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April 05, 2010


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crown moulding angles 

Thanks for posting those tips, I'm sure they'll come in handy for everyone. And nice job getting the top spot on the high scores!

valerie Easton

Hi Linda, Thanks for your question. I haven't had a problem getting crown imperials to flower again a second and third year, because I grow them in raised beds with good drainage. Still, they aren't exactly colonizing and spreading as I'd hoped they would. The main problem is that they suffer and even rot from anything but perfect drainage. It is suggested that you plant the bulbs on their sides to prevent rotting, and plant them in a medium made for cactus or bonsai. And they really can't be planted in beds where you water in the summer, as they need to go dormant. Hope this helps...

Linda Drew

I can't get crown imperials to flower after the first year although the second year I get lots of non flowering small bulbs off the main bulb. Is my problem not feeding them? How should I feed them and when?

valerie Easton

Hi Lucy,
Thanks for your comments. It's true that the straight species of butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii)has proved to be invasive,and is causing problems in natural areas. But I'm not aware of any of the cultivars that have proved to be a problem, so there are many kinds of butterfly bushes that are just fine to grow in our gardens. I didn't see the story of Ciscoe's you're referring to, so don't know if he made that distinction. I certainly don't think it's a matter of "commercial interests" - no one is paying any of us to write about any specific plants - but rather keeping up with new information and the variety of opinions that exist on nearly every aspect of gardening.

Lucy Weinberg

Hi Valerie, I read your article about Ciscoe Morris which was very flattering to him. However, everytime I see him in/on a media source I am reminded that in 2009 he wrote two pieces for the Seattle Times recommending gardeners propagate and plant butterfly bush. I am sure you are aware of the highly invasive natute of this alien as well as the threat it poses to butterflies and Northwest Ecology. It has spread and it will cause extreme problems for our forests if left uncontroled or ignored.
I know that garden writers owe their living to commercial interests, but I hope that some ethical appeal will get those of you who have the ability to reach the gardening public to write and grow awareness of distructive alien invasives, like butterfly bush and so many others.
Please, please, do your part to help save Northwest Ecology (including butterflies, birds & etc.) and write truthfully about the effects of alien ortimental plants.

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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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