Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Monday, October 30, 2006

Great Snow

That big dump of wet snow last week was just the thing our gardens needed! There is no way to artificially apply a long, slow drink of water like that. Luckily, none of my plants were damaged, although many of them still have their foliage. Most of the broken branches I've seen have been from the usual suspects---Siberian elms, poplars, or silver maples. Avoid those trees like the plague! Yes, they're cheap and yes, they grow fast, but they just don't hold up well in our climate.

Snow squirrel sculpture by Erin Chilvers, October 26, 2006. You're never too old to play in the snow!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Great Nursery

During my vacation I got to visit a small nursery in McKinleyville, CA, Singing Tree Gardens . They specialize in azaleas and dwarf conifers but feature many other interesting plants as well, some that may translate to our area if you have the right microclimate. Their retail area is very charming in that it is set up as a display garden to be shopped from, as opposed to plain rows, and grassy paths instead of gravel. Fun and appropriate given the small setting.

In this photo I'm using my patented "It'll get about this big" gesture!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I'm Baaaaaack!

Wow! Nothing beats a great vacation for refreshing and reinvigotating your attitude! I had a great time in far Northern California (locals call it "The North Coast") enjoying the sights, eating fresh seafood, playing with fabric, and enjoying the company of my terrific sister and brother-in-law.

Photos include: 1. Ocean view South of Ferndale, CA. 2. View of a classic garden of lavenders, grasses, barberry, heaths and heathers. 3. Foliage of the ubiquitous New Zealand Flax (Phormium).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Gone Fishin'

This is just one of the many fabulous beach vistas I'll be enjoying during the next two weeks; I'm headed off to beautiful Humboldt County in Northern California. I'm hoping to provide some posts and pictures featuring some of the beautiful native and cultivated plants/landscapes of that region---so different from our own. But my top priority is to help my sister celebrate her 5oth birthday in grand style, so we'll see!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Perfect Timing

Boy, did I get lucky! Last week I scheduled my lawn to be aerated today. With yesterday's moisture, the crew was able to pull nice, deep plugs from my sod. If you haven't aerated yet this year, or you had a lot of compaction on your lawn areas over the summer, you might want to aerate this month. Aeration in Spring and/or Fall is one of the best things you can do to promote better water and air movement into the soil. This is also the best month to give your bluegrass or fescue lawn its last dose of fertilizer.

Meet . . . Rhus!

Rhus, or Sumac, as they're known, are common shrubs in our area and popular for their brilliant red and orange fall foliage. They are all drought tolerant and do well in poor soils. Heights can range from about 2' to 10', so make sure you have the right plant for your specific planting location. Unfortunately, both the Smooth Sumac, Rhus glabra-such as the cutleaf variety shown in this photo, and the Staghorn Sumac, Rhus typhina, tend to sucker and can become invasive.

One of my favorites is the Grow- Low Fragrant Sumac, Rhus aromatica 'Grow-Low'. It's an excellent xeriscape plant with a low, broad form (2'x6') that works well with other shrubs or perennials. It also has small, fuzzy red berries that the birds love. Try this plant with Pinon pine and rabbit brush.

Monday, October 09, 2006

My Favorite Rake

We all have our favorite tools---whether it's in the kitchen, the garage, or the garden. Tools that are the right size or the right weight or are just beautifully crafted, like this bamboo rake. It's really nothing fancy, and it would probably be too heavy for me to use for a long period of time. But I like the sound it makes pulling through the leaves and across the grass. And I like using a tool made of organic materials when I work out in the garden. It just fits.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Don't Miss It!

Fiber Translations is an exhibit of fiber art by four Denver area artists (including yours truly!) that is now on view in the Radius Gallery at Lakewood's Heritage Center. The work includes both two and three dimensional pieces that reflect the artists' interpretations of the seen and unseen world around us. Each artist has a unique voice and a unique vision---individual translations, if you will. My work is inspired, of course, by both the natural and man-made landscape; colors, themes, and assemblage techniques all reflect the ever changing organic world in which we live.

The gallery is located in the Visitor Center at 801 S. Yarrow (Wadsworth and Ohio). Hours: 10 am to 4 pm, Mon-Fri, and noon to 4 pm Sat.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Take a Seat . . .

. . . Any seat! One of the most valuable components of a landscape, whether large or small, is destination seating. Every garden should have a spot where you can sit and relax, dream and scheme! More importantly, a place to stop and view the garden away from your main window or patio/deck view gives you a whole new vista to appreciate. It's almost like getting two gardens for the price of one!

Another reason to create a destination seating area is that it will pull you into the garden. There's nothing like actually walking through the space, instead of just viewing it as a static "picture", to get you interacting with nature again.

And finally, a pair of chairs - like those in the Denver garden (bottom photo), a teak bench - like the one in my garden (top photo), a large boulder, etc. can also act as a focal point in the garden. Try and select a seat that is harmonious in color, materials, or character to other furnishings in your landscape. Choose materials that are low maintenance or attractive to you in their rustic state. Also think about weight - you don't want something that will end up in the next county every time the wind blows.

Now sit back and enjoy!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Save Water

As we enter the month of October it's time again to ratchet down your water use in the landscape. Historical data shows that lawns need only 1/2" of water per week this month. Reset your clock or reset your timer---just be ready to use less water this month!