Monday, April 27, 2009

Handsome and Sculpted

I couldn't be more excited to see the Desert Steel Co. featured in the April issue of Garden Design magazine.

I happened to meet steel sculptor Eric Carroll last summer at the annual outdoor arts fair in Hermosa Beach where he was promoting his gorgeous life-sized cactus and agave sculptures. I couldn't take my eyes off of them! The promise of patina, the artist's obvious grasp of the original plant's allure. Dare I say better than the real thing?

Believe me, I was racking my brain for a client to pitch these handsome pieces to. Alas, I had to walk away without one, but I do know where to get them. And now you do too! Congratulations, Eric!

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Imagine my proud surprise when I received this photo from my friend Eric in the Bay Area along with this message: "Your child is blooming again! Perhaps it will have four flowers next year."

The Amaryllis in the photo (or Hippeastrum, as they are correctly called) is one I had sprouted from seed over five years ago by pollinating a lovely pair I had on a sunny windowsill one winter. It was great fun to see the base of the blossom swell and, eventually, develop into well-packed seed pods. When the seeds had fully developed, I planted a number of the them in tiny terracotta pots and, lo and behold, they actually sprouted! While a number of friends received these tiny treasures as St. Valentine's Day gifts that year, only Eric diligently fostered and fed and fussed over his seedling, determined to get a bloom. Which he did, in record time I'm certain, and which he continues to do year after year.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ladies Who Lunch

Admittedly, playing hostess for weeks at a time can be exhausting for even the most gracious among us. However, there is a cadre of guests that I welcome back year after year, the more the merrier and, please, stay as long as you like! My garden has the auspicious honor of serving as the local Fairmount to a voracious party of Coccinella septempunctata, or Lady Bugs, as they are known.

While I'm not certain what entices them to overwinter with us, I do mulch freely and have a few plants, such as Bougainvillea and Echium candicans, under which there is a thick and undisturbed layer of light debris where one might nest quite happily over the mild Southern California winter. Apparently December's dampish weather restricted the ladies to indoor activities because, this spring, the population boomed!

As we all know, a good hostess must provide for her guests. I've ferried them from rosebush to dahlia sprout and citrus tree to pittosporum shrub, making sure the hungry Ladies know just where to find the youngest and most succulent aphids in the garden. While I can't say my guests are delicate, hoisting those aphids overhead to devour them outright, they do manage to exude a certain grace. Forthrightness is a virtue in my garden!

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Friday, April 17, 2009

The Dirt on Grubb

Well, let's talk. First, is it considered gossip if it's flattering? Because I have nothing but great things to say about the accomplished Flora Grubb, Belle of the Bay Area (garden) Ball! I love it when the newsletter from Flora Grubb Gardens, her handsome nursery in San Francisco's Hunter's Point area, arrives in my in-box. There's always something fresh and fun in the new offerings she brings in for those lucky ducks up north. If it weren't enough that she's putting such fabulous plants in the hands of the masses, look what she's up to now! Of course it's no surprise to see her toss her hat in the vertical garden design ring, but the results of her delicate hand take this trend in a nice direction. A toast to Flora!

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Welcome to The Garden Party, where garden news is shared like Bearded Iris traded over a neighbor's fence, and where dirt under your fingernails will be graciously overlooked if you arrive with something fresh from your own plot.

Whether you choose a seat under the Magnolia (dare I say ancient and handsomely branched?) or nearer to the Gardenias (always healthy, always in bloom) there's a place waiting for you. I'll be chatting about my (sometimes fickle) affection for new plants, old gardens and everything in between. Pour yourself a glass of something that sparkles and join in!