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December 01, 2010


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There's a tiny little Violet in bloom along side our walkway. It's not supposed to be in bloom this time of year. I guess it just doesn't care. That's why it's my favorite

Lindy W

Who wouldn't enjoy wondering the Arboretum a pair of cute boots?!

Rosemary is my favorite winter plant. I love it for the fragrant smell that reminds me of the holidays. A few sprigs tossed in with roast chicken or turkey, mixed in with potatoes or combined with olive oil cake. I make a few wreaths every year and mix rosemary and dried lavender. I even hang some in the shower.


Ohh, great contest! Though I'm always a tad intimidated to post amongst such stellar and knowledgeable "real" gardeners. I garden in a crowded, but lovely P-Patch here on Capitol Hill in Seattle so a lot of my faves end up in pots for the winter. Over the last few years, my absolute favorite has to be my Jelena witch hazel which has the most interesting and unusual rich coppery-orange to yellow flowers on it in winter. To stun the sometimes dreary winter world even further, this humble shrub's incredible fragrance is almost intoxicating and is therefore relegated to my front porch. Even the mailman has accidentally brushed by and it marveled at it's glorious scent in the dead of winter. Ok, wow--did I just convince myself to go get another plant? :)

Glenn Withey


I'd have to say that one of my favorite winter plants is Cyclamen coum. Of course, in a milder winter, I would probably pick something different (or tomorrow, if you ask me).

This cyclamen is fully hardy, flowers for several months, and shows up from across the lawn-important when one doesn't feel like leaving the comfy sofa...

We like to select plants that have the most intense flowers (think hot pink to magenta) versus an 'elegant' pale pink to white, since we are prone to being couch potatoes when it is 37 degrees out!

Brenda Kodama

When I look into my backyard in the cold gray months of winter, I spy aTsuga canadensis 'Gentsch White' hemlock. It is a beautiful evergreen shrub that really shines during our darker days. I like the shape, the white tips of the branches and it just makes me smile. I have it in a well drained sunny location that gets summer irrigation. It's funny, I don't notice this plant very much during the other seasons, but during the winter, it pops out and exclaims,' Look at me!'

Nell Jean

A white Camellia sasanqua is shedding snowy petals outside my window. Camellia japonicas will follow after Christmas with more colorful blooms including some seedlings that I started some 15 years ago that have reached blooming size.

Love those plaid Wellies!


I have to say, I love preparing Paperwhites and Amaryllis for Holiday presents. In the garden it's our Strawberry Bush. We still have tons of berries after the snow!


My favorite winter plant is Sarcococca ruscifolia. It already has buds and should begin blooming late this month or early January. The flowers are nothing to sneeze about. On the contrary I breathe in the rich fragrance and it transports me to summer and honeysuckle and other luscious scented plants. Sarcococca or Sweet Box looks great with its small, dark green shiny leaves all the year round. The plant is so NOT fussy, I feel guilty for ignoring it. Every garden within the growing range should have this fabulous plant. Mine is over 10 years old and growing strong.

It's always a pleasure to visit your blog, Valerie. Even if I don't leave a comment, rest assured, I'm lurking.



I don't usually have a single favorite, but winter would not be the same without Helleborus argutifolius, just budding up now. Takes drought and sun or shade all summer, then stirs into this subtle, pippin-apple green performance that lasts for months, long enough for deep blue Scilla peruviana to join in. There should also be ferns and corydalis. A whole garden could be planted around this hellebore.


Tough, this is very tough. Which plant do I like the best? I'll go with the first one that came to mind: a shiny-leafed hellebore. I lost the tag years ago, so I can't tell you which one it is. In summer, it's mottled by aphid frass (ugly), but at this time of year, I love it. It lives on the forgotten north side of my house and I pass it twice a day leaving for dog walks. It's the first plant I notice. In this gray light, its shiny leaves glow. It looks perky and happy and ALIVE. There is no fragrance and the flowers don't come until later. Right now it's the leaves that I love. Later I'll enjoy the blooms.

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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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