view of garden with magnolia trees and bulbs in bloom

A Breath of Spring

Spring has just begun to creep out from under the stones where it lay hidden during a bitterly cold St. Louis winter. Nature announces the arrival of spring in St. Louis in spectacular fashion. The trees explode with color, and the hidden potential of daffodils and other bulbs burst from the ground. While most people are waiting for the brush of green to reappear across the landscape, I chose early April to visit the Missouri Botanical Garden. It’s still too early for the roses or the lily ponds, or for so much of what I remember loving about the garden, but that’s not to say it was without its special charm. Plus let’s not forget the amazing greenhouses that breathe life all winter long.

maroon bluebonnets

Attack of the Rebel Bluebonnets

There’s a big brouhaha over at the University of Texas at Austin. Apparently there’s some maroon bluebonnets popping up in raised beds near the UT Tower. The outrage! See, these flowers were developed by dastardly scientists over at Texas A&M through selective breeding and hybridization, creating a pink version of the ubiquitous bluebonnets that blanket the city of Austin in the spring. Some have demanded nothing short of utter anihilation of the traitorous maroon bluebonnets, and are suspecting that it was a prank by Aggies to undermine the bluebonnet patches on the campus. According to a post on the UT Austin Tumblr site, no one is planning to destroy the wicked pink blossoms: “UT Austin has no immediate or official plans to pull up the Aggie-colored wildflowers.” That’s good news. As it turns out, the location for at least some of these despicable rival colors is the Tower gardens. And those gardens owe their very existence to… ME. Back in 2009 the … Read more…

Visit to the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland

In March 2014 I was fortunate to visit the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon. Having visited the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver back in November (photos), I was excited to see another one. We were exceptionally fortunate this time because everything was in bloom, especially the camellias.

My UT Garden

A woman with an idea. That was me in November, 2009. At the University of Texas at Austin, they had launched a new platform to solicit feedback and ideas from the University community. On the day it launched, I happened to walk by two large raised beds, filled with autumn flowers, that were being dug up so that Landscape Services could replant them with winter-hardy annuals. It was a ritual the University had engaged in as long as I had worked here, and I was fed up. It seemed like such a waste of time not to mention a really bad gardening practice, to plant flowers that are not native and can barely make it through a season, only to replace them seasonally with other flowers that could only squeak through the next season. So I tossed a suggestion to the Ideas of Texas, and they liked it. President Powers even featured the idea on his blog Tower Talk! In … Read more…