My favorite corner of the garden

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The office garden has become my favorite corner of the landscape. It was the last garden I designed this summer, the one that kept calling my name even though I knew the days were too hot and my budget too thin.  I wonder if it’s because I saw it all the time, through the home office window, while I enjoyed my morning coffee, or grilled on the back patio.

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Little changes make a big difference

I don’t have a ton of space in my apartment. My dining room table is pushed up against a wall and became that place where I threw all the extraneous stuff that came in the door. It was a stress-inducing eyesore — especially since it’s the background when I have video calls from my home office. Since moving a plant, a few of my favorite books, and a couple of other accents to the table, I’ve been more motivated to keep it clear of clutter. It makes a wonderful place to enjoy my morning coffee, too. Little changes can make a big difference.

7 design ideas for the garden

I’m not a great student when it comes to garden design. My personal library contains hundreds of titles, but I’m always at a loss to answer the question — “What is your garden design style?” — with any sense of academic rigor or historical reference. Where I may fail to express a single underlying philosophy or overarching style, I can more easily speak in terms of smaller design ideas that I use throughout my garden.

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Interior details at P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm

Having returned back home after participating in P. Allen Smith Garden2Blog 2013 event in Arkansas, I’ve been reflecting on how this year’s event was different than my inaugural trip in 2012. Last year, I focused so much on the wonderful people involved in the event that I missed a great many of the details that make Moss Mountain Farm such a inviting place. This year, I was determined to capture more of the warmth of the place.

I’m far from an interior design expert, but even my unrefined eye could appreciate the precision and thought Allen has put into his home. Down to the angle of each piece of pottery, the interior of the farm house is at once perfect, yet hospitable. I hope that my images below convey a small fraction of the beauty of Allen’s home.

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Brightening the winter blahs with cut flowers

Having four distinct seasons is a way of life here in the northern climes. I wouldn’t change it if I had the chance, as I truly enjoy the cold end that winter brings to the year. The clarity of a sunny, crisp winter day is beyond description. But, each season has a downside. For winter, that downside can arrive in the form of grey, overcast skies that can seem endless. When the main source of our light comes from an electrical outlet, our moods sour and our minds and bodies go into a sort of survival hibernation. Read More

Leave it to the foliage

Rosa ‘John F. Kennedy’

A tempered enthusiasm for the weather has started to grow within me this weekend. I’m not getting too far ahead of myself, but I’m not so jaded by this summer that I can’t sit back and enjoy the cold front that has stalled over the central part of the country. It’s refreshing to spend the morning out in the gazebo without feeling the heat of the day slowly building toward claustrophobic proportions.

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Growing black and bright with ornamental peppers

If you’re paying attention to the new plants hitting the market, you’ve probably noticed what I call the “black and bright” trend in plant color. Countless new introductions have striking black (or otherwise dark) foliage and flowers, while many others feature hot, bright colors that stand out from across the garden. One species that captures both these trends is Capsicum annuum, the common pepper plant from which we get bells, jalepeño, cayenne and numerous other peppers with culinary uses.

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