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June 2015

It's time to plant those pots!

If you're looking for inspiration you're in the right place!

Check out the portfolio on my website for creative combinations and color schemes.

Or learn how to save money and use perennials in your pots.

Want something simple yet sophisticated? Got you covered!

Would you like to watch a free planting demonstration? I can do that too!

Need help? Take advantage of my popular Personal Container Coach Service. You'll get the designer look for less. Email  me to set up an appointment.


'Flowers are fleeting - foliage is forever (or almost)'  

When designing gardens I create a strong foliage framework using gorgeous trees, shrubs and perennials that offer outstanding foliage interest in many colors and textures before layering in flowering perennials, roses, peonies and other blooms. Sometimes though a homeowner insists they are all about the flowers, so how do I balance good design with that request?

I use a two-fold approach; use flowering shrubs that have great leaves and incorporate flowering perennials with an exceptionally long bloom time to reduce the potential 'downtime' in the garden.

These are my top flowering perennials that are reliable performers,  easy care and will add months of color.

Whirling butterflies (Gaura)

Imagine a haze of white or pink butterflies dancing in your garden; that's what this woody perennial looks like from June to September. There are several varieties to choose from but flowers are typically white or pink and the foliage is green, burgundy or variegated green/burgundy. 

No deadheading necessary and these are drought tolerant, deer resistant and rabbit resistant. Plant in full sun and well drained soil.

Caradonna sage 

Most perennial sage have coarse leaves and a rather short flowering period in my experience but Caradonna sage raises the bar with smaller foliage, black stems and many weeks of indigo blue flowers. An occasional snip with the pruners to remove old flowers will result in almost continuous bloom production from late spring-fall. Definitely worth looking for.

These are also drought tolerant and both deer and rabbit resistant.

Tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis)

This perennial self - seeds when happy so you may have some plants to share but I have never found this trait to be a problem.

Tall stiff stems hold clusters of lavender flowers that bees, butterflies and hummingbirds love. The plants grow to 5' or so tall but are so transparent in their habit that even if these are towards the front of the border you can see through them. This is one plant that seems to know where it is going to look best without any help form me! I love these weaving through black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)  and orange daylilies.

Ridiculously drought tolerant, this will thrive in gravel! Also deer and rabbit resistant (hallelujah).

Paprika yarrow (Achillea)

If red is your color then you need this drought tolerant perennial in your garden. Opening vivid scarlet and fading through terracotta to cream this perennial will give you many weeks of colorful flowers. If you take time to remove the dead flowers every few weeks that flowering time easily extends to a couple of months.

And yes - it is deer and rabbit resistant, although slugs have been a problem with mine this year.

Rozanne geranium

Been around a while now but still a favorite for its endless periwinkle-blue flowers. Full sun for best flower production but part sun OK too. Deer and rabbits have ignored mine (but there again they are probably full from eating my ornamental grasses).

So while I still advocate for building your garden around FOLIAGE there are some five star flowering perennials that are definitely worth including too.
Do you have a favorite?

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video  BUILDING A RAISED BED GARDEN online class


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Our new online class for Craftsy already has great reviews - and over 5800 subscribers in less than two months! Andy and I teach this class together so you get expert woodworking and gardening advice and tips.

The 7 lessons cover design considerations, step by step construction, soils, planting tips, drip irrigation installation, building a hoop frame and more.

Your subscription never expires and you can watch as often as you like. Plus you can ask us questions along the way on the Craftsy platform as well as interact with other students. 

What a great gift for yourself, your Dad and a friend. And with this link you can find out more and purchase the class for HALF PRICE!




Just for all you leaf lovers - welcome to FINE FOLIAGE - THE BLOG! 

You are clearly all thinking about your containers because your favorite post in May was

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Fine Foliage received the 2014 GOLD award by the Garden Writer's Association for overall best product, winning over all other books, magazines, flyers, brochures, catalogs and calendars printed last year!

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Garden Adventures - for thumbs of all colors,

is a lighthearted, information packed blog for all 
gardeners and garden lovers. Laugh while you learn, pick up new ideas and be inspired by others is the theme as I cover everything from container design to slug patrol.



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Interested in booking a seminar or presentation for your area, event or garden club? Just send me an email and feel free to read reviews of my talks on the Great Garden Speakers website.

Want to know more about the talks I offer? For those within driving distance of Seattle here are some suggestions. For those further afield I still offer a  great selection(but can't manhandle heavy pots and plants onto planes!) Of course I am always happy to tailor it to your audience. Contact me for fee details

I'm also happy to design custom workshops for your group 



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Karen Chapman CPH
Le Jardinet
425 765 3574  
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