Warning Will Robinson! Warning!

Today I met with a new client to document the area in which I would be helping them – replacing their existing deck and the garden in the immediate vicinity. I followed the owner around on the deck as we noted what bad shape it is in. Then I found out just how bad the deck’s shape really is. My foot went through one of the 1 x 4 boards! So this evening I’m nursing a sore leg, tailbone, shoulder and neck. If you smell something like rotting wood when you step onto an old deck, don’t step on it with your feet in alignment with a board. Rather, step crosswise and try to step only where you will also be above a joist that is holding up the deck.

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More than a pretty picture: The Ruth Bancroft Garden

BancroftGarden1Last Friday afternoon I had the pleasure of visiting the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, CA. Beyond the amazing plants I could see and photograph were considerable, as yet, winter-covered plants. Many plants still had their protective, plastic-covered frames over them, providing me with good ideas for how to do the same in my own garden. The 2 x 2 frames had heavy plastic, typically used to cover a hoop house, stapled all around the frame, but about 2 inches from the ground to allow air circulation.

Beautiful Yuccas, Agaves taller than me, blooming Aloes and many other succulents caught my eye everywhere I looked. Even on a cloudy, cold afternoon, I could feel sunshine emanating from these plants. Even the gorgeous bark of Eucalyptus felt sunny. I can hardly wait to go back and see this garden in the summer! Enjoy the virtual visit through these photos.

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Above right is a photo of one of the plastic covered frames. Note the space near ground level.

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I can hear the robins out there…

Snowdrops and Cyclamen are heralding spring in the midst of winter.

Snowdrops and Cyclamen are popping up

Today is the opening day of the NW Flower Show in Seattle. For me and my good friend, Bonnie, it means an annual pilgrimage to the show beginning early tomorrow morning. This is the shot across the bow of winter and our first fix of spring. We buy plants, seeds & garden art. We listen to speakers. We talk gardens until we are silly and then do it some more. For the first time, I will be on the podium side of the stage. I am giving my maiden talk at this show on Saturday night at 5:45 in the Rainier Room. My talk is entitled ‘Understanding Basic Design Principles: Getting Started on Good Garden Design’. It’s pulled right out of a chapter in my book, which now has a working title of “Understanding Garden Design: A Complete Handbook for Aspiring Designers”. Not sexy, but it gets the message across.

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