September Happenings and Tidbits

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

Solidago Patrinia and Vernonia Aug 29 09 njo

This summer’s weather has had everyone scurrying all over the place. For those of you on the East coast, who would have ever thought that you would end up with such torrential rains and a cool summer? And for all of us who are living in drought riddern territories, we yearn for even a light, misty rain to remind us that moisture still exists. Needless to say, our thoughts are with everyone whose lives are being totally uprooted by the fires in California, as well as the 85,000 plus acres that have been destroyed.

On a lighter note, what is our wild and romping group of contributors up to these days?

First, within the pages of Gardening Gone Wild, Debra Lee Baldwin, a GGW Regular Contributor, has named her bi-monthly column, Garden Adventures.We’re excited about that. Our colleague, Adam Woodruff, has taken a leave of absence as a Regular Contributor and is temporarily (we hope) a Guest Contributor. His overwhelming work load and personal commitments prevents him from writing ongoing columns for GGW.

And for our happenings outside the pages of GGW:

I visited Italy this past month: on taking the train from Rome to Assisi, deepening grey clouds quickly closed in. Before I knew it, I heard the sound of rain on the train. All of a sudden, rain was coming in through the windows (all of which were open due to the heat). With the curtains dancing about like whirling dervishes, rain flying around the cabin while the train whisked through a tunnel, I felt like I was on the set of Ghostbusters. Once we came through the tunnel and returned to daylight, I observed the magnificent green landscape, and yes, all of those breathtakingly beautiful fields of sunflowers with the rain soaking their thirsty roots. In my thoughts, I heard myself say “Thank you, God, thank you.” Never had I been so grateful to be in the midst of a rain storm.

I continue to write my weekly features for CBS Radio News which you can find updated on my website Monday of each week, I’m also on the final edit of my interview with Piet Oudolf, the world renowned Dutch garden designer. It will be posted on the pages of GGW next month. Picture This Photo Contest is coming out on the 5th on ornamental grasses. The individual who is judging this month has written an acclaimed book on this very subject. I’ll let you guess who it is!

LLH Front CoverNan Ondra has an article in the Fall 2009 issue of Country Gardens magazine: “10 Best Native Plants for Country Gardens.” It includes a feature on Yellow Springs Farm, the Pennsylvania native-plant nursery owned by GGW Guest Contributor Catherine Renzi, with photos by another of our Guest Contributors: Rob Cardillo. Nan also reports that she’ll be attending The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days at Fordhook Farm in Doylestown, PA, on September 25 and 26. Jerry Fritz of Linden Hill Gardens, her co-author on Lessons From Linden Hill, will be speaking both days at 1:30 p.m. on “The Art of Perennials: Fall Combinations,” and they’ll signing copies of their books.

And from Steve: “After our cold rainy June and July, it seems as if summer just got started and here it is poised to sail off into the sunset Sept 21. In the meantime, I’ll be appearing on HGTV’s Gardening by the Yard Sept 6 (check your local TV guide for times). I was also on Aug 30. Both segments are devoted to container gardening, and will be rerun from time to time. If you want to check their website for showtimes, the episodes I appear in are dubbed 1907 and 1909. Later in the month, on the 13th, my garden will be open from noon to 4 pm as part of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program. Sadly the garden is a shambles, beset by blistering hail, fungal diseases and a slew of slugs, but there are still a few bright spots. At least it was a good year to move small trees and shrubs, and I moved plenty. ”

Southwest garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin contributes GGW’s bimonthly Garden Adventures column. Debra recently visited Quebec and will share with us the whiplash effect of going from her own parched garden to verdant French Canada. She’s planning a special two-part photo essay for us on the world-class, innovative and whimsical québécoise gardens she visited. Debra also is hard at work putting the finishing touches on her forthcoming book, Succulent Container Gardens, to be released by Timber Press in January.

Wishing all of you a glorious September with bountiful harvests and majestic colors in your gardens!

Fran Sorin

Fran is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends as "a profound and inspiring book."  

A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology, she is also a gardening and creativity expert, coach, inspirational speaker, CBS radio news gardening correspondent, and Huffington Post Contributor.

Learn more about Fran and get free resources that will help you improve your life at

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Fran Sorin
5 Comments… add one

Leave a Comment

Nancy Bond September 1, 2009, 10:10 am

What an extraordinary grouping of colour in that top photo! Beautiful!

I love it also…thanks for checking out the post! Fran

Linda Steider September 1, 2009, 2:56 pm

I agree with Nancy! I have Nancy Ondra’s book ‘Foliage’ & use it for constant inspiration. I love this site & am happy to have found it!

We’re glad to have you visiting GGW. And yes, Nan’s book
Foliage is fantastic. Fran

commonweeder September 1, 2009, 4:55 pm

There is certainly a lot going on. I just got my copy of Nan Ondra’s book The Perennial Care Manual. I’ve definitely got some dividing to do.

Susie September 1, 2009, 8:30 pm

Lovely photo at top of page….my guess would be Nan Ondra…I have her fabulous book on Grasses.

You’ve got it right…it is Nan…isn’t it beautiful?? Fran

Neil September 2, 2009, 10:03 am


That is so so gorgeous!!! What’s that tall plant with reddish/maroonish/blueish foliage at the top right corner? Also, where can I buy your book?

Thanks for sharing the pic!

Thanks, Neil. The plant in question is Cotinus ‘Grace’. You can find my books at most bookstores with a good gardening section, or through online booksellers (our GGW Bookstore links to books from all of our regular contributors).

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