Category: Gardening

  • How to Design a Hummingbird Garden: reliably attract pollinators (not bears)

    How to Design a Hummingbird Garden: reliably attract pollinators (not bears)

    Have you ever wanted hummingbirds in your garden? We did, too. Here’s a guide to the fundamentals of what needs to be included in a garden to attract and provide habitat for hummingbirds.

  • Common Blue Violet

    Common Blue Violet

    The violets have been in bloom for a few weeks here – I’m late writing about it. The day after a snow storm a few weeks ago, when the six inches of snow we had received was nearly melted from the warm day, we went for a walk in the woods on the hill above […]

  • Thistle: the best thistles to use in the garden

    Thistle: the best thistles to use in the garden

    Thistles are one of those plants you will always recognize once you’ve met it. Anyone who has ever accidentally run into one while wandering around outside will know to avoid getting pinched by it in the future. Many people look at it as a weed, but there are a lot of things going for the […]

  • What makes a landscape contemplative?

    What makes a landscape contemplative?

    It’s a bit strange to label a landscape as contemplative. We don’t tend to design for the garden itself to contemplate its place in the universe. (Don’t get me wrong. Plants may well spend their time contemplating profound issues. But people don’t usually consider that in their design plans.) It’s the people who inhabit the […]

  • Gardening 101

    Gardening 101

    Gardening has been part of our culture for millenia, and there’s always more to learn. This is the place to start if you’re new to gardening and want to learn how to start a new patch. If you want to dive a little deeper, subscribe to our email series: Gardening 101 Email Series – A […]

  • Gardening in Drought – the importance of planting design

    Gardening in Drought – the importance of planting design

    We had a little drizzle in Carmel Valley this morning, which is not so common in September, especially in a year of serious drought. It got me to thinking, with all the implications of the drought, how plausible is it to raise an ornamental garden with little added water? It’s a challenge we deal with […]

  • In Defense of Ferns

    In Defense of Ferns

    I have heard ferns maligned in a surprising number of places lately, and I want to do my part to set the record straight. There seems to be a misconception that ferns are scraggly and awkward or difficult to grow. Allow me to argue the opposite. Ferns are no more difficult to grow than any […]

  • Does DIY = Sustainable?

    Does DIY = Sustainable?

    There’s a lot of romance to the idea of DIY. The rugged individualist is part of our national culture, part of how we see ourselves and our role in the universe. Not that everyone aspires to that goal, but it holds enough sway to merit an entire television network in its honor, plus countless books, […]

  • The Economics of Street Trees

    The Economics of Street Trees

    EcoGeek recently ran a post highlighting the correlation between income inequality and street tree inequality. The study in question was completed in 2007, and it’s certainly been true in my experience in cities that the fewer the street trees, the more marginal the neighborhood tends to be. I’ve heard all sorts of things about the […]

  • Screening versus Focusing

    Screening versus Focusing

    A friend recently asked me to take a look at the backyard of their rented urban home and help them screen a series of unsightly pipes and wires on the house as well as the conglomeration of waste bins and refuse in the adjoining yard. None of the property belongs to my friends, so actually […]