likely that you’re somewhere in the middle of all of those typical scenarios. My point is that we’re often not terribly conscious of what we really can or even want to commit to doing when it comes to caring for our landscape. Its really important that you’re realistic with yourself and what you will be up for when it comes to the weekly labor of love that it takes to care for a beautiful landscape.

On the flip side however, there are many people out there who also automatically assume that a particular landscape automatically MUST be a high maintenance and laborious place to be if it looks THAT great. I am here to tell you that it’s not so at all!

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A very low maintenance vignette

It’s all really about how you view your commitment of money, time and labor, right? I am forever telling my clients that I think it’s really un-cool for a plant to be taking up real estate space in my landscape, space that I’m paying a mortgage and taxes on, and this plant (whatever it might be) has the NERVE to send up suckers everywhere, bloom for MAYBE a month out of twelve, not have ANY interesting fall color and zero winter interest. Ugh…..

If I’m going to be spending MY money, time and labor on a plant or a planting plan for that matter, I want it to have as much bang for my buck as I can get. That’s at the heart of the idea of “right plant- right place” in my opinion. But, let’s also be certain not to forget that a low maintenance landscape is also set up for success before you have any maintenance problems anyway, right?

Proper plant spacing, efficient and effective watering techniques and above all, excellent soils and mulches that support your plant investment and deter weeds. This is the insurance policy that you take out when you are “Pro-active and not re-active” when it comes to maintaining your garden and landscape.

Cutting the lawnNow, there is such a thing as an “Over-maintained” landscape too. We’ve all seen that right? Hedges clipped to within and inch of their life. Trees pruned into strange and alien shapes. The space between the plants is SO aggressively raked that you can see the roots of the trees on the surface of the soil. This is a topic that I could spend days on by itself.

Maintenance of your garden or landscape is a commitment to consider for sure when you’re planning or remodeling. Be sure to take the care advice on plants from your local independent garden center sales person, county extension agent/master gardener or horticulturist. It will keep your expectations realistic and your goals achievable. Also, remember that what might SEEM low maintenance to one person might be an astronomically high investment in time and energy to another. That’s why good guidance is SO crucial!

To see more fabulous blog posts from the other Lords and Ladies of the Roundtable please follow these links below:

David Cristiani : The Desert Edge : Albuquerque, NM

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

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

Mary Gallagher Gray : Black Walnut Dispatch : Washington, D.C.

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Garden Designers Roundtable – Celebrating Trees

The definition of Dendrolatry: Tree worship, refers to the tendency of many societies throughout history to worship or otherwise mythologize trees.

If that is true, then yes, I am hopelessly guilty. I admit it, I have had a close relationship with trees from a very young age. Trees have had a significant place in my life spiritually as well. But, then again, so has most of man for as long as we’ve been around. Here is a great link to learn more.

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Whether it is because of their inherent elegance, grace and majestic beauty…

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Or their winter interest….

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Or Autumn color against a blue sky…

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Or magnificent flower…..

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Foliage that can’t be denied…..

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A conifer of striking color and dimension…..

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Or simply a sacred place to rest and contemplate the world…

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Trees are magical, mystical and ever present beauties that we dare not take for granted. They are the life blood of this amazing planet that give us the oxygen to fill our lungs, paint our hearts with color and shade and heat our homes.

Planting a tree is the ultimate act of positivity about the future.

Tattoo 2013

To see more fabulous blog posts from the other Lords and Ladies of the Roundtable please follow these links below:

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

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

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

David Cristiani : The Desert Edge : Albuquerque, NM

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT

Douglas Owens-Pike: EnergyScapes Inc. : Minneapolis. MN.

Book Review and Tool Give-Away Party: Indoor Plant DĂ©cor

Book Review: Indoor Plant DĂ©cor

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by Kylee Baumle & Jenny Peterson

160 pages
St. Lynn’s Press, 2013
List Price: $16.95

This jewel of a book is not only a bountiful little purse-sized plant shopping companion to take with you to the greenhouse, it’s a style and inspiration powerhouse for your home’s houseplants. If you feel challenged by choosing plants for your home and bewildered by the array of choices, then Kylee and Jenny have your answers, by giving you the elements to succeed with 21st century charisma.
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Starting with a guide to eight dĂ©cor styles to springboard from, readers will begin to understand what they can do to create the comfortable and warm feeling that the houseplants bring to your home. From Peaceful Zen to Vintage, each styleboard has gorgeous images and dĂ©cor style ideas provide you with tips, tricks,  how-to’s and care instructions to bring your design ideas to life. Plus, they have taken great care to give options for low maintenance plants as well as options for those of you who are not afraid of a plant Diva or two.

