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March 14, 2009

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Valerie Easton

Hi Deborah,
I love the munchkin quote - and I'm afraid that many of our plants are really quite sincerely dead...not only because of more than a week of plunging temperatures, but because the cold followed quickly upon a mild, late autumn. Our plants weren't any more ready for frigid December temperatures than we were.

I agree this winter has raised many questions about our plant choices and practices - but how good you aren't discouraged and "still drawn in by the challenge of it all...."

Thanks for commenting,
Val

Hi Sue,
I think the Mass Hort re-thinking of their flower show and staging it on a smaller scale in a variety of urban venues is brilliant. I'm hoping that the void left by the end of the Northwest Flower and Garden Show will be filled with great creativity and fresh thinking - and that non-profits like the Dunn Garden, NHS, the Arboretum, Bellevue Botanical Garden will plunge in, and maybe team up, to put on some smaller, perhaps sweeter, less commercial events, lectures, and shows...

Isn't Cliff Mass's take on the weather basically that it's going to be more volatile, more extreme, less predictable? Which is pretty much a pickle for gardeners...

Thanks for your comment -
Val

Sue N.

I'm hoping Cliff Mass's take on NW weather will bring some clarity for us too. People sure are talking about this.
Val, talking about weather changes. I've been listening to what's happening with threatened Flower and Garden Shows. Would be interested in your take on what Mass Hort is doing this week, the Blooms in Boston, where the show is dispersed throughout the city. A tack that Seattle may need to follow if no one surfaces. Opportunity?

Deborah Heg

It is an interesting conversation, Val, and it seems many of us are in the 'data gathering' stage: I lost ______ - What did you lose? What did you take in? What did you try to insulate?

There is extra work, and some comedy involved in running around outside in freezing weather trying to throw covers on plants as the wind plays havoc with your efforts. (Are we having fun yet?) And I guess it will be a couple more months before I'm sure who is, in the words of the Munchkins, 'not merely dead, but really quite sincerely dead'.

In the meantime, I realize I am still drawn in by the challenge of it all. There are plants I will not try to grow again. But there are also plants that I will continue to grow only as container specimens I can move inside each fall. And also a few that I will - yes - replace.

I've never been a Banana or tree fern girl, but had hoped I lived in the coveted zone 8 "b". This two-week-long sub-freezing experience has got me asking many more questions. What do those hardiness zones really mean? Here, we never went near the lowest number for zone 8. Is prolonged low temp different than one-night low temp? (I'd sure say so!) What forms of insulation work best? And many more.

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New Book: Petal & Twig

  • Petal & Twig Made The New York Times!
    From Anne Raver's review: "Valerie Easton, a Seattle-based garden writer, discusses the art of growing and arranging cut flowers in “Petal and Twig: Seasonal Bouquets With Blossoms, Branches and Grasses From Your Garden” (Sasquatch Books; $16.95). Written as an informal diary, with photographs of arrangements from her own garden, and tips on cutting and keeping flowers fresh, the book inspires ideas not only on what to grow but on how to combine (or not) those beauties inside. See review here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/garden/new-books-on-growing-and-arranging-flowers.html?scp=1&sq=petal%20&%20twig%20anne%20raver&st=cse
  • The first reviews on the new book are in! From Publisher's Weekly:
  • "Open your eyes and keep it simple: those are two lessons Easton passes on from her own 40 years in the garden. When selecting and arranging flowers for bouquets, you needn’t spend a bundle buying a bundle of imported flowers.....The result will be unique, local, imaginative, and inexpensive. Color photos throughout illustrate and inspire."

In the News

  • Montreal Blogger Reviews "A Pattern Garden"
    I was so pleased to find that "A Pattern Garden" is still being reviewed...check out Allan Becker's generous review on his Garden Guru blog.. I felt like Allan really understood what I was working towards in that book....he writes...."There is a delightful abstract quality to this publication. In it, the author takes good garden design to a higher, more spiritual level. Instead of discussing the aesthetic and scientific elements of design, as so many traditional garden design books do, she focuses on the role played in garden design by archetypal ideas - a.k.a. patterns - that reference the longings of human beings. These pleasure and comfort-rooted ideas are those that inspire designers to create gardens that are satisfying beyond their beauty." see more at http://allanbecker-gardenguru.squarespace.com/journal/valerie-easton
  • Planting art
    Check out this interview with Val in the Chicago Tribune on using art in the garden...

The New Low Maintenance Garden

  • Reviews Are In....
    "Over the years, countless books have espoused a low-maintenance approach to gardening. None have been as engaging, practical, or inspiring as this latest of Easton's contributions to the gardener's bookshelf,"
    - Pacific Horticulture magazine, Jan/Feb/Mar 2010

    "A handy guide to a garden you can raise without a corresponding increase in your blood pressure..handsome and informative...."
    - Metropolitan Home, Dec. 2009

    "This book is an invaluable addition to the garden library – destined to be a classic for many years to come."
    - Garden Design Online

Photo Credits

  • The banner and portrait photos were taken by Jacqueline Koch; all other photos by Val Easton unless otherwise credited.

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