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June 13, 2009


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valerie Easton

Hi Karen,
The poppy garden produces cut flowers all summer long, as the woman who owns it sells bouquets along the street (on the honor system, so Langley-esque...) I'll photograph and post the next wave of bloom after the poppies die back, so we can see how she sequences her flower garden -


Hm, I was watering my lavender just last night to wash the spittle bugs off... oops! Hope I didn't do them in. They are pretty well established and plentiful so I'll try not to worry. I love the roadside poppies and bachelors' buttons together, what a riot of color! I wonder what blooms there when they're done? Poppies are so fun when they bloom but they are a bit floppy/messy afterward. I always cut mine back and it doesn't seem to hurt them a bit.

Val Easton

Hi Ramona,
Vascular wilt is rarely a problem with lavender, but it sounds like that's the problem. It's caused by too rich or too heavily mulched soil, inadequate air circulation or poor drainage. You might want to water your lavender well, and move it to a less crowded spot with better drainage? If it continues to wilt, I'd toss it and start over with a fresh plant....Swanson's advice was good in that new plants do need more water than you might expect. Also - never water from the top, lavenders need to be watered at the roots and the foliage kept dry. Overwatering from the top can also cause wilt...

Good luck -
Val Easton

Ramona Gault

Hi Valerie, an urgent question about lavender plants; I didn't see another spot to post it so here goes. A 2-to-3-year-old lavender plant in my yard had dozens of flower stalks and looked healthy. But in the past week, the stalks have begun to wilt at a point about 4" from the flower buds. The stalk then falls over at that point and the flower buds wither. Now another lavender plant nearby that was planted last fall and looked healthy is showing the same symptom. I was advised at Swansons to water them more, and I've done that but the stalk wilting continues. I'm sad because I treasure the flowers and harvest them each summer. Do you have any idea what might be going on, and how to stop it before the rest of my lavenders start to wilt?

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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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