Complementary Gardening – A Manifesto

“A gardener that is in harmony with nature, will grow a healthy garden. This garden will flourish, and as a result it will grow the gardener…”


The common goal of gardening is harmony… Harmony with the earth… Harmony with the plants… Harmony with the animals… Harmony with ourselves… And harmony with each other… This harmony is achieved through successful (and environmentally sound) gardening practices… A gardener that is in harmony with nature, will grow a healthy garden. This garden will flourish, and as a result it will grow the gardener… The purpose of complementary gardening is to bring all aspects of the gardening movement back where they belong… Together…

The methods used are not nearly as important as the frame of mind in which they are used… Even conventional agricultural practices can be picked from when practicing complementary gardening… It is essentially a blending of the aspects of gardening and life that are important to you… Regardless of your devotion or investment to the cause… Even a few pots on a windowsill are beneficial… Practicing any type of…

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There’s nothing more magical than a fresh coating of snow on the trees on a crisp winter morning. It turns the world into an enchanted forest. It shows the sharp contrasts of black on white.  It defines the intricate shapes and structures of nature.


Each year, I leave certain perennial plants in place to add winter interest to otherwise barren looking gardens. Doing this creates vertical structures to capture the snow and ice.



This Nepeta (Cat Mint) becomes a textured mound.



These Monarda (Bee-Balm)  looks like snow pom-pons.


While this Sedum becomes a snow bouquet.


These sunflowers resemble street lanterns,


and this grass shows its delicate fringe.



We can find some beauty in all seasons, if we just take the time to look.

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What Ebenezer Scrooge Can Teach Us About Great Writing

Kristen Lamb has created this wonderful, insightful piece on Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. I have seen many interpretations of this story, and have had the pleasure of meeting his Great Grandson, Gerald Charles Dickens. Gerald presents the story as a one man show each year in the US, a powerful and personal experience. I found Kristen’s perspective just as moving. Merry Christmas

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One of my all-time favorite movies for the holidays is The Muppets Christmas Carol. I believe I’ve seen this movie a few hundred times. I’ve worn out three VHS tapes and at least three DVDs. I play the movie over and over, mainly because, well, duh,  MUPPETS! I drive my husband nuts playing this movie over and over…and over. I’m worse than a three-year-old.

But, Muppets aside, also I can’t get enough of the music. Also, I love the story of A Christmas Carol no matter how many times I see it, no matter how many renditions, and I am certainly not alone. Charles Dickens’ story of a redeemed miser is a staple for holiday celebrations around the world and across the generations.

This story is virtually synonymous with “Christmas,” but why is it such a powerful story? Why has it spoken so deeply to so many? Why is…

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“When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him. In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”  ― Albert Camus



Awakening light in others is by far the greatest gift we can share. To see someone think of something in an entirely new wayor for the first time, believe that they can do something that they thought was impossible, is my highest purpose in sharing my perspectives on gardening, artistry, and life.  I want to take you on a journey through insight, experience, and passion. 

These past ten years, I have made this passion my business.  I have met some of the most wonderful people and have made many new friends for life.  This vocation of spreading ‘the good news of the garden’ has at times been joyful, and at other times painfully revealed the true nature of people that I thought I could trust.  I have had the privilege of taking care of peoples’ gardens and to have earned their trust in being in their private and personal spaces; making a difference, making things more beautiful, bringing order to chaos.

As time has passed, I realized that I was only reaching a very finite number of people through my business.  With the economic downturn over the past few years, I knew that this wasn’t going to change anytime soon.  I also began to think of ways to reach more people, ways to inspire in them the confidence to get outside and enjoy their gardens, enjoy nature, enjoy each other.  I want to teach gardening, in my own way; a common sense, down-to-earth, no-nonsense approach involving all of the senses, emotions, and wonder of nature.

Many of us have been in a valley with the recession. Perhaps its time to help one another back to the light, giving a hand up, finding our invincible summer together.