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design

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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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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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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Create longer-lasting fall color in the garden

by Rebecca Sweet
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There’s something magical about fall colors in the garden, isn’t there?  My favorite time of year is the moment I open my front door and see my Japanese maples and Crepe Myrtle trees have turned their fiery shades of yellow, red and orange – signaling the calm before the storm (the storms from both winter […]

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Shades of Gray in a No-Lawn Front Garden

by Rebecca Sweet
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I’m thrilled to announce that one of the gardens I designed for a client is featured in this month’s Sunset magazine (if you don’t subscribe, you can read about it here in their online version). While the folks at Sunset did a fantastic job capturing the drought-tolerant aspects of this garden (the homeowners reduced their […]

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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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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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Mixing flowers and succulents

by Rebecca Sweet
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There’s no doubt about it, Debra Lee Baldwin certainly knows her succulents.  But when visiting her Escondido, CA garden again a few months ago, I was struck by something else – the flowers.  Not the flowers of succulents (which are amazing enough), but regular ol’ perennial, annual and native flowers that casually grow throughout the […]

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Using white flowers in the garden

by Rebecca Sweet
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My garden has been on a few different garden tours this past month which, despite the work involved in getting everything cleaned up, is always a fantastic opportunity to see my garden through others’ eyes.  Its always interesting to see which plants are a hit, and which ones seem to go unnoticed, and I’m often […]

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New Garden App – Sunset Western Garden Book

by Rebecca Sweet
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I’m a huge fan of the latest edition of the Sunset Western Garden Book (read my review here), and to say I’m over the moon with excitement at the big news of their new garden app is an understatement. A few weeks ago I was honored to be invited to Sunset’s Headquarters where I was […]

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Color in the Garden – without the plants

by Rebecca Sweet
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You can always tell when people are sick and tired of winter when flashy accessories start popping up throughout the garden! This past week, while visiting Sunset Magazine’s test gardens and those of the San Francisco Garden Show, I was struck by the amount of vibrant colors everywhere. And also, interestingly enough, how the color […]

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Lawn Gone! Book Party, Review and Giveaways

by Rebecca Sweet
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To celebrate the release of Pam Penick’s new book, Lawn Gone! Low-Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard, you’re all invited to attend her Lawn Gone Book Party – with some very cool party prizes! Six garden blogging friends and I are hosting 7 great giveaways this week, all related to the theme of – […]

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