Category: My book

Designing with perennials and ornamental grasses

Thank you all so much for your comments on my prior post. I truly covet all of your opinions when it comes to the topic for my next book. You all know better than I do.

Between those comments, feedback on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter and chats with my people, I realize that the next book must be all about ornamental grasses. A shock, I  know.

That is my sweet spot even if I still have loads to learn. But research and learning should be part of any under taking so I look forward to the challenge.

Now the debate comes down to what to include in this book on grasses. Is it one-stop shopping or should the focus be on design only? I’m still working that out and my door is still open looking for your feedback.

I have started to build an outline and will share that with you all in the very near future.

For today, I went back and found some of my favorite ornamental grass and perennial combos.

I know I’m already asking a lot of you, but I would love to hear which ones you like the most. If it wouldn’t be too much of a burden, would you rank your top 2 and let me know in the comments?

Also, I’d love to include photos of your grasses in the next book as well. If you have any you’d be willing to share, let me know and we can work something out. I’ve got no budget to pay, but I think I can get creative in terms of reward.

Thanks again and enjoy my OG’s.

 

Joe Pye Weed and Panicum ‘Northwind’

This may be my fave as it starts in August and carries all the way through October.

 

 

 

 

Joe Pye Weed and Pennisetum ‘Hameln’

Again, multi-seasonal interest extending summer through fall.

 

 

 

 

Bee Balm and Karl Foerster Grass

I could include just about any perennial in my garden with Karl Foerster but the bloom color of this Bee Balm really stands out here.

 

 

Bee Balm and Panicum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’

This one really highlights the fact that grasses are the ultimate backdrop for blooming perennials.

 

 

Baptisia and Panicum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’

This one is more understated, but for some reason I love the combo when the blooms have faded and the black seed heads emerge.

 

 

 

Baptisia and Sorghastrum nutans (Indian Grass)

This is from late summer when both are back lit by the afternoon sun. Some combos have a short duration but when it hits, it packs a punch.

 

 

Rudbeckia and Karl Foerster Grass

Like I said before, all perennials mix well with Karl and here is another example.

 

 

 

Bee Balm and Flame Grass (Miscanthus purpurascens)

The Flame Grass on its own is stunning. But the spent flowers of the Bee Balm add a magical dimension in early mornings during the fall.

 

 

Dwarf Sneezeweed and Flame Grass

The bloom color on the Sneezeweed is represented in the foliage of the Flame Grass.

 

 

 

Amsonia and Panicum (Switch Grass)

The contrast is subtle throughout the spring and early summer, but really picks up in late summer and peaks in the fall.

 

 

 

 

Boltonia and Miscanthus ‘Variegatus’

I like the backdrop of the lighter colored foliage.

 

 

Ninebark ‘Diablo’ and Karl Foerster Grass

Yes, I’m cheating as this is a shrub. But I couldn’t leave it out because I love the color contrast and the texture contrast.

 

 

Book #2

A few days ago I was all set to officially embark on the journey for book #2.

I was seated comfortably on my favorite couch. I had my favorite mug filled with black coffee. The dog was curled into a pretzel and leaning against my right leg. I had my headphones secured and started listening to my favorite loud and aggressive bands. I had a blank Word document open on the laptop.

The writing process was in motion.

And then nothing.

For hours.

What I thought was a good concept for the next book suddenly was not. It hit me like a ton of bricks. This wasn’t going to work. It wasn’t going to work because I was choosing what was easiest, not what was best. That never works.

So I’m back to square one. I’m back to evaluating all of the partially formed ideas that reside in my head. Back to the pros and cons columns.

And then I realized what I needed to do.

I need all of you to tell me what I need to do.

Here’s the cold hard truth: The first book was basically 8 years of blog posts curated into a book. Those posts formed the backbone of the book. Once they were pulled together, it wasn’t too difficult to tweak and edit it into a coherent book.

I have no regrets. I still feel strongly about the concept but realize the layout and content could have been better. While hooking up with a publisher wasn’t in the cards and there are limited options when self-publishing, I know there was still room for improvement. But I’m happy I took the plunge and published it.

#2 needs to be different.

I want to know exactly what you as reader would want to see in the next book. Yes, I want all of you to choose the concept/topic of my next book. Who knows better than the actual reading audience?

When that is determined, I then want all of you to weigh in on the layout/outline of the book. In short, I want to crowdsource this next book. I want the entire journey of the book process to be documented. I want the highs and lows accounted for in writing. After all, the fun is in the process and in the journey. If it’s going to be a marathon, I want you all there with me.

