Book Giveaway: “Foliage First” by Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz

– Posted in: Contests and Giveaways, Garden Design, Succulents

“Gardening with Foliage First” by Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz is a book I wish I’d had when I began gardening 25 years ago. I think most of us start out wanting flowers. I had a thing for roses and cannas, but whenever I’d see a new flowering perennial, I had to have it.  After several years, my[...]

Post-Rain Must-Do’s

– Posted in: Succulents

We’re not used to so much rain here in Southern CA. One series of storms has followed another. I’ve been gleefully gathering buckets of fresh rainwater for my potted plants. Could the drought finally be over? Well, no. It’ll take hundreds of years for underground aquifers to refill. The snowpack isn’t adequate for our future water supply.[...]

The Twelve Days of Cactus (2)

– Posted in: Succulents

Several years ago, I posted the first version of  my “Twelve Days of Cactus” on GGW. This is an updated (and I hope improved) version that has a corresponding YouTube video complete with music. The “first day” of both is the same—that dove in a prickly pear tree is just too good not to use again. Now, see if[...]

My Succulent Pine Cone Wreath and Snowflakes

– Posted in: Succulents

The way echeverias resemble pine cones inspired my front-door holiday wreath. I used bronzy-gold painted pine cones the size of ping-pong balls and attached them, as well as the succulents, to a flat wreath form using hot glue. Surprisingly, hot glue doesn’t harm the plants. When doing holiday designs using succulents, be careful that the embellishments you choose don’t overwhelm plants with muted[...]

Why I Love Light (and a Selfie Suggestion)

– Posted in: Garden Musings, Garden Photography, Succulents

Garden writer and photographer Bren Haas, when interviewing me about my career and books, asked if I’d had a mentor for my photography or painting. I told her, “Light is a great teacher. I become transfixed when I see sunlight glittering on leaves, shadow patterns, or some lovely translucence. I’m uncomfortable in the presence of ‘wrong’ light—i.e. a windowless[...]