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The Latest Dirt, Fall 2015

Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt.

True words. Especially nowadays with all the opportunities social media provides to make you feel inadequate. Anyone besides me compare your life, marriage, kids to all those trumpeting their successes on Facebook?

Another interesting quote from Steven Furtick, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.

Wouldn’t life be so much better if we stopped comparing and just focused on doing our best? Give each day, each opportunity, 100% without worrying about what everyone else is doing? I find that when I do that I end the day feeling profoundly grateful for what I have.

The same can be said of our gardens. Instead of lamenting a small city lot, be grateful and incorporate dwarf plants that will be beautiful in your space. Instead of complaining that your green thumb is being thwarted in your small apartment, use containers on your balcony to grow everything from perennials to veggies. If you are overwhelmed by a large garden, create “pollinator habitats” and leave some areas alone. 

Your garden should bring you joy.
If it’s not, spring is the perfect time for an adjustment.

Sharing My Passion for Gardening

Any of you who know me know that I LOVE sharing my passion for gardening with others. Whether I am talking about container gardening or designing for pollinators or creating a rooftop garden it is always a thrill to share what I have learned.

I have also been blessed to speak at some great Flower Shows over the years and this year I will be returning to one of my favorites  - The Philadelphia International Flower Show.
Read about the Flower Show

The Secret Ingredient

I was at a Speaker’s Bureau recently and was meeting with various garden clubs. I had created a container to have on the table that would showcase my work. A woman stopped and admired it, “Dear, that is just beautiful.  But it doesn’t go outside?” I assured her that all my containers were meant to go outside.

“But, that’s a houseplant” she gasped, pointing at the sansevaria. I thought for a bit and said, “It’s time for summer camp!"
View more photos and read great tips for houseplants in container gardens.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I have a distinct memory last summer of enjoying a meal with a friend in her newly constructed screen house. I kept thinking it was raining due to the incessant pitter patter on the metal roof. When I later realized that it was gypsy moth poop, I had two thoughts. First, gross! And second, thank goodness for a roof!  Gypsy moths seemed to be everywhere,

If you thought last year’s invasion of gypsy moths was of biblical proportions hold on to your hat. According to experts, this year could be just as bad, if not worse.
Learn more and be prepared for this year's gypsy moth caterpillars.

Inside Out Design

There is one very important thing you should do before starting any garden design project.

Stare out the windows. I mean it.

Really stare, or at least look very closely.

Too many designers start outside the home with no thought given to how the garden will look from inside. For many of us in colder climates a good deal of time is spent enjoying the gardens from inside so designing from the inside out just makes sense.
Learn more: Create a feeling of seamlessness between the inside and out.

Turn on The Light

I have seen many gorgeous gardens fall off the radar at night. Beautiful and breathtaking by day once the sun sets they become black holes. Which is why, when I design gardens, I always recommend landscape lighting – it allows your garden to be a source of enjoyment even after the sun has gone down.

Imagine sitting in your living room looking out at a beautiful specimen tree which is uplit so the branches seem to shimmer. Now imagine looking out that same window and seeing only darkness. Picture a romantic dinner on the patio with soft mood lighting versus having to turn on the outdoor floodlights.
Learn more about landscape lighting.

I am looking forward to spring. It’s an opportunity to start over in the garden. Last year’s mistakes and missed opportunities are forgotten. While the grass may be greener and the lilies less beetle-prone somewhere else, my garden is my own. It is forgiving. And for that I am grateful.

See you in the garden,


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