Posted at 7:05 am , on May 27, 2018
Palm Springs, California
Last April, my husband and I squeezed in a vacation to Palm Springs, California. Palm Springs is about an hour and a half east of Los Angeles in the Sonoran Desert, snuggled up against the San Jacinto Mountains. It’s sunny and hot and in spring, the perfect vacation spot to visit. It’s a small city but big on history and culture. With many hotels, shops, and restaurants clustered near the downtown area, it’s highly walkable. Here are my 7 favorite things to do in Palm Springs.
1. Lounge by the Pool
Colony Palms Hotel Pool
As a mom of three kids, I’m often frazzled. Not only do I work part-time, but I’m driving children to lessons and practices often. So when we went to Palm Springs, I wanted a low-key hotel where I wouldn’t have to hear many children splashing and screaming. I know that’s maybe selfish of me but I wanted a break. The Colony Palms Hotel fit perfectly with that need. There are kids occasionally by the pool, but I wasn’t overrun by children. For a bigger, more active resort, there’s the Hyatt or Hilton. For a hipper experience, there’s the Saguaro. But the Colony Palms, which began because gangster Al Wertheimer created a brothel and speakeasy, has reinvented itself as a luxurious, laidback hotel that’s intimate yet comfortable. Continue reading
Posted at 7:51 am , on May 25, 2018
After a damp cold April, May was unusually dry in the Northwest this year. The warmth and sun propelled an explosion of blooms. From my garden, here are my favorite perennials that bloom in May.
Sweet Kate Spiderwort
Sweet Kate Spiderwort (Tradescantia andersoniana)
Sweet Kate Spiderwort is special for its yellow foliage and deep indigo flowers. It likes part-shade and moist soil. Its yellow leaves will stay yellow with some sun but preferably morning sun. Grows about one foot high and dies back in winter. Hardy down to Zone 4. Continue reading
Posted at 9:42 am , on May 21, 2018
To kick off my new series Gardening Across the US, I interviewed my friend Theo Margelony. Theo has created a lovely garden in the heart of Manhattan. With the shade of trees and buildings surrounding him, he’s planted rare and not-so-rare fuchsias to add color and texture to his urban sanctuary. Check out how he gardens in one of the biggest, busiest cities in the world.
How did you fall in love with fuchsias?
I’m not quite sure actually. I often put it down to the delight of “popping fuchsias” as a kid. There have even been poems penned about this addictive phenomenon of squeezing fuchsia blossoms. My mother always had fuchsias in the garden. I distinctly remember those big red-and-white doubles she had, the kind with nice plump, round buds, the kind of tempting buds that make that oh-so-satisfying POP! when you’re three or four years old and no one’s watching… Continue reading
Posted at 7:55 am , on May 19, 2018
Neil Gaiman’s novel Neverwhere is a funny macabre urban fantasy that focuses on a regular everyman named Richard. One night, he accidentally gets sucked into a magical world beneath London. And when I say beneath London, I mean in the sewers. It’s a mucky dank world where most people are out for themselves as they barter, plot, and kill. Richard’s sole motivation is to get home to “London Above” as he goes on an adventure with a ragtag group seeking an angel named Islington who may or may not be able to help them all. It’s a delightful story, one that features Gaiman’s vivid witty writing. I admired page after page of it. What I admired most though was his ability to deftly weave emotions into the plot. Neverwhere offers a great lesson in how to write emotion. Here are the techniques he used: Continue reading
Posted at 2:21 pm , on May 16, 2018
Let’s face it: flowers are enchanting. There are hundreds of shapes and sizes, dozens of colors. Flowers brighten our spring and summer and fall. They even cheer us in winter with their dried seed heads. I love flowers just like anyone. In fact, I started out loving flowers as most new gardeners do. They draw us in after we buy a home because we want the backyard to be an attractive sanctuary. But as my love of gardening deepened, I began to love plant forms. Their branching patterns and leaf shapes are arguably as interesting as flowers. Now, after many years, I favor plant forms over blossoms. There are too many varieties of beautifully colored leaves not to. Plus, unlike flowers, leaves last well into cold weather, sometimes beyond. So it was with appreciation that I discovered Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz’s books. Their newest is Gardening With Foliage First. It demonstrates how to make foliage the priority when designing a garden.
To be honest, this is what homeowners pay us designers to do anyway. Several times I’ve discouraged clients who ask for only perennials in the garden so we can focus on year-round structure. With Gardening With Foliage First, homeowners can now skip the cost of a designer and read this book instead. Continue reading