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Past Articles

Book roundup + giveaway! The 20-30 Something Garden Guide, The Plant Recipe Book & Sunset’s Western Garden Book of Landscaping

by Rebecca Sweet

Spring has arrived! And along with the sweet scent of jasmine, the bursting blooms of tulips and rosebuds just beginning to open comes a new crop of gardening books.  Luckily my mailman remembers that, around this time each year, his load gets a little heavier with all the books I’m sent to review.  I thought […]

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Texture reigns supreme in the Testa-Vought garden

by Rebecca Sweet
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Welcome to Andrea Testa-Vought’s garden, a textural paradise designed by the amazing Bernard Trainor. As you’ll see, this garden is truly a feast for the eyes.  But more importantly, it’s also a lesson in the subtle but powerful effects texture can have in the garden. I first visited this garden in December, on what was […]

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Spring’s One-Hit Wonders: Flowering Quince, Forsythia & Spirea

by Rebecca Sweet
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The other day I overheard two women talking about their spring gardens and one of them stated matter-of-factly that she’d never plant a flowering quince since it blooms for such a short period and then just sits there the rest of the year.  While its true that it blooms only once, in my opinion that’s […]

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Festina Lente – Filoli’s winter garden

by Rebecca Sweet
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 Festina Lente.  Powerful words used since ancient times by the likes of emperors, military commanders, authors, artists and even Shakespeare himself. Translated, festina lente means ‘hurry slowly’.  Personally, I think  my neighbor’s bumper sticker says it best –  ’Hurry up and slow down‘. Out of the corner of my eye I discovered this plaque placed […]

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Goodbye Lawn, Hello Garden Part 2

by Rebecca Sweet
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Phew – I’ve been busy!  As promised a few weeks ago, here’s the next phase of my front lawn-removal project. After deciding on the materials and final shape of the pathways, the next step was to remove the lawn.  A physically grueling task to be sure. Enlisting some help from one with a much stronger […]

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Pyracantha Pandemonium

by Rebecca Sweet
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It started out just like any other January day. For the past week, I had been admiring one of my favorite shrubs growing in my side yard – the humble pyracantha. I had been wondering to myself why more people didn’t love this shrub as I do.  Didn’t they realize all the seasonal beauty it […]

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Goodbye lawn, hello garden! Part 1

by Rebecca Sweet
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It’s a new year and with it comes the oh-so-familiar new year’s resolutions.  And while I rarely keep the ones I make (lose weight, exercise more, blah blah blah) this is a resolution that’s long overdue and one that I’m thrilled to undertake: getting rid of my unused front lawn. With California’s lowest recorded rainfall […]

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Five ways to warm winter garden

by Rebecca Sweet
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A few days ago I spoke to my friend who lives in Boston, and when I complained that my garden was taking a beating during a recent week of unrelenting 28-degree temperatures, he was shocked – in California?   Yes, even in the land of sunshine it often dips below freezing on a cold winter […]

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The Great Christmas Tree Chop

by Rebecca Sweet
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 Note:  This post is rated ‘R’ for violence Sometimes it seems my family lives to torment me – especially when it comes to choosing Christmas trees. It wasn’t always be this way.  But one year, when the kids were young, I decided to surprise everyone by bringing home a beautiful living Christmas tree, in hopes […]

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Tantalizing Tillandsias

by Rebecca Sweet
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There’s something about tillandsias that makes my heart sing.  Even just saying the word is fun.  Maybe its due to their seemingly endless array of colors, shapes and textures.  Maybe its because of their somewhat freaky appearance.  Or maybe its because they’re one of the easiest ways to make a really creative statement in your […]

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Looking at your garden with fresh eyes

by Rebecca Sweet
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As a designer and a consultant, I’m often asked how I go about deciding how and where to begin when it comes to transforming a garden bed.   I understand where this question comes from.  While visualizing where to begin is relatively easy for me, I realize that’s not necessarily the case for others.  In fact, […]

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Refresh Your Garden Design’s Virtual Book Party!

by Rebecca Sweet
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I’m officially announcing the birth of my new baby…I mean book, Refresh Your Garden Design with Color, Texture & Form, and to celebrate you’re all invited to attend my Virtual Book Party – with some very ‘refreshing’ party favors (yes, pun intended).  Six garden blogging friends and I are hosting 7 great giveaways this week, all related […]

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Succulent pumpkins

by Rebecca Sweet
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Without a doubt, fall is my favorite season of the year.  And once I spot the first signs of pumpkins and squash adorning grocery stores and farmers markets  I’m like a kid in a candy shop.  And don’t even get me started on my obsession with glass pumpkins! I’ve admired succulent-topped pumpkins ever since I […]

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I’m a caladium convert

by Rebecca Sweet
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I’ll admit it – I’ve never given much thought to caladiums, perhaps subconsciously dismissing them as an uninspired, old-fashioned stalwart. But having trialled several dozen this year (thanks to the good folks at Classic Caladiums) I can proudly say I was dead wrong – there’s nothing uninspired with these plants.  I’m officially hooked! Similar to coleus […]

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Transforming a side yard from Blah to Beautiful

by Rebecca Sweet
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In honor of my new book, Refresh Your Garden Design, I’ll be spending the next few months writing about the many different aspects of color, texture and form.  Whether its gardeners I’ve met who have embraced these design principles to the fullest, simple solutions you can use to transform your own garden, or perhaps  specific […]

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Refresh Your Garden Design with Color, Texture and Form

by Rebecca Sweet
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I’m over-the-moon with excitement to announce that my new book, Refresh Your Garden Design with Color, Texture and Form is officially finished and will be available in bookstores next month – Oct. 20th, to be exact! After seeing a review copy for the first time last week, I can honestly say that I’m immensely proud of this […]

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Saying goodbye with one last gardening project

by Rebecca Sweet
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In just a few days I’ll be saying goodbye to my daughter as she embarks on a new adventure in her life as she goes away to college.  And while I’m proud, thrilled and excited for her, I can’t help but quietly mourn each passing minute, knowing I’ll soon be face-to-face with the giant hole […]

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Captivating Coprosmas

by Rebecca Sweet
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Time and time again I’ve had astonished clients ask me ‘What IS that plant?’ when spotting the smooth and shiny foliage of a colorful coprosma.  Commonly known as a ‘Mirror Plant’, coprosma’s foliage looks as if tiny little elves snuck in and meticulously shellaced each perfectly shaped oval leaf. Yes, they’re that shiny. Finding foliage with […]

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Roo Garden Apron Review and Giveaway

by Rebecca Sweet
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If you’re like me, you’ve probably returned from a supposedly quick and casual stroll through the garden with your shirt flipped up in an attempt to to hold all the tomatoes, plums or apricots that were just begging to be picked. After dirtying umpteen clean shirts, I don’t know why I venture outside any longer […]

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