As you may know there are hundreds of gardening blogs. I love sifting through and collecting them onto my official garden blog Pinterest board. Here are a few that caught my eye lately that you might also enjoy:



This sweet, velvety plant has stumped me the last four years.  I introduced Stachys byzantina into my perennial border four years ago after I received several free divisions from a friend. Since I had a large quantity and loved it's beautiful coarse texture it became the main structural plant in this part of my garden.

As time progressed I added additional lamb's ears purchased from different sources...to continue the strong pattern that I began. My plant naivety assumed that a lamb's ear was a lamb's ear. Two years ago I began to notice there were differences. Some of my lamb's ears kept shooting up flowers in summer alongside narrower upright leaves (image on the right), while others had larger leaves that formed clumps with no flowers (left image).

At first I thought the difference was caused by more shade at one end of my border. That was dispelled last year when our neighbor cut down his towering maple that cast that shade. It really became apparent when we moved some of the flowering ones near the nonflowering ones. When they popped up this spring the difference was shocking. Jeez, I had two different cultivars.

One was doing exactly what I had envisioned (clumping with no flowers), while I was constantly hacking away at the other trying to make it do something for which it was not intended. I think the clumping form is the cultivar, Helen Von Stein. I'm not sure about the other one just yet...maybe just the pure form of lamb's ears? Hopefully some of you might know.

Yesterday, I finally took out the flowering one. Not because I didn't like it, but because it wasn't fulfilling the design role that I had intended (a low, repeating clumping form). In this instance, the Stachys byzantina 'Helen Von Stein' filled that role perfectly. The next step, dividing the Helen Von Stein to fill in the empty gaps....and the experiment continues.  Maybe someday I'll have that perennial border finished.

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Though we've lived in our current house for over five years, this is the first summer I noticed the beautiful seeds on our linden tree (I'm embarrassed to admit).

I've always noticed lindens from FAR AWAY...for their beautiful pyramidal shape, but really never looked at it close up.  The seeds are simple little spheres attached to small stems, but the stems are attached to the middle of a narrow, light green leaf.  It's a beautiful contrast against the dark, heart shaped linden leaves. I'm assuming the seeds are attached to this additional leaf to help them glide farther from the tree. A functional element, made so beautifully.

For those that would like to take a stab at learning plants through drawing, I've created hedge note sheets for everyone that signs up for my newsletter. You can print these templates, then fill in each one as you take note of favorite plants. It's my way of getting you to love plants more.

This post is part of Susannah Conway's August Break.  Everyday she inspires us with one word.  
Today's word is FAR AWAY.



UPDATE: I'm sorry to say this wonderful offer is no longer available. The magical 24 hours has come and gone. I'd like to thank everyone that wrote in! It was an absolute pleasure meeting you.

For those unable to check in with me...the good news is that you can still purchase my eBook for half price through August 2013 by signing up for my email updates:

Lisa Orgler Design Email Updates

Find out more about The Peanut Butter & Jelly Garden here.
I am so excited about my new eBook, The Peanut Butter & Jelly Garden, that I decided to do something a little quirky today...offer it free for 24 hours.

May I ask for a couple of things in return?
1. Please tell me what you think.
2. If you like it, please tell your friends about it.

That's it!

Please email me directly at lisaorgler@huxcomm.net for your free copy now through tomorrow, Saturday, August 10 at 8 p.m. (central time). I look forward to hearing from you!



Woo-hoo! I can't believe it! I finally finished my first eBook: The Peanut Butter & Jelly Garden! Ten years developing an idea, then one year writing it. I'm feeling a little exhausted and exhilarated all at once.

What is it all about? Developing an out-of-the-ordinary theme garden, of course!  

The Peanut Butter & Jelly Garden reveals the unique process of how to create a theme garden about anything through five easy steps that lead to an out-of-the-ordinary, personal, and exciting garden design journey.

It is chock full of illustrations and garden design ideas all aimed at encouraging you to look at the landscape in a new way. To show how this process truly works, I use peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as my theme. I have to add some challenge, right?

For new designers, I hope this gives you some encouragement and guidance to begin a new project and for experienced designers, I hope it inspires and rejuvenates your design approach.

You can purchase The Peanut Butter & Jelly Garden for only $10 below. You will receive a .pdf file instantly once payment is made. 
Here is a little peek inside:



Today's word is DIAGONAL, so I challenged myself to find three diagonals in the garden.

This month I'm following Susannah Conway's August Break which includes a word a day for inspiration.



The magical word for today's August Break is CLOSE UP.

I've been head deep finishing my new eBook, The Peanut Butter & Jelly Garden, so thought it might be nice to give you a little close up of two pages. I hope to have it officially out by the end of this week and will give you more information then.  A little surprise to those on my mailing list...you'll have first dibs at half the price for a limited time. If anyone else is interested in this perk you may sign up for my email updates here.

UPDATE: My new eBook is now available!  Learn more here!



Today's word as part of The August Break is YELLOW.  I originally thought of sharing some of my favorite yellow plants, but I just couldn't get this one special memory out of my head. When my daughter was four or five she loved mixing her macaroni and cheese with her corn, then proudly called it the yellow meal.  Oddly, a local restaurant now has a side dish with these two ingredients.  Maybe she was onto something.



Today's word for our August Break is CIRCLE...and the first thing that popped into my mind was allium. Alliums are amazing plants that have spectacular globe flowers. If you follow my theme garden process and the circle pops up as one of your shapes, don't forget about the allium.

Two of my favorite alliums include:

 Allium 'summer beauty'
Allium senescens ssp. glaucum

Both of these are in my garden (click on the names above to learn more). There are many, many types of alliums and I encourage you to explore them. They are a fabulous, eye-popping addition to a garden.
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As the summer winds down and I rush to get my last few projects complete I thought it would be fun to follow Susannah Conway's August Break exercise - at least for the beginning of August. She'll list one word a day and encourage everyone to post a photograph inspired by it. Most of my posts will be illustrations (for obvious reasons), though I might pop a photograph in here and there. To add an extra challenge I'll make sure every word ties back to either food or gardening. Some will be easy (like today), but I might have to stretch a few.

To start off, like on any good day, here is BREAKFAST. This is one of my favorite breakfast meals, shared by a lovely British friend. This is simply eggs on toast, then I added one of my favorite drinks...a strawberry smoothie (with fruit fresh from the garden).

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