Garden Design Magazine

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On Tuesday evening a box of fresh off the press copies of the relaunched Garden Design Magazine arrived at my house.  I know I cannot provide a truly objective point of view since I contributed an article (page #62 ) and pretty much stop every ten minutes to confirm it is really there. But the magazine is must subscribe and great coffee table book.

GARDEN DESIGN MAGAZINE IS BACK! Thinking Outside the Boxwood


When the magazine shut back in 2013, it was sad but not initially mourned. Its last issues were too west coast, uber high end, and less grounded in horticulture. Then I started reading shelter magazines for their garden features and just got annoyed. Great photos, but plant IDs were limited to boxwood, roses, lavender and hydrangeas and never helped readers gain any plant knowledge. Worse yet, articles always skipped over the often amazing landscape designers and architects that created the spaces. Garden Design needed to come back!


The team at the magazine really listened to all the chatter about the magazine, interviewed readers, and realigned to create a garden magazine that can be enjoyed by people across zones, coasts, yard size and level of horticulture knowledge.  The magazine includes no ads or sponsored content and the paper is think with some heft to the magazine.  Congratulations to the team at the magazine and thank you for allowing me to be a part of it. I pinch myself you included me with the cool kids (ahem, Dan Hinkley) in helping to bring it back.


Ok, now go subscribe!







Design 101 – Arboretum & Botanical Garden Plant Sales

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Ok, so this is an insider secret for gardeners, but should be known by everyone – Local Arboretum/Botanical Garden plant sales. These are hands down best resource for finding unique, native and difficult to source plants, more importantly, the proceeds support your local arboretum/botanical garden. Over the past two weeks my area has been host to numerous plant sales that allowed me to pick up plants for home and clients that I have been having difficult sourcing this spring.

Design 101 - Arboretum & Botanical Garden Plant Sales- Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The plants you will find are a mix of cuttings from the arboretum or botanical gardens personal inventory or nursery stock from area growers whom bring their most unique based on the discerning clientele. Some sales provide a PDF list of their inventory (names and quantity) prior to the sale for you to research and plan your shopping list. Don’t worry if you don’t know your plants, the sales are well organized by annuals, perennials, edibles, trees etc with knowledgeable sales associates to help you. Above you can see I scored Silphium perfoliatum, Silphium terebinthinaceum, Colocasia ‘Elena’, and Colocasia ‘Black Magic’


The bad news is that most of these sales in the Northeast and south regions have already past, but you can use the database from The American Horticultural Society to find your local arboretum and botanical gardens to find the dates for sales to mark calendars for next year.

Garden Directory from The American Horticultural Society

Design 101 - Arboretum & Botanical Garden Plant Sales- Thinking Outside the Boxwood


Another great sale (sorry, was last week so plan next year) includes growers bringing their newest introductions and unique plants is Trade Secrets in Sharon, CT. The plant and antiquities sale supports the Women’s Support Services (WSS), a non-profit helping those experiencing abuse in northeast Connecticut. The first day includes the plant sale and Sunday includes garden tours (which include Trade Secret founder, Bunny Williams’ garden). For those in the area a must do on your May Calendar.

Design 101 - Arboretum & Botanical Garden Plant Sales- Trade Secrets,  Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Photo from Flower magazine, 2013 Trade Secret Garden Tours, by Mick Hales


I hope I have not offended any plant lovers with sharing the secret, but it really is the best source for plants and benefits good causes it is hard not to share. I also spent this weekend in Springfield, OH at the Antique Extravaganza while everyone at the east coast was at Brimfield. I missed a (broken) Kramer Brother’s container to match my other three, but was also able to pick up some plants. For some reason every weekend in May is crammed with great stuff.


The Garden Museum & Tom Stuart-Smith

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This might be something everyone already has on their subscribe list, but if not you need to join the Garden Museum’s email list or at the very least periodically check in on what they have going on. The Garden Museum is the ultimate place for plant geeks, with exhibits of garden visionaries and garden tours with leading designers among the list activities for garden enthusiasts/professionals/plant geeks. The major drawback for Americans is the museum is located in London, so we can read and dream about these amazing exhibits and garden tours.

Garden Museum, Thinking Outside the Boxwood


This July the Garden Museum offers two garden tours featuring gardens designed by Tom Stuart-Smith in the span of three days with Tom on hand to speak and share his inspiration and philosophies.  I included Tom as one of my Master’s of Design post series here, so it is no surprise that I am a huge fan of his work, (okay, more like groupie.) The opportunity to hear him speak in the gardens he designed would be on par with talking with Piet Oudolf at Hummelo.  So as I do wishful airfare searches to make the trip myself, here are the details for you to also dream.


Saturday July 12, 2014: Tour of Broughton Grange, with Tom Stuart-Smith and Todd Longstaffe-Gowan. Broughton Grange features 350 acres of gardens, farmland and open meadows. The gardens include a wild flower meadow, knot garden, parterre, sunken garden and the Walled garden. In 2001 Broughton’s owner Stephen Hester commissioned Tom Stuart-Smith to turn 6 acres into a walled garden. The garden features three terraces, each with distinct individual features while sharing a tread of common characteristics to unite the overall garden. Watch a video of the garden here.

The gardens at Broughton Grange, Oxfordshire. Designer Tom Stuart-Smith, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

This tour includes a talk from the owner, along with Tom Stuart-Smith sharing his inspiration and design for the garden. Tom will also talk with Todd Longstaffe-Gowan about the role of space and enclosure in the garden.

See more about the tour and book tickets on the Garden Museum Website, here.

The gardens at Broughton Grange, Oxfordshire. Designer Tom Stuart-Smith, Thinking Outside the Boxwood



Monday, July 14, 2014: Tom Stuart-Smith’s Barn Garden and Serge Hall

The Garden Museum is also offering an open garden with Tom Stuart-Smith’s Barn Garden and Serge Hall (Tom’s sister ,Kate, garden). Once again this tour includes a talk with Tom (twice in three days!) talking about the garden during July. (There are also tours on May 12 and September 15.) The Barn garden is a 20 year passion for Tom and his wife, Sue. The personal gardens of plant lovers provide the most unique perspective of design, it’s where they experiment and throw all rules out the window for passion.

Tom Stuart-Smith's Barn Garden and Serge Hall, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodTom Stuart-Smith's Barn Garden and Serge Hall, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

For more information on the tours and book tickets, visit the Garden Museum site here.


Recommended Place to Stay: Touring Tom Stuart-Smith’s gardens will provide you with an overload of inspiration, color, texture and framing the greater landscape. Contrast that experience by stating at The Hempel while in London. The hotel features a Zen Garden, Hempel Garden Square, designed by Anouska Hempel. The simple, clean design will provide reprieve from Tom’s gardens and allow you to reflect on the contrast.

The hotel features a Zen Garden, Hempel Garden Square, designed by Anouska Hempel, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The gardens at the hotel feature three symmetrical square ponds edged in Portland stone, raked gravel paths and strong bands of green contrasting the white stone. The garden was featured in the final scenes of Notting Hill if looks familiar.


What else to do: An added Bonus, the tours are scheduled during the RHS’s Hampton Court Flower Show (July 8 – 13), so you can tick off that from your plant geek bucket list too.


What to Read to Prepare for your Trip: