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February 14, 2014


This is the oldest garden that you will see with Mike and I on our summer tour. It is in the natural landscape style ala Capability Brown. This garden was designed by Henry Hoare in 1740. The house was in the Hoare family for 300 years. It has since been turned over to the national trust.

We will visit this garden on our tour of English gardens this summer. I will try to post regularly to FB about the places that we are planning on going as a way to seduce you to join us on this tour. Please write to me for details. The tour is July 11-18. We have designed the tour with a historical perspective. We will show you over 300 years of gardens. From Stourhead to the most current trends at the Hampton Court Flower Show.

Please think about joining us. It's going to be amazing. You deserve a vacation.


February 13, 2014

Mike & Frank's Quintessential English Garden Tour

Click here for our 2016 English Garden Tour

This is it. Frank and I have been planning this trip for 2 years. We're hosting a small group to a journey through the development of the renown English Garden. That fantastic place where nature and art collide.

We will visit 15 gardens including: Hampton Court Flower and Garden Show, Rodmarton Manor, Hidcote Manor, Kiftsgate, Rousham, East Lambrook Manor, Tintinhull, Stourhead, Hestercombe, Westbury Court, Iford Manor, The Courts, Broughton Grange and Great Fosters.

February 12, 2014

Hidcote Manor Garden

Here is another garden we will be visiting on our English garden tour this summer. It was a cloudy day with intermittent rain. We had the place to ourselves.

Hidcote is a remarkable garden designed my Laurence Johnston. He was and american born in Paris in the late 19th century. His mother purchased this property for him in the hopes that he would become a farmer. He instead traveled the world and created this amazing 19 acre series of garden rooms. He never married, which had me asking the docents about his sexuality. I never got a definitive answer. Johnston was responsible for numerous plant introductions including Penstemon 'Hidcote Pink' which I planted last week in Glen Park.

We will be visiting this garden on the same day as Kiftsgate on our tour this coming july. Mid-summer should be fantastic with all the dahlias, roses and summer annuals going off. Hidcote was the first garden acquired by the National Trust solely for it's garden.

We have two spots remaining on our tour July 11-18th 2014. Click here for the itinerary.

February 04, 2014

Drought in California and the State of my nursery.

January 2014 was spectacularly warm and sunny. But it's an official Drought and that has taken some of the pleasure of working in perfect 70 degree weather. The soil is not heavy or mucky from winter rain. I just read that parts of England had record high rainfall for January. Whereas we had a record low rainfall. January normally our wettest month was bone dry. I think England got all our water. I hear these tweets from England suggesting lots of mud and water. We're at the complete opposite end of dread here. Some rural communities in California have less than 100 days supply of water.

Sedum 'Angelina', Euphorbia characias wulfenii, Centaurea gymnocarpa 'Velvet Centaurea'

February 01, 2014

Bonsai Maple Pruning Technique

Last weekend saw the annual ritual of root pruning my bonsai. I've been growing this large maple for more than 10 years now. I found it in an indoor nursery on Polk street. Five years ago I started cultivating this tree on a slab of red Arizona sandstone.

This is the from the rock's prespective. I remove the entire section of last year's root growth, about half an inch layer from the bottom.

The pruning of the limbs is primarily nipping every branch back to only two healthy buds. Some major branches up to the diameter of a pencil were removed to stunt growth or to open to growth below.

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