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Why Pathways Are Such A Compelling Element In The Garden

– Posted in: Garden Design

This is a re-print of a post that was published here in March 2013. As fall approaches, it’s a perfect time to re-evaluate any changes you want to make in your garden. 

When I began to learn about garden design, I became intrigued with paths – no – make that obsessed. Maybe it dates back to my childhood memories of The Wizard of Oz. Who doesn’t remember when Dorothy reaches a crossroads on her journey to the Wizard and is confused about which way to go ~ and how the talking tree chimes in with his opinion?

Pathways in Fran Sorin Garden

Fran Sorin Southwind’s Drive garden top level in spring

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A Letter To Me As A New Gardener

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

Fran deadheading on second level-resizedDear Fran (of 1979),

I’m writing this letter to you as a seasoned gardener who over the past 30 years of working the soil has made more than my share of mistakes: and has learned some things along the way. As your elder, I want to share some of what I’ve gleaned in the hope that it will make your ‘garden making’ less frustrating and more enjoyable.

Here’s what I want to tell you.

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GBDW – Stone in the Garden Wrap-Up

– Posted in: Garden Design

Boulder barrier March 08 

We now return you to our regularly scheduled Gardening Gone Wild programming: the end-of-the-month summary of this month’s posts on the topic of stone in the garden.

In Fran’s post this month, she commented on the value of “simplicity and subtlety” when it comes to stonework. I think the photo above is a good example of what can happen when those working with stone have somewhat different values. My alpacas and I occasionally walk past this mega-wall on our rambles around the neighborhood, and I’m never sure that one of these teetering boulders isn’t going to let loose and crush us as we go by. Fortunately, this month’s Design Workshop has brought us many more practical, inspiring, and aesthetically pleasing examples of how to incorporate stone into the garden and landscape. [click to continue…]

Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – November Wrap-Up

– Posted in: Garden Design

Path to barn June 1 06When we decided to start the Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop six weeks ago, we figured it would mostly be a fun excuse to ramble on here at GGW about some of our favorite topics. Little did we expect that so many of you would find it of interest and want to “play” too! We all know that home improvements make it easier to sell your home but did you know that your garden’s appearance is just as important? It’s worth investing in garden accessories like teak garden furniture to give your garden a real wow factor, as this will go a long way when it comes to not only selling your home, but also enjoying living in it yourself.
The various posts and comments about garden paths have sparked several interesting discussions, and it appears that they’ve also inspired new projects for some of you some of which may have you wanting to buy the best quality greenhouse currently on the market. In case you missed any of the posts over the last month, or if you want to come back at some later date to refresh your memory in preparation for a pathway project, here’s a round-up of all the path-related posts we know about. If there are any we’ve missed, or if you write a post later and would like it added here, we welcome you to add a comment below! [click to continue…]

My Pathways

– Posted in: Garden Design

In response to Nan’s Design Workshop for November, I decided to share the story of my garden pathways.

I have been gardening on a sharply steeping, aberrant piece of land, about one half acre, for the past twenty-six years (Yikes, that’s a long time!). The picture below is how the front of my home was landscaped when I first moved in as a 28 year old woman with a newborn and toddler, having only done some weekend gardening chores in homes where I had lived before.

For the first ten years, I spent a lot of time learning about gardening, experimenting with a variety of plants and being frustrated. Even though I learned a great deal about perennials and how to use them effectively in the garden, I became acutely aware of how disjointed the entire garden was.

Initially, I was overwhelmed when I began to make changes but then decided I could deal with the garden if I broke it up into projects to be done over a protracted period of time. I began with the front yard, where I had made some changes but was still working with a cookie cutter straight, concrete walkway from the driveway to the front door. I decided that I wanted to create a perennial garden, and with the help of a great gardener, Chris Woods (Ex-Director of Chanticleer and newly appointed director of Montecito Coastal Gardens), I dismantled the entire front yard and turned it into an area for perennials dotted with some deciduous shrubs. The straight stucco walkway was turned into a winding stone walkway. I had a vision of creating a rambling environment so I used no concrete in between the stones in order to let plants self seed.

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