Gardens of the World – come for FREE!

Gardens of the World – come for FREE!

It’s that time of year when Seattle-ites go into season-denial. Sure it may be snowing or raining outside, but within the walls of the Washington State Convention Center the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the air is perfumed with the heady spring time mix of hyacinths, daphne and sweetbox (Sarcococca). It’s Show Time!

Yes in just a few more weeks the Northwest Flower and Garden Show will be back in full swing. Forget Disney – to gardeners this is surely the best show on earth! And the theme this year is Gardens of the World.

What you’ll see

One of the 2018 display gardens that caught my attention last year

There are 20 display gardens to captivate your imagination and transport you to the gardens of Italy, Asia, and The British Isles to name just a few, all created by some of the regions top landscape designers.

Dreaming of recreating the invigorating alpine scenery of a recent trip? Then you’ll want to see Escape to the Mountains – a retreat with “altitude” by Adam Gorski Landscapes Inc. I can’t wait to see the plant selection for this one.

Personally I’m intrigued to see Notting Hill Modern English Garden created by Folia Horticultural and Design – if only because that’s one of my favorite Hugh Grant movies! Join me for a peak into this artsy London neighborhood to see how the designers interpret this contemporary style using symmetry and non-plant elements.

Take heart if you don’t have an outdoor space  as Patterns of Peace on Earth by West Seattle Nursery has the perfect display garden for you inspired by the tropical forests and sandy beaches of Ghana. This distinctive paradise will give you ideas for creating the perfect indoor vacation.

You can read about ALL the display gardens here.

What you’ll learn

After traveling around the globe you’ll be ready to sit for a while so take advantage of one of the 100 free seminars on offer. Speakers include world class notables such as Richard Hartlage and Charles A Birnbaum, top notch “out of town” speakers including Melinda Myers, Nicholas Staddon, C Colston Burrell, and CL Fornari and lots of your local favorites including the one and only Ciscoe Morris, Sue Goetz, Richie Steffan, and your favorite deer-challenged, foliage-first designer: ME! I’d love you to join me for my talk The Squish Factor: Designing Abundant Containers on Sunday February 24th at 4.30pm in the Rainier Room.

 

And be sure to check out the fun Container Wars competition MC’d by my good friend, gardening columnist and television host Marianne Binetti will have you laughing while you learn.

What you’ll want to buy

Delicious food and a glass of wine will soon revive you sufficiently to shop from the thousands of garden-related treasures in the Marketplace.

Win two tickets

I’d love you to be a part of this great show and so I’m offering a pair of tickets that can be used on any day of the show. To enter just leave me a comment below telling me where in the world you’d most like to go and why. I’ll draw a random name on Tuesday January 29th at 9am PST and mail the tickets straight out to you.

Boring rules that have to be stated: comments must be left below, not on an image and not on social media (that just gets too complicated!) You’ll have 48 hours to respond to my email telling you that you’ve won, after which I’ll draw another name. Finally, all entrants must currently live in the USA or Canada.

Visit England for Real!

Chatsworth House, in Derbyshire England

Touring the Chatsworth Estate: Karen & Andy Chapman

Have you always dreamed of visiting England? Would you like to join me on an adventure there next year? Read more about my upcoming tour

“Secret Gardens, Iconic Estates and Medieval Tales of Yorkshire and Derbyshire”

and sign up here to notified of updates as they become available and the opportunity to register. I’d love to share “my England” with you.

Planting Blessings – Lessons from Childhood

Planting Blessings – Lessons from Childhood

Born in Ballymena, 30 miles north of Belfast, my Nana never lost her Irish brogue, even after moving to England as a young woman. By today’s standards she didn’t have much. She left school at 11 to look after her siblings “just as we were starting to learn long-division”, married the boy next door, lived in a little council house in Wallasey, Merseyside, and devoted her life to raising children and keeping the home nice.

Yet her life and her legacy were rich beyond words.

One of the earliest lessons she taught me, sitting in her sunny yellow kitchen drinking tea and eating homemade “wee buns” (translation for the non-Irish: small cupcakes), was to count your blessings. She was a devout Christian who lived her faith every day. Reminding me to count my blessings wasn’t a trite checklist but rather a way to teach me gratitude. What today, some might consider an aspect of mindfulness.

Regardless of your belief system I think you’ll agree that when we learn to practice gratitude for all that we have, rather than focusing on the things we don’t or that we have lost (people, opportunities, jobs, health), we find an inner peace. It changes our perspective. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, nor does it diminish the reality of such losses, but it helps us find a path through them.

1983. Left to right: me (age 22), mum, Nana, Aunty Edie (mum’s sister) – visiting me at a youth camp where I taught canoeing each summer

Nana taught me how to appreciate the little things; a big pat of real butter melting in a volcano of hot mashed potato, making daisy chains on her tiny back lawn, the warmth of a coal fire on a winter’s day, catching “tiddlers” (tiny fish) in jam jars at the lake in a nearby park, tasting my first ice lolly in her back garden (first photograph). Throughout my life she modeled what it meant to love by freely giving me her time and undivided attention. She stayed up late at night making outfits for my teddy bear on her old treadle sewing machine, listened to my various teenage woes with a sympathetic ear, and cheered me on at many orchestral concerts as I got older. And her hugs. She was a great hugger.

