Homegrown Holiday

We love embellishing simple evergreen wreaths and holiday containers with homegrown berries, dried flowers, grasses, pinecones and evergreen herbs. This year we used dried hydrangeas, ‘Winter Red’ winterberries, dried sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ flower heads, found pinecones from our white pine and the neighbor’s Austrian pine (which were, of course, on our property), seed heads from switch grass and lavender leaves. In the front door containers, we... Read More

Winter Color in the Garden

Once upon a time the fashionable winter garden was a boring line of evergreen spheres. We were afraid of brown and tan and golden flax. We were afraid to see a plant at rest or at the end of its lifecycle. Deciduous hollies (ilex verticillata), limelight hydrangeas (hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’), and switch grass (panicum virgatum ‘Dallas Blues’) are some of my favorite plants for texture, movement and color in the winter garden. You can still plant... Read More

Faux Follies and Fake Ruins

I am creating a secret garden for a client that needs a wall. I want something that stops the eye as you stroll down the path- something to prevent you from seeing the whole view at once. Often, as any good landscape architect would, I use plants to create mystery and define spaces. Plants are walls. A well placed tree or shrub will conceal or reveal a view allowing it to unfold as you walk through a garden. But this garden needs an actual wall, wall- or part of one. More accurately,... Read More

Winter Aromatherapy: Lemons

Sure, if you live in California, Texas or Florida winter gloom is no big deal for you. You can run outside and pick fresh lemons from your own lemon tree this time of year. The rest of us have to grow citrus indoors to harvest our own. The smell of fresh lemons actually boosts our mood. Truly. It’s a scientific fact I read somewhere. Laura is enjoying some Lemony Pie made with Meyer lemons. The recipe is in my new book, The Kitchen Garden Companion, due out in the fall... Read More

Shortbread with Lavender Sugar

I have been practicing a little alchemy in the kitchen. My grand experiment involved sugar and fruit with the goal of vibrantly tainting the white crystals and adding flavor. It began with a quest to add a little oomph to the lavender sugar sprinkled on my homemade shortbread. The fragrant dried lavender flavor was wonderful it just needed some color. Heaven forbid I should use food coloring- I rummaged through my refrigerator for inspiration. I started with a secret combination... Read More