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dianthus chomley farran

a botanical algorithm…

I would posit that the wonky but crisp and delicious purple kohlrabi is to the vegetable world as the hallucinogenic  ‘Chomley Farran’ carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus  ‘Chomley Farran’) is to the floral kingdom. Concur? ‘Chomley Farran’ carnation, a remarkable garden plant with gorgeous blue-green foliage and a terribly lax blooming habit is available from Annie’s Annuals.  […]

bouquet of sweet peas

The sweet scent of a non-summer

The up-side of a – shall we say – “cool” summer (which sounds much more pleasant than “crappy” summer)  is that my bank of sweet peas just goes on and on.  Day after day I cut bounteous bouquets for my bedside, the living room and anyone who happens by while I’m at this relentless chore.  […]

lily of the valley nosegay

…bring May Flowers

A horticultural Rorschach test.  Like the proverbial psychological indicator, there are no wrong answers, just revealing ones. Here it is: Given the choice of 3 exquisite, budded and blooming orchid stems OR 300 humble carnations, which would you select?  Before you give me your answer, let me explain.  This is not an intellectual exercise; you […]

Trachelospermum jasminoides


No, this isn’t another Rolling Stones reference.  Simply the heartfelt aftermath of several very productive days in the garden this past weekend.  I hardly even mind the return of today’s rain; OK, maybe a little.  I could just have easily have entitled this post “the tyranny of the to-do list” but that didn’t in keeping […]

tulip 'brown sugar'

Gardening Gestalt

What do brown sugar and parsley have to do with each other? Here’s a little story… Last fall found me deep in the final stretch of (almost) meeting my publisher’s deadline for my latest book manuscript. Hours and hours of writing, proofing, formatting and more writing were interrupted only by many, many, (many, many) trips […]

herb garden

The Herbal Kitchen

Inch for inch, row for row, herbs pack more flavor into every square foot of a garden than just about any other edible crop.  In addition to producing amazing and varied flavors, most herbs yield over an extended harvest period. When you’re talking BANG for your culinary buck, herbs deliver BIG. This is the topic […]

snowdrops under cloche

A lazy girl’s guide to cheating winter

Forcing bulbs into early bloom is an easy project and provides a welcome respite in the midst of a long, cold, dark winter.  Outside the sun barely rises in time for the day only to set by mid afternoon.  The garden lies quiet.  No mowers, no chatter of children playing, little birdsong, just the steady […]

Stop when it hurts

Today is beautiful.  Low 40’s, dry-ish, still, partly sunny.  I have a ton of busy work I should be doing indoors; household finances, photo editing, work on my website, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.  But I hear the first-of-the-year siren song of the garden luring me outdoors. We have a saying in our family:  “Stop when it […]

eucryphia x nymanensis

Heat relief

Hot times, summer in the city.  But when that city is Seattle, where homes are NOT set up to buffer the effect of 96*, things can turn a little testy.  So as a public service to (cranky, overheated) friends and neighbors,  I’ve decided to post a cooling portrait of my garden’s currently reigning queen.  Eucryphia […]