What’s this got to do with gardening?

When we plant seed, we plant hope. We don’t plant a seed expecting it to perish. We plant it expecting it to thrive. We nurture it, enjoy it, and often share the fruits or flowers with friends and neighbors. We plant the potential for blessings.

My challenge to you

So many choices

As you start to browse through all the seed catalogs and plan your garden, take a moment to pause and consider how you might be able to bless others. Can you grow a few extra seedlings to share with a neighbor? Do you have room to grow extra vegetables for your local food pantry? Perhaps find room for some cosmos or snapdragons in your garden this year, for the pure joy of being able to cut bouquets for a friend?

There will always be things to worry about, losses that we struggle to accept, health concerns that threaten to derail us.  Yet our garden reminds us that there will always be a new season.  The circle of life will continue, and we can choose to focus on all that we have been blessed with and how we can pass that on.

My recent trip to England was a significant turning point as I struggled to adjust to the loss of my mum (the linked blog post will explain why if you’re curious).  At Christmas I had another moment of clarity as I watched our little granddaughter, Anna, happily handing building blocks to my husband, while my grown up children and their partners chatted and laughed in the background. It was this. Now it’s my time to be the Nana. It’s my turn to make clothes for teddy bears, teach little hands how to bake, how to plant a seed, how to love. I am blessed beyond belief.

I think my Nana -and my Mum, would be proud to know I have finally understood their legacy.

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I can still hear Nana singing:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Refrain:
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Johnson Oatman, Jr., pub.1897

May 2019 be a year of blessings for you, and an opportunity for you to share your gifts, time, and blessings with others.

Gifts for Garden Lovers

Gifts for Garden Lovers

If your list is long but your time  is short, these ideas are for YOU! All these gift  recommendations are based on my own experience and use.

For the Homesteaders

We all know someone who keeps chickens, has bees, or grows vegetables – check out the many useful and fun gifts that Stumpdust has to offer. Honey pots, garden tools and chicken ornaments are just a few of these handcrafted gifts turned from salvaged wood in our very own barn here in Duvall, WA. Yes, that’s right, the Stumpdust Santa is non other than my super-talented husband Andy. He has even agreed to offer friends of Le jardinet a special discount. Type the coupon code SANTA10 at checkout to receive 10% off your order of $75 or more. Coupon expires December 4th so don’t wait too long! (P.S. The chicken set shown above would also make a great “new baby” announcement….)

For Container Gardeners

Give the gift of inspiration and education; this popular online workshop is truly the gift that will keep on giving. With clear videos, downloadable handouts, and information packed slideshows this workshop has everything your friends and family will need to get them designing Pinterest-worthy container gardens every time. Check out the details, read the reviews and purchase here.

Ideal for those friends who live overseas as there are no shipping costs!

BONUS: use coupon code 5off at checkout get $5.00 off (expires 12/24/2018)

For the Garden Photographer

As digital cameras  have become easier to use and less expensive, more and more gardeners have discovered the delight of taking high quality photos of their gardens to create cards, e-books, wall art, or simply to share with friends.

A tripod is an indispensable piece of camera kit, enabling you not only to avoid camera shake, but also to take superior low-light shots and frame up the scene in a more deliberate way. I LOVE my lightweight, super-portable MeFoto RoadTrip tripod. It fits easily into my carry-on or can be strapped to my camera back pack, is sturdy enough to manage my 18-135mm lens, is fully adjustable AND even converts quickly into a monopod for those scenarios when there isn’t room for a full tripod (think garden tours, narrow paths…). Lots of pretty colors too! Highly recommended and great value.

Taking all the photographs for my latest book involved traveling with two camera bodies, several lenses, remote shutter release cables, filters, SD cards, battery chargers, and more. I realized pretty quickly that I needed to keep everything with me as I was shooting – I couldn’t go back for something I had left in the car or I’d miss “the” shot. While there are many fancy camera bags out there I have found this inexpensive camera backpack from Amazon ideal, It can quickly be reconfigured to take any combination of gear using the velcro separators and the wide padded straps make it comfortable to carry even when fully loaded through the largest of airports or gardens. Check it out

And finally the perfect stocking stuffer for garden photographers – a waterproof case for all the memory cards one needs! This is the one I use. Many photographers would use it to store 12 cards. I actually use it to store 6. I store unused cards on the yellow side then transfer them to the grey side as I fill them. BONUS TIP: make some paper inserts with a grid of 6 rectangles drawn on. Then write in each grid what is on that card e.g. “Chanticleer”, “Grand Canyon”. It makes it easier to sort things out when you’re ready to download the images

 

For the Creative Gardener

Treat yourself to this fun, online course and make festive indoor containers for all your friends! Check out the video and get all the details here. And to help your budget stretch even further, the first 100 friends to use coupon code holidaypots at checkout will get 10%off

 

For Experienced & New Gardeners Alike

Perfect for every garden lover on your list, this book will teach you how to design with a foliage-first attitude. That immediately gives you a jump start to creating combinations that are lower maintenance, higher impact, longer lasting and truly beautiful. With ALL the reviews being 5 star, you know it’s going to be good. New gardeners will gain confidence as they learn how these combinations were put together, while experienced gardeners will love the unique designs and discover new ideas to try. We are justifiably proud of this book and we’d love to share it with you. Check out Gardening with Foliage First here.

