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Salvaging Spectacular Sabal Palms

Performance Anxiety   You’d think gardening might be a stress free job. But right now, I feel dread like a hole below my chest that you could put a 3-gallon nursery pot through. This upcoming job has no little 3-gallon pots though. We’re moving two, 50+year old, 30 feet tall, spectacular Sabal palms. And it’s going… Read More

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Favorite Plants of the Moment

From the ridiculous to the sublime, this is a list of plants I’m working with at the moment;  we’ll have these and other almost=impossible-to-find plants our next farm field day!  Of course the findings will include the very rare and new to us Crinum ‘Pink Perfume’ from Texas and Crinum ‘Canoelands’ from Australia. Jack Bean… Read More

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Artisans, Craftsmen and the Foundations of Garden Design

Sometimes I felt as if I was torn between being a scientist and an artist.  So I compromised and became a horticulturist. —  from the design chapter, Finding The Spirit, of Deep Rooted Wisdom, …. I’m too dirty to make gardeny-decorator things that look neat on Pinterest.  I’d ruin the carpet in the process of… Read More

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Flowers vary from pure white to pink but most are striped.

My First Crinum Lily is About 75 Years Old

After tons of delicate spring flowers, I”m ready for some bold color and big textures.  Every year, I feel the same. In garden design, I always seek contrasting textures— which is kind of tough in spring since we have lots of new, tiny leaves and delicate flowers. Crinum bulbispermum is pushing into flower this second… Read More

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I’ve said two things to people recently that sort of shocked them. First,  “I just don’ t like garden shows.”   I’ve been to them — from Chelsea in England to San Francisco. I’ve even spoken at the Northwest Flower Show years ago. They just don’t turn me on; I’d rather be outside though I… Read More

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Winter Garden & The VERY First Plant Books

In five inches of snow, with hand warming chemical packs in my pocket, I saw 90 different varieties of witch hazel sparkle.  The Missouri Botanical Garden staff horticulturist Sara Murphy cares for this huge planting.  They were in full flower, in the snow, in February in St. Louis. Sara knows how to make them look… Read More

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Milling Pine Trees for Lumber to Build A Garden Shed

The tree guys call these hazard trees. That’s the professional jargon for a tree that might fall on someone or something. I called these particular pines spectacular; 120′ tall ancient beings that helped define the character of this garden, in fact, the charm of this entire part of town.  The owners of the garden did… Read More

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Tom took lots of pics hoping to document what sort of creatures might eat anyone bold enough to wade out...

Garden & Dog Road Trip

Thousands of pictures wait to be edited: high end malls with extravagant palm plantings, blue water swim days at the dog beach, vine laden tropical gardens, and brilliant displays of plants at the Tropical Plants and Landscape Show. Friends and gag pics.  Dog profiles and gardens. A 1,700 mile road trip to south Florida with… Read More

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Kill the Confederate Myths: 5 Better Vines for Southern Shade

When we started building Riverbanks Botanical Garden, 20+ years ago, we had to deal with a Pennsylvanian’s idea of southern architecture. The building, walls and walkways of some grandiose vision of antebellum structures that only ever existed in bad movies.  It reminded me that, as a teen, I loved Aunti Mame as much as any… Read More

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Supple Jack

Stalking Supple Jack on the Salkehatchie

Some guys go duck hunting on Christmas.  Some people go to movies.  Momma and I went in search of an elusive vine: Supple Jack.  To be honest, the vine isn’t rare, but its home is in blackwater swamps.  Special places, also home to cotton mouths and deep holes hidden in black water, but in winter,… Read More

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