Indoor Plant Décor really takes the idea of customizing your houseplant displays to another level of inspiration. With emphasis on textures, colors and home décor in addition to plant selection, this book takes a holistic approach to interior landscaping. Artwork, fabrics, lighting, flooring and more go into each carefully considered combination.

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In the care and feeding of plants section titled Practical Matters, Kylee and Jenny begin with the admission that they too have also killed houseplants, like the rest of us. They offer enthusiastic encouragement up, its OK, keep trying, no guilt here. How refreshing!

The Houseplants at a Glance sections are genius, laid out according to the ease of maintenance with such group titles as Easy Breezy, Moderately Manageable, and Design Diva’s the reader will find options for every location in the house.

Whether your design style is simple, traditional or wacky, you are going be so inspired with the ideas in Indoor Plant DĂ©cor you will want to get in your car and immediately head to your local greenhouse for some new plants to dress up your home!

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St. Lynn’s Press graciously supplied me with a copy of Indoor Plant DĂ©cor for my review but you can order your very own copy NOW on Amazon.com right here!

Kylee Baumle enjoys photographing gardens as much as she does tending to them. Her photos have been published in trade catalogs, garden magazines and books. She writes for several gardening publications, has a weekly local newspaper column on gardening and has appeared on America’s Web Radio show, America’s Homegrown Veggies, the web TV show, Garden World Report, and has been a guest host on the popular #gardenchat on Twitter. Kylee currently shares living space in rural Ohio with her husband, two cats, and over 200 plants in their house and conservatory.
Read Kylee’s great blog, Our Little Acre here!

Jenny Peterson lives in Austin, Texas. She is a landscape designer and freelance writer specializing in small spaces. Her deign work has bee featured in Garden Up! (Cool Springs Press, 2011) on vertical gardening, in Small-Space Container Gardens (Timber Press, 2012), and in Horticulture and Cottages & Bungalows magazines.  She is a horticulturist and a member of the Garden Designers Roundtable. She writes on her blog, J.Peterson Garden Design (www.jpetersongardendesign) and is a regional writer for Houzz.com.
Read Jenny’s fabulous blog here!

Excited about designing with houseplants? Want to win a GREAT tool for helping to care for your new plants? YES you do! Leave a comment on this post and you are automatically entered to win this lovely watering can for your houseplants courtesy of Master Gardner!
(Give-Away is open to US residents only)

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Master Gardner is giving away this adorable Stainless Steel Watering Can.

Also –

Several other bloggers are participating in this virtual book tour, each offering a different prize. Visit each blog and leave a comment on the giveaway post for a chance to win that prize. The more blogs you visit, the more opportunities for you to win some goodies!

Steve Asbell – The Rainforest Garden
Debra Lee Baldwin – Gardening Gone Wild
Carolyn Binder – Cowlick Cottage Farm
Shawna Coronado – Shawna Coronado
Charlotte Germane – Dirt Du Jour
Pam Penick – Digging
Stacy Risenmay – Not Just a Housewife
Erin Schanen – The Impatient Gardener
Rebecca Sweet – Gossip in the Garden

Robin Horton – Urban Gardens

A FAST Fine Foliage Give-Away!

FINE FOLIAGE GIVEAWAY

What do I win?

One signed copy of Fine Foliage

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Where?

On our blog www.fine-foliage.com (note the hyphen)

When?

Right now!! Drawing will take place at midnight Saturday March 16th PST and the book mailed out first thing Monday.

What do I do to enter?

Head over to www.fine-foliage.com and follow the link to sign up for our blog. It’s that easy! Everyone that is registered will be entered into a random drawing. The winner will be notified by email within 24 hours and the winners name will also be posted on the blog itself.

Christina and Karen Portrait