That’s it – shopping complete! Time to put the kettle on and join me for a cup of tea and mince pie.

This post contains affiliate links

 

Creating Sensational Indoor Containers for the Holidays

Creating Sensational Indoor Containers for the Holidays

 

For several years I taught this workshop at my home, teaching guests how to design festive indoor containers. They were always a hit – and sold out quickly, as we could only get a limited number of folks around the table. But the bigger problem was that only those who lived within an easy drive of our home in Duvall, WA could attend – and trying to accommodate everyone’s crazy Holiday season schedules was next to impossible (think music recitals, business dinners, family gatherings, and more).

About a year ago I began working to make this and other educational workshops available online, knowing that whether you lived in France or Florida, England or Encitas, you could join in the fun and for a much lower price than an in-person event.

Drum Roll please…..

So I’m excited to unveil my latest online course:

DECK THE HALLS: Creating Sensational Holiday Containers.

This fun online workshop will teach you everything you need to know about creating seasonal designs, freshening them up in the New Year, ongoing care and lots more. Indoor Holiday containers are the perfect gift for your neighbor, co-worker, kids teacher, and special friend. Make one for yourself to add a festive touch to the coffee table – or be ready to pass it on as a last minute hostess gift.

When you take a few moments to create something unique, you are giving a gift from the heart – the very best gift of all.

 

And the great news is that you can watch this course as often as you like, whenever you like, on any device. I’ve even created downloadable care sheets for you to print off and give with your gift.

Check out the details and register today!

And to sweeten the deal (and make your Holiday budget stretch a little further), the first 100 friends who use

coupon code holidaypots

will get 10% off the already LOW price!

 

Let’s Deck those Halls together this year!

Deer-Resistant Spring Bulbs

Deer-Resistant Spring Bulbs

I’m not sure if it was a wild game of Touch Rugby or Tag, but either way, the five deer that were playing in my front garden yesterday left it looking as though a stampede of  elephants had been having a party. Forget a rake- I need a brush hog to smooth out the beds again!

Lovely to see the garden so vibrant even at the end of October (and despite rambunctious deer)! It’s all about creating that foliage framework, but now is the time to think ahead and add spring bulbs to augment the early season color.

Yes, I select deer resistant plants and I try to remember to protect vulnerable trees before the rutting season begins, but the garden still suffer from a few deer-trampled plants. Such is life when you share your garden with wildlife.

Not one to be deterred, however, I’m about to plant 1500 deer-resistant spring bulbs, hoping that the majority will be spared trampling by thoughtless cloven hooves. I’m sure it’s going to take a while to get them all in the ground, as first I have to rake the fallen leaves off the soil so I can see where to plant them; but a gardener is always an optimist. (And my chiropractor is on speed dial).

Here’s what I chose:

Dutch Master daffodils – a spring classic

 

500 Dutch Master daffodils (yellow) – to add to those already in the borders plus start a naturalized drift on a slight berm near the woodland, an area which can be seen from my office.

250 Mount Hood daffodils (white) – some for the front garden, the remainder to add to the drift mentioned above

Purple Sensation ornamental onions mingle so well with spring blooming perennials such as oriental poppies

100 Purple Sensation ornamental onions – to add to those already in the front garden plus add some near the patio where shrubs can hide the foliage

100 drumstick ornamental onions – to add to the island border, planted in between yellow blanket flowers and dwarf blue catmint

I lost a lot of my original windflowers when we widened the front path. Time to add more!

200 windflower (shades of blue) – to create a drift in the front garden

100 winter aconite (yellow) – memories of England….will be added to the woodland garden under some trees where I hope they will naturalize

My all time favorite spring bulb – the English bluebell

250 English bluebells (fragrant, non-invasive) – because you can’t have too many. For the woodland.

Planting Tips

My husband makes these traditional English tools from salvaged wood – often from our own property.

The small bulbs will be planted using the hand-crafted English dibber that my husband Andy made for me, helpfully marked with one-inch increments so I can plant at the correct depth. (If you would like one, he sells them through his business Stumpdust, which was featured in Sunset, Garden Design, and Country Gardens magazines).

The larger daffodil and onion bulbs will be planted with a bulb auger. I haven’t used one of these before but was persuaded by my friend Erin Schanen (The Impatient Gardener) after watching her video. I’m going to ask Andy to manage the auger and I’ll come behind him to drop the bulbs into the holes. That’s the plan anyway – we’ll see how it goes!

If you’d like to get more ideas for deer-resistant spring bulbs, this will help.

I ordered all my bulbs from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Virginia, because their quality is top notch and frankly they are just such a lovely couple I’m happy to support them. Don’t worry that many of the varieties I’ve listed are now shown as being out of stock. By the time you’re ready to order, they will have more available. Tell them I sent you!

What are you planting for spring?

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