With that in mind, here are some of those ideas I referenced earlier. Read through them and let me know your initial thoughts. My best guess is that the topic for the next book isn’t in this first list and that we’ll slowly and methodically work our way there.

Let’s do this:

Ornamental grasses – including my origin story, my favorites, advantages, maintenance, history, etc.

 

Designing with ornamental grasses and perennials – I’ve got a ton of combos I’ve already identified from my own garden.

 

Part 2 of “Perennials Through the Seasons” – but presented differently and including bulbs and/or shrubs

 

Short stories/collection of garden essays – that tie to life – a mix of funny/serious/emotional. Like this:

Committing crimes at the nursery

 

My favorite shrubs – that match specific criteria in my garden – deer resistant, poor draining

 

 

 

 

Coupon codes for my book and Santa Rosa Gardens

Don’t say I never gave you anything.

Head over to Santa Rosa Gardens now and save 40% on their in-stock inventory by using the coupon code “40foryou” at checkout. The deal expires on 6/8 so stock up now. I’m scouring the site as I type this.

And if you head here and use the coupon code “8KQUT6K5” you can get 25% off of the purchase price of my new book “Perennials Through the Seasons”.

You won’t regret it.

But if you do, don’t let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book and Plant Giveaway

Want to win a copy of my new book, “Perennials Through the Seasons”?

I know, deep breaths, it’s a bit overwhelming.

But what if I up the ante? What if I throw in 5 plants from my absolute favorite online purveyor of plants, Santa Rosa Gardens?

I know, dreams do come true.

So in addition to my awe inspiring book (which I will sign and personally inscribe), the winners (2 in total) will also receive the following 5 plants, all of which inspired the book:

Veronica ‘Royal Candles’

Eupatorium ‘Baby Joe’

Helenium Mariachi ‘Fuego’

Monarda Bee-You ‘Bee-Free’

Echinacea Big Sky ‘Sunrise’ 

I highly suggest clicking on each of the plant names above to see photos of these beauties.

All that’s required to enter the giveaway is to leave a comment on this post.

If for some reason you have an issue leaving a comment, please send me an email at ongardener@yahoo.com. There have been issues for some of you lately and I’m still working with WordPress to address the issue.

The contest will run through Monday May 1, 9:00 PM EST. Winners, chosen at random, will be announced at that time.

Contestants must live within the continental U.S.

Good luck.

 

My book – “Perennials Through The Seasons” – is out

After weeks of editing it is finally here.

The first edition of the book was 188 pages (8.5″ x 11″ paper) but I soon realized that at that length, it would be too expensive to print. As painful and excruciating as it was, I ultimately cut it down to under 100 pages.

Who knew that the actual writing of the book would end up being the easiest part of this project?

But it is done. And I am super excited.

A quick synopsis of the book:

There are 20 chapters, each a different perennial that resides in my garden today. The chapters commence with a personal story that is tied to that particular plant. It then takes you through a photographic journey, spring through winter of that perennial with 1,000+ photos in all. While the flowering of each perennial is happily celebrated, I also include other aspects that too often go underappreciated: new spring foliage, spent blooms, seed heads and fall color.

For all of you who have been loyal readers over the years, please know that this is all new material and not a copy of old blog posts.

You can purchase the book here through Amazon.

Thank you all for your support over the years as this book wouldn’t have been written without you.

I am forever grateful.

Volume 2 will be out later this year.

Sucky weather but a “Hell Yeah” moment

Hello everyone.

It has been a while since I last posted here so my apologies for that.

The truth is I have been hammering away on the book and I’m proud to report that it is completely written and I am now in edit mode. While I’ve known all along what I wanted to convey in this book, it didn’t fully gel until I had pulled in these three photos for one of the chapters.

They perfectly encapsulated the purpose of the book and my feelings on gardening. It was the “A Ha” moment and that moment felt real frickin good. I cannot wait to deliver this to you all and thank you again for your constructive feedback. That feedback has been sitting on my shoulders throughout the writing process.

On the actual garden front, I’ve got nothing.

We had such a mild winter here in the Northeast U.S. and I thought I would have been out in the garden by now, cutting down ornamental grasses, removing weeds and cleaning up the messy perennials.

But then March threw us a curve and we ended up with this.

And this.

And now that the foot of snow has started to melt, we have this.

I may have no choice but to throw on my waterproof shitkickers and start cutting and pruning.

Look for that in the next post.