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Designing with your hoe

More than three decades ago, my wife-to-be dragged me kicking and screaming to central Texas, where she had a job at a scientific research institute. A born and bred Yankee, I had a keen sense of what I was leaving behind me. What wasn’t clear to me at departure time was all that I would […]

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Posted by on June 6, 2016 at 10:39 am   This post has 7 responses.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been living with this brick bed enclosure for over sixteen years. But when you have an 1870 house, there’s something new to do every year, and certain jobs—new roof, new kitchen, window repairs—have to take priority. Finally, it’s time. This is coming down...

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Posted by on May 31, 2016 at 9:25 am   This post has 2 responses.

Fear of the Outdoors or Sensible Defenses Against Insects?

Gardeners and other outdoors-types have always had to deal with mosquitoes, ticks and chiggers, and many of us chose to pretty much ignore them. But then came Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus, which got even a diehard like me starting to worry. A friend contracted the dreaded Lyme...

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Posted by on May 27, 2016 at 10:42 am   This post has 22 responses.

Photography Lesson in a Garden

As an eager but very amateur photographer, I’ve attended all sorts of photography classes and talks, with little improvement to show for it. Then I stumbled upon a teaching method and classroom setting perfect for me – a “photo safari” with an extraordinary teacher and a small class of enthusiasts...

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Posted by on May 13, 2016 at 9:49 am   This post has 3 responses.

Setting the Pace

What a great Spring it has been here in Boise — alternating periods of rain and sun, almost as if Mother Nature knew what the newly emerging and recently planted plants needed for optimal growth. The trees and shrubs are mostly leafed out, and the bumble bees just appeared...

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Posted by on April 20, 2016 at 11:29 am   This post has 7 responses.

An irresistible DIY book

I am the last person who should be writing about DIY projects. As far as the house is concerned, we have to have contractors for everything, including minor fixture installations and any painting. We build nothing. We fix nothing. What cleaning is needed gets done every two weeks by...

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Posted by on April 5, 2016 at 8:33 am   This post has Comments Off on An irresistible DIY book.

Perils of Plantsmanship

Recently I went to a lecture at the New York Botanical Garden by Italian garden designer Luciano Giubbilei. His passion was infectious and his images were ravishing – spectacular gardens composed of just a handful of elements. This was a message that particularly resonated with me, as I’ve become...

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Posted by on April 4, 2016 at 10:43 am   This post has 19 responses.

Garden Flag Reveal!

My most recent post about garden flags included muslin garden flags that I tie-dyed and the promise to show readers what they look like hanging in my garden, where they’re supposed to not just look pretty but screen some bad views. So here’s the view from my back garden toward the...

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Posted by on April 1, 2016 at 6:45 am   This post has 11 responses.

The Payoff

For wildlife gardeners — including those who want to support pollinators — certain plants promise a bigger payoff. Shrubs are one category of plant that often deliver more rewards for less effort. They are larger than a perennial and can produce many more blooms per plant. Since they are...

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Posted by on March 16, 2016 at 2:31 am   This post has 5 responses.

Garden Flags with Shibori and Permanent Dye

The last time I posted about making garden flags you saw them dyed with Rit and then stenciled with acrylic paints. All 66 flags of them will hang in my front yard and screen my view of a parking lot. There’s another screening problem in my back yard, and this time...

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Posted by on February 26, 2016 at 12:34 pm   This post has 12 responses.

Home-Canned Tomatoes: A Tantalizing Taste of Nature in Winter

You may remember I’m an ultra-beginner at canning. Luckily, I am learning from my sister, who has spent years learning from others and experimenting to perfect her own techniques. Not to mention she has a large kitchen stocked with all the necessary equipment. So I give you Ultra-Beginner Tip...

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Posted by on February 3, 2016 at 2:09 am   This post has 12 responses.

Next in Garden Flag-Making: Rit Dyes and Stencils

I last wrote about finding a crafting coach for my garden flags and trying natural dyes from vegetables for my DYI flags. I confessed that next, I’d be trying artificial dyes (the ubiquitous Rit) because they’re easier, cheaper and much longer-lasting. Best of all, Rit comes in nine colors that...

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Posted by on January 29, 2016 at 8:00 am   This post has 18 responses.

Dyeing Prayer Flags with Plants, and How I Found a Crafting Coach

The very day I wrote about Prayer Flags in my Garden, complaining that they only come in primary colors, a neighbor volunteered to help me, writing on Facebook: If I wanted to do this as a craft to match my garden I would go buy some fabric and an...

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Posted by on January 15, 2016 at 7:44 am   This post has 6 responses.

Are show gardens making us bad gardeners?

Here’s an interesting debate. Late in December, a post published on the American Society of Landscape Architects website by David Hopman opened an attack on unsustainable, resource/labor-intensive approaches to planting design and plant palettes, particularly in big public gardens. I agree with a lot of the post—after all, Hopman...

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Posted by on January 7, 2016 at 8:00 am   This post has 20 responses.

Six Ways to Use Fallen Leaves in Your Garden

Got leaves? Use them to boost your garden’s soil and plant health, facilitate the design and creation of new planting beds, turn problem areas into productive ones, and save yourself labor and money, all while doing the green thing. Here are six rewarding, practical alternatives to raking leaves into...

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Posted by on November 18, 2015 at 4:58 am   This post has 14 responses.

NWF’s terrible, no-good gardening advice goes viral

Somehow, the National Wildlife Federation’s 2014 blog post “Leave the Leaves for Wildlife” has gone viral this year, and not just on the Internet. Its popular chore-relieving advice is being repeated widely on television, too. Unfortunately, this part of the NWF’s advice hasn’t gone viral – the qualifier: A leaf...

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Posted by on November 13, 2015 at 9:23 am   This post has 38 responses.

A Satisfying Stack of Stones

Fresh from a class on dry (mortarless) stacked stone wall building, I am appreciating anew the many contributions of stone to a garden. Of course, I’ve already incorporated two stone patios and a couple of stepping stone paths into my new garden, courtesy of my good friend Jason at...

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Posted by on October 21, 2015 at 10:11 am   This post has 12 responses.

So, an artist, a curator, and a designer walk into a garden (part II)

Here’s an update on an interesting front garden concept I introduced last year.  (I promised to follow up!) This project by a local curator, artist, and designer is called Territory of Collaboration. Organic shapes and plants suggested by the artist were combined with the ideas of the designer; another...

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Posted by on September 1, 2015 at 8:07 am   This post has 3 responses.

Canning for Ultra-Beginners

I’m by no means a whiz in the kitchen, and honestly, I prefer to eat my garden veggies raw when possible. However, they are piling up! This week, I dipped my toe in the water with a couple of refrigerator-canning projects. They turned out to be pretty easy, so...

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Posted by on August 19, 2015 at 2:25 am   This post has 7 responses.

Saving Spiders

Last year, I was organizing my new home and found myself in the bathroom doodad aisle of the local “everything” store, holding a blue glass jar with a fitted glass lid. It was just the type of item I usually talk myself out of buying. Years of decluttering have...

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Posted by on May 20, 2015 at 1:52 am   This post has 22 responses.
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