In the Garden With: Gossip in the Garden

August 3, 2010

Good Morning!  Today Rebecca Sweet up in Silicon Valley (did I mention that I am in Southern California this week?) of Harmony in The Garden and Creator of Gossip in the Garden is here with her favorite things. Here is a little more about Rebecca:

1. Even though I’ve always loved gardening, I didn’t start out wanting to be a garden designer. The thought just never entered my mind! I started out in the restaurant business and ran the restaurants at the fine arts museums in San Francisco – and loved every minute of it.  Working at the museums and art openings gave me unbelievable opportunities to meet many different people and artists (some famous, some not). For example, I actually shook hands with the Dalai Lama – seriously! He was a lovely, soft-spoken man who held my hands in his the entire time…

garden up book cover rebecca sweet

2. A year ago I discovered the magic of social media not really knowing what I was doing. I began with Twitter, then created a blog, then moved onto Facebook. If anyone had told me all the wonderful friends I would connect with I never would’ve believed them! And because of social media and the people I’ve met, I’m proud to say I’m currently co-authoring my first book (along with Susan Morrison) titled ‘Garden Up! Vertical Gardening for Large and Small Spaces.’ Me? Writing a Book? I couldn’t be more excited!!

3. I can’t smell Freesias for the life of me.  I kid you not.  My gardening friend loves to take me around to the nurseries and hold beautiful freesias up to my nose, insisting if I just ‘try hard enough’ I can smell them!  Just last year I read somewhere that 20% of the population is born without the gene to smell Freesias! A cruel irony, isn’t it?  A gardener who can’t smell one of the most fragrant flowers?!

My Favorite things: Rebecca Sweet

It’s always so hard for me to pick a ‘favorite’ anything, but if I was stranded on a deserted island with just a few things to remind me of gardening, these are what I’d choose:

Favorite Book: It’s a tie between Debra Lee Baldwin’s Designing with Succulents and Thomas Hobb’s The Jewel Box Garden. (From my book selections you can probably also figure out that one of my favorite plants are succulents!)

cafe au lait dinner plate dahlia

Favorite Flower: I can never get enough of dinner-plate size dahlias. Especially the deep, dark purple and the creamy ‘Café Au Lait’ blooms. Huge bouquets of dahlias always make me smile.

rebecca sweets mothers garden

Favorite Garden: My mother’s garden. Oh, how I wish you could see it. She does all the work herself (along with my father) and it’s truly amazing. Every time I visit I spend hours just wandering around, lost in Heaven…

Favorite Scent: It’s another tie between my orange tree’s blossoms and marigold leaves.

What do you do to find inspiration?

To find inspiration all I have to do is take a walk – not in my crowded suburban neighborhood, but away from civilization. There’s no better designer than Mother Nature herself. This past Winter I vacationed at Lake Tahoe, and it became apparent how much nature’s own landscaping influences the way I garden.

water at lake tahoe

For example, how the soothing repetition of the lake’s ripples reflect my desire for
large swaths of mass plantings in the garden.



Or, how the straight lines of these icicles mimic the lines of the Chondropetalum –
one of my favorite plants…
tree trunks

hakone grass and urn

And no wonder I have so much chartreuse in my own garden! I’ve grown up collecting Wolf Moss from the trees of Lake Tahoe and have always adored the bright and happy color.  Nothing is more visually exciting than to walk in a winter-white forest and come upon a stand of these techni-colored trees!

Best Garden or Design Advice Ever (Given or Received)?

I could give lots of practical advice, but I think the most important thing to do is to first spend some time thinking about what type of garden you want to create. It’s probably the most important first step – defining what gardening means to you, and what it is you want out of your garden. I know how difficult this is, because my friend Susan was taking a film class and for her final project she filmed a short documentary about me, where I basically answered the question: What does Gardening Mean to You? If you can tap into your source of inspiration (whether it’s wanting to re-create memories from your past or invent something brand new)
you’ve taken the first step down the road of creating the garden of your dreams.

REgister now!

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