Dwarf Conifers, Chicago Botanical Gardens


Conifers will be appearing all around the town in December, though most people will call them Christmas Trees.  If you go for putting a live tree on display in your home then you will likely choose between a fir, pine, cedar, spruce or cypress as these are 5 of the most popular varieties for a holiday tree.  This year for the first time Arizona is providing a blue spruce for the White House National Christmas Tree.  Generally for a tree to hold ornaments we want it to stand straight, be cone shaped and dark green. We are happy to tie on our own “pine cones” as part of our decorations....   Continue Reading

Container Gardens


As the weather began to change in my garden I eagerly set about planting my favorite colorful annuals in my containers.  I do pots, boxes, hanging baskets, tubs, it is my favorite garden activity trying for the perfect container of flowers.  A container seems so much in my control, the dirt, the size, the placement all arranged and hopefully will provide perfect results.  Yet each fall I think, “Oh if I just had one more container, perhaps a bit bigger, it would be just right.”  Traveling to public gardens made me realize my idea of a container is much, much too small....   Continue Reading

Peace Gardens


As I began my garden travels in August I fled the high temperatures of the Valley and I fled from the highly charged political debate engulfing our country.  I longed for peace in a garden as only nature could bring.   As our country and the world grapple with so many conflicts I try to remember conflict is part of life. Peace Gardens remind me citizens throughout the world see gardens as a path to peace....   Continue Reading

Fantasy Gardens


July 2009 was the all time hottest month on record in Phoenix!   Nearly everything in my garden was wilting. Any gardener venturing out was wilting as well.   So I needed a little fantasy gardening. I allow myself to fantasize about a perfect garden, where the plants stay in optimum health, where blooms unfold in predictable order of color, and quality is assured by a perfect feeding schedule and ideal watering.  A garden always orderly, where any storm damage is minimized and cleared promptly  (generally assisted by a legion of gardeners).  Yes, a fantasy I realize and yet since children may escape the day to day world by visiting a magic kingdom, why can’t a gardener escape to a magic garden?

George Washington Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina is the ultimate fantasy garden complete with an enormous castle! Fredrick Law Olmsted, considered the father of American Landscape, designed the gardens and worked throughout the original 400,000 acres in 1895. The magnificent home today open to the public now occupies 8000 acres and the remaining grounds are a gardener’s delight....   Continue Reading

Night in a garden


As a kid I was afraid of the dark.  Many a summer night when I forgot to put away my bicycle or toy wagon I was told to “Go outside and put away my things!”  A dark night and only a small porch light to show me way, I stood trembling at the back door, holding my breath.  I would dash out, do the task and dash back in my heart racing.  Now night time outside in the garden is a favorite time for me....   Continue Reading

College Gardens


The spring semester has ended and the last notes of pomp and circumstance have faded away on college and university campuses.  Students have packed up and wandered off campus for their summer adventures and the education that may bring.  Right now until late August acres of college and university gardens cared for by fulltime groundskeepers are blooming and growing just hoping to be noticed!...   Continue Reading

Art in the Garden

I love a bit of art in my garden and public gardens like art too!  Now what do I mean by ‘art?’  Of course that would be a question for the sages to decide.  Though I’ll give it a try and say that I see it as an element made by human hands that mixes in with the natural elements of our gardens.  Certainly at the Desert Botanical Garden Dale Chihuly’s glass art has been mixed in with the natural world to great surprise and delight for thousands of visitors.  The excitement of such art draws local visitors in when they might overlook returning to a familiar garden.  Across the country public gardens work with this idea and as you travel this summer prepare to be surprised and delighted by art in the garden...   Continue Reading

Hidden Gardens

A fall trip to Montana found me searching for high country gardens to visit.  Montana is a state of 145,552 square miles and my garden guides identify 4 gardens for the entire state and none were within 500 miles of my destination!  Disappointed I decided this trip would not include wandering through gardens.  Garden Guides are useful but certainly not all encompassing because many hidden gardens await if you keep looking as you travel....   Continue Reading

Armchair Traveling

The garden I visit most often is my own, I enjoy it each day just walking out my door.  Yet the inspiration and excitement of visiting public gardens adds so much to my life that I want to do that each day as well.  Travel planning maybe all about suffering the web  these days but before one does the details you may need inspiration for where you want to travel....   Continue Reading