Adios, overwintering!

I was looking through past garden photos of my own garden – getting ready to share a nostalgic look back, and sort of giving them one last goodbye peek before we move in ONE WEEK – and came across this gem.


Guess I wont have to deal with this anymore, eh?

For the plant-crazy folk who garden in colder climates – like the Hudson Valley’s zone 5 – keeping tender plants alive from year to year is part challenge, part hoarder and all garden nerd. It connects us. It excites us. It impresses us! “Ooooh, your garage is heated?” “My, what a large and healthy brugmansia you have!”

Which plants come in when, what goes into the basement vs the garage vs the unheated shed – it’s all part of the advanced gardening game that allows us to maintain a diverse collection of larger and more varied specimens that no one could afford to replace every year.

And now I won’t have to worry about that. Ok! I guess. I can’t wait to see what seasoned gardeners dish about in our new, much warmer, home.

(Note the trowel frozen in ice inside the garden trug)

You Know You’re A Garden Geek When…


GardenOn.BillThomasFB…you are OVERCOME with giddiness because the Head Gardener / Executive Director of your favorite (and one of the most amazing) public gardens likes your Facebook post. For the non-gardening set, think getting a nod from your favorite celebrity – like Madonna, or maybe George Clooney?

Anyway, I’m psyched. Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, PA is a must see. An incredibly creative and dedicated staff of gardeners lives and works there, and I have yet to experience a more artistic, exciting interpretation of what a garden can be or how plants can be used. It’s mind-blowing.

Thanks, Bill Thomas. You made my night!

Photos are from my visit to Chanticleer in 2009. For more information about the garden, visit their website, and be sure to check out the new book from Timber Press “The Art of Gardening: Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer” written by the Chanticleer gardeners and R. William Thomas, available online from Amazon. 



Chanticleer Garden
786 Church Road, Wayne, PA 19087
610.687.4163  |

Follow Chanticleer on Facebook and Instagram

The Agave Collection at Plant Delights Nursery


I’m trying to wrap my head around the incredible amount of new-to-me plants I’ll soon be able to grow. It’s pretty much an ongoing reel in my mind – agave and bromeliads and citrus oh my! – so please forgive me if it seems I’m not listening when you talk.


My bewilderment comes mostly from the fact that I have visited very few western, summer dry or zone 9 gardens. I have almost zero point of reference for what I’m getting in to. I don’t like surprises…and so it’s driving me nuts!


I keep going back in my mind to seeing the agave collection at Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, North Carolina. It’s one of the only ones I’ve seen…yet. (If you’re a plant lover and are unfamiliar with this catalog sign up asap.) The large paved area filled with pot after pot after pot was a favorite that day when we toured the display gardens. “Start agave collection” immediately went on the wildest garden dreams wishlist.

And now I can.


G A R D E N   S T U D Y   Q U E S T I O N S
– Are all agave hardy to zone 9?
– Do potted specimens require special care/protection in winter?
– What is the best potting mix recipe for container planted agave?
– How fast do they grow? Or do you control their size by planting in a small pot?

Wild & Beautiful Ride


The Succulent Garden at SFBG, visited on my first trip to the Bay Area in September 2015.

Welcome to Garden On!, a new site for sharing what is going to be my biggest garden adventure yet…moving from New York to California, and learning how to garden in a whole new climate.

Follow along – it’s going to be a wild, beautiful, educational ride.