It seems early this year…the Memorial Day weekend. Particularly when I have yet to knock a dent in my Spring punch list of gardening projects. Really, it’s a “to-do” list as I have no changes planned, only a review to see who had the strength to survive, who lost the fight and a little annual manicure and mulch. Hopefully the extra day will help me put things in good order as we unofficially kick off Summer.

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 Top to bottom:

Before anything else, honor the fallen by displaying the flag.

It looks like  that boxwood hedge could use a crisp edge.

This gift of water hyacinth will grace my interior until they take up Summer residence outdoors.

The varied colors and textures of the Blue Dune Grass, Lysimachia ” Goldilocks” and large lobed non- blooming Lambsear compliment the Pines and Birch on site perfectly.   Photos: gp

I’d like to add this black Mondo Grass to some large modern concrete saucers at the entry, but the jury is still out on whether or not they can really handle the harsh zone 5 winters. Photo: Better Homes and Gardens




Gray Gardens

June 25, 2014

It’s a simplequietmodern fact that I am not a fan of annual flowering plants or the annual trek to garden centers large and small to search them out. Even when designed and installed by ” professionals “, most annual flowering plant combinations are the visual equivalent of nails on a blackboard. The selection tedious, the colors jarring and most combinations ill-conceived. I’m serious. Do you really expect me to subscribe to the idea that the orchidy blue-pink shade actually works with the mercurochrome orangey-red of the same Impatiens?  Then add to the mix some red Geraniums and a shot of any of the many gaudy varieties of  Marigold …then perhaps a little sprinkle of something in a lavender blue, like Ageratum. Congratulations. You have successfully convinced me that most people turn to Coney Island for their color inspiration. My suggestion…reel it in. Make a clean modern statement with a simply shaped pot filled with a single plant variety. If given a few minutes of thought and planning , you may not see a single bloom among them. A variety of perennial grasses can provide easy care texture and movement as well as continued interest come Fall and Winter…colorful groundcovers like Lysimachia can add a spot of texture and bright color.  If blooms are a must, a judicious selection planted en masse will make a strong yet simple statement if you choose one…just one. As for containers, any of the following would be the perfect place to start.









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The simple modern shape of this Ibarra planter from Crate & Barrel is available in two sizes and one great concrete-like finish.

The slick dark blades of Mondo grass would fill any of these containers with easy care drama. Photo via: Better Homes and Gardens

Bright Lysimachia gets even brighter in good sunny conditions. A pot filled simply with this one specimen with provide a modern splash a Chartreuse.

Again from Crate & Barrel, this Saabira low planter provides a simple modernist shape in coal-black Fiberstone. Picture it filled with the large velvet gray of the non-blooming Lambs Ear below.

Stachys Byzantina ” Helena Von Stein” ” Big Ears”…a large non-flowering lambs ear that never fails with its silvery softness and easy care.

Mexican Feather Grass ” Pony Tails” will keep your containers animated with even the slightest Summer breeze. Photo via:


 Leymus arenarius, Blue Dune Grass, planted in vintage modern concrete bowls comes up faithfully year after year.